Saturday, September 21, 2019

Are Doodles Overpriced Mutts?

A Doodle is a cross-bred dog created by breeding a Poodle with another purebred dog. But, some people don’t like them, calling them overpriced mutts. What’s the truth?

Monday, September 09, 2019

Dog Training Because... Feelings

Is it possible to train dogs and never hurt anyone's feelings? I really don't believe so, if you are being honest with others and yourself.

I try as best as possible to be a good person and treat others well. However, telling the truth always risks hurting someone's feelings. People don't like bad news, don't like changing their ways, don't like losing face in front of others, don't like being told their dog needs changing, and so on. No adult really wants to be told they (or their dogs) need to change.

I know from personal experience, if I want to get the most out of a learning situation, I have to be prepared to be a rookie, to be wrong, to be confronted, to... gasp... change. Yeah, it can rub me the wrong way, but that doesn't mean I quit or blame the teacher. I accept the bad feelings that often come when you have to improve or change.

Not everyone can accept change or being told that things aren't perfect. Feelings will get hurt, even with the best teachers. No teacher wants their students to be upset, but it is going to happen.

What Is Your Dog Handling Demeanor?

What is your dog handling demeanor, and does it matter? Your demeanor is your look, manner, bearing, attitude, expression and presence when managing, directing and leading your dog. It matters because dogs will pick up on your demeanor, and the demeanor of those around you, and that will affect how they will behave…

Friday, June 21, 2019

Dog Training And The DIGS School Violence Reduction Program

I have spent a considerable amount of time and brainpower regarding the problem of youth violence, especially the so-called school shooters. What is going on here and what can be done to prevent these incidents? And can therapy dog teams play an important role?

First, many troubled kids can be identified at a very young age, even before 4 years old. These kids have trouble coping with the obstacles of life and are on a path to becoming outcasts. They are growing up faster, and are experiencing earlier adolescence.  Frustration, depression, rage and anti-social behaviors begin to be seen, even at a very early age. These kids are not resilient and develop disturbing emotional responses, to people and animals.

Next, the school shooting phenomenon is relatively new. Twenty years ago, these incidents were barely on our radar. The social dynamics of family, peer groups, society, and schools have changed in ways that many of us still are having a hard time grasping. One of the common factors is a troubled family, and missed clues which would predict that a child is going to violently explode.

Lastly, it looks to me, these children are disconnected from healthy real world stimuli. Without prosocial purpose and motivation, they find an antisocial purpose and motivation. They are often secretively buried in their own electronic media. It is common for these kids to be consuming and ruminating on violent and seriously inappropriate content, without proper supervision or care, especially from their parents. They are also detached from school, given insufficient input and responses to their difficulties, and not identified and treated as having serious difficulties including having issues regarding harassment and bullying. And schools have not applied sufficient multidisciplinary resources to having a system in place to identify and treat these students long before they develop into violent offenders.

What can be done about all of this?

I believe in this mechanized world we are creating, kids are losing touch with the real world. They are lost souls, looking for answers and a purpose. Instead of finding those answers in all the healthy places where they should be found, they immerse themselves in a fantasy world of anger, revenge and perversions, and they find their final mission in life is to eventually violently tear it all down.

I also believe that you have to intercept these children very early on. If we want to address these horrific outcomes, we have to identify and lead these children towards a different future at a very young age.

In the short run, as we have seen, government will try to do this with rules and legislation, buildings and police and metal detectors. We see schools being redesigned and rebuilt and hardened to confine these murderers on the day of the attack. We see politicians pushing for innocent citizens to give up their civil rights and freedoms. But what we are not seeing is much in the way of getting to the children before they go down this destructive path. Buildings and rules, gun bans and metal detectors and speech codes aren’t going to stop future incidents. New technologies will allow future school murderers to circumvent all of these efforts, and they will still find ways to commit mass murder (I won’t mention what things might be done, but anyone with any sense can figure out what is probably going to be the next generation of violent methods to accomplish these evil deeds).

In the long run, however, we need to get to these kids upstream, and I’m saying at kindergarten age on up. I think the real battleground is in the grade schools. We might not be able to fix what is going on in their families, or outside the schools, but we can influence what is happening to these kids in school. We can do a better job of identifying and intercepting these troubled kids. We can implement systems to track kids that are socially failing. And we can interject healthy stimuli in their lives to help them find ways to not escape into the dark underworld.

A properly designed and implemented school therapy dog program could play an essential role. Dogs are real and have positive real world impacts on children; cell phones and computers and such are just not adequate substitutes. We all know 100 years ago, when kids were raised with intact families, good friends, fresh air, nature and animals, these violent incidents didn’t happen.

This is why I am one of the founders of the DIGS program. Dogs In Grade Schools. With my partner, we have come up with a scalable program to assist teachers, counselors and administrators in finding and working with children that are having difficulties in life, especially in the school environment, using properly managed and trained therapy dog teams. We are currently seeking to pilot such a program with a local school district. We will soon learn if this district is ready to implement and test our DIGS program. If it goes forward, then we will be able to implement and evaluate whether bringing something real, in the way of caring volunteers and therapy dogs, into the school environment will make a difference in many verifiable areas. If the DIGS pilot program proves successful, then it might be part of the answer to reversing what we have all seen happening to our communities. Schools aren’t the buildings and metal detectors and security programs, they are the people inside. Change the people for the better, and I believe we will change the outcomes for the better. We have seen how therapy dogs do wonders in hospital environments, after tragedies, and in other settings. We believe they can also make a material impact on the social outcomes for these children by positively modifying the increasingly technological environment of our schools. Soon, we will find out if that is true.

Should you wish to be a part of a pilot program, possibly in one of your local school districts, please contact me at

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Dog Training Mistakes

Dog Training Mistakes: Everyone makes handler errors. From novice to expert, everyone makes mistakes… (MORE)

Sunday, May 05, 2019

The Pit Bull Debate Is Over

The pit bull debate is over. The bans have failed. Pit bulls have proven to be good family dogs. Untold numbers of innocent dogs killed. How could we have ever let that happen? How did the dog haters get so much power? It must never happen again. 

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Dog Training And Conscientiousness

What is probably the most important aspect of dog training that I want all my students to understand? Conscientiousness… (MORE)

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter, everyone!

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Dog Training, Animal Welfare, And Taking Credit

If you are committed to a noble cause, you dedicate your life to finding solutions. That is the way of life: you see many needs, one in particular gets your attention, you make a decision, and then you act. Animal welfare can be one of those causes... (MORE)

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Dogs: The Foxfire Book

“Many had at least one “plantation dog” whose whole job was to keep the hogs and cows out of the corn… Lots of times cows would push over th’ rail fences and turn th’ whole herd into your corn. Or hogs would slip in. Dogs would gram’im, and he’d squeal like he’d not come back for a year after they turned them loose, and then he’d be back th’ next day… Since cows and hogs were grazed on open range, mountain families often trained “ketch dogs” also. Their job was to help round up the stock when the time came to bring it in for slaughter or sale. And then there were hunting dogs – the pride of many families… Blue ticks, black and tans, and redbones, for example, were popular coon dogs. Plots, curs, and Airedales made fine bear dogs. Feists were used by many for both squirrel and deer, bulldogs for boar, treein’ walkers for fox, beagles for rabbit, and so on… The most important rule was to goa with him on a hunt, stay with him, and get what you were after If he got on a track, treed the animal, and couldn’t find where the coon had gone, the hunter / trainer would point up in the tree, show him, and then shoot it out. Once they got one coon, the dog would see what he was after, and he would be a coon dog for life.”

- The Foxfire Book

Monday, March 18, 2019

Can A Dog Be Made Childproof?

Can a dog be trained to be 100% safe around all children, no matter what the child does around or to the dog? I get these inquires in some form or fashion about once a year... (MORE)

Is Your Dog Any Good?

Is your dog any good at...

Coming when called?
Greeting guests?
Meeting strangers and strange dogs?
Not destroying your home?

If not, why not? Yes, I know training takes time. Training takes money. Training takes effort. We all have limited amounts of resources.

What are your priorities? Do you want to solve this stuff, or keep passing the blame onto the dog? People spend stupid amounts of time and money on hobbies, but often don't spend anything on their dogs, but then complain or are rough on their dogs as a result.

Makes no sense to me.