The more I train dogs, the more fearful dogs I encounter. Dogs that are afraid of mailmen, being alone, kids, strangers, other dogs, being handled, traffic noises, novel things they haven’t seen before, things appearing suddenly in the environment . . . the list goes on. One little dog I worked with a few years ago was afraid of so many different things that her guardian was overwhelmed after just a few weeks of life together. She’d asked me for recommendations on books about fearful dogs. How I wish Debbie Jacobs’ A Guide to Living With & Training a Fearful Dog (“Guide”) had been available then! Continue Reading
Blog Topic: Training
When people ask me what my dog Vinnie is, I say he’s a herding mutt, a term that up until this summer I’d been using loosely. When we adopted him from a shelter, all we knew of his past was he was found on a dairy farm and his mother was an Australian Kelpie. But as for the rest of his DNA, who knew?
As he grew, I became convinced that he was mixed with another herding breed because he acts like one. He’s got their intense energy, smarts, focus and drive; he LOVES to train; and well, he herds. He’s tried to herd our cat and sometimes rounds up other dogs. When he’s out for a hike with his humans and one strays, he runs back and loops around the person until he/she rejoins the group. If given the chance, he’ll also “herd” moving vacuums, mops, brooms or rakes. That’s funny stuff! Continue Reading
As a professional dog trainer, I sometimes have to deliver news that clients aren’t eager to hear. One of the most difficult things to impress upon some people is that training is a process, and sometimes it’s a long one. We live in a world of instant access to information, sound bites and instant gratification. We’re increasingly expected to accomplish more tasks more quickly at work, sometimes all at the same time. We’re all busy. It’s no wonder that so many people want their dogs to master basic obedience immediately, or want behavior modification to happen overnight.