Founded in 2017, Lee Abbot turned his passion for dogs into a full ﬂedged business. Last Line Canine has now trained hundreds of dogs across the country and built with it a pedigree of knowledge, discipline and strong bonds.
Growing up in Mississippi, Lee’s aﬃnity for dogs started early with hunting hounds and his childhood German Shepherds. Prior to joining the Army in 2005, Lee was a reserve police oﬃcer in his hometown. Being able to work with the K9’s was where his passion grew and his love for the intelligence in the shepherd breed gained traction.
The Training Process
You’ve all seen the movies showing the bravery and dedication of military working dogs with special operations forces working abroad. But little is known about the time and money that is involved with training that special animal. Similar to a child, these hard working and intelligent dogs need constant love, care and guidance in order to build a bond and perform their job eﬃciently. A neglected dog with this type of drive will become a nuisance and start destroying things around the house. Lack of socializing can often lead a K9 to become aggressive and a danger to others around it. The average cost of a base level training in obedience is upwards of 20k dollars. So you can now get a mild understanding of what it takes to move from house pet to working dog.
Lee believes that training is not founded on treats or toys as a reward. The use of treats or toys are not necessarily ‘wrong,’ but building a bond and having the dog work for you is his proven process. You will not always have treats on you and you will rarely carry a Kong to the restaurant. The use of a ‘happy party’ is a preferred option. A ‘happy party’ is simply loving, petting and giving positive aﬃrmation to the dog when they do what you ask. This method of positive reinforcement will only continue to strengthen the relationship, and maintain consistency when using commands. After all, why would you not want to praise your best friend for a job well done?
Lee’s program includes dynamic agility exercises, bite work, rappelling and familiarization with outside distractions. Just after separating from the military, Lee went to the Army’s K9 tracking and detection handler program. This program extensively trains not just your dog, but the handler as well. After completion, Lee was able to diversify his oﬀerings to his clients and train across the entire spectrum of the dog’s abilities. It’s this diverse skill-set in the animal that keeps Special Operations using MPC’s (Multi Purpose Canine) on most missions. To have a dog that can ﬁnd explosives, ﬁnd the enemy and attack them is instrumental to saving lives.
The Value of Diet
The least known and most important factor of owning one of these amazing animals is what we feed them. There are huge misconceptions and bad information on the canine diet. The misconceptions often harms the dog and leads to a shorter and un-healthy lifestyle. I asked Lee to discuss the diet he uses to maintain a high level of performance amongst his K9’s.
I strongly believe that the prey model raw diet is the optimal diet for canine health and longevity. As a working dog and pet dog breeder, raiser, trainer, and owner of Last Line Canine, I have been using this diet method for years now with many diﬀerent breeds, and have had excellent results. I am conﬁdent that although feeding a prey model raw diet can seem more expensive than commercial kibble in the beginning, the cost savings on teeth cleanings and other veterinary visits will signiﬁcantly make up for the diﬀerence in initial feeding costs. My professional opinion is also that the canine’s mood and behavior are signiﬁcantly better while eating a prey model raw diet opposed to a commercial kibble diet.
Raw fed canines also stay more hydrated than commercial kibble fed canines. The moisture content of a raw diet is drastically higher than that of a commercial kibble diet, resulting in the consumption of far less water. I have also noticed that raw fed canines defecate far less as well. This is because the canine’s body is actually utilizing the majority of what it is taking in. So, there is far less waste to come out. The stools are also ﬁrmer, which improves emptying of the anal glands. It also reduces incidences of anal gland expression in the home. Dogs need approximately 80% muscle meat, 10% bone and 10% secreting organ. There’s numerous things that can be supplemented in with the dogs food that can also improve its overall health. To name a few, turmeric, apple cider vinegar, fresh cut raw garlic, coconut oil, cinnamon, black pepper, and many others. Essentially, bottom line, commercial kibble is nothing more than a supplement or last case scenario survival food.
For years people have been told that garlic is harmful to dogs as well as raw eggs and cinnamon. But properly understanding the animal’s diet is key to ensuring your dog lives a long and prosperous life. There are a few ways to get your dog on this diet. One method is to visit your local butcher and ask for the scraps and organs that most consumers aren’t buying. You can then add to the meal as you see ﬁt to make up for the rest of the needs. Other brands such as Primal sell patties that resemble a hamburger that include all of the types of meat and ingredients ground up and frozen into portions.
Some small shops are opening up that oﬀer this type of delivery/pick-up program as well, but they’re few and far between. There is a large push from former military and canine handlers to stop civilians from purchasing these animals due to their lack of understanding of how much work is needed. When the owners can no longer handle their new, cool-looking military dog, they relinquish them to the pound and put them up for adoption. If you want to take a step towards owning one of these amazing breeds, you need to do your research and ensure you have enough time to dedicate to training and feeding them appropriately. These are family members. Treat them as such.