November 04, 2015
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QGDRluqPA7c This is another unique WooFDriver outing. This is one of the many farms the WooFPAK runs to keep in shape and have fun. # youtube dogs # train dogs This time, a couple Belgian horses wanted to play. On this track, The WooFDriver uses a recumbent bicycle-like dogcart with special tires to negotiate the sand of the track. The track is actually a professional 5/8-mile horse-training track that the WooFDriver has arranged to use for training purposes. The race between the WooFPAK and the Belgian Horses was purely for fun; The WooFDriver does not actually race his team. All the activities he does are strictly for physical health and physiological well being of his dogs. His most important concern is his dogs. And kicking the horse's butts in the race ? Watch and see! Please enjoy this original WooFTunes music tune written by the WooFDriver and performed by the WooFPlay Band, with Romany Saylor on lead vocals. To find out more about the WooFDriver, please go to www.woofdriver.com, thanks for your interest! ---*Social Media Links*--- https://www.facebook.com/WoofDriver https://twitter.com/WooFDriver https://instagram.com/woofdriver http://www.woofdriver.com About WoofDriver: Bill Helman and Huskies dont mush through Alaskan snow, but Baltimore County countryside. By Joanna Bell September 12, 2011 The WooFPAK Princess, Jag, Chase,and ZarroThe WooFPAK Princess, Jag, Chase,and Zarro Princess, Jag, Chase and Zarro are a heavily-furred, solidly-muscled Husky pack. Bred and built for pulling sleds through Alaskan snows, the Huskies strength, endurance and natural exuberance for the outdoors shines in their glittering eyes and happy, lolling tongues. But there is also the undercurrent of wolf, always, in their blood. So they answer exclusively, and immediately, to their Alpha pack member. And thats Bill Helman. When Helman barks their names, they heed his call immediately. When Helman calls, Gee! and, Haw! the dogs veer right and left. Hike! means Go! and the dogs are in instant, powerful motion. And when Helman stands and opens his arms, the dogs happily rear up on their hind legs for a hug from their Alpha. Helman, a 44-year-old Owings Mills resident, mirrors his Huskies ruffs with his own red beard and long ponytail. The dogs are his children he checks in on them, when hes not at home, via video cameras and Garmin GPS systems attached to his dogs collars. Almost everything on his property is designed with the packs use in mind. The in-ground pool is made for the dogs to swim alongside humans. The electric fence gives them the ability to wander and explore freely through the wooded lot. And the WoofPark, a dog playground, allows them to dig, tunnel and wrestle with tires, balls, over-sized stuffed animals and each other. Theres even a large, circular outdoor treadmill, called the WoofWheel, which inspires the dogs to run, using a bait belt greased with peanut butter, to keep them moving and active if they need to release some energy. For relaxation at night, Helman provides his pack with a flat-screen TV in their heated and air-conditioned doggie condo, mounted at Husky eye-level, to keep them from over-focusing on the outdoor sounds of nocturnal wildlife. Or, who knows, maybe theyre hooked on Animal Planet. I dont always Bark their names, sometimes I whistle!!I dont always Bark their names, sometimes I whistle!! They are the WoofPak, and Helman is the WoofDriver. Helman drives his team of Huskies on various rigs hes created or modified from existing bicycles and carts. He takes them all over the streets of his neighborhood as well as on the NCR trail and other Baltimore County countryside. Helmans playing with modifications of his rigs is like his playing with language its not the Wolf Pack, its the WoofPak. Likewise, he calls driving his dogs FurWheeling. What are the rigs themselves called? Why, ADVs All Dog Vehicles, of course. I love a play on words, Helman said. I do that purposely, because I like the way it sounds Im just trying to be cutesy and have some fun at the same time. Helman graduated from Chautauqua Academy, a high school for children with dyslexia, in 1985. He knew his brain worked differently at a young age. He knew his creativity was always a strength, regardless of his grades and his struggles with reading. I love to be creative, thats my real passion, he said. Im extreme with what I do. I go to the nth degree sometimes. I jump overboard a lot. Helmans wife, Cynthia, reins him in a good deal. His house is well-kept, and doesnt look like it houses a career hobbyist, self-taught jack-of-all-trades and dog-driver. But his bachelor days were a different story. When I had my own condominium, it didnt have a womans touch, said Helman, who bought his home with Cynthia in 1995. I did all kinds of crazy things in there. A friend said once that a decorator would come in here and get a neck-ache. Look here, look at that, look at that, look at that! Because I had so many ostentatious things. Now, Shes got all white walls in the house, and Ive got stuff everywhere. But its that creative, dabbling, expressive drive that has enabled Helman to create original equipment for his dogs, and to create the WoofPak itself. Bill Helman, the WoofDriver, insists he has the welfare of his dogs, and others, in mind. He started with Czar, a Siberian Husky, in 1996. Czars natural instinct to pull made riding a bike, with Czar on a leash, quite challenging. Helman describes the experience on his website: I love a challenge, and I loved my dog so I had to find an answer. My first move was to get an attachment for my bicycle to tether him to it, so I could safely bicycle with him and give him a job to run next to me. It was an incredible experience. I could use a minimal effort and Czar could satisfy his desire to run. The heath benefits, physical and psychological, for Czar were exceptional. I felt so wonderful, I could sense his satisfaction and happiness, and that was the most gratifying aspect to me. Soon, Czar was joined by Hudson, another Husky. With a new member of the pack, Helmans inventiveness grew. Now, he needed a rig to which he could attach two dogs. I stepped up a notch, with Czar and Hudson, Helman said. I wanted a cart where they could pull me, and I found this Sacco cart, which is made in Norway. It was one of the best carts I ever had I started looking more and more I found other ways that people are attaching their dogs to vehicles. I took ways that are out there, and modified them. I just have an idea, but I work with some wonderful people that are more engineer types. Theyll know how to weld, theyll know how to build, theyll know how to plan, and have helped me. We coupled together and have made some really cool stuff. Princess joined the pack and for years the three dogs worked as an exuberant team. But the recent passing of Czar, at age 15, and Hudson, at 13, left Princess alone until Helman added his current puppies: Chase and Jagboth 18 months oldand Zarro, 15 months old. The puppies will not pull a rig until they are 2 years old. Their bodies are still developing, and their growth could be stunted under a work load. Nothing stops them, however, from running alongside a rig, in a different type of harness, not bearing any of the rigs weight. Princess, though, is another story. Princess could pull all day, Helman said with a chuckle. Czar & Hudson Working the Sacco CartCzar & Hudson Working the Sacco Cart Helman is obsessive about his dogs health. He bounces all his ideas and worries off his veterinarian, and hes invented and modified equipment to keep the pack healthy. One contraption is a water mister, which sprays water on the working Huskies while they run in the summer, to keep them cool. He also straps cooling packs and heart rate monitors to their chests to make sure that their health is never compromised. And Helman keeps the well-being of others in mind, too. He uses the dogs to that effect. The Jemicy Schools lower and middle school is close to Helmans home, and the staff, kids and parents alike are charmed when they see his pack drive by. Often, parents picking up their kids will pull over to ask him questions. With a Whoa! Helman pulls his pack over, too. Jemicy, which uses a handful of therapy dogs on its campus for dyslexic students, invited Helmanwho is proud of his own triumph over dyslexiato give a presentation to its students in the fall, school spokeswoman Bonnie Wasserman said. The dogs are a calming influence for the students, Wasserman said, and apparently, so is Helman. This is the final part in a series about Owings Mills resident Bill Helman, who trains and drives Huskies in Baltimore County. Read the first two parts: Part One and Part Two. A Tired Dog Is A Well Behaved Dog! A very content Princess, Czar, & HudsonA Tired Dog Is A Well Behaved Dog! A very content Princess, Czar, & Hudson In 1996, when Hudson was brought home as a companion to Czar, Helman learned a tough lesson about the social skills and hierarchies of Huskies. To prevent the vicious territorial fights, Helman was forced to feed and play with the dogs separately. After harnessing them to his bicycle, and taking them for long runs, he realized that when the dogs were tired out, they were more likely to accept each other. But he still needed to form a pack, so the dogs could bond with each other, and him, together. Salvation came in the way of a dog trainer, introduced to Helman through an employee. Helman was lamenting that he couldnt bring his dogs to work. Stubborn, energetic, and not always responsive, Helman knew he couldnt stop them from jumping on people and making a wreckage of his warehouse. Then his employee spoke up. She said, But you can! Youve got to go see Jon Collins! Helman said. Shed told me about him before, but Id said, oh I dont want to hurt the dogs. Helman was worried about hurting his dogs because Collins was pioneering the use of an electric collar in dog training. Helman assumed it was painful and worried whether it was potentially cruel. But Helman used an invisible fence, which is electric, on his own property. The fence surprises the dogs with a buzz when its activated, but does not hurt them. Reassured that the technology was the same, he gave Collins a shot. His life changed, and so did his packs. Collins, a professor of health and fitness at the Community College of Baltimore County Catonsville, trains therapy dogs for children with autism and adults who are blind. He also trains police dogs. He sensed Helmans reticence, and guaranteed him he could train his dogs in three sessions. But these are Huskies, said Helman, knowing his dogs stubborn, insubordinate streaks and willfulness. They dont come back. The two dogs were like naughty children, selectively disregarding Helmans voice when he called for them or issued a command. But he had nothing to lose, so he gave Collins method a shot. An electric dog collar allows the dog to roam off-leash and yet still be controlled by a hand-held remote. The collar can deliver a series of tones, vibrations and shocks, not at harmful levels, to condition a dog to respond to commands. Helman saw the benefits immediately. Once you gave them the freedom of being off-leash, they gained trust. It helped them to sow their wild oats. They could sniff all the smells they wanted, they could go anywhere they wanted, as long as they listened to your voice and stayed in contact with your commands. After the first two sessions with Collins, Czar and Hudson were walking off-leash and returning when Helman called them. Helman, amazed, wrote on his website that it was the moment when his dogs became his true best friends. Now my dogs could go almost anywhere it was legal to take them. A whole new world opened to me, he said. I was no longer concerned about their behaviorthey were both perfect gentlemen now. Now, Helman takes his dogs free ranging, as he calls his controlled, off-leash countryside walks. He considers exploring the countryside with his dogs, off-leash, to be the essence of freedom. He rents more than 100 acres of farmland near Windsor Mill with trails, woodlands and streams, just to give his dogsand himselffree-range time. Free-Ranging the open fieldsFree-Ranging the open fields Helman has not stopped there. Constantly looking for new ways to challenge his dogs and bond with them as a pack, he rents yet another property, a pasture near the Maryland-Pennsylvania line, and uses four acres for lure coursing. Helman calls lure coursing the Mazing Chase. His dogs chase plastic lures, attached to strings and threaded through pulleys, that are pulled just faster than they can run, about 40 miles per hour. The Huskies keen eyesight and boundless energy keeps them sprinting after the elusive, colorful plastic lures for hours. Their desire to chase is instinctive. Teaching other dog enthusiasts about lure coursing, electric collars, dog-driving and free-ranging is one of Helmans goals. His website, woofdriver.com, elaborates on all of his packs activities and helps people incorporate such bonding and healthful exercises with their own dogs. He even has a section on his website called Bloopers, that shows him riding less than gracefully on his rigs. I like to document and have fun with what Im doing, Helman said. His website encourages anyone to contact him with questions. I really wanted to do this to give back to the community and maybe get people involved, and see where it landed. If I had a bunch of people following me and wanted to do more, maybe we could get together, whatever. Im doing it for fun, to spread my word.