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Canine Trauma

Dean Calderon's 3-Day Seminar in Kenai, Alaska

John Fielden
Photos courtesy of the Northern Working Dogs Association DVG

The Kenai Schutzhund Club, Inc. sponsored Dean Calderon for a three day seminar, July 11, 12, and 13th. The seminar included all three phases of Schutzhund.

With high 60 degree weather and light rain, protection began at 9 AM Friday with a theory discussion. Dean shared his personal goals in the sport and explained how those goals influence the way he trains. Individual club dogs may be trained very differently. Sticking to his own personal policy, he advised, "Take what you want and leave the rest."

Attending members of DVG club Northern Working Dogs Association receive instruction.

Dean was mesmerized by the summer sun. Even after 15 hours and 26 dog teams, he still was enthusiastic. He's a madman! We needed this seminar desperately. Prior to this session it was videos and books. We finally got a taste of practical application. We feel geographically isolated from the rest of the world. To get formal training, enthusiasts have to travel at least 2500 to the Seattle area, if not further.

Saturday morning, the obedience phase started. Numerous motivational techniques were shared in drive work and focus. The majority of the Alaskan attendees were in basic and fundamental training, so handler training was essential. Dean would assist or work each dog then give a critique of the dog and where the handler needs to focus on -- not just at the moment, but during the next year as well. His ability to read a dog and handler, and his frankness, followed by improvement techniques application, left all handlers as well as all observers amazed. Again, the club surrendered at midnight.

Dean demonstrating drive through agression with Panter.

Sunday morning tracking conditions were "perfect", as Dean described it. A recently harvested, twenty-five acre hay field moist with the weekend's wet drizzle. After we watched in awe as his 100 point "Panter" demonstrated world class tracking, tracks were set in succession and Dean coached as dogs tracked and alerted on articles. The weekend ended for the masses about ten o'clock pm.

Dean held a private session for club members and local teams on Monday afternoon. Helper work was emphasized along with guidance for the club's training program. Dean also emphasized the importance of physical fitness for helpers and handlers. If any one of the three principles players suffers, the dog team suffers. They're as strong as the weakest link.

John Fielden observing Dean in "neutralizing" Kaiser to the handler.

"I am pleasantly surprised to see some potentially good dogs up here, breeding is everything!" Dean commented. "Its also great to see good facilities; some clubs don't have it so good." KSC uses a local multi-purpose field and has received great support from the local staff. A covered outdoor ice rink served for the lecture series, and doubles as the club's shoulder month facilities. We use it until the ice goes in. Compliments came in from all over, not just from attendees. "The club really put on a professional event", said Kenai Animal Control Officer Brett Reid, invited as an "official guest" of the club.

The event was advertised through local radio and newspaper advertisements and saw a constant flow of spectators. We've already received several phone calls from folks interested in training. A few folks committed themselves for membership at the seminar. Attendees included members of HUNDESPORT from Anchorage and the Anchorage DVG club, Northern Working Dogs Association. We also had search and rescue teams from Fairbanks and one team from Canadian Avalanche Rescue Dog Association (CARDA) from Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada, making the seminar an international event.

KSC incorporated in January 1997 and is currently in "Forming Club" status with United Schutzhund Clubs of America and will be holding their Affiliation Trail September 13 and 14, 1997. Check out their home page on World Wide Web.

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