Special Days with Rocky

For the second time this year the Posse and I provide hospice care for a dear friend and family member.  First was GingerPeach who passed away May 11.  And now, sweet Rocky.  His mobility increasingly limited as his spondylosis progresses. Came across a beautiful quote by Cicely Saunders, nurse, physician, writer, and founder of the modern hospice movement.   Sharing it here, along with a few glimpses of the love and life that fill these special days with Rocky. “You matter because you are you, and you matter to the end of your life. We will do all we can not only Continue Reading →

Trek to the Water Bowl

REMINDER – it is a long walk to the water bowl for a dog with arthritis or other mobility issue.  When the dog is lying down, his trek begins with the process of standing up.  Pain, discomfort or fatigue can sometimes cause the dog to forgo the trek.  This can reduce his daily water intake.  Not good. Help your mobility-impaired dog stay hydrated.  Take water to his resting area, offer him a drink.  Position the bowl so he doesn’t have to strain to reach it.  Comfort is key. Water is offered to GingerPeach and Rocky several times a day.  Though Continue Reading →

Thank You, 2014!

As the start of the New Year approaches, I’m grateful for all the learning and growth of the past year.  Wonderful new students, returning students, and visitors from far away places – including Kay Laurence who shared her time and knowledge in a Clicker Revolution workshop – contributed to my learning and growth in 2014.   I’m grateful for the uniqueness of each person, each dog, and each lesson exchanged.  Because of each one, my eyes see more clearly. Each year at SMART DOGS new programs are added and ongoing programs live in a healthy state of revision.  One notable new Continue Reading →

Lou Gehrig’s, a Second Time

  11 years ago last month, my Mother was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.  Her first noticeable symptom affected her balance and mobility and appeared at least 10 months earlier.  Thus began a long, difficult journey to proper diagnosis during which her symptoms increased in number and severity.  The road to an ALS diagnosis is a lengthy, stressful process of elimination comprising numerous tests, exams and procedures. ALS received much attention in the media recently thanks to the ice bucket challenges.  Those challenges not only helped raise awareness of ALS but also over Continue Reading →

Why I Train

My training (personal and professional) is based entirely on my desire to build healthy relationships and lifestyles for humans and canines.  How?  By reducing stress and increasing wellness for both ends of the leash.  How?  By building trust and confidence at both ends of the leash.  By eliminating force, pain, fear, aggression, intimidation.  By empowering human and canine with skills for controlling impulse and arousal levels.  By establishing a flow of learning and clear communication between both ends of the leash.  By nourishing body and mind of human and canine. Cute or Fancy “Tricks”.  Dog Sports.  Those are just some Continue Reading →

GP’s K9 Cart in action

Following up to my post on GingerPeach’s Rear Support Wheelchair ordered from K9 Carts, the Pet Mobility Experts since 1961, I’ve uploaded several videos of GP and her Cart in action. The videos are embedded below and also listed in our youtube playlist called GP’s K9 Cart.  Playlist will be updates if/when I upload more videos. First, a video of the cart itself: Day 1 her rear legs were not much help, she wasn’t used to lifting them, her rear paws knuckled under *frequently* and her steps were weak, short and choppy.  Not only was she learning to move in Continue Reading →

GingerPeach has Wheels!

  GingerPeach is rockin’ & ROLLIN’!  She now has wheels!  A Rear Support Wheelchair by K9 Carts, the Pet Mobility Experts since 1961.  We’ve had it for 13 days now and we love it. This lightweight, beautiful, superbly-designed wheelchair (“cart”) supports her hind end 100%, which is exactly what she needs.   She was exerting far too much energy “dealing” with her very weak and unstable hind end.  Just trying to maintain balance while standing was zapping her energy and strength – leaving little energy for walking, exercise, enjoying her life. Without the cart, her hind end often sways when she Continue Reading →

GingerPeach Gets a Grip

Another in the series of ongoing modifications to help the senior Posse dogs stay in the SMART Zone… GingerPeach has lost a lot of strength in her hind end.   She has experienced ataxia for many years due to epileptic seizures and anti-seizure meds but her hind end was still strong and she moved around quite well.  That’s all changed now due to the addition of hip and joint issues of arthritis & aging (her age is approximately 12-13 years), and weakness & muscle loss due to current medical issues. As a result, she is now experiencing loss of traction on Continue Reading →

Your dog is waiting for you…

Your dog is waiting for you… Your dog is waiting for you to see him as the unique individual he is, not as a stereotype of a breed (e.g., Lab, Poodle, Yorkie, Corgi, etc) or breed group (e.g., herding, terrier, toy, etc.). Your dog is waiting for you to recognize who he is rather than viewing him as a label or behavior problem (e.g., stubborn, anxious, hyper, reactive, fearful, digger, jumper), a “rank” in a hierarchy, a teddy bear, a dress up doll, or a lesser version of your previous dog. Your dog is waiting for you to have him Continue Reading →

Meet the Plumwood Posse

Meet the Plumwood Posse, my dogs who bring inspiration, delight, laughter, friendship, lessons and knowledge to each and every day!  Shown L to R in the photo below are: Chibi-chan RN, Penelope, GingerPeach CRO-I CGC retired Therapy Dog, Geronimo CRO-I CGC, Rocky CD RA and Piglet P-CRO-III. I coined the name “Plumwood Posse” over a decade ago, the group shown below is version 7.0.  As for their ages and breeds: Chibi-chan is a senior gentleman and a mix of toy breeds, Penelope a ~3 year old rat terrier, GingerPeach and Rocky are ~10-11 year old Golden Retrievers (perhaps with a Continue Reading →

Welcome to our blog!

Hello and Welcome to SMART DOGS‘ blog, where Dogs are beloved Friends, Family Members and Teachers! Whether you already know us from SMART DOGS facebook page, our Plumwood Posse youtube channel, taking Classes at SMART DOGS Training Center, or are meeting us for the first time, we hope our blog helps you Think, Learn, and Grow.  We also hope it helps you understand and use positive reinforcement and two-way communication to build strong, healthy relationships. Our blog emphasizes Learning, Behavior and Health – learning about yourself as you learn about your dog, with your dog, and from your dog; understanding Continue Reading →