Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Q & A - round 2!

I have to say, I really enjoyed this whole Q&A thing- I don't generally remember what I've said in my blog posts, so I don't realize what you don't know!  While Parker required an entire post to explain how awesome he is, that won't be the case for all your questions.  Though that would give me a month's worth of posts...

Kidding, kidding.  Here are a few more of the questions you asked:

Trinity's Love asked-  Who is the most or best trained of your dogs? What are their ages now & when you adopted them?  

Now that is a funny question.  Skye has gone through many more classes and taken a lot more one-on-one practice to teach her manners and good behavior.  It took over a month to teach her to 'down.'  In class or at home, if I pointed to the ground and asked her to down she would do this:

Make me!
Or this:


Or this:

Gravity cannot stop me!!!

Clicker training was the break-through for Skye.  It is flexible enough that she can have fun, but it makes her want to work.  Skye definitely lacks that desire to please that so many pit bulls have in abundance.

Parker has only been to 1 group class and required minimal effort on my part (see Why is Parker so Awesome for more details).  I would say he is better trained, but Skye has had far more training.  That being said, Skye is now a well trained dog that I am proud to bring just about anywhere- it just took her a long time to get there.

As for ages, Parker came to me the day after his second birthday.  He will be 5 in September.  Skye's age was estimated to be about 2-3 when I got her, so we set her birthday in October, when she will be 5 as well.

The Rufus Way asked: How have you grown as a trainer since adopting Skye (I know she gave you some challenges at the beginning)? 

Oh man.  How haven't I grown as a trainer since adopting Skye?  Before Skye, I knew how to train dogs using positive reinforcement and consistency.  She was my 9th foster dog, so I had plenty of practice with rambunctious untrained dogs.  But Skye was the first dog I had to train that genuinely wanted nothing to do with it.  Our first training session she ripped my jeans in an outburst of insanity and that just about set the tone of our training relationship.

With Skye it was always an uphill battle, but it made me a better trainer.  I had to deal with my own frustration and admittedly short temper because at the first sign of agitation, she would quit.  I had clicker trained before, but it really wasn't my go-to technique.  Now that I've seen how much it has helped Skye use her brain, I've begun using it with more and more clients whose dogs need help focusing.  And, as the blog suggests, I've learned patience.  I'm still learning patience, but it gets easier every day.

Our Waldo Bungie asked:  Do Parker and Skye sleep with you?

After college graduation.

Sinatra and Kona


Yup.  I'd say the bed is definitely dog territory.  The only rule is that if I want you off, off you go.  And don't hog all the pillows.  Parker is the only dog that doesn't want to sleep on the bed with me.  He sleeps on his dog bed in the corner or with my mom, but Skye snores too loud for him to lose beauty sleep with us.

Tune in next time when I answer a few more of your great questions!


  1. So glad that clicker-training helped to break through to Skye and training! I have had a similar experience with my current foster. She is not stubborn, but definitely a slow learner, and the clicker has improved her understanding skills leaps and bounds!

  2. That photo of Skye hugging you while you sleep?! Priceless!!!!

    PS - thank you for not making me feel so bad that my pooches sleep with me! :)

  3. I love the photos! I too share the bed with my pup. Its a full sized bed but many nights I find myself clinging on for dear life while a 70lb lab stretches out :-P

  4. Once again your photos make me smile and laugh out loud...thanks for your beautiful blog!

  5. Are you still taking questions? If so, do you know of any good resources for finding dog-friendly events / activities / places in Massachusetts or New Hampshire?

  6. What good is a bed without dogs in it?

    Stop on by for a visit

  7. Awww, Lola looks like she's got the hang of it. They are all cute pictures.

    Skye I know you actually learned it all the first time you were just testing your human ;)


  8. i love that picture of parker, that face he's giving with the party hat on is priceless!!


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