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

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Mr. Chewy

I love internet shopping!  It is so much easier for me and fits my lifestyle so well.  I can have my dogs with me while I shop, I don't get pushed or shoved, I don't have to deal with rude, less than informed salespeople, and if I shop at the right websites, I can get what I want or need in a matter of days without it costing an arm and a leg.  For me, this is the way to shop.  I have a short list of favorite places to shop online -- those with excellent customer service, product selection, and user friendliness. is now on my short list!!!!

I discovered Mr. Chewy last Friday when I received an email inviting me to visit their site and do some shopping. (For the record, I chose to shop at their website, but I did use a great promo code they emailed me.)  The website is very straightforward and user friendly -- I had no problem finding some of our dogs' favorite treats and chewies.  I found the prices to be very competitive (and you get free shipping on orders over $49!).

Since it's so close to Christmas, I chose to splurge and get some of their favorite Merrick Flossie chewys.  Not an every day treat for my dogs!  But the price was awesome, shipping was free, and the service at Mr. Chewy's was fabulous!!!

I placed my order on Friday evening and received it on Tuesday afternoon.  What a phenomenal response time!  I heard almost immediately that my order had been received and was being processed, along with a link to track my order through the system.  

The dogs know my order came (duh!), but it's put away until Christmas morning.  You'll have to check back to see how much they love ALL of their Christmas presents!!!!

I am very pleased with Mr. Chewy and will continue to shop there.  I love a good internet shopping site and I am so glad I found Mr. Chewy!!!!

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Puppies are 1 Year Old!!!

Whew!  I think I am very tired.  This last year has been a whirlwind.  I look back and I wonder where the year has gone.  One year ago today we had 10 4-week-old puppies, their mama, and our two dogs in the house.  How did we do it?!?!?  I have no idea.  I have decided to chalk it up to the power of love because I truly do not know how we could have done it otherwise.

Last month we had a Puppy Birthday Party.  We were blessed to have six of the ten puppies come back for the party.  We had a wonderful day and many memories were made.  I love my puppies and am so very blessed through everything they have brought to us.  Special thanks to Monica Callahan of SPOTLess Designs -- she custom made each of the puppies a birthday collar.  They are wonderful -- something to cherish and get out each year around their birthdays.

A quick update on what we are doing with them and then some pictures from the party...Elphie is our clown.  She lives to target and to chew.  Her attention when working with her is phenomenal.  Meagan, Kendra and I have all worked with her and we all love her work ethic.  Meagan wants to do some flyball with her and we are starting to work on her therapy dog registration.  Dolly is the lover, the sensitive soul.  (She hates when I raise my voice to anyone in the house!).  She loves to do her tricks, to sniff and to snuggle.  She is doing very well with therapy dog work and her attention is improving every day (darn beagle nose!).  Ken and I struggle with the differences and are learning to love them.  Kendra is young enough to be ultra flexible and isn't bothered by it.  Nellie and Grace are in Indiana and doing a lot of Rally and Obedience.  They also want to do some therapy work.  Layla is with a wonderful family and she is perfect for them -- the kids love her and she loves them.  Emmett is a happy farm boy!!!  He travels a little with them and they hope he will doing a lot more traveling in the future.  Zuko's mama is away at college, so he waits patiently at home for her and plays with her younger brother.  Zip is our Nebraska puppy and she loves her Aussie brother, Zeb.  She had an interesting (not so good) habit of liking metal objects -- perhaps we should be training her for Utility?!?!?  Meeka and Nike are in Michigan loving their big yard and their loving family.

And pictures!!!!

Elphie, Meagan, Dolly, and Kendra

Kristen's Cake Pops for the Humans!!!  Yum!!!

Elphie, Meagan, and Lily

Puppy Birthday Ice Cream

Lucas, Logan, Lily, and Layla

Dolly and Kendra

Blowing bubbles for puppies

The best group photo we could muster!
Handsome Emmett!

Hope and one of her pups with our friends and their dog Puggsly (a puppy friend!)

Monday, October 17, 2011

A fork in the road...

Dear Friends,

It is with mixed emotions that I write this today. I have been presented with several wonderful opportunities to teach more advanced classes and workshops. We believe in order to best serve our students, something has to give. After looking at the big picture, discussing with our family and much prayer, we decided to give up our training facility in Fremont. We feel it is the best possible scenario for all of us – we will still be teaching classes locally and I will be able to teach at other facilities, judge, and lead workshops without being tied down to the building.

I will continue to offer private, in-home or on-location sessions, as well as outdoor classes when the weather cooperates. I am working locally with Bark Avenue Pet Boutique to offer some classes in their store and I am also going to be looking for other locations to offer classes. (Please, if you have any ideas, please share them!) I will continue to do day camp and boarding at the house. I would like to add dog walks in various locations, as well as other dog outings. We will maintain our wholesale accounts so that we can continue to get food, treats, and other supplies for our students. I am currently studying for the Certified Canine Behavior Consultant exam in November and I will still take that. God willing, I will pass with flying colors and will be able to add that to my certifications.

We will be giving up the building at the end of November. Class attendance is typically very low in the winter and utilities are high. Until that time, we will continue with our ongoing classes (Rally, Obedience, Agility for Fun, and S*T*A*R Puppy) and we will complete our current series (Canine Life Skills and It’s All Tricks). The website will continue and I will keep the calendar up to date as well as linking to the appropriate websites when I am teaching at other facilities.

Please don’t forget, if you are willing to drive just a bit farther, I would love to see you at one of the other training facilities! There will also be classes offered locally at different locations. Thank you all for your support and your commitment to positive reinforcement training. Ken, Meagan, and Kendra send their love and gratitude to you!!! They have loved sharing their lives with you and they will also miss you. It is because of you all that this decision is so difficult. If you need anything at any time, please contact me.

This is not good-bye, and we look forward to the next leg of our journey.

Laurie Buchele

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Her Senior Year

This usually is the place I talk about our life with our dogs.  But today I feel I must talk about our life with our oldest daughter, Meagan.  Yesterday she began her Senior year of high school.  The journey with her, and with our dogs, is amazing!!!

Meagan is our "brainiac."  She is smart -- both book and street.  She is logical, compassionate, faithful, loving, quiet, reserved, talented, musical, adventurous, empathetic -- she is an awesome young lady.  She never ceases to amaze me with what she is doing, can do, will do.

I credit Meagan for helping us get into dogs and dog training.  When we first started getting more "into" dogs, she was our faithful companion at dog shows.  I have wonderful memories of both girls taking notebooks to dog shows and keeping lists of all the different breeds they saw.  She saw Conformation and Junior Showmanship and told me she wanted to try that.  So we explored our options and Meagan began training Daisy for the Junior Showmanship ring.  Meagan loved Junior Showmanship!  It was truly a shining moment for both Meagan and Daisy.  They trained with several outstanding dog people and did wonderfully in the ring.  Meagan achieved her three Novice wins (including one at the Beagle Nationals!) and moved into the Open division.  It was at this time we opted to take a "sabbatical" from the Junior ring.  (Long story...and while it was a tough decision, it was a mutual decision.)  I think Meagan still has dreams of being in the Conformation ring again someday (at least I hope so!).

I also credit Meagan for showing me what having food in the ring can do for a dog.  I might never have tried other venues (that allow food) if it weren't for the different attitude I saw in Daisy when she was with Meagan in the Junior ring.  I saw how animated and happy Daisy was and I realized that Daisy needs to have food for feedback, information, and reinforcement in the ring.  It has even made our time in the rings where food is not allowed, better and more positive because Daisy now knows the show/trial ring is a good place to be.

Now Meagan is moving (quickly!) into a new phase in her life.  Going with her is her puppy, Elphie.  The puppies were not the road any of us thought we were going to be traveling, but I don't think any of us are in a hurry to change our direction!  Meagan and Elphie are a wonderful team!!!  Meagan has done a wonderful job of raising her puppy.  Elphie is a joy to work in the Rally ring for Kendra and I and Meagan is having fun working her in the Obedience ring.  I am so proud of the young ladies both Meagan and Elphie are becoming!!!!

Meagan is applying to several colleges and plans to study Biological Anthropology (remember? I told you she was the brainiac!).  She is busy, busy, busy at school with four AP classes, Spanish 4, and band.  It's going to go by much too quickly I'm afraid.

I am a crier.  I cry at commercials on television, the National Anthem at events, musicals, and just because.  It's going to be a long, short Senior year with lots of tissues in my pocket!!!!  But I am also excited about what's ahead for Meagan.  Her future is bright and the possibilities are infinite.  What more could a mom ask for?

Meagan and Elphie, May 2011

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Positive Versus Negative

I've always been honest with all of you.  And to be honest, I haven't been feeling like blogging.  I wholeheartedly believe in positive reinforcement training for animals.  In light of that, I try to live positively and blog positively.  And I just haven't been feeling that this summer.  

The Rescue C.L.A.S.S. is going very well.  (If you are interested in adopting one of these wonderful dogs with their training started, please contact  Other classes in general are going very well.  The puppies are thriving and our older dogs are staying healthy and loving life.  The kids are good and my husband has a good job and is doing well.

So what's wrong?  The attitudes of people who think that being the "alpha" and dominating their dog is a good idea, the people who believe that pit bulls and pit mixes are all bad and should be euthanized, the people who don't work with their dogs thinking they are "too stupid" to learn and bond, the people who assume (and we all know what happens when people assume!), people who continue to refuse to take advantage of our world and its technology and choose to remain ignorant, and the list goes on.  Why?  Why does it have to be this way?  Why can't we all respect each other's opinions?  Why can't we be nice to each other?  Why can't we be nice to our animals and give them the respect they deserve?

I understand the people who subscribe to pack and dominance theory.  I used to be that person.  But I think the picture is much bigger, much more global.  Scientists have known for years the complexities and the beauty and the grandeur of the animal kingdom.  It is an amazing field of study and I hope I am always a willing student.

I know this all sounds like "why can't we just get along" rhetoric.  But it's much bigger than that.  Our attitudes are affecting our world.  We are on the brink of everything changing in our country with the debt crisis.  Maybe it's time to actually work together and do what needs to be done.  I don't have the answers.  I just know if we don't do something positive, we aren't going to have much to offer anyone or any animals.

It's time to pass it on, to commit random acts of kindness, to live positively.  Both with humans and animals.  Do something nice today for someone or for an animal.  If we all do one nice thing, what a HUGE change in the world that would make.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Blog The Change July 15, 2011

I usually give a lot of thought to my Blog The Change posting, but it's been such a crazy summer, that I haven't thought about it at all!!!  So this is truly from the heart...

When I first started thinking about what I could do to help precipitate change for animals (more than a year ago), I was stumped.  I don't have a lot of money to donate, I don't have a lot of time most days, I don't have a lot of influence, and I just don't have a lot of knowledge about how I can help.  I felt pretty "disposable."  Much like some animals in rescues and shelters must feel.

Than after hearing about the APDT (Association of Pet Dog Trainers) C.L.A.S.S. (Canine Life and Social Skills) program for probably a year, it was released this spring.  I was intrigued, but not really thinking it was something I needed to get in to.  I knew it was probably a good program, but I am not much for change sometimes and I'm really not much for change if it means I have to completely rewrite my dog training class curriculum.

But I started reading and I was very interested; then I attended a webinar and I was hooked!  And, I had an idea -- this is a way I can make a change for animals.  In the C.L.A.S.S. program, there is a shelter/rescue component.  And something that is very lacking in our area is training for the dogs in shelters/rescues.

So I took the tests to be an Evaluator, and passed (yay me!), and I continued reading the enormous amount of material they make available to us as Students, Instructors, and Evaluators.  I saw some really wonderful things we could do with not only dogs in shelters/rescues, but also with all dogs.  I love the "life skills" aspect of the program and am excited about the changes that are going to happen in our classes with the addition of this program.

I approached a local rescue group (SPA -- the group we fostered our puppies for) and they liked the idea.  This week we started our first class made up entirely of volunteers training dogs available for adoption!!!!  It was fabulous!!!  The dogs and the volunteers were wonderful and we had an extremely productive first class.  I can't wait to see how the subsequent weeks go!!!

If the dogs all pass their evaluations at the end of the class series, they will all have their "Bachelor's Degree" in the C.L.A.S.S.  program and of course, our hope is that their new "degree" will make them even more adoptable.  My personal hope is that I have found a way to help Be the Change for Animals.

More information is available at,, and

Monday, July 11, 2011 so many ways...for so many things.  As a dog trainer, I see all kinds of things as I coach people in training their puppies and dogs.  Something I have to remind myself of sometimes and something I try very hard to communicate to my students is that muscle and knowledge is built during rest and that rest is as important as active training time.

I love a well-trained, tuned in dog!!!  But I love my dogs because they are just that, dogs!  Not people in dog suits, not working machines, not robots.  I want to provide the best possible life for them and that includes my training plan.  How best can I train them keeping in mind our goals?  And rest is an important part of that training plan.

In my classes, I will tell folks to do an exercise with 10 treats or for 1 minute or in a round-robin sequence.  Then I will tell them "give 'em a break."  And that's exactly what I mean!!!  Let your dog be a dog for a minute or two, let the information sink in and process in their brain.  Remember muscle and knowledge is built during rest!!!  

And while you and/or your dog might be chomping at the bit (so to speak!) to keep working, understand that rest is working too.  Understand that just like we need "me" time to do what comes naturally, dogs also need "me" time to be dogs.  And giving this to them makes them better dogs overall!  I am constantly amazed by the learning process and I love it when we work something, take a break, come back to it and it's bigger, better, and stronger!!!  The break time gave the dog time to process, time for it to sink in, time for it to become solid in their brains.

I can hear folks now -- "but my dog doesn't want to take a break!!"  What makes you say that?  Is he hyper and only behaving when you are "working?"  Does he act like a dog and sniff and scan his environment when he's supposed to be at "rest?"  That is him being a dog!!!  Not all dogs relax like humans (couch potatoes catching up on the latest episodes of "Desperate Housewives!") -- for many dogs, sniffing and checking things out IS relaxing.  If it makes you feel better, teach your dog to settle or relax and bring along a stuffed toy or a chewy for your dog during this time.  This will force you to allow downtime and it will give your dog an opportunity to be a dog.

Think about this, if all you did was learn and work all day, every day, what kind of person would you be?  What would be your disposition?  Would that make you happy and fulfilled?  I doubt it.  I am pretty confident you spend some time almost every day, relaxing and "being a human."  This is what keeps you sane, right?  So do the same for your dog during his time with you.  It will enhance your relationship, strengthen your bond and help both of you be better.

Ditto -- relaxing at a trial.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Quiet Week

Ken and the girls are gone this week at their annual camping trip at the Alive Christian Music Festival so I figured it would be good to have a specific training goal for the puppies.  We spent the week working on nice manners in the pop-up puppy playyard and stays.  Hence a quiet week.  We will be trying our new manners next weekend at the Canine Coaches C-WAGS/APDT trial in Ann Arbor.  I'm not judging, so I'm hoping I will have lots of time to work with them.

Heading out today to meet up with Ken and the girls.  I am so excited to see Kris Allen and Toby Mac tonight!  It's been a long time since I was at a concert!!!  I hope I haven't gotten too old!!!

Enjoy the Saturday Pet Blogger Hop!!! 

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

My Puppy is Wonderful...

...we don't need training classes!!!  Oh, how this statement gets me going.  I am not really an "in-your-face" trainer -- when you need me, I'm there for you with advice, classes, information, support.  But I am not out stopping people while their dogs are pulling them down the street and handing them my business card.  Just not my style.

But I KNOW, without a doubt, how important puppy classes are for ALL puppies!!!  The socialization, the opportunities, the experience, the one-on-one time, the support system.  So many reasons to take puppies to puppy classes and yet, most people don't do it.  They see their compliant, easy-going, smart puppy and they decide that puppy classes are not necessary.  Then they wake up and they have an adolescent puppy -- chewing, biting, pottying in the house, barking, acting stupid, teenaged, almost full-grown adolescent puppy.  What happened?!?!?  They are growing up.  That's all.  They are growing up.  But we have missed a chance to lay a really firm foundation and have nothing to fall back on when this crazed adolescent time creeps up on us.

When we get a dog, it comes with a commitment to the dog's well-being for the rest of his/her life.  Training is part of that well-being.  If I choose not to train, so many things can and will happen that will diminish not only the quality of my dog's life, but could actually shorten his/her life.  If my dog doesn't know not to bolt out the front door when it opens, then one day he is going to do just that and end up hit by a car.  But if I had trained him as a puppy to wait at doors, this is not a problem.  If my dog doesn't know a "leave it" cue and I drop a prescription medication all over the floor, she may ingest a dangerous, potentially toxic and lethal substance.  But if my dog started learning "leave it" when she was a puppy, I will have a dog that backs away and lets me clean up my mess without interference.

I have heard the average age of dogs in rescue is 10 -- 24 months old -- rock solid teenagers.  They are not so little and cute and compliant and end up in rescue because their families can't handle them anymore.  If more people realized the value of puppy training and classes, maybe we could reduce the number of dogs in rescue...definitely food for thought.

I had a dog come to our basic class a few years ago.  This dog was nuts!!!  She was a year old and the family had heard you don't start to train a dog until they are at least one.  So, here they were.  So many issues, so many obstacles, and so much training to do.  This dog had never had any boundaries set for her in her entire life!  It took over a year of various classes, but she's doing okay now.  She still has her moments and she still is very wary of other dogs, but she has come a long way and has become the dog they wanted in the first place.  Puppy training would have changed things for this family.

If you know someone with a puppy, encourage them to find a positive reinforcement trainer and take puppy classes!!!  Tell them it's a good thing to share their wonderful puppy and to take classes.  You just might save a puppy's life.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Service Animals

I really love to take my dogs places!!!  It's fun for us and great for socializing our young dogs.  But we can't and don't take them everywhere.  That is a privilege reserved for service dogs and they work hard to earn that privilege.

Or they should work hard to earn that privilege.  I get comments all the time from people that they have this really good dog they like to be with, so they are going to just tell people their dog is a service dog.  Poof!  A wave of their magic wand and they have a service dog!  Or they take it to the next level and buy a service dog vest or ID for their dog and take the dog everywhere with them.  No work involved.  No regard for people who truly need service dogs.

Unfortunately, sometimes service dogs are denied access and that's perfectly legal.  Many times they are denied access because of a previous bad experience with a dog or other service animal in that particular place.  I can't blame them.  If someone brings their "service dog" into a restaurant for example, and the "service dog" table surfs someone's steak and lobster dinner off the table, that is not setting anyone up for success!!!  And it happens!!!

I am so thankful for what service dogs can do for people!!!  But if people are going to go to the effort to have a service dog, train, train, train your service dog.  Set high expectations and require both the handler and the dog to attain them.  Set the example of good and wonderful behavior, not the example of why businesses should not allow service dog access.

And if you don't have a diagnosed disability, don't pass off your dog as a service dog.  It's not honest and it's not fair.  Use great websites like to find places that allow your dog to come with you.

From the ADA, effective March 15, 2011: 

"Service animal means any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability.
Other species of animals, whether wild or domestic, trained or untrained, are not service animals for the purposes of this definition. The work or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to the handler´s disability. Examples of work or tasks include, but are not limited to, assisting individuals who are blind or have low vision with navigation and other tasks, alerting individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to the presence of people or sounds, providing non-violent protection or rescue work, pulling a wheelchair, assisting an individual during a seizure, alerting individuals to the presence of allergens, retrieving items such as medicine or the telephone, providing physical support and assistance with balance and stability to individuals with mobility disabilities, and helping persons with psychiatric and neurological disabilities by preventing or interrupting impulsive or destructive behaviors. The crime deterrent effects of an animal´s presence and the provision of emotional support, well-being, comfort, or companionship do not constitute work or tasks for the purposes of this definition."

The Saturday Pet Blogger Hop:

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Chapter 8 -- Training Adventures

Now that all the puppies are in their forever homes, it's time to focus on the puppies that we kept.  Elphie and Dolly love the clicker, like to play with each other, and are quick to pick up on things.  They both are a little reluctant to do a lot of "offering" behaviors -- experimenting to see what will get us to click and treat them.  I think this is our fault.  I am a big proponent of teaching attention and focus and I think these two puppies are so good at paying attention to us that they are not trying to do other things to get the click/treat.  They also love people and other dogs so much (again, a factor of us -- we worked so hard at socializing them when they were younger), they don't necessarily love toys.  Meagan really wants to try flyball with Elphie and Dolly is really good at scent discrimination, so playing with toys would be a good thing to have in our training "toolbox."

And so, to try and see what we can do to provide a more well-rounded education for our puppies, we are taking PreSports class and a Tricks class at Fortunate Fido in the Cleveland area.  We have known Ginger (the owner) for a long time through trials and we had the instructor, Susanna, for our puppy class we took when the puppies were little.  It is definitely a win-win situation!  (If only we didn't have to drive an hour and a half each way for class!)

We are building foundation behaviors like stay/wait, retrieve, take it, leave it, come, targeting, different obstacles -- and also building a bond with our puppies.  The puppies are learning to work around each other and also other people and dogs.  They are also learning to offer behaviors (yay! a goal in taking these classes).  They are not so interested in toys in class, but we are continuing to work on that.

Classes are almost over and I am going to be so sad to see them end!  They are so much fun for all of us.  This week our homework is to work on a trick to share with the class next week.  Elphie is working on pushing an "easy button" and Dolly is working on pushing a child's shopping cart.  Very fun!  For PreSports, the goal is to get the girls excited and pumped with their puppies!  Maybe because they are teenagers in a class of adults, they are very quiet and don't get overly excited with their puppies -- Susanna really wants them to work on that.  Maybe I should "sugar" up the girls before we go to class next week?!?!?  (Just kidding Susanna -- I wouldn't do that to you or the class!)

Elphie getting focused and ready for class to start.

Dolly giving Ken the "I'm Ready to Roll" stare down.

Elphie working on the ladder -- this helps dogs better understand their whole body (hey!  I have back legs!)

What's next? (Dolly)

Elphie working on Peek-A-Boo.

Peek-A-Boo Dolly!