Happenstance set the table for the trainer's innovative techniques. Fazio, a 39-year-old former long-haul trucker, had to abandon that career after an accident. During his recovery, he was practically reduced to hobbling. He could still pursue his favorite outdoor pastime-rabbit hunting-but quickly discovered that retrieving downed game was a monumental task. On one occasion, as Fazio was slow to go after a cottontail he had shot, his impatient beagle Chaser ran to the rabbit and picked it up. Then he looked sheepishly at his master, standing several yards away. Fazio called the dog and Chaser dutifully came trotting up with the rabbit in his maw. Fazio had an idea. "Chaser didn't want to put the rabbit down. I petted him, praised him and got him to let go of the rabbit in my hand without having to play tug-of-war," Fazio recalls.