I have been training dogs for over 35 years (I started when I was Four…I’m lying.)

I have dozens of written requests for me to post old News articles and Media stuff so they can make comments about my perm. I look like Dave Lennox’s gay cousin.

Fine, go ahead and laugh, but at the time, I thought I looked great. And besides, this dew was easy to take care of–that is, after you had to sit through a four hour process that involved gas masks and checking your scalp every few seconds to monitor your smoldering follicles, and then spending the next week with a taste in your mouth like you are sucking on a handful of nickels. The big plus was that women loved the rough-and-tumble, rough-around-the-edges artificially tousled look.

If I had it to do over, I would definitely lose the perm, and my other big regret: the-tucking-in-of-the-pants. Especially shorts. When this look comes back (and you know it will–with a vengance) I will be ready. I know exactly where they have stored the chemicals (in a nevada mine) used in the process, and the half-life expiration date is midway into the next millenium.

But what the hell does this have to do with “In The News?”

My point exactly.

Walking Off Lead with the World’s #1 Off Lead Dog Trainer

David Dikeman

by James Lech

I had the recent pleasure and blessing of spending a couple of days in Kansas City, Missouri, USA with the world famous and number 1 Off Lead Dog Trainer from the hit training system called Command Performance that is being used for over 20 years and by millions.

During my time with him I got to spend one on one time, getting to really understand the aspects of this great man and the diversification that he holds in his life. Now what is a Dog Shaman (Dog Behavioral Specialist) like myself doing hanging out with a dog trainer you might ask? Well my skills and abilities are naturally made up of a symposium of different skills and knowledge references and David’s system was the first system of many that got me onto mastering dog’s behaviors. To date I still use his techniques to help clients help master the walk with their dogs. I love it because within 5 min-20 min, a dog that was impossible to walk is now walking next to or behind the owner. Instead of that very same owner being dragged down the street. I also tell clients that once you have mastered Dog Psychology, dog training is extremely quick and efficient afterwards. So you can imagine how much faster and proactive the results are with my client’s dogs once I have applied Dog Psychology along with the Command Performance system.

Background on David Dikeman:

David is a man with wisdom and experience that has lived many life times. A man who has had a roller coaster ride of ups and downs but is still up and shining. He started training dogs in 1975, when he got his first dog. Like most other trainers and humans, he attended a local obedience class. Before that, he worked with almost every small wild animal he could get his hands on, rescue, rehabilitate and nurse back to health. From squirrels to snakes, turtles, rabbits, birds, ferrets, skunks, chipmunks, and even a fox. For years he kept nagging his mother for a dog until the amount of wild creatures became too much for her senses to handle and she allowed him to get a dog. His dog that started it all was a Doberman pup in 1976. A powerful breed for many people to handle but at that young age he was already wise enough to understand the importance of challenging a dog and meeting it’s breed requirements. David joined a Schultzhund club and worked on Tracking, Obedience, and protection training. Later on due to his personality and ability to see improvements, in 1979 David started his own training and consultation business. He was then called in to train for some fortune 500 clients and developed a reputation for quality work and being able to get results with “hard cases” and aggressive dogs that would have otherwise been destroyed if they could not demonstrate that they had been rehabilitated. Several judges sent dogs to him in court cases of dog bites for his recommendations.

Now David also understood the importance of an education and that in life, not everything is about dogs, so he attended Wichita State University with a major in Radio, TV and Film. The twist though was that his dogs attended his classes with him. In time, his dog classes were growing in popularity, and he was doing public demonstrations at local functions, and regularly featured on news programs and newspaper articles and then contracted to handle security dogs and do crowd control by the Sheriff Department. His popularity grew even further as he then appeared on several national TV appearances on national syndicated news shows, and the famous Late Night with David Letterman, in New York City.

Basically, one to two decades ago, he was the Cesar Milan of America. He had several of his own wealthy clients offering to back him up on his own video training system, and after he had formulated his plan of what he wanted to do, he took on a silent partner and began production in 1989 of David Dikeman’s Command Performance Dog Training System. In order to keep costs down and maintain a hands on approach to exactly what he wanted to show the audience, he wrote, directed, and even played all the music on the videos. He was so involved in the editing that during our meeting, even after nearly 20 years of not seeing any of the footage or the video, he can still rehearse line for line, picture by picture. Truly amazing!

For the filming of the training system he held open auditions to find the “worlds Worst Dogs” to use in his video and when you watch the videos, you will see exactly what I’m talking about! He finished the Training video and its marketing infomercial in late 1989, and the show started airing in early 1990. From 1990 to 2000, the program was the third longest consecutive airing infomercial in TV history. They filmed 5 different infomercials, and the show was aired worldwide in 13 languages. A truly remarkable success with over 2 million legal copies sold and then another couple of illegal copies that got made at the turn of the century.

Due to the growing success he then started doing his own segments on the shopping channels Home Shopping Network, and then followed by QVC in both the US and Canada. He did all these shows live with dogs that belonged to his clients and students. So there were no camera tricks or special editing effects. It was all hard and real footage, with real dogs.

Experiencing the man from TV:

Having the invitation to go meet with and spend a couple of days with David was a dream come true as he has been a great mentor and influential member in my life thanks to his system. I was greatly drawn to his boldness and paradigm breaking motto: “If your dog needs a leash, then he’s not trained”. At first I thought that David was going to be one of these extreme dog kind of training people. The same kind that you get to see here in South Africa. However, I was so pleasantly surprised to see a man walking without a dog, and not giving the appearance at all of an obsessive extreme dog person. He was a real human being, well a large muscular human being, with immense talents, skills and a really successful entrepreneur. We joked how he was a real ladies man in his youth and had the penthouse, fancy cars etc… But then he met his wonderful, intelligent and super fit wife that is 20 years his junior. This girl runs her own service business, is in the intelligence game in the Army where she kicks the crap out of other guys when it comes to fitness with her coming out on top. A real GI Jane kind of girl but minus the shaved head. Actually, when meeting her you would think that she was a super model back in the day. So well done to David to finding love in a young, fit, business centered woman. David is also a certified NLP (Neural Linguistics Programmer) practitioner, as well as a licensed master Hypnotist (Trained personally by Richard Bandler, the co-creator of NLP). During our discussions he explained how he uses the same techniques applied in Neural Linguistics to that applied to the dogs during the Command Performance and dog training. What I loved about the Command Performance philosophy was that the dog ended up training itself, the human was actually the tool. The more the human played the role as a tool and not the commander of the lesson, the faster the results and change in the dog became.

I was blown away in our high IQ debates over different topics and how David held such a vast knowledge in different domains and was really able to “bring it” when it came to debates. David definitely has a dry and intelligent sense of humor and may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but if you are able to appreciate it, understand it and keep up with it, you will have hours and hours of fun with a guy that has a hard exterior but, a soft sensitive interior.

During our time he confessed that the past few decades he has been working on other projects outside of dog training for the last few years, but realized that he really missed it and loved it, and that he is ready to update his Command Performance system to better reflect the advances and new techniques that he is developing.

Things to look forward to in the future:

After discussions with David, prospects are favorable for future collaborations. David is looking to come attend some of my national road shows next year and host some of his Command Performance Off Lead dog training workshops for the public.

He is also looking to come stay at my new center for 2 months a year and train up dogs from around the country that would like to be personally trained by him at a fraction of the cost of what he charges his celebrity clients in the US. He is also looking to do some footage of cases and material for his new Command Performance online training system.

This will enable a greater boost to Command Performance by David Dikeman system, where after 20 years it is still recognized as one of the best and most effective off lead dog training systems out there. You may contact me if you would like to purchase copies of the Command Performance system now in DVD format— thank goodness, the ability to have chapter selections instead of rewinding a VHS tape are amazing.

You may also contact me about getting David onto your iPhone or Smartphone so that you can have him with you by your side while you are out and and about training your dog with the Command Performance system

This is James signing off after my experience of meeting a great teacher and mentor of mine.