a.k.a. DON MAYFIELD'S KEEP
THIS SITE IS FOR HISTORICAL ENTERTAINMENT AND DOES NOT CONDONE ACTIVITIES
WHICH CONFLICT WITH THE ANIMAL WELFARE ACT OF 1976 OR REVISIONS THEREOF.
When I first got into the dog game and worked my first dog I worked him
with roadwork and walk. I showed up with a top conditioned dog and won in
1 hour and 10 minutes. The next dog I worked was with a treadmill plus
roadwork and walk. She too, was in good shape and won in 1 hour and 15
if I remember correctly. I lost with one the same day but it was not
because of my conditioning.
The next thing I found out when working a dog is that they can be put in
shape most anyway a person sees fit.
Since I was working on a job most of the time, the next thing I started
working on was an easy way to work a dog. I had seen everyone else’s way
of working a dog by now, but I had something else in mind. I wanted to
work a dog like a wild dog would work if he had to hunt and kill his food,
more so like the big cats do, or like an eagle. They make their kill when
they are very thin with no fat whatsoever on them. This is the time when
most wild animals kill for food. Their blood count is on a natural high
and there is no fat to make them breathe hot. This is when they are their
sharpest and make their kill. Their condition at the time of the kill will
not return until they are ready for their next kill. In between times the
wild will tend to get fat and slow and lazy and they will have miss after
miss until they lose all their fat and get sharp, hunting and working
their bodies into shape.
In my way of thinking, the cat mill was the machine I was looking for.
Frank Fitzwater showed me his, he had a big wagon wheel on a hub with a
2x4 sticking out about 12 feet with a chain on it and another 2x4 in front
of it with a box attached. Frank told me that it was a catmill but nobody
he knew would use one because
they were afraid they would half kill their dog and that you could never
get the dog to the pit in one piece.
At this time every dogman I had met worked his dog with a harness on them,
and myself being a newcomer,
I also worked my dogs with a harness on them. Besides it looked good on a
A harness has its own place for the dog. And the only place I found to use
it is when taking a picture.
I liked the catmill I had seen a Franks, but I could plainly see that it
was very out-dated. I then went home and made one with 20 feet from the
center of the track. I still nearly killed the first dog I worked on it
even at 20 feet. I then dug out my track and put a bank three feet high on
the outside of the track. This did the trick and when my dog would run
hard on the mill he would run up on the bank. When he slowed down
he would walk or trot in the bottom of the track. I also had a drain to
keep the water out of the track.
This catmill had its down-falls, but for ten years it had every top
conditioner in the game asking me how I worked my dogs. The first ones
were Leo Kinard and George Saddler, in fact they both asked me the same
day. That was the day I won with the first dog I had ever worked on it.
The match went 2 hrs. 16 min. with my dog scratching 27 times and never
taking a deep breath or never off his feet. This same dog had won his last
match when worked by his owner Frank Fitzwater, but was labeled a cur,
something Heinzl had bred to sell
and make a little feed bill money. This dog had been tried when 2 1/2
years old and would not fight.
Frank bought this dog known as Fitzwater's Goldie for $15.00, as they were
going to kill the dog.
When I won with Goldie he was over 7 years old. Goldie was the sire of the
who was the sire of the Indian’s Bolio, the dog Pat Patrick stole.
I worked dogs on this catmill for ten years and the trouble I had keeping
feet under a dog,
you would never believe. So, from then on I started looking for something
that would out do the catmill.
I went a little to the treadmill until this welder friend of mine called
Maverick and myself built a catmill 57 feet from one side of the track to
the other, with both sides of the mill 28 1/2 feet from the center and
both sides the same so the weight would be the same. With this mill I was
able to improve my conditioning but I was still having trouble keeping
feet under the dog. After trying many different things, I found the only
thing to do would be to put something in the track like hay and let it
rot. It made a good soft track. I was still having trouble keeping
shoulders under my dogs and with this mill I was knocking out more than
before. The mill is free wheeling and when a dog runs on it hard, then
slows down the mill will keep on going fast and will go over the dog
pulling the shoulders right out of joint, thus crippling them for a few
days. This is about the time I found out what a harness was good for, so I
went over to a good wide working collar. This time my dogs started showing
up with a much stronger neck and a faster mouth. I was beginning to see
more and more of what I was looking for. For a while I would quit using my
common sense and I would walk my dog from 2 to 5 miles before I would work
him. This took a lot of time, so something had to go. This is when I quit
walking my dogs from 2 to 5 miles and started walking them about 1 mile
with a 100 foot light weight rope and the dogs would walk about the same.
I then started walking my dogs less and less until I got to where I’m at
About 25 yards… I found that all the talk I had heard about walk walk walk
or he would not be in shape was about to become a thing of the past. With
the catmill keep this is true.
At this time I had worked three dogs for one show. I then worked five dogs
for one show, then six dogs, then six dogs again, with all the dogs
showing up in top condition. Out of twenty dogs worked on my catmill only
3 lost. About this time, I started noticing a catmill in almost everyones
yard. More and more people coming by and taking notes about the catmill
and the keep I was using with it. I learned a lot from other people like
George Saddler. He told me to work a dog in the same way for 3 days before
increasing his work again. By listening
and understanding it helped me with my keep. Earl Tudor once told me that
the best thing for a tired dog is rest,
this too helped my keep. Later you will see how two small bits of advice
from the two top conditioners
ever in the dog game helped me with my keep, after I had understood what I
had learned from them.
When you start working a dog for a match, you need 10 weeks of good work
to have him ready and fit. You never go to a vet the entire keep. You
start out by worming your dog for whips and hooks, then 5 days later worm
him for tapes and rounds plus hooks. 5 days after that worm him again for
whips and hooks, then 5 days later tapes and round plus hooks, this should
have him clean. You will worm him one more time at 2 1/2 weeks before the
match. Each time you worm the dog give him 3 cc.'s Combiotic and when you
worm your dog,
make it after you have worked him, then rest him the next day, giving him
dry dog chow
with castor oil (one ounce over his feed) and always have fresh water for
him to drink.
Start your dog out slow on the mill with a coon in a small wire pin about
2 feet from the dog. We like to use coon because a coon is not scared of a
dog and they enjoy the ride on the mill and like to tease the dog. Keep a
milk jug in front of your dog letting it bounce just out of reach for the
dog. The kind of jug I am talking about is a one gallon plastic jug, tied
with a good rope from the front arm where the coon is in the pen.
Put this jug on the mill after you get your dog working 30 minutes.
Have your dog on his pit weight, he should look on the thin side with no
fat showing. His head should be full with no bones showing. Have your dogs
feet in good shape by making a mixture of one part linseed oil, one part
turpentine and one part burnt motor oil. With a paint brush paint the feet
every time you take the dog off the mill. Use corona ointment, or any good
antiseptic lubricant in a suave form, then put this suave on the feet
every time you put your dog on the mill and every day afterwards, even a
few times a week when he is resting.
You should be up to 30 min., now jump your dog up 30 min. every other day
until you get him up to 6 hours. Give your dog a 30 min. rub down every
time you take him off the mill. The way a dog should be rubbed down is on
a small table, a little over waist high. Stand behind the dog at the end
of the table and start by rubbing the front legs down, from the shoulders
down, then take your right hand going under the right side of the dog to
the front of the left shoulder pulling back down the chest all the way
back to the top right side of the top right stifile up high in the gut. Do
the same with the other hand, going to the opposite side every other time.
From there down the back, from behind the ears to the tip of the tail and
down the side of the rib cage. This way the hair grows. The back legs are
the next place to rub down. Rub down the way the hair grows, from the top
to the bottom of the leg. You should give each area about 5 minutes. Last,
come to the head. Turn the dog around; rub the head just like the rest of
the body, the way the hair grows. Have a mixture of 1 pint water and two
tablespoons of powdered ammonia alum, dip your fingers into the mixture
and with wet fingers rub the inside of the lips and gums. Trying to get as
much as possible on the inside of the top lip and gums with the dog
swollen as little as possible. When you rub the outside of the top lip,
rub from the nose to the ear with wet fingers using the alum mixture. When
rubbing your dog, rub with the light weight of the hand, using baby oil
every fourth day, getting the hands wet with oil then rubbing then dry,
covering the dog in oil, keeping away from the eyes. Once a week pour
about 3 cc.'s of hydrogen peroxide solution into each ear, then let him
shake his head, do the same with rubbing alcohol. Make his last rub down
with baby oil 5 days prior to the match. With his last rub down, two days
prior to the match, stop the alum mixture. His work should also stop 5
days before the match.
With his last week of work jumping up to 8 hours or even 10 hours, trying
to have your dog tired 5 days in front of his match, and when I say tired,
I like to see them not wanting to run out of the dog house to meet you.
On the eleventh and ninth days before the match give them 2 cc.'s of
Combiotic and cut work in half. On the tenth and ninth day give first shot
after work and on the eleventh day before the match. When the dog is up to
about 2 hours take the plastic jug and let the rope out so the dog can
reach it. Start this after the dog has been working about 1 hour, teasing
the dog with it, trying to get the dog to take a hold of it, as when they
take a hold it should not be close to the ground. The dog will then start
shaking and backing up with the jug. You should talk to your dog for
around a min. or two just like you were talking to him in the pit,
watching his eyes as he
will watch yours. Then letting him start to tire, never letting any slack
in the rope. The dog will start walking forward to keep him from losing
the jug, (by now most dogs won’t need a coon in front of them, just the
jug) start letting your dog have 30 min. of jug work every other day in
his work, letting the jug bounce close to his nose so he may catch it a
few times a work out. Working for at least 30 min. and work up to about
1 hour with this jug in his mouth. End this work 5 days prior to the
The next work is to have your dog on a cable run from one tree limb to
another if possible, about 300 feet apart, with a heavy chain of about
twenty feet long and the cable ten feet from the ground, after the twenty
foot chain has been clamped with a rebolt. Swivels should be at both ends
of the chain, and a ring big enough for a 2 inch collar to go through, a
good leather collar with baby oil put on it every week to keep it safe.
Have this setup as close to the mill as possible, about seven to eight
feet would be perfect, but make sure that it is as close as they can get.
Have a good house for your dog with a good shade where he can get cool air
and fresh water under high shade. His house should be far enough back that
his chain will not hang on his house. Always have good bedding in his
house and a cool shade for the hot days. Every other day from the jug
work, take a coon tail on a short, light pole and work him up to 30 min.
after starting at 5 min. a day. Keep the tail low to the ground with the
dog at the end of his chain pulling out after the coon tail, with the
heavy chain and cable pulling him back.
Go from side to side making your dog move fast, then slow. Do this work
for 15 min. before his mill work
and for 15 min. after his mill work. Then work him up to 30 min. before
and after mill work.
This work should be ended 6 days before the match.
The walk should never be any more than just far enough to get your dog to
empty before each days work and it will get shorter and shorter. When your
dog empties get a stick and look through this dump. If you ever see blood
on the outside wall, your dog will have whip-worms. If it is blood running
through the stool it is hook-worms. If there is little white worms coming
out of the stool, flat like, they are tape-worms. The stool should always
be firm, never hard and never loose. After you check the stool, start
walking your dog to the mill, sending him on just like you would send a
dog in a match. Always try to walk him as close to the mill so he may walk
to the mill after he has emptied. The feed should start with a good
hi-protein dry feed, about 2 cups at first with a 1/4 cup of wheat germ, a
1/4 can mustard greens, 1 cup of corn bread, with vitamins of desiccated
liver-tablets (7 1/2 grains, start at 5 a day and work up to 15 a day),
give 1 vitamin E (400 iu), give 1 vitamin C (1000 milligrams), 4 papaya
digestive aid, 1 iron with molasses. Try and have all your vitamins,
natural vitamins. You should add to your dry dog feed as much as need be
to hold your dog at about 2 pounds over his pit-weight. Come off this
vitamin E five days in front of the match. Add about 1/8 to 1/4 cup of
water to his feed,
just enough to wet it, just before you feed.
Four weeks in front of the match start with his meat, good heavy beef like
bull-neck, cut the meat into small chunks about 1/2 inch square. Start
with 1/2 lb. and add up to 1/2 lb. to 3/4 lb. 5 days in front of the
match. Always cut all the fat out of the meat. Use only red, lean meat.
Sear the meat in as little as possible and pour
this juice over the meat and mix. (just so it will be wet going down, but
dry when it gets to the stomach).
At least 2 times on your dog's rest day, get a big joint leg bone from the
butcher, boil it in water for about 20 min., let it cool and cut your feed
in half and give this bone after feeding. The next evening after feeding
him 1/2 a feeding on his rest day, take the bone away from him. When
feeding this bone always feed 1/2 feeding
the day before the next day and give the bone that day. Then feed half
feeding on the rest day.
This bone should be fed, about 2 1/2 weeks before the match.
The water should be put in front of the dog each morning, fresh and in a
bucket. The first 2 weeks of work, walk your dog until he cools all the
way after his work on the mill. After his rub down let him drink. After 2
weeks of work put the dog in front of his fresh water and let him drink as
much as he wants to until 5 days before the match. Always feed dry so your
dog will drink a lot of water. Always let him drink as soon as he comes
off the mill after 2 weeks of work. Give one tablespoon of raw honey every
three days over the feed.
This should bring everything up to 5 days in front of the match. In the
next issue of Pit Pal I will explain the last week of keep. This will show
you how to point a dog. The week that will let you know if you can do it
For the first 8 weeks give a 1/2 teaspoon of salt 2 times a week,
make sure you give it in their feed 2 days in a row, then 5 days no salt,
then 2 days salt.
The last salt is to be given 14 days in front of the match.
To understand just what the salt will do to your temperament, go without
salt in your food for 14 days, then eat salt over your food and drink lots
of water for 3 days, your temperament will change from easy to get along
with and very friendly to a short tempered, very grippe person the closer
the fourteenth day comes around.
To understand what the salt will do to the blood is to understand what a
high red-blood count is and what a
low-red-blood count is. To know how to get a high red-blood count is to go
without salt and your body will
pull away from water and when your body pulls away from water it will
start to dehydrate. Your blood will start
to concentrate, as you will get a very high red-blood count. In order to
get your red-blood count down low,
eat salt for 3 days and drink a lot of water and you will see your
red-blood count will go down
as your body will take on water and once more you will have a smile on
The reason for a high red-blood count is that the blood will be
concentrated and that means
more red-blood cells to go through the body to the lungs to cool off and
back through the body to cool it off,
so it will keep a dog from getting hot, as the hotter the body gets, the
weaker it will get.
Another reason for a high red-blood count is the blood, when concentrated,
the dog can get an artery cut and in just a few seconds the bleeding will
stop because the blood is so pure it will seal, and stop the loss of
So, to understand, this is a peak, that you must try and reach the last 5
days, is to understand what a person is talking about when he talks of
drying a dog out. The last 5 days in front of the match your dog should be
put into a crate and kept in a quiet, cool place (I keep mine in my
bedroom). The water should be given to
your dog by hand, and not left in front of him. He should have soft
bedding in his crate, clean dry hay.
He should weigh 1 1/2 pounds to 2 pounds over his pit weight.
For the last 5 days the feed should start to change. Feed more red meat
and less Purina high-protein and more wheat germ and cereal. Also, start
cutting the mustard greens. The next to the last feeding should be not
more than a 1/2 cup of Purina high-protein, a 1/2 cup of wheat germ cereal
and a 1/2 pound of red, lean meat.
Cooked in no water. Should be seared on all sides, very rare, cut in
one-inch cubes, with all vitamins.
The last feeding should be fed 26 hours before his match. Red, lean beef,
cut in one-inch cubes
with a 3/4 cup of wheat germ cereal with his vitamins. The meat should be
seared in no water,
very rare but, seared on all four sides with 2 tablespoons full of honey.
The dog should be walked 4 times a day for the first 3 of the last 5 days
before the match. The first walk should be 30 min. after daybreak. Walk 2
miles in a field with a fifteen-foot lead rope, so that the dog can walk
slow and empty out, taking his time. Then when starting back to the crate,
walk behind him with a short lead rope of six to eight feet, letting him
pull back to the crate, as you talk to him, sending him on. He should be
walked the same, one hour before dark. He should be taken for a short walk
of 1/2 mile between his first walk and his walk before dark. He should
have his second short walk about two hours after dark. The last two days
your dog should be walked the same 4 times, but no longer than 1/4 of a
mile in the morning and 1/4 of a mile
in the evening, before dark. The walk between the morning and the evening
should be 1/4 of a mile,
the same as the walk you take two hours after dark. But, on the day of the
match, the dog should have his
last 1/4 of a mile walk one hour before his match. 5 minutes before the
match he should be given a very
short walk to empty his kidneys. The walks the last two days, you should
never send your dog on,
making him pull, try and have him save all the strength he can as he will
need all of it at match time.
To understand the peak you are after from the feeding and the walking for
the last 5 days is to understand the feed. The feed went from
carbohydrates and protein to protein with just enough, so the dog will
weigh in on weight, keeping the stool as firm as possible, as too much
feed will make the stool loose and not enough feed will weaken him. To
understand the reason for this walk is to understand fully the peak you
Have all the inners empty at match time.
To water a dog the last 5 days before the match you should give him water
after his morning walk with a tablespoon full of honey in the water,
letting the dog drink what you think he might need. To make weight, as he
should be weighed after each walk and watered 2 times a day for the first
2 of the last 5 days before the match, the next 2 days water only 1 time a
day making the last water 26 hours before the match. To understand the
peak you are after when watering and feeding and weighing your dog after
each walk, is to understand how much feed and water you put in your dog
before the match. The last 5 days while he is resting
take the water away from him slow letting his weight drop to right on pit
weight. The day of the fight,
if your dog starts to drop under his weight, turn the hot water on in the
shower, making the air very wet
as the dog breathes the wet air his weight will go up, if your dog is
losing weight too slow you should
turn on the air-conditioner so the air will be very dry, his weight will
start to fall.
To understand conditioning and to see a body put into the best condition
possible, is a thing of beauty. To put a body in this condition you have
got to try and get as close to nature as you can, like we say about the
eagle and the condition of his body. The eagle, scoring the blue skies,
overlooking the land of the wild, his eyes open wide, looking for his prey
as he feels the pain of hunger in his inners, with his ears open wide he
can hear the chatter of his mate, as she tries to content their offspring,
while they cry out from hunger. Then with the movement of an object from
under the huge trees, he dives from instincts traveling at his top speed,
turning his body from side to side, to miss the limbs of the huge trees
sweeping down to killing a rabbit, as it sits very still with his ears
cocked to hear the air being cut by an eagle. This is condition, this is
survival, the only way any living thing
can put there bodies at there peak is to live by the law of the land, your
body must stay as close to its peak
or you will not survive. To understand the meaning of the condition is to
see every part of the body at its peak. That is what you are after when
you get a dog ready to fight for life or death.
Two small bits of advice from two of the top dog men in the dog game -
increase the work and rest a tired dog. To understand this is to
understand what a tired dog looks like when he is over worked and needs a
day of rest.