Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy New Year!

Wishing you and yours the best this New Year has to offer! Be more!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Quick fix

Everyone wants a quick fix. From car problems to computer problems to you guessed it-dog problems. But did you notice the first two did not involve living beings. When dogs do things we don't like, we need to see it as a training opportunity. A citronella collar, shock collar, can of air , or many of the other quick fixes out there don't teach your dog what you want him to do. At best they scare them into stopping. But you take the risk of damaging the trust bond you've worked so hard to build. At worst it can cause aggression towards you or someone else.

So before you reach for that can of compressed air or can of pennies, or even smacking your dog, stop and think. What is this teaching him really? What can I do to teach him what I want him to do instead? Your dog is a living being, with feelings and emotion. And very capable of learning. Take the time. Your dog is worth it.

Need help? Take a class with your dog and you both can learn a better way. Make it your New Year's resolution. Stop and think and you'll do better. Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

One More Day

One more day to save on training classes. Go to for all the details. Can't wait to meet you and your dog!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

What I Do

In a previous post I talked about why I do what I do. So here is what I do. Or maybe more like how I do what I do. Positive. Force-free. Reward based. That's it. No prong collars, shock collars, or choke chain's. No hitting, pinching, shoving, kicking or smacking. I just don't. Why not? Because no dog learns that way. What they learn from that is fear, mistrust, confusion and eventually learned helplessness.

You never hear me say words like: dominance, alpha, submit, pack leader, balanced, stubborn. They are not in my vocabulary.

What I do is build relationships between people and their dogs using positive, force-free, reward based methods. Science has proved many times that this is the best way for dogs to learn. And people too for that matter. It's my passion, my life's goal to bring this way of training, this way of thinking, this way of communicating with your dog to as many folks as possible.

Sometimes I feel like I'm not getting through. Like the force trainers are winning. And that's very sad for dogs. Indeed.

My dogs and I have an awesome relationship. They respect me but do not fear me. I have never used a prong, shock, or choke chain on them, never hit or smacked them. I teach them. They learn. It's just really not that hard. And that's what I want you all to experience with your dog. I want to teach you a better way.

So my goal in the new year is to get as many of you as I can on board with a better way to train your dog. Because I won't be around forever. One day in the not so distant future I'm going to retire. And you all will carry on my positive, force-free, reward based training on into the future.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Happy Holidays!

Another Christmas coming 'round the bend. Are you ready? I'm not. I'm a last minute shopper. Last minute like Christmas Eve last minute. But I don't buy for that many. The last couple Christmases I've spent in peace and quiet at home. My choice. Had invites but I love the peace, quiet and solitude. So all this to say-here's the schedule for classes for the holidays. No classes Dec 24-27 and no classes Dec 31 and Jan 1. Looking forward to the new year. I have some great things planned for all of you! Stay tuned.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Why I Do What I Do

When I get discouraged or want to quit (Yeah, me....) I just need to look at why I do this line of work. It was not for the money. I made much better money in my last job that I worked at for 30 yrs (yes, I'm that old). But I wanted to show folks a better way. That they didn't have to hurt their dogs for their dogs to learn. Dogs are really quite easy to teach. Humans, not so much.

There are so many (so called) dog trainers out there now. The internet is crawling with them. Their language is elusive, lots of word that don't really say anything. My website has my picture and my dogs pictures on it. I introduce myself and what I'm about. Your friendly shock collar trainer lots of times does not even give their name or pic. I'm proud of what I've built in 14 yrs. And I won't hurt your dog. Ever.

So why are folks flocking to these shock collar trainers? Two words. Quick. Fix. But quick fixes don't last and sometimes(or most times) back fire. Badly. Just saw a former student of mine today walking her tiny dog.
Wearing a shock collar. Five pounds at most. Sweet dog but the owner wanted the barking to stop. Now. Right now. So sweet dog gets shocked if she tries to communicate. Ugh.

All this to say that sometimes it's discouraging. Slick Big Box trainers with big budgets and shock collars are winning the war. But at least I can sleep at night.

De-stress Time

It has been a rough week. So Friday comes and my best de-stressor: A trip to the Bass Pro with my Puppy Class! They are so much fun. Titen the French Mastiff and Lia the Irish Wolfhound. Here's some pics for you to enjoy. My stress was gone after our awesome trip. Lots of folks wanted to pet them and learn about their breeds. These two were so good with kids. Santa left before we could get over to him but I bet they would Wow him too. Great work, teams!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Not just a dog trainer

Saw a situation the other day that inspired me to write this. I guess some folks think that a dog trainer just teaches sit, down, stay, come.......  I have been teaching dog training for over 14yrs, have owned dogs longer than that, read, watch, learn from folks way smarter than me at dog training, behavior and the like. I truly know a lot (but not everything, I admit) about fearful dogs, reactive dogs, aggressive dogs. So why was everyone and their brother, customer and their aggressive dog crowding around this shaking fearful dog that hadn't eaten in several days due to being newly adopted and very fearful? Putting this and that on him , standing in the front of the store where every passerby scared him even more? Hovering over him, trying stuff they saw Cesar do? This dog and owner were in the store for over half an hour. All I could do was watch from a distance and my head was about to explode. I know folks were just trying to be helpful but chances are they traumatized him even more. Dogs and their behavior. It's what I do for a living, folks. And not from watching Cesar on TV. I was able to give the owner my card and told him there was lots of help for fearful dogs before the crowd took over. And it's going to take time and space. Space for the dog to feel safe. Time for him to learn new behaviors when he does feel safe. Rant over. I just keep seeing this fearful , shaking  dog and folks saying-don't comfort him. He needs to build his confidence. What in the world..........

Friday, November 20, 2015

Lessons from Rocky

So yesterday Rocky crossed the Bridge. 15 and one half years old. Wow. I should hope to live that long. Just thinking about all he taught me.
Smile. A lot.
Go after what you want with all your might.
Never, never give up.
Bask in the sun whenever you can.
Enjoy the day.
Till we meet again, Rocky!

Saturday, October 24, 2015


Three years ago today we lost Smokey. He was 11 and a half. Best. dog. ever. He was a Pyrenees and we also had his sister Mary who died 6 mos later. They were fun as pups and great as adult dogs. Smokey was more laid back and Mary was a little mischievous. They loved the outside and wanted to be there always. You had to beg them to come in. They were the original LGD's for me. I understand a lot more about LGDs now and will always have one. They have a big, deep bark, sometimes too much but we always felt safe. Mary and Mo are running over the Rainbow Bridge now, barking it up, playing with our other dogs that have passed that were their friends at my home. At least that's what I like to believe. We miss you, Mo Mo. Love, your mom forever.   

Friday, October 23, 2015

Fall Newsletter out!

Fall Newsletter finally out. Whew. Lots to tell you. And me and Rocky/Batman are taking a road trip out to Missouri to see my mom over Thanksgiving. He's 15 years old. In pretty good health for an old guy. I will post pics and tell about our journey here, FB and Instagram. Stay tuned. It will be fun!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Gimme Five!

We are all busy. Jobs, kids, school, dogs, yard work, and the list goes on and on. But if you don't take the time to train your dog, he'll be a wild Hellion the rest of his life. And that's no good.

Here's a solution I read in my emails today that makes SO much sense. Five minutes a day. Surely we can carve out that much for our canine companion. Of course you can do more. But just gimme five. A day.

Start with a couple minutes of play-whatever your dog loves. Then five minutes of training, follow that with a couple minutes more of play. And there you go. By starting and ending with play, you are making it fun for both of you and less of a chore. And the time will zip by. I predict that your sessions will get longer or more frequent as you two have the time of your lives training.  

Gimme five minutes! Try it for a week. Try at different times of the day, before your dog eats, before bed, on a walk, while watching TV (put the movie on pause and take a break). I'll do it with you and tell me what success you have. I can't wait to hear!

Friday, September 25, 2015

Tough love? I dont get it.....

I was reading a post about someone using "tough love" on a fearful foster. Seriously? Made him take a bath, do his nails and used a blow dryer. "Boy was he mad!" It read. Maybe he was scared to death. Ya think?  It also reads that more tough love and he'll be just fine. Wow.

First of all folks-you can't reinforce fear. Fear is a feeling not a behavior. How do you think that dog will feel in the future about baths, nail trimming and blow drying? Not good. I can assure you.

Second of all-you can't explain "tough love" to a dog like you can to a person. But if you pair up wonderful things (treats, play, affection) with the scary thing or event, they will have a better feeling, maybe even a happy feeling about it.

I have used this technique many times, especially with my Help for Reactive Dogs Class. Most recently with my Pyrenees Tulip. She was very afraid of baths and nail trims. I used a clicker and hot dogs to help her move up to the bathroom, move into the bathroom, close the door, step into the tub and finally take a bath. When she would hesitate, we went slower.

Today, my daughter rubbed Tulip's tummy while I did nails. No fear. So the point is-you can't reinforce fear. But you can teach new behaviors to overcome fear using positive force free methods. Just do it!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Let 'em Sniff

The noses lead. Dogs love to sniff. They can tell so much about what's going on by smelling the ground, plants, trees, posts, just about everything. It makes them feel more secure if they can check things out on a walk. Kinda like us and our cell phones. What do we grab first thing in the morning, last thing at night, after a meeting or a meal-our phone. We need to know what's going on. So do our dogs. So let them sniff and smell.

But how do we move the walk on? They'd sniff and smell all day! I have a cue for mine. It goes like this: when the sniff time is over (determined by you) I say their name then "1,2,3 Let's go!" On the 3 Let's go! My feet start moving and we move along.

Give your dog some sniff time, they need to check out THEIR social media too!

Monday, August 31, 2015


You guys need some pics. I can't add them from my phone. :( But here's some from a computer. Enjoy!
View from my backdoor.

Last day of Back to School Special Deal Deal.

Leave it! Can you see it spelled out in pretzels?  

Twins in Puppy class! Squeeeeee!!!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Goodbye to Summer

Our last week of park classes. Except for my Help for Reactive Dogs Class. We'll be out there working through October. But this is the last week for Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. Booooo. I LOVE the park classes! Love working outside, having lots and lots of room. Interacting with passerbys and their dog's, bikes, skateboards, bikes and more. Lots of folks petting our dogs who are tryingto sit politely for petting. This summer was a little squirrelly though. Some rain, some flooding, some extreme heat. Wow. But lots and lots of great dogs and awesome owners. Lots of fun and learning going on. Wonderful teams being formed and strengthened. Great "Stays", "Come when Called" and "Loose Leash Walking". Dogs learning Attention and Focus with all kinds of distractions.

I'm going to miss you Summer. I'll be counting the days till I see you again. Autumn is okay, Winter is so so. I love the cold weather for about a week, then I'm done with it. Spring is awesome but fickle. But Summer. Love. It.

I'll be sending out a newsmail soon as one of my nights is changing locations. I'm very excited for this new location and grateful to have it. I'll give you the details then. Till then soak up every minute of what's left of Summer. Enjoy the Labor Day weekend. I'll still have classes Saturday but none on Labor Day Monday. Goodbye Summer. It was fun!

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Back to School Deal Deal and a Contest

Have I got a Deal Deal for you! Starting today I'm having a Back to School Deal Deal. If you have taken Puppy Classes or Adults Levels 1 and 2, and would like to continue your dog's education, here's your chance. Today 8-8 till 8-31 level 3 cclasses on sale for 20% off. That's $88 for 8 classes! Buy them now, use them now. Buy them now, use them later (expiration date 8-31-2016). Buy them now, give as gifts(early Christmas shopping, Yay!) and here's the contest-post a selfieof you and your dog on my FB page this weekend (contest ends midnight Sunday)and the best one wins a set of Level 3 Classes. (Value $110). Hurry do it now!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Summer.....where'd you go?

It seems like we're just getting done with fireworks and the Fourth and then the evenings start getting darker sooner and kids are going back to school. "Sigh"....summer's just not long enough. We wait all winter, plow through snow and ice for month, endure sooooo many grey days. Summer's finally here-then gone in a blink of an eye.
I had planned on some Flash classes this summer but between all the rain, extreme heat, flooding and a 2 week moving adventure, it's already August. I've had to cancel more classes this summer because of weather than any since I've had park classes. But there's still time so watch for some Flash classes soon. Same thing for Tulip's Training time. Thought we had time but------there goes summer.
I am cooking up a special price deal for those wanting to continue their training. Watch your inbox and Facebook. You will love it!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

I tried that and it didn't work.......

I love hearing that and I hate hearing that. Did you try it once or many times? Ugh. Usually once. Folks want a quick fix to all their dog training problems. Problem is dogs don't learn like that. Oh wait. Yes they do. If you use pain. That's not training. That's hurting and it carries a tremendous fallout with it. Don't. Do. It.

Instead I love hearing it because it makes me be more creative. What other positive idea can I come up with to teach this? There's tons of positive solutions for every dog training issue. Look from every angle. Look from the dog's point of view (which folks rarely do). What motivates your dog and start there. Food, smells, games, touch, water, bones. Use it all to teach.

Don't try one thing, one time and say "it doesn't work" You and your dog are a team. Work it out. But leave pain out. K?

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Teaching and watching

I was teaching a Help for Reactive Dogs Class last night. We were across from the dog park and were watching for dogs to use as triggers. And here she comes. Yanking this young dog on a leash. Hard yanks that had to hurt. Who does that anymore? What in the world could it possibly be teaching this young dog? We (My clients and I) were watching this and she's yelling and yanking the dog along. She stops and the dog backs up cringing and lowering it's body to the ground. I had to turn away.I can't stand to watch folks hurt dogs in the name of training. Did she get this from her trainer, her parents, her neighbors? We won't ever know and had I been closer maybe I could have given her some help. You have to be so delicate about it because folks get an attitude. But truly, positive force free training can really help her and her dog. Because without it, she is raising a potentially dangerous dog that will lash out and bite her or someone else one day. So sad and so avoidable.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Sounds like a great idea, right?

No, not really. What I'm referring to is the popular training promo "Board and Train". You drop off your dog at a trainers, pay them $1000-$1500, pick up your dog in 2 weeks, presto-He's all trained! Whoa, wait a minute. All those commands in 2 weeks? And he's going to do them all for you even though you didn't teach him and you didn't build up a relationship with your dog? Right. Might work if it was a computer that needed reprogramming. Or a car that needed repair. I just heard from a lady the other day, sent her dog off to board and train, came back, had a couple sessions with the trainer to "transfer" the leadership to her. Did not work. (Her words). Money wasted and in search of another trainer because her dog still has the problem.

My other issue with "Board and Train" is that you don't know what they are doing or using on your dog when you're not there. Sure, there are some positive trainers that do "Board and Train" but there are more that use prong, shock and choke collars and punitive training. Some just downright break your dog's spirit.  That's how they can do that in two weeks.

My personal opinion is that a beautiful and wonderful relationship is built with your dog through training. You get to know your dog and he you. It builds and grows and the two of you have an unbreakable bond built on trust, respect and love. You can't buy that. It takes work, commitment, dedication, consistency and lots of love and patience. And time. A lot longer than two weeks. It takes a lifetime.

Friday, June 5, 2015

So what about Continuing Education?

So your puppy graduated from Puppy Classes. Truly a great accomplishment because you are a part of an elite group. The 3%. Only 3% of folks who own dogs ever take them to any formal classes. Is it any wonder that about 97% of the dogs in shelters never had any kind of training? Hmmmm. I see a correlation  here. A lot of the cases I get called on involve dogs that never had any training. Or just had puppy classes but it was years ago and they never kept it up. Oops, is that you? I consider puppy classes a great beginning, like kindergarten and elementary school. but don't stop there. You don't want your dog to be a Jethro Clampett, do you? (now I date myself as he was a character from The Beverly Hillbillies show, proud that he graduated grade school) What I teach in Continuing Education builds on what you and your dog learned in puppy classes and takes it to a whole other level. Proofs it and adds distance, duration and distraction to cues like Stay, Come, Leave it. Adds new cues like Front, Finish, Go Around, Heel, Behind, Back up and more. Explores new  experiences like scent work, Rally and the chance to earn the prestigious AKC Canine Good Citizen Award (builds on that great award you earned in puppy class AKC STAR Puppy Award) so what are you waiting for? New dogs and owners can jump in every week. Make it your summer project to get your dog better trained this summer. You will not regret it. "My dog had too much training!" Said no dog owner ever.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

The Big Bark Theory

Setting up a booth today at The Big Bark Theory(Wags and Whiskers Grooming Salon Mason Oh) . I usually don't do booths at events because they usually aren't worth the time, effort and money you put into it as far as attracting new clients. But today I'm doing this to promote Therapy Pets Unlimited. I love therapy dogs and the work the teams do so I agreed to set one up here. I'll post pics too. Hope the rain holds out as I have an outside booth with no tent. I'm sure it'll be fun and I'll get to meet lots of folks and their dogs. And I have lots of people and dog treats to give away. Hope to see you there.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Oh, no! A broken tooth!

Finally happened. A bad day at work. Dog jumped up, hit my mouth and broke my front tooth. It's a crown so it cracked all the way up. I won't gross you out with a pic. I couldn't even look at myself in the mirror. I would cry. Fortunately (or unfortunately) it was not a dog in my class. It was a dog that used to be in my class but the owner decided positive training was not working for her dog (***sigh***) and she went to a trainer from the dark side. Paid $1500 to him. A YEAR AGO. Dog still has no manners. Sheesh.... So in my classes we do learn: sitting politely for petting, greeting other people with dogs, not jumping on people among other things. It's important. Very important. SO YOUR DOG DOES NOT KNOCK PEOPLE'S TEETH OUT! Dentist and his office were super!!!! (Yay-Dr Slonnaker!!)  He is trying a temporary fix but warned me it may not hold as it is cracked all the way up. So needless to say when I see that lady and her dog approaching me, I will run, not walk the other way.    

Monday, May 25, 2015

Tulip always makes me smile!

Tulip is such a sweet dog. She's always happy and loves her job of guarding the premises. She is nothing like Mary and Smokey but a pyr none the less. She's timid of strange people and dogs. And also of strange places. We will work on this but she is who she is. I did not have her as a puppy like Mary and Smokey. We socialized them and walked them and took them to classes. Tulip came from a strange situation, a  shakey situation. Was shoved in my truck with her just born pups with no vet records, food or anything. She's come a long way and I believe she trusts me. We still work on trimming nails. She does come when called now if she can see a reason for it. Lol. Most things are on Tulip's time. So her training classes will be called Tulip's Training Time.

Fun Puppy Park Classes

Sunday, May 24, 2015

A Day In The Life

Yesterday was a busy day for your dog trainer. First a private in home at 9am. Way early for me. I'm barely up at 9:30, let alone shower and across town by 9am. Whew. But a delightful, smart dog and awesome owners doing a great job so a good way to start the day. Then a Flash Class at the park at 12:30. What's a Flash Class you might ask? It's a one topic quick class when I have a block of time to fill. 75 Mins $15. I announce them on social media a couple days in advance. Then on to the Family Pet Center for 3 Puppy Classes which included 2 graduations. Last my Help for Reactive Dogs Class at 6pm at the park. At least there weren't too many reactive dogs and they weren't too reactive. Then I went home and collapsed. Literally. But I truly love what I do, I don't have too many days like that, and the weather was great so there you go.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Pups behaving very well!

Here's the team of Bear and Bruno working hard with mom. They are adorable German Shepherd pups. Love that they started early as pups. Love when folks start their pups off right with puppy training. I hate when I get that call down the road when the dog is really misbehaving and they have not done any training yet and the dog is 3,4, or more years old. Teaching dogs what we want them to do at a young age is so beneficial. Once bad behavior becomes a habit, it is so hard to teach them the right behavior. Socialization is another benefit of puppy classes. Love when folks socialize their pups to lots of people (all ages and kinds), lots of dogs (all ages and kinds) and lots of places and objects. Hate when I get the call the dog hates kids, dogs and all other kinds of things. It is very hard to socialize an older dog. If not impossible. So all this to say: get that puppy into positive, force free puppy classes today!!!!!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Starting a new blog today. I am having a hard time accessing and updating my old one so here's a new one for you. Hope to blog more frequently and give you lots of info and help. So I'm looking foward to classes tonight in the park. Hope the rain holds out. See you there!