Browsed by
Author: jsummerfield8

“Can I Pet Your Dog?” Why It’s Always Okay To Say No

“Can I Pet Your Dog?” Why It’s Always Okay To Say No

Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of meeting a lovely young border collie I’ll call “Sami.”  She was a beautiful example of a well-bred herding dog – quick, keenly intelligent, and fit and graceful at just over 12 months old. Her owner brought her in for a consultation with me because she was having, as she put it, “some issues with Sami around strangers.”  Things had seemed to be fine for the first few months after bringing Sami home…

Read More Read More

Solutions For Separation Anxiety: How To Make “Alone Time” Less Scary

Solutions For Separation Anxiety: How To Make “Alone Time” Less Scary

Welcome back for this week’s follow-up post on separation anxiety!  If you missed my previous post on recognizing some tell-tale signs that should make you suspicious of this problem, you can find it here. Today, I want to delve a bit deeper into what we can do to help dogs with separation anxiety – including some details on what strategies worked well for our boy Duncan, many years ago.  We will also discuss some ways that you can be proactive…

Read More Read More

When Love Is A Double-Edged Sword: Recognizing Separation Anxiety

When Love Is A Double-Edged Sword: Recognizing Separation Anxiety

Today’s topic is one that has always been close to my heart, for reasons that I hope will soon become obvious.  This is the story of Duncan – my family’s very first dog.  My first agility partner, snuggle buddy, and all-around best friend.  I could fill a novel with all the things he taught me, and I will always be grateful that he was my canine “first love.” His story is painful to tell in some ways, because I see…

Read More Read More

Throw Me A Bone! How To Give Your Dog Effective Feedback

Throw Me A Bone! How To Give Your Dog Effective Feedback

As a starting point for today’s discussion, I want to delve a little deeper into a very common, deceptively simple question that all trainers have heard more times than they care to count: Why doesn’t my dog listen? This question, or some variation of it, is probably the single most frequent thing I am asked by beginner students in my obedience classes.  Their dogs are jumping on visitors, pulling on the leash, having potty accidents in the house, or running…

Read More Read More

When Obedience Isn’t The Answer

When Obedience Isn’t The Answer

“Hello!” The voice on the line is earnest and cheerful.  “I’m calling to sign my dog up for obedience class, please.” Of course, I say.  We have new class sessions starting every few weeks, and we’d be happy to help her sign up.  I ask for a bit more information about her dog, and what skills she’s hoping to work on in class. “Well, he’s a nice dog.  I mean, he’s great with the family.  But whenever strangers come around,…

Read More Read More

Harsh Truths And Difficult Choices: The Reality Of Behavioral Euthanasia

Harsh Truths And Difficult Choices: The Reality Of Behavioral Euthanasia

This week’s topic is not an easy one to discuss.  Few things in the world of behavior are quite as controversial as the decision to euthanize a dog – it’s a tragic outcome, heartbreaking for owners, trainers, and veterinarians alike. Like all controversial topics, this one tends to provoke strong feelings and opinions on both sides.  And unfortunately, when emotions are running high, misunderstandings and false assumptions are all too common. Some well-meaning dog lovers I have encountered, whether in…

Read More Read More

The Art Of Rewarding Mistakes

The Art Of Rewarding Mistakes

Yes, that’s right.  Today, we will be discussing how to give your dog treats for doing something wrong in training. (WHAT??) If the title of this week’s blog post makes you scratch your head a bit, don’t worry – you’re not alone! After all, mistakes are part of dog training, and we all know how to handle them… right?  Reward the dog for the behavior you want, and withhold the reward (or apply a correction, if you use corrections in…

Read More Read More