February 7th 2013 9:06 pm
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For many years, Jim Slater and his German shepherd partner, Olaf, had worked together on the Winnipeg Police Department. Throughout their career, they had made 285 arrests as police partners. During a prison riot confrontation, Jim looked down and realized that he had many different types of armor covering his vital organs, but Olaf had none. Jim’s initial thought was to look for a place to purchase the type of body armor that would fit a working dog. Many police departments, the military and other agencies were using working dogs each day. He believed someone had thought about the dogs’ protection, but he learned quickly that no one had taken the time to design appropriate gear for the canines.
Mr. Slater decided to create a special vest for Olaf that would protect his vital organs from a harsh kick or other physical threats. He did not have the materials to make the vest bulletproof. Mobility was the most important requirement because Olaf had to be able to run fast and jump without being inhibited by the vest design or fastening straps. As other handlers noticed Olaf’s vest, they asked Jim to make one for their canine partners. This venture turned into K9 Storm, Inc. This company, run by Jim, is producing canine body armor for military personnel and first responders in 18 countries.
K9 Storm continues to sell innovative canine body armor products to military and police departments all over the globe. Economic conditions have affected other Canadian exports but not K9 Storm. The most popular vest is bulletproof Kevlar, which is custom-fitted for each dog. Inside the vest is a load-bearing harness that allows the dog to ride a hoist cable that is lowered from a helicopter. A rope can be attached to the harness when the dog must rappel down a mountain. Parachute hooks can be attached to the harness for entry behind enemy lines. Other accessories include microphones, speakers and cameras that allow the human partner to communicate with the canine.
The equipment for a working dog can cost anywhere from $2,500 to $30,000, which is a worthwhile investment. Canine trainers will spend months, and sometimes years, working with a canine that will end up in combat or working with first responders. Many estimates place a price tag of $40,000 on the puppy training that transforms young pups into working dogs that save lives and become lifelong companions for their working partners.
Security and wartime activity are facts of life in the 21st century. K9 Storm, Inc. will have a steady stream of customers from many countries where the need for canines is growing each year. Older dogs do retire, which requires new equipment for the younger dogs that will take a position working wherever their owners go. Various accessories on each vest allow the customer to select the equipment that is necessary for each dog’s assignment. A new mounting system will allow cameras to be shared between multiple dogs. This type of innovation ensures that K9 Storm, Inc. is competitive for many years to come.
Bulletproof Kevlar vests continue to save the lives of working dogs. Chikko was working with a Delta, British Columbia, police officer when a bad guy brought a pitchfork down on the dog’s back. The vest caused the pitchfork to slide off the dog’s back. Chikko was sore for a while but back on the beat in two days. Another instance found Blitz and his partner facing down an armed suspect. After the altercation, the police officer found two flattened bullets when he took off the dog’s vest.
Jim Slater rests better at night knowing that his endeavor has provided suitable body armor for working dogs in many different settings all across the globe.
May 9th 2013 4:05 am
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Older canines can be a wonderful addition to the family when adopted from the local pound or another family. Most dogs can learn to adapt to the lifestyle of the family and participate in daily life with some dog behaviour training. Stubborn dogs will require consistent training sessions that are full of praise and rewards. Teaching the old dog new tricks will convey his status in the family in the initial weeks.
1. Short sessions are most effective – Initial dog obedience training sessions will be focused on determining the dog’s current knowledge of basic commands and tricks. Rewards will encourage the dog to participate in the session because he wants to please his new master. A dog that tires quickly will require additional patience and different rewards. His attention is required to achieve results. Boredom can be corrected with some fun activities interlaced among the training efforts.
2. Training methods must be consistent – Brief notes about each session will allow the new owner to remember what was covered in the previous session. Verbal commands must be given in an even tone. Praise and correction will have different tones. The same location is important until the dog accepts the commands without hesitation. Distractions will be less frequent as the dog understands the master’s expectations.
3. Dogs love to have fun – Effective training sessions will include work on familiar commands and new commands. After the work session, a shower of praise and affection will communicate the master’s satisfaction with the dog’s performance. New toys and taking a walk to the park will provide sufficient reward for the dog to want to train again tomorrow. Dogs have a remarkable ability to communicate preferences in toys and favorite activities.
4. Engage veterinarian services – A new canine family member requires professional health consultations. The vet will notice health deficiencies that can be corrected to enable the older dog to live a happy life. Arthritis and diabetes must be diagnosed and treated for maximum quality of life. Training activities must stay within the dog’s ability. Commands that are more difficult might be outside the dog’s ability.
5. Gauge the dog’s reactions – Wise dog owners notice the best time of day to conduct training. A dog that is sleeping on the floor is not interested in training at the moment. Active dogs have favorite times of the day to play. This is a great time to conduct a training session. As the training session proceeds, the master should notice which commands are the dog’s favorite. Adjustments to the training program will bring about superior results. A dog that responds in fear will require more praise and affection.
6. Avoid punishment for non-performance – Dogs love to please favorite people. During training sessions, the master must refrain from raising his voice if the dog misses a command. Repetition without emotion is most effective in the effort to train the dog. Positive reinforcement is the most effective reward. Verbal praise and physical affection, such as petting and rubbing the fur, will communicate the master’s satisfaction with the dog’s performance.
Dog obedience can be taught to almost any dog. Pleasing people is the primary motivation for canines of every breed. Use of praise and reward will allow the new master to retain the dog’s attention and achieve remarkable results. Follow these six hints to transform a house pet into a remarkable companion.