Thursday, July 5, 2012

Pitbull Blues - No Jumping for Joy Please!

Four on the Floor Saves Lives
In memory of Hemi - 7/16/2010 Euthanized

I only had the chance to work with Hemi one time - he was a gentle, fun and fast learner. Friendly. Exuberant.

Two days after his first class his 'very friendly' jumped on a six-year-old with splayed paws, scratched her face requiring stitches and cost Hemi his life at Animal Control.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Don't loose your "Good Dog"

Lost Dog?

A sweet girl joined our household for  a moment, we hope. Karl and I found her wandering on the highway and brought her home and spent the rest of the day - posting, visiting police, and letting people know about "good girl". Without tags we don't even have a name to call her.

"I am a sweet loving family member without a voice to tell anyone who I am or where I live. Please make sure you tagged your pets to help people who help your animals find their way home."


Ideas to help find a lost dog.

  1. Make sure your pet has identification - PET'S NAME, PHONE, CITY
  2. Keep a current PET ID form in your car with a picture of you pet and yourself to prove identity
  3. Make a poster of your pet and post in local areas - launder mat, near stop signs
  4. Contact local animal shelters, police, veterinarians and drop off your poster
  5. Post on social media to friends, neighbors and family
  6. Pet Amber Alert - Yes it really does exist.
  7. When you find you pet call and thank the people who helped you.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Putting Your Best Foot Forward

Here is a great training video on Rally foot work - let's get our class off on the right paws....

Monday, June 28, 2010

Knarlwood's Tips for Tails - WHINING

What is my dog saying to me?

The Knarlwood's poodle pack - Bonnie, Lana, Mak & Pinky - bark out a doggie tip to better your relationship with your furry pal.

Bonnie, a red standard poodle asks:
"Why do I need to learn PeopleSpeak when most humans don't understand DogSpeak."

Jodee Kulp,
author and certified dog trainer answers with a stretch:
"That's a good question Bonnie, dogs seem to be at a verbal disadvantage when it comes to spoken language. Body language and canine actions definitely speak louder than whines, howls, barks, and growls we humans hear."

"My noises are as important as words. They can be loud or soft, high or low. My sounds mean different things just like your words and when I mix them with body behaviors humans can learn what I am trying to communicate. Dog whines are a good example."


"Of course, whines express my emotions. When I whine I may be scared, upset, in pain, needy or having a great time."

"Tell me more about whining, Bonnie."

"I whined, cried and quit eating when my best dog friend died. That was my I feel really hurt and sad whine. I whined when my human got hurt and pulled on my human dad's sleeve. That was my I'm scared and I need more help whine. And I whined when I hurt my leg. But, not all my whines are when I am scared, upset or in pain."

"They aren't?"

"Nope, if I REALLY have to go potty I might jump around, whine and give my human some nose pokes. That means I need something really bad and I know it is not polite, but sometimes I even whine for a treat or when want to play."

"Yes, you do, are there more kinds of whines?"

"Well, I purr-whine and groan when my human rubs my belly or Mak kisses or bites me on my neck in the morning. And our pack's favorite whine is a whine-howl when the police and ambulance drive by our house. Mak sings bass, Mama (that's me) sings tenor and Pinky and Lana join right in with alto and saprano. We make quite the neighborhood chorus. It is such fun! Most of us dogs just want to please our pet parents. Whining dogs are not bad dogs, they are dogs with needs."

"That's interesting, thank you, Bonnie. Next time maybe you can educate us on Barking."

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Rocky - A Wrinkle In Time

I need a signal of first response to stress - something the family can pick up on too!

Rocky's entrance on week two was quite different from the previous Thursday, my CGC students still wanted to stay and support this effort. First to learn from the experience, second to have the opportunity to work on skills and friendships. Rocky saw me and wagged his tail. He sat as he came in, we returned to the weaving course and played "follow the trainer." The father now clicking at moments of calm control and was now able to walk in aisles with me coming up to say hello.

We moved to a quiet area 25 feet from my neutral dog families. Rocky's stress level increased and I realized the first sign was a subtle wrinkling on the top of his head. If his head muscles drew tight - we were already to level two. Rocky was showing us his first level reaction by the subtle pulsing. Having access to a quiet signal from the top down was valuable for the family. We worked to create the calm before the brain storm. This time I took Rocky for his walk - 20 feet from the neutral dogs (in a penned area) - the method of walking was the same as the weaves, but without the distraction object bowls. Within three rounds he was watching me and waiting for the click instead of reacting. I was beginning to get a relaxtion response. I handed the lead to the father and we played "follow the trainer" around the same paths, by now the CGC canines were playing in their area and ignoring the activity. We always ended in our safe quiet place - sometimes working on sits, downs and lots of relaxtion clicks and treats.

Mom, asked to handle Rocky and we played the first "follow the trainer" and then she walked alone. Note the first timing of the game is fast and as we work toward relaxtion we mix up the walk timing - slower, normal, fast. By now Rocky is walking quickly 12 feet from the other dogs (behind penned area). We end the stress work and move back to the fun weave game in the back of the training area.

Rocky leaves with no reheasals. We have had 8 outbursts.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Rocky - Hope Instead of Fear Aggression

The dogs with the most complex behaviors provide me the most wisdom.

Rocky joined my private sessions snarling as he came into my training environment - a 95 lb pitbull whose next stop was death. "How can I trust this gentle dog with my 7 year old and family? He is mild and sweet in our home. Yet, he is like Jeckle and Hyde when he sees another dog. Can you do something?"

I offered they bring him in from the car. Two CGC (canine good citizen) students volunteered to remain in the area chatting and working with their dogs while I worked with Rocky (50 ft distance, but still scent able and out of sight)

The family purchased a 15 minute 'test drive the trainer 'session. They were right. He entered as a pulling, snarking pit bull. With my pocket full of treats and a clicker to mark calm, I greeted them giving rocky my distance and the family unit a warm welcome. (Note my greeting was not a direct approach but friendly human hellos and canine calming signals as I wove to greet them)

Rocky was curious at this strange human walking, head turning, lip licking behavior - He licked his lips, sat down, turned his head to the side and then faced me with a tilted head. I clicked - he tilted his head the other way looking at me. At ten feet, I did not approach further, the family was loaded up with treats and we talked about "walking in a friendly manner." I asked the father if he had control, he did and I asked for a leadership stand, respectful (firm, kind) voice with a "Let's Go." And we walked as I drew closer chatting with the family we went to a quiet area where I set up a serpentine course with distractions (4 upside down food dishes) to weave through. We spent the next minutes playing following the leader as I made encouraging sounds walking in front of the weaves - the game was fun, fast and controlled. The dog looking between trainer and father for advice.

At the end of each course we moved to a quiet place, Rocky sat where we worked on calm response - handlers given stills in attention, and positive training techniques using clicker - observance, click, treat. We practiced this in multiple areas and then played "weave with the trainer" again. In addition, I removed myself to pet and get dog licks from my two neutral dogs, returning with scent. Rocky was having fun in a stressful environment, under control and happy. We ended the session with a "no rehearsal of bad behaviors".

Come on Rocky, Let's get into the car. With out a peep tail wagging he walked out. End of session one. We had a LONG way to go, but I believed the dog was workable and not ready to be put down. We would work 30 minutes a week for eight weeks. I committed to teach, the family committed to work with Rocky in learning.

What was interesting is the response from my two neutral dogs in the CGC. When Rocky first snarked, both dogs bristled on guard (they were 50 feet away) and both dogs wanted to go toward Rocky and not retreat. The handlers of the two CGC students allowed their dogs to play.

No rehearsal on exit. 25 reactions in 15 minutes.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Remember to Care for Each Other

Positive dog training builds - TRUST and SAFETY to create I DID ITS
which creates more TRUST - more SAFETY and more I DID ITS

When an animal feels safe and trusting they have the capacity to learn and grow and contribute to your life. Join the movement of paw-sitive training - our canine friends depend on it to prevent aggression.

Life is filled with challenging days and struggles. It is the relationships in life that truly matter. Our dog partners provide comfort throught life's storms and hold us safe in their furry type of love.

We in turn must keep them safe and protect them.