100 Quirky Tips

100 Quirky Tips

First and foremost, we would like to thank all of our listeners and viewers for your support. We began our podcast August of 2019. We podcasted from home during the height of the pandemic, and we are proud to say we are 100 episodes in so far. We are grateful to all the awesome guests who have agreed to come on. We are so appreciative of Studio 21 Podcast Cafe, especially our producer Chrissy Cunningham. And last but not least, to the podcast hero himself, David Garafalo, we value your support, your friendship, and your cigars!

If you haven’t seen The Quirky Dog yet, you can find us on various platforms including Apple, Spotify, TuneIn, Podbean, YouTube, and the Canine Healing Facebook page. Every episode, we open with The Quirky Tip of the Day. Listed below are all 100 tips with links if you are interested in researching any items in greater depth. Enjoy.

  1. WATER BUCKETS: If your dog knocks over his water bucket in his crate, consider trying Kennel-Gear buckets.
  2. HAPPY HOODIES: Dogs who dislike the dryer after a bath, may benefit from this product.
  3. SWEET POTATO: For dogs who need to gain weight, try adding sweet potato to their meals for some extra carbohydrates.
  4. PUPPIES & WATER: With a new puppy, regulate the water rather than provide free access to help with the potty training.
  5. DRAG LINE: Use a drag line (an old leash cut about 3 feet long) to curb unwanted or crazy behavior at home.
  6. KONG STUFFING: Filling a Kong with yogurt and freezing it is a great way to give a probiotic.
  7. CBD: If you’ve used CBD products before without little results, consider researching CBD oil that includes THC.
  8. MUSHER’S SECRET: This paw wax is definitely a good choice if you’re trying to protect your dog’s paws in winter.
  9. COLLOIDAL SILVER: The benefits of using this are far reaching in dogs, and our favorite brand is Sovereign Silver.
  10. SAFE PAW: When salting in the winter, Safe Paw not only cuts through ice but also is “safer” for your dog’s paws.
  11. RUFF LAND KENNELS: Dog safety while in a vehicle is one of our top concerns, and these crates are our top choice.
  12. COLLARS & NUMBERS: When traveling, consider embroidered collars with your dog’s name and your number on them.
  13. TOYS ON CHRISTMAS: Be careful the dogs don’t ingest any small parts while assembling kids’ toys Christmas morning.
  14. GOALS: With New Year’s resolutions or general goals with your dog, don’t just think about them, write them down!
  15. RESCUE: If you want a rescue, make sure you can meet that dog in person rather than just falling in love with a photo.
  16. PLASTIC PINCH COLLAR: Many people who choose to train with pinch collars don’t realize these Starmark collars exist.
  17. ESSENTIAL OIL: Lots of us love to use diffusers, try Canine Calm as an essential oil option next time; it’s our favorite!
  18. PRIMO PADS: For a durable cushion that is custom sized to fit your dog’s crate, check out this website.
  19. STARMARK BALL: Our dogs most desirable toy to chase is this rubber ball.
  20. DOG INFLUENCERS: With almost 50K Instagram followers, check out @havok_thegreat who was our guest this episode.
  21. SUBSCRIBE: If you listen to our podcast on Apple or Bad Dog Agility’s podcast on Apple, please SUBSCRIBE.
  22. ANCHOR BAG: The value we find in these bags for tethering, management, and the bed exercise is immeasurable.
  23. LIMITING BELIEF: Consider a limiting belief you may have about yourself and how you could potentially overcome it.
  24. SENSORPUSH: This is the ultimate product when it comes to high temperatures and your dog’s safety.
  25. WASH YOUR HANDS: The pandemic had recently arrived to the US, but continue to wash your hands and hearts.
  26. OMAR VON MULLER: Scott’s friend Omar trains dogs for movies; check out how you can work with him here.
  27. KURANDA: After a decade, this brand continues to be our favorite when it comes to raised dog beds.
  28. RETRACTABLE LEASHES: Do not use a retractable leash to walk your dogs; they are dangerous for all parties.
  29. TICK PREVENTION: Prevention is easier on our dogs and wallets than treatment when it comes to tick-borne diseases.
  30. NEST CAM: Formerly Dropcam, this is our choice in camera to monitor our dogs while away from home.
  31. HAPPY HOWIE’S: One of the highest value treats you can use in training is Happy Howie’s meat rolls.
  32. TAB: When transitioning to having your dog off leash, consider using approximately a foot long leash tab.
  33. BIOTHANE COLLARS: If you take your dog swimming with a collar on, a biothane collar won’t retain moisture.
  34. POTTY PROBLEMS: For dogs who don’t easily poop, consider the Q-tip technique; you can YouTube on your own.
  35. DOG MUSIC: It has been found that classical and reggae stations have the most calming effects on dogs.
  36. SHAPED BY DOG: Susan Garrett was just launching her own podcast, Shaped By Dog; check it out!
  37. SPOUSES TALKING HOUSES: For a podcast all about real estate, check out these guys who also filmed at Studio 21.
  38. BIOTHANE LEASHES: Many people these days prefer biothane to leather when it comes to their leashes.
  39. JOAN RANQUET: Written by one of the best animal communicators around, check out Energy Healing for Animals.
  40. MA POLICE DOGS: Support the use of police dogs for the sake of the working dog as well as your community’s safety.
  41. NO SPILL BOWL: To keep your dog’s water from spilling over in the crate, check out this product.
  42. PET INSURANCE: If you don’t have it, consider it because procedures like obstruction surgeries are expensive.
  43. HAPPY 1 YEAR ANNIVERSARY: Our pig was inspired by my godson, watch as he joins us as a special guest to squeak!
  44. SALT WATER: If you live near the ocean, be sure to note that salt water can be dangerous for dogs; bring fresh water.
  45. AMERICA NINJA WARRIOR: Special guest and ANW competitor Roo Yori gives back through Wallace The Pit Bull.
  46. HUNTING SEASON: When hiking with your dog during hunting season, make sure he or she wears an orange vest.
  47. CRATING: If you own a crate, consider crating your dog an hour a day while you’re home for more structure.
  48. KENNEL CONNECTION: For kennel owners, Kennel Connection is a great software to use at your facility.
  49. NAIL CLIPPERS: When trimming your dogs nails at home, make sure you use the scissor style clippers.
  50. TEDDY ROOSEVELT: On our White House episode, we learn President Roosevelt owned many other species besides dogs.
  51. THE QUIRKY DOG: For more info on our podcast as well as our paid and free online class offerings, click here.
  52. APPAREL: If you want to spread The Quirky Dog love by sporting our logo, check out our online store.
  53. STAY CALM: Even during uncertainty, remain calm by walking with your dog, having a cigar, etc.
  54. EMBRACE: If you do choose to insure your pets, check out Embrace who was our guest this episode.
  55. OLDE ENGLISH BULLDOGGE: This breed is 1/2 English Bulldog, Bull Masiff, APBT, and American Bulldog.
  56. THANKSGIVING TURKEY: Sara Carson joined us around Thanksgiving; spoil your dogs with turkey (no bone).
  57. CAREFUL WHEN PLAYING: Take your own safety into account as well as your dog’s safety when playing.
  58. HEALTH & WELLNESS ANIMAL HOSPITAL: We invite our personal vet on; if you’re local, join her at her practice.
  59. PAW WAVE: Check out the best dog massage tool on the market; they make the ultimate Christmas gift.
  60. DOGS AS GIFTS: For parents who buy their child a dog for Christmas, please realize it will be your dog regardless.
  61. PETRA FORD’S DOG RESOURCE CENTER: If you live in New Jersey, check out her facility for all your canine needs.
  62. HOW TO BE HAPPY: On your next movie night, check out this movie by Roko Belic, The Happy Movie.
  63. JAMES ALTUCHER: Tune into his series Choose Yourself: The James Altucher Story for some feel good fun.
  64. INSTAGRAM: Follow @thequirkydogpodcast on Instagram to stay up to date with our episode guide.
  65. ANAL GLANDS: Make sure your dog’s anal glands are routinely expressed by yourself, your vet, or your groomer.
  66. FARM HOUNDS: The go-to chews in our house hands down are Farm Hounds hides; they’re the best on the market.
  67. NINJA BLING: For biothane collars with stamped printing, check out this company through Facebook.
  68. TREADMILL: If you own a treadmill and don’t currently use it yourself, consider getting your dog acclimated to it.
  69. VESTIBULAR DISEASE: Especially if you own an old dog, if you haven’t heard of this condition, research it.
  70. MAJOR BITING: Regardless of where you stand politically, it is important dogs are neutral and not reactive.
  71. MCCANN DOG TRAINING: Kayl and Ken McCann have a super informative YouTube channel; check them out.
  72. PREGNANCY TIP: When expecting a baby, call a dog trainer when you would start sharing your news publicly.
  73. DOGGY DAYCARE: Check out The Barking Lot of WNY for an awesome daycare if you are in western New York.
  74. GLACIER PEAK HOLISTICS: This company’s Peak Immune is our new favorite immunity supplement for our dogs.
  75. DOG AGILITY: As we interview with Puerto Rico Agility Team leader, consider looking into an agility class for your dog.
  76. GARMIN BARKLIMITER DELUXE: If you choose to use a bark collar, this model would be our only recommendation.
  77. EASTERN VETS: In addition to your western vet, look into eastern vets in your area also for your dog’s optimal care.
  78. FOLLOW LEASH LAWS: As our Animal Control officer guest tells you directly, leash up your dogs on a 6 foot leash.
  79. FRANKIE JORIS: We talk service dogs on this episode, but Frankie has a wide array of online offerings; visit her here.
  80. KATIE’S BUCKLES: Metal prong collar links can be difficult to maneuver, but this company has a solution for you.
  81. DOCK DIVING: Many of us own dogs who adore swimming, and if your dog happens to love to swim, try dock diving.
  82. DR. KAREN BECKER’S PESTICIDE CLEANSE: You can learn about her flea and tick support and other gems here.
  83. BOSTON DOG LAWYERS: In a world where dogs are becoming more popular, we now even have lawyers for dogs.
  84. TEST DAYS AT BOARDING FACILITIES: Do your research before you leave your dog at a boarding facility or kennel.
  85. WAG GROOMING SALON & SPA: If you happen to live near Salem, NH, check out this spot for top quality work.
  86. WONDERCIDE: When the bees become an issue in our yard, we spray Peppermint Wondercide to safely repel them.
  87. HOT SPOTS: Thoroughly dry your dog’s neck after swimming to prevent hot spots from moisture being trapped.
  88. VETERICYN PLUS: This magic spray comes in handy for various skin and wound issues in our house.
  89. MUZZLES: Even if your dog is friendly, condition him or her to a muzzle for the experience; this is an exercise in CM.
  90. CLONING: Our interview with ViaGen Pets really opened our eyes to the pros and cons of the cloning process.
  91. PAVEMENT TEMPERATURE: When running with your dog in the warmer months, check the road temps for their paws.
  92. GIARDIA: If you need to run a fecal for your dog because loose stool, make sure to specify you want giardia included.
  93. PRACTICING COME: When working on recalls, don’t call your dog to you from a sit stay; implement restrained recalls.
  94. LIGHTING FOR STAIRS: For a dogs who uses stairs, consider closet or cabinet lighting strips to help them in the dark.
  95. LIMA: The acronym LIMA in the dog world stands for Least Instrusive, Minimally Aversive.
  96. SEACOAST BARK: For those who reside between Kittery, ME and Newburyport, MA, check out this dog magazine.
  97. 911 DOG TRAINING: Listeners and viewers near Los Angeles, CA, look up Adrian Centeno for dog training help.
  98. PUPPY COLLARS: Put a collar on a puppy or new dog early on to condition him or her to wearing a collar in public.
  99. CAPPA’S KENNEL: If you live near Kingston, NH, look into this kennel for boarding your dogs and/or daycare.
  100. SKETCHY ANNIE: For amazing and affordable cartoon sketches of your pet, check out @SketchyAnnie on IG.

Here’s to the next 100… Keep It Quirky!

Scott & Jess

Coming Together In The Dog World

Coming Together In The Dog World

2020: The Year of the Dumpster Fire

This title almost seems as oxymoronic as “Coming Together In Politics,” but hear me out… or don’t. It’s a free country. One thing that has created greater divisiveness in our country in this past year is the use of labels. She’s a MAGA; he’s a snowlake; my uncle’s a sheep; my boss is a total Trumper; our nanny is anti-vax; etc… you get the picture. However, one lesson that stuck with me in a big way is you can’t compartmentalize someone because of a belief. For instance, I was scrolling through a conservative friend’s post on Facebook a few months back where the OP stated that the virus would disappear after November 4th, 2020 (I wish). One woman who commented on the thread posted an article about how masks, social distancing, staying home, and washing hands were all directly against the Bible. The post contained a bunch of biblical references highlighting each aspect of the argument. It honestly was one of the most extreme pieces I’ve read in all of 2020. I clicked on this lady’s profile… unsure why… maybe to see where she lived? I kid you not; she had a “Black Lives Matter” frame on her profile picture. I actually picked the phone up to call a friend because it seemed so ironic. This was in no means brought up to imply that religious Americans would automatically be considered racist in their thinking nor does it mean someone who isn’t supportive of the BLM movement is racist. I mentioned it because normally someone who is anti wearing a mask and also believes the virus is a hoax more aligned with the “All Lives Matter” or “Blue Lives Matter” sector.

One size doesn’t fit all. And the same is true in the dog world. For the sake of clarity, rather than just looking at dog owners, let’s look at dog trainers. This is mainly because it’s a smaller sample size and labels like Aussie person, agility fanatic, hard core rescuer, hunter, etc. will only get us so far for my intentions of this blogpost. A dog trainer is no longer just a dog trainer in the same way that a plumber not only was but still is a plumber. Now you’re either purely positive or balanced or LIMA or NePoPo or TWC or One Mind Dog certified or KP certified and so on. And for the purposes of this article, let’s consider a dog trainer someone who can work with dogs as a full-time job (doesn’t rely on another source of income) and grosses at least 50K per year. So why are the labels above an important qualification? And honestly, if you say, “Because ‘x’ is the only method works,” you are incorrect. Positive training and balanced training are both effective methods to train a dog when done correctly. And results speak for themselves. You shouldn’t have to put another trainer or training method down to promote your own training style or company.

Now let’s talk science. This global pandemic has ironically made the same subject we all studied in school some sort of buzz word. Recently, I have asked a few balanced trainers I respect why there aren’t more scientific studies on balanced training. While I’ve gotten mixed reviews on people’s reasoning, it seems abundantly clear from my discussions that ecollar, bark collar, pinch collar, and invisible fence companies are doing just fine without any studies supporting their methods. Furthermore, even if a flood of studies came out condoning and/or supporting using aversive tools in dog training, most trainers don’t use them because of ethics. IMHO, most people who believe the term LIMA to be too extreme of a view would not then turn around and begin using an aversive tool regardless of what science said.

My issue is the judgement, the nastiness, the hate, and yes, again… the divisiveness. I am unique in my position in the dog world. I am no doubt a member of the “younger generation,” but I’ve been actively involved in the dog world for almost 3 decades. A lot has changed since then, which has been interesting (as well as terrifying at times). What has been even more fascinating for me is the dog world meeting politics, especially this past year. Yesterday in a progressive agility group someone asked about breed preferences and how different breeds’ owners relate to political stances. In a dog group designed for racial inclusivity, Clicker Expo was mentioned a few months back. A BIPOC dog owner commented that she not only felt underrepresented at the event but also inadvertently attacked for her balanced training methods. So… when we begin to go out of our way to include people of other races in dog sports should we also clarify the tools they choose in training? Where do you draw the line ethically? I want this puppy’s genetics, but the breeder is a huge Trump supporter. Does that hinder your decision? This family paid me $3,000 for a Bootcamp at my facility but had a Times Square size “BYEDON” sign in their yard when I went to pick up the dog. Do you refund them and not take the dog for training because you think the Biden/Harris ticket is the worst thing that ever happened to America? Politics aside, if an AKC World Team member uses a bark collar on his or her personal dogs, should they no longer be allowed on the team? Would you no longer take an online class from him or her?

If the above hypotheticals seem ridiculous to you, you haven’t been paying attention. There are MANY people who are currently unable to contact an owner of one of their dog’s littermates that passed away because they are no longer Facebook friends with them because of political viewpoints. And I don’t know about you, but I don’t have everyone’s email address, phone number, or physical address any longer. I suppose you could reach out through Messenger to send your condolences; however, that seems potentially awkward to me if your message pops up in a spam folder, which leads you into explaining how you chose not to just merely unfollow but actually unfriend that person.

I personally don’t want the dog world to turn into Facebook versus MeWe or Parler. Some of those dog people I knew from 25 years ago live in red states and their blood runs deep red. Who cares? They are still Americans. They are still dog lovers. Just remember… dogs, too, are political. Dogs themselves aren’t political of course, which could officially be labeled Reason #897 to love them, but issues involving them often are. And when something is political, 99.5% of the time, money is involved. These big name schools are making 7-8 figure incomes off students and certifications. A large majority of the animal rights legislation being presented in regards to breeding and training equipment come from very liberally-minded groups. Just remember, it’s a well known fact, that politics and money can make things messy.

We have SERIOUS issues going on in the dog world. Overpopulated rescues, more dogs on medication than ever before, unethical breeding, obesity, genetic diseases within breeds, Doodles with literally five breeds mixed into them… I could go on for days. Why does the small sector of dog trainers who train differently than you do automatically shoot to the top of your grievance list? It seems all anyone does on the internet is fight. Everyone has a hard and fast rule about why they are right and then the angry and laughing emojis start flying, and normally someone’s feelings get hurt and the unfriending commences. Lol… rereading that last sentence makes us sound worse than middle school students. I literally was watching a news conference a few weeks back about an assault that happened in my home town. I honestly couldn’t even tell you the details of what was being reported by the police because everyone was bickering below in the live feed about gun control and Trump’s America and COVID and a myriad of other topics. In that moment I realized, I have not read one comment about the actual victim! Like, WTAF, humanity?

Dog trainers and their own beliefs about methodologies and politics are not cut and dry. I know MANY balanced trainers who are hardcore Democrats. I know CPDTs who are staunch Trump supporters. Stop acting woke. Stop acting superior. No matter what you believe, we are all people who love dogs. As dog trainers- at least 85-90% of them in my opinion- we are people who love dogs who want to help other dogs and their humans. Doesn’t that in fact put us on the same team? And if you are reading this as a dog owner, please stop judging trainers when you are not putting yourself in their shoes just because you heard or read something. And as a dog trainers, if you don’t currently train at least 50 dogs a year to reliably walk on a loose leash, stay on a bed for at least 30-45 minutes with distraction, and rest quietly in a crate any time day or night, please reserve judgement as well. And that goes for people on both sides of the fence about methodology.

If someone else chooses a training tool you don’t agree with, how does that affect you or your dog? This goes back to an ethical argument. It’s your choice how you want to train your own dog. Just like many people believe abortion and gun ownership should be an individual choices. The bottom line without getting too philosophical is you shouldn’t need to put other people down to build yourself up. The proof is in the pudding. Life is hard enough. Just be kind no matter where you fall as the pendulum swings. I would like to see healthy dogs in forever homes with content owners who can expect some realistic expectations out of an adult dog (i.e., walking down the street in an orderly fashion, being able to live loose in the house if and when the family wants, hiking off leash in the woods, and a dog that can be handled at the vet to name a few). And, FYI, in case you’re still unclear, those accomplishments aren’t dependent on any specific list of training tools.

2021 is almost here. Be the guy with the firehose instead of the girl with the match. =)

Stay In Your Own Lane… and Wear Your Muzzle

Stay In Your Own Lane… and Wear Your Muzzle

Think that social media is really heating up these days? That in fact some people truly have zero filter behind a keyboard? That Facebook/Instagram/TikTok/Twitter/news may even be toxic, causing more harm than good? Y’all haven’t been in the dog world the past decade online, have ya? I will admit though, beyond the regularly scheduled programming of dog and dog training drama, we are becoming a nation of nasty.

What does the title mean? Before you go blow up someone’s Facebook post, ask yourself your intent. These are hard times. If you say they aren’t, how proud do you really have to be? What are you trying to prove? Be hopeful, yes. Call a stranger you never met before a curse word over the internet… no. Are you confident on the issues you’re speaking on? Have you actually trained thousands of dogs yourself? Are you being polite? Would you want your parent to read your response on that thread… your child? Are you proud of what you said?

Stay in your own lane.

And the second half, when I say muzzle, I don’t mean mask. I’m happy the president is wearing one now, but I smile at everyone I pass in public under my mask whether they are wearing one or not. Do you see how some of these employees are being treated who are required to ask customers to wear a mask? Did you see the video of the woman spraying mace on a couple and their food for eating outdoors without masks? What is going on? By muzzle, I mean control yourself.

And why muzzle these poor abused racing dogs? Because they have drive. Because they could go off on each other at a moment’s notice. But they are wearing muzzles so they can safely play the game they want to play… the game they need to play. Where is your muzzle? And why aren’t you wearing it? Another reason these dogs wear muzzles is because they have thin skin. It’s a well known fact that Whippet and Greyhound skin is basically as strong as a high grade paper stock at Staples. Which brings up an even better point, if you yourself have thin skin, it’s even more important to wear your muzzle around others who could potentially have even thinner skin than you!

Am I saying be silent? No! So many dog people are careful about not saying something online because of too much backlash. So many dog people say way too much online. Why are strangers asking other dog owners how they could even be friends with a balanced trainer? Sexist remarks were recently made at a dock diving event. Racist remarks often pop up on various threads. There is a difference between freedom of speech and polite and productive conversation.

And in that same vein… scrolling by works too. Or asking a thoughtful question but then don’t turn that into a pissing match. Do I unfollow people, YES! Do I unfriend people, not often. Do I delete threads and comments when they get heated, no. Do I post disclaimers like, “If you bring up xyz, your comment will immediately be deleted,” never. Similarly, if we never speak, please don’t write me to let me know that one of our mutual Facebook friends said something or did something and suggest I unfriend them. I don’t have to support what that person did, but I can make my own choices for my own friends list. Tunnel vision works great for these dogs pictured above in this moment; tunnel vision isn’t going to help us progress as a nation. Observe what other people are saying. Isn’t that what you’re supposed to do as a trainer? Observe behavior?

Social media can also be amazing! You can connect from afar with friends and family. Sometimes you get an awesome recommendation for a show (cough… Suits). I personally love clicking on a hot topic post and watching someone express themselves eloquently rather than meanly. I have even written a few people on Facebook to thank them for their consistent controlled candor. Sometimes you scroll past something funny… or inspiring. Sometimes you find something you can truly connect with. But, ask yourself, are you connecting with angry or sarcastic (or insert your own feeling here)? Or are you being intentional?

We have drivey dogs. I would bet if they all lived in the same house with another family, some of them might have to be muzzled. There are a select few dog savvy folks who could manage our pack, but a large majority of these so called competent trainers seem to be most confident behind their keyboards. When someone gets judgmental on Facebook about dog training, I would love to have a few stats next to their name. One interesting stat would be, how many dogs have you trained- not just personal dogs but you actually held that dog’s leash and assisted in its training? Another one could be, how many aggressive dogs have you trained or rehabilitated? These are baiting questions, so I rarely ask them, but why did you specifically feel the need to unnecessarily step in here? We own a Malinois titled in French Ring, Border Collies that are tightly spun, difficult rescues, and we have a 13-year-old Pomeranian who absolutely runs the show. She keeps me on my toes more than I ever realized a 3 pound dog was capable, and she was actually just featured on our podcast yesterday with a live animal communication reading with Joan Ranquet if you want to check her out!

Our dogs are a lot. But they are wonderful. They are quiet. They can settle. They listen. They are incredible workers. They are sweet. They complete us. Is your house quiet? Are your dogs social? Can you groom each of your dogs yourself? Do you trust your dogs off leash? Can your dogs walk on a loose leash on flat collars only? Do they settle in crates? Do they settle on beds? Can they stay on their beds when guests come? Can they sleep in the bed? Can they go a day without exercise and not be on the verge of a complete breakdown? I’m not saying that you have to check every box here or that this necessarily is the best comprehensive list to work from… but think before you type speak.

Some of this may sound sharp. Some of this needs to be said. Life is too short. Why are you unnecessarily criticizing that dog’s structure publicly? One of my Facebook friends posted the other day she is literally changing breeds because of the drama in her current breed. There are people who critique world class movie trainers. Why? Because of the fallout of showing the public something? I’d like to see footage of the last time a random stranger ruined its puppy’s hips because they trained it to jump rope too young. If you don’t agree with something for your own dogs, fine… move on! If you often find yourself only using the angry or laughing emoji (more sarcastically than literally), maybe ask yourself why. How are you contributing? How are you feeling? Are you making someone else feel bad in the process? Are you really just being an ass? And if your response is, “Who cares… Trump is an ass!” How are you any better?

Stay in your own lane. Wear your muzzle. Don’t be an ass. And try to repeat. And then, if you’re going for extra credit, be grateful. All this change you preach about starts with you- in relation to dog training and the world. I’m going to close with this passage below that we read before morning meditation today:

This Brief Lifetime

“How are we going to spend this brief lifetime? Are we going to strengthen our well-perfected ability to struggle against uncertainty, or are we going to train in letting go? Are we going to hold on stubbornly to ‘I’m like this and you’re like that?’ Or are we going to move beyond that narrow mind? Could we start to train as a warrior, aspiring to reconnect with the natural flexibility of our being and to help others do the same? If we start to move in this direction, limiting possibilities will begin to open up.”

-Pema Chödrön

Stay well.

<3, Jess

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.

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