Lech, stolen and held for ransom…

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Today I bring sad news… It has come to my attention that my very good friends, Ted Summers and Alesha Brandt, have fallen prey to the vile and scheming actions of Richard Starks and Meredith Thompson of DogPatch Downs Daycare and Boarding in Ocala Florida.

I can write up a whole article about what has went down, and why, but Instead I will share the original posting with you all since it will explain what happened. I will also add pictures of proof of theft and shady dealings by Richard Starks.

I will say this tho…. I am disgusted! This man, Richard Starks, is the lowest of the lowest scum that can be found on the planet. Apart from his lies and shady dealings, his boasting and misleading ways and blatant disregard for law and justice has now added theft to his already impressive record of faux pas. To take a dog and use it for ransom? Truly despicable! I would ask of you all to stay far away from this person since he will not hesitate to scam you out of your hard earned cash with his trickery.

I would ask all that have read this article, and that have seen the pictures and proof posted to please share this post far and wide! Let’s make sure that Lech becomes too hot to handle so that he can safely be returned home into the loving arms of his owners, where he belongs!

Regards, Alice MacKenzie.

 

Original post:

 

This is what actually goes on at DogPatch Downs Daycare and Boarding in Ocala Florida

Our dog AIK CHIEN POLICIER aka Lech our 5 year old intact microchipped male Belgian Malinois has been stolen by this facility under the guise of doing business with “his facility.” After finding out about his habitual lies, drug use, fake 501c3 organizations and that he doesn’t even own the facility or have rights to sublet it at all- we stepped back- he decided stealing our dog and making threats to try and strong arm us into paying was his best option.

Now Richard is GREAT at playing the victim- saying we “owe” him something including filing false police reports which he’s done both to his own daughter and us. Neither went anywhere because he has a long history of it.

TRUTH- Richard Starks is a long time dog thief and con artist.

Richard Starks- does not own the property, never has- owes his grandparents who both call him a “crook and liar” $36000. Richard keeps a large amount of illegal narcotics in the kennel itself (pictures below) he has claimed he has been a part of the French Foreign Legion and Blackwater BOTH LIES he claims he’s titled in French Ring and is a French Ring decoy- BOTH LIES he’s claimed he has MULTIPLE CHARITY ORGANIZATIONS all lies- he’s not filed taxes in years- business, personal or otherwise. In FACT the ONLY way he can even afford to eat is his grandparents and Eugene Monroe (his buddy) constantly loan him money. He brags (pictured below) about it- he claims Eugene is his personal ATM lol.

GIVE US OUR DOG BACK RICHARD AND MEREDITH- if anyone sees these two crooks- RUN- if they attempt to sell or have our dog transported from Florida call authorities and us at 918-636-1767 #ocala #florida #doggrooming #boarding#petsitting

 

Pictures of proof, information included with the picture descriptions.

Richard Starks and Meredith Thompson from DogPatch Downs Daycare and Boarding are currently in possession of a stolen dog- Belgian Malinois 5 years old- not altered- microchipped and belonging to Ted Summers. Lech is 83lbs has a distinct diamond shape pattern around his eyes, missing his two bottom front teeth.
Richard Starks and Meredith Thompson from DogPatch Downs Daycare and Boarding are currently in possession of a stolen dog- Belgian Malinois 5 years old- not altered- microchipped and belonging to Ted Summers. Lech is 83lbs has a distinct diamond shape pattern around his eyes, missing his two bottom front teeth.

 

2Lech (pronounced Leck) if you see Meredith Thompson, Brittney Nicole or Richard Starks or they attempt to sell you our dog - please immediately call the local police and us at 918-636-1767
Lech (pronounced Leck) if you see Meredith Thompson, Brittney Nicole or Richard Starks or they attempt to sell you our dog – please immediately call the local police and us at 918-636-1767

 

3Lech- distinctive markings- 5 years old- intact- 83lbs and missing his bottom two front teeth. Stolen by Richard Starks and Meredith Thompson
Lech- distinctive markings- 5 years old- intact- 83lbs and missing his bottom two front teeth. Stolen by Richard Starks and Meredith Thompson

 

4Now missing his bottom two teeth- currently stolen and held illegally at Dog Patch Downs in Ocala Florida- if they attempt to sell him or ask you to pick up or transport him, call Marion County Sheriff Department or Marion County Animal Control immediately. He is microchipped.
Now missing his bottom two teeth- currently stolen and held illegally at Dog Patch Downs in Ocala Florida- if they attempt to sell him or ask you to pick up or transport him, call Marion County Sheriff Department or Marion County Animal Control immediately. He is microchipped.

 

83lbs, Lech, microchipped, stolen by Richard Starks and Meredith Thompson.
83lbs, Lech, microchipped, stolen by Richard Starks and Meredith Thompson.

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8Who Richard brags is funding him is non other than ex NFL player Eugene Monroe- Richard loves sending screen shots of Eugenes Bank account to brag about constantly getting money from Eugene-
Who Richard brags is funding him is non other than ex NFL player Eugene Monroe- Richard loves sending screen shots of Eugenes Bank account to brag about constantly getting money from Eugene-

 

99 A receipt sent to us from dog thief Richard Starks from Ex NFL player Eugene Monroe- why? Because he's apparently Richard's sugar daddy.
 A receipt sent to us from dog thief Richard Starks from Ex NFL player Eugene Monroe- why? Because he’s apparently Richard’s sugar daddy.

 

10Richard sending threatening texts about destroying our dog that he claims we abandoned- in truth Richard asked us to leave our male there because he wanted us to rent kennel space in "his" kennel- we agreed only to find out Richard Starks does not own the property, owes the property owners $36,000, keeps large amounts of illegal narcotics on the and has kidnapped other people's dogs and done the exact same thing to them.
Richard sending threatening texts about destroying our dog that he claims we abandoned- in truth Richard asked us to leave our male there because he wanted us to rent kennel space in “his” kennel- we agreed only to find out Richard Starks does not own the property, owes the property owners $36,000, keeps large amounts of illegal narcotics on the and has kidnapped other people’s dogs and done the exact same thing to them.

 

11Richard claiming our dog has been "abandoned and we owe him money"- simply not true. Richard sending threatening texts about destroying our dog that he claims we abandoned- in truth Richard asked us to leave our male there because he wanted us to rent kennel space in "his" kennel- we agreed only to find out Richard Starks does not own the property, owes the property owners $36,000, keeps large amounts of illegal narcotics on the and has kidnapped other people's dogs and done the exact same thing to them.
Richard claiming our dog has been “abandoned and we owe him money”- simply not true. Richard sending threatening texts about destroying our dog that he claims we abandoned- in truth Richard asked us to leave our male there because he wanted us to rent kennel space in “his” kennel- we agreed only to find out Richard Starks does not own the property, owes the property owners $36,000, keeps large amounts of illegal narcotics on the and has kidnapped other people’s dogs and done the exact same thing to them.

 

12Threats to steal the dog even though legal action has been taken- again- if Richard Starks or Meredith Thompson approach you with a dog for sale or transport- call the sheriff.
Threats to steal the dog even though legal action has been taken- again- if Richard Starks or Meredith Thompson approach you with a dog for sale or transport- call the sheriff.

 

13Illegal drugs kept on the premises of DogPatch Downs. And a picture of Brittney
Illegal drugs kept on the premises of DogPatch Downs. And a picture of Brittney

 

 Message where Richard is pretending Eugene Monroe is going to bankroll him in his fake charity organization.
Message where Richard is pretending Eugene Monroe is going to bankroll him in his fake charity organization.

 

15Richard claims I "hacked his Facebook" lol- clearly here we're discussing this account and he's giving me permission to admin...he's also again falsely saying the "NFL" is in his pocket
Richard claims I “hacked his Facebook” lol- clearly here we’re discussing this account and he’s giving me permission to admin…he’s also again falsely saying the “NFL” is in his pocket

 

16Here's Richard falsely claiming he has his charity organization set up- he has no such organization...
Here’s Richard falsely claiming he has his charity organization set up- he has no such organization…

 

17Permission to admin the Facebook account they're now claiming I "hacked" after they stole our dog...
Permission to admin the Facebook account they’re now claiming I “hacked” after they stole our dog…

 

18Here's Richard calling one of his long term clients Amie an idiot and giving me permission to control the Facebook- HEY RICHARD, don't steal dogs and it won't get posted on Facebook.
Here’s Richard calling one of his long term clients Amie an idiot and giving me permission to control the Facebook- HEY RICHARD, don’t steal dogs and it won’t get posted on Facebook.

 

19More calling her an idiot while giving me permission to admin this page....Hey Brittney- you're an idiot.
More calling her an idiot while giving me permission to admin this page….Hey Brittney- you’re an idiot.

 

20He owes his grandparents $36000 and according to them he is a "crook and a liar"
He owes his grandparents $36000 and according to them he is a “crook and a liar”

 

2121 Here's when he was pretending to own the kennel he is merely a squatter in.... he tells so many lies he can't keep track.
Here’s when he was pretending to own the kennel he is merely a squatter in…. he tells so many lies he can’t keep track.

 

22Again pretending to own a charity that is actually fake..... also AGAIN giving me permission to have the social media sites...
Again pretending to own a charity that is actually fake….. also AGAIN giving me permission to have the social media sites…

 

23Here's Richard's NEWEST fake charity scam- no clue how he's snowed Eugene over and over- and now he's trying to scam ex NFL Brian Schaefering.
Here’s Richard’s NEWEST fake charity scam- no clue how he’s snowed Eugene over and over- and now he’s trying to scam ex NFL Brian Schaefering.
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Work your dog, not your mouth…

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I am irritated… and annoyed… and just downright fed up with people constantly telling other people what they can or cannot do with their dogs in terms of training, over how wrong they are in their way of training, over how they are misguided, stuck in the old ways, abusive and mean and even stupid or idiots when these people are yet to accomplish a single thing in terms of dog training to begin with.

It is the new fad out there. To get on your computer or mobile and to assume the keyboard warrior position as a means of sharing your knowledge, or lack thereof…. What is this incessant need to go out there and chastise people for the way they train or do things, or have done things in the past? Why should they now suddenly adjust their way of training a dog to suit you? What makes you so special that your word is law?

I am old school when it comes to dogs. I stick to what I know, I do not fix what isn’t broken and I do not follow the latest rave of doing things one way or the other. I look at the dog in front of me and adjust my training to that particular dog. One training style does NOT fit all! But the new generation of trainers, and I use the term trainers very loosely since everyone is a trainer these days, the new generation know exactly how to tell you what you are doing wrong, and why, because they went to school! And they got a certificate! They had a dog once! They simply know it all these days and boy do they get upset when you disagree with them… They start throwing out things like abuse and bully in hopes of getting a response, or to get heard… The problem is tho that the more they speak the less they are listened too since the same old babble gets old after a time and explaining why you do something a certain way gets old after doing it over and over…

Then the anger starts to really shine through when you ask how they would do it differently but still get the same desired response of effect at the end… they fall silent then. Answers are not something that can be given because they lack of knowledge and experience suddenly shows and they go back to saying one is old school, or lazy, or mean, or not willing to change their views…

Here is the thing tho? Those views have changed over the decades and more than once. Most of us “old school” trainers have already seen it happen before and have done it before and guess what? It didn’t work then! And it will not work now! So yes, we get irritated and annoyed when someone comes up to us on the internet or in real life for that matter, and starts telling us how we are all doing it wrong because science says so! Dogs have changed according to them! Nope, dogs have not changed…. People have changed! Dogs are still dogs with the same clock making them tick inside…. People however have changed and are forever changing as time moves along. They keep trying to fix what isn’t broken, thinking they are making steps forward when in fact they are moving backwards. Society has changed as a whole, putting HUMAN ideas and thoughts on everything they can under the guise of HUMANE treatment. Everything has to be nice and sweet, kisses and cuddles and politically correct for the sake of appearance. It doesn’t matter that this HUMANE fad is damaging the dogs… as long as it looks good. Shelters are filling up due to this state of mind. Dogs are being put to sleep due to this state of mind. Why? Because a dog is no longer allowed to be what it is to begin with! It has to respond to human thought and interaction with human knowledge. It has to think in human terms and read their owners or trainers and give them back a human like reaction because the dog reaction is not appreciated one bit. If it nips it gets labeled a danger and its life is now at risk… Never mind trying to raise a dog like a dog, it has no place being a dog in today’s society, it has to think and feel and react the same way we do or it will pay the hefty price of losing its life for not doing so… Here is the kicker tho? All those dogs in shelters? New generation trainer dogs….. Dogs that didn’t conform to the views of the rigid mindset of the new age trainer or owner. Because dogs should now be treated with human respect and human dignity they are no longer getting what they need which is dog worthy respect and dignity. And the trainers that are old school like me? The ones that still treat a dog like a dog, and give him his dues and respect in a dog worthy and respecting way… we get blamed for it, and told we are antique and mean and evil…

Let me tell you tho? It isn’t our dogs that are filling up shelters! It isn’t our dogs that are going around biting kids and random folks in the street! It isn’t our dogs that are getting labeled as unmanageable or dangerous! Our dogs are just fine! They live a happy life, and fit into society without to much issue. We do not feel the need to push our training style or ways on others…. That is something that the new generation of trainers is into…. Us old school trainers? We don’t give a rats ass on how you train your dog… Just don’t tell us how to train ours because our track record when it comes to dogs is a hell of a lot cleaner and fairer than the track records of the new generation trainer and we do not give up as easily on a dog simply because it presents us with problems. We just adjust our training to deal with those problems and do not try to push our dogs into boxes that they will not fit into to begin with…

So yes… Work your DOGS and not your MOUTH! Listen, ask questions, try to understand and most of all try to learn something before you throw your new generation weight around and point fingers at people… You might just pick up some valuable knowledge that way and your dogs will surely thank you for it!

Disclaimer: By new generation trainer I am of course making a generalization of sorts which is unfair of me and I realize this. Not every new generation trainer is as I have described. But I will say this… If this article is a sore spot for you? Or hits home in any sort of way? Lace up that shoe and wear it!

 

Regards,
Alice MacKenzie.

Balanced training versus (Purely) positive, the great divide….

I might as well call this article “Working dog trainers versus Pet trainers.” Because that is really what we are talking about here. The great divide that exists between the two forms of training and the ongoing skirmish that ensues whenever one side meets the other.

Over the last few days the skirmish has been very visible on a lot of media outlets and both sides dug in for a battle of wills over who was better and why….

The problem is tho, the views tend to be one sided. Specially from the (Purely) positive side. There is an attitude of “Everything you can do, I can do better.” And boy does that rub us working dog trainers the wrong way… Why? Because we know when it comes to working dogs, that training a dog for a task like taking down a bad guy, or to go into a fight and risk its life, over and over, that (purely) positive training simply does not work! It’s not that we are extremely stubborn in this and stomp our feet because we want to be right. It is that we have tried and failed miserably in the process to produce the type of dog that is needed to protect and serve. What rubs us the wrong way even more is when someone then proceeds to step into our world and proclaim “We want to change your training because we know better.” We get told our ways are outdated, that we are cruel, mean, abusers of dogs. We get told that “one training fits all” to ignore the bad, and reward the good. We just don’t understand how it works and if we just adjust our views to see that we are wrong, and they are right, things might change for the better for the dogs.

Here is the thing tho? Not many, if any of those (purely) positive people has ever set a foot inside the working dog trainers world to see for themselves how it works. They have mostly based their views on what they think happens and not what they know happens. There is no such thing as an open mind in (purely) positive training. You either follow suit, or you are evil. Every dog is a pet that needs to be loved on like family. And, I will be honest here, in part I agree with that theory. I have trained xMalinois and xDutch Shepherd’s in KNPV for the last 30 years and yes, I loved and love each and every one of them and they were family to me, right up to the moment that they moved on to their new life in law enforcement or the Military. But I also draw a line as far as loving on and treating as family goes when it comes to dogs. A dog is still a dog. It is not one of my children and it does not get the same rights as a human would. I treat it as a dog. I use a dog perspective when dealing with my dogs. I try to keep things as dog logical as possible and I do not let my human thoughts, ideas and feeling interfere with those thoughts, ideas and feelings. A dog, in my eyes, should be treated with respect and in a dog worthy manner. Not expecting from it to understand our human emotions or to adjust to those human emotions and ideas of what a dog should truly be.

As a working dog trainer I have a very simple set of views when it comes to dogs and how they should be trained. The training should suit the dog in front of you and you should adjust your training according to what the dog gives you to work with. What are the basic rules I use for training of Police K9’s ?

 

  1. When my dog shows me unwanted behavior I check what I am doing wrong.
  2. Gray areas do not exist in the working dog world. Black and white only. No means no!
  3. What I do not want to deal with tomorrow, I do not allow today.
  4. I never ask my dogs anything. I tell them.
  5. Every action deserves a reaction. Good is reward, bad is correction.

 

Now, here is what I see in the (purely) positive camp….

 

  1. Reward the good.
  2. Ignore the bad.
  3. One training fits all.

I can only agree with nr.1. The rest? Nope, not buying it. You are waiting for it to discover on its own how things work and not teaching it what it should know. You are not giving it the skill set it needs to make decisions for its own. You are not teaching a dog the consequences of its actions. This is something I am against when it comes to raising, training and educating your dog to be a balanced and healthy family member and or working dog.

The biggest problem I see or rather the divide between the 2 groups is this. Assumption. The working dog owners and or handlers / trainers see the positive trainers as cookie tossing, tree hugging hippies with fur babies as to where the positive trainers see the working dog trainers as abusive, angry, dominant dog kickers that beat their dog across the field in order to train it. I will admit, I am the first to throw out the cookie comment and even add a “Go hug a tree” when I am frustrated at once again having to deal with a positive trainer coming in on a conversation with proclamations of grandeur over how they can train the dogs we train just as well, if not better. Not because I don’t know about their form of training, but because I know exactly what their form of training is and I know the comment will rile them up to unreasonable levels. The thing is tho, they do not know what our form of training is. They have based their entire view and idea of how police dogs and or working dogs are trained on nothing more then assumption and speculation. They do not have any intimate knowledge of what happens. They just heard stories, from other non working dog people and take it for scripture. They see training tools and immediately begin to create this dramatic picture inside their brains about dogs being tortured into submission on a daily basis. You use an E collar? YOU ARE MEAN! You use a Prong? YOU ARE MEAN! You use a pinch? YOU ARE MEAN! They do not look further beyond the mean part. You are doing something that is vile as a working dog trainer and that’s that! If you dare reply or give an indication of how the tools are used…. YOU ARE A BULLY! It never enters their mind that nothing could be less true, or that the might learn something about working dogs as a whole by asking questions… No, you do not follow suit of the positive training rules so therefor you are now to be chastised and labeled a BULLY, and a mean one at that.

If I look back over the last 30 years in the dog world, how it has evolved, and the impact that evolution has had on dogs in general I can only say that it has not been that much of an improvement for the dog as a whole. Political correctness has reared its ugly head and dogs are more and more being treated as human, children, babies…. And the end result of that is? More bites to children and adults. More dog related human deaths due to irresponsible owner actions. More dogs being put in shelters because of the humanization of dogs as a whole. More dogs being euthanized due to lack of knowledge and control over the dogs that are being bred and owned. The dogs may get a better treatment in people’s eyes, but is it really getting a better treatment? Or is it now paying a higher price for this perceived better treatment? Ever notice how the dogs that end up being killed in shelters are Pets? Not working dogs? Ever notice how the dogs that have aggression issues are pets? Not working dogs? Ever notice bites to children are made by pets? Not working dogs? Ever notice how human deaths in relation to dogs are in relation to pets? Not working dogs? Ever notice how you hardly ever hear about issues in the working dog world with dogs? But in the pet world it is drama galore. In the positive world of training they managed to build a whole industry around it to make money out of it. What does this tell you? That the working dog world is a bad place? That it is a cruel place? That it is a dangerous place for the dogs? Or does it tell you that the working dog world still has its eye on the ball! And it will keep its eye on the ball. It will keep doing what it has always done… Look at the dog, see what it needs, reward the good and correct the bad….

That is the great divide between the working dog world and the positive working dog world. We deal with reality every day. We take the dogs that would be put to sleep in the pet world and give them a task, any task! And they do it, and enjoy doing it! We give them a part in our lives where they know what they are, what is expected of them and what the bottom line is. They get treated as dogs! Not as humans…. It is so easy for people to say, I can train the same dogs you do and do a better job of it but you do not know the type of dogs we work with, or how we work with them, or why we use that particular breed for the work they do…. Instead of assuming something, ask, learn, listen…. There are plenty of us out there willing to explain how it works but sadly enough there are more out there unwilling to listen… Stop thinking with your heart and start using your head. Instead of saying that one training fits all, realize that every dog needs a different approach and that a pet dog is not the same as a working dog that has been bred for a specific purpose for decades. Be open minded for a change… That is what the great divide is about….

Regards,

Alice Mackenzie.

Victoria Stilwell, Savior or Danger to the working dog world?

Yesterday was a day filled with entertainment at the expense of the famous or rather now “Infamous” Ms. Stilwell. As many of you might know Ms. Stilwell started shooting her new series “Guardians of the night” not to long ago in which she rides along with the an American Sheriff K9 team, going deeper into the dangerous world of K9 teams and their work than any before her ever have. Her words on the introduction video for the new series could not have been more true when she says “I thought I knew what it would be like, I was wrong…”

March 22nd, 2016 proved that fact to her, and the rest of the world in a way she most likely never imagined… It was the day that Ms. Stilwell got bit, went into a rant of anger, blamed the handler for it happening, and then posted about it on Facebook for the whole world to see as she shrugged of her own responsibility in the event.

Her post on Facebook read the following:

Ms. Stilwell's Facebook post.
Ms. Stilwell’s Facebook post.

It was within a matter of hours that she removed the post as the replies she received on them were clearly not to her liking. Ms. Stilwell had most likely hoped for some form of comfort from others, telling her how sorry they felt for her, when at this point all she received was scorn from the working dog community for something that all in the working dog community felt they had warned her about on more than one occasion. The problem with the internet is tho, once posted, it is there to haunt you forever…. People screenshotted Ms. Stilwell’s post and it started circulating on Facebook, and the internet at an extremely rapid rate doing damage to her credibility like nothing else could. Her true colors were slowly coming to see the light and anyone posting anything not to her liking on either her Facebook page, or Twitter account immediately got blocked and or banned. Mayhem erupted as it became clear that in fact the handler of the dog that bit Ms. Stilwell was not in error, as most had already expected, but Ms. Stilwell herself had managed to place herself in such a position for nothing more than “A good shot for TV” As I understand it the whole event took place inside of a Helo and the dog bit her on the leg as opposed to what he should have bitten, which is what I presume to be a decoy.

Several actual witness accounts attested to that fact on Facebook posts.

Witness account
Witness account
Witness account
Witness account

So what does this tell you about Ms. Stilwell? That she is a caring dog lover? That she is a good dog trainer? That she is knowledgeable about dogs, and or the working dog world? Or does it tell you that she placed herself in a position of danger simply for ratings on a TV show that she is filming? That she refuses to take responsibility for her own actions? That she is less than lacking in knowledge when it comes to working dogs, the working dog world, and reading working dogs as a whole?

When the first promotional video for “Guardians of the night” got posted back in January 2016 she made it clear that she wanted a firm footing inside the working dog world to spread her ideas of how dogs should be trained. Her own words on this subject are:

While training is a component to the project, including a healthy debate on how K9 training can move forward without the use of aversive training tools and methods, I want to emphasize that our bigger goal is to show the viewer the day in, day out lives of these guys and their dogs to show that it’s not all about the calls and the action. “

 

While claiming the bigger goal is to show the everyday lives of the teams involved in the show she still does manage to put out there that her other goal is to start changing the training regimes and ways of working dog handlers and trainers.

This, to me, is a dangerous development indeed. Why? Well that much proved itself already did it not? She dipped her toe into the working dog water and boy did it get wet, only not with water as she had hoped, but with her own blood…..

Who is this woman? Who made her gods gift to dogs? Well, of course she did that herself and if you go to youtube you can find the evidence of such as she proclaims to be “the god of dog training” Does this make her so tho? No it doesn’t! Ms. Stilwell insists on pushing her agenda on anyone and everyone owning a dog. Does she have license to do so? Nope, she doesn’t! Why do I say that? Simple. Any dog trainer that claims that they know it all, is not a dog trainer to begin with. Any dog trainer that claims that all dogs will adhere to the very same style of training is not a dog trainer but a fool. You suit your training to the dog in front of you. You do not push your personal human views on the dogs, but you relate to the dog in a dog respectful and dog worthy manner so that it understands you and wants to work for you, and more importantly, with you!

Ms. Stilwell is just such a person tho. Actrice with not much of a career to show for herself, dog-walker, former model…. Walking around on set in her leather and heels, picture perfect makeup as she plays dog trainer. Her only real claim to fame is having dogs put to sleep for her inability to be able to help the dogs as they should be helped. She can not adjust her mindset to what the dogs need, she expects the dogs to follow her mindset which is “I do not want to deal with aggression so it does not exist”

But aggression does exist in dogs! Some of it natural aggression, some of it built up by wrong handling of the dog, some of it trained into the dogs to do a job. Just because Ms. Stilwell refuses to acknowledge that aggression doesn’t mean it does not exist or that it will go away, or that the dogs in question are bad dogs that need to be put to sleep. It only means that Ms. Stilwell is completely lacking in knowledge of what a dog really is, how it should be treated and how that treatment should take place to begin with.

If we start following Ms. Stilwell’s ideas of how a dog should be, should be raised, should be treated, should be trained, we will soon have veterinarians working overtime due to the high numbers of euthanasia that now will become more a rule than exception for a dog with behavioral issues, or even a strong minded dog.

A dog does not naturally conform to the picture you have built up in your head of it. A dog is what a dog is. It has its quirks and you will have to deal with those. Just because you feel that a dog feels bad when you correct it doesn’t make it so! A dog is not a child, or a human being, and it does not relate or respond in the same way that we do. A dog is a reactionary creature that learns through action/reaction and action/consequence. Just as in the human world, the dog world has a whole range of characters and attitudes and none are the same or conform to the very same thing each and every time. A good dog trainer realizes that, works with that, uses it to his or her advantage and creates a happy and well balanced dog in the process. A good dog trainer looks at what the dog needs and not at what the handler wants. A good handler trains a dog with whatever tool they have available to him or her, be it a treat, a toy or a device of correction if needed. A good handler knows not to push his or her own views upon a dog only to discard the dog if it does not conform to their views. A good trainer knows that if the dog is showing strange and or unwanted behavior, the trainer should adjust his or her training to suit the dog in front of them. Not just toss cookies at it, say you love him, pat him on the head and blatantly ignore everything else….

 

So… did you answer the question yet? Is Ms. Stilwell a savior or a danger to the working dog world? I know what I think, and I know that after reading this you all know what I think…. As for the answer to that question tho… I will leave you all to decide for yourself what the answer is….

Authors note: I welcome a healthy and open discussion with Ms. Stilwell on the subject of working dogs, dogs, and training of dogs in general. I doubt it will ever come to pass but the invite is out there for her to accept.

 

Regards,
Alice Mackenzie.

The number one rule when owning a dog, any dog…..

The number one rule when owning a dog, any dog…..
Robbie II
Robbie II

“ My dog is showing undesired / unwanted behavior, what did I do wrong? ”

Why is this the most important rule when owning a dog? Simple… Because a dog does not wake up every morning and thinks “Hmmm, how I can ruin my owner’s life today.” A dog does however wake up each morning with the attitude of “What worked before, will work now.”

So what does that mean? It means that when your dog does something, shows you something and behaves in a certain manner that he does that because you have either fed him the behavior, or have allowed him to do it to begin with. A dog is a fairly simply creature to be honest. They really are not that hard to get the hang of if you simply use common sense. That common sense tho? Hard and elusive for most owners. Why tho? Why is it so hard to be straight to the point with your dog? It is the easiest thing in the world if you just keep one thing in mind….

“Your dog is NOT HUMAN!”

That’s it! That is all you have to remember each and every time your dog does something you do not like or agree with. Treat it like a dog and it will respond like a dog. It really is that simple! Does it differ per breed? Sure it does. One breed needs more strength in actions from the owner then the other breed does. A working line Malinois or Dutch Shepherd per example, will have much more will and character to push you to your limits then an average pet dog, bred for purely pet purposes. And that brings us to the second problem with dog owners… Getting a dog that you should not own. What do I mean with that? Well… It seems to me that more and more people are getting a dog for the wrong reasons, from the wrong breed, with the wrong ideas about how it should be raised or what should be done with it. It has become a rule more than an exception to see an owner pop up somewhere with the question “My dog growls at people / My dog bites me / my dog snaps at me / my dog resource guards / my dog is starting to scare me / I don’t trust my dog anymore.” And this is just a small out take of what gets asked daily. There are so many more varieties of these questions that it makes your head spin. My first question to these people is always the same. “What sort of training does the dog get, or did he get?” And my most gotten reply to that is “No training, he is a family member and home protection.” So I sit there, biting back my anger, trying to find a way to tone down my reply to these people asking questions, knowing that they will not like my answers to them. My first answer will always be this…

“Want a companion and friend to train with, get a dog! Want protection? Buy a GLOCK!”

This is the new rage, a working line dog to protect your home, that plays with the kids, loves people, can sniff out danger, protects the baby, lays in the yard and keeps your family and home safe from all evil doers. In simple words “A killing machine that hugs trees in its spare time”

Now let me let all you first time owners, and new owners in on a secret… They do not exist that way. They do not climb out of the womb, salute and prepare to slay dragons for you. It requires work. Long and hard work. Time, effort, money, smart thinking, logic, patience, common sense, did I say time yet? A dog does not get born with all the commands logged into its brain. It does not know what you want and or expect from it. It is your task and responsibility to teach the dog that. Not to have him figure it out on its own. And trust me when I tell you this… the dog WILL start figuring it out on his own and you will not like what he comes up with! You need to lay down some ground rules for the dog to follow. No, not human rules… dog rules! Rules that make sense to him! You do not want him to bite you tomorrow? You do not allow it today! What looks cute as a pup, is not as funny in an adult dog. Your first thought when wanting to own a dog should be “Where can I find information on the breed I want, and are there trainers in my area to help me out.” You should prepare yourself for owning a dog. You do not bake a cake without looking up the instructions first, you do not buy a dog without thinking ahead either! Every single thing that your dog does that you do not agree with is something you created by not being clear to your dog in what you expect from it. Action is consequence! That is how a dog works. I do this, that happens, lesson learned. I eat the rug, I get removed from rug and given a chew toy, I return to eating the rug later. What did the dog learn? Rug means toy! I nip at my owner in play, I get redirected to a toy or tug. What did the dog learn? Bite owner means toy! You are not teaching him not to chew your rug, or your arm. You are only redirecting the problem but not fixing it. He eats the rug? NO, remove from rug, make him sit or give him a command to work with. He does what you asked? REWARD!!!! He goes back to rug? REPEAT! Rome wasn’t built in one day people!

Owning a dog is far more than just feeding it and walking it. It is a very long responsibility that is costly but fun! It takes up large amounts of time to train and teach the dog. It is a marathon, not a sprint. Show your dog respect… dog worthy respect. If it needs to be corrected? Correct it! There is nothing wrong with physical correction. It should however fit the crime. Anyone can abuse a dog, raising and training it are a completely different story tho. A happy and well balanced dog is a dog that knows his place. Why? Because you do not have to walk after it the entire day as you tell it to “ NO, leave it, stop, put that down, don’t bite me, let that go, don’t eat that, that is NOT a toy, move over, step aside, get out of my way.” This will drive you, and your dog nuts! He will never get the chance to mentally relax, always looking for verification with you. A dog that knows his place will not be under foot constantly. He knows what you want from him and does not feel the need to verify everything constantly…

What is the best advice I can leave you with? Think before you own! Do you really want a dog? It will still be there in 10 years! It will get sick, break things, have its own mind at times, need attention, love, training…. Does the dog you want suit your needs? Do not get a dog because it’s such a cool breed! Get a dog that suits what you are looking for! If you are looking for a family pet, for fun, but not too active, then do not get a dog from working lines! It will drive you, and your dog crazy! Get a breed that suits the low drive you are looking for. Just because you like a certain breed doesn’t mean you should own it! Too many owners have went before you too many dogs have paid the price by ending up in rescues, shelters or getting put to sleep. Think before you own and never forget that crucial rule number 1. Whatever your dog shows you in behavior is there because of you, not because of the dog!

Regards,

Alice Mackenzie.

Bad dog… or bad owner?

Bad dog… or bad owner?

I already know the answer to that one… Does everyone else tho? It seems that it is the most baffling of statements to some of the dog owners. If you love your dog, then naturally you are a good owner… right?

WRONG! Love does not automatically make you a good dog owner….

Being smart, responsible and sometimes firm in your actions makes you a good dog owner. Feeding, loving and cuddling your dog does not mean you are dog owning material. There is so much more to owning a dog than just giving it love and attention.

Just this morning I was once again confronted by a FaceBook post filled with doggy destruction and it said “Bad dog!” I decided for once to not respond since my replies can and will get extremely heated when I see post of this sort. Why is the dog bad? Did he do something wrong? Was it the dogs fault? Or did the owner have any hand in the dog’s actions? Was it preventable? If yes, how? If not, why not? So many questions come to mind when seeing posts like that… The very first one being “Don’t you love your dog?” And almost instantly I realize that the first reply will always be “Of course I love my dog! He/she means the world to me!” Which makes me think to myself “If you love your dog as much as you say, then why do you not protect him?” Why do you think it is funny if he eats your coffee table? Why do you boast his achievements of destruction in public and call him a bad dog when you should in fact be doing something to prevent him/her from destructing to begin with? Why are you not being a reliable and responsible owner and preventing your dog from harming himself?

Rule number 1 of owning dogs, any dog, regardless of the breed is and always will be:

“If my dog is showing unwanted behavior, what am I doing wrong!”

A dog is NEVER bad! What he/she shows you in actions is what you have let grow in your dog to begin with. It does not matter in what situation this happens. It can be in training your dog, family situations, walking your dog, playing with your dog and what have you not. Any and all behaviors shown to you by your dog are behaviors that you have either allowed, or fed, or ignored. Let me clue you in on something… a bit of information that you might not have about your dog… A dog is a dog! It is not a human being with emotions like ours. It does not reason like we do. It acts out of consequence and nothing more. Every action has a reaction and that is what builds your dog up to what it becomes. Action and consequence is what it is all about. Why did the dog eat your sofa? Because you let him! Why did he gnaw a hole in the wall of the living room? You let him… Why did he empty the trash all over the kitchen floor? You let him… Why did he eat your socks, shoes, prada bag, dining room rug, remote control, iPhone… YOU LET HIM!!!

So the question then becomes: Why did you let him? There are so many ways to prevent your dog from destruction yet most fail miserably. Where are the rules and regulations that your dog needs to become a healthy and happy dog? Where is the love? Why do people keep putting their dog in situations where it gets free reign over its own actions and setting their dog up for failure but when it does fail the first words out of the owners mouths are “BAD DOG!” It is so extremely easy and simple to prevent this failure to occur to begin with so why are so many owners lacking and ignoring what is staring them right in the face? Most opt out the easy way and dump the dog at the shelter with a label of being destructive… why? You made a commitment to the dog, he made one to you, so now see it through and be the owner you should be! Be responsible and teach your dog limits and rules. If he is destructive when you leave the house, you crate the dog to save it from itself! Now, I can already hear the bleeding heart section go “OH NO!!! Crating is mean and evil! I do not want to sit in a crate so why would I put my dog in one!” Let me clue you in on another thing! You are not a dog! You have a mind that you can use to know what you should or should not do. Your parents raised you through action and consequence, by teaching you what is allowed and what is not. So why not pay that very same courtesy to your dog? Teach it! Give it rules and boundaries!  You do not want to end up at an emergency veterinarian because your dog ate something it shouldn’t have and now it is lodged somewhere in its intestines, costing you a lot of money and the dog a lot of pain. Why is it that when it comes to people we are plenty quick to set rules and guidelines yet when it comes to dogs these very same rules and guidelines fail miserably!

You say you love your dog? Then show it! Teach it the right way, crate it if needed, give it a set of rules and regulations that must be adhered too. Do not post your destruction on FaceBook, laughing about how your dog managed to take apart half of your house as a one dog demolition team because trust me when I tell you, IT AIN’T FUNNY! It is sad and painful to see as a dog owner how another dog owner claims to love their animal yet does absolutely nothing to back up that love…

Stop blaming your dog and start taking responsibility for your actions as owner, or rather, the lack of actions.

You love your dog? Then you should protect it from any and everything, including itself! This is the task you have taken on the day you opened your door for the dog to enter your house. Take care of him in all ways that matter. Love is not only hugs and kisses, it is being responsible in each and every way that your dog needs. This means hugs, kisses, crating, correction and reward. TEACH your dog what it is to be a GOOD OWNER instead of taking the easy way out and blaming the dogs actions on the dog when in fact they should have been blamed on you, as an owner, to begin with!

Regards,
Alice Mckenzie.