Thursday, January 22, 2009

QUOTE and TIP of the DAY

A dog is not "almost human" and I know of no greater insult to the canine race than to describe it as such. ~John Holmes

I decided to combine the two today: quote and Tip of the Day. Many times, we think treating our dogs like "babies" is doing them a great justice. We see ourselves as rescuing them from the miseries of the world and in to our safe and loving homes. While that may very well be the case, many people then take it to the next step and coddle these animals until they conform to our human standards of living. It's difficult as a trainer to suggest that people not do this. They all assume I am some Cruella character trying to rob their beloved puppies of a love-filled life. I find it unfortunate that our emotional needs as humans overshadow the deep-rooted instinctive needs of our animals. When they crossed the threshold in to our homes, they did not leave behind their amazing doggy instincts. We don't need acres of land to put those to good use! Dressing dogs up in sweaters and taking them shopping with us everyday, while cute, is not using those instincts. It's taking away a dog's identity, plain and simple. Just as it is majestic to watch geese fly in formation, it is an equally amazing thing to see a dog be a dog. Roll in the mud, play a game of chase, investigate new smells, teach new tricks - these are all things you can do right in your own home. Coming up with more challenging things for my dogs ironically changed me to match their lives. One of our favorite games: GO HIDE! The girls wait with drool puddles below them (and excellent discipline, I might add) as I scatter treats throughout the house where they can't see them. Then, on my mark, they bolt through the house sniffing every nook and cranny searching for their food. Since they've mastered this, I have to up the ante. Now I'm teaching B to bark when she's found those treats in the hard to reach spots. Get creative, use their talents in a positive way and I PROMISE! you will reap the rewards.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


How do I hold on to all the things necessary for something as simple as a one hour walk? Easy ! I bought a fashion faux pas we all know and loathe: the Fanny Pack! GASP!

I know, I know - I love fashion as much as the next girl but I also looooove me some dog training. I own stilletos AND hiking boots! When I'm not wearing my muddy cargo pants, I'm wearing my fashionista designer label jeans.

So what would possess me to actually own a horrendous Fanny Pack?? My dog Bizzle doesn't go on simple walks. She is dog reactive and right now, I am in the uphill battle of reconditioning her dog response. In order to do that, I need to carry a clicker, eleventy billion little bite size pieces of the highest value treat I can find, kleenex because it's only twenty degrees out, gloves for me, whistle for distractions, poop bags for, well, duh...the list goes on and on.

How is all this supposed to be accessible while at the same time holding on to a loose cannon at the end of a six foot leash?

Enter: the purse that rests on the tummy. The "function is more important than form but I wish I had a sign that said I'm wearing this as a dare" buckle pack. Hey, look at it this way: they've actually upgraded the fanny pack to look a lot more "outdoorsy" than "touristy". You can pull off that "we just got back from a rigorous hike" look! I'm promise you: if you hang your pride up on the leash hook when you go for walks, you'll thank yourself (and hopefully me for my awesome advice).

When training your dog, patience is invaluable but it also pays to have a really good sense of humor. :)


"If you don't have a dog in your life, I'm not saying there's something wrong with you...but there may be something wrong with your life." -- Unknown

-- I read this in a random dog book one day and can't remember who the author was. If you know, please tell me so I can cite correctly! Thanks! -E