1969 Phu Cat Re-Visited
When I had extra duty at the kennels, I wanted to do some training with Junior.
Right off the bat there was a problem. I had to wake Junior up from a sound sleep, and it affected his attitude, and corporations, but once we where locked safely in the exercise area, Junior responded flawlessly. The second time I went to get him, again, Junior, the working dog, was sound asleep. I watched him sleep, and began to notice how still everything around me was, eerie quite. All the dogs where sleeping hard. I never bothered Juniors sleep time with training, again.
On post, during the long hours, Junior was even less responsive.
Working ten hour shifts, night after night, was enough training. As long as Junior responded to 'watch em' boy', with his nose in the air, his ears listening to the slightest sounds of the night, even with weak eyes, Junior could still see better in the dark, then I could. I got so much going for me, Junior was comfortable at night, in the dark.
No telling how many times that dog save me from snake bite.
King Cobra and dog teams were neighbors. Dogs got bitten. But not the handlers. Lucky.
So as a team, me and Junior, we didn't train.
What we did together was to 'show up', every night, and do the job and we did it without complaint,,,well sort-of. Once a handler was off duty and got warmed up (a hot shower), he could relax, have a beer or two or three, break out the cards, and take one large giant step backwards. You might hear a bitch or two, but mostly, 'it was what it was', and you adjusted, silently. That's why (they) send nineteen year old boy-men to war. Man!!,, can we adjust?
Junior was a highly trained Sentry Dog.
And Jimmie the Sentry Dog Handler could relax, or another way of saying it, I was able to 'take it down a notch' on the fear index. A good working dog was a gift, and a pleasure to behold, I felt safe.
Doesn't take long, and trust takes command.
When a German Shepherd trust his handler and like-wise, the Handler trust his Sentry Dog, its a real feel-good bond. Junior was always up, waiting on me, ready for work. We handlers stood many a guard-mount in pouring rain, but Junior was always up, glad to see me, tail just-a-going, every once in a while, Junior would jump up on me, and lick my face.
Just as soon as I put the muzzle on Junior, he is ready for work.
FYI; as the dark Central Highlands skies billowed buckets of rain, and lighting, was sometimes directly over head, I had to take Junior, regardless, once Junior was out of his kennel, he had to relieve himself.
So by the time Junior and I were seated on the trucks waiting to deliver us to our kilo post, my dog is soaking wet. Most nights during monsoon (90 straight nights of almost non-stop rain), we went to work in wet uniforms. Handlers and Sentry Dogs alike, got chilled to the bones cold.
In Vietnam, you could freeze to death in eighty degree weather.
If you pay good money for training, how do you know if you got your monies worth? Most of the time dog owners are less then pleased with the results. In a weeks time and that is all the time needed to notice a difference in responsiveness to command, And, it is all the time you have to learn what your dog has/is learning during all this obedience training. No matter how thorough the trainer is, if you as handler of your dog are not in the same school together, learning, then how do you expect to continue what the Trainer has started. There-in lies a truth, the Trainer has started your dog on basic obedience; heel, stay, sit, down, but in the end it is up to the pet owner (handler) to continue with the same training that the Trainer has started. Consistency starts with one-syllable commands. With the most important word being, 'No'! No means no to any negative behavior. Just as 'sit' means to sit, forever and ever, period. Bad commands words are like, 'leave it', two words can confuse some dogs. The best word for any pet to understand is, 'No'. Covers a host of behavior problems.