A Wonderful Course in Springfield Mass

I just returned to Bozeman, MT after teaching in Springfield, MA.  Quite a contrast leaving 90 degree weather and coming to rain and morning snow!

An fun dog capture & handling class at TJ O'Connor Animal Shelter!

It was a great class and we had a lot of fun.  We had a nice mix of ACOs, shelter workers, and dog rescuers.  The first day was primarily devoted to non-chemical capture.  We talked about ways of catching fearful dogs by hand and practicing physical restraint with calmness.  We set boxtraps in a way that really catches dogs and discussed unusual baits and attractants.  Of course we talked at length about the Y pole and what it can and cannot do, covered nets, and even methods for catching entire packs of dogs.  And we enjoyed videos for most of these topics.

On Day 2 we focused on Chemical Capture with legal responsibilities, the newest dartguns, and how to select the various immobilizing drugs like picking the right tool for any specific job.  I was excited to see how each class member had all of the immobilizing drugs and accessory drugs figured out by the end of the class.  Trivia:  Do you know why the term ”tranquilizer gun” is incorrect? We had a fun outdoor dartgun lab even though it was very hot!  Even with chemical capture we talked about staying connected with the animal and all of the messages the animal provides us when it is under anesthesia.

On Day Three we spent more time on Chemical Capture and had a needle and syringe lab learning safe and accurate methods and several ways to load a syringe pole.  As usual, I customized the course to meet the needs of each student.  Rabies is a big topic in Massachusetts so we talked about rabies and other wildlife diseases.  Danielle Robertson has a business, Compassionate Pets, helping people find their lost pets and we opened up class discussion to go through the whole process of recovering a lost dog.  Every student was also a teacher in this way.

My sincerely thanks to Wendy LeSage, Sage Dawg Services, for setting up the local arrangements. Thank you also to Sara Rohan, Operations Manager, and the TJ O’Connor Animal Shelter.  It was a great classroom and it was an honor to teach at such an awesome facility.

Over the next month I will be lining out my course schedule for fall/winter/spring.  The dates and locations will be posted on my website Seminar Schedule and on my blog Training Page.

What fun!  Mark

2 Responses

  1. Mark, the pleasure of meeting you and learning so much just has me jabbering still two days later! I’ve used my Ypole already at the shelter and was teaching the technique to one of my staff. I’ve also come up with an idea that will assure that “The Towel” is always at hand, especially if I’m alone! I’ll send you a picture. I was delighted with the class discussion on the last day and have already utilized Danielle’s info for a lost dog (they had found her the same day I sent Danielle’s info to them) I felt good knowing that I had that resource to try and help someone. Thank you for all the information and knowledge. Take care out there in MT! Hope to get to see you again.


  2. What a wealth of information was packed into this course. It’s a must for ANYONE handling dogs. I hope that one day all shelters include a Y-pole training in their orientation and training of staff. No, actually I’d say-one day all shelters will!

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