Motor Joe's

For my Dog Max. I miss you bud.

Max and His favorite log

Hard working. Fun loving.

Max was an outstanding dog. He had a zest for life. He impressed me many times. He was a balance of will and biddableness. He had his own agenda, yet was easy to train to be well behaved. He was very friendly with people and other dogs, he had a great nose, and loved looking for birds, rabbits, and tracks. I can only imagine how good he might have gotten with more time in the field, ei more practice.

I brought Max over to a friend's farm to deter a fox from frequenting the chicken coop. When we got there, he saw a pony. He ran over to it, and I was wondering what was going to happen. That pony and Max hit it off right from the beginning and would race each other along a fence line back and forth for hours if left alone (Max was faster, but that didn't deter the pony from racing).

And for the fox? Max tracked it, showed me some of its hangouts, but the fox was far out of reach that day. Nonetheless, after that its sightings became much less frequent.

At 13 weeks old, he was already pointing grouse. I have seen him scent point pheasant, grouse, rabbit, beaver, deer, quail, pigeons, ducks, geese, morning doves, seagulls, and some other types of birds. I have also seen him point my girlfriend's hairbrush while she was using it. I'm not sure how to feel about that.

He just acquired a grown up bark a few weeks ago and now he thinks he is a guard dog. That new deep bark has given him a big boost of confidence, and he showed me that he thought he could lead me around for a change. I denied him the leader of our pack promotion, he took it rather well.


Here is a video of Max Pointing. I said "Birdie!" and then "Whoa!" Note Max's reaction to the word "Birdie." I do not say birdie too often, less he stop believing me. The video is 6.8 mb.

Max has figured out that training is an easy way for him to get treats. He will grab a toy, then ask me if I want to go to the training table. He will then do his job and then I give him treats. Who is training who?

He is learning how to put his toys away. Max is doing well. I still have to stand near the toy bin, but we are improving every couple of days. Teaching a dog tricks is a bit like programming a computer. You have to learn how to speak "its" language. You have to break up the steps into simple commands that will be linked into a complex program. For the computer you have to give it energy and keep it free of viruses. For the dog you have to give it attention, discipline, safety, and some treats.

Questions and Answers

Q: Why dogs like to carry objects in their mouths.

A: How else would they carry something? A dog uses all its paws for locomotion. If they want to carry something from one location to another, the best mode of transport would be their mouths. Some dogs are bred because of their willingness to carry objects in their mouths. This trait is useful for retrieving purposes.

Q: Did you teach Max to point, or did he do it on his own.

A: Max always had a tendency to point on his own. I merely try to help him develop that trait. I used a bird wing tied to a fishing line and pole as an early pointing tool. Max would get excited about the bird wing fluttering in the air. When I would let the bird wing settle on the ground, he would point it. If he jumped at it I would lift the wing from the ground and send it through the air again. I never let him catch the wing. I didn't do this exercise with him often, and when I did do it I would only do it for a few minutes at a time. It did help him associate pointing with a verbal command from me, but it also ruined him as a fishing companion. Can you imagine a boat with four people and Max? I saw the look in his eyes when I used a fishing pole with a shiny (bird wing in his eyes) spoon attached to it. I literally had to hog-tie him to the front of the boat to keep him from dancing around when we were casting.

Q: Does hunting make Max mean?

A: NO! Max has the sweetest temperament of any dog out there. I've seen him try to make friends and play with every dog he has ever met. When he meets people, first, introductions. Max observes to make sure it this person is ok and they are friendly with me, then he will sniff. After that, Max will want to play, kiss, get petted by, or cuddle with just about anyone he meets.



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