New Year, New Certification – CSMC

First news of 2015 – happy to announce I’m a Certified Stress Management Coach!   Helping people manage the stress in their lives has always been crucial in my work at SMART DOGS.  Why?  Stress affects all of us – for better and for worse!  Stress affects learning & behavior – for better and for worse!  Mismanaged stress feeds undesired behavior and decreases wellness in dogs and in people.  Stress from the human end of the leash causes stress at canine end of the leash.  Stress from the human end of the leash affects progress at both ends of the Continue Reading →

Too many mind

“Too many mind” is a favorite quote I often share with students.  It’s from “The Last Samurai”, a 2003 movie directed and co-produced by Edward Zwick.   The quote is about mental control, maintaining a mental state free of distraction, it’s about performance, focus, being in the moment.  Being truly and utterly IN the moment. The storyline takes place in 19th century Japan during the Meiji Restoration, details on the movie here.  Captain Nathan Algren (played by Tom Cruise) is taken captive by Samurai and held in their village.  They treat him very well and he is free to walk around 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 →

Letting Dogs be Dogs

          I think many of us have heard or used a phrase like “letting a dog be a dog.”  I myself have used the phrase “dogs being dogs” in reference to pics and clips of the Posse enjoying miscellaneous activities of daily life (running in the yard and/or our field, digging for moles, picking apples off our tree, playing with each other, tracking rabbits/deer/critters, etc.).  Students sometimes ask questions relating to “when should I let my dog be a dog?” The last few times I’ve heard this phrase it struck me in a different way… What 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 →

Waiting your Turn

In the photo above, Geronimo and Rocky wait in the background while Piglet practices a tunnel. Being able to calmly, pleasantly, patiently “wait” is a crucial skill for Life in the SMART Zone where health, safety, harmony, and low stress levels prevail.  This skill is important not only for your health & stress level but also your dog’s health & stress level. Whether you share your home with 1 dog, or 2 or more dogs, there are numerous situations in your everyday life where a wait is useful.  The dog’s position while waiting might be a stand, a sit or Continue Reading →