Kustom K9 Training
"Training the whole dog, educating the whole family"
Registered Name: Zingira's Razz-Ma-Tazz
Tazz is on the small side, like her mom, at only 70 to 75 pounds. She was very fast like her mom in her younger days. Tazz’s life started pretty normal, and after we chose Two-Way to keep she had a new home she was going to. At 7 weeks old, that changed. All the puppies were there, and we threw a handful of small, dry kibble on the floor for them to hunt up. Tazz decided to suck them up like a Hoover vacuum cleaner. All of a sudden, she looked very distressed and was acting like something was stuck. She ran under the dining room table with me close behind her. By the time I knelt down to grab her she was already out and limp. I got her out and bright red blood was coming from her mouth. I immediately started Heimlich/sweeps, but nothing. I started one way and then switched, and went back and forth. I ended up having to use a lot of force. I hollered at Chuck to get ready to head out the door. It was about 7 pm, so we were lounging after dinner. So he quickly got ready while I continued. I did try some compressions, but breathing for her at that point got me nothing. So I went back and forth to all of them for about 30 to 45 seconds and Chuck came and we switched. I got ready and about 30 to 45 seconds later we were heading out the door. Chuck had gotten just a small amount of airway because the blood had turned to foamy red, and then we saw her eyes barely open and her head move a wee bit, but she was still limp. We went right to our vet and they removed a single piece of kibble from her trachea, took X-rays, and put her in an oxygen kennel. We viewed the X-rays and she had one lung full of fluid and one lung half full. They recommended we take her to the ER so she could be intubated for better oxygen flow and to monitor her overnight. We did, and they intubated her and put her on diuretics and fluids to keep her hydrated while drying out her lungs.
They carried her around like a baby, and she loved every second of it. She was home after three days despite her 50/50 chance of survival. Fortunately, she had no internal injuries from having to be so rough with the Heimlich, which is not often the case. The vet said most choked dogs do not survive, and when they do they usually have injuries, so we were lucky. When she got home she acted like nothing had happened, but we still needed to watch her. With that, and the fact we were worried about the oxygen deprivation problems, we fell in love with her and kept her. I am blessed to have enjoyed her for 12 years now. I hope she will live as long as her mom and sister.
She has been a challenge at times but always funny. Things did take her longer to learn but she would eventually get it. I undertook the challenge of article search with her for fun and for the experience of working with a dog that had experienced what she did as a puppy. From a training stand point, it was very interesting. I can typically train a dog for article search in 3 to six months to be pretty good, with maybe some advanced work in another 3 to 6 months. It took me a year to train her because I was asking her to pick up the item. I did this because she was also going to be taught to be the new farm courier as well. I was not planning on working her in the field on cases, but once it took she loved it and was as fast if not faster then a couple of the other dogs. She did turn out to be a pretty good farm courier, though not as good as her mom, but considering what she had experienced as a puppy I was very happy.
When it came time to do something new, I started area search with her. Now that blew me away. She was a natural and after only a few months of training she was certified. I only did that for fun but found out just how good she really was. So from there she was polished and her skills honed. As her training continued I switched her to pet search and she ended up being fantastic. She has had some very good searches. She was later trained for car trails in relation to pet search. A lot of pets are picked up, and this is a real asset.
Tazz’s Career Includes:
11-2013 Barn Hunt Instincts test.
This is a new sport similar to “go to ground” for terriers, but also for designed for larger dogs in a barn style setting that tests the dog’s rat hunting skills. Tazz was one month short of 11 when she got this title. She was the 5th Ridgeback to get this title.
2-2014 Barn Hunt Novice Title
Tazz was 11 years old when she got this title that takes three legs to get. She was the 3rd Ridgeback to get this title. We started her training and she was ready for the open title, but we missed the trail in late 2014, and I just felt when she turned 12 she should get to retire from everything and enjoy hunting on our farm.
Tazz’s police/scent certifications with North American Police Work Dog Association:
all tests are police and Schutzhund level tests
11-2011, Area Search (with or without scent discrimination)
11-2010, Area Search (with or without scent discrimination)
04-2009, Article Search, Area Search (with or without scent discrimination)
04-2008, Article Search
Other notable talents for the pack:
Once all my dogs were polished in their scent work, I started working them together in two, three, and then four dogs at one time. This was for my fun and experience only, as I would not work them in multiples at a search. However, this all started from when we would do pack walks even as very young puppies. I watched the dogs work together in concert while hunting for field mice and rabbits. I observed how they worked together in even the smallest ways, and how they talked to each other with their body language. That evolved into me having fun and working them together on search subjects. They all worked a little bit differently, but they all had their jobs within the pack and looked to each other for that roll without me needing to interfere. At one point this, pack scent work was listed with an agent for potential movie rolls. When they worked together to find their subject it was such beauty to watch.
From the above I also taught my dogs to work with horses. This was mostly for fun, as there is not a lot of mounted SAR in our area, and most of them have no clue how dogs work, and the K9 people generally have no clue how horses work.........so getting them to work together is near impossible. I just happen to be able to do both sides. My SAR career started in mounted SAR in Kansas with my Quarter Horse.
My dogs have helped me quite a few times finding lost items on the trail. I have lost my cell phone three times, and dropped keys on the trail as well as a couple of other things from my pack over the years. I don’t always follow a path and the grass is often taller, or I might even be in the cornfields, etc. So I put my dogs on the task and we back track and they find my items for me. They have never failed to find all my lost items. This is due to their article search ability so it came in handy.
To further my pack bond, unity, and control I worked them on controlled call offs. Usually it was for deer while on hikes but also for anything during search that was not their subject. I have had to use this skill many times on a trail. No matter what they are still hounds and love game. It is not like calling off a herding dog or sporting dog, these dogs are not dogs you can usually call off game so it was a feat to go against their DNA.I was successful 99.99% of the time with only a couple incidents in their lives when they did not call off.
Pack obedience was a blast. I could line my dogs up in a sit wait and call them out one at a time to my front, and finish in a heel. I would step forward and do repeat with the next dog. While this is good with any breed it should not be unusual for a trainer to get this with, say, German Shepherds or labs, etc., but this kind of pack obedience control is rarely seen in hounds.
I would also challenge them by placing them all in a wait in a row facing me at the back of the barn. I would go out about 700 feet and give an arm signal to come and the race was on. They had a blast racing to me. When they all got to me we would have a bit of play amongst us. That series of events was always very much fun for them, yet they learned from it. Due to all that, I was able to get that fantastic call off with my whole pack. It was tested many times and only failed once with one dog.
Personal Pack Stories:
The five dogs have their couch and beds on the floor. The couch is only big enough for three dogs to have nice space on. And of course, that was where they all wanted to be. If there were dogs on the couch then there was always another one that wanted to be on the couch. That dog, usually Kobe, would stand and look at the couch, and then look at us and whine. She would do this repeatedly. One day Kobe ran to the window and barked. When she did all the dogs ran to bark with her and she went and got on the couch. I thought I was seeing things, but this was repeated by both Kobe and Two-way. They all learned it. Hunter had his own chair and sometimes Tazz would get in it, so Hunter would do the bark out the window trick and off she would go. He would quietly go get his chair. I’m not sure where they learned this, but it shows their ability to calculate things and plan ahead for a favorable outcome.