accomplishment ACE Adopt the Internet Day advocate AKC ALIVE Andrea Arden APDT attention aversives Be the Change for Animals beagle beds Bianca bibliophile birthday blessings blog hop BlogPaws board and train Boston Terrier bullied by the blog C-WAGS C.L.A.S.S. call to action CCPDT CDSP certification Certified Pet Dog Trainer change chapter 1 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Christmas Cincinnati click and treat clicker expo clicker training coming when called commitment common sense communication competion coupon cpdt CPDT-KA craft crisis response Dads Daisy decisions dog shows dog training dominance Easter economy emotions empathy equine Face of Crisis facebook family focus food Fortunate Fido Frames of Mind fraud Gardner giving goals group class harness holy week house guest humanity Husker Ian Dunbar individuals instinct integral internet Jade Jean Donaldson joy K9 Chaplains K9 Comfort Dogs Karen Pryor Ken McCort Lake Township Lana Mitchell learning learning theory leash aggression life experience lifestyle training living positively mama beagle Meagan Melissa Alexander minature horse Morgan Specter Mr. Chewy mule Nevada Humane Society Never Shock a Puppy normal Northern Illinois University Open House openminded opportunity pack theory Parents of Murdered Children party Patricia McConnell peace personality pet blogger challenge Pet Blogger Hop Pets without Parents Philadelphia polite greetings POMC positive reinforcement positive reinforcement clicker training precious priorities product review puppies puppy class Rainbow Bridge Rally Obedience relationships relaxing research review rewards routine safe versus dangerous service dogs SPA sports stress success Sue Ailsby Sweet Spots Doggy Ice Cream TDInc. teacher technology The Clicked Retriever therapy dogs thinking time tools tornado toys training plan training tip travel tricks twitter unconditional love video work in progress

Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Yesterday I was asked if dogs comprehend and respond to our emotions, our moods, our health. I have to answer that I strongly believe they do! Not in the same way as humans do, but in a unique, necessary, canine way. I have had my annual end-of-winter, change-of-season bout with whatever germ is in the air combined with the onset of seasonal allergies and my dog knows it. She is constantly by my side, checking in with me much more than normal, and not very amenable to listening to others in the household. Kendra wanted to play with her the other day and work on some tricks she has been teaching her and Daisy wanted nothing to do with it. That's not like Daisy and I can only attribute it to me not feeling at the top of my game.

Dogs are not humans and do not respond in the same way as humans. To give a dog human characteristics is grossly underestimating a dog -- dogs are so much more! They are sensitive and caring and empathetic beings -- almost to a fault. It is our duty and obligation as thinking, feeling human dog owners to do our best to understand and assimilate our dogs' emotions. It is not to give in to them, or to baby them, or to humanize them. It is to understand the best time to train our dog is not when Mom is sick; it is to understand that a dog's love for her human is unconditional and not to abuse that love; it is to understand that all our dogs want to do is to fit into our families, have a purpose and to be loved in return. Our dogs don't ask for much and give so much in return. Hug your dog today and show them how much you care!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The age old problem...time...

Where do we find the time to do the things we want to do? The things we need to do? I have found I need to be far more creative with my time management of late. Raising a family, training dogs, having a job, starting a business, just living! --- they all take up time and time is truly one of our only limited resources. No matter how hard I try to make more time, there are still only 24 hours in a day!

I have been trying to get up a little earlier -- or at the very least, utilize early morning time a little more effectively. I have been trying to stay functioning and coherent a few minutes longer each evening and get a little more done before I sit down to relax. As far as training the dogs is concerned, I am going to try harder to "practice what I preach" and do meal time training at least once a day.

All that being said, I am also trying to better use my down time -- snuggling with my daughters, playing with my dogs, reading a good book, reading daily devotions, enjoying a cup of tea, reflecting on the day, spending time with my husband. It's truly a blessing when you look to what's important, everything falls into place.

Things are changing quickly at our house as we continue work on our new-to-us building, prepare curriculums and handouts, and get the word out about our classes and services. It's new and exciting and it's where we are meant to be. I know this because it's all working out and I am grateful for and humbled by this opportunity.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Things change...

I have been thinking a lot lately about how much things have changed in my lifetime -- since I was a child -- since I graduated from college in the 80's -- since I started training dogs in the 90's. I have been exploring all of the different options of advertising in this age of instant communication and it simply amazes me. Now we have to be so up-to-date, so cutting edge, that we have to be ahead of ourselves!

Truth is, I love it all. I love how I can put something out on the internet and people across the globe can read it instantly. I love keeping track of friends and family through Twitter and Facebook (it reminds me of when I was little and my mom would stand at the back fence with her coffee chatting with the neighbors -- something that was lost, but I think has been rediscovered in a different form). I am learning to like to text and I know it's helping my teenager and I stay more connected. And now, I am venturing into the wonderful world of blogging -- something I wasn't sure I would do, but am willing to try. I am really enjoying learning about the many different ways I can share information with clients.

Dog training has changed too and I think it's for the much better. Using positive reinforcement is so building up instead of tearing down, both of the handler and the dog. I used to dread working with my dog because I didn't want to be mean, I didn't want to see that look on her face that told me she was not understanding and feeling really badly that she was not doing what I wanted. But now, to get the clicker and the treats and to see the joy in my little dog when we get ready to play makes me want to train, to do more, to learn more and I think my dog feels the same way! To watch the shaping, the learning, the understanding is exciting and rewarding for me -- the dogs really seem to love it too.

This slightly middle-aged lady likes the progress we have made in so many areas! I am not going to fight it -- just the opposite, I am going to embrace it!