Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Warning! DBN Alert!

Super duper D.B.N. alert!  Sound the sirens!!

Laura got her new treat pouch from Amazon today! 

I anxiously opened the shipping box and ripped the tool out of it's packaging and put it on.  All with a great big smile on my face.  It replaces an old, tatered beast that was about a year old...it was falling apart, the spring steel shot and exposed...rubbing away the fabric around it so much that it drew blood last week to an unlucky trainer (me!).  The spring, itself, fell apart this morning and was almost fed to Oscar (on accident, I swear!) as it had been mixed in with the treats.  Whoopsies. 

Saaa-weet hip action; my new treat pouch fashionably placed!

Woo-hoo!  There is nothing quite like a brand new, virgin treat pouch just waiting to be lathered with super num-num dog treats.  Oh, the sweet, sweet sight of the clean black polyester-blend fabric.  The crisp, precise open and close of the spring steel access pouch.  I'm giddy just thinking about it. 

Game on!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Hoping for a Connection

Oscar and I have agility tonight and I am hoping and praying that we have a good night at class and have a real connection.  At our last class, which was 4 weeks ago (!) because of the hot weather and some travel I had to do for work, we did really well together and had a great first run, but then I could tell Oscar was starting to get stressed.  His paws started to sweat and he was getting barked at by another dog in class as we were doing some start line jumps into the weave poles.  Unfortunately, the dog that was barking at Oscar got out of his owners hands and ran over to us and bark-bark-barked in Oscar's face.  Oscar did OK at first, but I couldn't react fast enough to get inbetween the dogs and Oscar gave the dog a good bark-bark back.  He didn't growl, snap or bite or do anything nasty, but gave the other dog a piece of his mind ("HEY! That was RUDE!"). 

I'll be as vigilant as possible tonight and reward him for making good choices and presenting calm behavior.  Perhaps I'll do some very brief TTouch before class and do some nice, relaxing mat work?  Yeah, that sounds relaxing. 

He's my little man and I've been doing much better the past week really listening to him and letting him show me what he is/is not ready for.

My goal for tonight: guide Oscar through class and show him that I'm not going to let anything "bad" (which is defined by him) happen to him.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Butt Floss (with a side of white floofy hair)

You know you're in Oscar's inner circle of friends when he gives you his favorite greeting ritual; The Full Body Butt Floss.  Oh, you don't know what that is?  Well, you are missing out my friends.  It's when Oscar goes head first in between your legs and burrows the top of his head into your crotch, then smoothly continues (nose proudly up in the air) through your legs and stops just in the precise location to receive a good 'ol butt scratch.  I swear, nothing makes him happier (well, the water hose does).

Of course my husband and I don't just let him do this to any old person, including ourselves, without asking nicely first (as one should expect when their nether regions are involved), but occasionally he gets away with it like he did this morning when I dropped him off at doggy day care.  He went right up to the handler after I released him from his sit/stay...all wiggly bodied...and, bam!, BUTT FLOSS TIME!

Happy Friday everyone!  I hope you get some good butt floss time with those you love today.  If not, you can always buy this to fulfill your desire to be "flossed" by a doggy.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


This morning's entry is completely dedicated to introducing, to you, my canine crew.

First and foremost my sweet girl, Fanny.  Fanny is currently on her way to her 12th birthday and is doing very well for an old lady.  Her hearing is starting to go, but she still has spunk in her to chase rabbits and squirrels.  Fanny was adopted from the local humane society on December 5, 2002 and lived with my friend for about a year until I moved out of my parent's house and into an apartment with my (now) husband.  She came with some baggage...fear aggressive to men, fear aggressive to other dogs, fearful of thunderstorms...but with continued patience and firm, but fair leadership, Aaron and I turned her into the old sweetheart that she is today. 

LIKES: Hanging out in the shade, napping inside the A/C house, chasing small fuzzy creatures, food, going for car rides.
DISLIKES: The UPS/FedEx delivery trucks and their human counterparts, thunderstorms
NICKNAMES: Fanny Pants, Fanny-bo-Nanny, Fanners, Fan-Fan

Next on the list is Oscar.  Oscar is currently 20 months young and is a freakin' bundle of energy to say the least.  He is the goofball out of the two dogs and is always up for a game of fetch or frisbee.  Oscar was the first puppy I ever had and was brought home on New Year's Eve of 2009.  He had a lot of digestive issues during his first year of life, but he never let that bother his goofy personality.  This is the dog that has gotten me off of my butt and into serious dog training...he doesn't just sit around watching the day go by...he constantly keeps my husband and I on our toes.  It has been a pleasure raising him since he was a pup and appreciating him for having such great drive and passion for life. 

LIKES: Playing with the hose, playing fetch, playing frisbee, just playing in general(!), chasing small fuzzy creatures, sniffing out hidden food
DISLIKES: Anything boring or too low-key, training for too long, strangers coming into his house (we are working on this one!), being left out of the action
NICKNAMES: Os-key, Dum-Dum, Oscar Mayer Weiner, Silly, Stinky

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A Special "Thank You"

As I've now slept overnight since opening The Blog...I've reminisced on how much I have grown as a person and how much I have my first dog, Fanny, to thank for that. 

One significant person I met on my journey with Fanny was Jan Blue.  Jan was the first "real" trainer I met...and, gosh...that was 6 years ago?  Fanny was having some reactivity issues with visitors coming to the house.  In fact, that is why she was surrendered to the shelter not once, but twice in her first three years of life.  The "owner" (I used quotes because this person did nothing more than own her for a mere month before giving up) before me was hardly that.  On her adoption profile, it said "We love Fanny dearly..."  Yeah right.  If you "love" someone - be it a person or an animal - you do NOT give up on them. 

Anyway, back to Jan.  The first class I had with Jan was remarkable.  She had immediate empathy for Fanny, my husband and myself.  A true dog person.  For those of you who have been blessed with meeting someone like Jan, you know exactly what I am talking about.  She took the time to get to know us, our lifestyle and our dog.  She worked with us with appropriate protocols and support whenever we needed it.

Jan, thank you, thank you, thank you for helping our dear girl, Fanny, and for helping me become as passionate as I am about dogs.  You are truly THE inspiration that helped me blossom into a caring, understanding guardian to my dogs.


To be truly happy.  Oh, how wonderful that feeling really is.

How many times have you done something to try and make someone (human or fuzzy creature) happy and fail miserably?  I know I have failed countless times.

Having a dog keeps you very humble.  They are a fine example of living in complete honesty.  You've heard it many times, I'm sure, that they live in the moment, but it bears repeating over and over again.

For those of you reading this that are lucky enough to coexist with a dog, do me a favor.   Take 5 minutes out of your day today to just be there with your dog.  Really, truly, wholeheartedly be with your dog.  Sit on the floor (on in a comfy chair!) and just watch them for 5 minutes.  Don't let anything else distract you (bing-bing...just got another text) and observe how honest your dog is in every movement that they make.  Notice their ears, eyes, nose, mouth, neck, shoulders, elbows, front paws.  Notice their breathing patterns, the itty bitty micro movements of the hair on their back.  Appreciate the way the base of their tail lays in its natural position (or maybe it's wagging because you are staring at them and they are waiting for you to initiate play?).

Before you get up, take a few deep breaths and bask in the happiness that just overtook your body.  Appreciate what you just exerpienced by simply watching your dog and answer one, simple question; Do you feel happy?

Monday, July 18, 2011

A Few of My Favorite Things

Over the past several years, I have come across a lot of great books by fantastic animal trainers, behaviorists, etc. 

In keeping with the excitement of having published my blog, I wanted to share some of these great resources...as a reminder to myself and to share with you all (eventhough there currently are none of "you").

I encourage you to google any of the people below to learn more...

- Dr. Patricia McConnell
- Trish King
- Suzanne Clothier (currently my favorite!)
- Karen Pryor
- Brenda Aloff
- Dr. Ian Dunbar
- Pat Miller
- Kay Laurence (turned onto her from a colleague - need to get into her more!)

Surely I'm missing some, but that's it for now...

Wag more, bark less...

It's Time!

Today I have officially declared myself an official D.B.N. - a Dog Behavior Nerd.  The "nerdiness" has always been inside of me, but I figured now was the time to make it public and coin the appropriate acronym while I'm at it.  (Is anyone from a publishing house reading?)

I can't seem to stop.  My library of dog behavior readings is starting to grow...exponentially.  Looks like I will need a new bookcase dedicated to just MY dog books.  My husband will roll his eyes, but I know I can convince him that is' a good thing because now he gets an entire bookcase for his cooking books (note: what's for dinner tonight?).

Damn those two GSD's of mine who have taught me more than I ever wanted to about dogs and the, at times, hair-ripping behavior that they come with.  But I am forever grateful that this journey has begun...

For those who choose to follow me, please bear with me as I get my grammatical-self developed.  I will be tapping into my dear friend Kristin's many talents to help me along the way.