For dogs to fit into society, they need to follow our rules. They need to be able to listen to our requests so that we can guide them to do the right thing. The better the bond we build with dogs through training, the better able they are to fit into our lives.
The skills dogs need change as they age or as their life circumstances shift. While much of my dog training work does come from families with young dogs, I also work with adult dogs who develop issues at certain maturation points. For example, it’s common for dogs to struggle with new things around 18 months old, 2 years old, 5 years old, or as they cross into their senior years.
If you are lucky, and you get that once-in-a-lifetime, miracle dog that needs nothing, you should count your blessings because the average dog doesn’t come out of the package perfect. The best thing that ever happened to me is that I got my “bad dog” first. The worse thing I see happen is people get an easy dog first, then every dog after that they think is either “bad” or “wrong.” I’ve had both kinds of dogs. First came, Amelia, the troubled Airedale. Then, along came Mufti, a Corgi, who was the polar opposite. She was perfect dog. She was the dog of my dreams.
I know for a fact that there is always room for improvement, with any dog. How much improvement depends on what the dog came with in terms of temperament and personality and how much time you can truly spend working with the dog.
I love seeing dogs learn, improve their skills, and gain confidence in themselves and comfort with the world around them. Dogs that recognize and respond to our requests enjoy a sense of well-being. They make better family members. They make better veterinary patients. They have a better life.
I was born in Wyoming and grew up in Montana and Idaho. I came to Colorado after college in the 1980s, and I’ve called the Boulder area home ever since. It’s a terrific place for people and dogs.
We always had dogs, growing up. My earliest childhood dog was a Beagle-German Shepherd mix. When my grandfather moved in with us, he always had a toy Poodle.
I share my home with two Jack Russell Terriers (Rosie and Chester). Rosie has some fear issues, and neither of them takes kindly to gregarious dogs, so we work on that. We take agility lessons to keep all of us thinking and to burn off excess energy. Chester is an actor as well. His first role will be in an independent film by a local filmmaker. So far, we’ve only filmed the movie trailer, but it was a lot of fun.
I worked in both retail and as a professional dancer. I went to college to study dance, and I belonged to a couple modern dance companies. I got paid for performances, but I never made a living at it.