Monday, August 10, 2009

Diane Rich & Chase and Fraser

Who is in the photo at right?

My name is Diane Rich and I am a dog trainer in the greater Seattle area. Dog training is mostly people training and as a former teacher I enjoy also teaching the human or pet parent. My business includes both obedience training and behavior modification. I started my business in Los Angeles in the early 80's. I moved up to Seattle in the early 90's where I started another training business. When asked what is the most difficult dog to train, my answer is always, it's not usually the dog that presents the most challenge.

I would like to introduce you to my "boyz." Chase is the Black Doberman with cropped ears. His breeder, like many Doberman breeders, crop the ears before the dog is either picked up or shipped out. Chase is 4 years old and landed at Seatac at 9 weeks of age from a breeder in Montana. Fraser, is my Red Doberman who also found his way to my heart at 9 weeks of age. I know Fraser's coat is brown in color but his flavor is called a red. You can see his ears are natural. Fraser is almost 12, so although he is "grandpa" he remains a very active senior boy.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

I am a morning person and am in my office (home based) first thing in the morning. Maybe second thing as preparing fresh coffee in the morning is usually the first thing. Fraser joins me in my office and relaxes on his very comfy bed. I have dog beds in most rooms of my home. Chase is either under my desk thinking he still fits or laying next to my office chair.

What's brewing?

My preferred bean at the moment, and yes I am a coffee snob living in Seattle, is from a company called Peet's. I buy whole bean called Ethiopian fancy and grind the beans each and every morning. My very large mug filled to the top accompanies me to my office where I am glued to my computer for a couple hours each morning. I like large mugs so I don't have to make countless trips back to the kitchen. I drink it black with a little splash of soy.

Any goodies to go with the coffee?

I tend not to eat in the morning during the work week, something I am trying to change. Sometimes a banana is my "goodie" for this morning ritual.

Any treat for Chase and Fraser on this occasion?

My dogs usually get breakfast around 8 a.m. They love breakfast, no matter what is being served that morning. I am one to cook some whole foods for them, such as organic turkey breast which is added to their breakfast bowl. During the summer, I go to our local farmer's markets and buy fresh organic fruit. Blueberries are also added to their breakfast. Sometimes they get scrambled eggs as a little addition to their kibble. In the fall, they LOVE sharing my daily apple.

How did your dogs come to be associated with you?

When my German Shepherd passed, the hole in my heart was too large to immediately go out and get another dog. Took awhile. In my local search for another Shepherd, I was disappointed with what I was seeing. Also, I could not seem to look at another Shepherd without an emotional response and then decided I did not want to put a German Shepherd into the position of replacing my boy. A good friend had Dobermans that I trained and I thought, I know the breed well, imported them from Germany at one time, so ended up connecting with a breeder and got Fraser.

As Dobes are not known for long lives, when he was about 8 I thought I better add another dog to our world as Fraser is an amazing mentor, great with pups and all animals and he could help me train the pup.

How did Chase and Fraser get their names?

Fraser was named in honor of my German Shepherd that preceded him in my heart. He has far surpassed any expectation I could ever have of a dog and has spoiled me forever. Chase was with me for a few days until I found a name that fit. He is a brilliant dog and the most affectionate dog that has ever graced my world.

You are known for your Basic Training Philosophy: "Catch your dog doing something right!" What did you catch your dogs doing right?

I believe in setting dogs up for success, be it mine or my client's dogs. I am so used to them doing so many things right it is challenging to pinpoint one thing.

You've trained therapy pets. Are your dogs suited for that kind of task?

Both of my dogs are registered therapy pets and visit care giving facilities such as hospitals and nursing homes. Currently, Fraser is working with me at a special camp for medically ill children.

Please tell us a bit about Fraser and Chase's relationship with other dogs you've trained.

My dogs meet almost all of my client's dogs and become their mentors. Fraser helps with aggressive dogs and very shy dogs and meets all the pups at my Puppy School classes. Chase is the camp counselor at Camp Fraser as I board many of my client's dogs. Their most recent buddy was Dubs, the University of Washington mascot. I am the official trainer and I guess my boyz are his official training buddies. Dubs has been here for daycare and for boarding training. I was part of the process at U.W. to recruit student handlers who will manage Dubs at games and events and Chase was Dub's stand in when we interviewed the handlers. Camp Fraser has been host to a variety of breeds from Yorkies to Great Danes.

What's each dog's proudest moment so far?

There are so many. Fraser has helped me start all the therapy programs in the Seattle area. We started a visiting program at Overlake hospital in Bellevue, Camp Korey in Carnation which is part of Paul Newman's hole in the wall camps and we will be starting another new program for a specialty school in Bellevue. This school caters to children with some emotional challenges. We visit nursing homes and retirement centers. Chase started visiting the hospital when he was 10 weeks old. Both make me proud daily with their love, devotion, silliness and brains.

And their most embarrassing moments?

They both have embarrassed me, on many occasions.

Visit Diane Rich's website to learn more about her work...and about Chase and Fraser.

--Marshal Zeringue