Pet Safety During the Eclipse

eclipse with red coronaI’ve already seen some chatter on social media about pet safety during the Great American Eclipse of 2017, and some of it has been quite off-base. So let’s talk about safety!

First, unless you’ve been living in a cave (perhaps a reasonable choice, given the recent socio-political climate), you’ve probably heard about the eclipse predicted for August 21, 2017. This will be a total solar eclipse, particularly notable for many Americans for its convenient path of travel right through the center of the continental US. I myself will be traveling to observe totality. Continue reading

17 Essentials: My Shopping Haul for New Puppy Gear

Beagle puppy

Not my puppy. But darned cute. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What does a professional trainer buy for a new puppy? I already have a full complement of Kong toys and other standards, but you can always use a few new items. And sometimes there’s a special gap that needs to be filled — like during travel.

(By the way, I’m not really trying to be coy when I only say “puppy” in this post; at this time of this writing, I actually don’t even know the puppy’s gender yet. I will happily introduce you all when things are settled.)

array of puppy gear on wooden table

some of the shopping haul

Bringing home this puppy is a bit more complicated than usual — we’re flying back from Europe. So not only do I have to travel with a puppy, hotels and all, but I have to keep it happy — or at least quiet — for 10 hours in a pressurized tube.

So, how does one plan for that? Here’s what I pulled out of storage, dusted off, or purchased new for the trip. Continue reading

Puppy’s First Tornado – Preparedness for Pets

This entry is part 7 of 7 in the series Storm Watch
Tornado warning

Tornado warning (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Spring came very late to Indiana this year, and I got complacent. With a lot fewer spring storms, I didn’t prep for tornados like I should have. So when the warning sirens went off a few minutes ago and I saw that a tornado had been sighted, I was unprepared.

This is dumb. If you’re lucky, you get up to half an hour of tornado warning, if it’s considerate enough to touch down at a distance and with an observable and predictable path. The average warning time with today’s radar equipment is about 13 minutes, according to NOAA. But you might have just a few minutes, if that.

So I’m writing this post from my basement, waiting for the tornado to pass (it seems to be heading north of us) and making plans to improve my storm preparations. Continue reading

Resisting Temptation

This entry is part 11 of 25 in the series Service Dog Training
honey-drizzled Brie, prosciutto, and crackers

Honey-drizzled Brie, prosciutto, and crackers. Yum.

So the puppy and I had a night out last week to the New Day Meadery, a local mead and cider room. (I drink very little, maybe a glass every couple of months, but I find their libations very tasty.) Their tasting room also offers specialty foods, and I ordered a honey-drizzled Brie and prosciutto platter along with my mead. Only problem is, their tasting room is pretty hip, with ultra-low tables to serve the lounging couches. And Brie and prosciutto are pretty attractive to a 15-week old puppy (or any dog, let’s be honest). Continue reading

Dice as Training Tools

This entry is part 1 of 1 in the series Training Tools

To train an animal, you really need only two things: a marker it can recognize, and something it wants as reinforcement.

To train an animal efficiently, you need a way to track and plan your sessions, or you’ll waste time in moving too quickly (confusing your learner) or moving too slowly (frustrating you both).

Dice five

(Photo credit: @Doug88888)

There are many ways to do this, of course, but I just got home from Gen Con, the world’s largest gaming convention, and I thought I’d mention some less common planning tools you might not have seen. Continue reading

Training a Dog to Wear a Muzzle

I ran into Chirag Patel at ClickerExpo last year. He showed me a Baskerville muzzle and asked what I thought of the design. “I’d like to try it,” I said. “I’m thinking of making a video on muzzle conditioning.”

“I have one,” he said. “Have you seen it?”

I hadn’t. And I soon realized there wasn’t a need for me to make another one.

Continue reading

It’s That Time of Year, When the World Falls In Love…. Holiday & Seasonal Care for Pets

English: Rottweiler Head Deutsch: Rottweiler Kopf

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It may be the time of year when the world falls in love, but the holidays stretching from Halloween to New Year’s can be a particularly tough time on household pets, especially with parties, house guests, and distracted owners. This stress can manifest in a variety of unpleasant ways, from house-training accidents to chewing to even fearfulness or fear-aggression.

Fortunately there are a number of things we can do to mitigate the stresses and dangers to our pets. Read on, and with a little preparation, you and your pets can be full of good cheer. Continue reading

Happy Halloween! Tricks & Treats for You

Michael Jackson dancing with the living dead.

Michael Jackson dancing with the living dead. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the spirit of the holiday, I’d like to present you, Dear Reader, with a trick, a tag, and a treat.

What, you’re not familiar with the middle part of that phrase? It’s a new Halloween tradition. Trust me on this.

Want to know what that undead-Michael Jackson has to do with all this? Read on. (Hint: he’s part of the tag bit.) Continue reading

When You Should NOT Socialize Your Dog — Part 2

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series When You Should NOT Socialize
hand reaching for snarling dog

“It’s okay — if enough people pet him he’ll get used to people, right?”
(copyright Fotalia, photo purchased for use)

So all that chat in Part 1 about how to avoid creating problems while socializing a puppy was nice, but you’ve got an adult dog — and whether you made some socialization mistakes or whether you inherited a bad socialization legacy along with the dog, things just aren’t the way they should be. Is there hope?

Yes, of course there’s hope! But again, here is where mistakes happen in the name of “socialization.” Don’t make them.

Continue reading

Worst Case Scenario – When Your Dog Needs Some Space!

image from http://notesfromadogwalker.com/2012/06/06/speaking-dog-photo-lab/

After I posted a copy of Notes From A Dog Walker‘s DINOS PSA on our own Facebook page, we were swarmed with likes and comments, and over a hundred shares. Obviously this topic is one more than a few of us have struggled with! Continue reading