How smart is your dog?

By on Jun 27, 2016 in Uncategorized |

How smart is your dog? We all know that dogs have unique and, in some cases, amazing abilities to learn and problem solve.  Perhaps you have seen dogs performing memory games or distinguishing among hundreds of objects. Among the most famous of the “brilliant dogs” are Rico who knows more than 200 words, and Betsy who knows about 340.  But the champ so far is Chaser who recognizes more than 1,000 different words or objects!  And it probably comes as no surprise that all three of these furry little wizards is a Border   Collie—one of the brightest breeds of all. Pet Expert Warren Eckstein, a regular guest on the ‘Today’ show, believes there are two basic types of dog intelligence: instinctive and adaptive. According to Eckstein “instinctive intelligence” is breed specific.  In other words, certain breeds just naturally possess the ability to do some things better than other breeds.  Specific breeds of hounds, for example, usually do better on sight-oriented tasks, while bloodhounds, beagles and some terriers are much better at scent-oriented tasks. Eckstein describes “adaptive’ intelligence” as social and environmental learning—the kind of intelligence that comes from dealing with everyday circumstances—sort of like “on the job training.”  It’s interesting to note that dogs are like humans in that not all of us learn the same way, or at the same pace. Some of us are better at math, while others are far better at language. So here are some little “intelligence tests” that will be fun for you and your dog.  Don’t try to jam all these tests into one day, and be sure to reward your dog with treats for every effort.  If he becomes frustrated at some point, just give him a break and try again later, maybe even on another day.  Keep in mind that all of us learn differently, so don’t be surprised if your dog does better at some tests than others. Just love him and praise him for trying. Dog Intelligence Tests Towel Test:  Gently place a large towel over your dog’s head. If he frees himself from the towel in less than 15 seconds, give him 3 points; if 15-30 seconds, he gets 2 points; and longer than 30 seconds, he gets 1 point. Bucket Test:  Let your dog watch you place a treat under one of three buckets (or large plastic cups)  that are placed next to each other.  Turn your dog away from the buckets for a few seconds; then have him turn around and find the treat. If he gets the right bucket/cup on the first try, award him 3 points; if two attempts – 2 points; if he finds the treat after looking under the two...

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Learn a new language!  Speak DOG!

By on Jun 20, 2016 in Uncategorized |

How many of us have thought it would be fun to learn a new language but didn’t know where to start? Well, I can teach you the basics of a new language that will be really fun and rewarding and easy to learn. Speak Dog!  No, not ‘Woof-Woof’, but really be able to not only communicate with your dog but also understand what your dog is trying to tell you! For all of us who live with dogs the need and desire to really understand what our dog is telling us can be frustrating at times, and what we THINK they are saying to us might be totally different from what they are really saying. For example, you have company over and your little dog is sitting on your lap and starts to yawn as your guests are looking at him. You might think…”oh, my he this is  SO boring for him’ when really yawning is just one way dogs are telling us they are really uncomfortable or stressed in the current situation and they are trying to calm themselves (and others) down.  We do the same thing when we are frustrated or stressed we take a big deep breath to relax. Dogs doing it by yawing.  And if we see a dog is stressed we can help them out by yawning too. The audible exhale helps to relieve stress and tension that might be in the ‘situation’, and again works to help calm everyone. Perhaps when you have your dog at the dog park or around other dogs, he is not really playing, but is more interested in sniffing the ground. That very act of sniffing is another way that he is letting others know that he really isn’t comfortable playing right now; he doesn’t want to engage with anyone and is a little unsure of the situation.  And if you will watch you will see most dogs will respect that, and leave your dog alone. How many times have you seen something like that and the owner picks up the little dog and walks him over to ‘go play now’ and might drop him in the middle of a group of dogs. There are a couple things that happen, the little dog runs back to ‘mom’ with the other dogs chasing him or he just ‘freezes’ (another sign of extreme discomfort). Whatever happens it certainly isn’t helpful for the dog and may only increase his ‘social awkwardness’ around other dogs. And then of course there is the ‘growl’! How many times has the unexpected growl come for your little dog when the nieces and nephews, grandkids or the neighbor are over to visit? They lean over him,...

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My Top-7 List for Dog Lovers

By on Jun 13, 2016 in Uncategorized |

As a dog trainer, I am constantly looking for new ways to inspire, educate, motivate or entertain my clients. Whenever a new dog book, magazine, TV show or website pops up, I try to check it out.  I could easily list 101 great resources for mutt-lovers, but here is my current “Top-7” to get you going: BARK Magazine and website:  I LOVE this one!  Esquire called it the “coolest dog magazine ever” and I agree.  It has great stories, training tips, advice on food, treats, toys, how to pick a doggy day care and lots of amazing photos!  Check it out at  Dog Fancy Magazine and website:  If you want to know more about specific breeds, here’s the magazine for you! It highlights a ‘dog of the month’ and tells you everything you need to know before you open your home to that breed. You will learn about temperament, needs, activity level, training tips and much more along with adorable dog pics.  Go to  (For all my cat friends, check out  Dog About Town NW: This is a lively online magazine that mainly highlights what’s happening in the Pacific Northwest and the Inland Empire. It features fun events for dogs and their people, day hikes, camping spots, volunteer opportunities, and what’s really going on ‘about town”.  Check it out at FreeKibble: This site helps feed thousands of animals by simply entertaining anyone and everyone who visits the site. By answering their animal trivia questions, for example, you automatically donate free kibble to feed shelter animals each and every time you play.  Challenge your friends and family to  play every day find out who REALLY knows about dogs and cats. Go to Martha Stewart’s Modern Dog Magazine: Martha loves her own dogs (Francesca and Sharkey) and she has put together a great little magazine and website for the rest of us, including her blog (The Daily Wag). Modern Dog Mag features creative pet projects, recipes for your dog, training tips, cool giveaways and great articles about all kinds of things canine.  Oh and be sure to enter the contests because, as we all know, ‘someone has to win’!  Visit Dog Food Advisor:  Their slogan is, “Saving good dogs from bad dog food.” Here you’ll find the latest info on all the different brands and varieties of dog food, including your own.  They rate each dog food (wet and dry) using a star rating system. They will also notify you via email of any recall notices for dog food, which are fairly common. There have been several recalls over the past year, and I think this site is one to keep up with. Animal...

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Riding with Rover

By on Dec 11, 2015 in Blog |

Tips for taking your dog on summer car trips. This is the time of year to jump in the car and head off to Yellowstone or Reno, or visit friends and family in Anywhere, USA. And taking our furry friends with us in the car is about as good as it gets. Or is it? Driving with your dog can be a joyful ride to ‘fun city’ or a miserable trip to ‘stress town’. For some dogs, a road trip with their people is great fun, and they love it. But other dogs are just naturally more trip-averse, and will be need some extra TLC from you. Here’s what you need to know: A DOGGIE CHECK LIST FOR YOUR NEXT ROAD TRIP Determine if your dog is anxious about car travel. Fussing, whining, non-stop barking, or drooling on short trips are obvious cues that your dog will need extra preparation for long trips. Before you take him on that long trip, take him on a couple day trips to get him oriented to travel. Don’t forget your dogs’ collar, with current ID (name and phone number). Be sure he is micro-chipped, and that all his info is updated. If you’re travelling to other states, be aware that some states require all dogs to be restrained while in the car. That could be a doggy car seat, a harness or a kennel/crate depending on size. Dogs are like kids—they want something to do on a long ride. Bring a stuffed KONG, or chewy toy or ‘stuffy’ on your trip. The chewing action can be quite calming. Make sure you keep the power windows ‘locked’ while on the road, as dogs have been known to hit the down button and jump out. Even if he just gets his head out the window, someone might hit the up button, which can choke or damage his neck/throat. Potty stops are welcome breaks for your dog (and you) to get out and stretch your legs. Make sure your pup is leashed up before you open the door. The last thing you want is for your dog to bolt out the door and off into the sunset! Most dogs can tolerate about 4 hours of drive time, so make sure your potty stops are scheduled accordingly. If you know your dog needs more frequent breaks, please adjust to his schedule. To help avoid car sickness, give your dog a light meal on the day of departure, and then you can give him little snacks when you stop along the way. Don’t forget to bring water and a bowl for your stops. If staying with friends or in a hotel/motel, check ahead to ensure that pets...

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Fellow Dog Trainer

By on Mar 2, 2014 in Uncategorized |

I have enjoyed working with Laura as a fellow Dog Trainer. Laura is excellent in her training with dogs and is easy to work with on the human side as well. She has amazing results in trainings dogs in various issues, from basic manners to anxiety.  She uses only positive methods that are easy on the pet, while building confidence and honing manners.  I have only great things to say about Laura and highly recommend her as a great dog trainer to work with. Mikkel Becker  ...

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