A Tribute to a Remarkable Man – Captain Arthur J. Haggerty December 3, 1931 - July…

A Tribute to a Remarkable Man – Captain Arthur J. Haggerty December 3, 1931 - July 3, 2006

By: Staff  Date: 01/7/2012 Category: | Canine Issues | Uncategorized |

Our dogs and dog owners everywhere lost a tremendous advocate on July 3, 2006, when Captain Arthur J. Haggerty - also known as "The Captain" or just "Cap" to his friends - passed away from cancer at the age of 74.

"Cap" was loved by those who knew him and understood his passion for dogs. He had a penchant for "telling it like it is" and was never afraid to speak his mind, even when it was considered "politically incorrect".  In my mind - there are far too many people who are afraid to stick to their convictions.  You never had to worry about that with "Cap."  His first and foremost goal was for the benefit of DOGS.

I wish I had the opportunity to meet him much sooner than I did - and - had the opportunity to learn more from him when I had the chance. At the time that I first met his daughter, Babette, "Cap" was still living in Los Angeles and I was living in Florida.  "Cap" came to Florida to visit his daughter, and while here, held seminars, which I attended at every opportunity!

I purchased my first Golden Retriever in 1996 before I understood the importance of buying from a responsible breeder who breeds for health, temperament, etc., and before I understood anything about training a dog – let alone how to go about training a dog that was a challenge.  And WHAT a challenge "Honey" (affectionately known as "Attila the Honey") WAS!  More on this later!

I know that some of you are wondering - "HOW" can a Golden Retriever be a "challenge" to train - a breed that desires nothing more than to "please" their owner?

But when I brought Honey home at 12 weeks of age she was already more than I could handle. I was the typical uneducated dog owner.  House breaking was difficult. Yes, I bought a crate but it was for an adult-sized Golden rather than a puppy; and my hands and arms were black and blue from her puppy nipping. She "chewed" anything and everything in sight unless she was crated. This continued until she was 3 years of age!  In addition, at 10 months of age she was diagnosed with hip dysplasia.

My boss had used Cap's daughter, Babette, to train his Golden and was extremely happy with the results.  So that is who I decided to contact for "help with Honey."

From the very beginning, Babette taught me a number of techniques that worked for Honey.  What impressed me about these techniques (techniques Babette learned from her dad), was the vast variety of methods that were available.  Yes, there were "corrections" (considered politically "incorrect" by some trainers today) - but also lots of praise - sometimes (but not often) food - and - (heaven forbid) at times, even a chain collar!  I never used an e-collar on "Honey" but in recent years had an opportunity to attend an e-collar demonstration.  Used correctly, it was amazing to see the difference in the demonstration dogs after just 15 minutes of training. The e-collar was used on the vibrate mode only so there was no shock, and the results were nothing short of amazing.

To be honest, had I not stumbled across Babette, but instead had used a trainer with only one or two methods of training to recommend, I sincerely doubt that Honey would still be in my home today. When we started training, Honey chewed everything in sight; she nipped, was difficult to house train, barked incessantly, jumped on everyone, pulled anyone trying to walk her down the street, even knocking me down while trying to visit “her” neighbor! She is now 10 1/2 years old and largely because of the training we received she has turned into the best possible dog!

"Cap" once told me that the more "tools" that a trainer has available - the better.  The example he gave me was the builder who was trying to build a house.  He could possibly build it with “three or four tools” - but probably "not very effectively."   “Any tool can be used inappropriately”, he said – “but used correctly, many can be very effective.” After seeing the results that Cap's many training methods had on "Honey", I'm a believer!

I'm sorry for those of you who never had an opportunity to meet and get to know this remarkable man.  To have actually known him and seen him in action helping dogs and helping their owners was a great experience and a great honor.

Born in the Bronx December 3, 1931, he always knew that he wanted to work with dogs. He made that dream a reality.

He was a commanding officer of the K9 Corps in the United States Army. During his time in the Army, he served two tours of duty during the Korean Conflict for which he was awarded the Bronze Star and a Senatorial Commendation.  An Army Ranger, he also received three Purple Hearts amongst other awards.

Returning to New York City in 1961, he created what became a New York City institution. Captain Haggerty's School for Dogs trained dogs for Brooke Shields, Liza Minelli, Henry Kissinger, Elijah Wood, Leona Helmsley, Elizabeth Mc Govern, Hugh Hefner, Flip Wilson and many others. Using many training methods that he personally developed, he also supplied dogs for the Viet Nam War. His theatrical dog agency trained and supplied dogs for All My Children, The Guiding Light, the Broadway production of "Annie" and countless commercials. He also pioneered David Letterman's Stupid Pet Tricks where he first appeared 26 times!
Working with the theatrical dogs he became an actor quite by accident.  While supplying dogs for Burt Reynolds’ Shamus, he was hired on the spot to play a bad guy.  More ‘bad guy with dogs’ roles continued.  He then began getting parts sans dogs.  He appeared in Annie Hall, Married to the Mob and Honeymoon in Vegas.           
He has written over 1,000 articles dealing with dogs; has had three of his books published.  Dog Tricks, How to Get Your Pet into Show Business and How to Teach Your Dog to Talk.  His list of awards is endless, most recently he was inducted into the International Association of Canine Professionals Hall of Fame.  

Rest easy "Cap".  Know that you were loved and will be missed by both family and friends (both four-legged and two-legged) and that you "made a difference" in this world. 

Diane Makinney
List Owner
Florida Pet Law Email List

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