2012 in review
December 31, 2012, 10:10 AM
Filed under: Training

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner can carry about 250 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,100 times in 2012. If it were a Dreamliner, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.


Collars, Leashes & Harness – Part II in a series

Collars, Leashes & Harness – Part II in a series.

Collars, Leashes & Harness – Part II in a series

The first piece of this puzzle that we should tackle is the easy part – puppies! Many people are anxious to run out and get a collar and leash for their new puppy before they bring it home. They don’t want their new baby to run away, and they are sure that they need it for training. Well, you can save yourself some money! A puppy is a clean slate – he hasn’t learned any bad habits, no poor training to overcome, he is just eager to do what you ask.

The first thing to remember about puppies is that they love to play! They also learn through play, much like children do. Rather than put a heavy leash and collar on your pup and try to force them to “do your bidding”, I have a better idea. Don’t put a collar on your puppy. Instead, when you want to go for a walk, use a slip lead and a fun toy.


A slip lead, sometimes called a kennel lead, is an inexpensive, lightweight leash, that you can easily roll up and put in your pocket. No collar is needed, you just “slip” it over your puppy’s head. Keep the toy on your left side, and every time your new friend looks at you, praise her, then play for a few seconds and continue on your way. As your pup looks at you more frequently, praise, but don’t play every time. This will happen over time, so relax and remember to enjoy your time with your new friend! Once she learns that you are so much fun, she will pay more and more attention, and stay closer by your side.

20121024-230859.jpg Pretty soon, you can add the command “Heel”, or whatever you choose to tell your dog, “Walk next to me, and pay attention”. Remember to play as reinforcement sometimes, even when your puppy has this down pat. In fact, play as reinforcement even when your new puppy has grown into a 12 year old dog! Dogs love to play! Besides, it keeps us humans from taking ourselves too seriously!

Next time, we’ll talk about what to do with a dog that has learned to pull.
See you soon!

Collars, Leashes & Harnesses Part I in a Series

I haven’t written in quite awhile. It’s been a very busy late Summer and early Fall for my family. I’ve wanted to write about collars, leashes, and harnesses for a long time, but haven’t been able to decide on the best way to tackle the subject. Then it finally dawned on me, it’s not one subject, it’s not even three subjects – it’s somewhere between six to ten, or more. I’ll try to outline where I’m going with this, and you can jump in or out of the conversation wherever it works for you.

This article is not a defense of my “favorite” item. Think of collars, leashes and harnesses as tools. They help you to get a job done. Choosing the correct tool is a personal decision that varies for each dog/person team. Each person in the house may need different equipment for the same dog!

Your dog’s age and your level of training are both very important. It’s always easiest to teach a brand new puppy. While it is possible to teach an old dog new tricks, it takes much longer, requires more skill & patience, and is generally more difficult. But NOT impossible! Is this your first dog? Or have you owned (and trained) many dogs over the years?

We also need to discuss what you want out of your relationship with your dog. Are you looking for titles in Obedience, are you satisfied if your dog doesn’t pull you on your face when you go for a walk, or do you want something in between?

What about strength and size? This refers to both you and your pooch. A 67 year old woman with arthritis in her shoulders walking a 100lb untrained rescue dog that she just brought home will require far different equipment than a healthy, 25 year old, man walking a 5lb puppy that he just brought home.

Take a couple of days, think about it…
I’ll be back to talk about collars.

Rosie Snuggles With a Snake
October 7, 2012, 9:52 PM
Filed under: Training

Rosie Snuggles With a Snake

Hair Whorls, South Paws and Guide Dogs
August 5, 2012, 8:17 PM
Filed under: Service Dogs, Training

Hair Whorls, South Paws and Guide Dogs.


Self-trained Service Dogs 2

Just a quick follow-up to my blog the other day. There are two wonderful books that can help you train your dog to perform specific tasks for you. They are called Teamwork I and Teamwork II.

The first book covers the basic Obedience training that your dog must be capable of in order to be a service dog. If you and your dog can’t truly master these tasks, unfortunately, self-training is probably not be the right path for you. It takes a special dog to be a service dog; it takes a lot of time, patience and effort to train your own. Be honest with yourself about your dog and your relationship with him/her, it will save you from heartache and embarrassment later! Most importantly, it will preserve the rights of the disabled to continue to take Service dogs into public areas.

The second book, Teamwork II shows in detail how real-life people creatively taught their dogs how to perform specific tasks. It was inspiring to read how a man with severe Cerebral Palsy, with the help of a friend, taught his dog to pick things up that he had dropped. If you have any interest in dog training, this one is an interesting read, just to see the trial, error and ultimate success.

Remember to always keep in the back of your mind: “how do my dog’s behavior in public and mine potentially effect the rights of those who have a more severe disability than mine?” Even if your dog can’t master the public obedience requirements, there is no reason why you can’t have him/her help you around the house. The mental stimulation of training these tasks is good for both of you!

Enjoy your dog(s)! Let them help you have some fun and enjoy life!


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