By on Apr 18, 2017 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

SIT: Have your dog SIT at EVERY corner before you cross the street. This keeps both of you safe and out of oncoming traffic. Have your dog SIT on cue when a strange dog or person approaches. When your dog is approached by strangers (or friends) you have the right to ask them not to pet your dog. If you know your dog is nervous, stressed or uncomfortable in any way, politely tell them ‘he is not accepting pets today’ or ‘he is learning to be still’. WATCH ME: The WATCH ME cue asks your dog to give you immediate eye contact when you ask for it. It is a great way to redirect your dogs’ attention to you. You can interrupt an intense stare, an interest in a passing person, animal, bike or whatever, and keep him out of harm’s away. It also helps to refocus your dog. He can’t react to something if he is looking at you and getting rewarded/praised for doing so. LET’S GO: Let’s GO lets your dog know that you are about to change direction, go forward, or move into a walk after being still. This is also a great way to move your dog away from hazards or a potentially dangerous situation on a walk. LEAVE IT: LEAVE IT means “whatever you are focused on this instant you need to ‘leave it alone’ and look at me instead”. The ‘Leave it’ cue can help your dog avoid eating food, garbage, animal droppings, or any other inappropriate objects they may have found on a walk or in your own home (medicine, cleaning products, sewing objects, children’s toys etc.). It can also signal to your dog to ignore other dogs, squirrels, passing cars, bicyclist, skateboarder etc.  Your voice should be ‘serious’ buy not scary and acknowledge him for leaving it, with a ‘good boy’. DROP IT OR GIVE: In the event that your dog does pick up something that he shouldn’t before you can stop him, a good training cue is the ‘drop it’ or ‘give’. Remember, thank and praise your dog with a treat or a nice pet, for giving you what he might see as a ‘prized possession’. HEEL AND LOOSE LEASH WALKING: Heel is a very specific ‘strict’ walking style, which requires the dog to maintain his position on your left side, with his shoulder blade lining up with your pant leg. It is an appropriate walking style for crowded streets or crowds etc. Loose Leash Walking allows your dog a little more freedom giving him the opportunity to sniff and explore to the end of his leash (without pulling) while still giving the handler control in...

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Coming When Called

By on Apr 17, 2017 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Use ONE word; it’s important that he hear the word over and over. When your dog hears his name and “come here’, he should look at you and come running and be happy to do it. Coming to you should always be a pleasure and reward with a happy voice, generous treats, kisses, hugs, etc. ALWAYS reward. Your dog will learn that ‘good things’ happen when he comes to you. Practice with the round robin game, in a safe indoor environment first, with a leash if necessary, have your friend have you dog, tell him to stay ( if he knows stay .. great, if not we can work on that later, if you have an adult dog, he should know stay.), walk about 6 – 8 steps, call your dog (leash dragging behind) Encourage him the entire way! When he arrives, lots of praise and treats. And then do the same thing again with you holding the leash and your friend calling. Repeat throughout the day, and move farther away (with longer leashes/lines as needed) As your dogs ‘coming’ are more and more reliable, you can mix it up. You can add distractions, change directions, back up, anything to make it fun and your dog can be successful. Keep trainings short, no more than 10 minutes, several times a day. If you or your dog is getting tired, frustrated, just take a break and do something fun. NEVER, EVER, EVER call your dog to you for something unpleasant (the vet, his crate, punishment etc.) If you need to have your dog for any of these, go and get him with the...

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Calling All Heroes

By on Jul 4, 2016 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Calling All Heroes Well, here we are, well into another bright and promising New Year. But how many of us are already struggling to live up to our New Year’s resolutions?  Did you already give in and have that piece of cake you swore off? Have you gone to exercise class yet? Taken those walks? Cleaned out that closet?  Don’t feel bad, you have plenty of company. Each year at this time millions of seniors focus on their personal flaws and resolve to do something that will make themselves better. But I would like to offer you a different idea: This year, instead of focusing on your flaws and shortcomings, focus instead on your talents and strengths. Instead of asking yourself, “What can I do to become a better person?” ask yourself instead, “What can I do, in my own special way, to make a better world?” In my work with seniors over the years, I have heard so many comment in ways that break my heart. “Laura,” they will say to me, “I would like to volunteer in my community, but what’s the use? I’m too old. I can’t get around like I used to. What can one old person like me really do to make a difference?” What can one person do to help the world? The answer is simple. Just do what you can. As seniors and retired folks, we may not have as much money or energy as we used to have. But we have the time, and the life experiences, and the heart, and the desire to do something that makes a difference for those around us. What other age group is so blessed? What a shame if we feel called to volunteer, but we don’t answer the call. Frequent readers of this column know that my passion is in volunteering with animal rescue groups. May I suggest that you join me in this worthy cause by volunteering in your own neighborhood or community? No matter what your age or condition, I assure you there are many ways you can help make a difference for a homeless dog or cat, including: You can adopt and love a ‘senior’ animal who just wants a warm home, a cozy lap and a soft hand to pet and love them in their final years.  You can help with mailings or fundraisers. You can go to the shelter now and then and cuddle new kittens You can foster a frightened animal You can sign up at the shelter to answer phones, greet visitors, do filing, assist in off-site events, or organize pet-food drives If you can sew, you can make cat toys or dog blankets for the shelter...

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How smart is your dog?

By on Jun 27, 2016 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

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 | 0 comments

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 | 0 comments

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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