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AnimalSensibility

Things I Learned While Dog-Sitting

As a dog trainer whose days are centered around dogs, dog behavior, dog knowledge, and sometimes, dog poop, the last thing I want to do is take dogs into my home. It’s not relaxing and always takes about 3 days for things to normalize, but when a friend with a 9 month old mini Australian […]

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Learn to Speak Dog Trainer

Have you ever sat in class and as the trainer is talking, wondering “reinforcement what” or “luring who” or “attentionseeking whatchamacallit”? I try not to use too much trainer speak, but I am sure it creeps in more than I realize.  I thought a glossary of terms might help you the next time a trainer […]

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Is It OK to “Push” Your Dog in Training?

Just about every week in my classes I urge the pet parents not to push their dogs. By that I mean it’s best to take things slow and allow your dog to progress at his or her own rate. But this week I had a question about literally “pushing” a dog into a Down position. […]

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How Does your Dog’s Sense of Hearing Affect Behavior?

As a kid I remember being fascinated by the idea of a silent dog whistle – something dogs could hear but people couldn’t. It is true that in terms of hearing the biggest differences between us and our four-legged friends is that they can hear much higher frequency sounds. That could explain a few things: […]

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Creative Enrichment For Your Dogs

In the zoo world we use the term “enrichment” a lot. We define it as any item that encourages natural behaviors. Because zoo animals are provided with everything they need to survive, we need to give them ways to practice the natural behaviors they would use in the wild. As pet owners we also do […]

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Catchmeifyoucan-itis

Director of Training Nicole Stewart shares her experiences dealing with “Catchmeifyoucan-itis”. It’s a common ailment, but luckily very curable. If you’d like to learn more, sign up for one of our Recall and Leash Manners classes, starting the week of August 17! ******** I can’t tell you how many calls I get like this: “My […]

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Client Profile: Morrissey

Every class session, we like to dig a little bit deeper into the back story of one of our clients. This time, it’s Morrissey’s turn. Morrissey Breed: Boston Terrier Age: 6 months Client Name: Brian and Tina Trost Class: Pooch Academy Trainers: Katie Moody, with Jennifer Kec How did your dog come to be a […]

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Put on a Happy Face

For the last two weeks I’ve been on vacation. We have a lovely rental house deep in the Wisconsin woods. There are no visible neighbors, no big roads and no fenced yard. This is the fourth summer that our lab, Tucker, has spent here, but the first for our recently adopted dog, Hobo. Tucker has […]

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Before You Get a Dog

A while back one of my colleagues had a posting here titled Get A Dog. It focuses on deciding when to add a new dog to your family. That, along with a number of recent questions I’ve received from new puppy parents, prompted me to think about what should happen between the time you decide […]

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Just Another Reason to Train your Dog

I could list many reasons why training your dog is an important part of the dog-human bond – in fact, maybe I’ll list those in another post – but, for now, I’m going to focus on one. Sometimes there’s nothing better than a senior dog. Most of the time, at that point, they are really […]

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Tops Tips for Fireworks Season

Did you know that the 4th of July is peak season for dogs running away? Here are my top three tips for keeping your dogs safe and sane around the 4th of July holiday: Keep a well-fitting collar with current ID tags on your dog at all times, even if the dog is microchipped. If […]

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The Dog Trainer’s Puppy

She is cute. She’d rather say good morning to everyone and play than eat.

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The Time Magazine Article and Why Non-Pit Bull People Should Care

The discussion of BSL (breed specific legislation) has been a mainstream topic in the professional dog community since its inception, but has really made it to prime time with a recent Time magazine article by Charlotte Alter. It is one thing to have a political article where opinions can be different. As a scientist myself, […]

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The Dog Trainer’s Puppy

All I can say is you are doomed when you fall in love with the puppy right off the bat – but she’s the cutest puppy in the wurrrrrldah.

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Get a Dog

I love to have a plan. I generally have a plan A and a plan B (and sometimes even a Plan C). It is not just the big things I plan for – it is pretty much everything. I think it stems from a childhood spur-of-the-moment trip my parents decided to take to the Wisconsin […]

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The Dog Trainer’s Puppy

Just when I was beginning to think otherwise, it turns out she is the cutest puppy in the wurrrrrldah.

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The Unpredictability Factor

I think one of the most important things I have learned while being a zookeeper is that both wild and domestic animals can be unpredictable, no matter how well you think you know said animal. The main reason for this is because our world is unpredictable. We may try to control our environment, but it […]

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Colorado Dogs

I was on vacation last week in Vail, Colorado. Whenever I am on vacation I always look at the local dogs. One thing I noticed is how happy all the dogs looked in Vail. I don’t know if it was because they were in their element, being outside on the mountain and in the fresh […]

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The Dog Trainer’s Puppy

She has been demoted. She is not the cutest puppy in the wuuurlddddddddah – she is just average.

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Crate Questions: Sleeping Through the Night

I recently had a pet parent ask me a question about crate location. This family has a new puppy and they are a two-crate household. They don’t have two dogs. They just have two crates – one in the bedroom for nighttime and one in the family room for daytime. I’m a fan of that […]

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The Dog Trainer’s Puppy

Pull on the speaker wires, run, jump into the water bowl, run twenty laps around the kitchen like mad. Lie down and chew the refrigerator leg. All in a day’s work.

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Squirrel!

I’m in the land of kids. I’ll admit it. But the movie “Up” is really cute. And the dog is really… well… dog. What does that mean? Well, he can be doing one thing, and out of the blue, out pops a fast moving rodent. Snap! Just like that, everything he was doing is completely […]

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The Dog Trainer’s Puppy

Wanted: The notorious masked toe-biter. Known for biting toes, especially on crossed legs, and then running away like mad when scolded. Scoundrel!

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Meeting the New Neighbor

This weekend we got an exciting addition to our neighborhood – our next door neighbors adopted a rescue dog. The new arrival was happily welcomed by kids and adults up and down our dog-loving block. However, I wasn’t so sure that the every member of my household would be equally thrilled. I was worried that […]

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AnimalSense Joins the Paradise 4 Paws Family!

Dear AnimalSense Clients: Over four years ago, Paradise 4 Paws began a partnership with AnimalSense because we believe and share in AnimalSense’s mission to help pet parents live peacefully with their dogs. We agree that this is accomplished, not through a cookie cutter approach, but instead through a customized experience including small class sizes and […]

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The Dogs in the Back Room

Back in the day, Animal Care and Control (ACC) used to have an inconspicuous room in the back. It was nearly identical to all of the other pavilions, with row after row of homeless dogs. But this room was different. These dogs were not lost, waiting to be found, or surrendered by their owners. They […]

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The Dog Trainer’s Puppy

It’s a good thing you’re the cutest puppy in the wuuuurldah – stop biting my feet!

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Understanding Your Dog Through Evolution, Part Two

In Part One of her post, Sarah examined the evolution of domesticated dogs. In Part Two, she explores how to use your dog’s instincts in training, and how that can strengthen the human/dog bond. ******** Training your dog is all about communication between two different species that physically cannot speak the same language. When you […]

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Understanding Your Dog Through Evolution, Part One

I have been working with dogs since I was a teenager and I have learned a lot over the years, but nothing has been more valuable than what I have learned through my undergraduate studies in Biology. Evolution in particular has begun to shed light on several aspects of dog behavior. The ideas that power […]

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My Dog Doesn’t Resource Guard…or Does He?

Resource guarding is a term used by those who study dog behavior to describe a set of behaviors that dogs display when trying to communicate that they have something they really want to keep and don’t want you to take away. These behaviors can be displayed around their food bowls, bones, toys, sleeping spots, and […]

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Are You Interested in Therapy Dog Work?

I have been involved in animal assisted therapy for about fifteen years as a volunteer, as an evaluator, and as an instructor. In some ways, it is actually what I imagined it would be like, but in other ways it is totally different. For example, when I first started volunteering with my dog at hospitals […]

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How Do You Handle a Dog Fight?

In my last post where I discussed what to do when an off-leash dog comes barreling at you and your on-leash dog, I teased you with the question “What do you do if your worst thought comes to be reality: a dog fight.” Fights can be scary, human or otherwise. However, much of the time, […]

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Two Simple Truths About Your Dog

“The dog’s agenda is simple, fathomable, overt: I want. I want to go out, come in, eat something, lie here, play with that, kiss you. There are no ulterior motives with a dog, no mind games, no second-guessing, no complicated negotiations or bargains, and no guilt trips or grudges if a request is denied.” I […]

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The Dog Trainer’s Puppy

Poor baby puppy, I hear you mewl and moan, Poor baby puppy, Do you think you are alone? Come here baby puppy, So I can hug you all, Come here baby puppy, Please don’t eat my wall.

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Training with Multiple Dogs

When I got my first dog Dexter I was fresh off an internship at the Shedd Aquarium and full of training momentum. I worked with Dexter every day, a few times a day, on anything from obedience to tricks. It was fun and easy. Then we got Delilah and all that changed. I couldn’t just […]

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Five Reasons to Learn TTouch (Even If You Are Already Training Your Dog)

Tellington Touch (or simply “TTouch”) is a training method that goes far beyond the Sits, Stays, and Downs of basic canine manners classes. In fact, my own dog had lovely manners and a reliable set of basic skills when it became clear to me that something “deeper” was missing. Yep, even the dog who lived […]

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Dog Ownership Doesn’t Stop When You Do

I was having a conversation with some friends about parrots the other day. The topic was life expectancy – an African Gray parrot can live to be 80, a Macaw can live to be 100. Unless you get the bird as a baby and take great care of yourself it is likely that the bird […]

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Management Techniques, Part 3: Crates

In part three of my management series, I am going to talk about crates. Crates are a wonderful way to manage a dog. It also provides many dogs with a sense of comfort and a place they can call their own. Crates should be a place that your dog loves going to, so make sure […]

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Learning to Love Through the Human-Animal Bond

When I adopted my first dog from a shelter, I did not know what to expect. I hadn’t grown up with dogs in the home and at times I was frustrated. Why is my dog focused on everything but me? Squirrels, nasty things on the ground, you name it. I became interested in learning to […]

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Danger, Will Robinson! Intruder Approaching!

As I was walking down the street the other day, I heard this: “No! Stop your dog! Get your dog! Nooo!” and then, “I’m sorry! Ralph! Ralph! Come! Ralph! RALPH!” As I looked up, I saw a pretty friendly-looking Lab running off-leash towards a woman and her on-leash dog. The woman was obviously frightened about […]

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What Breed Is He, and Why Does it Matter?

When you have a new dog and you go to sign him up for a training class, inquire about boarding, or call a dog walking company, your dog’s breed is almost always one of the first questions you will be asked. The big question is: why do we care so much? There is an important […]

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How to Make “Sit” Mean “Sit”…No Matter Where You Are

So you’ve taught your dog to sit. And as long as you’re standing in front of him with treats in hand, he sits. But what happens when you’re out on the street? Or at the vet’s office? Or the pet store? A lot of times it may seem like your dog has never even heard […]

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The Dog Trainer’s Puppy

I asked her this morning if she was ready to settle down and learn something. She politely told me, “No. I am a female border collie. I already know everything, and I like to make up my own rules.” So there you have it…

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The Patience of a Dog Trainer

There’s an old saying that patience is a virtue, and I have to say that for most of my life it was one of the many virtues I did not possess. None at all. Zip. Zero. However, I recently said, “I’m in no hurry” to somebody, and had a real moment of self-awareness. What happened? […]

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I Lost My Mind at the Dog Show

There is a little known secret amongst most dog trainers: as a rule, we don’t touch dogs. When we see dogs in class, on the street, or even at a friend’s house, we DON’T touch them. This obviously comes from a “safety first” perspective. We’re taught that all dogs have the ability to bite and […]

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The Dog Trainer’s Puppy

So it was decided and there was joy throughout the land: Introducing Fayette.

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Following Your Instincts: The Reactive Dog

Recently after one of our many big snowstorms, I was out walking my coonhound mix and she started barking at a snowman…seriously. Now I knew when I took her in a year and a half ago that she was reactive, but I honestly didn’t realize the magnitude of it. She would bark at other dogs, […]

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101 Things to Do with a Box

Mental stimulation is very important in everyone’s lives, including our pets. Training is a great way to help your dog reach his mental stimulation quota each day. It also helps to burn off some energy while in the comfort of your own warm home. Sometimes, however, just working on the same behaviors can get boring […]

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The Dog Trainer’s Puppy

Never ask the cat for help naming the puppy. You get a bunch of stupid suggestions that all basically sound the same.

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Management Techniques, Part 2: Baby Gates

In Part 2 of my management series (you can read Part 1 here), I am going to talk about baby gates. Baby gates are another of my favorite ways to manage a dog. You can spend either a lot on fancy gates or very little on the basic baby gates that are sold just about […]

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A Movie Recommendation for Dog Lovers

I stumbled upon a movie recently that turned out to be one of the better dog movies I’ve seen in a while. I had never heard of it before. It’s a Japanese film called Quill: The Life of a Guide Dog. I almost always find faults with dog movies because I can’t help but focus […]

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The Dog Trainer’s Puppy

AnimalSense behavior consultant (and talented photographer) Lynn Brezina recently welcomed a new border collie puppy into her family. Because everyone (well, everyone we know) wants the inside scoop on how a dog trainer raises her own dogs, we thought we’d share the experience with you via a new photo series called The Dog Trainer’s Puppy. […]

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Kitchen Magic

The kitchen is probably my favorite room in the house. To me, there is nothing better than rolling up my sleeves, playing jazz, pouring a glass of wine and creating a meal that gets rave reviews from my husband. I cook with love and a bit of artistic freedom, throwing out the cook books. The […]

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I Don’t Have a Dog

When I tell people I’m a dog trainer, one of the first questions they ask me is if I have a dog. I don’t. It’s certainly not that I don’t want one, because believe me – I do. In fact, I’d probably want two or three! Most of the time I miss having a dog […]

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Ask a Trainer – Compulsive Behavior

It’s time for another round of Ask a Trainer questions! 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 rescued a year old male cairn terrier (neutered). He recently started sniffing […]

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How Dog Training Has Affected My Parenting

I’m a dog trainer. I’m a parent. The dog training has clearly affected my parenting…  -> My work as a dog trainer has prepared me for parenting in ways I couldn’t predict. Here are a few examples that come to mind: Patience, repetition and consistency are the keys to building good, lasting behavior while developing […]

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He’s Probably Not Housetrained

“He’s probably not housetrained.” Those words were thrown out casually by the adoption counselor as he completed the paperwork for us to take Hobo home. The excitement of having finally found a dog to adopt, combined with my [over?] confidence that I knew how to properly housetrain a dog, overrode any hesitation I felt at […]

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Management Techniques, Part 1: Tethering

If you have ever taken one of our classes, you will hear us talk a lot about management. There are a lot of ways to manage your dog and help prevent bad behavior. In the next few blogs, I am going to discuss different tools and how they can be used in the house. Today, […]

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Can My Dog See Ghosts?

A couple weeks ago my partner and I went to see a production of Ghost the Musical. It’s based on the 1990 film Ghost. You know, the one with Demi Moore, Patrick Swayze, a potter’s wheel and “Unchained Melody”. It made me think of a question that came up in a class a while back…and […]

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Big Dog, Small Dog

I am a big dog person. I have never lived with a dog that weighed less than 50 pounds. I like my dogs to be substantial. Although Tucker, our 70-pound lab, doesn’t agree, my kind of dog doesn’t fit on my lap. I like a dog that barks, not yips. I can’t imagine carrying a […]

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The Yellow Dog Project

I have a reactive dog named Delilah. By reactive, I mean she is very nervous and scared on walks and in a few other situations. She expresses this by barking and lunging or whining and running away. I am unsure why she is so scared or what she is scared of, but I do know […]

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A Christmas Blunder

I did something massively stupid this Christmas. I should preface this by saying that Santa always asks me to pick up all the stocking stuffers, as he needs to spend more time delivering to children than to us. He makes sure that I buy things for my husband and vice versa, but he never mentions […]

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Giving Back to Your Community

Is one of your New Year’s resolutions to spend more time giving back to your community? Ever considered the dog (or cat) community? I would bet you $5.00 there is a rescue or shelter within a ten minute drive from your home. But, you say to me, I can’t bring another animal home! I know […]

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The Song Says Two Front Teeth, Not Piranha Teeth!

He was jumping on me, barking, kicking his back legs out (marking), standing on me, climbing on me, licking me, nipping me with his incisors, barking again and no, it wasn’t a puppy. Over Christmas, I saw a little dog I hadn’t seen in years. He wasn’t particularly well-behaved when I first met him years […]

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Mix It Up!

Is a mixed breed dog right for you? Over the last few years, every holiday season I find myself in a pet store looking at ornaments showcasing purebred dogs. Every year I look through the variety of dogs knowing the end result… none of these dogs look like mine. This isn’t the only time this […]

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Dogs Who Love Winter

I have always wanted a dog that sleeps by the fireplace. I love the image of a dog lying there while I read a book and have a cup of tea – all of us snuggled up for a lovely winter day. Have I ever had that? Of course not, because I am drawn to […]

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A New Baby and New Guilt

I gave birth to a little girl, Amelia, in September. Parenthood is everything people say it is and more. My husband and I couldn’t be more in love. We are adjusting to life as parents and along with that comes a lot of guilt. Bailey has been an only child for eight years. I’m sure […]

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Happy New Year!

We’ve had a great year here at AnimalSense – we’ve met some wonderful new clients, spent quality time with old friends, and welcomed new staff to our growing family. But we’ve got some even more amazing things in store for 2014, and our innovative rolling admissions classes and revamped curriculum are at the top of […]

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When the Ball Drops

What will your wish be this January 1st at 12:00 am as you watch the ball drop in Times Square? (I know, Chicago people, it’s an hour early, but you get the point.) A new year signifies a new start, a way to wipe clean the mistakes and downfalls of the year before. I love […]

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A Holiday Blog About Cats

St. Nick once told me that the holidays are about love, acceptance, and joy. With those lofty ideals in mind, I dedicate my blog to something I have struggled to love, accept, and find joy in – cats. So who better to discuss the finer mysteries of the feline persuasion with than my good friend, […]

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Why Is My Dog Acting So Crazy Today?

I sat down this morning to work on my blog. I had an idea of what I wanted to write about and started to type. But then my dog started barking. A lot. Every couple of minutes. So now I find myself wanting an answer to the question: Why is my dog acting so crazy […]

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Agility Is Awesome

During the warm months (let’s just pause here for a second to remember that lovely time….), I enjoy being outside with my dogs. We take Georgie and Khaleesi to the beach to play in the lake, to romp around the field at my mom’s farm, or on long evening walks through the city. They have […]

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Choosing a Rescue Dog

Two and a half years ago, I wrote my very first AnimalSense blog about choosing a puppy. This time, I wanted to share some lessons I learned during our most recent dog search. Rather than going the puppy route, for a variety of reasons, my family decided that we would adopt an adult dog. We […]

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The Holiday Crazies

As I sit here with bins of Christmas decorations strewn across the living room, I think for a moment about what this must look and feel like from my dog’s point of view.  So (don’t think I’m crazy), I knelt down to his level to take a look at the joint.  If I thought that […]

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Quantifying, Compartmentalizing, and Labeling (With a Touch of Humor)

I’ve never understood why humans were so obsessed with labeling their dogs. “He’s a Husky/Lab mix, and man, is he smart!” Those are usually the first words out of a dog owner’s mouth when you ask about their dog. Breed and brains. There are certainly some very important reasons a dog trainer (and a dog […]

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Make an Early New Year’s Resolution

This past weekend was the annual meeting and holiday brunch for the animal assisted therapy (“AAT”) group with which I volunteer. Every year I am struck by the number of hours people commit to volunteering and the diverse places that they go. Like all AAT Groups, we go to a lot of hospitals, nursing homes, […]

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Learning How To Clicker Train

As you might have read in my last blog, I recently went to the national dog training conference put on by the Association of Professional Dog Trainers. It left me wanting to try lots of new things, one of them being a clicker. I have never been one for clicker training, as I think it […]

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Following Your Instincts: Play Time!

Play is extremely important in animal development. Lion cubs use play as hunting practice, and antelopes that play chase as youngsters seem to be better at evading predators; even the human animal uses play. Think of the expression “learning something new is easier when it’s fun”. The same expression holds true for your dog. In […]

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When Your Dog Gets Into an Accident

As pet owners we try to take every precaution to keep our beloved animals happy, healthy, and safe, so when something happens it’s hard not to feel like we have let them down.  I am currently in that position with the youngest of my three dogs, a seventeen month old yellow lab that we adopted […]

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Home for the Holidays

Now that the holiday season is in full swing, a lot of us will be going home to see family and friends and bringing your pet with you might not be an option. Choosing the right type of care for your pet while you’re traveling can be one of the tougher decisions to make as […]

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The Puppy Spell

As I’ve mentioned in past blogs, in addition to being a Senior Trainer at AnimalSense, I’m also an animal wrangler for commercial projects. I was on a shoot a few weeks ago for a television commercial, and the animal I was working with was an 8-week-old puppy. Ahh, an 8-week-old puppy. She was a little […]

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A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

As someone who constantly peruses various shelter and rescue websites (I have no business getting a second dog at this point in my life – but does it really hurt to look?!), I’ve come to realize how vital it is to have a great photo of these adoptable pooches. Without a great photo to capture […]

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How to Stop your Dog in an Emergency

Every time I teach Recall – or “come” – I find myself saying, “This is one of the most important things you will ever teach. It could save your dog’s life.” While that is true, there is another emergency tool that might be even more valuable in certain situations. Imagine your dog pulls the leash […]

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A Different Kind of Dog Park

My lab Tucker is now 2.5 years old, and some may think he has led a bit of a sheltered life. You see, until recently, Tucker had never once been to a dog park. For many reasons that are perfectly articulated in Nicole Stewart’s  blog comparing dog parks to singles bars,  I don’t think that […]

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Fun at APDT in Spokane

A few weeks ago, I attended the Association of Professional Dog Trainers conference in Spokane, Washington. I have been a dog trainer for about four years now, but have not had the opportunity to go to this annual conference before. I was so excited to finally see what it is all about, meet some of […]

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Shelter from Storms

The recent typhoon devastation in the Philippines is a reminder of just how powerful Mother Nature can be. Living in Florida, I keep a close eye on the Atlantic hurricane season which comes to a close at the end of the month. Hopefully, it will end with no major storms in my area, but it […]

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Protect your Dog from Theft

Several years ago, I got a call from the police that my horse Doc had been stolen.  It was, needless to say, a very disconcerting call.  I was upset but didn’t have a lot of time to process because they caught the thief a few hours later. Turns out a girl from a group home […]

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When Cute Really Isn’t Cute

I adore a cute photo of a kitten, baby or puppy as much as the next person, and I think some silly dog behaviors are amusing tricks. But when do these things indicate a potentially dangerous situation? For example, what about a video of a baby being “protected” by a dog?  Or a dog spinning […]

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Slow Down Chow Time

If you were to come to my house and feed my three dogs, you would think that my dogs haven’t been feed in years. They don’t even chew their food, and it’s gone within seconds. Fast eating can be bad for dogs because it can sometimes cause bloat. Bloat can be fatal in some cases. […]

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How Many? Managing a Multi-Dog Household

“I promise, we will just foster until we find him a good home.” Those were my words almost six months ago to my husband, trying to convince him that we would make a great foster home for a ten month old male yellow lab. Gunner had spent his short life in two homes, found himself […]

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Dogs Comfort in Times of Need

This past weekend was a rough one for me. Well, to be honest, Friday and Saturday were both pretty awesome. Sunday started out the same way. It was chilly, but clear and sunny. We had gotten up early, eager to start our projects. The kids had homework, Dave had some tinkering around the house, I […]

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One Tail at a Time – Community Pet Day

I’ll be volunteering with a few other AnimalSense trainers at One Tail at a Time’s Community Pet Day on Sunday, October 27. One Tail at a Time, is a no-kill, all-breed dog rescue that serves to lower euthanasia rates in the greater Chicagoland area and provide education on the humane treatment of companion animals. They host this […]

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Happy Howl-o-Ween

Halloween costumes aren’t just for the kids anymore. I know pet parents who totally get into this holiday, choosing their pet’s costume months in advance and sparing no expense. Practically every city has some type of “Barktoberfest” celebration where you can parade your pup’s outfit to oohs and aahs of other dog lovers. But there […]

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