Sunday, December 27, 2009

Project Sophie

Ryan working on "sit/stay" with Sophie. She is given the challenge of street distractions and two dogs sitting very close. She shows her discomfort by turning her head away.

Sophie was a terrier mix. She didn't like other dogs.

She lunged, snapped, barked and tried to bite any dog who dared come close. This was when I first met her.
Fortunately, her owners, Scott and K were very open to making a few adjustments with Sophie's routines at home.
During our training sessions, I used my two dogs, Dailo and Momo, to give Sophie examples of calm behavior.

By far, the most important aspect was to have Sophie realize that she wasn't responsible for protecting her owners and her home. Her owner's are responsible for such matters. Realizing this fact greatly reduces a dog's aggression and stress levels leading to a happier and more relaxed canine!

"Everyone who sees Sophie now comments on how much more well adjusted she is and how much calmer she seems." -Scott/owner

Dailo helps show Sophie how to walk calmly at "heel"

A relaxed and happier Sophie with dogs on either side. Who would have guessed that she is a reformed biter?

Monday, December 14, 2009

No Dogs Allowed. Chapter 2: The Restaurant

The site of the perpetration

We all know the rules. NO DOGS ALLOWED. 
Makes me think of Snoopy in the "Peanuts/Charlie Brown" movie.
No Dogs in Movie Theaters.
No Dogs in the nice areas of the Park.
No Dogs at the Opera House.
No Dogs in the Restaurant...whoops....what was that again?

For this trick, we had to pick a quiet, dark restaurant on a slower night.
We zip into a dark corner and have the very well-trained Dailo sit still and quiet under the table for the entire meal. We also use strategically placed objects like coats and bags to obscure our four-legged guest from the casual eye.

A dozen oysters and some pate for humans. (Dailo will have to wait for dog food at home.)

No harm done. Dailo was quiet, didn't eat anything, didn't leave any trace he ever visited.
A Word of Caution: Only try this with very well-behaved dogs.

We toast to a lovely night out with man's best friend

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Sushi Pups: A Dog Toy

                                            "Sushi Pups"

Soft, squeaky chew toys are a great favorite for many dogs.
My friend, Michelle, has designed and produced a line of dog squeakers which look like sushi; inspired by her love of dogs and sushi.
Giant sushi squeakers!
They can be found at:

                            Ryan and Michelle with her dog Coby sampling some "sushi"

                   Dailo hears about the great sushi and orders a sushi deluxe to go

            Dailo shares his sushi with Momo and they both dig in

Monday, November 23, 2009

The "Stay" command

Hungry dogs wait patiently while watching the pack leader's face for permission to begin dinner.


Once again, I will emphasize the importance of the "Stay" command. Many, many dog owners and trainers believe the "Come" command is the most important of lessons for your dog. I believe "Stay" has more overall value for your dog.

If your dog assimilates the self-restraint involved with learning to stay, he/she is better able to handle the stress of the dog world. Stress such as: being left alone at home, not being allowed to eat all those delicious items off the street, not being allowed to bark insults at other dogs on the street, not being allowed to chew on furniture, and much, much more. 

After all, humans learn restraint and use it everyday to handle situations we don't like. Humans have to "stay" in line at the store. Humans wait for food to be prepared even when ravenously hungry. Humans don't attack or shove people who get in their way. We learned this when we were young. When we were very young and wanted something, we just tried to grab it.

When your dog learns to stay or wait, she/he also learns how to be patient. This patience helps the dog from becoming overly frustrated and stressed when not being able to eat or do something he/she wants. Your dog does not want you to leave whenever you go out. But if they have developed patience, they are better able to hunker down and wait for your return (as opposed to freaking out for hours while you are gone).

"Come" is a lovely command which I also taught my dogs. However, would you prefer a neurotic dog who comes when called or a happy dog who sometimes ignores you. (You can actually have a happy dog who always comes, but I am attempting to emphasize a point).

One of the best opportunities to practice "stay" is at feeding time.

Another wonderful benefit to "stay"...I can go inside to get my morning coffee   (No dogs allowed!)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Training Tips: "Whispering"

Video by Ben Howdeshell

We hear the term "dog whisperer" often; there is a TV show using this phrase. "Horse Whisperer" is also used describing great horse trainers. Why is this? How can "whispering" help you with your dog?

Using fewer or softer words (whispering) forces one to rely more on body language, which is the dog's natural way of communicating. It is much more effective to communicate on a dog's terms rather than expecting your dog to communicate on your terms. I like to think that we are the more intelligent species (although sometimes I wonder).

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

No Dogs Allowed. Chapter 1: The Bus

Waiting at the bus stop.

Unfortunately, no matter how well-behaved one's dog is, there have been some poorly behaved dogs beforehand, running amok and getting a bunch of rules instituted.
We know these rules well.
No dogs allowed! No dogs in restaurants. No dogs in stores with food. No dogs in the subway or buses. Etc... The list goes on.

For this particular night, we wanted to travel via bus and lacked the proper crate. The only thing I could find was an L.L. Bean tote and it was too small! Dailo's head was sticking way too far out and we had to get to Dog Island City to teach a class!
This was going to take a bit of trickery.

After zipping by the driver in such a manner as to not reveal the stowaway (have the head pointed backward), I head to the rear of the bus as quickly as possible and hide in the back! Shhhh! We're on our way...

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Good dogs sit and wait patiently during pick-ups or drop-offs

Learning to be still is both challenging and rewarding for dogs. Self-control helps dogs to maintain calm, especially when left alone or not allowed to do something they would like (e.g. chewing your shoes).

"Stay" is a command I value more than "come".
When a dog has self-control, they are much calmer and able to withstand stress; like being left alone at home.

I teach any dog I come into contact with (through walking, training, or sitting) the sit/stay command.

I have always found it interesting how quickly the new dog learns to sit/stay simply from watching all the surrounding dogs. 

Alternative to Friday Night Drinking

It was about 11pm. 

It did occur to me that it might be fun (and normal?) to be out at a bar or restaurant or lounge sipping something strong and sedative. 

Isn't that what Friday nights are for?
Out and about with friends to unwind from a long, hard work week?

Well...isn't the dog man's best friend? And playing fetch was very satisfying-very stress relieving. Especially seeing the grin on Dailo's face; later it was Momo, another Aussie and Dailo's partner in crime.

Fetch is a great way to exercise your dog! Easy for the for the fetcher!

One has to be careful about disturbing the neighbors...especially if they aren't dog lovers. (We will speak more about those people later).
But in this case it was Friday night, so they were all out on the town.
The hallway was ours!