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

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Gone to the Equines?!?

We had our Open House at our business last weekend in the 90+ degree heat and sunshine.  My friends, Annie and Jacques Schiller of Heavenly Days Boarding, DayCare and Training, came down to be our "draw" -- they brought their awesome mule, Oliver, and their therapy mini-horse in training, Tinkerbell.  It was so fun to look across the street and see Oliver waving the flag or playing basketball and Tinkerbell working her charm on the kids!  Kendra (our youngest) was in 7th heaven -- she loves animals and Annie, so it was a fun day for her while she helped Annie and Jacques.  I know people loved interacting with these exceptional animals. 

Enjoy the photos!

And Happy Pet Blogger Hop Saturday!  Enjoy the great blogs listed.  Stay safe!!!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Fathers' Day!!!

As the girls get older and older, Fathers' Day (and Mothers' Day too!), seems to get a lower and lower priority.  Fathers' Day is usually the day of our church's Vacation Bible School program, a class day for our dog training classes, a day of graduation parties, a day of catching up after the whirlwind of activity after school gets out -- not too much time left over for honoring the dads in our lives!  With everything that's been going on these last few weeks, Ken is using today to cut the grass -- while it's hot, humid, and sunny out.

So, in this age of technology, I will use our blog to honor fathers of all shapes and sizes and especially the father of my children.  Thank you for cleaning up dog poop in the backyard -- sometimes on a daily basis.  Thank you for listening to wives and children rant and rave when things aren't going quite right -- even when we all know there is nothing you can or will do about it.  Thank you for working hard all day (or night) at work to bring home a steady paycheck and health insurance and THEN working on the house and in the yard, helping out at the family-owned small business, coaching teams, walking dogs, and chauffeuring children or pets around.  Thank you for eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches several nights in a row when there just isn't enough time to cook!  Thank you for sharing in clean-up duties -- for throw-up, for potty, for poop, for spilled milk, and for the kitchen on the nights when we decide to cook.  Thank you for accepting and embracing our craziness and all of our crazy friends.  Thank you for being a great dad to all of the children, both two- and four-legged who count on you!!!

My husband, Ken, puts up with a lot -- a wife, two daughters (a teenager and almost a teenager!), two dogs, two guinea pigs, and a fish -- in addition to working a full-time job and helping with our small business.  He almost never gets the bathroom when he wants it and he knows more about ballet than almost any man I know!  But deep down, I think he loves it -- I know he loves us!!!  He will be embarking on his annual trek to the Alive Music Festival with our oldest daughter this week.  Primitive tent camping with 16 youth and adult chaperons from our church -- need I say more?  Ken, you know how much Meagan loves this time with you, thank you for being the dad you are -- Happy Fathers' Day!!!!

My dad, Denny, is a great teacher for Ken -- four sisters, five daughters, and three granddaughters -- his sons-in-law and grandson hold a special place in his heart. :) He is always looking out for us and trying to keep track of all of his family's crazy lives.  He is a true bibliophile and has kept us all in books most of our lives.  Thank you Dad for all you do!!!  Happy Fathers' Day!!!

Thank a dad today and give him a hug (after he's done cutting the grass and has had a shower! ) -- you might be the only person all day to do that for him -- dads are pretty under-appreciated for the most part.  Thanks Dads for all you do for us!!!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

It's Saturday!!!

And that means Blog Hop Saturday!  What fun!!!  Around our house it's supposed to be very hot and humid, so I'm thinking it's a great day to stay cool inside reading blogs with my dogs napping all around me.  What are you going to do today?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

"Normal" Life with Dogs

Thank goodness for "normal!"  After last week, I am so happy to have some normal at our house.  We have been working, volunteering at our church's Vacation Bible School, paying bills, teaching classes, etc., etc., and spending time together with our dogs.  It's nice to have dogs -- they really do make me feel better and I have needed that lately.  We are all still adjusting to the loss of our elderly German Shepherd and we are all blessed to have each other while we get this all figured out.

Life with dogs -- it really should be easy.  If it's not, changes need to be made, adjustments tried, options explored.  Attention, focus, and communication are three vitally important ingredients in training your dog.  If you can't get your dog's attention, keep him focused on you, and communicate clearly what you are wanting him to do -- you aren't going to get very far in your training.  To work on these things, try this easy and fun exercise at home:  when your dog looks you in the eye (don't say or do anything, just wait), click and treat him.*  Do this a few times.  When your dog won't take his eyes off of you, it's time to change it up -- now, say your dog's name (ONCE!) and wait for him to look you in the eye, click and treat.  Is your dog starting to sit and stare at you?  Yippee!!!  Click and treat that.  Is your dog staying more focused on the task at hand than before?  Fabulous!!!  Click and treat.  What I expect you will be seeing is a more focused, consistent dog wanting to communicate with you.  And that, in and of itself, deserves to be clicked and treated!!!

(As you try these things at home, please contact me if you have any questions or if something isn't working the way you think it should.)

Clicker training has changed our lives with our dogs.  It has allowed us glimpses into the way they think and the way they learn to allow us to better communicate with them.  Through better communication we have discovered dogs we love to be with, we love having in our lives, and dogs we love being with on our journey together.

*Click and treat -- a clicker is a great way to mark the behaviors in your dog you want to see repeated.  The first thing you should do is "warm up" the clicker.  Click it and give your dog a treat -- just because you clicked.  Show your dog that every time he hears the click, he is going to get something wonderful.  Then uphold this "contract."  Every time you click, your dog gets something good.  Even if you click accidentally, give your dog something good anyway.  Don't violate your contract!!!  If you do, the meaning of the clicker will become fuzzy and inconsistent for your dog.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Blog Hop Saturday Again!!!

Blog Hop Saturday has become a highlight for me.  I really enjoy reading all the blogs and preparing my own post for the day.  I hope you all are having a great time getting to know all the great pet bloggers.

Daisy is getting some much needed sleep before we head back to Lake Township for more support and therapy for the victims of the tornadoes and all the volunteers.

Happy Blog Hop Saturday!  (I don't know where the code is for the Blog Hop List -- I am off with my dog for tornado relief.  If you can help me add the code, please leave a comment!  Sorry I ended up on the list twice -- don't know what the computer is doing this morning.  Yay! I found the code on Pibble's blog -- thank you, thank you, thank you!!!)

The Saturday Pet Blogger Hop

This week...

This has been a week.  I don't know what else to really say about it.  So many crazy, unusual, inexplicable, sad, and happy things happened.  I know I am still trying to process it all and I wonder how I will feel when it all sinks in.

Last Saturday night a series of horrible tornadoes hit several areas in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan.  There were several deaths and more damage than you can imagine.  I didn't think too much about it at the time, except to pray for all the victims that they would recover quickly and completely.

Sunday saw my friend Annie, her mom, and me at a great seminar in Columbus, Ohio -- Dogs Will Be Dogs, presented by Ken McCort.  It was a wonderful day with tons of information.

Monday night we started a new Family Dog Class Series with four very nice families.  We have only met half the dogs so far, but it promises to be an exciting class with lots of learning by both humans and canines going on.

Then Tuesday we started thinking about taking our K9 Chaplains/Comfort Dogs into the area ravaged by the tornado.  I can't remember what started this thought process anymore, but it became very clear, very quickly that this is what we needed to do.  I made several contacts and we prepared to report to Calvary Lutheran Church on Wednesday morning. 

On Wednesday, Daisy, Kendra, and I met Pastor Bob at Calvary and he introduced us to Pastor Katherine at another church.  Between the two of them, we have been keeping very busy!  We have walked a lot, talked to many people, passed out fliers, cried with some, prayed with some, laughed and shared many joys and memories with victims, with volunteers, and with clean-up crew members. 

Thursday was a sad day at our house.  Our elderly German Shepherd, Lordy, passed away.  He was about 13 or 14 years old.  He was Ken's working dog.  He retired a few years back and was happily living out his retirement -- sleeping on the couch, barking at the neighbor's cats, and being a great family dog.  He went quickly, but we were all able to say our good-byes.  We miss him already and are still getting used to him being gone from our house.  He will always hold a special place in our hearts.

Left: Lordy in his working days.
Right:  Lordy last summer.

Ken was scheduled to go serve with his dog at the tornado relief effort on Thursday but it was not meant to be.  He decided to go later in the day after taking care of Lordy.  But his truck basically blew up on the way out of town!  Thank goodness for wonderful friends who covered us over there at a moment's notice.  We are so glad someone was able to be there.

Friday was productive and simple.  Both Ken and I went over to share our dogs this morning and met another team from Michigan.  We walked Main Street in Millbury, Ohio in the morning (in the rain) and hung out at the school complex in the afternoon (in the heat and humidity).  The dogs did great and we talked to a lot of wonderful people.

This weekend is filled with K9 Chaplain/Comfort Dog activities.  There is a prayer walk today and a church service on Sunday morning that we have been invited to attend.  It's such a hard time for so many people.  I hope we have been able to help a little by sharing our dogs and our time with them.

Top to Bottom, Left to Right:
A foundation with an American Flag flying -- this touched my heart.
Lake High School.
If these Lake High School boys are a representative of what's ahead -- the future is very bright!  They were wonderful to talk with and I am sure they will all go far.
Karley and Gabe, two Lake students with Husker and Daisy.
Ken and Husker at Lake High School.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Blog Hop Saturday!!!

It's here, it's here!!!  It's Blog Hop Saturday!!!  We started joining this group of awesome pet bloggers a few weeks ago and it's been a blast.  It is an opportunity to find some great blogs to read about wonderful people and their fabulous pets.  I know the participants on Blog Hop Saturdays are just the tip of the iceberg -- I think about an average of about a hundred bloggers join each week -- I wonder how many pet bloggers there are out there?  I have a feeling I could spend a lifetime finding them and reading their blogs!

I found a wonderful video this week from the Mayo Clinic about the healing power of pets.  While I know how good my dogs help me to feel, it's always inspiring to hear stories of how other pets have changed lives.

Hug your pets and Happy Blog Hop Saturday!!!
The Saturday Pet Blogger Hop