For four generations the Haggerty Family has been involved in the joy of training, breeding, raising, showing, and handling man’s best friend. It began with Great Grandfather Haggerty and his show Boston Terriers and Grandpa Healy’s Irish Setters. Then in 1962, Captain Haggerty began Captain Haggerty’s School for Dogs in Bronx, New York. The Captain has left behind a legacy that forever changed the dog training profession. It has been said that he was the “man who trained the trainers and made dog training a respected profession.” Many modern methods and techniques used today were developed by the Captain. Shortly before his death, he had been called “The Last Real Dog Trainer in the World.” Today the school and his legacy is being carried by his only child, Babette Haggerty.
The legacy that began nearly five decades ago continues. Captain Haggerty is responsible for making “dog training a respected and valued profession.” It has been said he did for dog training what the Beatles did for rock n roll. His daughter, Babette Haggerty, has one mission; To Train Every Day People to Have Once in a Lifetime Dogs.
“I want to give families the dog that all of their dogs past and future are measured against.” -Babette Haggerty
As a Bergen County native, Babette began working in the family’s upstate New York kennel as a young child. She continues her family’s tradition by offering puppy training, obedience classes, problem solving, house training and dog trick training throughout Northern New Jersey and New York City. On occasion she does travel to visit her Palm Beach clients where she owned the most respected dog training school from 1989-2007.
About Captain Haggerty
“Dogs lost a champion but I lost a friend.” -Steve Diller
The Captain was born December 3, 1931 to Arthur P. and Helen Jean Haggerty. Born in Manhattan, he and his younger brother Gerard were raised in the Bronx. Growing up he attended St. Nicholas Tollentine School. Tom Philbin, a childhood friend, remembered, ‘When we were kids, no one would ever fight Artie. He would fight to the death, he would never give up.” As a kid he was more interested in attending dog shows than ball games. This early love for dogs and his fighting attitude prepared him for his future. When he was growing up people did not grow up to be dog trainers, his goal was to work as a handler. He apprenticed under several handlers. The breeds included; Irish Setters, Boston Terriers and Bull Terriers.
Cap never spoke of his military career and the only information we have is from an incomplete set of military records and stories others have passed along. Around 1951, he enlisted in the United States Army. His first stop was the Korean Conflict. After that tour, he returned to New York City. About one year later, he decided that he was bored and went back into the service. After attending Ranger school, he went back to Korea. It was this time that he received his Bronze Star with the V device. This was received at the Battle for Pork Chop Hill which was depicted in the 1959 movie with Gregory Peck. He also received at least one of his Purple Hearts in Korea. During his career in the service, he also became the commanding officer of the K9 Corps.
Sergeant Bennett, a seventy-seven year old man living in Alabama said, “I was sure sorry to hear Captain Haggerty passed. He was a good man. He really knew his tactics. I don’t know where he learned it all but he was very good at what he did. He promoted me to Sergeant and I was very grateful to him for that.”
The Captain’s US Army awards consist of;
(This is not a complete list. This only includes his first three years of the over 10 years he served)
Bronze Star with V Device Purple Heart (Three)
Combat Infantryman Badge
Korean Service Medal with
Three Bronze Service Stars
National Defense Service Medal
United Nations Service Medal
The Captain left active duty around 1959 and then went to Berlin where he opened up a Chinese Laundromat for one year. He then returned to New York City around 1960. Around this time he teamed up with Dick Maller and formed Tri-State School for Dogs. Business boomed. Crime was up in New York City and everyone wanted guard dogs. Shortly thereafter, they parted ways. Around this time he met Betty-Ann LaMott, at, where else but a party for dog fanciers. Betty-Ann was the woman who would eventually become his wife. At her suggestion, he named his new venture Captain Haggerty’s School for Dogs.
Business once again boomed. The uncanny ability with dogs, he was blazing a trail that no one had dared and he had a characteristic bald head and was a big broad man. No one forgot him! His school became a “full service training school”. At one time he had locations in Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, the Bronx and a kennel in Upstate New York. He offered boarding school, guard dog rental, theatrical dogs, obedience training in the home, protection training. Whatever you wanted your pooch to learn the Captain would teach it. Several people around the country who had heard about him started calling him wanting to learn how to train dogs. One was Sidney Mihls. “I think that he just started the course for dog trainers so that I would stop calling him.” Many trainers got their start taking the Captain’s course. Those that didn’t, many more who are still successfully training dogs today, started working in his kennel scooping poop. He gave many a start to a career. He was proud to say that he gave people a career. He once told his daughter Babette Haggerty, “If I leave you nothing else, I like to think that I have left you a career and a way to make a buck.”
Not only did he directly train people to train dogs but he conducted seminars and training workshops. His ever present figure also inspired many to train dogs. There is the story that Andy Linton, the famed Doberman handler, was a surfer boy and read an interview in Sports Illustrated magazine with my dad and his take on Westminster. When Andy read that, Andy realized that he could show dogs, and the rest is history.
It is also a legend that many children used to watch the Captain train dogs outside his store in the Bronx and that watching him day after day after school and during the summer they too, decided to become trainers themselves.
In 1967, never one to do anything traditional, the Captain and Betty-Ann LaMott eloped in Las Vegas. In 1968, their only child, Babette, was born. Shortly thereafter they moved to the suburbs where they remained until 1989. As his business grew, he became more and more in demand. He was called to supply dogs for a movie called, “Shamus” starring Burt Reynolds. The director liked his look so they hired him on the spot as a “goon”. In his motion picture debut, he chased Burt Reynolds through Central Park and consequently was hit by him in the stomach with a log. His first on the job injury occurred there. He was bitten by the acting bug and during his career he either appeared or handled dogs in over 150 feature films and 450 commercials.
In 1977, he co-wrote his first published book, Dog Tricks, with Carol Lea Benjamin. Thirty years later it is still a best selling classic. The theatrical dog business grew and he pioneered David Letterman’s Stupid Pet Tricks and appeared 26 times on the show. As his multi-faceted life continued he continued writing, acting and mostly training dogs. Newspapers and television shows were always doing stories on him.
In 1990, he moved to Los Angeles where he spent the next 14 years and then relocated to North Palm Beach, Florida to be closer to his daughter and grandchildren in 2004.
During the time in California, he developed a method of dog training called the Zen Method of Dog Training. Although, it was something that he had spent about twenty years working on, he pulled it together while in California. This was one of several of his books that were never finished. He also began a labor of love. He started publishing the Aggression Newsletter which is a quarterly publication dealing with aggression. It was also in these later years, he became an AKC judge for the German Shepherd Dog, the three Belgian Shepherds, the Bull Terrier, the Miniature Bull Terrier and Junior Showmanship. During this era, he also started an annual tradition of taking a group of German Shepherd fanciers over to Germany for the Sieger show. The true patriot that he was, after 9/11 he never returned to Europe. He wanted to keep his money in the United States of America.
Contributions to Man’s Best Friend
While Commanding Officer of the U.S. Army’s 25th Infantry Scout Dog Platoon at Ford Ord, California, conducted training experiments involving over 500 separate tests dealing with: Mine detection. The effect of “masking” odors on the dog’s olfactory senses; Effects of distracting scents on properly motivated dogs and the dog’s ability to detect the absence of earth.
Consulted with and observed the olfactory experiments on dogs conducted by Professor Neuhaus of the University of Erlangen in Germany.
Consulted with and observed the Police Dog Training Division of the Metropolitan Police in London, England.
Observed and worked with: sentry dogs in Okinawa, the Philippines, and Germany; Police Dogs in Hong Kong, Atlanta, and
Washington, D.C; guide dogs in Germany, Holland, and Belgium.
Conducted extensive experimental work in scouting, and research in dog behavior.
Worked with Duke University’s Para-psychology Laboratory in testing dogs for extra sensory perception.
Trained avalanche dogs, sled dogs, messenger dogs, bird, rabbit and varmint dogs, herd dogs, man trailers, guide dogs, attack dogs, scout dogs, estate dogs, etc.
Conducted tests on the scenting ability of dogs in locating people buried under snow.
Conducted tests with scout dogs to determine the width of a scent cone at different ranges at Fort Benning, GA. During this period, he made the initial investigation into the feasibility of using scout dogs in Vietnam to locate explosives, mines, trip wires and punj pits.
Worked on tracker dog training with Bloodhounds and German Shorthair Pointers.
Throughout his career he independently conducted tests in all phases of training dogs, developing techniques in training handlers, and teaching and training techniques for service dogs with multiple handlers.
Established the “Dog Bite Fatality Committee” for the investigation of the circumstances and causes of human deaths attributed to dog bites.
Wrote an estimated 1,000 articles on dogs.
Author of the dog training section in the Encyclopedia Britannica.
He was a civilian consultant to the U.S. Army’s Dog Breeding Program at Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Maryland. The program was officially known as the Bio-Sensor Program but it received the appellation “Super Dog Program” in the press. Dogs were trained for a wide variety of jobs including scout dogs, patrol dogs, explosive detector dogs, narcotic detector dogs, etc.
Multiple winner of awards given by the Dog Writers Association of America.
Author of the following books: Dog Tricks, The American Breeds, How to Get Your Pet Into Show Business, How to Teach Your Dog to Talk, The Zen Method of Dog Training and Service Dogs: Their Training and Employment.
Judged the First SchutzHund Trial in New York State.
Chairman of National Dog Week.
Served on the Board of Directors of many organizations including: Bull Terrier Club of America, German Shepherd Dog Club of Los Angeles County, Dog Writers Association of America, The Society of New York Dog Trainers, The Professional Dog Trainers Association, The Guild of Animal Theatrical Agents, Institute of Human Animal Relationships (former President), Monterey County Dog Breeders Association, Bronx County Kennel Club (former President)
He trained dogs and men for (partial listing): Weedsport, NY Police Department, The United States Government’s General Services Administration, Scarsdale, NY Police Department, Ark City, Kansas Police Department (also trained for narcotics work), Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office, Schenectady County, NY Sheriff’s Department (dog trained for drug work), Del Ray Beach, FL Police Department, The U.S. Army, and U.S. Air. Force, Texaco, Trinidad, British West Indies (bomb dog), Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation.
He trained and supplied dogs for: Gimbels, Macy’s, Korvette’s, Alexander’s, Bonwit Teller, Ohrbach’s, and B. Altman.
Sat on the Commission for Animal Education in the New York City school system. The Commission’s duties are to recommend and aid in implementing courses of instruction dealing with animal care and husbandry in a wide range of courses offered by New York City’s high schools. These courses are designed to prepare the students for careers in the animal care field. The Commission was also responsible for recommendations on implementing the law-required courses on humane education. Trained the dog “Sandy” for the Broadway production of “Annie.” in addition to the South American production and over 85 other productions of “Annie”.
Won a Bronze medal at the Atlanta Film Festival for work in supplying a dog in the Panasonic commercial “The Chase”.
Supplied dogs to the following soap operas:
As The World Turns, All My Children, Another World.
Supplied dogs to many of the films being done for the Playboy Channel as well as two of Hugh Hefner’s Old English Sheepdogs, which did not appear in the films.
Trained and supplied the massive amount of 89 dogs on a sound stage in Manhattan for Nabisco Dog Biscuits. The entire shoot was accomplished in a single day.
Supplied and trained a ton and a half of dogs for the Time Magazine commercial in which fifteen St. Bernard’s appeared in a cabin in the North Woods during a blizzard.
Training Director for “Inner Sight”, a non-profit guide dog school training dogs for the blind.
Trained dogs to work with six multiple handlers for the General Services Administration of the U.S. Government in Ohio, New York and New Jersey. The GSA is the security and housekeeping branch that is responsible for government buildings and grounds.
Certified to Level III (the highest awarded) by the Society of North American Dog Trainers.
On the testing committee to certify dog trainer’s skills of the Society of North American Dog Trainers.
Founded the St. Roch Award, named after the patron saint of dogs.
The Captain’s Film Impact
Married To The Mob – Demme
Eyes Of Laura Mars – Kirschner
The Last Embrace – Demme
The Great Gatsby – Clayton
Home Movies (Quinn) – De Palma
Shamus (Haggerty) – Kulik
Blake: A Marriage of Heaven and Hell (Devil)
One Down, Two to Go (Mojo) – Williamson
Joey (Baldy) – Ellis
The Telephone Book (The DA)
House of Dark Shadows – Curtis
The Pawn Broker – Lumet
The Last Dragon – (Mr. Z)
Just for Fun – w/Bill Boggs
Murder Ink (Max) – Avildsen
Nero Wolfe (Mueller) – Gilroy
Saturday Night Live (2 Times) David Susskind
David Letterman (26 Times) David Frost
Mike Douglas Midday Live (8 Times)
Johnny Carson (2 Times) Joe Franklin (3 Times)
Merv Griffin Richard Belzer Show (2 Times)
Lorne Green Special Robert Klein Time
One Life To Live – (Maximillain) & Clarence)
Available on request (Over 65 commercials)
OOB – Shaw’s “ON THE ROCKS” (Sir Jafna)
“THE PROPHET” (Melcior)
“MANHATTAN LOVE SONG, BRONX DREAMS” – Actor’s Studio
Stock- “STALAG 17” (Stosh)
Animal Handler/Trainer (Have been behind the camera handling animals in over 150 feature films and 450 commercials) Stunt Player; Martial Arts; Boxing; Wrestling; Fluent German; Language and accent ability; Football (Semi-Pro); Swimming; Mountain Climbing; Horse Back Riding; Award winning Author.
Height: 6′ 3″ (192cm)
Weight: 300 (136kg or 21 1/2 stone)
Hair: Shaved w/Full Range of Wigs