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 →

“stay” + distraction of Baby Rabbit

As posted many times in pics on SMART DOGS facebook page, “wait” and “stay” are skills the Posse and I use multiple times a day.  I couldn’t imagine our lives without these skills.  Skills essential for a happy, safe, harmonious family – regardless of the number of dogs in said family. Last evening in the field, I heard a high pitched cry and recognized it as a baby rabbit.  Piglet had found one.  A few minutes earlier in the same general area, Penelope had excitedly jumped at a rabbit outside the fence as he raced off to a safer place. 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 →

We’re in Japanese!

SMART DOGS is now in Japanese!  Well, not entirely, but one of my blog posts is now in Japanese. 🙂 When colleague and friend Miki Saito, CPDT-KA, asked to translate “Your Dog is Waiting for You…”, permission was granted with honor and delight.  Having one of my posts translated into another language is exciting in and of itself.  The fact that I’m half-Japanese and have relatives in Japan makes Miki’s translation even more exciting. The Japanese version of “Your Dog is Waiting for You…” is at Miki’s Mark & Reward Dog Training blog. Miki is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer 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 →

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 →

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 →

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 →

Agility has arrived!

January 2013 marked the launch of SMART DOGS’ Agility Program!   And launch we did!  8 Agility classes in 7 months: Agility Levels 1 and 2, and Therapeutic Agility* Levels 1 and 2. SMART DOGS’ students are having a blast learning this sport.  And of course, they Rocked! 🙂  Impressive progress by each Team.  The canine students were a wonderful variety of sizes and breeds which added to the fun! Agility Classes are now on summer break due to the Arkansas heat & humidity but will resume with our 2013 Fall Session.  Students are eager to get back on course and Continue Reading →