Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Good Dog Toys.

I was in Petco earlier getting my dogs' food and I noticed all the dog toys. They've got a lot of good dog toys that I hadn't seen! So I thought I'd make a list of those that I recommend. You can find most of these at Petsmart and Petco or some online or in specialty shops around town. Click the pictures for you to be directed to a place online to buy.

A note on toys. Dogs are canines. They have loads of teeth, and sharp ones at that! They were designed to rip meat off of bones. So there is truly no such thing as an "indestructible toy" no matter what marketing you see. Some dogs are very good with not destroying toys and others will rip things to bits. The following recommendations are sturdy, and are more durable than many toys. I only like to recommend toys that will last. However, there is no guarantee that any toy will last, every dog is different. (Also, if your dog absolutely demolishes all toys you need to contact me, it's a sign of high anxiety and/or stress.)

Red Barn Filled Knuckle Bone: My favorite for passing time. They can be messy so I recommend putting this in the crate with your dog. This would be good for someone needing to keep the dog occupied while in the crate. Take it out when you take your dog out of the crate.

Booda Dogzilla Dumbell: All things made of thick rubber are often a good choice. They are durable and can often be stuffed with goodies. Rubber alone isn't often a dog's favorite so get the type that can be filled with dog kibble and make it a fun, challenging way to eat!

Chuck-It! Ball Launcher: If you have a dog that enjoys a good game of fetch this is a good one. While it's not really practical for most backyards (it throws too far!), it is ideal for a day at the park! My Jack Russell will go after a ball when I toss it for hours. I cannot throw so this is super handy!

Coop Pet Beast Ring: This is a heavy duty rubber ring for chewing. I think I may like this one because it just looks cool. However, if you have a chewer this could be good to leave in the crate or to occupy Fido while you work!

Nylabone Double Action Chew Bone: Anything from Nylabone is a good one in my book. I really like their products. They have many durable bones and chews for dogs. My own dogs have Nylabones that have lasted for years. This one is rather attractive and looks like a winner!

JW Pet Dexter the Elephant: This is an obnoxious squeaky toy that dogs usually go nuts over. You will have to have some real patience as it can be very annoying. The squeak could drive anyone to insanity but the dogs just love it! I also wouldn't leave your dog with this alone. The rubber isn't highly durable and the squeaker can be a danger if it's removed by your dog.

Jolly Pets Teaser Ball: This is one of my favorites. I've had this ball with my four dogs for about 5 years. It is quite beaten up, chewed up and battered but it's completely intact and still keeps them happy! It's clunky and big so be prepared for that. The outer ball is a very hard plastic, not rubber.

JW Pet Amaze-a-Ball: This is soft, thin rubber and has openings for food. Fill it with your dog's meal and let them go to town! These come in several sizes and colors. Don't leave this in a crate or with a dog unsupervised, may not last! Remember to use fillable toys for a food bowl alternative. Don't buy the icky goo that is supposed to go inside or stuff with treats--actually feed your dog out of these types of toys!

JW Pet Rubber Rings: If you haven't noticed I like JW Pet's toys as well as Nylabone! They make some very good and fun toys of many calibers. These rings can be used for a good game of tug and to practice "drop it" or if your dog likes to self-entertain he can toss these around for some good fun! They are a thick rubber, heavy duty.

Petco Canvas Dog Tug/Toss: Petco has a line of toys they make. I don't know that they are too incredibly durable but they are cute. These last if you use them as a "bonding toy". This is where you only get it out to play one-on-one with your pooch, don't leave it out for Fido to get on their own. It will last forever if you control when it comes and goes!

Petstages Rope Ball: This is good for a game of fetch and also another "bonding toy". Many dogs find joy in shredding all rope toys so I don't recommend this one be left alone with Fido either. Use it to play with your dog. Petstages makes some cool toys, some of the most eye-catching on the market but only a few can be used with no supervision!

I could go on but I'll stop there. That's a good selection. And remember toys last longer if you don't have them out all over the floor like a 3-year old's play room. Keep them guessing, bring out a different toy every other day or so and play with your dog, involve yourself in their entertainment! Use it as a training lesson!

Train that dog!

2009 brought a lot of things my way . . . I got to see what being a mom is all about, and I continue down that path with glee . . . but I also get to see how dogs can take a back seat. With a new baby in the house my four dogs took a back seat to what they were used to. This would be the life that most of my clients live. I was so used to my dogs being my kids and I revolved a lot around them. This isn't realistic for many dog owners. If you are able to spend more time with your dog then praise hallelujah, that's marvelous!

Whichever life may be yours there should still be some room left to train the dog. After raising a horrible Beagle (he was truly a nightmare of a dog!) in college and deciding I had to learn more about dog behavior I slowly realized that dogs should be like kids--training should be required for dogs like school is required for kids.

There is a much larger emphasis on dog training since the televised versions of training have emerged. This in part is good and in part bad in the sense that no matter what legal is on the TV people will still "self-medicate" from what they see. Nothing takes the place of a professional in your life to coach you. And anyone who works in radio and TV can tell you that editing is what makes most of the shows we watch entertaining--reality or otherwise.

I also recommend asking a professional dog trainer for advice, not a veterinarian. While vets are wonderful people they don't normally have any training in dog behavior and/or training unless they did that on their own. So it's best to ask where they got their dog behavior training before taking their advice. I too often hear some very poor advice from vets and while they mean well it's not advice I'd give. Also, because they are a veterinarian many dog owners often feel that they are the end-all-be-all for anything dog-related. Just keep in mind that vets went to school for medical training, not dog training. There are some vets that do seek dog training education, or even become Animal Behaviorists, so ask your vet if this applies to their credentials!

Did you know that 2 common factors are almost always true for dogs that have aggression issues?--They don't walk well on-leash and they don't come when called. I'm talking about in 99% of all situations, not in your living room or a pet store training class!

Did you know that if you have a dog that walks well on-leash and comes when called you can almost be sure that everything else will fall into place? If you can get these two commands to be reliable almost all other commands will be a breeze to teach your dog.

Did you know that you don't need hours to train your dog? We show you how to use training as part of your daily routine. You don't need to take out a portion of time during the day to just sit and train. You train your dog everytime you talk to it, touch it or look at it, even if you don't know it! So make sure you are doing it to benefit you and Fido! Make them sit while you wash dishes. Make them sit at the back door before you let them out. Leave a box of Milk Bones on the front porch and have all entering guests offer one if your dog sits when they enter. Make your dog sit to be fed . . . these are just a few common things, the list could go on.

Did you know that a group class of any kind can benefit both you and your dog greatly? We recommend tackling things in your home first and then joining a group class after things are under control there.

Did you know that January is National Train Your Dog Month! Get on it. We offer just about anything and everything for your dog, puppy and family members!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Dog Tricks.

I'm currently teaching a tricks class of sorts to doggie parents. What a fun class this has been! We graduate Saturday, January 2nd and encourage anyone to come watch the finale! Each class member has to do a 30-second routine with their dog which can be made up of any number of tricks, jumps, music numbers--whatever they want! (The pic to the right is Sam-Me the Mini-Schnauzer sitting nicely on her mat as told.)

Today we taught the dogs to go to and get on an object. We used a bucket today and one client decided to use her back and teach her dog to sit on her. It was hilarious and the dog did it with gusto! Charlotte even had dog poop on her foot when she stood up--what a trooper! Here is Geeno and Charlotte doing their tricks. Geeno also picks up his paw when Charlotte picks up her foot and they can do a little "dance".

Another couple in class has a dog that is a mutt of sorts, resembles a Dalmation somewhat. His name is "Bo". Bo was a mess about 2 years ago when I started with them and has turned into this wonderful dog. They have done really great work with him and told me today that if they do 20 minutes of tricks with him he's done for the day. Out, pooped, zonked. I'm so proud of them and Bo! You should see him go through the tunnel too, he's big enough that the tunnel we have in class literally is stuck on him and he doesn't care. He's having too much fun running through it!

We also have a darling little fuzzy gal, named "Daisy" that is great and tricks and it is very noticeable that she loves doing them! When she gets in training mode to do tricks she's very obviously having a ball! Then of course we have a Border Collie who picks up the tricks in a heartbeat--I have high expectations for her in her routine--no pressure, Rita! Then a goofy black Lab named Bruce who has fun no matter what he's doing and will do anything for food and just to learn something new that pleases mom! I'm excited to see the results and hope we can gather a bit of a crowd for it!

(I'm so sorry I didn't do well as the cameraman today, only got a few shots and none of the other doggies mentioned in class!)

Tricks are great to get a dog tired mentally, which can wipe your dog out for much longer than physical exercise alone. Hope to see some of you in our classes in the new year! . . . . and if you're around on Saturday, January 2nd at 10am then come by the Craddock Park in Dallas and see our show of dogs! If you want details so you can see the finale, let me know!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Why I hate invisible fences.

I am reminded why I hate the Invisible Fence. Great invention, profitable company but for many dogs it can do more harm than good.

One example is a dog that is barking to get to a neighbor or anything across the street but can't because it's behind an "invisible fence". This can cause major frustration and escalate aggression. The dog can clearly see the stimulus (or stimuli) that makes it go into high arousal, when it can't get to the stimulus it becomes frustrated. If the dog gets too close to the edge and gets a "zap" then the frustration can escalate to aggression and also will most likely be associated in the dog's mind with the stimulus.

I was walking Riley, the handsome Golden Retriever I walk 2 days a week and there is a yard that is lined with big bushes along the street. Every few times I walk him I can hear this ruckus in the bushes and lo and behold I see a little Westie and a Lab mix dog that run furiously back and forth, often trying to make it through the bushes to get to us. They are frothing and frustrated that they can't get to us. They also think their antics are marvelous as we pass by calmly they are high-fiving saying to each other, "Ah, we did it again--chased off another person and their dog once again . . ."

Cross this one off of the Christmas list.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Turkey Day Safety for Dogs.

Thanksgiving is a yummy, familly-fun holiday but you need to keep several tips in mind for your dogs' safety. Did you know that emergency vet clinics see more pets during the holidays than any other time (I think the same is for humans!). So don't let your dog be a statistic!

Here is an article I'm just copying and pasting as it has some good info.

Keeping Your Pet Safe on Thanksgiving

Keep leftovers for human family members only

Pet owners should avoid offering their pets leftovers from Thanksgiving dinner. Dogs, especially smaller breeds, are susceptible to pancreatitis. The pancreas produces insulin and enzymes for digestion and when it gets irritated serious illness results. If a serious case occurs, it can be life-threatening and may require hospital treatment.

Don't feed your dog or cat poultry bones

Avoid feeding sharp poultry bones to cats and dogs. A turkey bone can splinter and become lodged in the throat or further down the digestive system. Bone fragments can cut the delicate tissues as they move down the digestive tract.

Food waste should go in the trash

You should also avoid feeding raw sweet breads, giblets or necks to pets as a treat since most raw poultry and meat has bacterial contamination. This can result in diarrhea or more serious illness. Many pets are adept at finding food on counter tops and tables, so keep your dinner out of reach. When disposing of turkey, double bag the carcass and move it to a secure garbage bin immediately after the meal.

Protect your pet from the party

If you are expecting a crowd for Thanksgiving, it may be wise to make up a special room for the pets, equipped with beds, food, water and a source of pleasant noise like a radio tuned to soft music. All of the hustle and bustle of a busy Thanksgiving dinner may be stressful for a shy pet, and a territorial pet may be unhappy with the intrusion. By restricting your pet’s access to company, you can also help minimize the chance that your pet will escape through an open door and get lost.
Have a safe, happy & good Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

If I build it, will you come?

I know that holidays are fast approaching and that means hectic days for lots of people, including myself! My daughter is turing one-year-old 2 days after Thanksgiving so I have a birthday party and Thanksgiving to mess with!

Anyway, I also know that several clients have stated that they want to do a class but this time of year is just bad. Noted. Agree. And I have the fix! We are going to offer 1 to 2-hour workshops each weekend. We'll do a different topic and cover different things. It's a one-time-attendance-only deal and you'll be able to get some training under your belt (and Fido's collar) before the holidays!

Workshops are inexpensive and convenient. One-hour workshops are $20 and 2-hour workshops are $35 per person.

Here are some workshops we are holding and topics we'll cover. If you want to join in go to our enrollment page on our website and let us know you'll be there!

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Dog Trainer's Dogs.

I know lots of people who will stop me during a lesson and say, "I bet your dogs are soooo good . . ." I smile sheepishly. You know that all depends on your perception. Sure my dogs know all their commands and obey them pretty reliably no matter where we are, among other things . . . but every dog owner defines his own dog's problems.

For one dog owner a dog that jumps on furniture may be the worst dog ever and for another it may be how they watch TV on Sunday nights, together on the couch. A problem isn't a problem unless the owner sees it as such, with the exception of some things (such as dogs who bite and cause harm.)

I just graduated one of my classes on Saturday and took my Jack Russell to the class. When I let him out of his crate to show them what I wanted to use him for he began to use my side as a spring board. One person said, "Oh, your dog jumps?!?!" with awe just not able to fathom that a dog trainer has a jumping bean for a dog! I could hear someone else say, "Well he is a Jack Russell!", followed by a giggle. My answer--yeah he jumps when he's excited and frankly I just don't care. It's not a concern of mine. He doesn't jump obnoxiously on guests as they visit my home and I can stop him mid-jump to request he do another behavior if and when I want him to. So I just don't have it listed as an issue for me. He can retrieve a ball 500 yards away and come back when I call him. I can call him away from another dog and he'll come back immediately, and those things are what matter to me.

Each dog owner has to prioritize what they want their dog to do or not do. And often we have to think outside the box. I remember being at a dog trainer seminar that John Rogerson was speaking at. He's a British dog trainer that is just remarkable. I remember learning a lot of great things from that weekend-long seminar but one of the best things I learned was that you have to think outside the box. So many dog owners want to just get rid of a behavior and often it's much easier to teach another, more desirable behavior instead. It also helps you put a notch on your belt for one thing taught and one behavior gone.

The story John Rogerson told was that of a woman who had a Jack Russell (those terriers are just so spunky!) that would race insanely down the stairs each day when he heard the mailman drop mail through the slot on the door. He'd go to the mail, pick it up and rip it to shreds. Understandably she wanted this to stop. Now oddly enough a few years ago Cesar Millan had almost the exact same case. It was a Wesite and there were no stairs, that was the only difference. Now how each dog trainer approached the situation was completely different and I like John Rogerson's approach far better than Cesar's.

John Rogerson's Protocol: Teach the dog to go downstairs with you and sit and wait while you sift thru the mail. Each piece of junk mail you get, or any you would be tossing, give to the dog to rip up. End result: the dog learns to sit patiently until he gets his own mail to shred and is still happy as a pig in mud! The dog looked forward to this mail-reading-time with his owner each morning and so learned to be calm until it was "his turn". Five stars from me * * * * *

Cesar Millan's Protocol: Each time the dog goes for the mail jerk the leash and teach him no. Or was it give the two fingers in the side? I don't remember I just know it was just correcting the behavior and you had to stand there and do it over and over. End result: I'd love to know. I bet that woman still battles grabbing the mail before the dog gets it because the dog didn't get the bad behavior replaced with one that is more appropriate and/or one that is rewarding to the dog! One star from me *

So you may see my dog jump, you may see my dog on a couch, even on my bed . . . but the bottom line is that those aren't issues to me. There really are only certain situations where dogs shouldn't be allowed on furniture. It's false that it gives them more "dominance" or makes them think they are above you. Now if you have a dog that bares teeth when you try to move them off of a place (any place) then yes, you have to revoke furniture privileges but again, only certain situations call for this, and protocols are specific (if this applies to your dog seek a professional's help.)

All dogs can learn. All problems can be solved (99% of the time) it's just a matter of what you want to
do to fix it and if you'll do it. Patience & consistency = good dog training just like good diet & exercise = weight loss & healthy person. It's just a matter of us being able to do it . . . and it is even hard for me to do it!

With that note I want to leave you with this video of proof of what consistency, dedication and patience can do. In this video two of my students in our "Beyond Basics" group class did this as their "show-off moment" at graduation. They could do anything they want
ed to do to show off their dog. It was hilarious. You can't see them in the video but there were little signs they put in the ground and the first said "Start" and was green, the 2nd was yellow and in front of the hoops and it said, "Avoidance or Acceptance". I said, "So what's that about?" She says, "Well she'll either go thru or around it!" The 3rd said, "Tunnel ahead" and the last one said "Stop". It was entirely too cute! Keep in mind this is not what was taught in class (it was an intermediate obedience class) so they did this all on their own!

The class also had many other wonderful doggie tricks to show off--two dogs learned to "Leave it" for a treat that sat right on the top of their front paws (Dooley the Goldendoodle and Bruno the Great Dane puppy). Then Harry the Cavalier sat pretty and Neville the Golden Retriever gave a high five.

And then another couple of students did a little show for us too that I got on video. Rita and her Border Collie Bernice and Beth and her Weenie dog, Scrappers, both did this cute little number. Now you must know that Bernice did not like Scrappers so they were clever and had each sit in their "home base" while the other performed. I thought it was brilliant!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Stop pulling already!

I just want you to know that training your dog to walk nicely on a leash, if the norm is tugging, is a heck of a chore. I get more questions about leash walking than a lot of other commands and the biggest is, "What kind of collar can I use to keep my dog from pulling . . ." The answer is: train your dog not to pull, a collar isn't the answer. Sure the market for pets is a billion dollar business so if you want a magic tool then they will make something that will certainly claim to do just that! The famous "no pull harness" and such. While these things may lessen pulling you must know that a pulling dog does so because he can and has been able to while you loyally walk behind him on leash!

I've held leash workshops and people leave frustrated because they think that it's going to be a magic workshop. They will have this wonderfully trained dog at the end of it. It will give you all the tools you need to train your dog not to pull but you have to put in some elbow grease to make it happen. Practice does make perfect.

Some dogs seem more difficult than others while some are just simply bigger and stronger and can easily get away with it more often, making the training that much more of a challenge. We are creating new and easy ways to help dog owners deal with these difficult and frustrating situations. If you feel at your Leash's end with pulling then let us know! We want to help and do a workshop just for folks like you!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Canis Film Festival

Well most of you that know me know that I'm not a clicker trainer. I don't know why. I know how to use it, I know that it's a great tool. I guess I've just gotten in my groove and so I don't want to change. Well I may just cross over, or at least add the clicker to my toolbox for very regular use. A clicker needs to be handled correctly, but then again so does any tool.

I was reminded today that training is not about the dog. It's very much about the dog owner. I never forget this but some clients remind me of this more than others. If you want to change your dog's behavior you will have to change something about yourself. I don't know what that is unless I meet you and your dog but I can tell you that this is the single most difficult obstacle to overcome. As a dog trainer I find it the most difficult part of my job. I find owners who want a quick solution and even those who would like for someone else to do the work for them altogether (and trainers who will take the money and do this too!) and then have a great dog in return. But the long-term effects of the training are solely based on you and what you do or don't do.

Just like weight loss, there is no quick or easy solution. It will take some work and some dedication . . . a lot of patience but the end result is so rewarding that it is indescribable . . .

Ok now onto something that is educational and fun. . . . . Karen Pryor, the pioneer of clicker training, has an annual Canis Film Festival where anyone can submit a video for the contest. One of the videos that is a finalist in this year's contest is a really great one. It is from the perspective of the dog, which makes it that much better ,but the way it is done is very creative.

Monday, October 26, 2009


Halloween is coming up this weekend! First I want to share this link if you want to get Fido a last-minute costume. Then I wanted to pass along some good Halloween info for those who will be active and out. I posted this last year but we've got some readers that weren't here then! Have a safe and happy Halloween!
brought to you by Courteous Canines, LLC

Don't leave your dog unattended outside, even briefly, on Halloween. Even dogs contained in fenced yards are not necessarily safe. Eggs, candy, and other materials may be thrown at the dog and consumed. Less benign items may be thrown at him which may cause serious damage. Sadly, many animals - especially black cats and dogs - may be the objects of serious, malicious abuse on this holiday. Mischievous youths may leave fence gates ajar or enter fenced areas, even if "beware of dog" signs are posted. Especially on Halloween, where visitors may be numerous and very disarming to the resident dog, make sure your dog does not have unsupervised access to visitors, nor they to him.

Keep your dog on a leash during Halloween. Even normally obedient dogs may be sufficiently aroused or frightened to behave unexpectedly on this holiday. Walk your dog at times when you are unlikely to encounter mobs of trick-or-treaters. Keep the dog restrained by a leash - even if you ordinarily use some sort of "invisible," electronic fence system - to prevent the dog from either charging towards trick-or-treaters or bolting away from them. You do not want to lose your dog at any time, but certainly not on Halloween where pranksters often cross the line and become cruel to animals.

Keep your dog away from the front door when you answer it for trick-or-treaters. It is actually best to keep the dog in another room in a crate or safe area, away from the door and ruckus.

Give the dog something to chew on. Just because your dog is locked away from the front door, doesn't mean he can't have a good time. Give him a rawhide bone, Kong or marrow bone stuffed with something tasty--peanut butter, cream cheese, liverwurst, etc. to keep him occupied. Not only will this give him something to do, but chewing helps reduce stress.

Be careful about what your dog eats on Halloween. Candy can make any of us nauseous in sufficient amounts, and dogs generally eat wrapper and all. Chocolate, in particular, is toxic to dogs if they consume enough of it. Some dogs will find Halloween make-up, candles, and other small-sized items appealing and try to eat them. The day after Halloween, you may find broken eggs strewn on lawns and streets. All of these temptations are items that your dog should not be allowed to eat. For a complete list of hazards to avoid and how, visit the ASPCA's website.

Try to foresee potential hazards on Halloween and prepare for them. As indicated, particular areas of concern are things that dogs might eat, interactions between dogs and children, and the general level of excitement or fear, which might create opportunities for escape or promote irritable behavior. Remember that dogs don't grasp that Halloween is a holiday, and they may find throngs of loud, raucous, peculiarly-costumed children genuinely frightening and traumatic. Be sensitive to your dog's stress level and safety, and have a Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 23, 2009

A Million Thanks!

I cannot thank everyone enough who has donated to Jakey's surgery fund! We are just about halfway there! (The goal on the widget doesn't' reflect $300 that we have in a savings account for him.) I just wanted to say thank you, thank you, thank you!

Jake thanks you even more! You can donate safely and securely online by clicking the "Chip In!" button below! . . . Muchas Gracias to all . . .

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Jake Needs Your Help!

Well for those of you on facebook and actively on my page (personal) or the Adventures in Canine Training fan page you may have already seen this . . . . for those that have not I'd like to post it here . . .

My sweet, sweet Lab, "Jake", was diagnosed with a mast cell tumor (which is apparently pretty common) and needs to have it removed by the Dallas Veterinary Surgical Center (DVSC) in Grapevine, per my veterinarian's suggestion. So today we went to the DVSC for a consult and estimate on costs and what all will be involved. The vet was remarkably nice and explained it all to me. The tumor is about 3-4" wide and maybe that deep, not sure until they actually "go in" and see. Once they take it they will send it off to the pathologist to get a grade. Grade 1 is good and curable with surgery, if they get it all out, and Grade 3 is usually deadly. She did say that she doesn't see Grade 3 very often so we are in the high hopes that it's a 1.

He is not in pain and it seems that he's not really sick in any way. So, he's doing well. Actually the guy is 70-lbs up from 62-lbs! I was shocked to see that on the scale today! However, he's still in good shape, so I guess this mommy was not feeding him enough . . . or maybe that darn tumor is sucking up some food! . . . .

The worst part of this is that my husband and I are financially strapped, like many in this economy, and we have zero means to fund this surgery. We are therefore trying to raise the funds for his surgery via donations. The surgery will cost $1500. I have set up a website where you can read more and donate OR you can donate now by clicking the "Chip In!" button on the widget below. I cannot tell you how sincerely we thank anyone who donates and helps!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Come'n Get It!

We are now selling no-slip collars for your convenience! You can purchase them through our website or email me and let me know what you want and if you are going to see me at a lesson or class soon I can sell it to you then. There are tons of colors we can get and we have several in stock. Go here now for details or to buy!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Lots of Goodies . . .

I've got lots of goodies to present . . . as well as some not so good stuff . . . but read on for the whole conglomerate of things going on in this dog trainer's world!

First, I've had some folks ask about Harry. He's doing great. His owners love him to death and she sends me videos of him being goofy and cute, just as I remember him! She said she was able to show off all of the great tricks I taught him and he was a huge hit with her friends--go Harry!

Which will bring me to my first announcement: Adventures in Canine Training is offering a new, fun and innovative class "Mutt Masterpiece Theater". This class was designed thanks to Harry as well as me wanting to bring a fun, advanced and fresh idea to dog training! You can blow up the flyer by clicking on the image to the right. This class will teach focus around other dogs while giving you and your dog something exceedingly fun to do! You will learn tricks, agility, freestyle and how to work with dogs in a group. Read more . . .

I am also adding an element to my business to try to bring in some extra money so I don't have to seek a 2nd job to help support my family. This one is a good one. If you have a dog walker or have thought about getting one for your dog then re-think it . . . try my new program, I am now The Pooch Pedlar! That's right. Read details on my flyer, click the image to the left.

Now for my not-so-great news. My poor pup, Jake is my yellow Lab. Many know him. He's sweet as sugar. He helps me in many of my aggression cases. Well he's been diagnosed with a mast cell tumor and it has to be removed before it becomes malignant. Right now we are at a grade 1 and with that we can successfully get it removed and have a 100% cure rate if they can get all of the tumor out. The worst part is that this is a very invasive procedure and has to be done by a specialist at the Dallas Surgical Center. We know this will be a very expensive surgery and my current financial situation will not allow me to pay for this for m sweet Jakey. I made a donation page for him for anyone that is able, willing or wanting to help out. You can see the details and his page by clicking here.

This is the time of year to get busy with your pups! Fall is here and weather is getting nice! Join one of our classes now!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Extreme Mutt Makeover: Results

Ok. Well my long 6 weeks with Harry and the whole Mutt Makeover experience is now over. I'm quite sad and although he got a good home I miss the fuzzy guy a lot. I taught him over 20 commands and tricks and he's a goofy, fun-loving dog.

We came in 6th overall, we were only 5 points off from making the finals, which were the top 3 dogs. The judges were much harder than I had anticipated and so I was frazzled with all of that. However, the weekend was fun. Harry just wants to say hi to people and dogs. He's just a love muffin. If I didn't have four dogs and a baby I know I would have made him a new family member!

We had 2 preliminaries of which the 2nd was broken down into 2 parts--obstacle course they designed along with a distraction and freestyle routine. The distraction scared me to death as I thought he'd panic as many of the dogs either were afraid or overly interested, and I didn't' blame them--it was a rooster! Yes. A live rooster in a cage. The 2nd part of this prelim was a 90-second freestyle routine where we could do whatever we wanted. Harry did some real goofy stuff here and didn't do it as planned but he was a definite crowd pleaser to say the least! It wasn't very practical to have these dogs doing this stuff with 100 people standing around and no fence to keep the folks out! Anyway here are the two parts of the preliminaries here. (The 1st preliminary was just obedience--leash work, sit, down, stay, come--and I didn't get that on video.)

I really want to tell you that after teaching so many tricks to Harry I want to pedal the tricks class to anyone who will do it! Tricks are a great way to not only entertain but keep your dog busy and mentally stimulated! Ask me about a tricks class and if we get enough interest we will put one together for a 3 or 4-week class!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Extreme Mutt Makeover: Final Week

Here we are . . . 6 days to go! We are working very hard this week on our routines and stuff but Harry is a goofy fellow. I haven't been able to get him out and working much in a distraction-filled environment. I am only hoping and praying for the best once he's out there in front of a crowd and in high distractions!

He's a great fuzzy guy. He does need someone with patience, time and willingness to meet his exercise and training needs. He is a very smart guy and has probably learned about 15 tricks along with basic commands: sit, down, stay, come, walk on leash, wait and leave it.

We hope to see everyone at the event and remember that Friday evening (September 18th) at 7pm are the 1st round of preliminaries and Saturday the 19th at 1pm are the 2nd round of preliminaries. All of those are free to the public. The finals round is at 7pm on Saturday, September 19th and will include the horses' performances and the dogs'. That will be the fun and exciting one but tickets need to be purchased for that. Tickets are $10/pp with the coupon in the picture (click the picture to get tickets). We hope to see you all there!

Have a great week!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Harry's Latest Skills.

Harry has several commands and tricks down now. He's a little rusty in some spots, and we are also working on weaning him off of treats because we can't have them at all in competition without getting the boot! So we still have a ways to go . . .

As you can see in the video he's very mouthy. He does this and it's so annoying to me and he does it worse to people when he meets them. This is what happens when you teach your puppy how to play with hands and do not teach them puppy biting is inappropriate at an early age.

He also seems to be confused with the "down" command (as in lie down). I've been working on it but not sure why he takes a couple of tries with that. I'm obviously giving him some mixed signals. I need to change something.

Now please ignore the beauty that I resonate in this lovely video. It has been one of those days! I'm not applying for Miss America anytime soon . . .

Monday, August 31, 2009

Extreme Mutt Makeover: Part V: A Harry Party.

Oye! It's half-way to the big showdown and I'm one nervous Nellie. Harry is doing well, very well at home, but we had a set back. I took him to my workshop on Saturday and he was a mess. He jumped and barked and yanked on the leash. He looked like a typical shelter dog who had no training at all!

I know he has really only had training in low-level distractions but he showed me the reality of what happens when you only train where the dog is comfortable. And folks, let this be a lesson. Dogs do great at home. I know this. And I know more than I should and then I go blank when it comes to this. I was more horrified with myself knowing that I knew I needed to work him in distractions and I hadn't. He just proved my point on Saturday. So now I'm hitting myself over the head!

We did head to the Euless Dog Park on Sunday with hubby and baby in tow and got about 30 minutes of some distraction work done. He did well with the treats now to just keep going until the big day and get him off of treats. No treats allowed at the competition just our love and praise!

So I'm going to offer a great deal for many of you! A free training lesson in distractions! I want to hold a "Harry Party" and have him out and in distractions working. If anyone is in, please let me know and I'll set it up. We need dogs that are already reliable to basic commands and could use the same help as Harry, the dreaded distractions! Email me if you want to join the party! Party details:

Harry Pooper Party
- Friday, September 4th
- 7:00 pm
- Craddock Park, Dallas
3300 Hawthorne Avenue
Dallas, Texas 75219

Bring your dog on a 6-foot leash with loads of yummy, yummy treats. We'll stay 30-60 minutes and see what we can do. It'll be fun. If anyone has any fun stuff to add to it (like agility jumps, tunnels or weaves) then bring those along! We will also do some fun tricks too!

Here is Harry at his best. He likes to zoom about at times in my yard! You can see that Amos (my Great Dane) isn't impressed or inclined to join in!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Microchips Work . . .

Here is a very good reason to microchip your dog . . . and as I type I realize what a hypocrite that makes me. I need to chip my dogs!! However they do wear identification at all times! Also remember I do love and recommend the Lucky Pet Tags and the 24PetWatch microchip system. There are often low-cost microchip clinics that offer microchipping for as low as $15/dog up to $20/dog. You can also have it done at any veterinarian's office as well as the SPCA.

Best Dog Trainer Ever.

This man is clearly an amazing dog trainer. I believe this may be in Germany, not sure but I know it's not in America. The video is 5 minutes but you have to see all of it to get all the true beauty of it! Enjoy!!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Extreme Mutt Makeover: Part IV

Well here we are 3 weeks later and Harry has come a ways. He's still got some kinks he needs to work out but I think he's a pretty swell guy! He definitely has looks on his side and he's incredibly intelligent. He loves treats and works for them diligently.

His nipping is out of control, in my opinion as a dog trainer, but now I can see how it is to live with a dog that learned early on that hands are toys. I do belive this was what he was taught, intentionally? Probably not but it happened and he'd much rather chew your hand than a toy. Toys are pretty much of no interest, even with a squeaker in it. So we are working on this some.

The competition is just scaring me half to death. I'm so worried we'll just flop out there. To get him out and training in distractions has proven to be very challenging with my everyday life matters while also balancing working for a living!

We took Harry to Starbucks Sunday morning for a little outing and a coffee run. He did a nice sit-stay for me before we left so I could take this shot of him.

I've taken him biking as much as possible, just about everyday. He can go several miles, unlike my poor dogs. Well Noah can go a while but my other dogs can barely make the block without just being exhausted. Harry and I try several miles a day, when I can. He loves it.

Did I mention that I ended up purchasing the K9 Bike Jogger that I had advertised in a post a few weeks ago? Yes. I did get it. I love it! It is remarkable. Keeps the dog from going in front, back or into the bike wheel/your leg. It's just the best thing ever! It is also very difficult for the dog to pull you over on the bike. I was certain they could do that but even the 90-lb Golden Retriever I bike with 2 x a week can't do it, and did do it when I just held the leash and biked with him before! . . . and speaking of it's time for us to take a bike ride! Stay tuned for more on Harry's big adventures!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Extreme Mutt Makeover: Part III

Harry and I (and my trainer, Misty) went to Austin this past weekend to visit my mentor trainer, Lee Mannix. We had a great time and of course learned a lot, as usual! Harry had the best time of his life, I'm sure. He learned to swim in the Blanco River, go thru an agility tunnel, and meet goats.

We are coming along nicely but I still need to do work with him outside of my home, which is the difficult part. However, he did really well at Lee's place and there were tons of distractions there. His attention on me is increasingly well and he seems to be bonding to me. He's really going to make someone a great dog. He's insanely quick to learn and very calm and laid-back for such a young dog.

Here are a couple of videos from the weekend. First is the day we left. It was literally the first time he'd ever even seen a tunnel. The second is us having a nice evening on the river and Harry learned to swim across and back.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Extreme Mutt Makeover: Part II

Here we are, one week from the day I got Harry. Yes, this is the name we've decided on. Harry Pooper to be exact. I call him my "wizard dog" as he's quite bright and proving to be very fun to work with. Challenging to say the least, as I know I got handed the youngest of all of them. I don't think they would have actually given him to me if they actually knew how young he actually is. He's between 5-6 months just due to his immature adult teeth and puppy antics that he displays daily.

I'm having loads of fun with him (I already said that didn't I?) and trying to think of what we will do for our huge routine for the competition. I will be doing 3 competitions, well 2 with the possibility of a 3rd if I make it in the top 3.

He's definitely smart. He'll pick up something in a matter of a few repetitions and then he seems to be pretty reliable with it. He's learned sit, down, stay, come and walk on leash already and just today he began to offer his paw on command (like for "shake").

He's definitely not potty trained, although I'm actually questioning if he may have a urinary tract infection or something related as he's urinating very frequently. I've cleaned up a wet crate every morning for the past couple of days and my living room rug has been shampooed three times now. I now have him tethered to me so that he cannot get out of my site for one second. He doesn't even seem to appear like he's going to go potty and then he just does it! I'm going to watch him for a few days and see if this is behavior related or possibly medical.

Here is a video I took of him from Friday.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Extreme Mutt Makeover: Part I

Well today I got my dog. My wonderful trainer, Misty, came to the house around 9am and we headed out. It was pouring down rain as we launched the seats in my Honda Element to the sides of the car (they fold upward in my car to leave cargo space); we toweled off and headed to the Humane Society of North Texas in Fort Worth to see what dog I was going to be paired with for my Extreme Mutt Makeover.

We arrived and all 10 other trainers were there and we all gathered in a garage-type area in the back of the shelter, dripping down sweat as the clouds rolled by and the sun came out to play. This event is going to be one whopper and I'm more excited than a kid in a candy store! We have our dogs for 6 weeks and we have to train them for obedience and then anything else we want to show off at the final competition. They said last year they sold 4,000 tickets and we'll be in a 50 x 50 arena for our judging and competitions--yipes! I'm a little nervous . . . .

Apparently since 2007 they have been doing this Mustang Makeover (more on that here) where they literally take wild mustangs from goverment land and train them over 100 days and then have a huge competition with the winner receivng $25K. The horses are then adoptable. If they were not trained they would spend their lives in a pen and as a woman said to me today, "A wild mustang is better off dead than trapped in a pen." I'm not a horse person, while I'd love to be one I'm just not educated on the magnificent animals because I've never had the honor of being around them to be able to learn more or even know how to train them. I'd love that, I think it'd be great. Here is the video of the winner of 2008's Mustang Makeover. Just remember this was a wild mustang running free on open-land with no human contact just 100 days before this . . .

The group of dogs we were paired with were all evaluated by the staff and tested for being good with humans, other dogs and not aggressive in any way. The dogs simply are homeless and need training. They don't have what a trainer would label as a "problem" other than owners that didn't take the time to train them and give them what they deserve. We are going to do that for these dogs and I'm very happy to be part of it!

We had a lottery drawing and picked a number and 10 dogs were already pre-numbered. I picked #3 and got this darling fuzzy mutt of a dog. We really have no clue what he is but I think he's one of the youngest of the bunch. I'm guessing he's no more than 6 months old but his paperwork says 8 months. Here is a slideshow of the morning.

He was named by the shelter ("Pancho") but they said we could name the dogs something else if we wanted so I'm going to have a fun little contest to let people jump in to see if we can't come up with a cute name for this guy! So email me here and tell me one name or a hundred that you have thought of to name this guy, the sky is the limit. The person whose name we choose will get $15 off their next dog training service (sorry won't apply to aggression cases). Here are some photos of him and he's about 45-lbs, spunky, mouthy, jumpy and vocal. He barks to let you know he's ready to play and to get your attention. So based off of that you can use your creativity! Thanks and have fun!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Extreme Mutt Makeover

Well I applied for this wonderful event and I got approved as a trainer! They only selected 10 trainers from the entire DFW metroplex who applied to be part of this event. I go to pick up my selected dog this Saturday, August 1st. I'm hoping to (it may not happen but my brain says it will) video the training process each week and post it on here. I will have the dog for 7 weeks, or until September 18th (however long that is).

Here are some specifics on the project . . .

The nation's most unique equine competition, the Extreme Mustang Makeover, will return to Fort Worth's Will Rogers Memorial Center for a third year but with an added twist; the Extreme Mutt Makeover.

Known for its ability to transform wild horses into willing partners, the Extreme Mustang Makeover is bringing this new dimension to the animal adoption world to highlight the time-honored partnership of man with dogs and horses.

"Everyone knows that most horse people are also dog people and that most dog people have an affinity for horses," says Mustang Heritage Foundation (MHF) Executive Director and competition visionary Patti Colbert. "Both species face similar problems; a struggling economy that has forced pet owners to abandon or give away their animals and a need to find compassionate animal lovers who are willing to give these animals good homes.

The Extreme Mustang Makeover management is working in partnership with the Humane Society of North Texas to produce the Extreme Mutt Makeover. The event will be held in conjunction with the Extreme Mustang Makeover in Ft. Worth, Texas, September 18-20, 2009 at the Will Rogers Memorial Center.

While the Extreme Mustang Makeover will return with its reputed lineup of amazing performances and transformations of 125 formerly wild horses, a total of 10 shelter dogs selected from the Humane Society of North Texas will be matched with 10 dog trainers. Dog trainers will compete for prizes on Friday and Saturday during the Extreme Mustang Makeover. Following the dog competition, the dogs will be available for adoption through the Humane Society of North Texas.

Three levels of competition will be presented during the Extreme Mustang Makeover, including Idols and Legends, featuring three and four year old geldings, as well as Mission 008, featuring yearlings with trainers age 18 and under. Idol and Legend levels are determined by the trainers own assessment of the horse's progress and level of ability. A total of $25,000 will be offered in the competition, with a $5,000 prize going to the Legends champion, while the Idols champion will take home $3,000 and the youth champion taking home $1,500.

The MHF in cooperation with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) created the Extreme Mustang Makeover event to highlight the recognized value of mustangs through a national training competition. The event will give the public a unique opportunity to see the results of wild horses becoming trained mounts and then participate in a competitive bidding process to adopt one of these treasured animals. Adoption of all horses will take place September 20 with BLM personnel on hand to answer questions and assist adopters with the application process.

All events are free with the exception of the Legends Finals September 19. Tickets are on sale now through for this entertaining and heartfelt event.

The purpose of the competition is to showcase the beauty, versatility, and trainability of these rugged horses that roam freely on public lands throughout the West, where the Bureau of Land Management protects them under Federal law. The BLM periodically removes excess animals from the range to ensure herd health and protect rangeland resources. Thousands of removed animals are then made available each year to the public for adoption. All of the animals involved in the "Makeover" competition will be available for adoption at the Fort Worth event in September.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Biking with Fido: Video.

Here I am riding with Noah, my Aussie/BC. He loves it. Now I will admit that I do need to get the bike tool for dogs, the K9 Bike Jogger. Holding the leash is dangerous. We are "conditioning" since we are neither one in shape so we don't go far . . . right now. (And please forgive my husband, aka, the videographer. I'm not sure why he says, "Uh oh.")

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Biking with Fido.

So for those of you who get my newsletter you noticed that I mentioned you could bike with your dog in tow. Well I borrowed a bike from a friend and I took 2 Goldens that I walk each week (not at the same time!) and then my Lab and then my Aussie/BC. They all had a blast!

I simply held the dog's leash and went. I would really like to get a different bike and get one of the dog springer/bike riders [designed for bikes & dogs] and see if this is as simple as it appears. Also the leash-holding system can be dangerous if a dog is not that great on-leash. I really feel the safety is key and those systems sold to put on bikes for your dog are much safer. If/when I get one I'll let you know!

It wears the dogs out rather quickly, I'll tell you that! I have a few tips if you have a dog that isn't running on a regular basis for long periods of time. . . .
  • Dogs need to be in good shape to go long distances on a bike with you.
  • Go on short rides & gradually build up the time, speed & distance once you have conditioned your dog to this.
  • Start out slower than normal & gradually build up speed.
  • Avoid hills unless you are really confident or have done this a lot!
  • Remember your dog's feet can wear out quickly depending on the terrain you are riding on. Put the doggie boots on your dog if you can. Otherwise make sure the ground isn't too hot.
  • Let your dog drink afterwards but not too much as to inhale to quickly. (Remember the info on Bloat in my newsletter!)
I'll try to get some pics of my riding skills and how much fun the dogs had! I know I sure had some worn out dogs after our short 15-minute ride!