The Beginning of Johnny’s Journey

Johnny is perfect… at home, with no visitors, as long as his schedule isn’t disturbed! We got him when I was working at HALO Animal Rescue about 5 years ago. He was just 4 months old and had already found himself on the local humane society’s euthanasia list, not for fear but for straight human aggression. We knew taking him into the rescue was going to be a risk, but we also had seen many many dogs change drastically once they felt more comfortable. We also knew how unfair some behavioral evaluations could be. Johnny, at first, was no exception. He was quiet in his kennel, calm outside in the play yard with the other small dogs, and did not show any type of high strung behavior. He was exactly what I was looking for!

Johnny's picture for HALO's website before we officially adopted him!
Johnny’s picture for HALO’s website before we officially adopted him!

Hindsight is 20-20 and looking back I know if I knew then what I know now I would have seen a very different dog. His being ‘calm’ outside was him being unsure and cautiously watching everything going on. I would have seen that although he may have been quiet in the kennel, he was anything but relaxed. He was tense and withdrawn. Definitely not your typical puppy but I loved that even though he was young he had the face and eyes of an old man. Im sure feeling bad thinking about what he must have gone through at humane was no small part in choosing to adopt him. Fast forward and now Johnny is turning 6, has bitten at least 4 people and attempted several more. He has had to endure poor training choices from us, and has gone from only child to sharing his home with not one but two sometimes obnoxious frenchies! Continue reading

National Puppy Day!

Happy National Puppy Day! I LOVE puppies! Although I’ll always be partial to my own, I think all puppies are these amazing little creatures and love watching them discover this big world. I think Raylee was the first puppy I have had that I actually remember noticing little changes each week. One week learning to bark, the next discovering leaves and sticks, learning her name, having those little “light bulb” moments when everything just clicks. Sure puppies bring challenges as well…. the chewing, barking, and potty training but I’m a strong believer that if you put the time in training at the beginning (either with a puppy or newly adopted dog), it pays itself off ten fold. The first two things I worked on with Thor and Raylee (and should have with Johnny!) were hand feeding their meals and socialization.

One weekend we went up to Flagstaff for a walk in the woods. Raylee was about 11 weeks old at the time.
One weekend we went up to Flagstaff for lunch and a walk in the woods. Raylee was about 11 weeks old at the time.

I’ll never forget Thor growling over his food bowl Continue reading

Thor’s NTD Filming

I decided to start the journey to earning a Champion Trick Dog Title by starting where we left off- at the Novice Title. Thor earned his NTD on July 25th 2013. He earned it on his last day of his first ‘Tricks Dog class’ at Club Doggie ( with Champion Trick Dog Instructor Kama R. I was a little overwhelmed with managing Thor, treats, clicker, ect and only had bits and pieces of it recorded.

The day we received Thor's certificate and collar charm.
The day we received Thor’s certificate and collar charm.

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Give your dog a goal?

Yes, I have goals for my dogs. More specifically, I have goals for my dogs and I to work towards together. I have always had ideas on what I wanted to do with my dogs and it’s a little different for each one. For me a job for a dog doesn’t mean solely the typical working dog jobs, it means working towards something together. Building a relationship with your dog. Knowing that if you ask something of them, they will do it. I believe that having these goals and expecting things from your dog gives them a purpose and helps fulfill their needs. Dogs (like all animals) are smart, inquisitive, thought filled creatures and treating them like stuffed animals who happen to eat and drink does not do them any justice.

This blog is to help me reach the goals I have for my dogs, to stop thinking about it and start really working towards it! To help me learn everything I can about canine psychology, positive reinforcement training and to both document our journey and share this knowledge to anyone else interested in trick training, canine model/acting, or just building more of a relationship with their dog. Continue reading