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, February 26, 2011

Saturday Pet Blogger Hop!!!

Yay!  It's Saturday!!!  I'm off today to visit at Elmwood Assisted Living with my therapy dog Daisy and we are so excited to be getting out of the house and visiting friends.  Enjoy the Pet Blogger Hop!!!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

What a Deal!!!

I love a good deal and I love to try new things, so a coupon to "Try Raw" definitely caught my eye:


Just click on this link to go to the Nature's Variety website and get a coupon for a trial size bag of Instinct Raw with any $5 purchase at any participating location.

You can't beat that deal -- getting something for free is a wonderful way to try something new for your canine companions.  And be sure to share the link with your friends and family!!!

Daisy -- the reason I do what I do and why I love it!


Saturday, February 19, 2011


If you've been reading our blog, it's no secret that we love dogs.  But something I haven't talked much about is our passion for competition, especially Rally Obedience.  I hesitate to even call it competition because we don't view it as competition in the more common definition.  We love Rally because it's a competition with ourselves.  We are always striving to do something a little better, a little faster, a little more precisely.  It's not about competing against the other people at the trial, it's about the relationship between me and my dog.  It's about enhancing the bond, making our life together a little better, and at the end of the day, knowing I am taking my heart dog, my best friend, home with me.  I know this all sounds "pie in the sky," "every cloud has a silver lining," "the sun'll come out tomorrow" -- but it's what we really believe.  Yes, ribbons are wonderful -- but they are symbols of our relationship.  Points are great -- but they tell the world how passionate I am about my dog and Rally.  And my dog knows nothing about any of this -- she knows we pack up every once in a while, stay in a hotel, spend lots of time together, play in the ring with lots of treats and smiles, catch up with old friends, and make new friends.

Join us sometime at a Rally and Obedience Trial!  We'll introduce you to some of the nicest people and dogs around and we'll show you all the fun that's to be had with YOUR best friend.
Laurie and Daisy -- photo by Jeff Timmons

Kendra and Daisy -- photo by Ray Dutton

Ken and Husker -- photo by Ray Dutton

Kendra and Shep -- photo by Ray Dutton

It's the Saturday Pet Blogger Hop -- enjoy all the great blogs!!!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Helping Husker through the Week

Ken is at a school this week and our routine is completely different from our version of "normal."  I have spent much of this week either giving Husker "leave it" cues, completely frustrated with him, or, in moments of tired weakness, yelling at him.  Husker is our almost 8-year-old Golden Retriever.  He really is a wonderful dog.  Full of life, energy, and love.  But this week he does not like that things are different -- not even a little bit.

This morning I came to the stark realization that I am not handling his stress very well and in fact, am probably adding to it.  So what to do?  Right now he is in his crate, taking his usual morning nap.  But when he wakes up and is ready to do something -- we are actually going to do something together -- instead of leaving him to his own devices and ultimately leading to a frustrating situation for both of us.  I think today we will throw a Kong a little and maybe take a walk and when it's time for another nap, I will make him a special peanut butter Kong with some treats and kibble in it.

I have been expecting a lot from both him and Daisy for a while now and I have not been very good at rewarding and reinforcing their normal, excellent behavior.  Maybe it's time to take some of my own advice...

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Saturday Pet Blogger Hop

It's been a long time since I was able to participate in the Saturday Pet Blogger Hop!!!  Oh, how I have missed these lovely people, their fabulous animals and their wonderful blogs!!!  Enjoy today and hopefully, I am back on track...

This week we will be down to four puppies -- our two, our friend's one, and one more lovely little lady.  Nellie is still in question.  She has a different way of looking at life than the rest of the litter.  She is high drive, high energy, and LOVES to be with people.  She loves to work!!!  She is definitely a wonderful performance puppy prospect.  I would love it if someone adopted her who will work with her and possibly compete with her.  There are so many options these days for mixed breed dogs and she would definitely be at the top of that mountain if she were allowed and encouraged to climb.  In the meantime, we are going to hang onto her, continue to work with her, and pray that the perfect family decides that she is their perfect puppy.


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Positive Reinforcement for Humans?

Sure, why not?  I get asked all the time if positive reinforcement clicker training would work on husbands, wives, children, bosses, etc.  Absolutely!  The same principles apply.  Reinforce desired behaviors, ignore undesired behaviors.  Seems simple, doesn't it?  The hard part comes when we add in emotion (the same could be said for dog training too).

When someone consistently hurts your feelings, it's difficult to not do or say anything, but I truly believe if you ignore them, at some point, they will stop.  When your husband leaves the cabinet doors all wide open, if you nag him, give him grief, yell at him -- it will continue to happen; but if you ignore him and quietly close the doors, he'll get the message.  I tend to get on my "soapbox" every once in a while with my children -- and I go on and on and on and on...  I know they aren't listening or absorbing anything I am saying.  It's purely to make myself feel better.  But I can tell when I am quiet and ignoring their "undesired" behavior, they are getting the message loud and clear!

I often wonder how different our world would be if we all followed the principles of positive reinforcement training -- ignoring bad things and rewarding good things.  What would our crime rate be?  What about military conflicts?  What about our government, our work places, our society in general?  So much time and energy is spent paying attention to negatives, to undesired things, to evil -- what would happen if we turned that around and paid attention to positives, to desired things, to good?  Definitely food for thought.

So does positive reinforcement training work on humans?  Absolutely!  Does it need to take a different form?  Probably.  Although, I think I could be "trained" with copious amounts of chocolate...

For a great example of positive reinforcement in action and a lot of laughs, check out this clip on YouTube from the tv show, Big Bang Theory.  This clip makes me laugh every time I see it, but it also helps to illustrate how effective and wonderful positive reinforcement is.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Zuko Carter

It's always a privilege and a blessing to be a part of a family finding their perfect dog.  But it's even more exciting when you have a vested interest in both the dog and the family.  This continues to happen for us with our foster puppies.  

Zuko was one of the two boys in the litter.  Our oldest daughter's best friend, Steph, was at the house the day the puppies were born and picked out Zuko to be hers that day.  He is the love of her life!  She has held him, tended to him, fed him, played with him, trained him, and has spent countless hours with him.  She has been an important part of his life from the day he was born.  What a perfect match they are for each other!  But her family wasn't so sure about adding a dog to their household.  They have been without a dog for a few years now and it's hard to add that back into an already very well-established routine.  But a few weeks ago, for Steph's birthday, they decided the time, and the puppy, was right for their family.  Oh, happy day!!!  I was so worried that this perfect match might not happen and it made my month when it did.  

Zuko is doing well and is adjusting nicely to his new home.  They don't live very far from us so he still gets plenty of "sister time" and we get to see him frequently.  I miss him sleeping on our vent in the kitchen, but now he has his own vent, his own patch of sunshine, and his very own perfect family.  Another tie that binds...

We love you Zuko Carter, Steph, Corey and family!!!

Steph and Zuko on their way home.
Corey and Zuko
Zuko going to his forever home!