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

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Addicted to Dog Food?

I am not a scientist.  I don't have a well-stocked, state-of-the-art laboratory where I can do research with controls and data and irrefutable results.  What I am is a dog lover, owner, trainer, and handler.  What I have is life experience.

What I have observed is the unmistakable difference I see in dogs when they eat a dog food without artificial colorings and preservatives.  I have observed dogs appearing much more comfortable in their own skin when they are fed a food without a lot of corn in it.  I have seen remarkable positive changes in a dog's focus and work ethic without all the junk in their diet.

Feeding a quality food to your dog does not have to cost any more than feeding your dog food full of colors and preservatives and grains.  In fact, when you switch to a better quality food, you can feed less because there is less filler and more substance to the food.  As a result, you don't go through food or money as quickly.

My theory is that dogs get addicted to the artificial colors, the preservatives, and the sugars (corn is basically sugar).  People tell me they can't get their dog to eat anything else.  If you were addicted to something, you wouldn't want anything else either -- is that what's good for you though?  We have switched several dogs to different foods.  The results have been phenomenal.  One dog almost immediately began calming down, focusing more, and learning at an accelerated rate.  In another dog we saw significantly reduced levels of reactivity and aggression.

Dog foods with color and a lot of "bells and whistles" are made to attract the human consumer.  Not necessarily for the good of the dogs.  Be a discriminating consumer.  Eliminate the dyes, the chemicals, the "bells and whistles" and you will have a healthier, happier dog.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Certifed and Insured Dog Trainers

Police: Trainer bilked owners

At least one dog hasn't been found

Posted Monday, April 19, 2010
James Whitten, who was unlicensed, is wanted on felony theft charges.
Frankford dog owner Karen Draikos hasn't seen her 14-month-old German shepherd, Zoe, since January, when she left the purebred in the care of a Wilmington dog trainer.
At first, James Whitten, 42, kept making excuses about why Zoe wasn't ready to come home, she said. Then both disappeared altogether.
"I thought that maybe he hit her and killed her, or she got attacked by another dog," Draikos said. "I'm not concerned about the money. I just want my dog to be safe and not hurt. I hope that she is somewhere where she's safe."
Police say Draikos is one of at least a half-dozen victims who were bilked out of thousands of dollars by the unlicensed dog trainer. Wilmington and state police have issued warrants for his arrest on felony charges of theft, two other felonies and two misdemeanors.
But they believe he fled the state.
After Draikos paid Whitten $1,600 in November to train her two dogs at A Bad Dog No More, Whitten returned both dogs in December, saying he would take Zoe back for more training after the holidays, she said.
"He came back and picked up Zoe in January for what was supposed to be two weeks," Draikos said. "And then we kept calling him. As time was going by, it was one excuse after another."
She filed a report with state police March 12. An investigator told her that Whitten claimed he had returned Zoe.
Other dog owners tell similar stories.
John and Rachel Johnson brought their two dogs from Baltimore to Whitten's business, which they found on the Internet. They said they paid him $500 to train Blue, an 11-month-old white pit bull terrier, and Mikia, a 4-month-old black Cane Corso.
He promised to call Johnson every day to let him know how his two pets were doing. He did so the first two days. By the third day, Johnson said he couldn't reach him. His messages went unreturned.
On March 17, the couple drove to Whitten's Browntown home in the 200 block of Stroud Street. Peering through the windows, John Johnson saw no signs of life. The home looked like the family had moved out. In a panic, he called Wilmington police.
SPCA Animal Agent Nicholas Pepe found the property vacant and the house a mess.
Pepe recalled an earlier incident involving Whitten in which six dogs he was allegedly training were seized from a home in the 500 block of N. Scott St. Pepe went to that house, where an unidentified man opened the door. Johnson's two dogs appeared behind him.
The man told Pepe that he had "found" the dogs "wandering around," according to the report.
Whitten's Stroud Street neighbors said he and his family moved out in the early hours of March 15, taking nine dogs with them.
Through the walls, next-door neighbor Shakita Price said she could hear the dogs whining and crying, and Whitten "hollering all hours of the day and night" at a dog named Chino.
'Best interest of the dogs'
Dog owner Norma Everhart, of Waldorf, Md., said her husband, James, found Whitten's website and agreed to let him train their 6-month-old white Great Pyrense, Tink, for four weeks for $1,400.
Everhart said they were supposed to meet with him two weeks later. But every time they called, they got another excuse -- ranging from he had to undergo surgery for stomach cancer to their dog "couldn't work under the pressure of rain." By the third week, they could no longer reach him.
That's when James Everhart found an Internet posting by Johnson that identified Whitten as a fraud. Johnson helped him locate Tink at the SPCA.
According to Pepe, SPCA animal control officers confiscated six dogs Dec. 17 from the 500 block of N. Scott St., where Whitten was living at the time with just the oven for heat. The dogs were being kept in cages in a cold, damp basement with a fan blowing to deflect the odor. The dogs were returned to their owners, and Whitten was not charged with any counts of animal cruelty.
"It was in the best interest of the dogs to get them home to the owners," Pepe said. "We would have had to prove that the dogs were suffering, kept them and had them evaluated by a veterinarian to establish that something was wrong with the dogs before we could press cruelty charges."
While the Everharts got Tink back, a Dover man's 2 1/2-year-old Rottweiler, Diesel, was sold to a Shreveport, La., woman over Craigslist for $600 plus a $175 delivery fee.
The Delaware owner hadn't seen Diesel since February, when he told police he handed the Rottweiler and his other dog, Alf, over to Whitten along with $1,500 to be trained.
The owner said he picked Alf up after 10 days and didn't notice any improvement in his behavior. Whitten, however, kept Diesel and put off returning him with a string of excuses. The last time he talked to Whitten, he said, was on March 13. After that, all he got was an answering machine.
Pepe said the new owner did not want to give the dog up to its original owner.
So, the Dover man left Sunday and drove 20 hours to Louisiana to retrieve his stolen canine. He returned with the dog Tuesday night.
Long criminal record
According to court records, Whitten has a lengthy criminal record that dates back to 1984, when he was a juvenile.
He was convicted in 1990 of unlawful sexual intercourse, kidnapping, unlawful imprisonment and unlawful sexual contact. In 1996, he was convicted of resisting arrest, and of stalking the following year. In 2004, he was convicted again of resisting arrest and reckless driving. Theft charges dating from December 2007 are still pending against him in the Court of Common Pleas.
College student Ashley Pope, 20, of Dover said she paid Whitten $1,000 on Dec. 15 when she dropped off her 10-month-old Presa Canario, Jahada. When Pope picked up Jahada at the SPCA shelter, she found the dog with a scratch on her nose and a rash all over her body. The dog had to be taken to a veterinarian, at a cost of $200.
Pope said although she wants her money back, she's content just to have her dog.
"She's my baby," she said. "I'm not going to hold my breath for my money. I lost $1,200. It was an expensive lesson."
Anyone with information about Whitten's whereabouts may call the Delaware SPCA at 998-2281 or Delaware Crime Stoppers at (800) TIP-3333.
Staff reporter Sean O'Sullivan contributed to this story. Contact Terri Sanginiti at 324-2771 or

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Small Dog Harness

A fabulous idea for those of you with small, hard-to-fit dogs!  Looks easy enough -- even for the craft-challenged!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Puppy Biting and Chewing

"What a cute puppy!" everyone says to you; while you are thinking, "I am about to go nuts with the puppy biting and chewing!"  Puppies using their teeth is as natural as humans using their hands.  Think about it.  Dogs don't have hands with opposable thumbs, they have teeth and they use their teeth for everything.  Teaching puppies to use their teeth appropriately is the task at hand -- NOT elimination of using their teeth.

There are many great books out there you can refer to -- I like Ian Dunbar, Patricia McConnell, Jean Donaldson, Morgan Specter, Andrea Arden, Melissa Alexander, Karen Pryor -- any book written by a positive reinforcement trainer is going to supply you with a wealth of good information.  Check them out and pick one that fits with you and your puppy.  The great thing about books is that it is a readily available source in a moment of "aaack! what do I do?!?" and they remind us that we are not the only humans with puppies that need to be taught!

What to do about those pointy, sharp puppy teeth?  Make sure puppy has appropriate things to chew on.  Puppy-proof the space puppy spends time in.  Never leave puppy unattended to chew indiscriminately (and to potty, get into trouble, and generally wreak havoc!).  When puppy bites/nips the humans in your house, act completely offended and ignore the puppy -- hands away (pockets, armpits, crossed over your chest), stand up straight, look away from the puppy, and stand completely still -- for just a minute or so (puppies have short attention spans, so this time doesn't and shouldn't need to be very long).  If it hurts when puppy bites (as opposed to being just completely annoying), yelp "ouch!" like puppy's canine siblings or playmates would do in addition to ignoring puppy.  When puppy is playing nice with you, be sure to give her lots of positive reinforcement.  Rewarded behavior is repeated behavior and ignored behavior is behavior that goes away.

If you have other pets and are trying to teach your puppy to fit into your existing family, the above statements still apply, but there is an added component -- the other animals.  My first strategy is to supervise their time together, but allow the animals to work it out amongst themselves.  When and if you need to intervene, we like a long, braided, fleece tug toy to distract puppy,  These toys have a lot of "life" in them when we move them around -- and that's what is attracting puppy to the other animals in your family.  When the toy comes to life, puppy is enthralled and distracted from pestering the other animals.  Ta, da! Puppy is positively reinforced for leaving the other animals and interacting with the toy!

Find a positive reinforcement clicker training puppy class that includes puppy playtime/socialization and enroll.  So many people put off this very important component because they think puppy is too young (we enroll puppies as young as 6 weeks with their vet's approval and encourage puppies to enroll before they are 12 weeks old), or puppy is doing fine at home -- we don't need any help, or because they don't know/understand how important socialization is.  Puppy class is not necessarily about obedience, but more about being with other people and puppies.  The obedience is just a great bonus!  In our puppy classes we spend time on house manners, attention/focus, and coming when called; the end of each class is puppy playtime where the puppies are let loose to play and interact with each other.  We strongly believe that puppies learn a wealth of information from each other and older dogs that cannot be learned from humans.  So we encourage lots of interaction.

When puppy class is over, keep teaching and working with your puppy.  Puppies turn into teenagers and I think the teenaged time is much more trying than puppy time.  I encourage all of my puppy students to continue coming to some kind of class through the teenaged time -- it helps keep your teenaged pup on track as well as supporting you during this interesting, exciting, and trying time in your young dog's life.

And last, please don't wish your puppy time away -- they are puppies for such a short time.  Yes, it's crazy, sometimes messy, but always a joy and it's gone in a blink.  Enjoy the puppy breath, the puppy sounds, the puppy faces -- build your relationship and enjoy the beginning of a long and happy journey with your puppy.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Taking the Family to a Dog Show

You have decided to take the whole family to a dog show.  Yay!  I think it's a wonderful family activity -- we love that time together as a family.  But I also think you need to know a few things to make the experience more enjoyable and safer for everyone -- both your family and the other people at the dog show.

Once you have decided on a particular show to attend (it could be a big all-breed show with conformation, obedience, rally, agility, demos and vendors or perhaps a small rally and obedience show or anything in between -- I've listed some links below to show schedules of some venues I am familiar with), do some research and find out all you can about the show.  Is there an admission to attend, where is parking and does it cost anything, what facilities are on-site, is there food and drinks available, are there chairs or should you bring your own, is the show inside or outside, etc.  If you have very small children, check to see if strollers are allowed; some shows do not.

Once you have all the basic information, it's time to educate your family.  If this is the first time you have taken the whole gang, my recommendation would be to leave the canines at home and focus on the humans in the family for this first experience.  That way you can keep a better eye on things and get a good lay of the land without having to worry about your dog.

Some of our family rules for dog shows:  Never approach or pet a dog without asking first.  Some dogs don't like children, some dogs may be getting ready to go into the ring and the handler doesn't want to be interrupted or distracted, or any number of other specific situations we may not be aware of.  If the handler says it's okay to pet the dog, ask the handler how his/her dog likes to be petted.  My Daisy loves her neck and shoulder area rubbed, but she's a beagle and if you offer the typical hand to be sniffed before petting her, you may be there all day with her sniffing your hand.  So I will tell people to let her have a very quick sniff and then commence with petting!  Our Husker is a stereotypical Golden in that he loves everyone -- his way of showing that is to wiggle and rub against you.  If someone is dressed up, we always try to warn them they will probably be pretty hairy when they are done interacting with him.  Never put your hands into any dog's crate or confined area.  This is just asking for trouble.  Even the nicest dogs may mistake little fingers for a yummy treat and then a terrible accident happens.  Be respectful of all dogs in the rings.  These dogs are competing, sometimes for big prizes, and I don't want any of my family to be the reason a dog doesn't do well in the ring.  Being respectful means keeping all body parts and extraneous accessories out of the ring, eating only in food areas (NOT ringside), keeping our voices low and calm, and putting our cell phones on vibrate/silent.  Ask before taking any photos.  We don't allow our kids to take photos of anyone in the ring except for family and friends and even then we ask first.  Outside of the ring most people are very agreeable to photos, but keep in mind the same things as petting dogs (above).  Always let sleeping dogs lie.  The old saying is one of our rules -- if a dog is sleeping, no matter how cute and wonderful, we are not going to wake him up to interact with us.  That's just not fair and doesn't set that visit, your family, or the dog up for success.

We try to keep the rules simple and easy to remember and have had great success with them.  Yes, there will be lots of other people who don't follow any rules at all, but I love it when my family sets a good example for others and it always pays off in the end.

Now all that's left is to go!  Pack your chairs if you are going to need them, a cooler with lunch or snacks and some drinks (depending on what will be available and/or what you want to do), and have the kids bring some quiet activities. (Just in case!  Ours always bring an electronic device with headphones and a notebook and writing utensils.  When our youngest was very young we would sit ringside for hours while she drew pictures of different dogs and wrote down every single dog she saw.  Both of our girls are dog breed experts from this early and frequent exposure!)

Talk to people at the show.  Dog people love to talk dogs!  Ask questions, interact and have fun.  Get comfortable with the environment and what is going on all around you.  This is all preparation for when you might bring your dog with you.  Enjoy the company of people who love dogs as much as you do and know that you are all on the journey together.

Canine Work and Games -- C-WAGS
Association of Pet Dog Trainers Rally Obedience -- APDT
American Kennel Club -- AKC

St. Hubert's Companion Dog Sports Program

Pets without Parents -- Columbus, Ohio

Any journey starts with one step -- no matter how small or how big.  And part of enjoying that journey includes making it better for those who are on it with you.  BlogPaws 2010 was more than a social opportunity, it was a call to action for everyone who cares about pets -- both with and without parents.  Please be a part of the change, a part of the solution, and donate to this very worthy organization:

Take that first step.  It doesn't matter what size it is.  It just matters that you took it.  Love your precious pets today, enjoy being companions on the journey, and give so that others may know the same joy!!!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

"Positive" Training?

Is it positive reinforcement training when you reward your dog for a nice sit when you got it by correcting with a prong collar? (no)  Is it positive training when you reward your dog for coming when called after you have shocked him with a shock collar? (no)  Is it positive training when you pet your dog while he is sitting when you stepped on your dog's feet when he jumped on you? (no)  There are many ways to train a dog.  And there are many ways that have been "named" as training methods.  But something that is very clear to me is that it is NOT positive training when you combine reward/reinforcement based training with aversive equipment or methods.  In this case the parts don't add up to a consistent whole for me.

We are crossover trainers.  There was a time in our dogs' lives when we used prong collars, choker collars, and shock collars to get our dogs to do what we wanted them to do.  We also used food, praise, petting, and play to reinforce desired behaviors.  But we were not positive trainers.  Our dogs did what we asked them to do because they were afraid not to.  They did not do what we asked because they wanted to or because they knew something good would happen.  We were introduced to positive reinforcement clicker training about 5 years ago.  At first we were skeptical.  We were willing to try, but unwilling to give up our aversive equipment.  But then we started seeing the phenomenal results in our dogs that come with positive reinforcement clicker training.  They were doing things with great enthusiasm that before they did like we were beating them the whole time (which is something we NEVER did with our dogs).  

I became a true and complete believer in positive reinforcement clicker training when I needed to reteach my Daisy a retrieve.  I thought I had done it right from the beginning, but Daisy started to cower, run, and hide whenever I got out the dumbbell.  I was devastated to see this reaction in my dog!  I did some research and found a great book called "The Clicked Retriever" by Lana Mitchell.  I followed the plan outlined in the book and, very quickly Daisy started showing a complete turnaround in her attitude and her enthusiasm when the dumbbell came out.  One of my proudest moments EVER in the competition ring was the first retrieve Daisy performed for me -- we didn't qualify in that run, but seeing her get the dumbbell with a bounce in her step and a twinkle in her eye still brings tears to my eyes.

There are many trainers out there who believe they are using positive training simply because they are rewarding desired behaviors.  There is more to positive reinforcement training than just reinforcement of desired behaviors -- having a relationship with our dogs, knowing our dogs and knowing what is reinforcing to them, understanding their body language and cues to us, having goals and a plan, having a basic knowledge of canine learning theory and ignoring undesired behaviors.  Positive reinforcement training does not include using physical punishment to inhibit undesired behaviors. 

If your desire is to positively train your dog, find a trainer who uses positive reinforcement in its tried and true, scientifically based form -- without the use of aversive training equipment.  There are many tools available to positive reinforcement trainers that do not inflict physical pain on the dog and will help you to better train your dog.  (Some of the tools we use are Gentle Leaders, EZ Walk harnesses, and Thundershirts.)  Ask your trainer a lot of questions and never, ever do anything to your dog that makes you feel uncomfortable.  Our dogs are emotional beings and inflicting pain is much more than physical, it also affects our dogs mentally.

Many people say they want their dogs to do what they say when they say it because that's what we tell them and if they don't do it, they are going to be punished.  Wouldn't you rather have a dog who does what you ask of her because the dog wants to do it?

Enjoying the journey with your dog is a reciprocal relationship.  It only works when you both are enjoying the journey.

Be the Change!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Setting goals is an integral part of animal training.  If you want to train an animal to do anything, you must first decide what it is you want the animal to do!  Perhaps it's as practical as housetraining, as foundational as loose leash walking, or as advanced as search and rescue.  The one thing all of training has in common is that first a goal is set and steps are established by which to accomplish that goal.

The relatively common mistake many people make is of setting their goals and then believing them to be static and unchanging.  Goals, in my opinion, are the opposite -- they are dynamic and constantly changing.  For example, let's say I want to shape my dog to retrieve a pair of socks for me.  I know she already knows how to retrieve her toy, so my goal is to get her to retrieve an object (my socks) that I have named for her.  Let's also say that in the first few minutes of training, the light bulb comes on and she gets right away that this is the same game only with socks instead of her toy.  But, she's having trouble figuring out what exactly "socks" means.  "Is it this, Mom?  Is it this?  Or maybe this?" Now, my goal needs to change -- I don't have to teach her to go get the socks so much as I need to teach her what socks are! 

Setting goals means you will have the information to be able to adjust on the fly.  Using positive reinforcement clicker training sometimes means our animals are quicker to learn than what we might be used to.  And in using positive reinforcement clicker training, it's important to be a step ahead of your animal.  So I like to set my goals with lots of steps in them; that way when my dog moves faster or slower depending on the task, I am always able to visualize where we are headed next. I also like to write things down instead of keeping it all in my head where it sometimes gets lost in the shuffle. ;)  With a written plan, I have the information available to me when I need it.

So, you want to begin attending dog shows as a family.  Where to start?  First of all, make sure everyone in the family is interested in going to dog shows.  Maybe they each have different reasons for wanting to go, and that's okay -- just be sure they all have the basic interest.  Okay, everyone wants to go.  Unfortunately we can't ask our dogs, but we can observe them.  Does your dog appear to enjoy training, working, hanging out with you?  (Be objective! Be careful not to make things more than they are.)  Does your dog function fine outside of your home (act similarly to at home, settle easily, potty, eat, sleep relatively normally)?  If after objectively answering these questions, determine what it is you and your dog might like to try -- there are many possibilities:  rally, obedience, agility, tracking, flyball, earthdog, dock-diving, etc. -- and do your research.  Search the internet, get a book, contact someone who competes in that sport and talk to them.  If you want/need to take dog training classes, find an instructor/school that you like, who has experience competing in the sport you are thinking about, and start classes.

Once you have your information, set your goals.  Remember to write them down and have lots of steps.  Have someone look it over for you to see if you've missed anything or need additional steps.  I don't think you can have too much detail!  (You can email us and we would be happy to help you with this!  My experience is with Rally, Obedience, and Junior Showmanship and my husband can help you with Tracking, Scent Work, and Search and Rescue.)

Now you have your family on board and your goals are set -- now start working with your dog and ticking off your goals as you accomplish them.  The first time you walk into a ring or onto a field of competition you will probably be nervous, but you will have a wonderful, amazing feeling of achievement.  I always look at my dogs and our life together as a work in progress, but I take great joy and pride in everything we do and achieve together.  I am most definitely enjoying the journey.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Family Time and Dog Shows

I know how blessed I am that, as a family, we have something we like to do together.  We like to go to dog shows together.  We started going together as spectators, then I ventured into competition (rally and obedience), next was Meagan in Junior Showmanship, Ken gave in and got hooked on rally and obedience, and finally Kendra was old enough to head into the rally ring.  Now I love to judge, Meagan is a much-requested, respected, outstanding table steward, Ken enjoys competing and being my right hand man, and Kendra is one of the most naturally abled dog handlers I have ever had the privilege to watch.

Going to a dog show is a much-anticipated event at our house.  We all love packing up and heading out for a weekend of friends, dogs, and family time.  We look forward to a cramped hotel room with three dogs laying at our feet while we play a highly competitive game of Uno or Clue.  We enjoy reconnecting not only with our dog show family, but also with each other, without the distractions of everyday life, the internet, television, texting, and phone calls.

This is not something I planned for our family.  It just happened.  We share a love for dogs and it grew from that.  In our "normal" life we are four very different people -- Ken is the only human male in the house and has a lot on his plate at any given time with a full-time job and a small business; Meagan is almost 16, is very involved in school, band, theater, dance, and being a teenager; Kendra is 12 and on the brink of being a teenager -- she loves music, being outside, animals, and dances too.  And there's me -- being the mom and wife and trying to keep everybody and everything in some semblance of order while I attempt to fit in time to train dogs and people, write curriculum, volunteer, and run a household.  It is most definitely bordering on a miracle when we all get away together for a dog show weekend!  But it's worth all of the juggling to make it work for us.  It's made us the family and the people that we are today.

My next post will be about setting goals -- specifically about setting goals to begin competing with your dog (my experience is with rally and obedience, but will apply to other dog sports as well!).  Most of all -- keep enjoying the journey you are on with your dog!!!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

A Work in Progress

So many times we are focused on when  we are done with something: , "when the dog is trained," "when the kids are grown," "when I retire."  I think the truth is while we are waiting for those things to be completed, we are missing out on life!  Today both Ken and I learned some new things, expanded our horizons, and hopefully, improved our lives a little.  I hope by keeping in mind that most of life is a work in progress, we will learn not only to live life to its fullest all the time, but also not to miss life by putting things off. 

Daisy was not feeling well this week.  Since she was making very good progress with her health, I opted to play with her at a trial this weekend.  Saturday was three of the best runs we have ever had and certainly, overall, one of the best days!  If I had been cautious or opted out of showing, we would not have had that experience together this weekend.  I am so glad we were together, working, playing and enjoying the journey together.  (Please don't misunderstand, if I had thought she was not up to it, I would not have pushed it.  I am not going to jeopardize her health.)

Ken went to BlogPaws 2010 to learn more about the many things available to use via the internet for our dog training business.  Wow! What a wealth of information.  I know he was not overwhelmed about going alone, but he did it for me and for our business and I think he's glad he did.  He spent the day with his boy, Husker, met some great people, got some great stuff and ideas and enjoyed the journey. 

It is good and right to live life with those you love.  If you consider everything as a work in progress I think you will learn very quickly to be flexible, to be openminded, and to enjoy the journey!  I think this different, and maybe new, attitude will change you and change the way you look at things.  I think you will find that it makes things better in many ways.