Dogman’s tips for pet owners this Halloween
Steamboat Springs — If local trainer Sand Reed — better known as, “Dogman” — were to write a book, he said it would have only one page.
“If you like it, tell Jack (the dog). If you don’t like it, tell Jack. The end.”
For the past 46 years, Dogman has taught pet owners simple tips to live by for a happy life with their dog.
“Forget that it’s a dog, think of him as your 5-year-old son,” he said. “What level of respect would you demand? What level of disrespect would you not tolerate?”
Some may recognize Dogman’s “Tips from the Trail” that appear in the newspaper to enlighten dog owners throughout Routt County. His dog Joe is featured in the photo to “converse” with other dogs out there. An example includes a picture of Joe covered in mud with a thought bubble that says, “Hey pals! It’s Joe Reed! You know you can’t get this dirty playing on a leash. If you don’t come when you’re called, have your folks call my dad!”
This week, the most recent “Tips from the Trail” includes Dogman’s “Don’ts on Halloween” and his concerns for young dogs who have never experienced Halloween.
• Do not let your new young pup see children in their costumes — it can cause a fear of small children that will last for life.
• Halloween chocolate will kill your little pal — don’t let the children sneak him treats!
The reasoning behind the first tip relates to a puppies’ first impressions of children. If the puppy doesn’t have much exposure to short-statured kids — their voices and the sounds they make — seeing them dressed in scary costumes could make the puppy terrified of kids for the rest of his life.
For the second tip, he said, chocolate is toxic. If kids were to sneak candy to the dog, it would cumulate throughout a few years and stick to the outside of the dog’s liver, kidney or spleen, resulting in non-repairable liver and kidney failure with the dog dying in pain.
“I want people to know these things so they won’t damage their puppy from seeing a child for the rest of his life and to encourage them to be conscious of what they are doing to their dog,” Dogman said.
Unlike trainers seen on TV or in books, Dogman said he doesn’t whisper to a dog. He teaches techniques to owners and dogs for them to use for a lifetime.
“Your dog has to be taught that you have rules from the time you get up in the morning to the time you go to bed,” he said. “Listen to your mama and respect what you are told.”
A trained dog, in his opinion, is one neighbors like.
Growing up in a coal mining camp in Alabama, Dogman was the last of 10 children in his family. From his experience, dogs were not pets. They helped feed the poor population of the small mining community. Before and after school, his job was to help clean kennels located in the middle of town and care for the dogs. His job also was to pick and train the puppies in the litter who would hunt.
A few years down the road, he went to different “masters” across the country to learn their training techniques. He kept what he respected and discarded what he didn’t to develop his technique.
From his observations, Dogman said he doesn’t know anyone else who trains owners and dogs like the does.
“It’s too simple,” Dogman said. “I love simple and I think people can relate to that.”
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