Preface and big thanks!

As I write this drafting handbook, now blogpost, I think of all the people who helped me put together this guide.  The inspiration, support, and guidance that helped push me to write this book comes from a plethora of people.  These supporters came from all walks ranging from my training mentors, my academic students, and people who wanted to learn what drafting.  Over the years, people and their dogs have taught me more and more about draft work, and how to deal with problems in drafting.   Additionally, many drafters have also contributed their knowledge, time, and ideas to the construction of this handbook.  I would like to express my appreciation and thanks to those supporters.  

I started in draft with the late Dick Shumer, a serious master drafter, trainer, and friend.  Dick Shumer was a Jack of all trades who taught more than just canine drafting.  He also taught us how to build carts, how to jerry-rig just about anything, and he was the absolute king of bungee cords.  Dick is the kind of person that gives and gives, and never expects anything in return except for the satisfaction of his students being happy.  He taught us the meaning of generosity, patience, and forgiveness.  Thank you for so much you have done for me and the Austin canine drafting community. 

Another big thank you goes to Janice Swenson for all her time, effort, and support.  Janice is a wealth of knowledge and experience.  Should know ever have a question, Janice will more than likely have the answer with all the caveats.  If she doesn’t have the answer at the moment, you can guarantee that she’ll have it soon with more information than you ever needed to know.  Janice is like google for dog drafting. 

Other thank you to Debby Quigley, Judy Ramsey, Letty Alamia, John O’Niel,  Kathleen Conway, Molly McNally and family, Karen Kimborough, Barbara Cecil, Connie and Jon Beauregard, Bill and Jeannette Faure, Shannon Hennigan and Sue Urban, Chris Christensen, Ron and Pam Capelli, Don Beard, Glenda Parks, Ann Logan,  Patty Pearce, The Kretchmars, Huck Bothner and Jean Measell, and  Michael and Audrey Starns, and Ron Horn for all your support. 

For those who don’t know about my professional life, I began graduate school around the same time I got my first Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, Mouse.  Grad school is supposed to be a time consuming and mentally challenging experience.  My graduate school experience was all that and more.  Another special thanks to all those who supported me through dog training and grad school.  Roman Reign is very thankful for those who provided moral support.

And last but not least, a big thanks to Mouse, my first sweet and gentle giant.  He has no concept of his size, and as he matured, he had no concept of his age (you’ll be getting a glimpse of what I mean later on).  As a veteran now, he still looks and acts like a 6 month old goofball.  Thank you to Mouse for being incredibly tolerant, incredibly patient, and incredibly forgiving as my first dog.  I can’t even begin to count the number of times I’ve made mistakes with you, and you just kept on trucking.

Another points I must bring up in writing this book is that I was formally trained as a scientist in social psychology.   My field of research was in behavioral neuroendocrinology.  My academic training and many of my dog trainers were very methodological with very structured training programs.  This book, now blog, is similar in lay out and structure.  Each exercise will be approached step by step with supplementary videos on youtube.  My hopes is that with these two methods, you will be able to understand the concept and goal of each exercise.  You should also understand each step and why the steps are important (no skipping around!)  My recommendation for training is if you reach a speed bump in your training, back up about 3 steps.  If you reach another speed bump that isn’t addressed in this handbook, do not hesitate to contact me.

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