The Nail Wars

Insect on Joe Pye

Poor dogs. Some of us think getting a manicure is akin to heaven, but for dogs, getting their nails done is more often like going to hell. I was thinking about this last night while I was working with Willie on nails that grow extra long and extra fast because of his restricted exercise. I just switched him over to a "grinder" (Oster Grinder or Dremel, mine is an Oster) and asked myself this question: "What took me so long?" I used the Oster on both Pippy Tay and Lassie for years and with great success, but was a tad lazy about conditioning Willie to it until now. Although I've only cut into the quick of one of his nails one time, (and then not badly -- but still, I hate it when that happens) and have used buckets of treats while trimming his nails, Willie clearly hated having his nails Read More

Puppies of the Corn?

melanistic squirrel

I just returned from a quick trip to Washington DC, where I was on the Diane Rehm show and taped a segment for Animal House, the WAMU replacement for Calling All Pets. (You can listen to the Diane Rehm interview on her website, and you should check out her show if you haven't yet -- she's such a great radio host and dog lover; I'll let you know when the Animal House segment runs.) I also snuck in a quick dinner with my pal Meg Boscov of MuttMatch who came up from Philly and the next night's dinner with folks from Dream Dog Productions and All About Dogs. During the last dinner, those of us who have been teaching puppy classes for years got to talking about our perception that the pups are getting more difficult, even on the first day of class. Trainers at Dog's Best Friend here in Read More

“Blocking Boards” as a Tool in Aggression cases

During the seminar I did a few weeks ago in Denver we did a case study with a Corgi named Tucker. Tucker had gotten along well with the dogs of the household until a new female came in and they began to fight. Then he had an aversive encounter with another dog at day care and he became more and more aggressive, both to unfamiliar dogs and the other dogs in the household. Things got so bad that Tucker had to be kept completely separate from other dogs. We spent much of the afternoon with Tucker and his wonderful owner, Janelle, and talked about a lot of ways to help things along. The good news is that Janelle had already switched from a trainer who used lots of harsh, positive punishment -- leash jerks, etc. --  to one who had methods that she preferred. (Note that positive punishment Read More

Willie Under Water . . . Well, sort of.


Good news, bad news (as always in life, right?) Willie had his first session in the underwater treadmill with Courtney Arnoldy at UW - Madison. He did super well, given how sound sensitive he is. I wish I had a video of him when the water first began to flow. His face was hysterical -- honestly, as empathetic as I am to Willie (and if anything we are co-dependent), it was impossible not to laugh. He didn't look terribly afraid, just a bit anxious but mostly confused and should I say it? -- appalled at the rising water. The water flows in from the bottom, so first his feet got wet, then the water level slowly rose to above his shoulder. He reacted by raising his left paw higher and higher so that he kept at least one paw above the water. The look on his face was reminiscent of someone Read More