Oct 222017

Dogs biting and pulling leash editedThis is such a common complaint from dog owners. The number one cause for a dog not performing as desired is the person. You read that right – the person.

I am blessed to work with wonderful people and dogs. Almost always we become friends and we see each other after the training program has completed.

Honestly it makes me so sad to see how a beautifully working team at the time of graduation has fallen away to disappointment and frustration. That’s from the human’s point of view. And you know what? It’s the dog’s point of view as well.

Back are the leash tugging and pulling, the jumping, the raised voice and the unresponsive dog.

My friends, previous clients, have slipped out of the good skills that made a great working team. They are embarrassed when I see them with their dog and how the gorgeous and smooth team has deteriorated and slid into poor behaviors. They mumble about how to dog isn’t listening and failing to be responsive. I don’t even have to say anything. I look at them and we all know it’s the performance of the person causing the problems. (And still, many allow the team performance to drop further and further.)

I usually ask if I may work with the dog and yep, the dog’s skills are all present and right there. The beautiful heel, the solid sit-stay, the immediate responsive come to perfect front and center to me, waiting politely at the door. So what is happening?

The weak link is the person. A very dear friend has changed the sit to “sit down”. The poor dog is confused. What do you want? Sit? Down? She goes up and down and ultimately gives up and dashes away from the chaos while her person keeps repeating the same mixed message, mixed hand signals and upping the volume and frustrated energy. I want to run away too.

Adding to it, other family members have created their own set of words and signals and often I’ve seen family members all talking at once to the dog while raising their voices to get their confusing points across to a dog that was not trained to these words or cues or confusion.

So what is my advice? Slow down. Go back to the basics. Ask someone to give kind, constructive feedback on your communication and skills. Recurrency training is invaluable to keep the team in teamwork. Everyone benefits!

Better than recurrency training is consistency. If you get in the good habit of being consistent, you and your dog can count on this excellent communication and great bonding relationship. People seem to expect peak performance from their dog while they fall way off course. When this happens, the price is high. The dog’s world gets smaller since “she doesn’t mind anymore” and she isn’t welcomed or she is too difficult to manage so she stays home alone. (And often crated.) She didn’t cause the problem. And she isn’t the problem. Her behavior is the result of her person’s behavior altering without bearing in mind it is a team and her teammate isn’t showing up.

So my request to you from your dog is to practice your trained skills. Once you have them back on track, leash your dog and work as a team. You will find your dog needs only a fraction of the time you did to once again happily be your teammate. Bring back the loving relationship.

A well trained dog

Your dog will have those amazing manners and be included once again in all the fun. (Wink) It’s up to you, the human, to get and keep your skill set in place. You will both be happier and your relationship will continue to grow with this commitment and action. You all deserve to receive those compliments of how wonderful your dog is! It is the result of a wonderful team.

P.S. If you have a problem you’d like help with, write to me and I’ll cover it in a future post or video.  WOOF!


Sep 162017

Growth is good, right!

It’s exciting to take on new adventures with my business. Up until recently I’ve mostly been one-on-one training with a dog and family, be it one person or mom, dad, and kids. Ok, or 2+ dogs and a family. I’ve also done group courses as well.

And recently I’ve added online training. It is exciting to be able to meet someone in their home and help them in a new way – virtually. And it is a project! The volume of tools needed for recording training and having it organized, tight and transportable and ready at all times was a task in itself.

Then all the recordings needed to be audited and edited into usable clips. That was a huge endeavor and took a loooooong time! And I learned throughout the experience how important it is to be organized so I could work effectively and efficiently.

It also necessitated reorganizing my workspace to keep that project open and available while being able to work on other aspects of the business. Many times it got the best of me. And I’m grateful for the de-cluttering and organizing services of my brother and his business. He has helped me over the years as I’ve grown to “resize” my business to be fluid and expandable.

Dog growth, of a different sort

       Dog business growing more.

Here’s a confession – I’m a paper hoarder. Paper can undo me! It mounts up in piles and piles. There are treasured resources, required receipts for taxes, articles, and records, are a portion of these stacks. Have you experienced digging through a pile to find something? And how about the pile tip overs that ruin a partially memorized pile knowing how deep to go in time and space to find that one sheet I need. Argh! And not having counter or desktop space due to piles. Keeping up with it has been a challenge.

So when I call upon Robert, he has already seen the situation and knows what is needed. In only a few hours he can magically transform disorganized, cluttered, and piles into smooth consciousness and space! Did I mention how much I love my brother? He is a miracle worker.

I mention this today because people are surprised to learn dog training involves more than a leash and that there is much more going on in the background. Smile. And I don’t want to spend time once I hit the tipping point into office chaos to modify. I wait until it’s unbearable and call in help. Now that I think about it, often that’s how client’s show up – people get to the tipping point of dog chaos before reaching out for help. Not all, but many. Is it simply human nature? What are your thoughts on this being a universal human behavior?

happlily worn out from work

                 Happily worn out from work.


Feb 182017

ATTENTION: Processed Dog Food ingredients not as stated by manufacturer.

Dog food recall Against the Grain

Dog food recall Against the Grain Pulled Beef

Dog food recall Evanger's

Dog Food Recall Evanger’s Hunk of Beef

Notice of recalls on EVANGER’S and AGAINST THE GRAIN Dog Foods.*

The FDA became involved when reports of 5 dogs became ill after eating Evanger’s dog food. One dog died.

This situation is being exposed although it is not getting much press coverage in mainstream media. It is an important for you to know, and share with others.

The owner’s of these two companies are related. They are brother and sister. They both used the same processing facility in relation to the recalled dog food products.  The investigation by the FDA is ongoing.

Key points of this case so far:

  • Evanger’s claimed the beef in its Hunk of Beef dog food product came from a USDA approved supplier.
  • The FDA reports a bill of lading from Evanger’s supplier stated “Inedible Hand Deboned Beef – For Pet Food Use Only. Not fit for Human Consumption”.
  • The supplier’s facility is not authorized as a USDA approved and does not bear a USDA inspection mark therefore not approved as human grade.

The FDA’s preliminary investigation report included:

At Evanger’s Wheeling, IL facility:

Evidence of unsanitary conditions
Inadequate refrigeration
Improper storage
Inadequate control of ambient temperature during hand-packing operations

At Evanger’s Markham, IL manufacturing location:

Avian activity

The FDA will continue to investigate to determine where the pentobarbital came from.

*Check with Evanger’s and Against the Grain sites for specific recall notices  and information on returning the dog food product. DO NOT FEED THE RECALLED DOG FOOD PRODUCTS TO YOUR DOGS,

This is not the first time Evanger’s has come under fire for their dog foods.

It is a dark time for pet food as ingredients and processing has light shined upon common pet food practices. Animal welfare individuals and groups have been talking about this for some time to educate the public to what you are feeding your dog. Want to know. Demand to know. Many people will likely get very angry.

An educated consumer is a powerful consumer. Once you know the details of many, not all, pet food manufacturing processes, you will spend your money in new ways to care for your dog.

I’ve gone human grade and make my pet’s food. I determine the quality, freshness, and ensure a balanced diet to help my pets live a healthy and long life. And my pets greatly appreciate the variety of healthy food. Their vibrant health is easy to see.

What do you feed your dog? Your other pets? Have you had experiences with pet illness due to toxic food or treats? How do you feel about the pet food industry?

(See previous posts on pet food recalls, pet treat recalldog treat recall and challenges with processed dog foods, moremore.)