Bringing Him Home Part I
by Tom Antion
Let me introduce you to Rubix. My first personal protection dog. Rubix is a GSD which I first thought was some kind of venereal disease until I looked it up and found out it stands for GERMAN SHEPHERD DOG Duh!!!. Who doesn’t know that? I recently found out some importer from Ohio originally brought him into the USA from Europe. The company I got him from bought him when he was 15 months old and started to obedience train him.
Oh, before I forget, when you see me using fancy terms that I just barely understand, you can always refer to the learning glossary I made. It will save you 50 hours worth of wondering what the heck someone means when they talk about Schutzhund, bite sleeves, elastic tugs and a couple hundred other terms you probably never heard of.
Ok. Back to Rubix. So this article is titled “Bringing Him Home” so I’m definitely NOT going to talk about that. You know why? Because I didn’t bring him home immediately. Since I only live one hour from the facility and since Rubix was not fully trained (Did you know that you can get personal protection dogs with various levels of completed training?) so the company owners and I made the wise decision that I would come to their facility while Rubix was still living there and they would train me in how to handle him.
I showed up the first day for training and this was only the second time I had met Rubix. The next hour was pretty interesting and probably pretty comical if you were watching us.
We went out in a big open field away from all the other dogs (there’s as many as 200 dogs at this facility at one time). Rubix, uh um, I mean Tony the trainer was going to teach me a few things about handling a dog. We started with the basic heel command to get the dog to walk nicely with me. Of course, Mr. Showoff Tony (just kidding) walked all around the field with Mr. Perfect soldier boy Rubix (not kidding) walking perfectly by his side and paying attention to Tony’s every move.
Now it was my turn. How hard could this be? I had dogs all my life….yes little foofie rescue Bichon Frises, Poodles and a totally submissive Lab mix I found on the side of the road. If I was being generous I’d say I probably made it about 30 seconds before the leash was wrapped around my feet and Rubix was looking at me with that look on his face that said, “OMG please don’t send me home with this amateur. …..I’ll clean the kennels. I’ll never bark or make it hard for you to give me my ear drops again. Just please don’t make me listen to this guy.” hahahaha
This was an eye opening experience. It reinforced to me the value of professional training. I’m sure the trainer, the chief trainer and the marketing director were having a good chuckle inside their heads at my expense. When they stopped laughing inside and stopped winking at each other while I untangled myself they gave me precise tips on where and how to hold the leash and how to get out of my own way.
Yes, it took some practice and I swear at one point I heard the dog say, “Fuss, you big dummy”. ( ‘Fuss’ is the German word for ‘heel’.) After 20 minutes or so of this things started to fall into place. Rubix and I were marching around the big field like we were the halftime show at the Superbowl. Then to finish up we had our first bonding session after I gave him the “Take a Break” command and he went over to a tree and took a big poop.