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Joint Base Andrews News

NEWS | April 1, 2019

K9 Chronicles

By Airman 1st Class Noah Sudolcan 11 WG/PA

How long have you been working with Toro?

- I’ve been working with Toro for 10 months now.

Take me through the first time you met him.

- Cool, the first time I met Toro was when I found out that he was my assigned dog. I went over to his kennel, where it’s basically a repport stage, and I loved up on him and built a repport with him. In the beginning we don’t do any type of obedience or commands, we’re building a relationship. I showed him affection, took him out on walks and went on some hikes around base. We kind of just got to know each other.

From the beginning until now, how has your relationship grown?

- It has grown tremendously. Him and I have been through highs and lows during training, and we’ve grown a lot. Starting back from the repport stage, I was able to incorporate the Kong into training, his most favorite toy. I would let him know, ‘Hey we are friends, this is your primary toy, and I’m the only one giving you your toy.’ I started giving him commands and learning basic obedience with him, such as sit, lay down and heel. I did these exercises to gauge where he was in training and obedience. After that, he and I started more advance training, like laying him down and walking away to test his obedience.

What is he best at?

- Toro is a character. He is a dog that isn’t a ‘push button dog.’  What I mean by ‘push button dog’ is that he knows all the tasks, but isn’t quick on everything, so I have to stay consistent with him or he’ll forget things. With all this in mind, I’d still say basic obedience is his best characteristic.

What is his biggest challenge?

- When I teach him a new task, or we get a task down, that doesn’t necessarily mean I can go weeks without preforming that same task and have him still be sharp at it. With Toro, I have to stay consistent with him on a day to day basis.

What is his personality like?

-Toro is a down-leash dog. For example, if you’re a mellow, calm and collective person, your dog is going to be mellow, calm and collective. For me, I’m pretty high-driven, flamboyant and excited – I like to get into it. He is the same. I know what to do to get him amped up, and that’s kind of what he and I do, we both feed off each other in that way.

How do you like working with him?

- I enjoy it, like I said, Toro is a character. Every day, when I pull him from his kennel, he always gets excited. We have responsibilities, not just to our dog, but all the other dogs, and sometimes we have to pass by our dog in order to clean out the kennel. Right when I’m about to pull him, he’ll go nuts, start spinning and going crazy. And that’s what makes our relationship so great. He definitely keeps me on my toes, and helps me learn a lot. Overall, it has been a good ride.