Doggy Day Care –Fun for Fido or Not?

BCs good interaction Knox clinic 2014

When I was five or six years old my mother took me to kindergarten. I am told I cried the entire day, sitting in the corner and sobbing hysterically. Nothing anyone did assuaged me. When my mother returned to pick me up, I reportedly ran screaming across the room, grabbed onto her legs and wouldn't let go. Oh my.  I thought of that somewhat embarrassing story when a friend asked if they should put their dog into a local Doggy Care. If you've been following my blog you know my answer: "It depends." A bad doggy day care is no less than abusive and dangerous. A really good one can be a wonderful option for some dogs, but not others. I can relate to the "not others". If I'd been a dog when I was young, I would have hunkered in a corner, big-eyed and silent, or growling and snarling under a Read More

Three Ways to Confuse a New Dog

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"Three days, three weeks, three months." That's the mantra of many dog trainers and behaviorists, when welcoming a new dog into their household. The "magic of threes" is especially relevant when adopting an adolescent or adult dog into your home. Dogs, especially non-puppies, are often in a bit of shock for the first three days in a new home, and don't show you too much about who they are until they've been there a few days. After three weeks many dogs have settled in such that they behave as though they feel like they are "home" now, but don't fit into your routine until about three months have gone by. The number three has another relevance to new dogs: See below for the three ways we most confuse new dogs, and how to prevent it. I've thought about this a lot lately, for a couple of Read More

2014 Spring Book Review

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As always, there are piles of books on my desk, my bedside table, the dining room table, and Willie's crate. Books are one of my greatest joys in life, but like gardening, I never feel caught up. However, that never seems to stop me from buying more books, so here are some thoughts about some of the books I've been reading and reviewing. I love hearing from you about the books you have enjoyed (or not), so consider this an invitation to have a "Book Club" evening together. The Dog Trainer's Resource 3: The APDT Chronicle of the Dog Collection. This is the third in a series of articles written for APDT's magazine, Chronicle of the Dog. As a result, it has an eclectic set of topics, from "The Emotional Life of Dogs" (an article I wrote) to "Teaching Group Classes" to "Business Development Read More

Introducing A New Dog: Maggie and Willie as a Case Study

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In hopes it will be helpful to others in the same situation, I thought I'd outline how I handled the introduction of lovely little Maggie into the family. Here's some background on the actors: 1) Willie: Eight-year old BC neutered male, at one point extremely aggressive to unfamiliar dogs, relatively comfortable outside now with new dogs, but tense when unfamiliar dogs come into the house. Willie is a classic alpha-wannabe: Fearful but desperate to maintain control. He is very responsive to acoustic cues from me, 99% of the time a sweet, lovely dog, but can lose his temper around other dogs and be downright rude and inappropriate when tired and/or stressed. Willie at his worst? Think Jack Nicholson's face in the movie The Shining. Willie at his best? The best dog you'll ever be lucky Read More

Great Books for Gifting

Aschau Street

Books, books, books: Surely one of the greatest inventions of humankind. I love to give books as gifts, and last night I found myself pondering what books to give to which person for the holidays. That, of course, led to thoughts about great books to send the dog lovers that I know, and that led me to you, good reader, who is so often an excellent source of wonderful things to read. I'd love to hear your ideas about great books to pass along to dear friends. While pondering "great books about dogs," I thought it might be instructive to look at what others had to say; not just about new books but about dog books written over the ages. Here are some of the lists I found: First off, a dear friend sent me this link, from Mother Nature Network: Six Books Every Dog Owner Should Read. Of Read More