What do you believe?

I saw this bumper sticker while driving home after a great session of sheep herding with Ellie. It really made me think and it hit home with me – how am I training Ellie? Am I using love rather than fear; building on her trust for me or building on her fear of me? When training Ellie to move away from discomfort am I really just playing on her fears of experiencing more discomfort and fear?

Looking at this ideal I have to say I believe that its true even though it isn’t very evident in our world today. I wont deny that I want it to be true or that I feel that this is how we were created to be. I wish our political leaders would take a look at it. But with positive dog training and new teaching methods in our schools I think we all know that its easier and more enjoyable to learn in a safe environment without the distractions and effects of fear. This doesn’t mean that we all apply this to the way we train our dogs or even with how we interact with other humans. Why is this? Because its easier to use fear? Because we enjoy the feeling of power when we use fear? Because we don’t want to take the time? Because we don’t know any other way? Because this is how we are used to doing things?

Is this true for you?
Is this evident in how you interact with your dog?
How do you motivate your dog to do what you ask?

Activities for your dog while you’re away

Does your dog have a hard time while you are not at home? Some dogs will be okay some days but not other days. Here are some things you can do to help your dog keep his mind at ease. Some people don’t even use dog bowls to feed their dog – they simply put kibble specially designed toys to make their dog work for its food!
Give him/her a pacifier toy (a toy the dog will enjoy alone);
a Kong stuffed with peanutbutter and frozen
Bouncy Bone Continue reading Activities for your dog while you’re away

Games to play with your dog: Hide and Seek

This is a great game you can play inside and outside.

Your dog needs to know how to come and stay if your playing alone.

To play tell your dog to stay or have someone hold him. Get him all excited by bouncing around and saying his name. Then run off behind a corner or tree. Poke your head out and say the dog’s name and a release command (so the dog knows he can go get you) and a find command. Make sure that if you have some one holding your dog that they release him too. When your dog finds you be sure to praise him and give him a treat or a toy.
You can make this game more challenging by hiding; out of your dog’ sight, upstairs/downstairs, in the dark, under a blanket, etc.! Your imagination is the only limit here. 🙂

This is also a great way to see if your dog might have fun being a part of Search and Rescue.

Let us know how your brain games go!

For more games check out K9 Domain.

Forget About Being Alpha in Your Pack

Here is an amazing article with some surprising information…

Kathy Sdao

by Kathy Sdao, MA, CAAB
All Rights Reserved – Used with permission

In their recent book “Made to Stick,” Chip and Dan Heath detail the characteristics that make an idea or explanation “sticky.” According to their analysis, stories that are simple, unexpected, and concrete capture our imagination and get lodged in our brains. Many urban myths, they point out, are ideal examples of this phenomenon.

One perfect example of a “sticky” story is the ever-popular notion that dogs are essentially domesticated wolves who view their human companions as members of their hierarchical pack. Continue reading Forget About Being Alpha in Your Pack

Book Review: Beyond Fetch by D. Caroline Coile, Ph.D.

Beyond Fetch
Beyond Fetch
For Christmas my mother in law gave me a book that I’ve really been enjoying – Beyond Fetch. Of course I saw the border collie and borzoi on the front and instantly liked it, but I had done a bit of research before putting the book on my wish list and its living up to its reputation as a book that has some meat to it with new ideas that will entertain you and your dog.
I think a big problem for people these days is staying active with their dogs, something that is healthy for both ends of the equation and builds up trust and respect, resulting in a stronger bond. This book has some awesome activities for when its freezing out side, like right now, outside games, sports, parties, toys, etc… Continue reading Book Review: Beyond Fetch by D. Caroline Coile, Ph.D.

Getting along with our doggie in-laws

This Christmas we went over to my parent’s in the Seattle area. They have a great black standard poodle named Monty. He’s around 5, has a bad hip and generally likes everything that walks in the front door, especially if he can manage to stick his nose in its crotch. Unfortunately Ellie, my border collie, has never been so happy about living with him (even if its only for four days). Ellie has a snarkilpetic tendency and Monty is playful: like a little brother that likes to poke his older sister just to annoy her.

Ellie and Monty Sharing a Bed
Ellie and Monty Sharing a Bed

Continue reading Getting along with our doggie in-laws

The ‘Alpha Dog’ theory

I am shamelessly copying this statement from Ahimsa’s blog – I added the italics.

Association of Pet Dog Trainers Position Statement

There has been a resurgence in citing “dominance” as a factor in dog behavior and dog-human relationships. This concept is based on outdated wolf studies that have long since been disproven. Contrary to popular belief, research studies of wolves in their natural habitat demonstrate that wolves are not dominated by an “alpha wolf” who is the most aggressive pack member. Rather, wolves operate with a social structure similar to a human family and depend on each other for mutual support to ensure the group’s survival.
Continue reading The ‘Alpha Dog’ theory

A Family Dog – Not to be confused with The Family Dog

A Family Dog: Karen and her gang
A Family Dog: Karen and her gang
Okay – maybe I need to talk with these ladies about why they have such similar names but they are different. First of all A Family Dog is located in Bonners Ferry and you get to go through a beautiful Wildlife Refuge to get there. Karen runs A Family Dog and has a small kennel mostly for her clients while they are out of town. You may find it hard to get a spot for your dog unless you call early! I actually got to meet Karen way back when I was in high school when Karen was doing some training with the trainer that I worked for, Becky Bishop of Puppy Manners.
Karen is an awesome trainer that uses clicker training. I have had the chance to volunteer with her and help in her Pawsitive Works classes which are very different from an obedience class. Continue reading A Family Dog – Not to be confused with The Family Dog

Kalea Shelties

Okay – I think we’ve all seen her bright yellow signs at the Pet Store, Pan Handle Animal Shelter etc. She also just put out a nice business card with a website on it that seems to be down whenever I try to look at it. Karen Horton does obedience training, grooming, and sells Petlane Products. Has anyone ever worked with her? I would love to learn more about this elusive dog lady… 🙂