Category Archives: Uncategorized

How to Talk to Your Gynecologist About Euthanasia

notes from a dog walker

If I tell someone that I work with dogs, it’s guaranteed that that person will ask me for advice about their dogs. This happens no matter where I am.

If I’m getting a massage, I get asked about house training problems. If I’m at the dentist, my hygienist wants to know how she can convince her mother not to be terrified of her pit bull (who is lovely, thank you very much). And when I’m at the gynecologist, my doctor is asking me about her elderly dog’s end of life issues.

Let me say this from years of experience with a variety of gynecologists who have nothing in common with one another except that they all like to talk to me about their dogs while they root around in my lady bits:

After someone’s had their hand in your vagina, it’s pretty easy to talk about euthanasia.

So there I was at my new doctor’s office…

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The power of padding

Mutt About Town - The blog

12047052_619613421512675_6510670206062267328_nI thought the word trust would be one of those vague labels that is tough to pin down. You know, hard to define but you know it when you see it. But when I checked the dictionary, I was intrigued to find two simple ideas that hit the nail on the head. Under the word trust it said,“the confident expectation of something” and “implies a feeling of security.” – Susan G. Friedman, Ph.D. 

Earlier this week, I took a fearful training client of mine to the beach. The fact that joyful trips to the beach are now a regular occurrence for her is a beautiful one because one year ago, these trips were not possible. Despite excellent socialization and dedicated dog parents, this dog entered a severe fear period, developing several phobias and generalizing her fear to previously safe environments, one of those being the beach. Through dedicated work desensitizing and…

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Why Growling is Good

More on ‘don’t punish the growl’.

Wilde About Dogs

Bodhi growls at Sierra crop small copyA woman I sometimes chat with during my morning dog outings asked my opinion about an encounter she recently had. She’d been been walking her four-year-old mixed breed dog around a local park when she crossed paths with a man whose dog was off leash. As the owners walked toward each other on the narrow trail, the foot loose and fancy-free puppy ran up to the adult dog. With the usual lack of canine cluelessness that accompanies early dogdom, the pup leaped at the dog relentlessly in an attempt to initiate play. The woman’s dog, while not aggressive, did not want to be bothered. He growled. The puppy didn’t back off, and again tried to engage the older dog. The dog growled louder. The man made no attempt to put his dog on leash. The woman, feeling embarrassed that her dog had growled, ended up apologizing to the man and…

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How important is it to give your dog food in its bowl?

How important is it to you that your dog gets all or most of his calories out of a bowl once or twice a day?  How important is it to  him?

I understand some people’s reluctance to train with food.  They are concerned that the dog may become dependent upon the owner having food in hand at all times in order to perform.  They are worried that the dog may become overweight, fat, obese and all the attendant health problems that go with that, but then I ask, why bowl feed?

Dogs do indeed get used to being fed at certain times of the day, in a certain way, just like you and I do.  They come to expect and even look forward to that bowl at 8:30 am and again at 6 pm.  But how important is it?  Is it more important that you and your dog enjoying a walk together, side by side, rather than him choking on his collar as he drags you down the street?  Is it more important than a really solid recall?

Dogs don’t understand that the food in the bowl could serve as payment for all the good he did during the day.  They just can’t hold a thought in their head like that.  But let’s put it another way… if you woke up every morning and found €100 in your letterbox without having to go to work or do much of anything, you’d have a pretty good living, right?  Maybe not great, no holidays and not a big house, but enough to get by on.  Food, shelter, a little amusement.  Great.  Now, you don’t need to go to work.  You don’t need to earn a living, because it’s presented to you, every day, without fail, without any effort on your part except getting out of bed, opening the front door and going down to the letterbox.  This is essentially how most owners treat their dogs’ meals.  They may ask the dog to sit, even wait, before placing the bowl down.  That’s reinforcement for one or two behaviors for the dog’s entire day’s salary.

So, what if, instead of putting 200 bits of food int he dog’s bowl, we put it in our pocket.  Maybe not even all of it, lets say 1/2.  That gives you 100 training opportunities (maybe 120 if you cut up some chicken and throw it in as well just to make it interesting).  So, you can “pay” your dog for paying attention, being calm, returning to you when you call, walking nicely by your side.  The other 100 bits of food can go into his bowl if it is really  important to you or the dog that he eats from the bowl.

Try it for a day or two.  Use it for stuff the dog already knows in a new environment or to teach him something new.  You should see a massive improvement in a very short time.   I think you’ll find the bowl is less important every day, to each of you.

An Open Letter to the Man Who Smacked His Dog

Lovely post by Nicole Wilde. If you’re hitting your dog the second time, you’re not punishing the behavior he did that annoyed you, you’re punishing whatever he did just before the smack.

Wilde About Dogs

Black ChihuahuaHi there! I passed you this morning while walking my dog along a mountain trail. I’ve seen you with your dog before, and you’ve always been pleasant as we exchanged greetings. I’ve also noticed how your dog is reactive toward other dogs, so we give you a wide berth.

This morning, as we hugged the far side of the trail, you allowed your dog lots of leeway on the long line. He ended up in the middle of the trail lunging and barking at us. I had just a moment to notice that he was wearing what looked like a wide-muzzled head halter, before you smacked him with the leash across the nose. He was startled, and stopped what he was doing immediately. You kept walking, and after you’d passed us I turned to see you yelling at him and smacking him again over his muzzle. This time he was cringing…

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