Changing a Dogs Association

I realized recently as I was working with a dog, that I use a similar method when teaching dogs to be okay with cats in their space as I do for cutting their nails: Association. For example, Kele my wonderful girl, tolerates cats. She hasn’t had a choice since they were in the house before she was, but she has her limits. Ever since it’s been her and me in bed together, she’s taken it upon herself to rid the bed of any cats. This is quite upsetting in my household. My cats, already taking second fiddle to the dogs in so many ways, use bedtime as their time to snuggle with mom. So Kele has gone to night guard duty….right next to my ear. I can’t blame her. Kele spent her first year on the streets of the Navajo Nation where she begged for food from any stranger who […]

Dogs and Cats


Setting Boundaries with Dogs

I was in a business not long ago and brought one of my dogs in. She was on a leash, even though she didn’t need it, and happily and politely went up and said hi to everyone who approached her. As I was leaving, a young guy walked in with a puppy. “Here!” he holler, the puppy was trying to smell my girls butt. The puppy wasn’t on a leash and pushed his way through everything and anything. The man followed hollering, changing the entire experience – I remember thinking we couldn’t get out of there fast enough. Yesterday I saw they had posted a No Dogs (except trained service dogs) sign on the door. Great! Thanks for that buddy. How often is it that one or two people ruin it for the rest of us? And other than his laziness about putting a leash on his dog he also […]

Great Dog Play

Here’s a great example of good dog play. You’ll see both dogs on the ground at different times and some great play bows. Note: Strider (the smaller of the two) was a strong-willed dog who used to aggress toward anything unknown or scary. His parents have spent tons of time working with him and gotten him through most of his fear-reactivity….it helps to have good playmates who forgive him when he’s less then graceful LOL!


Simon Says….Adopt me Please!

Hey everyone, I’d like to introduce you to Simon. Simon’s been staying at LPCHS since early January. His mom was heartbroken to give him up but she wasn’t able to find housing she could afford, that would accept dogs. I brought Simon home over the weekend to evaluate him. Although it’s been a couple of months, he hasn’t really bonded with anyone in the shelter and he hardly makes connections with people when they bring him out….so I wanted a few days to figure him out. What a treat! Simon is one of those awesome, independent, strong, smart dogs who is looking more for a partner than a leader. It took him 24 hours to settle in but once he did he began playing and investigating everything. The washer machine stole his attention for minutes as his head tilted from side to side with the whooshing water. The only time […]

The Power of Glasses ?!

The other day I was in a meeting at LPCHS with a Chesapeake Bay Retriever mix who is currently staying there. Chris Nelson commented that the dog didn’t like people in glasses, which got me thinking. These days designer glasses are all the rage. So many of us, myself included, have glasses that contrast to the rest of our faces, rather than blending in. Soooo wouldn’t it make sense that some dogs are going to make an association with them? If a dog associates people in hats, sunglasses, even boots and skin tones, why wouldn’t they associate something like everyday glasses? Especially when those glasses probably look a lot more like goggles to them then reading glasses. Dogs make associations quickly. If you pick up their food bowl they quickly learn it’s time to eat. If you open the closet that contains their leash, chances are they’re going to consider […]

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Sid teasing Zoe

Sid the ever evolving dog….

As many of you know, I began fostering Sid last fall for La Plata County Humane Society (LPCHS). He had originally been transferred into the shelter from a local organization and adopted quickly. But after a month, the couple didn’t see any changes in his shut-down behavior and returned him. At that time, I took him home to evaluate his quality of life. After two weeks of living with me he jumped through the cat window and began doing things ‘on his own.’ I reported back to the shelter that I didn’t believe he was an adoption candidate. His severely shut-down behavior and complete fear around humans made people pity him, but in no way want to take him on. Once he jumped out the window, I told the shelter that he could stay living with me in a long-term foster situation as long as they were okay that I […]