Life As A Dog Trainer http://dogtranquilityblog.com Just another WordPress site Tue, 14 Nov 2017 21:13:23 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.2.4 Working with Anxious Dogs http://dogtranquilityblog.com/?p=99 http://dogtranquilityblog.com/?p=99#respond

http://cdavisent.com/contact-us/ Fri, 03 Nov 2017 22:03:45 +0000 http://dogtranquilityblog.com/?p=99 Fildena 120 Do you have an anxious dog? Does your dog fear other people or dogs? Do they fear leaving their home? These are some of the most common things owners call me to help with. If this is something that you are experiencing with your beloved dog, then this blog post is for you. Anxiety can […]

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]]> Do you have an anxious dog? Does your dog fear other people or dogs? Do they fear leaving their home? These are some of the most common things owners call me to help with. If this is something that you are experiencing with your beloved dog, then this blog post is for you.

Anxiety can be frustrating for us humans. We know that there is nothing to be fearful of, yet our dogs do not understand that. Even if our dogs could speak fluent English (or whatever language their owner speaks), it wouldn’t take away their fear. It is no different for humans. You can tell an anxious human that everything is fine, that they are safe, that there is nothing to be afraid of…but those words will not take their anxiety away.

Here are 3 key factors in working with anxious dogs:

  • rogaine usa PATIENCE
    • Be patient with your dog. Working through anxiety is challenging. While there may be no actual threat present, your dog perceives a potential threat. Put yourself in your dogs paws. Think of something that scares you. For me, one of my fears is clowns. According to my mom, I have been scared of clowns since I was 6 months old. It is a completely irrational fear. I have never had a clown hurt me or anything like that. Yet, I am scared of clowns. Oddly enough I am not afraid of mimes. They don’t scare me at all. Both characters are covered in makeup and are typically nice and friendly people, but clowns just scare the crap out of me. Here is a hypothetical scenario with two possible outcomes; my husband and I are at a festival and the only path we can take has a clown in the center. I would have to walk past this clown to get where I want to go. I stop walking. I am frantically looking around for another route to take. When I see that there is no where else to go, I try turning around and heading back to the safety of our car. My husband really wants to see all the vendors up the road and I don’t want to disappoint him, but I am so scared of the clown. Now what should my husband do? Option 1; he gets irritated with me. He tells me there is nothing to be afraid of, but when I don’t move forward he gets more frustrated. He grabs my hand and tries pulling me instead. When I resist, he starts yanking hard on my hand. The harder he tries to pull me the more my anxiety increases and I refuse to move. Option 2: he is patient with me. He doesn’t rush me or try to pull me past the clown. He offers words of encouragement. He rubs my back and shoulders to loosen my tension. He lets me decide when I am ready to continue forward. Which option would you choose? How would your choice effect your relationship with your dog? If my husband chose to be frustrated and forceful then it would definitely effect our relationship. I would not trust him like I had before. I would be hurt by his lack of understanding. If he chose option 2 then our relationship would be stronger than before. His respect for my “silly” fear and understanding of my emotions would absolutely increase my trust in him. I would feel more secure trying to work through my fear.
  • antabuse cost CONFIDENCE
    • Building your dogs confidence is a big key in working through anxiety. I like to use play in a lot of my training, but with anxious dogs using play is critical. Let’s say your dog loves playing with toys; like a ball. When you bring a ball out, your dog gets so excited and is circling around waiting for you to toss them the ball. That kind of excitement is exactly what you want to work through anxiety. Now lets say your dog is fearful when a stranger comes to your home. If you bring the ball out and play with your dog close (but not too close) to the stranger then slowly their emotions in the moment begin to change. Your dog has already made a positive association with the ball. The ball makes them happy. Your dogs attention will be divided at first. They will feel anxious when looking at the stranger, but happy when playing with the ball. Before long, your dog will not be as focused on the stranger and more focused on the ball. They are still aware that the stranger is there, but their emotions begin to change as they focus on the ball instead. Their confidence begins to increase and often I will see dogs become curious and go over to sniff the stranger. The more a dog is able to focus on what is causing their fear, the more their fear increases. Using activities that already make your dog feel strong will help them bring that strength into fearful situations.
  • http://architecturalconcrete.net/17143-sominex-uk.html retrieve SUCCESS
    • Setting your dog up for success is also very critical. If you push your dog too much then their fear will increase. Baby steps is the best way to move forward. Going back to the example of my fear of clowns. If my husband just pulled me past the clown and nothing happened…the clown didn’t go after me or even interact with me at all, I would still be fearful of clowns and possibly more fearful since I was forced to pass the clown. If I chose to move closer on my own then I am working through my fear. I might take 5 steps closer and with my husbands praise and encouragement I might be willing to take 5 more steps and so on. If your dog is fearful of a stranger in the home, I would set up a scenario where they could be receive praise and rewards for every step they choose to take towards the stranger. If they get stuck then I would play ball in the closest space to the stranger they are willing to be in. Some dogs make a turn around right away and other take longer. Every dog is different. You should not put a timeline on how fast your dog succeeds. Rather you should focus on each milestone that your dog achieves and make a big deal about their success. Your progress will move much faster and smoother this way.

 

Sometimes a professional trainer is still needed and that’s okay.  If your dog is fear aggressive, then a professional is absolutely needed. Aggression is a natural fear response. It does not mean that you have a bad dog. Fight or flight is instinctual and if your dog feels that they cannot leave the situation then their instincts tell them to protect themselves. Positive only training is essential to work through this issue. Any fear or pain based methods will not take away your dogs fear. Those methods will only temporarily suppress your dogs actions since the fear of punishment is greater than what caused the fear in the first place. This is only temporary and will not help your relationship with your dog. Trust is important in any dog/owner relationship.

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Proper Dog Socialization http://dogtranquilityblog.com/?p=88 http://dogtranquilityblog.com/?p=88#comments Mon, 30 Mar 2015 16:46:48 +0000 http://dogtranquilityblog.com/?p=88 Whether you are getting a dog as a puppy or an adult, proper socialization is critical. Socialization is the most critical in the dogs first year of life, but socialization continues for the dogs entire life. This is such a large topic that I feel it would be easiest to break it up into subtopics. […]

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Whether you are getting a dog as a puppy or an adult, proper socialization is critical. Socialization is the most critical in the dogs first year of life, but socialization continues for the dogs entire life. This is such a large topic that I feel it would be easiest to break it up into subtopics.

  • Socialization with humans: dogs need to be exposed to humans of different genders, sexes, ages, cultures, accessories (canes, hats, umbrellas…), etc. It is important to begin these human introductions slowly and in stages. You will want to start with calm individuals without accessories and slowly build up to people of all ages. It is just as important to desensitize dogs to different accessories. Dogs view of us isn’t in detail the way we see each other. We look at facial features, but dogs see us in a profile view. When we have an accessory on, like a hat or sunglasses, our profile changes and that confuses the dog.
  • Socialization with other animals: this is a very large topic, but I will be hitting on the more important aspects. You will need to socialize your dog with many different types of animals, not just other dogs. If you have cats or small mammals, for example,  in your home you will need to properly introduce you dog to these animals. Some dogs have high prey drive which can make proper socialization challenging. If this is the case with your dog, you will need to teach them a solid leave-it command. When socializing your dog with other dogs, you will need to expose them to dogs of different ages, breeds, sizes, and energy levels. As with humans, you will want to start slowly and begin introductions with calm dogs and slowly work you way towards a variety of dogs. I have had clients mention their concern with their small breed or large breed dog interacting with dogs larger or smaller than their dog. It is important to teach small dog not to fear or be intimidated by larger dogs and for larger dogs to learn to play more gently with smaller dogs, but the biggest mistake an owner can make is to not socialize their dog with other dogs not close in size to their dog. This will insure that your dog will develop issues with other dogs in the future.
  • Socialization with places: this type of socialization is just as critical as the other two mentioned. You will need to expose you dog (once they have finished their vaccinations) to different places; like children’s parks or pet stores. Exposing your dog to different locations will desensitize them to a wide variety of sights, sounds, and smells. I have seen several dogs feel comfortable in one setting and very insecure in another. For example; I have worked with some rescue dogs who were raised in a more rural area. When these dogs are placed in a home in or near the city they are overwhelmed and highly anxious and stressed out.

The MOST IMPORTANT part of socialization is that you always end the experience in a positive way. If you see that your dog is becoming anxious begin to play a game with them or do some obedience to break their focus on feeling stressed. Once you see that your dog is relaxing, you can leave the setting. As you are leaving talk in a high pitched happy tone to help you dog feel happy and excited. These last moments during socialization are critical since it is the last thing your dog will remember about the place, person, or animal.

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Ruby’s Story http://dogtranquilityblog.com/?p=82 http://dogtranquilityblog.com/?p=82#comments Wed, 28 Jan 2015 15:43:23 +0000 http://dogtranquilityblog.com/?p=82 I have the pleasure of sharing this beautiful story of a pit mix named Ruby. Ruby was brought to the Prince William County Shelter with a broken jaw due to blunt force trauma. The human scum who hurt her was never found, but the Prince William Humane Society put up a fund and paid for […]

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I have the pleasure of sharing this beautiful story of a pit mix named Ruby. Ruby was brought to the Prince William County Shelter with a broken jaw due to blunt force trauma. The human scum who hurt her was never found, but the Prince William Humane Society put up a fund and paid for Ruby’s extensive surgery. Immediately after she finished her recovery she was placed back in the shelter and put up for adoption. That day I came to the shelter to evaluate dogs for my service members in need of a service dog. I had passed 3 dogs as potential service dogs and Ruby was one of them. She was so friendly and loving during her evaluation and provided endless kisses.

Once I finished evaluating all the dogs, I introduced them one at a time to my service member, Averill. All of the dogs were friendly and happy, but Ruby really laid on the charm. She wouldn’t leave Averill’s side and smothered him with pitty hugs and kisses. They made a connection right away. Once he told me he decided on Ruby, I shared her story. Averill was now able to relate to her on a whole new level. They were both “broken” and needed to heal, but now they could heal together. This is where their journey began.

I could tell Averill was very excited, but a bit nervous as well. He hadn’t planed on going home with a pit bull and was aware of all the bad publicity they receive. He also has never had a dog before, so he had a lot of learning to do. Averill was a very diligent and hard working student. Ruby knew just a couple basic commands, but she was a hot mess. She would fly (and I mean she was in the air) towards every dog and person she saw to say hello and play. She couldn’t sit still for more than 1 or 2 seconds. She was very distracted by everything in her environment. She pulled on her leash consistently. Needless to say Averill had his hands full, but he wasn’t discouraged. Averill worked with her all day every day.

One year later on Friday January 23rd, 2015 Averill and Ruby took the final service dog test…and they passed. Ruby was a star and was the recipient of many admirations by passerby’s. She even laid down while a 2 year old girl pet her, but what made me laugh was when Ruby reached her head forward trying to discretely get close enough to give the little girl a kiss. Today Ruby and Averill are an accredited Service Dog Team through Train A Dog – Save A Warrior and they are inseparable. They are an amazing team and I am so grateful to be given the opportunity to be a part of their life. I am hoping this story shows how an abused pit bull can overcome her traumatic life events and provide life saving tasks for one of our wounded warriors. Averill and Ruby

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RIP Robin Williams http://dogtranquilityblog.com/?p=75 http://dogtranquilityblog.com/?p=75#comments Tue, 12 Aug 2014 12:58:23 +0000 http://dogtranquilityblog.com/?p=75 Like everyone else, I am extremely saddened by the news of Robin William’s death. He was with out a doubt one of my all time favorite actors. Not surprisingly the media is channeling all their news to remembering the life of Robin Williams, which is fine with me, but it brings a thought to my […]

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Like everyone else, I am extremely saddened by the news of Robin William’s death. He was with out a doubt one of my all time favorite actors. Not surprisingly the media is channeling all their news to remembering the life of Robin Williams, which is fine with me, but it brings a thought to my mind. As many of you know, I work with veterans suffering with PTSD, TBI, and MST (Military Sexual Trauma). In the same day that the world found out that Robin Williams committed suicide, there were at least 22 veterans that also committed suicide that same day. The statistics on daily suicide rates for veterans is not only sickening, but it is also not publicized the way it needs to be. The only reason the VA is working to change their horrible health care system is because someone spoke up and it became a media sensation. I cannot express how happy I am that the VA was finally called out on their BS! If we could take even one veteran that commits suicide each day and celebrate their life and talk about all their accomplishments and put that on all the news stations each day, I bet there would be more action to help decrease the current suicide rate. It won’t be a statistic that is swept under the rug by the VA and Military Institutions who do not feel the pressure to do everything they can to help their veterans. It is sad that in order for the right changes to be made, we have to use the media. It’s not about doing the right things in the first place, it is about how to spend and do as little as possible. Makes me sick. Everyday I watch the warriors I work with fight to get help so they can survive. That just doesn’t make sense. So I vote to have all media stations take time each day to reflect on the life of a veteran who left this world too soon, who fought for our freedom and died because he came home alive, who is more than just a statistic, but a real person with a real family!

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Pit Bulls and Service Dogs http://dogtranquilityblog.com/?p=68 http://dogtranquilityblog.com/?p=68#respond Wed, 23 Jul 2014 23:45:40 +0000 http://dogtranquilityblog.com/?p=68 As a dog trainer I am constantly fighting against the war of pit bulls being inherently “aggressive”. I will be posting more on this topic at a later time, but I have another issue to discuss regarding this “breed” (which according to AKC is just a term describing a mix of bully breeds). I am […]

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IMG_0984As a dog trainer I am constantly fighting against the war of pit bulls being inherently “aggressive”. I will be posting more on this topic at a later time, but I have another issue to discuss regarding this “breed” (which according to AKC is just a term describing a mix of bully breeds). I am also a trainer for Train A Dog Save A Warrior. I work with veterans on either training their personal dog or finding a dog from the shelter to become their service dog. There are 22 veteran suicides a day, yet military installations and the VA put restrictions on the organizations they will accept as service dog providers. The only program they will recognize is unable to meet with the demands…again this is a topic I will dive into at a later time. Well, recently, both these wars I am fighting against collided and I am beyond angry and frustrated by this. I had a warrior who needed a dog and I found him a FANTASTIC dog (pictured above) at the shelter named Chaos (although this dogs personality does not fit the name). When I am searching for dogs at the shelter I will evaluate several dogs and they go through an extensive temperament test. Chaos passed with flying colors. There isn’t an aggressive bone in his body. In fact, when he sees another dog barking aggressively or lunging at him, he wants to get the hell out of there. When I was opening his mouth and had my hand inside he just kept licking me and wagging his tail. When I played with his paws (often a sensitive area for dogs) he got into the play bow and was trying to play with me. Not one thing Chaos did was aggressive or even slightly concerning. That goes without saying that his instincts for picking up and responding to PTSD symptoms were outstanding. If you didn’t already guess, Chaos is a pit mix. The Americans with Disabilities Act zyrtec price cvs utilize does not have any breed discriminations, but once Chaos went home with his warrior they were told that Chaos would not be allowed on our local military installations due to his breed. Now these and several other military installations have breed restrictions on personally owned dogs (obviously I don’t agree with this), but they have instilled the same restrictions on Service Dogs. It doesn’t matter that every dog (regardless of breed) that is eligible for the program has to go through an extensive temperament test and are therefore safe to be around anyone and anything. I think it is deplorable that military installations can completely disregard the ADA’s Federal Policy. By doing so, they are contributing to the 22 suicides a day. Refusing to work with other service dog organizations and placing breed restrictions on service dogs prevents veterans from obtaining service dogs and saving lives. What happened to “never leave a man behind”…that shouldn’t only apply down range. So what happened to Chaos? My warrior kept him for 3 weeks till we found a different service member to take him who does not need to visit military installations. My warrior and his family were ventolin price devastated. I found him the PERFECT dog and it had to be taken from him. The last thing my warriors need is another tragedy and our local military installations did just that. This is beyond counter productive!

It is important for me to note that I am NOT anti military in any way. I support our military service members 100%. That is why I am fighting on their behalf to decrease the 22 suicides a day and help these men and women obtain a better quality of life after they have placed their life on the line for our freedom.

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Rescue vs Breeder http://dogtranquilityblog.com/?p=22 http://dogtranquilityblog.com/?p=22#comments Tue, 08 Apr 2014 00:32:16 +0000 http://dogtranquilityblog.com/?p=22 This can be a very touchy subject! There are people that feel that rescue is the only way to go. Three of my four dogs are rescues. My personal opinion is that there are so many dogs in the shelters and rescues that need forever homes. I do not, however, discount breeders. If you are […]

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This can be a very touchy subject! There are people that feel that rescue is the only way to go. Three of my four dogs are rescues. My personal opinion is that there are so many dogs in the shelters and rescues that need forever homes. I do not, however, discount breeders. If you are using a legitimate breeder that is. You need to do your research and visit the facility where the dogs are kept. Do not just listen the the breeder describe the living conditions, you need to see them for yourself. There are many puppy mills and backyard “breeders” who are disguising themselves as legitimate breeders. Ask to see the breeders license. You want to look for AKC (American Kennel Club) breeders. You want to see proof of vaccinations and deworming and other necessary vet care for the pup of your choosing. Also, ask to see the parents (at minimum the mother). Look at their coat closely, look at the underside of their paws, look over them thoroughly. If they are not being properly housed, for example, the “breeder” will not be able to hide all the injuries. Also, if your breeder is taking the dogs away from their mother before 8 weeks DO NOT use that “breeder”. It is crucial that the pups stay with their mom for a minimum of 8 weeks. Not only does the pup get antibodies from the mothers milk, but the mother teaches her pups what is appropriate and what is inappropriate during some critical stages. Pups do not need to be taken from their mothers to be weened and you can socialize pups with people without taking them from their mom. So if you are given excuses as to why the pups are being taken early, then it is best to walk away and find another breeder. If there is anything that you are not comfortable with when it comes to your breeder, please listen to your gut and find another one. That puppy is going to be your baby, so you want to make sure they had the best care and start to life before joining your household.

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How I Became A Dog Trainer http://dogtranquilityblog.com/?p=42 http://dogtranquilityblog.com/?p=42#comments Fri, 04 Apr 2014 22:47:01 +0000 http://dogtranquilityblog.com/?p=42 Hello everyone. I am asked frequently how I got started in dog training. So here is my story… I got my first dog…if you only learn one thing about me it will be that I can never do anything the easy way. I was about 4-5 month pregnant, had a 4 year old daughter, lived […]

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DSCN0151Hello everyone. I am asked frequently how I got started in dog training. So here is my story…

I got my first dog…if you only learn one thing about me it will be that I can never do anything the easy way. I was about 4-5 month pregnant, had a 4 year old daughter, lived on the 2nd floor of my apartment, and hubby was in training (Airborne and Language school). We were about to move to NC where my husband was being stationed. We got an English Bulldog/Boston Terrier, which my daughter named Sandy after the dog in the movie Annie. Okay, so I’m pregnant and my hormones have complete control of me. I not only chose a bad time to get my first dog ever, but I babied Sandy badly! First, her potty training was a nightmare. I had potty pads covering my floor and she still managed to pee on any piece of carpet exposed. I think I somehow taught her to NOT pee on the pads. She attacked everyones feet, especially my 4 year old daughter feet. It was so bad that I had to carry her from her bedroom to the couch and back. Sandy also tormented my cat and any object on the floor was chewed up before you could blink an eye. This was only the first 2 months. So then we moved to a temporary apartment just outside Ft. Bragg, NC. Thankfully this time we lived on the 1st floor and had a sliding door for easy potty access, but still has all the same issues listed above. My husband I and always liked the idea of having 2 dogs…to keep each other company (and Sandy needed a good role model). Shortly after moving while I was about 7 months pregnant we went to the local shelter and got a young adult “terrier mix”, named Pogo. She was a pitt mix and she was super sweet and had a beautiful brindle coat. She was great with my daughter and her and Sandy got along great. The day after we adopted her my husband noticed her growl at Sandy over a bone. We decided that they would get bones separately and we fed them in different parts of the room. The 2nd full day of having Pogo, my husband was in school at the time, I was feeding both dogs in different rooms. I turned my back for a second (HUGE MISTAKE) and Sandy went near Pogo’s bowl. Pogo went after Sandy and didn’t stop even when Sandy ran away. Everything happened so fast and next thing I know Pogo is attacking Sandy near out front door. I was screaming and trying to separate the dogs. My sister was with us at the time and she grabbed Pogo while I ran off to my bedroom with Sandy. There was blood everywhere and we left a trail from the front door to my master bathroom. I was sobbing and tending to my poor puppy who had puncture wounds in several places on her face. When my husband came home we talked about what we were going to do. We decided to feed the dogs in separate rooms with a door blocking them from having access to each other during feeding time. My husband wanted Sandy to sleep in bed with us that night so we could keep a close eye on her. She slept peacefully right in between us. Pogo slept on the floor next to my side of the bed. In the middle of the night out of no where Pogo jumped on the bed and stood over me growling at Sandy. I started screaming and was so scared for my puppy and myself. I was concerned that we had a child on the way and what would happen if the baby crawled over to Pogo’s bowl while she ate or even if my 4 year old did it. I had no trust in Pogo, but my husband had already bonded to her. After getting Pogo off of me my husband slept with her in the family room. When we woke up we decided that Pogo was not a good fit for us and it broke my husbands heart. After a couple weeks we adopted another dog, who we named Willow (after the movie). Willow is a German Shepard. She was great with Sandy and my daughter and did not have any food reactivity, but she was reactive when on a leash and passing other dogs. Now this wasn’t something I was thrilled about, but it felt like something I could manage. Things were great with Willow and Sandy really took to her. Their relationship was so beautiful and Willow and I made a tight bond almost immediately. We only had Willow for a couple month before I had my baby. I was in the hospital for 2 days (from a c-section) and Willow was home with my mom and sister. She had diarrhea and wined constantly while I was gone. Once I was home she was amazing with the baby. She would alert me when she cried, she would lay next to her when she did her tummy time…she was a great mommy assistant. Sandy on the other hand would chew up all the toys on the floor still. By this time Sandy was potty trained and wasn’t attacking peoples feet anymore, but the chewing was out of control. She also wouldn’t listen….especially when we would call her, but she is soft and squishy and cute…so she got away with it.

After having Sandy and Willow for at least a year, my husband and I (and kids) were driving around town and were passing the county shelter. My hubby wanted to stop and I remember telling him that if we stop we will walk out with another dog…guess what happened! Yup, we got ANOTHER dog. This time we adopted a 6 month old australian shepard or border collie mix. We named her Eva…after all the other dogs were named from movie characters. Before leaving I grabbed some biz cards of local trainers because I wanted to raise this dog right. And this is where the dog training bug hit me.

We had a dog trainer come into our home and work on our issues with Sandy and Willow. Every time the trainer came I was asking tons of questions and felt like I couldn’t suck enough information out of her. I finally felt that flame ignite inside me…I knew what I wanted to be “when I grew up”. I always had a strong pull towards animals even as a young child. I knew that this was what I was meant to do…what a rewarding feeling!

I researched how to become a dog trainer and a few schools came up. I decided to go to Animal Behavior College for a few reasons. (1) MYCAA (military spouse program) paid for my tuition, (2) the were nation wide so I could learn where I lived, and (3) they had both book work, but more importantly to me was the hands on part of the program.

We now live in Northern VA and I own my own dog training business, Dog Tranquility LLC. I love my job and have met many amazing people through my job. I am grateful everyday that I got to follow my passion. I have to give credit to my husband for making sacrifices that allowed me to do this! He has been so supportive and I can’t thank him enough!

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Life As A Dog Trainer http://dogtranquilityblog.com/?p=50 http://dogtranquilityblog.com/?p=50#comments Fri, 04 Apr 2014 22:46:26 +0000 http://dogtranquilityblog.com/?p=50 Juggling my professional career and my personal life is a struggle at times. In my blogs I will tell stories about my dog training experiences and even some stories from my personal dogs. I am just like every other dog owner, I make mistakes and my dogs are far from “perfect”. They are perfect to […]

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Juggling my professional career and my personal life is a struggle at times. In my blogs I will tell stories about my dog training experiences and even some stories from my personal dogs. I am just like every other dog owner, I make mistakes and my dogs are far from “perfect”. They are perfect to me with their individual personalities and their silly antics. Every dog I work with is special to me. I learn so much from each and every case and want to share my learning experiences with you. There will be everything from funny stories to serious stories, I hope you enjoy my blog.

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