Do Dogs Distinguish Between “Training” and “Work”?

maggie snow on chin 11-2014

This is a throwback article, one that I originally wrote in August of 2008. I thought of it today because I've been going back and reading what I wrote about Willie when he was Maggie's age. It's been invaluable--so many things I forgot about Willie's early years that I wouldn't have remembered if I hadn't written it down. A word to the wise: If you are serious about training, I do hope you keep some kind of record of your work with your dogs; I'm lucky that I have the blog. I also try to add to it by jotting notes about training sessions and a dog's progress, sometimes sketching out what I want to focus on during the next session. But, forgive me, I'm burying the lead. The question this blog asked is if working dogs distinguish between "real work" and a "practice session". I wrote this Read More

DVDs on Sale!

snow4

If you are a regular reader you know that I avoid marketing on this blog, but readers have asked me to alert them when there is a sale--all the world not being on Facebook all the time. So here you go: All of our DVDs are on sale at 25% off today and tomorrow, Nov 19th and 20th. The scientist in me couldn't just leave it at that, so here are the five DVDs that are the most popular this year so far: Treating Dog-Dog Reactivity   A half-day seminar, including on-stage case studies, of dogs who are reactive to other dogs when on leash. Lassie Come!   This is a great video, in my humble opinion, to get dogs started coming when called. It was invaluable for my clients. It does not, however, cover the advanced stages of calling dogs to come when highly distracted. Lost in Read More

Making Leash Manners Fun for Your Dog

Cats in Igloo Nov 2014

Maggie, all 35 exuberant pounds of her, has lousy leash manners. That is because 1) she is a dog and walking beside me, shoulder to shoulder, makes no sense to her. And 2) because I couldn't resist working her on sheep when we have training time together. Not to mention teaching her to come when called EVERY TIME and stop when told EVERY TIME, which is critical to dogs who live in the country and are off leash most of their lives. Leash manners are not critical, but that doesn't mean they are not important, because of course Maggie needs to be on leash when we go to town or the vet clinic. I've put leash manners in the "I'll deal with that when the weather turns," and given that it was 4 degrees Fahrenheit this morning, I think our time has come. We'll still work sheep until the snow gets Read More

The Beauty of Fall

Japanese Garden 1 2014

Jim and I are suffused with oxytocin, having just returned from visiting grand babies (7 years and 4 months) in Eugene, Oregon. Interesting to note that along with increasing social bonding, oxytocin is able to make your bones melt. That's how I felt holding the newest addition to the pack. Before visiting Eugene we stopped in Portland and toured the Japanese Gardens just a few minutes from downtown. Oh my. The fall colors are long gone in Wisconsin, which is currently being blasted with arctic air, but the trees put on an amazing show in Portland. Besides being overwhelmed with the beauty of the gardens, we were struck by the number of serious photographers there. I've never seen so many tripods in one place in my life. And no wonder; here's what I was able to capture with just an Read More

Who Is Wearing the Pants in this Family?

New sheep oct 2014

Here's my proudest moment in life (so far): It's 1967, when the idea of women wearing pants was still a tad radical. But "pants suits" had just came out--dressy outfits that put trousers on your legs instead of a skirt, even for eveningwear. I worked as a salesgirl in a boutique in Scottsdale, AZ, and bought myself the yummiest orange, corduroy pants suit that you could imagine before it even hit the rack. The jacket was lined in orange silk. It was gorgeous. I decided to wear it to the San Diego Naval Officer's Club, having been invited to a special dinner there by my boyfriend and his best friend who was in the Navy. I got as gussied up as I could, tossed my long, dyed-blond hair over my shoulders and walked with Doug and Don into the lobby of the San Diego Officer's Club. An older Read More