About John Rice
IT ALL STARTED WHEN. . .
In May 1993, John Rice attended a dog training seminar taught by Suzanne Clothier in Naperville, Illinois. Little did he know that by enrolling his K-9 police dog, a Golden Retriever named Molson, in the seminar that he would ultimately end up having to explain who he was on an Internet Webpage, or that he would end up marrying the speaker or buy a farm in upstate NY or end up with an Umbrella Cockatoo who adores him! But then, life is funny that way.
How John got from that seminar to this website is a long story. But here's the important facts for those wondering why they should buy a booklet on tracking, take private tracking lessons, or attend a tracking seminar from a man who has not bothered to put an AKC tracking title on his own dogs (yet).
By 1986, John had formed a K-9 SAR/Police Unit for his boss - the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County, IL. Consisting of himself and one other handler, the unit quickly boasted 3 dogs, all Golden Retrievers, and all skilled in: tracking, trailing, airscenting (specific & non-specific), evidence, cadaver, water & building searches (and certified by the North American Police Work Dog Association). Tracking judge Ted Hoesel, asked to evaluate the unit in 1989, was stunned to learn that these dogs had proficiency in each of the scent work styles, and that this had been accomplished in 2 hour weekly training sessions using only the two handlers and an occasional "victim" they could con into participating. His comment? "This isn't possible - you can't teach scent specific tracking using only two people!" Fortunately, no one had informed the dogs of this.
From 1986 to his early retirement in 1995, this all Golden unit was the brunt of many jokes from other police units who took pride in their Bloodhounds, German Shepherds & Rottweilers. This led to some amusing moments, such as the search for a shallow grave where a policeman commented that they should have called in "real dogs, like the ones who were on the Brown's Fried Chicken case [where the dogs were searching for dismembered body parts]." He was then politely informed that these sweet, occasionally goofy Goldens were those "real dogs."
- It is 2 AM on a cold, rainy night
- You and your dog are pulled from a deep sleep with no warning
- The "scent article" has been handled by several people before being handed to you OR
- Your scent article is the driver's side door handle on a car, or the driver's seat, or a shirt button, or nothing at all
- 50 well meaning searchers have been combing & re-combing your track area for hours
- The "start" is believed to be somewhere in a half-mile stretch of roadside
- The direction of the first leg is believed to be X, though it may also be A, Q or Z
- Your track may cover any kind of terrain possible, including rivers, impassable 8 foot fences, swamps, landfills, interstate highways and backyards containing hostile resident dogs
- There may be no "end" to your track - your subject just keeps moving, or gets in a car, or is actually no where near the area and is sipping coffee in MacDonald's a few miles away