Wednesday, June 25, 2014

My Kuwait Dog Obedience School Experience

I got Mikey back this weekend from obedience school. 

Peter the dog trainer (GSD_Q8 Kennel in Kabd – 67755959) was amazing.  They are a wonderful group of dog breeders/trainers/friends who have an obvious love for dogs and animals.  They also raise birds;  and have cats on the property that show absolutely zero fear in the face of even the biggest, meanest dogs there for training.  They use one of the fearless cats to socialize the dogs (the cat is never in danger).  I saw it with my own eyes – and Mikey seems completely indifferent to cats now; as well as other big dogs.

I was welcomed by the kennel to go and visit as often as I wanted, so I went there not only to see Mikey, but to receive owner training (train-the-trainer).  I saw a lot of other healthy dogs being trained as well as some absolutely gorgeous German Shepherd puppies that they have for sale.  This, with the added bonus of true Kuwaiti-style hospitality:  Turkish coffee or tea served with interesting and funny conversations, often with other customers and buyers; all centering around the dogs.

I brought my Irish cousin with me on one visit.  Cuz is very perceptive and caught on immediately, “It is easy to see that the trainer likes the dog, but more importantly, your dog loves that trainer.” Admittedly, I was jealous.  For the time Mikey spent at the school, I left him in Peter’s competent hands and I didn’t feel like Mikey was my dog.  (I observed that Peter, a big/tuff looking Slovakian guy, seemed sad to see my boy going home.)

The kennel actually told me that they had a buyer from Saudi Arabia who had offered 1,000KD (Mashallah) for Mikey.  It’s never going to happen and it kind of made me feel “removed” – for lack of a better term – from Mike.  It was a nice compliment, but something that I don’t even want to think about (Where would he go?  Who would he be with?  What would they feed him?  Where would he sleep?  It would be a lifetime of endless torture and worry for me.). The other compliment they gave me was that he is show-quality and would probably place very well if I ever wanted to get him into competition.  Niiiiiiice!  (Not bad for a discount-puppy that his previous owner didn’t think was a pretty dog!  In.Your.Face!)

I took him from Kabd to the groomers at PetZone (no appointments required/taken).   He wasn’t “house ready” and needed a good perfumed bath and manicure/pedicure.   I also had no idea that there was a flea and tick problem in Kuwait!  (In almost 20 years here, I’ve never experienced it, but that’s mostly because Desert Dawg hasn’t frolicked much on a farm.)  Frontline usually works pretty well (had it on him at the school), but these horrible things seem to have had a resistance.  Guess they are a different breed of insects  in Kabd.  The PetZone groomer was very thorough and did a good job (for only 12KD). I was really apprehensious  about how Mike would react to other pets at the groomers.  Previously at IVH, he went berserk and embarrassed me when around other dogs.  But, he did so well this weekend.  He was quiet and calm even around the Rottweilers and other German Shepherds, cats, and little dogs.  With the exception of one time when a chihuahua ran up and started barking at him;  Mikey wanted to play and barked back.  Overall, it was a major obedience improvement.
Only on the day that I took him home did he feel like my dog again.  He hasn’t taken his eyes off me since he got in the car and he is constantly at my heel.  (He’s also sleeping very close to me as if to make sure that I’m there.)  The first day that he was back, he slept quietly on the sofa with his paw covering my hand as if to say, “I don’t believe you’re really here.”  He is fer sure  a mama’s boy. He still runs around like a puppy (he is, at only 8 months although he looks like a big, fierce grown dog).   

I love that Mikey has become a calmer version of himself; although still as cunning, cleaver and mischievous as ever.  He is a different dog.  He no longer chews my shoes and my bras seem to be out of danger (he formerly stole them and then hid them while I was getting ready for work because he knew well that I wouldn’t leave the house without it).  Last night, he got a hold of a paper napkin and proceeded to try to rip it into shreds (he loves eating tissue!).  I grabbed it from him before it was too bad and hid it behind me on the sofa.  A few minutes later, he picked up a toy and threw it at me.  When I went to pick it up, the little devil grabbed the paper napkin again!  I don’t know who is training who.

"Hi.  My name is Mike. Can I get you a drink?"
(Bartending skills!  Awesome!)

Yesterday, I went to see my group of friends who I originally got Mikey from (Mikey lay quietly on the floor during the entire visit).  It was yet further/firmer validation that I made the right choice in keeping Mikey.  The guy that I got Mikey from (PuppyBoy as I called him  in previous posts – for a completely different reason) had Mikey in a cage, in cold windy November,  without any blankets or water when I first saw him. Mikey was only about 6 weeks old.    I offered to take him home and house train him.  Months (and vet bills and vaccinations later), PuppyBoy still wasn’t coming to see him and it was questionable about whether or not he even wanted Mikey back.  So, I put money in his hand and basically told him that Mikey is my dog.  My friends (his uncle) told me yesterday that since then, PuppyBoy has had 2 other dogs; and that both had died “mysteriously”.  Mysteriously translates to no vaccinations (parvo and distemper are really prevalent in Kuwait), or no water in 120 degree heat, or whatever other negligent acts that he has perpetrated on those poor dogs (where, in other parts of the world he would be prosecuted for!).  I am SO THANKFUL that God brought Mikey to me.  I saved him and he has in several ways saved me.

In the 7 months that I have had Mikey, I have made numerous new friends – all because of him.  I’ve been introduced to a world that I never knew existed in Kuwait; the German Shepherd and dog breeder/owner/trainer community in Kuwait (and it is REALLY extensive).  I’ve built relationships with kind-hearted and generous people like Peter and Ahmed and Abdulrahman and GSD_Q8 Kennel, and with their friends like Bader who runs a group of German Shepherd owners and enthusiasts.  I’ve also met other German Shepherd owners like Angel and her fiancé and started what I know will be long-lasting friendships.  ....All because of one really cool, handsome dog. 
God always works in ways which you never could have imagined.  It has all been a fabulous blessing.

For info/photos/videos on GSD_Q8 Kennel: 
Add them on Instagram  @bu_Noooo7 or @k9_peter_q8 


Anonymous said...

Good for you , you are reaping the fruit of your good deed .

Anonymous said...

hello desert girl, i have a golden retriever 1 year old,is there any chance that he can be in their obedience class as what your mikey did? because from the name itself GSD_ Q8 they will only accept GSD. just asking and trying my luck.

Desert Girl said...

Hi Anonymous Oct 16. Write to me at and I will give you some recommendations. Depends on what kind of training, but yes Peter does teach other types of dogs.

Saud Karam said...

Wish for you and your dog all the best ����������

Desert Girl said...

Thanks, Saud! Nice to hear from you.

Adam Musfi said...

Hello, stumbled across this article as i was inquiring about the training at GSD_Q8, and though well written, left me with a few questions. what kind of training is offered there, and which did Mike go through, as well as how long is their program. I ask because i myself am the owner of Dobby, an 8 month old workline german shepherd, and though he is at times a very good boy, he has several behavioral issues. Thank you so much for your help.


Desert Girl said...

Hi Adam.

I should have removed this post. I have tried to speak to these trainers since I brought Mikey there and they ignore me or pretend that they don't know me when I see them. I don't know why because I was a customer and obviously tried to assist them by posting this. I even sent messages apologizing if I had offended them in some way. Okey dokey...

Any 8 month old puppy is going to have behavioral issues. He's still a puppy.

I'm not keen on most of the supposed "trainers" in Kuwait. 98% don't have any formal training or certification. You have to leave your dog for about a month and he may come back infested with ticks or fleas, staying in a dirty and poorly (if at all) air conditioned room; and at the end - not learn a damn thing.

The best advice I (as a dog owner and not in any way certified or formally educated) can give you is this: Your dog will respond best to it's owner's commands. The best training you can receive is someone willing to train you and then you have to do your own homework with your dog. Repetition is key.

But, if you still want to have someone train your dog for obedience, I recommend people who work with work line GSDs (because they have different behavior issues than show line or other breeds). K9 Center is good. Stano is good (from what I hear although I can't speak from personal experience). I can give you contact information if you want.

Desert Girl said...

Oh Adam - K9 Center is Saud Karam from the comments above.