August 31, 2011

CH. Crenshaw's Honeybunch (3XW) ROM

Before I go any further, Kane is fine and is recovering from his surgery. The student actually dropped the phone as she was talking to me because she was trying to hold onto him and he was moving around. So. I can already tell this is going to be a fun 4 months! She said his miniscus wasn't torn, which was something they were concerned about because of the clicking his knee made when the joint moved. I pick him up tomorrow at 3. Yes, there will be pictures.

Now onto other things to keep my mind occupied.

It's been over a month since I've made up a post about the history of the fighting American Pit Bull Terrier. We've gone over a general history of the APBT and the Official (Cajun) Rules of Dog Matching. Now we delve into the dogs that made the APBT the breed it is today.

CH. Crenshaw's Honeybunch (3XW) ROM

Honeybunch is, without argument, the most influential dog in the American Pit Bull Terrier history. It's safe to say that if you follow any (well-bred) APBT's bloodline all the way back, you will find Honeybunch blood somewhere in there. She was the best producing bitch of all times, producing so many champions it makes your head spin.


As you can see from her pedigree, she has heavy Boudreaux blood on both her sire's side and her dam's, which is a little less obvious. Some of Trahan's stock comes from Boudreaux blood, and Boudreaux has stated that he has the papers to show that GR. CH. Trahan's Rascal is registered under his name. The Corvino and Carver dogs also come from Boudreaux blood.

General History:

Ch. Crenshaw's Honeybunch ROM was born at Maurice Carver's Kennel and was a daughter of famed Walling's Bullyson ROM and Carver's Amber ROM. Both dogs belonged to Maurice Carver. In 1972, James Crenshaw bought Honeybunch as a puppy from Maurice Carver and told him: this puppy has everything to become a fundamental pivot in American Pit Bull Terrier selection, and she did do justice to this notion. Honeybunch established her reign in dog matching, winning 3 games against the best bitches of that time (in :51, :28, and 1:19; the last bitch having scratched back twice).

James Crenshaw coupled Honeybunch 7 times with the best pit bulls of that era:

Finley Ch. Bo ROM; Crenshaw's Ch. Otis ROM; Crenshaw's Ch Rascal ROM; Gr Ch Adams' Zebo ROM; Irish Jerry's Trim Moody ROM; Wood's Oso Negro ROM (her only lack-luster litter in terms of producing game dogs); and Arevalo's JR ROM.

Many champions and grand champions resulted from these litters, most notably Crenshaw Ch Jeep ROM (another pivotal dog in APBT history). Other great dogs are:

Crenshaw's Ch. Charlie ROM; Gr. Ch. Irish Jerry's Weehunt ROM; Gr. Ch. Brabham & Singletons' Snake; Buchanan's Jessie ROM; Creppel's Ch. Punk ROM; Crenshaw's Ch. Crypto ROM; Crenshaw's Dolly ROM; Crenshaw's Missy ROM; Crenshaw's Holly ROM; Crenshaw's Sandy ROM; Crenshaw's Sugar ROM; Garrett's Lady Mira ROM; and Crenshaw's Ch. Rascal Junior ROM.

If you sum up all the matches of Honeybunch's offspring, you discover the figure of 65 fights without any losses.

The Story of Champion Honeybunch
(as told by Irish Jerry in American Gamedog Times)

The story of CHAMPION HONEYBUNCH is written as all fighting dog stories, and that is the dog themselves. What can be added to the accomplishments HONEYBUNCH has made as a winner, a champion and a producer. HONEYBUNCH today is regarded as the most influential factor in the history of dog fighting, her amazing ability to produce has proclaimed her the very top producer of all times. It is with great pleasure that I recall some of the events of her life in this exclusive story for the American Gamedog Times. I purchased HONEYBUNCH from Maurice Carver in 1972 as a five month old pup. She was very active as Maurice had told me, I placed her on the chain and watched as she developed into one of the best looking bitches I have ever owned. HONEYBUNCH was a looker, super active on the chain and when rarely caught standing, stood like a great show horse with her legs spread wide apart. HONEYBUNCH was a great looking bitch, but was every bit as good as she looked. Over the years I have had many people and many fanciers to ask questions in regard to HONEYBUNCH'S record, ability, style and general behavior. I will try to answer some of those questions in this story.

THE PIG PICKIN: Some matches were held in the Carolinas in the mid seventies. There was a pig pickin (this is a cliche for BBG) before the matches were to take place. This show was significant because both the great CHAMPION RASCAL and CHAMPION HONEYBUNCH were confiscated as a result of a bust after the fights were held. The complete story of the rescue of these two great a not be told at this time, but both HONEYBUNCH and RASCAL were saved from the wrath of the authorities and were returned to the friendly pit bull dog environment. The complete story of the rescue has been told ad will be documented later. 

RECORD: CHAMPION HONEYBUNCH was matched three times, winning all three! She was conditioned and handled by me in all three of her fights. I have read some advertisements saying she was a five time winner in some old magazines, these ads are sometimes confused with a dogs actual record.

ABILITY: Many great dogs have been criticized for their ability for one reason or another. No dog man that ever saw CHAMPION HONEYBUNCH in action can say that she cut any slack to any of her opponents. In all her matches she took charge from the word PIT and dominated her opponents. No dog could or would scratch back into her after forty minutes. HONEYBUNCH was what we call in the game a main player. Like Tyson in the boxing world, you may not win them all, but the opponent had better come to play.

One person who can testify to HONEYBUNCH'S biting power is Rex B. Rex was the judge for HONEYBUNCH'S second match and was accidentally bitten by her while unfanging her. Rex was working with a breaking stick when HONEYBUNCH clamped onto his thumb. When it appeared to me that the dogs were free I quickly turned HONEYBUNCH from her opponent when Rex said, "Jerry, she still got my thumb". It had been quite a struggle to separate these two fast mouth bitches and I didn't realize HONEYBUNCH was still clamped tight to Rex's thumb. The Old Man on the Mountain replaced Rex as a referee and the match resumed. Rex who is the kind of man who would not yell out in protest or make a big scene, but for the next few days he realized why the Hispanics call the thumb, "Fat Finger".

A LESSON LEARNED: A valuable lesson was taught to me by HONEYBUNCH when she was still a young gyp. A well renowned dog man of the area came to my place to roll a female when HONEYBUNCH was 18 months of age. I was eager to show off my latest Carver acquisition so I took HONEYBUNCH off the chain and faced her up with the experienced brindle bitch. The brindle crossed, took hold of HONEYBUNCH and started to shake, HONEYBUNCH just rolled her big dark brown eyes at me to say, what's going on. The bindle's handler yelled, "I'd shoot that bitch, she won't even fight". I was to proud of my bitch to resort to anything like that, after all she came from the "Old Master" and I placed her back on her chain and decided to wait until another day to show her off.

PRODUCTION: HONEYBUNCH was blessed with the amazing ability to bestow upon her offspring's her own ability to perform as well as produce. HONEYBUNCH was easy to breed, produce large litters of puppies ad raised most of them. This trait coupled with the uncanny ability to reproduce her likeness, has proclaimed her the greatest producer of all times. Her mating career was started after the poor showing verses the brindle female previously mentioned. The choices of studs to be bred to her would also play a large roll in her rapid advance to stardom. The excellent selection of CHAMPION BO, CHAMPION RASCAL and CHAMPION OTIS by James Crenshaw coupled with some older brothers and sisters off of TRIM MOODY and OSO NEGRO from my place caused a pyramid effect and spread the HONEYBUNCH fame around the world.

I bred HONEYBUNCH to TRIM MOODY when she came into heat the second time. TRIM had a very impressive win in 56 minutes before the mating. During the match TRIM suffered damage to his private parts, but came from the bottom to win. I had tested TRIM MOODY before this match ad determined that he was dead game. This mating produced only three surviving males ad all three males became match dogs they were GRAND CHAMPION WEEHUNT, JOKER and BULLY BOB. After HONEYBUNCH weaned this litter I tried her again and really liked what I saw. She was as rough as any female I had ever witness. Her test was her first match and she proved her worth by taking out a very good opponent and scratched so hard that if her foe did not meet her half way, they would be knocked back to the corner wall.

I contacted Dr. Kimsey Wood in an effort to try breed my supped-up little match bitch to OSO NEGRO, I asked if he would agree to a pick. It suited the Doc "OK" and I was just as pleased as OSO NEGRO was building a reputation by kicking bull dog asses around the circuit, at the time. We stuck these two together and produced a litter of nine pups, but only two males. When the picking time came, the doctor said, "Jerry, I sure would hate to take one of those pretty males, I would just as soon take two females". I sent Doc home with two bitches that produced several match dogs as well as reputable producers.

FACT: HONEYBUNCH returned to the four squares to win two more impressive battles. The second of these was the Pig Pickin match famous for the big bust. The opponent in this match was conditioned and handled by Scotty Todd, he was using a good little black female at a weight of 38 1/2 lbs. This was a little heavy for our heroine, but I felt that I would spot a pound or so. I was right, she cut this one down in twenty-eight minutes. One of the pleasures of owning CHAMPION HONEYBUNCH was the superior feeling obtained from watching her work. She was always the same in all her matches, rolling, controlling and always dominating her victim. By the mid-seventies I decided to sell off some of my stock, but didn't want to put HONEYBUNCH on the open market. James Crenshaw had a deep interest in the Carver family as I did, he was very dedicated and a known eye for a good one. HONEYBUNCH'S fighting days were over, but she was in the prime of her producing life. James and I reached an agreement of sale and both of us reaped the harvest of the fruits of his great vine even up to today.

TRUTH: The world of THE AMERICAN GAMEDOG was upgraded by the life of CHAMPION HONEYBUNCH. The dog fraternity will continue to improve as a result of her existence. The augments in regard to her offspring will continue for years to come.

QUESTIONS: The question has been asked many times which of HONEYBUNCH'S litters was the best? Which of her offspring was the best?

These questions will still be asked after all of us are long gone. Crenshaw and I agree on the complicated nature of this question, even after seeing the results of each litter.

My view is, how do you or where do you find a litter that can compare to the records of champions JEEP, CHARLIE and HOLLY? Eleven wins and no losses were recorded by the trio. HONEYBUNCH'S first litter however in which all three males were matched, won ten and lost only two. The accomplishments of GRAND CHAMPION SNAKE can not be ignored either in the search for the best, OTIS also produced others of recognition, in this litter.

When it comes down to the big question of which offspring was best? It really puts you in a bind. Crenshaw and I agree CHAMPION CHARLIE was a better athlete than JEEP, but that the JEEP dynasty is now in a full bloom with the prime status and the unprecedented 15 point ROM ranking and is sure to go higher. 

GRAND CHAMPION WEEHUNT can not be overlooked either. Although he was an impressive, barn storming type of dog. he always gave me his best and won six consecutive matches verses the competition of the time. His first win was at Crenshaw's place when matched into a five time winner called TIGER. TIGER was a veteran of six matches at the time. The Florida boys told me that TIGER had been matched when he was 18 months old and was picked up after making a good showing against the older and possibly better dog. TIGER returned to win five and met WEEHUNT for his seventh time out. WEEHUNT took a pretty good beating and came from the bottom to win in one hour and twenty eight minutes. I was once accused of picking a soft spot for WEEHUNT when I agreed to match into a one time winner in the Volunteer state, instead of a two time winner in the Low Lands. Well as fate would have it, WEEHUNT defeated the one time winner, the two time winner from the Low Lands lost to another two time winner. WEEHUNT then went on to beat the winner of that match when he went for his fourth triumph. I once won two matches in three weeks when I substituted WEEHUNT for another male I had matched at 38 1/2 lbs. I matched WEEHUNT at 37 lbs just three weeks earlier. He got lucky and ran DD from Florida's entrant out of the square in 5 minutes. 

WEEHUNT'S record was six and zero, but to say he was the best in the company of CHAMPION HOLLY, CHAMPION JEEP or GRAND CHAMPION SNAKE is a dilemma that defies a simple solution. CHAMPION HOLLY ranks among the best bitches I have ever seen and in my mind may be HONEYBUNCH'S best offspring. HONEYBUNCH also produced litters from OSO NEGRO, RASCAL and TRIM MOODY. Yielding brood stock that in turn produced the famous MOUNTAIN MAN'S CHAMPION HOMER strain, SNAKEMAN'S GRAND CHAMPION PEDRO, FLIM FLAM, CHAMPION BUBBA, CHAMPION SANDMAN (SANDMAN was also a grandson of JEEP as well as RASCAL JR.) and many more.

Every time you open your Sporting Dog Journal there is a new champion with our star HONEYBUNCH in the third, fourth or now fifth generation and another notch or two added to JEEP'S ROM status. 

CONTROVERSY: Yes, even the greatest of the great must also be subjected to the possibility of someone who may enter a bogus name onto a pedigree. the last question I will try to answer in this story and the bottom line of the is: "OK Maurice, If HONEYBUNCH really was sired by a Spanish Pointer, could you please send me one more just like her!" After one of HONEYBUNCH'S impressive wins I called Maurice to brag of her win. I told Maurice, "She sure can bite" he replied, "Well God Dam son, she's got a license too." 

ACKNOWLEDGMENT: The fame of HONEYBUNCH would not be as vivid had it not been for the many contributions of several breeders including Crenshaw and myself. The others that were key breeders of this family have been James Garrett, Gene Smith, George Wilcox, M. Stover, E. Reece along with a host of others who believed in this line and has helped in the advance of this famous strain of dogs. Last but most, The San Antonio Rose as Don Mayfield called him, The Immortal Maurice Carver.

FUTURE: It has been said that HONEYBUNCH could produce match dogs from a German Shepard and I can't deny or confirm that. I will say, "I guess there will never be another one like her". We will continue to breed and somewhere in the back of our minds we will hope to find one who will fill her collar.

In closing, I want to relate to you something that happened the other day as I was recently visiting a local Wal-Mart. I overheard a conversation between two young men, one of them was a apparently a Pitbull owner and the other youngster a friend of an owner. The conversation went something like this: "Your friend got good dogs man?" Reply: "Yeah man, he has got some real rollin stones". Owner: "He got any Dibo blood, Blood?" Reply: "Yeah man, I don't know if I heard of that one or not." Owner: "How about HONEYBUNCH?" Reply: "Yeah man, I've heard of that one." I nodded to them as I pushed my shopping cart loaded with Ole Roy by them as my mind went to remembering the great CHAMPION HONEYBUNCH R.O.M.

I do not promote, support, or condone any violations of the Animal Welfare Act of 1976, and/or any other local/state/federal laws. I am not affiliated with dog fighting in any way, shape, or form; I am simply a pet owner and enthusiast of the American Pit Bull Terrier and the great history and legacy handed down through the generations. I believe it is important to know where we come from to see where we are going. The articles posted are strictly for historical and educational purposes only; I do not necessarily reflect the views expressed within these articles.

August 30, 2011


Things have moved very quickly with Kane's leg. Have some bullet points!

  • Kane had his consultation last Thursday at MSU.
  • The surgeon palpitated the joint, manipulated Kane's leg this way and that, and diagnosed him with a partial (if not complete) cranial cruciate ligament tear. He quoted me an estimate of $28-$3200 for the TPLO surgery.
  • My mother is awesome enough to split the surgery between her Care Credit and a credit card, and then I'll pay her back.
  • The surgeon was concerned enough about the way the joint felt and the quick muscle loss in the two weeks between my visit with Dr M and MSU, that he wanted to admit Kane that day, do the surgery last Friday, and then release him the next day. I told him I couldn't do it because of my work schedule, so he agreed to admit on Monday (yesterday), surgery today, released on Wednesday--despite the fact that they were fully booked this week.
  • With this in mind, I took off Wednesday and Thursday of this week from work so I could be home for him the first two days.
  • MSU ended up calling on Friday while I was at work and left a voicemail, basically saying "Oh, whoops, heehee, surgeon isn't here on Tuesday like he told you, so we went ahead and re-scheduled your appointment to drop-off Tuesday, surgery Wednesday, released Thursday. Please call to confirm!" Gee. Thanks.
  • Called them back on Friday initially, but they'd already closed. So, I called them yesterday. The receptionist said they were fully booked this week, but they had a cancellation on Thursday, would I like to take it? I said, "No, you don't understand. The surgeon said it was okay if we did the surgery despite you guys being booked." She replied, in a slightly uppity voice, "Well, it'll be easier for you to take the cancellation on Thursday, and I'll have to confirm what you're saying with the surgeon, but ok."  ...... Seriously? Like I'm just inventing the fact that the surgeon said he'd get Kane in even though they were booked? Why would I just come up with that? But everything worked out, surgeon confirmed, yadayada.
  • I dropped Kane off today for admittance at noon.
  • He took a huge crap in the middle of the hallway. Yes. Yes, he is That Dog.
  • When the student handling his case leashed him up to take him to a kennel, she went one way and I went the other. Kane dragged her to keep up with me, but after some encouragement on the student's part, followed the student with one last look over his shoulder.
  • She called me earlier tonight to tell me that Kane was being a model patient and was one of the favorites at the hospital. They'd already gotten the radiographs and measurements done for tomorrow. And, he also ate his dinner without a problem.
  • She'll call tomorrow morning to tell me how the night went for him, again before his surgery at 1pm and then after, and finally one more time later that afternoon to tell me how he's recovering. This is a lot more communication than I expected from such a large teaching hospital, but it's very helpful for my nerves. :-)
  • I pick him up at 330pm Thursday.
  • Then we begin the fun part -- 8 weeks of strict crate rest with leashed potty breaks only, radiographs taken at 8 weeks confirming the surgery is healing properly, and then 8 more weeks of a gradual return to exercise. But still no running or jumping until a minimum of 16 weeks after surgery. Oh joy. 4 months of no exercise for a highly active, not-quite-2-year-old puppy. Because, I'm sorry, but leashed walks up to 20 minutes is not exercise for Kane.
  • I have a runner between Kane's crate and the enclosed porch so he doesn't slip on the hardwoods. Then my stepdad is building a ramp for the three steps down from the porch to the front yard with some indoor/outdoor carpeting so that Kane doesn't slip on that either. For the most part, Kane will be getting around with a jerry-rigged towel sling.
Wish him luck in surgery tomorrow!

August 17, 2011

Rollercoaster Monday

So, I've got good news and bad news about Kane.

We'll go with the god news first because it's short and so amazingly awesome.

Kane has his CGC!!!

Yes, you read right! My bonehead puppy passed his test last night with flying colors. The AKC representative even wrote: "Awesome job! Great ambassador!" on his sheet. He got a super-cool CGC bandana; all I have to do is send in the form and the fee, and the AKC will send me his official CGC document in a frame. He's now known as Kane Denator Puppers, CGC.

Today, I took him outside and tried to get some nice photos of him showing off his bandana. Unfortunately, even though he has his CGC, he couldn't resist the allure of deer poo in the backyard. Just pretend the brown smudges aren't there. ;-)

Kane doesn't know what all the fuss is about.

It took only two good rolls in the deer poo to get his bandana to that level of dirtiness.
My stupid, delightful, doggy boy.

Kane decides eating grass is preferable to this photo shoot.

Kane is still not impressed.

Was that a squirrel? Lemme chase it, lemme chase it!

It's sitting right there! Staring at me. Taunting me!
Lemme go teach it a lesson. Please??

Oh, jeez, mom. Now it's up the tree!
You let it get away!

It's so hard being a Super Star. Just ask Kane.

Notice how is left rear leg is cocked underneath him
and his right rear leg is stretched out to the side?
Bad news time.
So, for the bad news.

Earlier yesterday, I took Kane in for what I thought was going to be a quick and easy vet appointment. He has a bump on his front right paw that I thought was a histiocytoma (although Kane's is nowhere near as bad as the one pictured on that webpage). Dr M examined the spot, told me to soak his paw in Epsom salts twice a day, wrote a script for an antibiotic, and then asked me about his limp.

And then from there ... it grew into something so much larger and terrifying than I ever thought.

Kane has had an on and off again limp since late April. It would get better with strict crate rest, and then it would pop up again two or three days later. I didn't think anything of it. Turns out he has a partial cruciate ligament tear in his right rear knee. More commonly known as a cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) tear.

Dr M had Kane do some Sits and Downs for her. Each of those times, his right leg was stretched out to the side. She 'hmmm'-ed and then had him lay down on his side so she could manipulate the leg. She felt some swelling in the knee as well as grade 1 "drawer movement". Basically, what it means is that instead of his knee moving only in a hinge movement, it's moving forwards and backwards across the joint like a drawer. An uninjured CCL prevents that sort of drawer movement, keeping things nice and tight. Grade 4 drawer movement is usually indicative of a complete tear.

She thinks his grade 1 movement shows that he has a partial tear, but it's never a 100% guaranteed diagnosis because she's had a dog with grade 1 drawer movement get into surgery and have a complete tear.

Dr M wants me to get Kane in to see a specialist as soon as possible. Even waiting 2 months can be detrimental at this point, because this CCL tear has likely been going on since April. (She'd initially diagnosed his lameness as a pulled muscle since she couldn't feel any swelling or drawer movement in his knee, and she was hoping for the less serious injury.) Unfortunately, with a partial CCL tear, the longer it goes on, the worse it gets. The frayed ends of the ligament end up rubbing against the cartilage in the knee and wearing it down, causing arthritis; and usually the end result of a partial tear, if left unresolved, is a complete tear. At this point, she said he is guaranteed to have some arthritis in his knee when he gets into his senior years (usually around 8+ for pit bulls).

There are different kinds of surgery available to repair the CCL. One is known as an extracapsular imbrication; this is the traditional form of surgery, but, unfortunately, even though Dr M can do it and it would be so much cheaper, it is now (usually) reserved for those dogs who are under 25lbs and/or are senior and/or have a low energy level.

Kane is none of those things. Even though he is no longer willing or able to use his right rear leg and is thus hobbling around on three legs, he is still bursting with energy and sometimes it gets the better of him. I still have to prevent him from doing zoomies around the yard, I still have to hide his chuck-it ball so he doesn't pester me with it, and I still have to keep him from launching off the porch on his potty breaks.

Our other options are either a TPLO (tibial plateau leveling osteotomy) or a TTA (tibial tuberosity advancement). These surgeries are basically the same; they focus on changing the angle of the tibia and how the femur meets it, and using a bone plate to stabilize the bone's new position. However, the TTA is a more recent (~2004) variation of the TPLO and cuts through a different part of the tibia. It's less invasive, and thus has less of a recovery time, and is also usually cheaper. TPLO/TTA surgeries restore mobility to ~97% after recovery, versus ~93% for the extracapsular imbrication.

The only problem is the cost. Dr M referred me to MSU veterinary school and they quoted me an estimate of $2600-$3300.

Yes. That thump you heard was me hitting the floor in a dead-faint.

Based on my research, that seems a little high (as most estimates I've seen are more in the $1500-$2500 range for a TPLO), but I'm not sure of the reasoning behind that estimate either (what they're including, etc, that I could potentially cut out or have Dr M do at her practice to save money [bloodwork, etc]). I have a consultation set up with MSU on the 25th of this month at 830am to discuss our options.

However things work out, he will either have the TPLO/TTA surgery done or his leg taken off if it's cheaper. I know Kane and he won't care whether he has that leg or not. He'll still be my wild and crazy puppers, careening around like a madman. Of course, if he does end up a tripod, there will go my dreams of titling him in Rally or Obedience. Or trying out dock diving with him.

Someone said to me that "a bullet is cheaper", when I told them about the cost of Kane's potential surgery. I wish I'd been able to punch them in the face. Who the heck says that sort of thing? Really?

August 1, 2011

CGC Class -- Week Three

Ok, guys, the Kanedog and I are still here, I promise!

We skipped his second CGC class session (two weeks ago now) because his soft tissue issue came up yet again. This is a recurring issue for us it seems, since it's been popping up off and on since May. I don't think I've been tough enough on him with crate rest. Right around the third day, we both start getting crazy and I figure that maybe I don't have to enforce the leashed potty breaks and off he zooms around the yard and I can only laugh and laugh as he jumps and twirls and does the butt-tuck boogie and acts like a complete doofus. And then he gets back inside, I put him in his crate, and the next potty break, he's limping again.

We'll try it again and this time I'm really going to buckle down.

Last week, his class went very well. In fact, he did spectacular. I need to stop thinking of him as a doofus puppy with a few bricks short of a full load, because he's not. Well, ok, he definitely isn't the smartest dog in the world by any stretch, but he's got enough smarts to know what to do and when, and if he doesn't, he is so eager to please that it makes up for his mental abilities. He seems to understand when I want him to work and hen he can goof off now, whether that's because of the energy he feels from me or just because he's put two-and-two together on the class location, I'm not sure. But either way, I'm still amazed at the focus he gives me.

I was floored when he recalled to me across the room, through a line of dogs on either side. You could have knocked me over with a feather. The lines started out at a distance of 5 feet, then moved closer to 3 feet, and then, finally they were only 2 feet away. He was the only dog who recalled to their owner every time, without hesitation and at speed. Except for once, when he caught sight of another owner giving her dog a treat for a good SitStay and he briefly debated going over to her to see if she'd give him a treat too. But I kept recalling him and he eventually decided he'd have better luck with me and recalled without ever completely making it over to the other owner. He got lots and lots of praise and extra noms for working through that extra distraction.

The only hiccup during the class was when the instructor brought out a ball to show the goldendoodle owner how they could use things other than treats for a reward. Kane has always been a toy-driven dog; honestly, I'm surprised he's not aggressive about them. But he has a special love for balls.

And sure enough, the ball came out, Kane saw it, and I was dead to him. No amount of poking him in the butt, waving a hand in his face, rubbing a piece of steak on his nose, nothing got his attention and re-focused it back to me. I'd warned the instructor that while he was a food hound and would happily work for it, he was head over heels for balls. I simply cease to exist for Kane when there's a ball in his presence unless I'm holding it. I'm debating whether I should work on that or not. I want to try flyball with him eventually, so I'm not sure I will.

The instructor spent some time on leash corrections while she talked about loose leash walking. This was very interesting to me as she described how to do a leash correction properly and made certain we knew that leash corrections didn't work for every dog or trainer. She hasn't used leash corrections in over 20 years. But she demonstrated the difference between dogs using the Samoyed, who is very independent and stubborn, versus Kane, who is softer and more easygoing.

It took four corrections for the Samoyed to get over her stubbornness and leave the chunk of steak on the floor and not touch it. It took one for Kane to not touch the steak, and actually the second time she tossed the steak on the floor, he actually backed away from it.

I almost cried watching him do that. It brought back very bad memories of my previous abusive, dominance methods. He  looked so cowed and scared, avoidance behaviors out the wazoo, ears back, lip licking, the works. I wanted to run over, pick my puppers up, and reassure him. If only I could still pick up his 50 lb fat ass. ;-)

The instructor pulled me aside after class and asked me about my reaction to it. I explained to her Kane's past with my abusive dominance methods and how seeing it reminded me of that. She comforted me and said it was the reason she explained that leash corrections weren't for every dog, and that it was a similar history with her dogs which caused her to stop using them. Back when she had first started training, it was very crank-and-yank. When positive methods started being introduced, she saw the difference in the happiness of her dogs and how much more they enjoyed training. She said I definitely don't have to use leash corrections with Kane if I didn't want to; that even though they're more effective in stopping a behavior, for some dogs, they're overkill and Kane may be one of them.

That was last week. I've been working on his heeling with the "you're in line with my leg, so you get treats shoveled in your mouth" method and things have been going well. I think we're almost ready to start proofing it to places other than the backyard. Maybe on his walk today, we'll try it.