Taking a vacation can be more than just getting away from home. It is a chance to get caught up on some reading and if you get far enough away from home, you can also meet other NADOI members. I had a chance to do both on a recent trip to Maui.
One of the books I read was The Dog Who Loved Too Much by Dr. Nicholas Dodman, published by Bantam Books. This book is a must read for anyone who deals with people and their dogs. The stories are about owners and their dogs that Dr. Dodman has worked with in his veterinary behavior clinic, which is a part of the Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine. The stories are entertaining and informative, and Dr. Dodman’s style of writing makes this book a “quick read.” After each chapter there is a brief synopsis of the problem and the treatment that was covered in that chapter. Make this one of your reference books for dealing with some of the questions about behavior problems that you will surely encounter as a dog obedience instructor.
The next book I had a chance to look at was Jumping from A to Z, Teach Your Dog to Soar, by M. Christine Zink, DVM, Ph.D. and Julie Daniels, published by Canine Sports Production. This book has it all as far as how dogs jump, how to teach dogs to jump, and how to put those jumping skills to work. The first two chapters explain the mechanics of jumping and is done clearly, with excellent drawings and photographs. I hadn’t realized that there was that much to it and now I enjoy watching dogs jump more than ever. The training program that is outlined is very thorough with a checklist at the end of each chapter to make sure you have accomplished the steps necessary to continue. There are chapters that explain jumping for obedience competition, agility, and Flyball. After reading these chapters you will have the knowledge needed to decide if you want your canine athlete to participate in any or all of these sports. If your dog is already jumping or you are looking for another activity to do with your dog, this book has it all.
Before I take a trip I check in my NADOI roster and look up any fellow members who are in the vicinity that I am visiting. On the island of Maui, it is Karla Kimmey, so I gave her a call and went to visit her. (The NADOI annual meeting in February 1998 is going to be on Maui; Karla will be the host.) This gives an excellent opportunity to exchange ideas and get to know one another a little better. Being a part of a national organization can be challenging because it is hard to get to know people and you rarely get to talk face-to-face. I found out about how and what Karla teaches in her classes and some of the new things she is trying. It turns out we use the same method when trying out new ideas – gather a few friends and their dogs and give that new idea a go. I knew that Karla and Terry Ryan (another NADOI member) were doing a mail order business together, Legacy by Mail. This gave me a chance to buy a Buster Cube as a Maui souvenir for my dogs at home. A Buster Cube is an educational activity toy for dogs that involves filling the center with dry dog food and then having the dog roll the cube to get the food out, burning off excess energy and scenting in the process. Lots of fun for dogs!
If you ever get a chance to get away, I hope you read a few books, make some new friends, and relax. The Buster Cube mentioned in this article is available from Legacy by Mail (808) 871¬0623; call for prices. The books can be purchased from Direct Book Services, 1-800-776-265: The Dog Who Loved Too Much, DTB 447, $22.95 (also available in audiocassette; DTB 456, $17.95). Jumping from A to Z, Teaching Your Dog To Soar, DTA 125, $19.95.
©1996 Carol Cronan