I first met Rick Smith and, dad, Delmar in the then brand spankin’ new Lion Country Supply store. Rick was here for a training seminar to be held next day. Delmar was holding court in the store, signing books, answering questions and so forth. Suddenly the front door burst open and a guy walked in—I mean towed in—hanging on for dear life to a really big, wild-eyed, tongue-lolling, slobbering Setter. Skidding to a stop, he handed the lead to Delmar said (way too loud) “You’re the expert see what you can do with this SOB, obviously I ain’t doin’ somethin’ right!”
Without further ado Delmar removed the lead, slipped the noose of what looked to be a piggin’ string, the sort used by working cowboys for a variety of tasks and, of course, used by rodeo cowboys to tie up steers and such. (I learned later Delmar’s version is a bit different, a handy training device the Smith’s call a Command Lead or, my favorite handle, Wonder String). Anyway he slipped the noose up tight behind the dog’s ears, started marching up and down the isles, meanwhile tugging the noose quickly straight up and down with short, quick lifts. In no time flat he had the Setter walking quietly at his side.
After a couple more laps around the store, he walked over to the owner handed over the Wonder String said, “Mister, ya’ll got ya a fine lookin’ dog, a little more work he’ll make ya a fine bird dog.” I think the owner replied “I’ll be damned” but can’t be sure since he spoke in almost a whisper.
To make a long story short I plunked down whatever the going rate was at the time ($19.95 currently) and have been wondering ever since how I ever trained a bird dog without my Wonder String. And like the Smith’s I use mine not just for basic obedience work but regularly throughout the year and the careers of even my oldest, bestest dogs. And like working cowpokes I’ve found the strings useful as emergency tie outs, to open stubborn gates, to snub up a dog needs worked on but doesn’t particularly cotton the idea and…Well, by now I’m sure you get my drift.