About Me

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I am the Dog Trainer Girl. A wife to a wonderful husband, momma to 2 boys, one that is a mini-me and makes me call my dad and appologize on a regular basis. I am owned by a Corgi named Yadi. I'm a Baseball girl, who likes bats, ball and bases on my diamonds. Go Cardinals!!!

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Trying to Overcome Obstacles -June 2018

So most of you, that read my blog, know who my kids are. Connor 16,  Ian 3 1/2 years old, Loki a 1 1/2 year old Australian Cattle Dog (blue heeler) and Yadi a 3 month old Corgi.  I’m sure some of you that have been my students for a while have noticed that Loki has not been in class much lately.  Well, we had an accident with Loki and I have a mental block over working with him.  Though I can see the ways I need to get over this problem I thought it might be helpful for others that have experienced issues with their own dogs and how hard it is to overcome a problem with working with them again.  We have had IMG_4657problems with Ian being afraid of Loki because he is so hyper (which is normal of his breed) but had been working with him training Loki and we were making a lot of progress.
About a month ago, we got a swingset for Ian and while Tim and I were outside putting it together I noticed that Loki had started chasing cars.  While we were working on the swing, if I told him to Leave it he would and return to me.
Later that afternoon, I took Ian outside to see his new swing set and took Loki out with us.  We had been outside for just a few minutes and Loki takes off running and slams into Ian.  Ian flips up in the air with his feet over his head and landed on the back of his neck.  As a mom, I was terrified that I had just lost my child.  As a trainer, my mind started swimming as to what caused it to happen?  Was he going after Ian to herd him, or what…  The more I think about it now I believe he saw a car and was going after the car and Ian got in his way.  No matter what caused the problem we had a major problem.
The very next day Yadi came home to be part of our family.  Ian LOVES Yadi (when he is not trying to pull the tail off his cat boy suit).  He wanted to hold him the whole way home from Fort Smith and I had to keep telling him no.  I was so happy to see that the accident did not make Ian afraid of all dogs.
For weeks every
time Loki even looked in his direction Ian would scream and cry.  This was that main reason I stopped bringing him to work with me.  After a few weeks of having Yadi Ian started wanting to play with Loki through the baby gate again.
Being a trainer I’ve tried to set down and look at it from the perspective of what would I tell a student if Loki had been their dog, and Ian had been their child.  I laid out a plan and am doing my best to follow it.
I’ve only allowed Loki to be around Ian while on leash so that I can control him.  I’ve ordered a black out mesh to go on our fence, so that Loki can not see the cars going by.
We have put up a trolly line to keep Loki on when he is outside at the same time as Ian.  This trolly line was the one for a 100lb dog, and Loki is only 37lbs.
The first time I put up the zip line, I used the I-bolts that you screw into the tree.  The first car
Loki saw go by he took off running and before I could stop him, he bent and pulled the bolt right out of the tree!!! I had to move it and secure it around two metal T posts in my yard from an old clothes line.  This just added to my frustration.  I thought long and hard about rehoming him and even tried looking for a home with the help of a few of my students that would know farmers that might need/want a working dog.  Trying to weigh in the safty of my child and would I really be able to control him if he wasn’t working on a daily basis anymore.
I just had a nagging thought it my head that I couldn’t give him up.  I couldn’t let him down, and he needed me as much as I needed him.  I couldn’t bare the thought of him going to someone that would be too hard on him and not treat him the way I would want.  I’ve always heard that you never get the dog you want, but the dog you need.  Loki challenges me as a trainer everyday, and I think I needed that after all the years.
I have slowly been trying to be around him more and not feel that sinking feeling that he was going to hurt my child again.
I signed up and have been taking an online class for herding, trying tolea
rn more about his instincts and how to work with them, not have them working against me.  We went back to working on basic comands: Focus, Sit, Down, Stay anIMG_5226d Recall!!!  Trying to work his positional commands from a distance to get more control over him.
Wednesday of this week I brought Loki to work with me.  He worked thought out the day with other students and had a major play session with Yadi and a friend.  A tired dog is always a good dog!!  He just laid beside Ian in the car and Ian was happy to have him there.  I think we are finally making progress.
No matter what you are going through, with a plan in place and everyone working together, you can get through it with a little Practice and Patience.  Don’t give up, just keep looking for trainable oppritunities.
A poll of my facebook group 
Showed that the things that pet parents feel challenge them most are Potty Training and Leash Walking.  So this will be a 2 part post.
Basset Hound Puppy going Potty
Photo by Adam Kontor on Pexels.com
Potty Training?? Or Habit Training??
You have brought home this little bundle of joy and now every few minutes your finding your puppy peeing or pooping on your floor, and you are ready to pull your hair out.  What do you do?  Try not to listen to everything you have heard.
Way back during the 1950’s a dog trainer named Milo Pearsall wrote this training protocol where when your dog poops or pees in the house you, once discovering it, promptly rub your dog’s nose in it. Well, actually what he wrote was you put your dog’s nose NEAR it so they could smell the accident.  You know that game Chinese Whispers, where you tell someone something and they tell someone else and someone else and so on?  10 people down the line and the original story has been changed.  This is the case with this technique.
When trying to potty train a child do you take their diaper or pull up off and rub their nose in it, to teach them to use the potty?  NO!!! So why do we do it to our puppies who do not even have full control over their bladders until they are around 6 months old?  At the time that we are trying to potty train, we must remember that our puppies are no more developed than a human child of 6 months of age.  One of the major reasons that we do not want to “rub their nose in it” is because doing that doesn’t teach your dog anything other than not to be in the same room as you when poop or pee is found.
Have you ever had a dog, or heard a friend talk about their dog, that pooped under the bed, or behind the couch??  I would be willing to bet you money that at some point while potty training, that puppy built a negative association between them being in the room when mom or dad found pee or poop accidents.
Another problem that can come from this is that your dog may decide they are not allowed to go potty on the leash with you watching them.  They may extend their fear, of punishment for being in the same place as you when poop or pee is found, to the leash and outside potty times.
The best thing that I’ve found for potty training is to set up a schedule of when to go outside.  We know that the “average” time it takes a puppy’s digestive system to work is about 30 minutes.  So try following this schedule:
  1. Put the food down and give puppy 5-10 minutes to eat.
  2. Put the puppy in kennel or leash up and keep her with you for about 30 minutes.
  3. Take puppy outside on a leash.
  4. Go to one spot, do not walk around with puppy.
  5. Give puppy about 5 minutes to get bored and go potty.
  6. If the puppy does not go potty take them back inside and put back in the kennel or keep with you on the leash for another 10-15 minutes.
  7. Go back outside on the leash to your potty spot.
  8. Repeat steps 6 & 7 until puppy goes potty outside.
IF you walk your puppy around or if you let them go outside off leash, they will get distracted by running around and playing and THEN when you bring them back inside they go “oh this is boring it’s not as fun as outside…  oh yeah, I have to potty”.  They will then potty inside after having JUST been outside.
We have to teach our puppies that outside is where we go potty and that we only get play time after we have gone potty.  It is up to YOU to set your puppy/dog up with the “habit” of going potty outside.
puppy laying in grass
Photo by freestocks.org on Pexels.com
Part of our problem is when we are training our puppies we tend to think they should be born knowing to go outside, but they are not.  They are born inherently clean, and momma dog helps them to stay that way by cleaning up after them while they are nursing.  Momma dog does not, however, teach them they need to go outside to potty, that is our job.
If you catch your puppy going potty, try to distract or startle them and then run outside with them so that they still need to potty.  Once we potty remember to make it a GREAT experience, Treats and PARTY time.  If you are finding the aftermath of a potty accident, don’t make a big deal out of it.  After 30 seconds or so your dog doesn’t know he or she is the one that had the accident, only that someone left their mark.  Thoroughly clean the area with an enzyme killer and chalk it up to a lost opportunity and focus on being better at reading your dogs signs.
If you are not sure your puppy knows how to tell you they need to go out, you can teach them something like ringing a bell to help you know when the time comes.
For more information about potty training or any other type of training, please email me at dog.trainer.girl@gmail.com

Dog Training and Depression / Anxiety

10 years ago after finding a therapist that I felt I could actually talk to and pouring my heart and head out to her, I was diagnosed with PTSD as a result of some things that happened in my childhood. I grew up with an alcoholic mother and an emotionally absent father.  Now before anyone makes any split decisions about my parents, let me say they were/are good people, they loved me but their own problems got in the way sometimes.  My mother was a police officer and we have all heard of the stresses that can come from being in the line of duty.  From what I have been told, my mother started drinking because of her own depression and started self-medicating when I was very young.
My Dad in Vietnam
My Dad in Vietnam
She lost her battle with addiction 16 years ago.
My father a Vietnam Veteran, closed off a lot of his own self, trying to forget the horrors he faced in war.  My dad is, by the way, the reason I started training PTSD dogs for others, and why the program I do with the Beck PRIDE Center, Battle Buddies: Paws for Vets is so very dear to my heart that I have to fight to not cry almost everytime I talk about it.
I have very few memories of my childhood before the age of 13. I suffered from sexual abuse as a small child.  My brain’s way of protecting me was just to block it all out.  Some of the more traumatic ones have surfaced throughout the years since, and are very vivid. I have been off and on medications for depression and anxiety since I was 16. There are things I have done in my life that I regret with every ounce of my soul because I was acting out against my mother and the things going on with her addiction. There are still days when my emotions are in control of my life instead of me being in charge of my emotions.
This is something that I don’t really talk about but lately, I’ve had a lot of pushback about why some people can’t train their dogs because they just don’t feel up to it. I try to tell them that I understand and have been through it. I get this look of how could you possibly know. I do! Sometimes, it’s not a look but a comment.
Chihuahua - Corgi Mix
Tazie, my Soul dog
When I was first becoming a dog trainer I didn’t have any kids, and only had one dog, and he was glued to me. Training him was easy!!! He went to work with me every day, and I was practicing with him what I was learning from my mentors and in my coursework.  During this time, my relationship fell apart and I threw myself head first into dog training to escape all the feelings that were trying to surface then.  One of the things about children that grow up in an alcoholic home is that we learn it’s safer to stuff our feelings down deep where they can’t get you hurt.
Now I have an almost 4yr old little boy who wants his mommy to do everything, a new business that I am trying to get off the ground and turn into something that I can be
little boy and his corgi
Ian and his best buddy Yadi
proud of, the joy of all the people I get to help, a new house I’m still trying to settle into. Not to mention all the bills that go along with that.  I have two dogs and one that my son is uneasy of.  Both of my dogs are herding breeds so when a little boy goes running through the house, there is a ton of barking which by the way sends me into a panic.
There are days when I honestly am not sure I can even get out of bed, but I know that my family, dogs and bearded dragon included, depend on me to take care of them. This is one of the things that keeps me going when I feel like the world is closing in on me and I’m barely able to keep my head above the waters of anxiety and depression.
Sometimes just making a decision of what to have for dinner can make me want to hide in the closet and cry, however on top of all these feelings, my dogs still need me, and I need them. I need the relaxed feel of my pups loving on me and knowing that no matter what, they are never going to judge me. This is the reason that I started so many years ago with owner training myself with Tazie.  He became my PTSD Service dog.  He was able to pick up on my moods and triggers.  He could stop me from having a panic attack and prevent me from self-mutilating scratching that has left scars on my arms and legs.
two dogs playing
Loki an Australian Cattle Dog and Yadi a Welsh Pembroke Corgi
My dogs are less than perfect and I’ve always felt that I needed to share that with my training students because it lets them know that I do understand what they are going through.  Sometimes, however, trying to explain that I understand the darkness in their minds is harder to do.  It’s not something I can say face to face to just anyone. Even writing this post has been very hard but something I felt was needed.  Sometimes just going out alone with your dog and a toy and some treats and working with your best friend who puts you on the highest pedestal ever, can be the best treatment to get out of your own head.  I think that is something that I need to do a little more often as well.
Post from August of 2018

Dogs, Kids, and Stress oh my!!!

A post from Oct of 2018
One of the things I’ve always tried to do is to be totally transparent with my training.  I’ve shared with you all the struggles I have had training my own dogs and in my own life.  It’s one of the things I have always prided myself on.
So you guys all know the issues that my son was having with Loki, some of that is carrying over to Yadi.  Most everything with Yadi is easier because he is so much smaller than Loki was.  However, he still gets nervous when Yadi is trying to herd him or get’s in his face in the car.
little boy and his corgi
Ian and his best buddy Yadi
One morning this week,  I had a thought since our biggest issues are in the car when Ian is strapped in and can’t get away, we should do some training in the car.  Ian loves to give treats to the puppies, he always has so this morning as we were getting ready to go out to the car, I grabbed a handful of treats and stuck them in my pocket.  I put Yadi in the back seat and buckled his seatbelt harness strap and then went to put Ian in his car seat.  I then took out the treats and put them in the door pocket for Ian.  I told him that they were for him to give to Yadi on the way to daycare.  Yadi tried one time to jump up in Ian’s face and I told Ian to make Yadi lay down.  He did and Ian loved it!!!
This will be something we repeat on a daily basis so that Yadi is learning more to lay down for Ian rather than jumping on him, and I’m afforded a little more sanity before getting to work.  Ian also is learning that he can control Yadi, and Yadi is learning to listen to Ian.  It truly is all about the little bits of training that you fit into your daily routine that make it life easier. 

5 Minutes is Easier to Find Than 30

Yadi laying down
Yadi laying down behind me while I work
Hello, I hope everyone is doing well today.  If you have ever been in class with me you have heard me say… “Don’t try to train for 30 whole minutes”.  I don’t know about you but my life is very hectic.  I have a 17-year-old stepson (Connor), a 4-year-old son (Ian), &  year old Corgi pup (Yadi).  Between our jobs, housework, laundry… oh my word at the laundry…  trying to find 30 minutes a day to train my puppy is just insanity.  Even if I could find those 30 golden minutes, my puppy wouldn’t have the attention span to focus on me the whole time.
So here is what I do instead.  While typing this blog post, my puppy Yadi is chasing the Ian who is running through the house laughing and teasing Yadi with a toy to get him to follow him.  Every few minutes I call Yadi to me and reward him for coming and then release him to go play.  This looks a little like this:
  • I say “Yadi”
  • When I hear him turning towards me I say “Yadi Come”
  • When he gets to me, I reward him with a treat from a pile of treats on my desk
  • I pet him and scratch his back and then tell him “go play”
Now we are practicing this because as of the last couple of weeks he seems to think that
treat stash for random training moments
A pile of treats on my desk for random training.
"Come" means, run away from mom because she is going to pick me up and put me in the kennel.  We also need to work on going into the kennel on cue as well.
By me practicing this every few minutes while I’m working, he is getting so many more repetitions than he would if I were standing somewhere in the house calling him.  He would realize I have treats and not move away again.  This way it’s also a “real world” setting.  He is learning to call out of play to come to me, which is very important for a herding dog that can get overstimulated really quick.  I NEED to have the ability to call him to me no matter what is going on and he must know, “I need to go see what mom needs”

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Potty Training Headaches

Trying to Potty Train Yadi definitely made me want to pull my hair out!!  When he came home, from his breeder at AJ's County Corgis he was litter box trained, and that was great.  It made having him at work with me so much easier.
Our other dog at the time an Australian Cattle Dog named Loki, made that really hard to use at home.

Kong Wobbler
 Kong Wobbler so he he was used to hitting everything with his paws to get the food out.  I had to end up getting him elevated bowls because he kept flipping his food and water bowls.  Well as Yadi got bigger and I needed to move his littler box outside of his crate Loki would flip it thinking it was some sort of puzzle that would give him food.
When Loki was a puppy I fed him out of a

We had just bought our house 5 months before we got Yadi so I didn't know if Parvo was in the yard or not and I did not want to risk it so I didn't start working on taking him outside until he was 12 weeks old and had had all of his shots. Just in case you're wondering, Parvovirus can live in the ground for up to 10 years.    Loki made it harder at home because he shredded potty pads and make it really hard to teach Yadi where to go inside. As soon as he had all his shots though we started heading outside.

One of the important parts about going potty outside that I try to make sure all my puppy parents know is that it takes time for your pup to get bored.  If they are too busy exploring, it's going to take them longer to go potty.  Why does that matter you ask? Because your pup is not going to go to the bathroom unless there is nothing new outside to explore.

Yadi was diagnosed with Cryptorchidism at just 8 weeks old. This is where one of his testicles did not
Yadi at 8 weeks old
descend as it should have when he was born,  This is a genetic defect and requires surgery to correct. When left uncorrected it increases by 10 times, the dog's chances of getting cancer.  Dogs with Cryptorchidism should always be neutered, as this is a genetic defect, to make sure that it is not passed on any pups they could sire.  Pups with this condition also have increased chances of developing behavior problems with intact males and urine marking.

Well the Marking was definitely something we had an issue with.  He had always been a ladies man and anytime a female dog came though the doors he had to mark.  You can imagine how hard that became with him being at work with me in a grooming salon.  I finally resorted to making him wear a belly band when we were at my office because I could not get anything done for having to stop and clean up pee every 5 minutes.

Part of my problem is that I have forgotten from Potty Training my son Ian,  that I have to plan my whole day around taking potty breaks.  Then when we go outside I'm so pushed for time, I forget that we need to set a timer for how long we need to stay outside so that he can get bored and do his business.  I truly believe the hardest part of potty training is us being human and not giving our dogs the time they need.

I went back to my basic schedule for potty habit training, with Yadi and now we are doing so much better.

Sometimes our dogs don't even know how to tell us they need to go out and there are things we can do for that to help them.  I'll cover the Art of Potty Bells in another post.  The big things to remember in potty training are this:
  • We are forming the HABIT of going outside to do our business
  • Watch our dog for any signs that mean they need to go
  • Give them the time to get bored outside
  • Don't free feed them, if you don't know when the food is going in, you don't know when it needs to come out
  • Don't be in a hurry!
Now my general schedule for potty training requires you to either use a crate, or using a leash as to keep your dog with you.  
After feeding your dog, put them in their crate or keep them with you leashed up for at least 30 minutes. 
Mom I just wanna sit in
in the pretty flowers.
Go outside with your pup for at least 5 minutes and keep them on the leash.  Do not go walking all around your yard/block.  Go to 1 spot and stay there.  You need to let your pup get bored so they will actually go to the bathroom.  

If they do potty, GREAT!!  Praise/treat them and then let them run around and play or explore.  If they don't then we go back in the crate or back inside on the leash for another 10 -15 minutes, and repeat the process.  We are also working on setting up the habit that we go potty before we play.  

We also need to take our pups out about every 20 -30 minutes to go pee as well.

Potty Training  or other questions can be directed to me at dog.trainer.girl@gmail.com
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The Kona Diaries - Secondary Fear Stage and Vet Visits

This morning I had a plan.  I was going to take Kona to Hollywood Feed for some social interactions.  Since spending all this time at home...