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Where Do We Go From Here?

Where Do We Go From Here?

It’s hard to find a common ground these days among dog owners. Whether you are an R+ trainer, a canine officer, a Furmom, a rescue volunteer, a Bully breed advocate, etc., where do we come together anymore? Can we just start at least at the fact that you consider yourself a dog person? That definition meaning you like dogs and likely the best part of your day is coming home and hanging out with your dog? That you love your dog?

I’ve been around the dog world for over 30 years. And Scott has known a culture of dogs for another 20 years before that. The answer when he was young used to be that if the dog growled at the kid, he got thrown outside for the night. When I was growing up, everybody went to obedience class with a choke chain and leash and the AKC CD exercises were the entire class. I just found a test sheet that reminded me of this from an old memory box the other day. How have things changed SO DRASTICALLY in the past decade alone? We can’t blame Trump for this one!

Where did the trend start? Inbred Doodles? Puppy mills? Purely positive? Medication? The billion dollar pet industry? I don’t think there’s necessarily one culprit nor does it really matter how we ended up where we did, but where do we go from here? In the dog world, we are SO QUICK to cut each other down. Why? Why are we NEVER on the same team anymore? We judge… genetics, owners, trainers, behaviorists, competitors, tools, protocols. And yet most of those casting judgement have very little control of their own dogs in a public setting.

When it comes to referring to positive trainers, people will often use the phrase, “They are drinking the kool-aid.” What about the owners who aren’t even training at all- who literally have the kool-aid pack and pitcher of water on the counter and don’t even ever mix the two together much less drink it? There’s a big difference between a dog owner whose dog pulls her down the street and a dog owner who pushes her dog in a stroller. And there’s an even bigger difference between the first two groups and the dogs that walk nicely down the street not bothering others trained in either camp. But that dog is few and far between these days.

Kendall Jenner gets berated for having a pinch collar on her dog and yet there are other dogs attacking humans everyday on the street. Strangers. Runners. Dogs that were muzzled but still out of control and broke free. If you aren’t training pet dogs in this day and age on a regular basis, you have zero business commenting on aggression issues or anxiety issues. Dogs, like kids, need structure. Structure comes from quiet time, from handling, from criteria, and from limiting movement for starters. Without structure, dogs unravel.

We ALL need to do better. To respect each other more. I’m frankly embarrassed sometimes by how volatile and ugly we can get as so called dog people. Again, aren’t we on the same team… the team that likes dogs and being around dogs- at least our own dogs? How can we respectfully bring light to some of these topics? How can we educate? Not just bitch, point fingers, and engage in name calling on Facebook threads like a bunch of kids on the playground.

Joaquin Phoenix’s Oscar acceptance speech really resonated with a lot of people. He said, “And I do not feel elevated above any of my fellow nominees or anyone in this room because we share the same love, the love of [dogs] and this form of expression has given me the most extraordinary life... And I think that’s when we’re at our best, when we support each other, not when we cancel each other out for past mistakes, but when we help each other to grow, when we educate each other, when we guide each other.”

Everyone is an expert and no one wants guidance. Why? We blame vets for medicating everything that walks in the door. Did the owner want to train? Why would a breeder sell a puppy to an owner who is unwilling to train that dog? Did the owner potentially try training and it made zero difference? Should that dog not have left rescue in the first place? Why are breeders and rescues mandating how dogs should be handled in their new homes? What other option besides medication do vets have nowadays? Hell, almost 20% of humans are on some sort of mood altering drug!

Let’s start with some easy ones. We want healthy dogs in society. That’s on the breeders. We want safe dogs adopted into homes. That’s on the rescues. We want dogs to be more well behaved in society. That’s on the trainers. We want to better educate dog owners. That’s on the influencers. We all need to step up our game. We have to find a common ground. That common ground should be our love of dogs. And our love of dogs should include keeping them safe and having control over them at least to some extent.

I’m not trying to make this a why can’t we be friends post, but maybe think twice before going on the attack next time. How are we contributing to the greater good by automatically segmenting ourselves? Labeling others? Why does it matter how someone else trains their dog? Why do we seem to care more about dogs than we do about people? Maybe don’t let your sarcastic undertone be your first response next time you’re triggered. Maybe focus on action rather than words. Try to contribute in some way. We certainly can discuss some of these issues more productively. I’m afraid to see what dog ownership will look like in another decade at the rate we’re going. It’s changing so drastically so quickly. And not for the better.

Fear In Dogs

Fear In Dogs

On this episode, Scott and Jess talk about fear in dogs. What causes your dog to be fearful and what can you do about it?

Topics discussed include:

• Dog tip of the day
• Fear can be genetic like noise sensitivity
• Service dogs need to be screened for fear issues
• Fear can be taught to your dog based on your actions and reactions
• Making a big deal out of things can reinforce your dog’s fears
• Fear and anxiety are two separate things that can be intertwined
• How you handle your dog’s fear can help improve the future behavior
• Younger dogs go through fear periods
• Don’t let the dog’s fear control their behavior
• Can prescription drugs help your dog with fear?
• If you don’t see results with your approach, try something else
• What is fear aggression?
• Fear is simply a distraction
• Tempering fear can be more productive than counterconditioning
• Jess and Scott talk about how they work through dogs’ fear of treadmills
• You can contact the show by email at studio@thequirkydog.com

Have you ever wondered why your dog behaves a certain way? Are there things you need help with or support? Join Scott and Jess Williams each week as they explore these and other topics.

Follow Us

Why Water Intake Matters?

If your dog is always thirsty, it could be a sign of mental instability. When obsessive behaviors like drinking begin to control your dog, it’s important you intervene. There may be a hidden message in your dog’s drinking habits. 

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The Story of Sarge

The Story Of Sarge My wife and I are lying in bed; it’s 6:30am. It’s the first morning that our old dog Sarge (a 13yr old Belgian Malinois) is not in bed with us. Every morning for the past few months, my wife, Jess, would check on Sarge around 5am, listening for...

You Can’t Outrun Crazy

Recently a young couple came into our facility with a high-energy hound mix. The dog was rescued in Tennessee and driven up to New England.  This is their first dog, and they want to provide him with the best care possible.  Every morning around 6AM, one of them...

The Importance of Handling Your Dog

Scott and Jess talk about how important it is for you to get your dog used to letting you handle them. This includes brushing, tooth brushing, nail clipping and other activities.

The Care of Senior Dogs

On this episode, Scott and Jess talk about how to care for your senior dog. They discuss issues they have seen with older dogs and offer valuable advice about how to avoid and deal with the problems you may encounter.

Introducing A New Puppy Into A Household With Other Dogs

On this episode, Scott and Jess talk about the steps to take when you bring a new puppy into your household that already has other dogs.

Be Grateful For What You Have Now

When I was a little girl, I grew up in a house with this puppy. She grew up with me and she eventually had my heart puppy. Also, admittedly, below is the likely the most swimming I've ever done in my life. As Tootsie's puppies grew up, I taught them to go up and down...

Dogs and Halloween

On this episode, Scott and Jess talk about dogs and Halloween. What can you do to make sure your dog has a safe and peaceful Halloween? Our hosts offer some tips. Topics discussed…

5 Ways To Ruin a Puppy

On this episode, Scott and Jess talk about what owners are doing that ruins their puppies. They identify 5 problem areas and what issues they may cause. Topics discussed…

5 Ways To Ruin a Puppy

5 Ways To Ruin a Puppy

5 WAYS TO RUIN A PUPPY

On this episode, Scott and Jess talk about what owners are doing that ruins their puppies. They identify 5 problem areas and what issues they may cause.

Topics discussed include:

• Dog tip of the day
• Using pee pads delays housebreaking
• Jess and Scott talk about some of the issues they’ve seen using pee pads
• Carrying your puppy everywhere can lead to negative effects
• Be mindful of how you’re introducing your puppy to other people
• Improper puppy socialization can ruin your puppy
• Giving your puppy too much freedom can lead to behavior problems
• You shouldn’t let a puppy outside of your sight in the home
• Puppies need structure and routines
• Never leaving your puppy alone will ruin your puppy
• People working from home need to make sure their puppy still spends time alone
• You can contact the show by email at studio@thequirkydog.com

Have you ever wondered why your dog behaves a certain way? Are there things you need help with or support? Join Scott and Jess Williams each week as they explore these and other topics.

Podcast Available On

Follow Us

Why Water Intake Matters?

If your dog is always thirsty, it could be a sign of mental instability. When obsessive behaviors like drinking begin to control your dog, it’s important you intervene. There may be a hidden message in your dog’s drinking habits. 

Energy Healing Involving Your Dog

Energy Healing Involving Your Dog Dogs are extremely influenced by our emotions. If we are feeling slightly anxious, it is likely that our dogs will in turn display some anxious behavior as well. Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) is a therapeutic treatment that uses...

The Story of Sarge

The Story Of Sarge My wife and I are lying in bed; it’s 6:30am. It’s the first morning that our old dog Sarge (a 13yr old Belgian Malinois) is not in bed with us. Every morning for the past few months, my wife, Jess, would check on Sarge around 5am, listening for...

You Can’t Outrun Crazy

Recently a young couple came into our facility with a high-energy hound mix. The dog was rescued in Tennessee and driven up to New England.  This is their first dog, and they want to provide him with the best care possible.  Every morning around 6AM, one of them...

The Importance of Handling Your Dog

Scott and Jess talk about how important it is for you to get your dog used to letting you handle them. This includes brushing, tooth brushing, nail clipping and other activities.

The Care of Senior Dogs

On this episode, Scott and Jess talk about how to care for your senior dog. They discuss issues they have seen with older dogs and offer valuable advice about how to avoid and deal with the problems you may encounter.

Introducing A New Puppy Into A Household With Other Dogs

On this episode, Scott and Jess talk about the steps to take when you bring a new puppy into your household that already has other dogs.

Be Grateful For What You Have Now

When I was a little girl, I grew up in a house with this puppy. She grew up with me and she eventually had my heart puppy. Also, admittedly, below is the likely the most swimming I've ever done in my life. As Tootsie's puppies grew up, I taught them to go up and down...

Dogs and Halloween

On this episode, Scott and Jess talk about dogs and Halloween. What can you do to make sure your dog has a safe and peaceful Halloween? Our hosts offer some tips. Topics discussed…

5 Ways To Ruin a Puppy

On this episode, Scott and Jess talk about what owners are doing that ruins their puppies. They identify 5 problem areas and what issues they may cause. Topics discussed…

Dogs and Halloween

Dogs and Halloween

DOGS AND HALLOWEEN

On this episode, Scott and Jess talk about dogs and Halloween. What can you do to make sure your dog has a safe and peaceful Halloween? Our hosts offer some tips.

Topics discussed include:

• Dog tip of the day
• Trick or Treaters can trigger territorial dogs
• Noise diffusion can help to head off some of the aggression
• Crating your dog can help cope with Halloween chaos
• A visual barrier can also help with controlling your dog
• Keep dogs inside for Halloween night
• Costumes could also be confusing for the dog
• When you open the door for trick or treaters, you don’t know what’s on the other side, so you should keep your dog away from the door
• What about dressing my dog up?
• Be careful with pumpkins
• Watch your candy bowls and make sure the kids know they shouldn’t feed candy to the dog
• Is it OK to bring my dog Trick or Treating?
• You can contact the show by email at studio@thequirkydog.com

Have you ever wondered why your dog behaves a certain way? Are there things you need help with or support? Join Scott and Jess Williams each week as they explore these and other topics.

Podcast Available On

Follow Us

The Importance of Handling Your Dog

Scott and Jess talk about how important it is for you to get your dog used to letting you handle them. This includes brushing, tooth brushing, nail clipping and other activities.

The Care of Senior Dogs

On this episode, Scott and Jess talk about how to care for your senior dog. They discuss issues they have seen with older dogs and offer valuable advice about how to avoid and deal with the problems you may encounter.

Introducing A New Puppy Into A Household With Other Dogs

On this episode, Scott and Jess talk about the steps to take when you bring a new puppy into your household that already has other dogs.

Dogs and Halloween

On this episode, Scott and Jess talk about dogs and Halloween. What can you do to make sure your dog has a safe and peaceful Halloween? Our hosts offer some tips. Topics discussed…

5 Ways To Ruin a Puppy

On this episode, Scott and Jess talk about what owners are doing that ruins their puppies. They identify 5 problem areas and what issues they may cause. Topics discussed…

Fear In Dogs

On this episode, Scott and Jess talk about fear in dogs. What causes your dog to be fearful and what can you do about it? Topics discussed include: • Dog tip of the day • Fear can be genetic like noise sensitivity • Service dogs need to be screened for fear issues...

Be Grateful For What You Have Now

Be Grateful For What You Have Now

When I was a little girl, I grew up in a house with this puppy. She grew up with me and she eventually had my heart puppy. Also, admittedly, below is the likely the most swimming I’ve ever done in my life.

As Tootsie’s puppies grew up, I taught them to go up and down our back stairs from their litter box room to the outside world. Then, eventually, I timed them as they did the stairs and kept records of their times. Later on, at that same house, with that same puppy, I played vet in the basement with dogs. And as most of you know, I began to train dogs there, which led me to where I am in my career today.

Bammer tied me to that house. To that life. To that me. She will be gone exactly one month tomorrow. It has undoubtedly been the hardest month of my life. She was euthanized 15 weeks to the day of Sarge. I honestly haven’t been able to even talk about it. I haven’t been able to grieve Sarge. I haven’t been able to process the shock of Bammer. Those dogs. They tie it all together. They truly complete the puzzle. Where do I go from here?

Fall 2018

I graduated from high school with this crew. Bammer was the one of the originals. She was the little one of that group. Bammer slept on the side of my head for at least a decade- right side; it was always the right side.

Lombard, IL photo by Kathleen Schaffer

When I was in college at University of Michigan, I toured around the country performing with dogs during my summer. Bammer was there with me every mile. Bammer closed shows!

Lombard, IL photo by Chris Perondi

After I met the love of my life and moved to Massachusetts and got my first Border Collie of my adult life, Bammer was there. Bammer was the princess then.

Wilmington, MA photo by Scott Williams

Before we moved to Maine, in our house in Massachusetts, with my now pregnant first adult Border Collie also with my adult heart dog and of course my Pants Pie. Bammer was there. Bammer ran the show there.

Amesbury, MA photo by Lisa Kronz

If I was there, Bammer was there. And now she’s not. We were permanent residents of 5 states together. Illinois. Michigan. Colorado. Massachusetts. And now Maine. I’m so glad she made it to Maine with me. With us. (That secretly was one of my goals.) Bammer set the tone here.

Dogs are funny. They seem to know to hang in until they know we will be okay. I found this to be true with Sarge too. Bammer briefly shared her life with my best friend from college, Kate. Frankly, Bam liked Kate more than me. Kate’s youngest son has been struggling with a serious health issue that was recently resolved, and, luckily, he continues to thrive. Kate seemed okay.

Kate and Bammer- Crestone, CO

Bammer stretched over an even longer time period with my best friend from high school, Brit. It is because of her, we named her Bammer. Bammer was the last of our original crew combined. Brit is now in love with this amazing person whom Scott and I love dearly, owns one of my dog’s puppies, and has recently had some amazing career path changes come her way. Britty seemed okay.

Starved Rock State Park Utica, IL

<<Also, admittedly (again), this was the most hiking Bammer has ever done in her entire life despite the scene that the above two pictures paint. Or maybe these were at least 2 of 6 hikes.>>

And then, there was Scott. My love. My everything. Bam’s favorite. And Bam was his favorite. Bam wasn’t a people person. Unless you knew her, you wouldn’t get it. But she loved Scott. Similar to how she loved Kate but more. Scott was amazing. And enlightened. And happy. And productive. And floating. And meditating. And tapping. And so many other good things. Scott seemed okay.

Below is Bam 1 month before she left us in Salisbury, MA and Bam a few days before she transitioned in Eliot, ME. Both times with her person.

But what about me? Am I okay? I’m blessed. Bam was 18 years old. We shared eighteen years together. Sarge was 13 years old. He was with us for thirteen of those eighteen years. These dogs led me to a life that is better than I ever could have imagined. With a husband who is more than I ever wanted. Learning more about training than I ever even could have fathomed existed.

My life is easier without the old dogs. I have no one to constantly care for anymore. Feeding is easier. Grooming is easier. Life is easier in many ways. But what I WOULDN’T GIVE TO CARE FOR ONE OR BOTH OF THEM AGAIN! Just for one night! Just in one dream! Just in one lifetime!

Sometimes I resent our current dogs. They aren’t them. My rocks. My core. But I had lunch with an old student and good friend yesterday who reminded me to be grateful for what I have now. And that may seem obvious to most of you. But with dogs… dogs like these. It’s hard to not miss them. To miss that.

I am grateful for what I have. And who I have. And for what’s to come! But I just wanted to give you a friendly reminder to be grateful for what you have as well. Even if it’s a difficult puppy. Even if it’s an intolerable rescue. Even if it’s an old dog that pees every damn day! Be grateful for what you have now. Because you will be $%*&ing eternally grateful for what was.

Gratitude is important. Mindfulness is important. This month is a good reminder of that. I hope my dark days can lighten yours. Mine slowly get brighter by the day mostly because of the gratitude for what I have. = )