It’s Here! Social, Civil, and Savvy, for Puppies 

Social, Civil, and Savvy

The new puppy and socialization book is ready to launch! This book is written for the puppy owner who wants to raise a pup to prevent behavior problems in the future, as well as for the adopter of an older dog who didn’t receive the best socialization as a puppy.

Social, Civil, and Savvy: Training & Socializing Puppies to Become the Best Possible Dogs is available in paperback, in ebook, and is coming soon in audiobook. It’s already receiving enthusiastic feedback, and I hope it will help puppies and people everywhere!

Better Together is Coming Soon

Better Together: the Collected Wisdom of Modern Dog Trainers

Hey, there’s a great new training book hitting the shelves!

Better Together: The Collected Wisdom of Modern Dog Trainers is a comprehensive collection of both practical and inspirational advice from some of the best trainers in the world. Learn the methods of modern dog training through more than 60 articles from 28 experts, specially selected by world-renowned trainer Ken Ramirez. Continue reading

Puppy Socialization: the Physical

I have been a terrible pet parent, and I have not been spamming the blog with puppy photos and puppy stories. I apologize, I’ve been crazy busy, and in the end it’s more important to spend those extra minutes with the puppy rather than writing about her.

But today I’m going to officially spam about the puppy.

Meet Undómiel, who is 12 weeks old now and already gi-normous. Her paws are dinner plates. She’s going to be bigger than Laev.

I went to Denmark to pick her up, so she could fly home in the cabin with me. Continue reading

Puppy Toes.


It’s been mentioned online, but not formally announced here: I’m getting a puppy.

Yes, there will be the patter of puppy toes, as someone put it! And the chatter of puppy teeth. Lots of puppy teeth.

This is a Doberman puppy, a near relative of Laevatein and from the same breeder (Ascomannis). I have a preference for black, but I don’t know yet if my puppy will be male or female. No wagering, please.
Continue reading

Mindy: She’s Back!

This entry is part 24 of 25 in the series Service Dog Training

So, this is awkward.

You may have followed the adventures of Mindy as she prepared to serve as a Guide Dog for the Blind, and her return to the GDB campus in early March. Then I stopped updating, at first because I was waiting for news and then because I had news and I was waiting for an outcome.

Apparently she was doing well, acing pretty much all the weird stuff they threw at her — all that socialization and practice paid off! — but then there was some sort of weird episode. It was observed and reported by a single volunteer, and not any of the training staff, so without any disrespect intended to the volunteer, I just don’t have all the details I want. But it put Mindy’s career in jeopardy. There are obviously very high standards which must be maintained when placing a dog in literal life-or-death service work. Continue reading

Assistance Dog Blog Carnival deadline extended

carnival_button_4Hey, everyone! I know it’s busy, between holidays, and I know I’m several blog posts behind myself (I want to share posts with you about ignoring the vacuum cleaner and driving 2600 miles with a puppy), but just in case — the Assistance Dog Blog Carnival submission deadline has been extended.

The new date is December 16th, to allow more people to get their posts ready. You can see the guidelines here and remember, you need not be a user or trainer to participate! Any relevant post is welcome.

I look forward to seeing your work!

Assistance Dog Blog Carnival – a Call for Posts

This entry is part 20 of 25 in the series Service Dog Training

Assistance Dog Blog Carnival graphic. A square graphic, with a lavender background. A leggy purple dog of unidentifiable breed, with floppy ears and a curly tail, in silhouette, is in the center. Words are in dark blue in a perky typeface. I’ve been given the opportunity to host the Assistance Dog Blog Carnival, a collection of relevant blog posts on the topic of service dogs and their people.

This edition of the ADBC will go live on December 16, 2014. This round’s theme is:


This is an official call for posts! If you’d like to participate, write a post on service dogs, interpreting the theme “perceive” in any way you like. Continue reading

A New Face

This entry is part 1 of 25 in the series Service Dog Training

Laura & Mindy the Guide Dog puppy

So I have an announcement to make… There’s a puppy here.

I know, I know, it’s really soon. Really soon. And, that’s a retriever face. But stay with me for just a moment.

I’d been thinking about raising a service puppy for months, actually. Guide Dogs for the Blind has opened a puppy program for KPA CTPs specifically, and I’d been kicking around the idea. I had finally decided against it, though, with my dogs being ill and not particularly retriever fans.

Continue reading

A Farewell to Laevatein

This entry is part 8 of 8 in the series Cancer & the Fight
happiest little Doberman on earth in this shot

happiest little Doberman on earth in this shot

I wanted to write a new post for the new year. This wasn’t what I wanted to write.

Today, I lost Laevatein. She had a great morning of playing in the snow as I unloaded dog food and running about the house kill-shaking her toy dinosaur. She jumped in the car I was unloading, ready to travel even though lately we’ve been going only to her chemotherapy, and was generally happy and enthusiastic. I left her out to enjoy the yard in the comparatively warmer temperatures, but when she didn’t return I went out to check on her. I walked over the entire fenced yard, looking see if a drift had made a ramp over the fence or anything, but when I returned to the porch by a different angle, I found her lying on it. Continue reading