Your Dogs and the Holidays

holiday cookies 2014

Yup, this is the time of year when the rubber hits the road, and the leaping, crotch-sniffing, poop-eating dog that you just rescued from a puppy mill is about to meet Aunt Polly, the only member of the family who is terrified of dogs. Or maybe it's the dog you've had for years, and the leaping and crotch sniffing are in the past, but then... there's that poop eating thing. A friend called me for advice about this very problem (visitors, not poop eating), and I recalled that I had written a post several years ago about how to handle the chaos that is the holiday season, not to mention the reality of owning animals that don't understand why the routine flies out the window during the shortest days of the year. Here is the post again, (with some minor editing,) because dog behavior and Read More

My Turn to Write

Elvis & Halle

More accurately, it is my turn to finish writing something I've been working on for a few years--a memoir. I'm close to finishing a draft to send off to my agent (the brilliant Jennifer Gates, an angel of an agent to whom I owe the world already). It is tough to split my days working on a book different from one I've ever written before  from all the other facets of my professional life. Memoirs are famously difficult to write, and silly me, I decided to write a "mutual memoir" about me and Willie, giving myself an extra challenge. I want to write a book that is personal, unflinchingly honest, and yet underscores universal truths about the human (and canine) condition. That is what all good memoirs should do. But they are not easy to write, I can now attest.  When you read them, good ones Read More

Great Reads for 2014

Lady G slams ram lamb 2 1-2014

This weekend I went to my favorite local bookstore (Arcadia Books in Spring Green, WI) and spent a bundle on books as Christmas presents. Of course, I ended up buying a bunch for me too, because I love books almost as much as I love dogs. (Okay, I don't really love books as much as I do dogs, but but you get the idea.) I thought it was a good time of year for us to have a conversation about great books, either to read for yourself or to buy as gifts for others. Here's a list of some of the things I've loved reading this year (including my favorite magazines) and some books that are on my list to read sometime soon. DOG BOOKS Beware the Straw Man: The Science Dog Explores Dog Training Fact and Fiction, by Linda P. Case. I love Linda's thoughtful and educated approach to commonly held Read More

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