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AnimalSensibility: Making Heads & Tails of Your Canine Conundrums


AnimalSensibility is the place to turn to for all of your dog training answers. Collectively, our staff has more than 75 years of extensive and comprehensive experience in dog training and behavior and of course, total dedication to dogs. We are active members of several professional organizations, regularly attend seminars and conferences and are happily obsessed with obtaining the most up-to-date training and behavior information available — and then passing it along to you. This blog is our opportunity to do that on a much larger scale. Our trainers will share new training techniques, case studies from the many classes and private lessons we conduct each week all over Chicagoland, stories from our time volunteering with rescues and shelters, as well as our experiences with our own dogs.


What’s your Dog’s Recall Vocabulary?

My dog has 5 recall words or commands. I know this sounds excessive, but I love recall. In fact, my dog knows pretty much nothing else except this important command. “Come” is the obvious word. He’s pretty good with this one, but I felt like I used it too often. For example, when he was […]

Continue Reading     |     March 5, 2013     |     Read all posts by Sarah Gaziano

The Sad Truth

It is estimated that around 1.2 million dogs are hit and killed by a car in the U.S. each year. Many times they are chasing something, whether it be a ball, a squirrel, a cat or a child. The majority of these dogs were loose and off leash. In Chicago and many towns in Illinois, […]

Continue Reading     |     March 1, 2013     |     Read all posts by Lindsay Rapp

Are Laser Pointers Risky?

Recently in class, a student asked whether it is okay to let her dog chase a laser dot.  The other trainer in class said that she had heard that doing so can cause obsessive compulsive behavior or frustration because there is no reward.  Well, just add this to the list of things that I possibly […]

Continue Reading     |     February 28, 2013     |     Read all posts by

My Professional Obsession

I love being a dog trainer. As someone who’s been around animals my whole life, it truly is a perfect fit, and a natural progression for me. I’ve been involved in the boarding and daycare, grooming, handling, and training aspects of the doggy world, and I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. I work with dogs, […]

Continue Reading     |     February 27, 2013     |     Read all posts by Chris Long

Is it Time to Eat?

Before I was a dog trainer, I worked in corporate communications. It was my job to take the ideas and words of management and put them into employee newsletters and emails. This blog is a little like that. The ideas and thoughts that follow are not just mine. They come from a recent Facebook discussion […]

Continue Reading     |     February 25, 2013     |     Read all posts by Greg Raub

How Do You Keep a Dog from Being a Dog?

Following my dog’s recent hip surgery, the vets gave us a daunting set of instructions to follow to make sure the hip replacement healed properly. The most important rule was that there was to be absolutely no walking for one month. She could go outside to eliminate, but that was it. The first week or […]

Continue Reading     |     February 22, 2013     |     Read all posts by Paulette Solinski

Tough on Toys

I have a dog that loves to destroy toys. Bosworth can get to a squeaker in a plush toy in a matter of seconds, proudly displaying the stuffing all over the living room like his prize trophy. You’ll notice just a sampling of the graveyard of toys he has gutted in the picture on the […]

Continue Reading     |     February 20, 2013     |     Read all posts by Andrea Miller

Off and Running

One of my favorite things to do with my dogs is to sit back and watch them run.  Living in an apartment in Chicago without a backyard means this is not something we are able to do everyday. Most days my pups settle for fetch in the house and a “slow” walk at their human’s […]

Continue Reading     |     February 19, 2013     |     Read all posts by Alison Spanner

Breeds on the Brain

The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show took place recently, and just like every year, my fellow dog lovers are in a tizzy about all of the different breeds of dogs on display.  In fact, a friend of mine admitted to tracking the competition so closely, I compared it to how a sports fan might care […]

Continue Reading     |     February 18, 2013     |     Read all posts by

In Search of the Perfect Chew

One piece of advice that us trainers are always giving to our clients is “give your dog something to do.”  Whether it’s getting them accustomed to a crate, settling on a tether or not bothering your family while you are eating, there are many occasions when giving your dog something to keep him busy is […]

Continue Reading     |     February 15, 2013     |     Read all posts by Katie Moody

“Smart Dog” vs. “Not So Smart Dog”

A couple of weeks ago, someone asked me a question along the lines of which breeds (or kinds of dogs) were “smart” and which ones were “not very smart”.  Not even a few weeks before that someone else proposed the same type of question as we were discussing her dog’s ability to work out a […]

Continue Reading     |     February 14, 2013     |     Read all posts by Andrea Obey

Winter Wear

As a mom, winter is enough to make me crazy with all the accoutrement that goes with walking out the door.  Not a day goes by that I’m not counting mittens and coming up with an odd number.  This then sends me on a search to find where the missing one dropped.  Like my dog […]

Continue Reading     |     February 13, 2013     |     Read all posts by Nicole Stewart

Lights, Camera, Action: Celebrity Dogs

This week, Barney, the former first dog, passed away. No matter what your political affiliation, you have to admit, he was a pretty cute dog. I always enjoyed seeing him on TV frolicking around the White House yard. His death got me thinking about celebrity dogs and the impact they can have on us. There […]

Continue Reading     |     February 11, 2013     |     Read all posts by Erin Schneider

Engaging Your Dog

In class, the most common complaint I hear is “My dog has ADHD”, or “My dog won’t pay attention to me”, or “My dog does this fine at home”. Right after I hear that, I frequently see the handler pulling on the leash to get the dog to pay attention. Trying to make your dog […]

Continue Reading     |     February 8, 2013     |     Read all posts by Sally Bushwaller

First Doggy Date Etiquette

The dating scene can be pretty scary sometimes, especially those dates where you find out that the person sitting across from you doesn’t like dogs. Yikes! Then again, sometimes you find that fellow dog-lover, and you think “Great!” Even better when that potential love interest has a pup of their own. You start to daydream […]

Continue Reading     |     February 7, 2013     |     Read all posts by Nicolette Meyer

Hitting the Books

I graduated with my Master’s degree in Business Administration two years ago. I remember walking out of my very last class and thinking: I will never have to go to school again in my life. It was one of the greatest feelings in the world. Little did I know, I was totally wrong. The one […]

Continue Reading     |     February 6, 2013     |     Read all posts by Sarah Gaziano

Illinois is the Best State

The Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) recently released their rankings for 2012’s best state for animal protection. Illinois continues its reign as best state, a spot we’ve held for the past five years. That is amazing news for animals here! This ranking is based on fifteen different categories and this group runs extensive reports. This […]

Continue Reading     |     February 1, 2013     |     Read all posts by Lindsay Rapp

Listen With Your Eyes

Most people who invest the time to train their dogs are not just looking for good behavior from their dogs – they understand that spending that time working together grows a relationship.  A fundamental part of any human relationship is listening to what the other person is saying and respecting their feelings, even if you […]

Continue Reading     |     January 30, 2013     |     Read all posts by

Resolution Recall

I realize that it’s the end of January already, so maybe the term “New Year Resolution” isn’t really applicable anymore, but no matter if it’s the beginning, middle or end of the year, setting goals is always good. I’m not usually one to join in the whole resolution thing because let’s face it, most of […]

Continue Reading     |     January 29, 2013     |     Read all posts by Andrea Miller

Surprise… It’s a Girl!

As many of you know, AnimalSense was featured on WGN News’ Around Town a few weeks ago. One of those segments involved four adorable 9-week-old coonhound mix puppies. I had borrowed the puppies from a friend who fosters dogs for Almost Home Foundation. I naively thought I could bring the pups home with me the […]

Continue Reading     |     January 28, 2013     |     Read all posts by Chris Long

Why Don’t my Dog’s Feet Get Cold?

Dogs are sometimes full of mystery. We watch them do seemingly meaningless things and wonder why. We think about how they evolved into so many sizes, shapes and colors and wonder how. I recently was watching my dog slip and slide on the ice and found myself wondering aren’t his feet really cold? I couldn’t […]

Continue Reading     |     January 25, 2013     |     Read all posts by Greg Raub

The Painful Truth

This week, my husband, Sophie the Newfoundland and I are going to Columbus, Ohio so my dog can have a hip replacement surgery.  This is a trip that will last from Tuesday through Friday, so my friend has taken to calling it a “surgication”  – Sophie has surgery while we try to have a vacation. […]

Continue Reading     |     January 23, 2013     |     Read all posts by Paulette Solinski

Canine Teenagers

Adolescence. It is a word that sends shivers up the spines of parents the world over. This includes not just parents to human children, but also parents of the canine variety of teenagers. While the time period and symptoms are pretty easily identified in developing humans, they are not as widely known for dogs. For […]

Continue Reading     |     January 21, 2013     |     Read all posts by Katie Moody

Beyond Treats: Discovering & Using Motivation

One of the most common questions we get from our clients is “Am I going to have to carry a pocket full of treats around for the rest of my life?” Wait – you don’t want to spend the next 10 years smelling like hot dogs or liver sausage?  It’s a great question, and one […]

Continue Reading     |     January 18, 2013     |     Read all posts by

Help Out with a Scientific Study

Be a part of a new dog – human play study. All you have to do is submit a video of you playing with your dog and answer a short survey. Easy peasy and FUN! The Horowitz Dog Cognition Lab is run by Dr. Alexandra Horowitz, author of Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, […]

Continue Reading     |     January 17, 2013     |     Read all posts by Alison Spanner

Soul Soothing Pets

The horrific shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT last month sent shock waves through most of our souls.  The thought of the emotional pain the adults and especially children there went through made me weep openly.  But something happened that made me feel better for all of those who survived such a […]

Continue Reading     |     January 14, 2013     |     Read all posts by Andrea Obey

Grow with Time

In my Bowser and the Baby seminars, I cover how to introduce baby to Bowser on that first day home.  At the end of that part of the presentation, I always say, “Don’t insist that your dog and your baby become best friends today.  Let the relationship develop over time.”  Well, this still holds true, […]

Continue Reading     |     January 11, 2013     |     Read all posts by Nicole Stewart

Ask a Trainer Question Answered

Here’s the next round of answers for our Ask a Trainer feature on our website. It’s your chance to get dog training advice from the pros at AnimalSense. Stay tuned for more questions & answers, and if you have a burning dog training question, just “Ask a Trainer”! We live in Florida, but I am asking […]

Continue Reading     |     January 10, 2013     |     Read all posts by Nicole Stewart

Winter Gear

Now that the temperature has finally dropped, it’s time to think about winter. As we bundle up to go outside, we really need to make sure that our dogs are dressed appropriately. Now you might say, “why do I need to put a coat on my dog, he is already wearing a coat.” True, but […]

Continue Reading     |     January 9, 2013     |     Read all posts by Erin Schneider

Digestive Enzymes

All dogs need digestive enzymes in order to break down their food. They produce these enzymes naturally in their pancreas. Dogs don’t need us to supplement them with enzymes normally, unless the dog has a disease which decreases or eliminates their ability to produce enzymes on their own. Some older dogs or dogs with digestive […]

Continue Reading     |     January 8, 2013     |     Read all posts by Sally Bushwaller

Psycho Dog

In my family, my dog’s nickname is “Psycho Dog”. That’s because Eddy is not good with other dogs. In fact, if given the opportunity he could seriously harm any dog that crossed his path. In order to manage this, I don’t take Eddy on walks very often. We have a huge yard, so he gets […]

Continue Reading     |     January 7, 2013     |     Read all posts by Sarah Gaziano

The Break Up

Just as children get caught in the crossfire of divorcing parents, so too can dogs when their owners split up. It’s just one of the delicate matters that need dividing when two people choose to go their separate ways. In the last few months, I’ve known several couples that have called it quits, and although […]

Continue Reading     |     January 4, 2013     |     Read all posts by Nicolette Meyer

Beyond the Myth: Breed Discrimination

Breed Specific Legislation, or BSL, is something that has been happening in the United States since the 1980s. It involves laws that ban or restrict certain types of dogs based on appearance and usually because a breed is perceived as “dangerous”. The ban usually requires that all dogs of a certain description be removed from […]

Continue Reading     |     January 2, 2013     |     Read all posts by Lindsay Rapp

Two Dogs and A Turtle: My Crazy Morning

I bet if I took a poll among my friends and co-workers, I would be the one who takes the longest to get ready for work.  I get up sometime around 5:30am and leave for work around 8:45am.  First on the agenda is taking Oz for a walk.  He is my 8 year-old Rottweiler.  Before […]

Continue Reading     |     December 31, 2012     |     Read all posts by

Beloved Buttons

For many people, the holiday season is a time to reflect as well as to celebrate. When Christmas time comes, I can’t help but think of one of my dearest friends who passed away and crossed the Rainbow Bridge two days after Christmas, 4 years ago. Her name was Buttons, and she was a border […]

Continue Reading     |     December 28, 2012     |     Read all posts by Chris Long

’twas the night before Christmas…

..and the shopping is done, including a new squeak toy for dog number one. Seems like the last few blogs here have been about Christmas and dogs.  I have never been one to buy gifts for my dog.  But this year I did.  What moved me to do that this year is that I have […]

Continue Reading     |     December 26, 2012     |     Read all posts by Greg Raub

Bah Humbug

I have a confession to make: I am the Scrooge of doggie Christmas! Katie Moody’s recent blog about including dogs in family Christmas celebrations was lovely and what one would expect from a member of the AnimalSense family. Like Katie, I also hang stockings for the dogs; the difference is that we don’t actually fill […]

Continue Reading     |     December 24, 2012     |     Read all posts by Paulette Solinski

Study: Internet is Wild West of Puppy Mills

It’s the time of year when we fire up our computers, scour the web for deals and make our way through our holiday gift list, using the Internet as Santa’s helper. Personally, if I can avoid crowded shopping malls and have all of my presents delivered right to my front door with a few clicks […]

Continue Reading     |     December 21, 2012     |     Read all posts by Andrea Miller

Do I Have To?

I’m lucky enough to spend a LOT of time talking to our clients, both in the office during the day, and in teaching my classes.  One of my favorite questions to hear from people is “Does my dog have to do _______?”  It’s one of my favorite questions, because it’s one that I can always […]

Continue Reading     |     December 19, 2012     |     Read all posts by

Giving your Recall a Bump

Pull out a dog treat and look at it.  Maybe it is about quarter sized and hopefully fairly smelly and soft.  Imagine giving your dog this treat whole. He gulps it down and is on his merry way.  Sure he enjoys it, the treat satisfies his immediate desires and is enjoyable to eat. Now, imagine […]

Continue Reading     |     December 18, 2012     |     Read all posts by Alison Spanner

‘Tis the Season

Every year as I make my Christmas shopping list, I find myself checking and rechecking to make sure that I have everyone covered.  Did I send something to my husband’s great aunt?  Do we exchange presents with those neighbors?  Oh my god, I forgot to get something for the babysitter! One thing is sure, though, […]

Continue Reading     |     December 17, 2012     |     Read all posts by Katie Moody

Cabin Fever

Some dogs adjust well to the harsh winter months and really enjoy getting out in the snow and colder weather.  Dogs like Newfoundlands, Siberian Huskies and Swiss Mountain Dogs were even bred to excel in it. But other dogs aren’t really meant to deal with the snow and chilly weather.  Your Boxer, Chihuahua or Pit […]

Continue Reading     |     December 14, 2012     |     Read all posts by Andrea Obey

Ask a Trainer Question Answered

Here’s the next round of answers for our Ask a Trainer feature on our website. It’s your chance to get dog training advice from the pros at AnimalSense. Stay tuned for more questions & answers, and if you have a burning dog training question, just “Ask a Trainer”! I have always had female dogs, but I […]

Continue Reading     |     December 13, 2012     |     Read all posts by Andrea Miller

Dog Toy vs. Baby Toy

I was recently at a party that a colleague was hosting, and she was nice enough to host my children as well.  She even brought out some toys that were geared towards my kids despite the fact that her own kiddos are well on their way to all grown up status.  This seemed beyond the […]

Continue Reading     |     December 12, 2012     |     Read all posts by Nicole Stewart

European Dogs

Whenever I travel, I tend to observe not only people, but also dogs. My husband and I were in London and Paris in November for vacation. I love Europe! I also love European dogs. Not that American dogs aren’t great, but Europeans just have a different attitude about dogs. I observed a lot of dogs […]

Continue Reading     |     December 11, 2012     |     Read all posts by Erin Schneider

Study: Look at Cute Puppy Photos

According to a study done at Hiroshima University in Japan, looking at pictures and watching videos of cute baby animals appears to boost people’s productivity and makes us concentrate better. Study subjects performed 44%(!) better on three different experiments when they viewed pictures of cute baby animals first. Think of the applications for your life! […]

Continue Reading     |     December 7, 2012     |     Read all posts by Sally Bushwaller

Nurse Dogs

When I was little, we had an Old English Sheepdog. Whenever I was sick, my mother would tell me that Lindsay (our dog) would take care of me. As a kid, this was a great comfort to me, and she would lay by my side the whole time I was sick. Now that I’m an […]

Continue Reading     |     December 5, 2012     |     Read all posts by Sarah Gaziano

Ten Tips for Holiday Pet Pics

The holidays are upon us and among the myriad of things on your To Do list, sending out cards to friends and family might be a high priority. I always like to take a festive picture of my dog to use as the front cover because: A) I’m a borderline crazy dog lady and B) […]

Continue Reading     |     December 4, 2012     |     Read all posts by Nicolette Meyer

The Dog Park Assistant

Dog parks are everywhere these days. People feel that their dogs need to interact off leash with other dogs. However, I don’t think a dog park is a good place for many dogs because often, you’ll see dogs bullying other dogs and learning bad behaviors. At the same time, I know that people and some […]

Continue Reading     |     December 3, 2012     |     Read all posts by Lindsay Rapp

My Dog’s Fear of Floors

Our dog Oz has always had difficulty walking on our kitchen floor and down our inside front stairs.  The kitchen floor is tile and the front stairs are hardwood.  To turn a particular corner in the kitchen, he crouches and then launches himself like a rocket.  He will walk up the front stairs but not […]

Continue Reading     |     November 30, 2012     |     Read all posts by

Canine Holiday Hazards

As I thought about making everyone aware of things that might be dangerous for your dog during the holiday season, I started to feel like Debbie Downer.  I mean, here is a list of things that are toxic and/or can be life threatening to your dog: Food Chocolate, as you may already know, is toxic […]

Continue Reading     |     November 29, 2012     |     Read all posts by Nicole Stewart

Do Dogs Vacation?

I love and need vacations. Vacation makes me feel refreshed and re-energized. Recently my husband and I went to Europe for a vacation and while we were gone, my parents watched our dog, Bailey. After I got back and heard about all the things that she did while we were gone, it got me thinking: […]

Continue Reading     |     November 28, 2012     |     Read all posts by Erin Schneider

Say (or Squawk) Cheese

In addition to dog training, I also work as an animal handler for commercial photographers. This means that I provide animals for different photography projects and work with the animals to get the desired shot. I work with all types of animals, from dogs and cats to farm animals to exotics. I love this type […]

Continue Reading     |     November 26, 2012     |     Read all posts by Chris Long

Fear of Dogs

A few weeks ago several of the AnimalSense trainers went together on a “field trip” to Wolf Park in Battleground, Indiana. Wolf Park is an education and research facility that is home to some 16 gray wolves.  One of the things we got to do was to go in with the wolves – inside the […]

Continue Reading     |     November 23, 2012     |     Read all posts by Greg Raub

Cooking for Dogs

Most people do not consider me to be an especially good cook. In fact, the list is probably limited to my son-in-law and my sisters.  Actually it’s probably not even that my son-in-law and sisters really like what I make – they just appreciate the fact that having someone make you food is nice. You […]

Continue Reading     |     November 22, 2012     |     Read all posts by Paulette Solinski

Why Use a Bowl?

I recently attended a pet industry trade show and was astounded by the variety of sizes, materials and styles of dog bowls that were on offer.  There is a mindboggling array of choices, most of which are a far cry from the typical stainless steel, no-frills bowls that we are all familiar with. There are […]

Continue Reading     |     November 21, 2012     |     Read all posts by Katie Moody

The Yellow Dog Project

If you follow any dog-related companies or shelter/rescue groups on social media (you are following AnimalSense, right?), you’ve probably heard the recent chatter about what’s being called “The Yellow Dog Project”. According to their website, The Yellow Dog Project is a global movement for parents of dogs that need space (a.k.a DINOS or Dogs In […]

Continue Reading     |     November 20, 2012     |     Read all posts by Andrea Miller


I have a bad habit.  A sometimes cute, most of the time annoying, but BAD habit for a dog trainer. I talk for my dog.  Using a funny voice.  I do this a LOT. Not only do I do it for my dog, but I do it for my parent’s dog, my friends’ dogs, even […]

Continue Reading     |     November 19, 2012     |     Read all posts by

Without Force or Punishment

There is little doubt dog training with an aversive (punishment) works. When an aversive is applied immediately following a behavior, the likelihood of the behavior occurring in the future is reduced.  Easy peasy and if done well, rather effective. However, I choose not to train using punishment. I don’t use shock collars, prong collars, choke […]

Continue Reading     |     November 16, 2012     |     Read all posts by Alison Spanner

Just Exactly What Are You Teaching Your Dog?

I heard a rather funny story the other day from one of my coworkers at the animal hospital.  She has a friend who wanted some tips on keeping her dog busy during the day by means of enrichment.  Together, they came up with some ideas, which included hiding food throughout the house for the dog […]

Continue Reading     |     November 14, 2012     |     Read all posts by Andrea Obey

Leave It

There are about a hundred things that we don’t want a dog to touch or pay attention to… in a day.  Poor furry creatures.  They are scavengers by nature, and it’s this very trait that make them so good at finding just what, we humans, don’t want them to. Just to name a few: The […]

Continue Reading     |     November 13, 2012     |     Read all posts by Nicole Stewart

The Dog Sitter’s List

My husband and I are going to Europe for a week and a half for our anniversary. As excited as we are about our travels, we hated the thought of leaving our dog, Bailey, for such a long time. Usually we have a friend watch Bailey while we are gone (and she does a wonderful […]

Continue Reading     |     November 9, 2012     |     Read all posts by Erin Schneider

Pancreatitis in Dogs

We are approaching that time of the year when pancreatitis becomes a problem… Thanksgiving. There is always an increase in pancreatitis around the holidays. Owners feed their dogs too many fatty foods, often times turkey skin, or for my breed–Weimaraners–they steal fatty foods, which leads to sickness. Pancreatitis is anecdotally more common Weimaraners, as is […]

Continue Reading     |     November 8, 2012     |     Read all posts by Sally Bushwaller

Leash Walking Awesomeness

About a month ago, I was sitting for my parents’ one-year-old puppy, Sophie. She doesn’t really like to walk outside. The main issue is her love of the house. They live across the street from a park and often walk all the way around it. When you make it about half way around the park, […]

Continue Reading     |     November 7, 2012     |     Read all posts by Sarah Gaziano

The Pains of Leaving the Pooch

In a few days, for the first time since I’ve had Otis in my life, I’m leaving him at home and going on vacation. We’ve never left him before, any place that we’ve traveled we’ve been able to take him with us and while I’m so excited to go to our tropical destination, I’d be […]

Continue Reading     |     November 5, 2012     |     Read all posts by Nicolette Meyer

What to Do if you Find a Stray Dog

There’s nothing worse than the sight of a stray or lost dog on the side of the road. If you are like me, you want to stop and help every single one of them. But do you know how to approach the situation to stay safe? Here are some steps you should follow if you […]

Continue Reading     |     November 2, 2012     |     Read all posts by Lindsay Rapp

Ask a Trainer Question Answered

Here’s the next round of answers for our Ask a Trainer feature on our website. It’s your chance to get dog training advice from the pros at AnimalSense. Stay tuned for more questions & answers, and if you have a burning dog training question, just “Ask a Trainer”! My 16 month old Cairn does not let […]

Continue Reading     |     November 1, 2012     |     Read all posts by Andrea Miller

Soothe Dogs With Music

If you are dreading your dog’s reaction to the repeated door bell ringing tonight, you might want to rush home and download some relaxing music for your dog.  We have all heard that “music soothes the savage beast” so this idea is not a surprise.  An internet search, such as “relaxing music for dogs” or […]

Continue Reading     |     October 31, 2012     |     Read all posts by

Innocent Until Proven Guilty

I always open up my Bowser and the Baby seminar with a slide that is entitled, “Guilt” and has a picture like this:  I don’t know what caption you might put on this, but if I was to offer up one, it would be, “Who me?” This dog, Tank, really is going to have a […]

Continue Reading     |     October 30, 2012     |     Read all posts by Nicole Stewart

The Energizer Conference

Last week was the annual conference for the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT). I, along with some of my colleagues from AnimalSense, attended the five day conference. This was my second year attending and just like last year, I felt I got a lot out of it. Not only did I get to meet […]

Continue Reading     |     October 29, 2012     |     Read all posts by Erin Schneider

From Country to City Life

Lately, I’ve been spending a lot of time at my boyfriend’s house. Since he has two teenage children, we’ve been making the transition to moving in together very slowly. For me, a big part of that transition was bringing my dog Georgie to the city. I knew moving in would be a big change for […]

Continue Reading     |     October 26, 2012     |     Read all posts by Chris Long

Nature at its Finest

At the beginning of October, my husband, the dogs and I went on our semiannual trip to our house in Maine. Our house, built by my father and other family members, is right on the ocean about an hour from Bar Harbor. This is always a rejuvenating vacation for me. Prospect Harbor is off the […]

Continue Reading     |     October 25, 2012     |     Read all posts by Sally Bushwaller

On Track to be a Therapy Dog

All of my recent dogs have been registered therapy dogs, and I want the same for my 11-month-old  puppy, Sophie.  However, as I have been trying to train her for this, I realize how difficult it is to practice some of the elements required to pass the test. The basics of the therapy dog test […]

Continue Reading     |     October 24, 2012     |     Read all posts by Paulette Solinski

Proud to Be a Pet Parent

I was out with some friends the other night and a woman joined our table. I immediately recognized her from walking her dog in the neighborhood. “You’re Noah’s mom!” I exclaimed, “I’m Bosworth’s mom.” One of my friends rolled her eyes said “Leave it to dog owners to say they are moms.” Thing is, that’s […]

Continue Reading     |     October 23, 2012     |     Read all posts by Andrea Miller

Why We Train our Dogs

So here I am at my first APDT Conference, along with some 800 other dog trainers, including several of my colleagues from AnimalSense.  APDT is the Association of Pet Dog Trainers.  When we told our classes last week that there would be no class this week, we said we would be at the conference and […]

Continue Reading     |     October 22, 2012     |     Read all posts by Greg Raub

DON’T Drop It

A couple of months ago, I wrote a blog about “drop it” and just how often I use it with my 18-month-old lab, Tucker.  Recently, I taught him a variant on “drop it” that I call “give.” The “give” cue was born entirely out of my laziness. I found that often when I was tossing […]

Continue Reading     |     October 19, 2012     |     Read all posts by Katie Moody

The Trick to Training

My dog Lulu LOVES to do tricks.  She can shake hands, high five, spin, roll over, and sit pretty.  She’ll even show off for the video camera every now and then (forgive my squealing, I was excited!): Every time I teach her something new, I think about how FUN it is to work with my […]

Continue Reading     |     October 17, 2012     |     Read all posts by

Dog Sitting Fiascos

The only kind of dog I like is one that is lying down and sleeping. I imagine that most mothers feel this way about their toddlers or teenagers. I feel like I’m always hearing “Look at how cute he/she looks when he/she is sleeping.” Would you like to know why? Because they aren’t annoying you! […]

Continue Reading     |     October 16, 2012     |     Read all posts by Sarah Gaziano

Fall for a Dog

Forget what common sense says… fall or winter is the best time to get a dog! I adopted my first dog in the middle of February and my second two years later in October, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.  Chicago street fests and baseball games are pretty much at a close and […]

Continue Reading     |     October 15, 2012     |     Read all posts by Alison Spanner

Blood Sucking Fleas

‘Tis the season!  Well, at least here in the Midwest.  In warmer climates, it is a year-round ongoing battle.  It is here too, make no mistake, but the late summer and autumn are the time of year we predominately see those blood-sucking critters on our pets and in our home (I’ll get to why later).  […]

Continue Reading     |     October 13, 2012     |     Read all posts by Andrea Obey

What’s in a Name?

One of my favorite parts of the first week of classes is that I get inundated with new dog names. You have to be in awe of some of the creativity that lights up my classrooms that first day. Of course, there is always a Cooper, Buddy or Molly. In fact, the most popular dog […]

Continue Reading     |     October 10, 2012     |     Read all posts by Nicole Stewart

Don’t Fear the Food

As anyone who has taken a class at AnimalSense knows, we use a training method called positive reinforcement.  Simply put, that means that we reward the dog for doing what we like, which makes the dog more likely to do that thing again the in future.  The reward we use most often is food.  Food […]

Continue Reading     |     October 10, 2012     |     Read all posts by Katie Moody

Update on Bailey

Bailey and I went back to our vet today, and we had good news. Bailey no longer has any bladder stones and the tumor has shrunk a great deal! Needless to say, today is a good day. Bailey was diagnosed with bladder cancer in December 2011. Since then we have tried a few different medications, […]

Continue Reading     |     October 5, 2012     |     Read all posts by Erin Schneider

Dressing Up Your Pup

Halloween is soon upon us. Store fronts are putting up their spooky decorations, pumpkin flavored foods and beverages line the shelves at the grocery store, and bite-sized candy is on sale at CVS. Most important, however, is what you’ll decide to dress up your dog as! If you’re anything like me, one of the joys […]

Continue Reading     |     October 4, 2012     |     Read all posts by Nicolette Meyer

Taking the Plunge

I realize that swimming season may be over in Chicago, but here in sunny Florida, we are still enjoying dips in the ocean and lakes. I’ve been working with my puppy Bosworth on swimming all summer and after a few months, I’m proud to say he has become a stellar swimmer. It took some time, […]

Continue Reading     |     October 2, 2012     |     Read all posts by Andrea Miller

You’ve Been Skunked

This might be a funny show to watch, but only if when Ashton Kutcher came popping out of the back, he took your dog away to be bathed and didn’t bring him back until he was fresh as a daisy again. A dog getting skunked is really no laughing matter.  It is a horrendous smell […]

Continue Reading     |     October 1, 2012     |     Read all posts by Nicole Stewart

Stinky Breath

Oh my gosh, that smells so bad! I say that every time my dogs kiss me. Their breath is sometimes unbearable. Most of you know I have two small dogs (chichi’s) and a big girl (pit mix). Kayla is 3 years old and her mouth is just now starting to smell, but the two little […]

Continue Reading     |     September 28, 2012     |     Read all posts by Lindsay Rapp

Step up to BAT

This past weekend, my fellow trainer Nicole Stewart and I went to a seminar on BAT (Behavior Adjustment Therapy) with Grisha Stewart. explains it as, “Behavior Adjustment Training, or BAT, rehabilitates dog reactivity by looking at why the dog is reactive and helping him or her meet his needs in other ways. In a […]

Continue Reading     |     September 26, 2012     |     Read all posts by Erin Schneider

There’s an App for That

I recently updated the software on my phone and noticed some of the new apps.  I decided to see if there were any dog related apps that sounded interesting.  I haven’t actually tried any of these but here’s a list of ones to check out. Pet Acoustics This is an app that plays sounds and […]

Continue Reading     |     September 25, 2012     |     Read all posts by Paulette Solinski

In Appreciation of Adult Dogs

I want to give a “shout out” to my dog Oz.  He is graciously putting up with all sorts of nonsense from our puppy McGee. Having a puppy has really made me appreciate Oz and adult dogs in general. When adding a new puppy to the household, it is important to spend one-on-one time with […]

Continue Reading     |     September 24, 2012     |     Read all posts by

More Than a Meal

Incorporating your Dog’s Food into Training and Enrichment One of the biggest concerns I get from people who are interested in taking classes with AnimalSense, is the use of food with training: “Isn’t my dog going to get fat?” “My dog won’t be hungry when we come to class, because he already had dinner tonight.” […]

Continue Reading     |     September 22, 2012     |     Read all posts by

To Add or Not to Add (a dog), That is the Question

I’m a planner.  Anyone who has ever met me knows that I like to have a plan.  Whether it works out or not, I work better with one in place.  So, when my beloved Golden Retriever, Denver, was around 5 or 6 years old, I began to look at the plan for the next five […]

Continue Reading     |     September 21, 2012     |     Read all posts by Nicole Stewart

I Don’t Think I’m in Kansas Anymore

After having a corporate job for many, many years, I gave it up to become a dog trainer. The other day, it occurred to me that dog training and the dog world in general have colored my world in a way that my other job never did. For example, I was watching the Wizard of […]

Continue Reading     |     September 20, 2012     |     Read all posts by Paulette Solinski

A Fear of Thunder (Shirt) – Part 2

Last month in Part 1 of this blog I described how the success I had with the Thundershirt seemed to be at risk because my dog Ernie was developing a fear of the shirt itself.  Every time I would pull the shirt out, he would turn and run. (The same way he does when I […]

Continue Reading     |     September 19, 2012     |     Read all posts by Greg Raub

Size Doesn’t Always Matter

When looking for the ideal playmate for their dogs, many people first try to find a similarly sized dog.  Small dog owners want small dog playmates for their pets, and big dog owners think that their dogs could only be happy romping with another big dog.  However, when trying to find an appropriate companion for […]

Continue Reading     |     September 18, 2012     |     Read all posts by Katie Moody

Taking “Find It” to the Next Level

In almost all of our classes, trainers teach a game called “Find It”.  The signal is “Find it” and the behavior is your dog’s nose sniffing the ground. This is an incredible mental exercise for your dog using his/her natural inclination to sniff.  And pretty darn fun and rewarding.  In class we start teaching the […]

Continue Reading     |     September 14, 2012     |     Read all posts by Alison Spanner

My Renaissance With The Little Dog

I was born into a small dog house.  Our little Yorkshire Terrier, Willy, was not even a year old when I was born.  I loved that silly little dog.  He was a really good dog and used to howl only to one thing; the theme song to the Andy Griffith show.  I remember cuddling with […]

Continue Reading     |     September 13, 2012     |     Read all posts by Andrea Obey

Context is Everything

Have you ever met someone at a work function and then two days later run into that same person at the grocery store and it took you a moment to remember their name?  Out of the context of work, it can take our brains a moment (and a little conversation) to let all of the […]

Continue Reading     |     September 12, 2012     |     Read all posts by Nicole Stewart

The Power of Calm

Do you know what the easiest job in the world is? Dog sitting. I don’t do this as a profession or anything, but my friends seem to go out of town a lot. I have nothing else to do, and I can generally live my life from other people’s houses with no problem. The other […]

Continue Reading     |     September 7, 2012     |     Read all posts by Sarah Gaziano

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