Dog Barker – Zues

As many of the Athens community and a few across the nation have heard, Zues has passed away. He was my “boy”, companion and service dog. He lived to be 8 years old. Will I have another service dog? Yes. In fact, I have already been blessed with an 8 month Border Collie. I will train another Great Dane also so I will have 2 service dogs and I don’t over work them.

So, let me tell you how Zues lived. Zues was born in my home on 29 September 2008, and I had the privilege of watching him come into the world along with his siblings. In 2009, I was retired from the US Army and began my journey into the dog training field. During this time, Zues began to pay a lot of attention to me, like licking my arms and legs. I had no idea at the time, but I was becoming a type 2 diabetic. Within 6 months after I retired, I was informed I was a diabetic. I denied it at first. I even found myself in the Emergency Room being told I had to start taking medicine for the diabetes.

All this time, Zues was becoming what I thought at first was overly obsessed with me, more adamant toward me, until one day when my glucometer was reading 500 plus, and I was feeling terrible. A friend of mine told me that Zues was trying to tell me about my sugar levels. I thought he was nuts, but I began to pay attention to Zues’ actions when my sugar levels were high and low. When my glucometer was reading high, Zues was licking my finger tips, arms, or legs (when I wore shorts). When my glucometer was reading below 100, he would paw at me or push me with his muzzle and give me a direct look like I needed to pay attention. That probably saved me from being in a car accident a few times. I even learned through research that there was such a thing as diabetic service dogs also known as Diabetic Alert Dogs (DAD).

Let me tell everyone: from the start, I never intended Zues to become a service dog. But Zues was born with the ability to detect sugar levels and was not trained for this. It was all natural for him. After I trained him for basic obedience, I began to test and ensure that he would act properly in public. As many of our community saw, he was very well behaved. So began our journey together for 7 years that he would serve me. Folks, having a service dog is such a blessing because with Zues, I almost always knew when I needed to take my insulin. Did he miss sometimes? Yes, but that would be due to different situations.

Zues met a lot of people over the years. When people asked to pet him, I allowed it. For those who think I should not have, Zues was a big dog and I wanted to ensure if I became incoherent or unconscious he would not panic. I exposed him to thousands of people over the years, and he still was able to do the job he served me for. Through me allowing him to meet different people, there are those here in the Athens area that found they were either pre-diabetic, diabetic, or even hypoglycemic (low blood sugar levels). I really got a kick out of him alerting on my Mom. I would hear her say things like “Tattle Tale,” “Snitch,” or “I know,” and the eyes rolled with that. But his Grandma loved him so much.

Now I didn’t just throw a vest on Zues and walk him into the stores, restaurants, and hospitals. I made sure I was in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act for service dogs. I found that there are quite a few people who are ignorant of this federal law passed by Congress, and I had to face different kinds of ignorant people in different places. However, I remained diplomatic, even to the point of a Huntsville Police Sergeant threatening to arrest me. That was a shock for me because I believe if someone holds the position of supervisor, they should be well aware of the law. But, I lived through that and learned.

As the years passed, Zues would go to different functions and places with me. Athens Walmart was one of our favorite places. Another place we frequented was the Madison Planet Fitness as seen here with us leaving after a workout.

We were asked to speak at different events, and at one we advocated for service dogs through a Boy Scout meeting at a friend’s church.

Our last event together was the Athens 2016 Christmas Parade. We rode on the back of Maggie Chandler’s parents’ truck, representing her dog sitting business called “It Takes A Village.” During the last part of the parade, I saw my mom in the crowd, and she videoed us going by. When I said “There is Grandma,” it shows him popping his head up looking for mom.

On 9 December 2016, I was having Zues re-evaluated for a class 2 heart murmur he had been diagnosed with in December 2014. Apparently, the excitement was too much, and he went into cardiac arrest at the vet’s office. The vet did all he could, but Zues passed on.

Let me tell you all, there is life after death for a dog. Some of my readers will know what I am talking about. On the night of 19 December 2016, I thought I heard Zues barking in the backyard, and of course, when I looked he was not there. (No, my cheese has not slid off my cracker, yet.) Later that night, I heard his dog tags rattling, and I awoke. I went to where the noise was coming from, and I promise that the noise came from where his ashes were in a box, sitting on top of his collar and tags in a beautiful velvet bag given to us by Paws Memorial. The next day, I had a pain block procedure done where they put me under. When I awoke in the recovery room, my mom said I kept talking about Zues being there and I even pointed to where he was. She said I kept talking about him being a good boy.

So, I know that he is with me, even now. I look forward to the day we meet again. Another treasure in Heaven for me.

“Remember to love your dogs because they love you. Maybe not the way you want them to, like chewing up your favorite shoes or what not, but that is just love chewing. Be thankful for the time you have with them always.”
By: Joel Allen

Dog Barker – Easy Does It!

12-2-2016-9-40-55-amEvery now and again I see those folks that walk their dog right up to another dog they do not know and I cannot help but wonder, “Why?” I understand that we should socialize our “babies” with other dogs, but sometimes that can lead to disaster. There are proper ways of introductions and precautions should always be observed.

So, let’s talk about how we should introduce our dogs to each other. I don’t know how many times I have watched people letting their dogs walk them right up to another dog they do not know. That is not only dangerous but if a fight were to happen, the dog who led their person into the situation would be at fault. This is why we trainers strive to help teach the owners and their dogs to walk with each other, and why the owner should always remain in control of the walk. When we approach another dog while walking our own, there are signs and body language we need to observe. With the permission of the other dog owner, we proceed forward and allow our dogs to come face to face while we are observing both dogs. We should be watching their eyes, mouths, ears, backs, tails, and complete overall posture.


First, as they approach each other, watch their eyes. If their eyes lock onto each other, watch to see if they dilate to almost black orbs. This usually will be the first sign one is about to reject the other’s advances at being friends. Keep in mind that if the handlers or trainers are nervous, then the dogs will be just as nervous; so take a deep breath.

Second, now we are moving past the faces, down the sides of each other’s bodies toward the butts. Some trainers say, “Noses, tails, and butts.” While this is happening, watch their bodies for stiffness and tails going from a down position to straight out or up. Watch for them poking their chests out and hackles on their back going up. If there is no sign of this and tails are wagging, then things are going good.

Third, the butt smell of each other. For some reason there are dogs out there that want to smell the other’s butt and then not share theirs. This makes me laugh sometimes. It can turn ugly quickly because the one dog can sometimes change its mind and tell the other dog “No,” even after the butt smell.

The whole time the introductions are happening, keep watching the face of each dog. If, for some reason either party decides to not go through with the introduction, watch for the following: a face and jaw that seem to square up, eyes which take on a look like locking onto a target and ears going forward. Be wary! Usually there is a split second where it can be felt that there is something about to happen, and that is time enough to get them away from each other before it does.

12-2-2016-9-43-38-amAnother type of body language I want everyone to remember is the play bow. If both dogs like each other and one spreads its paws out and puts half its body in the down position, this is called the play bow. Sometimes both dogs will do it simultaneously to each other and then, “GAME ON!” Sometimes the play bow can be one-sided when only one does it, but in most cases they always accept each other and play. There are a few times I have seen the play bow initiated and the other dog still would not play. Be mindful of this also because it could lead into trouble if the other dog does not want to play.

Lastly, I want everyone to realize when there are service dogs working (vest on means they are working) do not allow your dog to approach the service dog unless cleared with the handler. It is not that something might happen, but we must remember that dogs will be dogs. What would happen if your dog did not take a liking to the working dog and picked a fight? No matter how well trained that service dog is, they might decide to defend themselves if attacked. That could ruin their training. The reason I address this concern is because of the following: While Zues, my service dog, and I have been out walking in Athens, we’ve been approached by some people walking their dogs. Thankfully, I have trained Zues not to respond, but he is still a dog. Please keep this in mind next time you introduce your dogs to another.

“Remember to love your dogs because they love you. Maybe not the way you want them to, like chewing up your favorite shoes or what not, but that is just love chewing. Be thankful for the time you have with them always.”
By: Joel Allen

11-4-2016-11-03-01-amEver have guests over to your house and they bring their dog who is a “Holy Terror?” “Holy Terror,” (Joel’s definition) is a very rowdy, mud throwing, slobbering, jumping, pawing, begging, stealing while counter surfing, barking, tornado of destruction and terrorist to your own dog in the house. This dog is so untrained that when it is time for your guests to arrive, you are already taking Goody’s headache powders and calling me, frantically asking for quick counter measures. In this case, I applaud the use of taking a preventative to a migraine. Well, guess who’s coming to dinner? The holidays will soon be upon us, and it is my hope that this article will give some advance tidbits to prepare for canine guests.


“They’re heeerrree!” You say eerily, to warn everyone as you answer the door. First one through the door is the unleashed “Holy Terror” who runs straight to your dog. Your dog, being the age he is, rejects “Holy Terror’s” invitation to become best buddies. The Pet Parents of the dog, now ripping through your house, just smile and say things like, “Awe! How cute! He loves your house.” Then you hear the return of their dog and like nails on a chalkboard, you hear the distinct clawing of the dog’s nails on your nice finished hardwood floor. Remaining civil is one way to deal with the situation because you don’t want to offend your guests. But, what do you do?


Plan A: To deal with said situation is to ask your guests to please control their dog (Be careful how you ask someone to control their dog because it is easy to hurt some people’s feelings). At this point, I can imagine you want to scream at the unruly dog. Don’t do this because yelling and losing your temper will get you the “Have you lost your mind?!” look. Plus, the dog will most likely ignore what you are saying, so you just wasted your breath. If this tactic fails, then we go to plan B.

11-4-2016-11-03-32-amPlan B: This is the strategy of using a spray bottle or squirt gun (In my case a Super Soaker, hahaha) with the concoction of 1/3 vinegar to 2/3’s water. Set for stream and spray the unruly dog in the face. If your guests have an issue with this, spray them in the face for not taking the time to develop their Doggie Skills. If this fails, we can use plan C.

Plan C: Well, you call me 256-651-2211 and I will come to visit and help your guests see a better way and better dog. Besides, would it not be considerate of them to train their dog?
A lot of people don’t realize they are being inconsiderate when they bring their untrained dog or puppy. I always ask or warn that Zues will be with me and when someone has a problem with Zues, I either don’t visit or I try to accommodate the situation. So, let’s all try and work things out because soon it will be the season of forgiving and remembering all our loved ones. Gifts will be exchanged and everyone will be eating all sorts of goodies. Lastly, you might get lucky because “Holy Terror” might decide to bring back your slippers that he originally took when no one was watching. Hence, soaking his Pet Parents with vinegar and water can be a great remedy for you and their dog can laugh at them in his own way.
By: Joel Allen

10-7-2016-12-42-01-pmThere is always this question in my mind “if the crap hit the fan what would I do?” Am I ready for the possibilities of things to come? Am I prepared to take care of my family including my fur babies?

Asking all of the above questions here is the SITREP (Situation Report as we call it in the Army): All the stores are empty and people are panicking. The gas stations are out of fuel and their shelves are empty. People everywhere are looking out for themselves. Life as you know it just turned really bad quick, and you find yourself carrying a firearm with the intent to protect what you have. There is wailing and crying because many were not ready. They have no extra food, water, or simple things that could assist them in living. You see people who you considered friends all of a sudden look at you differently because they know you have a home with preparations in it. They know you have a few dogs that will want for nothing because you prepared for an emergency. “Hey”, you hear, “I am more important than your dogs. You should give me shelter or help me and my family. Please!” This is a time that you should consider a bug out plan. Lucky for you, that plan was prepared a while back.


I know I am sounding heartless, but I personally choose my dogs. I planned ahead and took precautions. Would I help if I could? Yes, but where there is one that you help too many will come looking and just like a life boat off a sinking ship with too many people trying to save themselves, all could be lost.

Let us pretend we are bugging out. Of course, I am taking my dogs. Will it be risky? Yes, but that is life. This choice will make life harder because no one can carry a large supply of food. I would try and use my dogs to assist in carrying much needed supplies. I would also invest in a light pistol or small caliber rifle, a bow set, and sling shot. This is where your skills as a camper or bushman will come in handy. Knowing what plants can be eaten or used will be important as well as being able to set snares or traps to catch that much needed protein. Protein in the wild is energy, and certain plants can provide the carbohydrates you will need. Your supplies should be enough to get you from point A to point B where you have a supply dump or other storage to meet your survival needs.

Now, let’s say we don’t bug out, and we just hunker down. Then here is what I would do. So, what should we do to avoid needing help and ensuring what we love is looked after should the crap hit the fan? My recommendation is to build a prepper kit at home. In this cache I would store up water. The best way to store water is to either buy those 55 gallon plastic drums that you see in the classifieds and fill one up a month. Or as you empty a gallon jug of milk or tea, wash them out and fill with water. Someone can live on water alone for no more than 3 weeks without eating. So, water is the most vital. Another method of having water is locating any natural springs in the area you live. Remember that a water purification system would be helpful but there are other natural ways to purify water. This will have to be something you read up on.

At the same time everyone is working on their water supply, your food supply should be coming along too. I would recommend buying large quantities of dry dogfood, sugar, salt, flour, corn meal, a variety of dry beans, rice, and oatmeal. Here is something many of you may not know. Dry beans are also seeds. So, if you can plant them they will grow and be a harvest. Sam’s, Costco, Wal-Mart, and other stores carry these large supplies. I would also buy large canned foods such as beans, sauces (because you know you need something different every now and again), canned fruits, and bags of nuts. Then I would take a course in canning and storing my food supply. Mormons, or the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, have been known to offer classes to assist in the storing of food.

A few items I would invest in would be fire starter kits, matches, a solar cooker, a cast iron set, and a food dehydrator. A solar cooker comes in handy on clear sunny days and does not smoke. That helps with staying hidden if needed. The cast iron set would be great for cooking over a fire and of course in a relatively safe area. The food dehydrator is a great way to buy fruits and vegetables fresh and store them once prepared and placed in the dehydrator.

Now, if everyone is smart they will be educating themselves and their surroundings and learning what plants can assist in everyday life. An example would be the “Mullberry Bush.” Its leaves have a natural insect repellent. I would recommend you pluck the leaves, crush them, and scrub them across your skin and that will assist in deterring insect bites. There is so much bush craft knowledge I would recommend everyone study. It will greatly increase your survival.

Lastly, I stated earlier to invest in weapons to assist your survival but I would also recommend items such as medical supplies, a small shovel, a small axe, and a good knife. These items are very important to assist in surviving in the wilderness, or just everyday life.

“Remember to love your dogs because they love you. Maybe not the way you want them to, like chewing up your favorite shoes or what not, but that is just love chewing. Be thankful for the time you have with them always.”

9-2-2016 2-58-40 PMSo, here I sit at my table setup, taking in new sign-ups for dog training at the Pet Depot. My schedule is never the same because sometimes my clients need private lessons and I adhere to their schedules or availability. That is why, when I am asked what my hours are, I reply, “When do you need me?”

Over the years, I have witnessed the weird and unusually stubborn dog. Then, there is just the weird dog. I don’t know how many times I have been told by the family of the dog needing the training, “I don’t believe you can help.” That response always brings a smile to my face, because in most of these cases, the dog has won out on patience, meaning the dog out-waited the human, and the human gave up. Small breeds can sum up most of these cases.

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Some dogs just need to be worn down and your patience increased. Here is a basic 101 tip: take the stubborn dog for a twenty-minute walk. The walker walks the dog, not the dog walking the walker. In other words, the dog walks with the human walking them, not in front of or behind the person walking them. In many situations, a training collar will be needed. The owner should consult with a trainer to insure the right training collar is purchased and used properly.

When I train a class, I train the basic obedience commands needed for all learning. It never fails: as the class progresses, I get the privilege of witnessing the transformation of the dog and the family. In most cases, when the dog learns who is in charge, they look up to their human and it is a look of love. See, a dog promises one thing, their love and their life.

Sometimes, I get the real wild child of dogs. This is the dog dragging their owner into or out of the store. This dog will go any direction that they feel the need or desire to go. Another tell-tale sign is the wild eyed look the human has when the wild child brings them into the store. In this instance, I usually hear them coming, yelling the dog’s name and trying their best to get the dog to stop pulling. One time, I offered to help a lady with her dog that was dragging her and she told me that she was alright. I just sat back and watched her get dragged throughout the store. Some people just don’t understand that I am not going to charge them for advice.

Then, there is the dog that goes with their human that wants to mark everything. When your dog does this, guess who is in charge? Not the human! This is the same dog marking throughout the store because they have been allowed that behavior. How does one correct this problem? By watching for when the dog is about to mark and give them a quick collar correction and saying, “No.” If they do succeed in marking, please have the decency of letting the store know so the mess can be cleaned up.

So, everyone out there that has a behavior issue or lack of discipline in their dog: come see me and what I can do before giving up. I am very affordable, both for private lessons and group training. To participate in group, the dog needs to be six months or older, unless there are extenuating circumstances (like service dogs).
By: Joel and Zues Allen

8-5-2016 12-17-30 PM

When you raise animals, from poultry to cattle, hard work and dedication come with the territory. So how do you reward one of the toughest and most valuable members of your ranch or country home when he’s of the four-legged variety? Give him more work to do.

For thousands of years, certain dog breeds have been raised for the purpose of being livestock guardians to poultry, sheep, goats and cattle. They are typically large dogs, such as the Great Pyrenees, Komondor or Anatolian Shepherd. Despite their massive size, these breeds have nurturing dispositions.

“From the time they are puppies, livestock guardians are trained to bond with the livestock they are going to protect and, from that point on, they will eat, sleep and travel with the herd or flock in order to protect them,” says Seth Estep, vice president and divisional merchandise manager of the animal division at Tractor Supply Company, a rural lifestyle retailer.

“Because these dogs are raised differently than standard house dogs, owners need different tools and resources to raise them right,” Estep says. Tractor Supply and its animal experts urge people to consider the following factors before introducing a guardian dog into the family:

1. Space to work and roam. Guardian dogs are known for their size and tireless work ethic. As a result, they need room to roam and plenty to keep them busy. To employ a happy, effective guardian dog, at least an acre of ample space is key.

2. What do you want to protect? There are many breeds of guardian dogs, each with specific traits that are advantageous to the livestock they’re protecting. For instance, the Great Pyrenees is an agile dog that has been used for hundreds of years as a defender of fast-moving herd animals like sheep and goats. By contrast, the Akbash, an intelligent breed that is powerful against predators, has a calm temperament perfect for getting along with chickens and ducks. The watchful and alert Anatolian Shepherd is another breed for protecting flocks. It can be cautious with strangers, but will be loving with friends and family. Similarly, the Bernese Mountain Dog, an all-purpose farm dog bred for driving and guarding cattle in rough terrain, is easygoing, confident and gentle – even with children and other animals.

3. What type of fencing do you have or are you willing to install? Guardian dogs won’t often back down from a fight, even one they’re likely to lose; thus, when protecting livestock with a guardian dog, fencing is the perfect partner for keeping your animals safe. Fencing creates an obstacle course for climbing cougars and burrowing coyotes. Exclusionary devices such as field fencing and gates can be purchased in-store and online at Tractor Supply Company. However, visiting a local store will give you an up-close look at your containment options, from wire and wood to electric fencing.

4. Isolated feeding. Usually these dogs consider themselves to be one of the herd and, as a result, might attempt to eat the same food as the stock. Break this habit early by feeding your guardian dog in an established location that will allow them to eat undisturbed.

5. Training time. While livestock guardian breeds rely largely on instinct, training is always necessary; the initial period of socialization alone should last several months at least. Once properly trained, livestock guardian dogs play an enormous role on the farm; however, it can take anywhere from 18 to 36 months for guardian dogs to reach maturity and, in that time, their success will rely on patience, correction and instruction.
Courtesy Brandpoint Content

Focus – Dog Barker

7-1-2016 3-12-21 PMWho likes a dog that is confident? When people see Zues and me, they notice that he will look them in the eyes. In my opinion it is important for a dog to be able to look anyone in the eyes. After all, the old saying is, “The eyes are windows to the soul.”

I can tell a lot about a dog by their eyes. What is funny is that the same can be said about us. There are those who don’t like a dog who will look them in the eyes. These are the people who feel challenged if an animal can out stare them.

Eye contact is a key ingredient for communication between a dog and a human. If a dog will not look someone in the eyes, they have a lack of confidence or trust. Sometimes this dog will cower when someone reaches for them. Sometimes it is a case of insecurity and can lead to dog bites. Remember one thing for certain: if the dog is adopted, don’t rush them into accepting their surroundings too quickly. Allow them at least two weeks to acclimate to their new home and warn anyone in the family accordingly.

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Now, let’s talk about how we are going to train that canine to be a confident and focused dog. First, watch your dog and observe what it is they really (and I mean REALLY) like. Do they like treats? Do they like toys? Maybe something that squeaks or makes a noise? Do they prefer just playing fetch? Or maybe even an ear scratch? Find the most likely reward, and that will be the tool we will use.

Once we have found the reward the dog really likes, take the reward and say your dog’s name as the reward is moved to your eyes. What we want here is the dog to make eye contact with us. They are going to follow the reward, and the key is to take the reward up to your eye level while looking at them. It has to be right when pupil to pupil eye contact is made. When that happens, give the reward immediately and praise your dog.

Be very patient because this may take many tries. Remember, if you become frustrated the dog will also become frustrated. Regardless of the reward, work with your dog at least twenty minutes a day and I promise you will see a great benefit come out of this.

This method can also help dogs with behavior issues, but it must be applied properly. I know this was something simple to explain, but if anyone has questions come and see us at the Pet Depot on Saturdays around 2:30 pm, and we will gladly answer your questions and show techniques that can help.

“Remember to love your dogs because they love you. Maybe not the way you want them to, like chewing up your favorite shoes or what not, but that is just love chewing. Be thankful for the time you have with them always.”
By: Joel and Zues Allen

7-1-2016 3-14-08 PM

6-6-2016 12-49-27 PMEver wonder if dogs lack for nutrition? I often find myself amazed at how resilient a dog’s body can be, and how they are able to eat something and survive through the impossible. When cell phones were being built smaller, I read about a bulldog eating a cell phone, and just like those “urban legends,” the cell phone rang from inside the dog. That was how the owner found their missing cell phone! Enough of that, though. Let’s talk about nutrition and its importance for the dog.

I have found that through proper nutrition, some illnesses can be reversed that may have developed. An example is one of my Danes, Samson, has developed “wobblers.” I thought when this happened that we would lose him. He became so bad that I had to assist him when he went outside. I began to investigate his situation, and I decided I would try Dinovite. Dinovite is a multivitamin for dogs, and they have a cat version too. It is a bit pricey, but the benefits for your dog are very apparent after a couple of weeks. In Samson’s case, he was not able to keep his balance and was falling all the time. After being on Dinovite for two weeks, his balance became better. His falls stopped, and he was able to take care of himself. He has been on Dinovite for almost two years, and he has approximately 80 percent of his body functions back.

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There is another such secret that I have found to work well. Growing a garden, then adding the vegetables from that garden to your dog’s diet is very beneficial for your dog. In most cases, your dog will not just eat the vegetables raw. It will require some creative cooking on your part. When I have a garden, that is what I do.

Here is a simple recipe that anyone can add to or take from:
Prepare 1 cup of rice, and put in large bowl after cooking
Prepare 1 cup of oatmeal, and add to rice, mixing well
Keep the rice/oatmeal mixture warm.
Put a cup of tomatoes, carrots, garlic clove, and just about any vegetable one can think of that is not toxic to dogs in a pan, but do not overcook.
Add gravy
Add some, and I mean some, dog food and there is a complete meal for your dog.

My Danes have been on this diet for years, and they have no growths or cancers. But then again, I also ensure that their dogfood has no cancer causing preservatives. Things one can look for that cause cancer in the ingredients include BHA or BHT (both of which are preservatives). This can be found also in some of our foods we purchase to eat, so beware.

Lastly, there is another product out there that is for humans called Juice Plus+, and some of the people who take this product give it to their dogs too. The reports are it really works! Here is one website that has all the information on this product: or try googling Juice Plus+.

So, those of you who have a dog that has taken ill, start looking at their nutrition. Some will have been on the cheap and bad dogfood all their lives with no issues. But consider this: Zues is 7 years old, and his brother Samson is his litter mate. Neither have a cancer or growth on them. Zues has an umbilical hernia but that was from his mother biting the umbilical cord too closely. Have a great month, and we will see you again soon.

“Remember to love your dogs because they love you. Maybe not the way you want them to, like chewing up your favorite shoes or what not, but that is just love chewing. Be thankful for the time you have with them always.”
6-6-2016 12-49-50 PM

5-6-2016 10-47-11 AMSo, I am going to rant for a second. On the morning of April 15, 2016, (I may have the date wrong) I drove into town to grab some breakfast. As I was driving back on Looney Road, I saw a horse that was loose running on the side of the road. Now people, when there is a thousand plus pound animal running loose on the side of the road, don’t speed past it. If the animal decides to panic and run out in front of your vehicle, there will not be time to stop. The cost would be too great and the “genius” who hit the animal would have no vehicle left. Also, I would like to add that the “genius” who saw the man helping walk the horse back and sped by him driving a white 4×4 king cab should not have a license at all because YOU put that man walking the nervous horse at risk. I watched as the horse started to rear its head and thankfully the man maintained control. Lastly, this was in the Athens City limits so I am asking the Athens Police Department, if they would like more revenue that they set up a speed trap on Looney Road. I can’t tell the number of times my dash cam has caught someone blowing by me while I was driving 45 miles per hour, the legal speed, way before the city limit sign. Any Police Officer reading this please do not take offense I just foresee someone’s child getting run over on that road with all those houses. End of rant.

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Recently, there have been a few deaths in the community and during these tough times these families also have dogs. Some families have told me that their dog’s behaviors have changed after the death of a loved one. Some have changed for the worse, as in trying to bite. Others have refused to go into certain rooms in the house where the family member once lived. It is strange to hear people talk about these reactions. But, think about it, how many of us hear these similar stories from families of the “Fallen?” Regardless if they are soldiers or police officers, I have seen videos where dogs attend the funeral of their person and in most cases they either lay by the casket or cannot contain themselves for their grief. A good example of this is the movie “Max.” It is about a Marine K9 who loses his person and he develops PTSD from the incident. The Marine Corp brought Max to the funeral and just like I described, he was crying and trying to get to the casket of his person. I won’t spoil the rest of the movie, but I will say it is worth a watch.

There have been times where my family has witnessed something similar to this. In 1990, my Aunt Angie, died in a tragic car accident. Her dogs were allowed to attend her funeral. The cemetery was next door to my Aunt’s home and witnesses say that her dogs would go and lay at her grave every day. So, ask yourself, do they really grieve? They must have a spirit or soul of some kind because something that had none of these things would not act the way they do. Food for thought.

So, remember when a loved one passes and there is a family dog who loves them, give them the chance to say goodbye. Maybe by doing so a lot of behavior issues could be avoided. To my family and friends, remember if I do pass before my “babies,” let them come to my funeral and let them grieve. I believe I will see all of mine again, those with me now and those waiting for me there. To me, they are my treasures in Heaven.

“Remember to love your dogs because they love you. Maybe not the way you want them to, like chewing up your favorite shoes or what not, but that is just love chewing. Be thankful for the time you have with them always.”
By: Joel (and Zeus) Allen

4-1-2016 12-21-37 PMNo one. What am I talking about? I am talking to those of us that have that stubborn dog that wants to give us the obedience commands and eat the treats as we obey them. All the time, I train “people” and their dogs, and I would venture to guess 85 percent have passed their final test. Did the other 15 percent fail? Not in my eyes. What many would consider a failure, I consider a moment for retraining. For those who have taken the basic obedience with me and did not pass, I have always kept the door open for them to return. It is a win-win situation if everyone thinks about it. The dog gets additional socialization, and also gets to perfect their training.

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Many dogs take to the basic obedience without a problem. They are the ones that their family began to teach manners from the moment they were brought home. Usually this is the quiet puppy that seems to just sit there at first, and when they feel safe and secure they open up and shows us who they really are. Puppies adapt quicker than adult dogs, and they usually take a few days. Adult dogs take a week to two weeks. Most of the best family dogs are the ones who choose their family. They are the ones that come to their future families out of the litter, or they choose their families through kennel doors and windows, or they just show up on your doorstep.

The few dogs that do not take to the basic obedience training are usually from a stubborn breed. One commonly stubborn breed of dog is the Shitzu. Picture a cat’s soul trapped in a small dog’s body. That is a Shitzu. There are additional breeds, but the Shitzu is the most common I run into. This dog requires a lot of patience. In rare cases, they take to training, but in most they tend to give the trainer the look of, “Yeah, right! You want me to do what? No way! You do it and I will eat the treats!” For those of us who have this issue, don’t give up. Come back and see me. We will see the training through.

What are some types of failures that allow dogs to get away with rebellion? Timing is everything. What do I mean by this? When a command is taught we use praise, love, treats, or the reward the dog desires, which could be a toy. It is when we reward the dog that makes or breaks the command. If the dog is rewarded, but breaks the command before they are rewarded and received the treat, they have learned to break at that point. An example would be the sit command. The dog is given the sit command, and just when they are about to take the treat, the dog stands up. There are many causes for this. The trainer could be holding the treat too far away, the hand is not closed around the treat, or the trainer could be pulling the treat away as the dog begins to break command.
Then there are some people who sign up for dog training and only complete the commands during the training classes, which are scheduled for once a week. I plainly explain to everyone who trains with me that during the week they should be working on the commands. Each week, we add two more commands, and then when the fourth week arrives we test on all the commands.

The success of your training depends on you. I would like to express to everyone who has trained with me, they can return to retrain their dog at anytime. I would love to have you.
“Remember to love your dogs because they love you. Maybe not the way you want them to, like chewing up your favorite shoes or what not, but that is just love chewing. Be thankful for the time you have with them always.”
By: Joel and Zues Allen