Kustom K9 Training
"Training the whole dog, educating the whole family"
Registered Name: Brondiki Early Warning System
Hunter was unusual for Ridgebacks. He loved people and kids and was never aloof. He was friendly but not over exuberant, so for very young kids or the very old he was perfect. He was the pick of the litter from a famous show line. He was three when he came to us and already neutered due to a small heart murmur so he was not to be bred. Besides being Keno’s new best friend, we coursed him in the open class until he was 7 years old, which was considered veteran age. He was partway to his AKC Field Championship and we could see him slowing down. We found out if we wanted to show him under veteran class we had to start over again (point wise), so we opted to stop coursing him. He actually had more fun doing his therapy work so we decided to concentrate on that with him.
His therapy disaster work with CERT was fun for him, but he loved being the mascot the most. He went to all meetings, events, and trainings. He also attended the CERT Christmas parade all dressed up and would visit the people lined on the streets. He just loved to visit anyone who would pet him.
He was the clown at home and only considered him self back up when protecting the yard. The girls would alert and run to see and maybe 15 seconds later Hunter would head that way mustering up a couple of token barks. Usually he was quite busy sunning on the hot sidewalk. I had seen him serious a time or two when something was real suspicious, so that boy did know the difference. Really, he was the perfect dog to be so friendly and know when not to be. He would allow any child to run up to him and throw their arms around him for hug and not be bothered. He would give very small, easy, gently-given kisses, and even sit and give his paw for a five year old who he did not even know.
He died from organ complications from long term undiagnosed Lyme disease. The 4D snap test failed him many times over. He was finally treated but it took its toll on him so he was put to sleep when he was just 12. The pack was never the same without him. We will always miss his great spirit and energy.
His career and training includes:
Advanced obedience skills
Basic agility skills
American Kennel Club (AKC) Canine Good Citizen 2002
Therapy Dog International (TDI) certified with many hours in nursing homes and even more hours of volunteer time in CERT to help educate those in disaster preparedness.2002
AKC Lure Coursing Junior Courser title 2003
Have way to his AKC Senior Coursing title
Points towards his AKC Lure Coursing Field Championship
Placed 4th in the Ridgeback National Specialty Lure Coursing trial in 2003, this is a feat, because there are a lot of top Ridgebacks that attend the National Specialties.
IWPA, International Weight Pullers Association, “Working Dog Title”, where you have to pull three legs at a certain percentage of the dog’s weight.His high weight pulled in each of his legs was 1800 pounds.This is a challenge in both mental and physical conditioning. 2001/2002.
City of Chesapeake Community Emergency Response Team’s Disaster Therapy dog as well as their Mascot and Advocate for Animals in Disaster.Attending PR events, parades, lectures, and such on behalf of CERT’s efforts for disaster preparedness education for the city. 2003-2009
Personal Hunter stories:
Going Under the Table
When I went to CERT meetings, the tables were set up in a U shape so Hunter could roam around in the middle. We all sat around so we could face each other and talk CERT business. I would take treats for everyone to give out to Hunter as he made his rounds. Normally he would go under the table and give you a nose butt to tell you he was there for his treat. His head was over the table to at times he would just lay his head on the table and give you the cute eye. He also liked to go under our dining room table to rub his back on the underside to give him self a back scratch. We use to think he had some kind of invisible friend he was playing with, but saw him do the back scratch dance one day and figured it out. .
I don’t know if many of you remember this, but there use to be a physical activity in lower school grades called the Shuttle Run. You went back and forth to a line with something you had to pick up and move back to the other side. The distance was short but it was timed. Hunter would do that in the barn when he got the zoomies. The funny thing was he was doing this while all the other dogs all lined up were trying to take a nip at him each pass he made. He loved it. They would wait and stalk him and he would just barrel in and then back out while they tried to get him. It was a big game they all loved.
He would also do this in the house. All four dogs would be in my bed. We had fun pack play in the mornings, and a howl at the end. Hunter was usually chilling and once we were all in the bed I would say, “Where’s Hunter”. After about the third time he would come in with such a light in his eyes. He knew the fun was on. He would run in and try to get their feet as they lay on the end with their feet hanging off the edge. They would all bark with excitement and try to bite at him and he would turn around and run through the house and come back. Watching all the dogs watch for Hunter in total anticipation of him coming back was so funny. They could hear him and would be ready when he came running in and the game would be on again. They would do this about four times, and then he would just stay and I would love up on them all. After that I started a pack howl. Hunter was always my first to howl with me then the rest would chime in. Each had a different tone and I could tell each one of my dogs from each other. I miss those very cherished moments in time.
It’s a MOUSE Oh My!
All the dogs and I were out in the barn and a mouse ran across the isle from a stall. All the four dogs scampered and raced to get it first, and only succeeded to chasing the mouse right to Hunter who was also excited just watching them. The mouse literally ran right into hunter and landed on top of his front foot. In Hunter’s excitement he quickly leaned down and snatched the mouse up. It mouse was in his mouth maybe 3 seconds when it must have moved, because Hunter quickly spat it right back out on the ground in disgust. The others were there waiting for it so it was gone as soon as it hit the ground, chomped and eaten in no time. The look on his face from excitement, then surprise because he got it, then disgust because it moved, was hilarious. He for sure was no mouser, but the other four made up for his kindness to all animals, even the littlest of ones.
Just Step Over Me
Hunter would do PR things for CERT all the time. His favorite was park events where he could walk out and entice people in, and then we would give them a package of how to evacuate with their pets, and other disaster information. He enjoyed his work outside, but at times we would be inside. Like the one in this photo at TCC a local college here. Him greeting students and we passed out preparedness information. He had a good time but got a bit bored and decided to take a nap right in the middle of the floor. He sure got attention there, because everyone had to step around him.