Articles

THE LITTLE GIANT

The 2004 USA Schutzhund National Championship in Nashville, Tennessee was marked by beautiful weather and vivid memories. 

On Sunday afternoon, I complimented Gary Hanrahan on Bastin's protection performance, and Gary thanked me and said modestly, and with generosity of spirit, "It was Wallace's weekend." I agreed, but also noticed throughout the weekend, that Wallace's joy was shared by all who had the pleasure of watching Merlin's obedience and protection routines. After each of these performances the crowd went wild with the pure joy of seeing a German Shepherd Dog and handler working together in ultimate harmony. 

CLICK IMAGE FOR CLOSE UP VIEW And you just can't say "the crowd went wild" without thinking of Daio Floyd... all 8 years of age, CLICK IMAGE FOR CLOSE UP VIEW 4'5" and 75 pounds of her. She is tiny, but man can you see her father in her...

 T. Floyd is sheer determination, athletic ability, and the relentless pursuit of perfection - this guy is like Michael Jordon on steroids. His career encompasses over three decades of training Schutzhund and police dogs, handlers, helpers and K9 officers - and his successes at the top levels of competition are too numerous to list here.

Let's face it - T. Floyd is a tough act to follow. Clearly, his little daughter is not at all fazed by the weight of reputation of her last name. Quite the opposite - she just assumes that "V" performances at the National level are a natural expectation. If you were silly enough to mention her size and age, Daio would likely respond calmly, "What's your point?" 

CLICK IMAGE FOR CLOSE UP VIEW In 2002, big brother Terrell Floyd was the youngest competitor at the USA Schutzhund National Championship, competing at the age of 16, and placing 18th out of a field of 141 competitors. Let's not forget to mention that Terrell is also an extremely talented training helper.

Youth Program, indeed. Terrell has gone off to college, and after all, records were made to be broken... so Daio stepped up. Not only stepped up, but God help anyone who would try to stand in her way (her formidable father included)... If any youth (or adult for that matter) needed inspiration to train hard and work toward trial - this little girl with the big red ribbon tied in a bow holding her braids up on top of her head - she provides it. 

CLICK IMAGE FOR CLOSE UP VIEW You could hear a pin drop when Daio and Mendy z. Hasku-Drzovice, the beautiful 2003 Universal Siegerin, walked onto the field...

I have to admit, my favorite moment was when Daio was waiting to walk up to her start point in obedience, when she took a deep breath, and stroked Mendy's head. To see Mendy lean into little Daio with absolute love, trust and affection - well, it was the perfect beginning...

And then, as the team executed their routine - this crowd of seasoned Schutzhund sport fans seemed to hold their breath through every exercise, only to erupt in applause and cheers upon each successful completion.

 Every determined little step provided a spring to the big red ribbon tied in a bow bouncing along up on top of Daio's head - accentuating not only how tiny the handler was, but how correct she was in posture and form. 

CLICK IMAGE FOR CLOSE UP VIEW There was great drama in watching this little youth compete at the highest level of competition in our country. But the suspense was interrupted by the comic relief of her dumbbell throws. She is "fighting out of her weight class" with the 2 kilogram SchH 3 dumbbell, so she has to order Mendy to sit, walk forward quite a few feet, and then throw the dumbbell, just to get some distance, before returning to her dog and commencing the retrieve exercise. And the actual dumbbell throws are hard to describe, but they were cute, hysterically funny and impressive all at the same time - Daio goes into this warm-up routine reminiscent of a major league baseball pitcher or Olympic javelin thrower - she has to hold the dumbbell with her right hand behind her, stretch her left hand out in front and swing several times back and forth to get some leverage and momentum before she lets it fly. She is WAY outclassed in height to get the SchH 1 dumbbell over the hurdle and the wall, so again, she orders Mendy to sit, walks up till she's right in front of each obstacle, and goes into her wind-up and throw routine. The crowd loved it... 

 Perhaps the overall experience of watching this team compete was expressed best by stadium announcer Jerry Welch, as Daio and Mendy approached the judge after their obedience routine, to hear their critique and score. He stated simply and poetically what we were all thinking... "O.K. folks, before the judge gives his critique, I have to say something. That little person, that giant you see over there, is EIGHT YEARS OLD. " (Interrupted by applause). " I have never seen such poise and confidence in anyone of that age and I've done 21 of these national events. There has to be three things that come together for her. First off, she has to have a well-trained dog. She has to have a qualified teacher, such as her dad, T. Floyd..." (this was the only time Daio smiled thus far since she stepped on the field for her obedience routine, and she broke into a huge smile and nodded her head in affirmation)... " and she has to have the determination and desire to compete at this level. It all comes down to one word - OUTSTANDING."

CLICK IMAGE FOR CLOSE UP VIEW Who will ever forget Mendy's 2004 National Championship 96 point protection routine? As if it wasn't memorable enough already - Nationals back-half helper Chris Carr sealed the deal for the visual image. After the critique was finished and the score announced, as the spectators cheered, Mendy's leash was handed to judge Mike Hamilton , and in a fitting tribute to the moment, Chris lifted little Daio up onto his shoulders and turned to face the crowd as Daio waved... and (have I said this yet)? - the crowd WENT WILD.

CLICK IMAGE FOR CLOSE UP VIEW The team of Daio and Mendy earned scores of 94/86/96, placing 18th out of a field of 72 competitors. The scores will stand in the record - but the memories and the inspiration - they belong to the rest of us who were lucky enough to be there, and those who will watch the videos later.

At the end of the day, this team of two outstanding young females exemplify what this sport is all about. Excellent genetics, excellent training, a work ethic that separates the men from the boys, ability to withstand pressure, combined with a profound love for each other, and a driving determination in the pursuit of excellence... Captain Max Von Stephanitz (1864 -1936), the original guardian of our beloved German Shepherd Dog, said it best...

"Take this trouble for me: Make sure my shepherd dog remains a working dog, for I have struggled all my life long for that aim."

With youth like Daio to carry on the legacy - I'm thinking Max can rest peacefully, and is probably watching down with pride...

---by Tina Perriguey

All articles written by Tina M. Perriguey are Copyrighted, and may be reprinted only with permission.
image
image


T Floyd  “The Secret Behind Successful Coaching”

“Many trainers are fearful to tell the truth or do not want to admit that there are questions they cannot answer

mostly because they do not want to lose clients.  There will always be things we do not know, all we need is

to know where we can find that information, who to ask and not to let our ego be in the way to do so.”

– T Floyd

 

We all know T Floyd as a successful handler and trainer and have seen him with many different dogs at many big trials like Regional, National and World Championships, some of the dogs even self bred. His big smile while on the field especially in obedience is something you remember once you have seen it.

What many people do not know is that T also has a special gift as a coach. He has worked with multiple teams and helped them to accomplish their goals. Some of them managed to get the title they dreamed of at a club trial due to his help, others won championships. It does not matter if it is a new handler or someone who is in the sport for many years; he always tries to maximize the team’s performance and shares his knowledge openly. Furthermore, if you ever saw him at the sideline when one of his student’s trials you know how much his heart is in it as well.

Claudia Romard (CR): T, thanks for taking the time to talk to me. We’ve known each other for quite awhile and besides enjoying your company as a friend, I’ve always valued your opinion very much. Can you tell our readers a bit about your dog training journey? How did it start?

Let me take you back to a place called “The Hood”. I grew up in one of the roughest areas of Philadelphia. North Philly was filled with drugs, violence, crime, and gang wars. My mother was an exceptionally strong woman and she was determined to keep her children from the streets. I was not allowed to be part of a gang and furthermore, the gang members feared my mother. So, I was not able to hang out with the wrong company. At age nine or ten, I spent much of my younger years training dogs for people in my neighborhood.

My reputation began to grow when I was asked by police officers to tease their dogs and to help with training. Looking back, it is a trip to think about it; while other kids were looking out of the school window waiting for the bell to ring so they could go play, I wanted that bell to hurry up and ring so I could go train my dog! That was my play!

When I was about 12 or 13, I went to work on a milk truck. There, the storeowner had a litter of German Shepherd Dog puppies. He asked me if I would like one. I said yes. I took the puppy home and I named him Billy. Mind you, I neglected to ask my mother if I could have this puppy. She eventually said yes. I taught Billy all sorts of tricks as well as obedience and protection. So, Billy and I became known around the neighborhood as a duo. People began to come to me to train their dogs and they were paying me to do it.

Now, we’ll fast forward to the late 70’s. I started playing music and this enabled me to travel and I was touring with a group in Washington DC. While I was on tour I met a young lady who invited me to her job’s picnic. I saw this guy by the name of Hans Straffer training his two German Shepherd Dogs doing obedience and protection. I forgot all about my date and watched him train. When he finished training I saw people petting these dogs and the guy and the dogs were just chilling after they had this intense training experience. I started to ask him questions about what it was he was doing. That is how I found out about Schutzhund.

Then my music career landed me in California where I went to Mandelyn School for Dog Trainers. There I lived around the corner from a German guy named Erich Renner who owned a guide dog school and owned a very famous Schutzhund dog named Bodo vom Lierberg. This dog was the foundation of the breeding program for his guide dogs. He would walk his dogs every day and I would talk to him about the dogs and this sport called Schutzhund. That was my second encounter with the sport.

Fast forward again, still in the state of California, I stopped traveling, got married and got a job training at a kennel. My skills continued to improve and I was quickly popular with the clients there. I began training AKC obedience. Then, an old musician friend took me to a Schutzhund club. Once there, I knew this was for me! So, I joined the club and I felt like I was able to understand some concepts as well or even better than the trainer there. I met Ann Fransblau and Vernon Crowder. They knew Dean Calderon and thought I should meet him. So, they had him come down to our club. Dean was the one who taught me what Schutzhund was all about. He introduced me to Fritz Biehler, Helmut Koenig, Dr. Helmut Raiser and Reinhard Lindner, just to name a few. I gained so much knowledge from these legends and I took something from all of these masters and put it together to form who I am now and I am still learning.

CR: You really seem to enjoy being a coach. What do you like about it? What do you enjoy in particular?

Coaching is a passion just like competing. I like challenges. I learned from my mother how to root for the underdog. The majority of people form certain opinions and ideas about what others may or may not be able to achieve. They speculate on who should be able to accomplish this or that. I like to prove them wrong.

You must have a trusting relationship with the players and you cannot coach every player the same way. You must really know them and treat them as an individual. You only get to know their learning style by knowing the person. Coaching involves giving of oneself; to expand on that, it means love, friendship, trust and a relationship between student and teacher and that is what I love most about it. There are many good dog trainers, but that does not necessarily make them effective teachers or coaches. When you truly have a loving and trusting relationship with your student you can tell them the truth through love in order to help them improve.

Many trainers are fearful to tell the truth or do not want to admit that there are questions they cannot answer mostly because they do not want to lose clients. There will always be things we do not know, all we need is to know where we can find that information, who to ask and not to let our ego be in the way to do so.

Even worse is when they do not want to see students becoming too good and they may exceed their teacher. A jealous heart will destroy a coaching relationship. God has given us all gifts. I am blessed that he has given me the gift of loving people and dogs. Having Christ in my life has humbled me. It has made me more compassionate about the feelings of others.

I enjoy watching people grow in their relationship with their dog and ultimately them having success in teaching their dog.

CR: If you decide to train with a person respectively coach a team, what is most important to you about the dog/handler team?

Most important for me is that the person has a loving heart for people and dogs. To quote Mother Teresa, “It’s not what you do but how much love you put into it that matters”. It is important that the handler wants to train his/her dog and compete for the right reasons. The dog must never become the person’s ego. It is very sad to see someone attempting to credit themselves, at any cost, through their dog. Fairness toward the dog is paramount. There must be a love relationship between the handler and the dog. If that relationship is not there, training becomes an impossibility. Put yourself in the dog’s place as a student, would you learn more from a teacher that you knew would be fair and have a vested interest in you learning the material, or from a teacher that became easily frustrated and unfair when you did not comprehend the lesson?

CR: You are a very “intense” dog sport person, a bit of a fanatic like many of us. Do new people to the sport have a problem with that? Do you catch yourself crossing the line and asking too much from a team you train with?

Most of the people that I have trained were pretty new when they came to me, or knew very little. I like to train new people. I find that they follow directions more intensely than people who have been around the sport for a while. They are refreshing and some of these students are having great success with their dogs.

I am actually not as intense as some would make me out to be. I am pretty good at reading people so I can get a feel for someone pretty quickly as to whether they require me asking more or less of them. Like anyone, I make mistakes, so there has to be a trusting relationship between me and the person whom I am training.

I love my students and the dogs; they understand that it is all about training, that it is never personal.

CR: If you could name one thing you cannot deal with, what would it be? Be honest – your answer will give some of your students the chance to never do that!

That could possibly be a very long list, but since you limited me to one gripe I would have to name the biggest one. I cannot handle abuse toward dogs, or people who allow their personal issues to be taken out on the dog. Dogs did not ask to do Schutzhund, they do it because they want to please their masters. Dogs love unconditionally, they do not care that you buy them a nice bed or the best dog food, they want your love. Love is a verb, it is an action word and it is your job to show them your love.

CR: You coached your daughter Daio and she was the youngest National competitor ever in the history of USA at the 2004 Nationals. How was it for you to get the team ready for such a big trial?

I found it very easy because I coach my daughter every day of her life. My wife and I raised her with love and discipline. She had the opportunity to be around two of the best dog trainers I know, Dean Calderon and Fritz Biehler. She wanted to do it more than I wanted to. There were times it was freezing outside and I tried to convince her to go inside, but she was so driven. I was training with others and she would be just getting off of the bus from school. She would run and change her clothes so she could come and train. Daio has been around the sport her entire life. She has a dominant personality and a true love for the dogs so many aspects of training come to her very naturally. We had a lot of fun!

CR: How did you feel as a Dad seeing your daughter out there?

I almost had a heart attack. I was so nervous. We were having fun at home training but then it got serious. She had to go out there by herself and I could do nothing but watch. That was my baby out there. Most people don’t know this, but the dog my daughter was training with became ill. So the day before the competition started the Trial Chairman Lyle Roetemeyer and the President Jim Elder allowed her to switch dogs. Then my heart attack became really scary because she was now out there with a dog that she had not trained with. However, she was determined to get on that field. The rest is history.

CR: Was it harder for you to coach her than other students?

No. The key to coaching people is the love and trust in the relationship. It was easy because all of those elements were there with my daughter. Training dogs was like going to the playground.

CR: What is more difficult for you, dealing with the training of the dog or dealing with the handler at the end of the leash?

That is a very easy question. You probably can answer that one yourself. Dogs come very easy to me. I can see what the end result will look like before I have done it like a builder knows what the house will look like before it is done. My job as a coach is to help the handler find the best way to train their dog without losing their own way of doing things. As a coach, I have to consider that everyone does not have the same abilities in regard to training.

In our country, we have many different cultures. That means that everyone does not see the world as you do. So, I have to know and employ many different strategies. That is why a coach must know many different techniques. The difficulty is to explain the process to others. People become confused when they cannot follow everything that is going on and they are asked to trust the teacher. It is like getting lost; when you are lost you feel kind of helpless and nervous. However, once you find your way, you get this really good feeling. Dog training is about the moment; the moment that is taking place right now. Many times I have to worry about the dog first to capture the moment that will give the dog a successful training session. We all know that timing is crucial in training animals. That is when that trust between teacher and student really becomes important.

Overall I find that women have more patience and are more willing to trust a person. You know how we men like to know everything right away. Again, timing is crucial, by the time you explain what is going on you will have lost the moment for the dog and that can sometimes throw your training weeks back. I like to get the point across first so the dog can have a successful training session, then I can go back and explain to the student what it was that we were doing. Most trainers or coaches take the students out of the picture, I do not do that, I do not think that this good for the student or the dog.

CR: In trials it is always harder for me to see a friend compete than to be on the field myself. Being a spectator makes me feel so helpless and sometimes I have a hard time watching. How is that for you?

It is the same way for me, I want to tell them they are walking too fast or too slow or to praise the dog or just to breathe. It is hard because you do not want to see them have a bad experience, at the end of the day all I want for them is that they enjoy themselves and have a good time.

CR: What would be the ultimate satisfaction for you as a coach? What is your dream?

Each coaching experience is very special and has its ultimate satisfaction for me. Every time I coach I learn something. I want to stay there, in that moment. I do not really want to have an ultimate coaching goal, because I never want to see it end. I enjoy it so much. Each day is a new challenge.

Here a list of some of T’s recent “students” and their success:

 

 

 

 

 

Dana Palumbo with Nando vom Schloss Zweibruggen

2008 4th place USA Nationals

2008 Vice Champion New England Regionals

2007 North American SchH3 Vice Champion

2007 Vice Champion Northeast Regionals

2006 SchH2 Northeast Regional Champion

2006 North American SchH1 Champion.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pedro Jimenez wtih Alex vom Eisenhaus

2007 South East Regionals 3rd place

2007 North American Championship 6th place

HOT Handler 2006 Universal Sieger

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glyn Clayton with Lex Iluze

HOT Handler SchH3

 

Samantha Jimenez with Hellequin vom Eichenluft

Newest student at age 6, and my goddaughter, received her BH title in November of 2008. It is amazing to watch her read and train the dog. It brings so much joy to my heart. She is such a natural! You can look for her at the Nationals very soon.

 

 

 

Carlos Rojas with Ikke v.’t Heukske

2003, 2005, 2006 and 2008 North American FH champion

2004 North American Vice Champion

2005 and 2008 AWDF FH Champion

 

Carlos Rojas with Branco vom Banholz

2008 Northeast Regional Champion w/ High Obedience

2008 USA National Vice Champion w/ High Obedience

 

 

 

Larry Vinzant with Karlo vom Floyd Haus

2009 South Central Regional 3rd place

2008 German Shepherd Nationals 8th place

2008 South Central Regional Vice Champion with High in Protection

2007 South Central Vice Regional Champion w/ the only V in obedience

 

Sue Maturo with Pascha vom Scheldetal (Rottweiler)

2008 USRC Vice Champion

 

Paige Branham with “Kita” Blitzgtrahl von Moeller Hof (Doberman)

2006 SchH1 Northeast Regional Champion

 

Jane Hobson with Ox or Overnite Express (Rottweiler)

SchH3

 

Mark Saccoccio with Briska vom Feenwald

2009 Working Dog Championship 5th place

2009 Southwest Regionals 4th place

 

Article written by Claudia Romard

Schutzhund USA Magazine July/August 2009 (p. 12-16)


image
Contact us for more info