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 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 →

Pet Dogs / Performance Dogs

              What comes to mind when you think of “performance dogs”?  Perhaps you think of dogs who perform in Dog Sports and Activities such as Agility, Freestyle, Herding, Hunt Tests, Obedience, Rally, Schutzhund, Treiball, Water Rescue, etc.? Dogs who perform jobs, for example, Search & Rescue, Service Dogs, Therapy Work, Scent Detection, Law Enforcement, etc.?  Maybe you think of dogs who perform Training Demonstrations for Educational purposes?   What about your very own pet dog?  Do you think of him when you think of a performance dog?  You should! I remind all my students, Continue Reading →

GingerPeach earns CRO-I

Congratulations to the Posse’s GingerPeach!  GP earned her Level 1 Cyber Rally O Title (CRO-I) on Aug 02, 2013.  Very proud of this sweet and amazing Girl. GP’s qualifying runs, shown below and filmed in June and July, are part of the “healing heeling” the Posse and I find ourselves doing as we grieve our loss of Geronimo.  Performing these courses with GP, and also the ones shared with Geronimo (CRO-I) and Piglet (P-CRO-II and P-CRO-III), have brought some peace at a painful and difficult time. *My Thanks to the amazing Jude Azaren, founder of Cyber Rally O.  She gives Continue Reading →

Each Interaction Matters

Each interaction you have with your dog matters, none is trivial.  Each interaction either enhances your relationship, or damages it.  Each interaction either builds cooperation or causes resistance, builds trust or destroys it, creates harmony or conflict. Consider how many times a day you interact with your dog.  Be aware that each look, each word, each touch, each action and, yes, each thought contributes to and impacts your relationship. Think about all the interactions you have had with your dog today alone and consider each one’s effect.  With each interaction, were you enhancing or damaging your relationship? What type of looks 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 →

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 →

Healing Heeling: P-CRO-II

I love heeling with my dogs.  I love that it builds from and reflects the connection we feel and share.  I love looking down and seeing my dog’s HAPPY face looking up at me as we move through space as one.  For me and my dogs, heeling is great fun!  It’s just another game.  I try to turn all my students on to the fun game of heeling.  That it’s excellent training and foundation for several Dog Sports are simply added bonuses. While playing heeling games, I’m always amused by the feeling of “I can’t shake my dog – unless Continue Reading →

Geronimo posthumous CRO-I

                On June 06, 2013, three days after he passed away, Geronimo was awarded his Level 1 Cyber Rally O Title (CRO-I). Following a splenectomy and diagnosis of hemangiosarcoma, Geronimo lived one month.  The splenectomy improved his quality of life, we had a beautiful month, he felt better than he had in many months since his symptoms appeared.  Alas, it did not improve the quantity of his life and he left us far too soon, 11.5 years young. Geronimo’s qualifying runs are shown below and were filmed during his final week.  They were Continue Reading →