This is Max, a purebred Blue Merle Australian Shepard. I got Max from a rancher about 60 miles away. I wanted a purebred, papered dog because I wanted to try my hand at dog shows. I was able to sit with the whole litter of puppies for about two hours. I picked Max because he would wander away and check things. Then, he would come back and check in with me. That showed me that Max had bravery and curiosity, but that he was also tuned into me. He was 9 weeks old when I brought him home.
At the time I owned a health food store in Bakersfield, CA. Max came to work with me every day. From the first day I had him we started learning. He picked up housebreaking almost immediately. He also pick up “sit” and “stay”. Max is very food motivated and easy to train. At one point we thought about joining Search and Rescue and we trained at ground scenting. I would use an herb tea bag to lay the scent and test Max to see if he could follow the trail. It was a great game and easy for Max. Before long, I would have friends lay a trail and see if Max could find them.
When we started doing Obedience Shows, Max placed in the first three out of four competitions. He earned his Novice Obedience very quickly. Max loved going to shows and saw them as a reason to play. When we moved up a level, I got a little intense. Max could feel it. He would start barking at competitions. No matter what I did he would bark. I nicknamed him Max Barker. He could do all the exercises perfectly in practice, but at competitions we were disqualified for the barking. Finally, I realized if it wasn’t fun for Max Barker, it wasn’t fun for me.
A Day in the Life of Max Barker
A “Day in the Life” with Max. Max went to work with me every day for 12 years. Every morning before we opened, we would go for a walk. Then he would help me open the store by getting the keys. He would entertain the customers and help me around the store. One of his favorites was helping me take out the trash. Max would carry the boxes out for me. Come watch Max do some amazing things. He’s a very smart dog.
When I made this video I used some copyright music. I have re-done the video without copyrighted music. You kinda miss the feel of it, but you can still see what an amazing dog Max Barker is.
Smokey The Trail Dog
Smokey the Trail Dog was our very first adult dog. You know, the one you get when you are finally out on your own. He was a Queensland Heeler Australian Shepard cross. Some people would call him a McNabb, but I’m not sure if he was. I got him from a private party that just owned the mother.
Smokey was a great dog. He earned the subtitle, “The Trail Dog”, on one of our camping trips. Ranae had sewn him his own pack out of denim to carry his food. He was so proud to carry it around. We spent a lot of time walking. One of the trips was to Summit Lake, near the Golden Trout Wilderness. The hike is up to 10,000 feet. Smokey did great. He loved running through the snow that was still there in early spring.
This is some “vintage” video of me and Smokey from 25 years ago. At a park one day a friend encouraged me to teach Smokey how to catch a Frisbee. I had trained Smokey in obedience, so this was something we could do to have fun. He picked it up quickly. One of his first competitions was at a Chili-Cookoff many years ago. Frisbee dogs were the entertainment. It was a distance throwing competition. My throwing ability was limited, I’m just not that athletic. I had a world champion Frisbee throw for me. He said, “How far do you want me to throw it?”
I said, “As far as you can!”
He looked at me with a raised eyebrow and said, “I can through it nearly a hundred yards. He’ll never catch it.” I was young and cocky. My dog was young and cocky. I told him to go for it.
Smokey took off and he let that Frisbee fly. Smokey tracked it all the way and caught it on the dead run winning easily with a catch of 93 yards! We want to many more competitions and exhibitions. We developed a little freestyle routine. The unique thing about Smokey was he had been kicked by our horse at a young age and only had one eye. He never let it slow him down. We showed in the Rose Bowl in Pasadena and in Candlestick Park during a Forty-Niners game. We also did many shows for schools, churches, and county fairs.
Smokey was a great Frisbee dog and this video chronicles some of our experiences over his ten year lifespan. He was a much better “catcher” than I was a “thrower”, but he never complained – not even once. Sorry about the poor video quality. This was taken from a video tape that was, like me very, very old.