The Most Terrifying Day of the Year – Happy 4th of July!

 

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

- Benjamin Franklin

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When I was a kid, my grandma had a dog named Patches.  He was the sweetest beagle ever.  A bit stoic for a beagle, he wasn’t really into playing much, but he was a solid companion.  He was one of those dogs who never did anything wrong – he was trustworthy both in and out of the house.  He never needed a leash, and he didn’t have a fenced-in yard.  Didn’t matter; he never even thought about leaving the yard.

I’ll never forget Fourth of July when I was 11 years old.  Patches would have been roughly 13 at that point.  A senior most definitely, but a healthy, sprightly old man.  Most of my  mom’s side of the family was spending the holiday at my grandma’s house:  at least 18 of my 22 cousins, plus aunts uncles – it was a kid heaven.  At dusk the adults started to light some fireworks.  We had a great time.  We headed home around 10:00.  Traffic was unusually heavy on the street where my grandma lived.  It took us a while to navigate.  When we got home, we found out why.

Patches had been hit and killed by a car.

The dog who had always been so stoic, truly a Pilot of a dog, had been frightened by the fireworks and run into the street.  Nobody had bothered to check to see where he was because the dog had never left his boundary in his entire life!  Not to chase squirrels (he stopped at the perimeter), not when guests came (he met them at the driveway).  Never.  Of course if we had realized he was terrified, we would have taken measures to ensure his comfort and safety.

Sparta and Orion have a fenced-in yard.  They will be spending the 4th in their crate, with soft music playing (I almost always have music on in my house, so this will seem normal, if not a bit louder, to them).  My pets’ safety is all on me.  It’s my job to make sure they are happy and healthy.  Things that may not seem scary to me may be terrifying to them, so even though they’ve never shown any signs of fear in the past from fireworks or thunderstorms, I’m still going to make sure they are contained.  It’s my job as Pilot.

Fourth of July is the busiest day for animal wardens.  Dogs (and cats) become scared and run off.  Some never return.  Take some precautions to avoid tragedy:

  • Exhaust your dog before nightfall.  Exercise creates a natural state that make your dog want to sleep.  Help them to sleep through the scary parts.
  • Secure your dog in their crate.  For added security, a blanket can be placed over the crate (it will insulate some of the noise).  Just make sure that the dog is comfortable, and not overheated if you add a blanket, and always leave a few inches of the crate uncovered for ventilation.
  • Make sure your dog has their tags on, and consider microchipping. It could be their ticket home.
  • If your dog is terrified, Pilot them.  You can’t soothe them.  They are legitimately frightened, and speaking to them in a high, whiney, “soothing” voice is counterproductive.  They need a Pilot, not another source of stress.  Read how to accomplish this here.
  • If your dog needs to eliminate, take them outside on a leash.
  • Ask your vet about medication if your dog has a history of reacting badly.  I’m against casual medication of dogs because they are “too hyper” or “anxious” during normal situations.  Those dogs need Piloting.  This is not a normal situation.  Before I get on an airplane, I have drink.  A strong one (or two).  I’m terrified of heights, and it takes the edge off.  That’s all you’re looking to do:  take the edge off of a truly terrifying and abnormal situation.  Again, consult your vet.  Do not self-medicate.

I do miss Patches, though it’s 25 years later.  He was a good dog.  Perhaps he would have lived only a few more months before succumbing to old age.  Perhaps he would have lived a few more years.  Regardless, his life was cut short due to ignorance.  I now know better.  I will Pilot my dogs through the Fourth of July.

Keep calm and pilot onKerry Stack
Darwin Dogs LLC
Dog Training in Cleveland, Ohio

Your Next Mission

 

How can you not pet that face? -Brittany Graham Photography

How can you not pet that face?
-Brittany Graham Photography

All I want to do is drink wine and pet my dog – Every Dog-Parent T-Shirt

I came home the other day exhausted. It had been a long week. Nothing particularly bad, just a lot of brain power used and a lot of running around. So, like any normal adult I laid down on the floor. Just sprawled out. I barely made it a yard into the apartment before I was reaching for it.

As I laid down, my four legged side kick made his way over. He laid down next to me gently, trying to get a feel for what was going on. He took some good sniffs to see what kind of energy I was throwing off. Quite honestly, I wasn’t throwing off any. Porter decided that was fine and laid down on his side facing me so that I could get some belly scratches in. And we both laid there, face to face, no distractions.

- Brittany Graham Photography

– Brittany Graham Photography

Sometimes, when I get home I’ll immediately get on my phone. I fall into the habit of checking what I missed within the last hour. This time, there was no phone in between us, no tv, no rushing around to get to the next event, it was just us. And it was perfect.

We laid there, just hanging out with each other for about an hour. Yup, I laid on the floor for an hour and did nothing but pet my dog.

I didn’t miss any earth shattering event by not checking my phone for an hour.

I was able to have an hour of uninterrupted bonding time with Porter.

I was able to recharge my dog-mom sails for the next time he may push the patience buttons.

I found some new and calm energy by taking an hour break.

Nothing but positive things happened in that hour.

We all say it: All I want to do is pet my dog all day. Well, do it!

- Brittany Graham Photography

– Brittany Graham Photography

Take some time to just hang out with Fido and regroup. It will only benefit both of you. Put away all the distractions, electronics included, and just pet your dog. Then see how much better your day gets!

Keep calm and pilot on

Danika Migliore
Darwin Dogs, LLC
Dog Training in Cleveland, OH

Feast

In a gentle way, you can shake the world.

Mahatma Gandhi

 

My majestic Papillon, Orion

My majestic Papillon, Orion

Dogs are a great mystery.  They work magic in everyday situations: they console silently. They entertain. They are faithful. They are, in short, amazing creatures.

There’s a story about when my husband and I were first dating.  He stopped by my house for the first time, and Darwin ran up to greet him.  My husband reached down and made a huge fuss about my dog.  As I was walking into the other room to grab my purse before leaving, I called out to him, “Don’t try to get in good with me through my dog.”

My absolutely handsome dog, might I add.

My absolutely handsome dog, might I add.

Years later, we laugh about that.  My husband admits that yes, he was trying to “get in good” with me through my dog, but he also did like Darwin – a lot.  And if I’m honest with myself, I know that no matter how wonderful my husband is, if he hadn’t liked loved Darwin, I would not have married him.

I recently stumbled upon a short by Disney.  It perfectly captures the various roles of a dog - in seven minutes.  Watching this made me think of Darwin, and how hard it must have been for him.  See, Darwin and I were best friends. He slept in bed with me. He shared all my adventures (he was my date to two separate weddings). He was my therapist and my personal trainer. He was my binge-watching X-files partner. How difficult it must have been for him to have someone else move into those roles.  My husband is 6ft., as am I.  There was no room in the bed for all three of us, so I bought Darwin a nice, comfy bed for the floor.  Kids came, meaning he was no longer my personal trainer – we were relegated to our daily walk, not our everyday rambling jaunts.  But Darwin took it in stride.  Because he loved me.  Life may change, but not our bond.  Circumstances may differ, but not our devotion.  And even though he went over the Rainbow Bridge many years ago, he’s still my boy.

Darwin's last pic.

Darwin’s last pic.

So when I saw this animated short, aptly entitled “Feast”, it instantly brought a smile to my face, because that was Darwin.

Keep calm and pilot onKerry Stack
Darwin Dogs
Dog Training in Cleveland, Ohio

 

When the Levee Breaks

Now, cryin’ won’t help you
Prayin’ won’t do you no good
When the levee breaks
Mama, you got to move
- Led Zepplin, When The Levee Breaks

Brittany Graham Photography

Brittany Graham Photography

Orion peed on the floor last week.


I’m not going to say it’s my fault, because I let him out, I saw him go, and I let him back in.  Besides, I’m not a big fan of blame.  I’m surely not going to blame Orion.  He’s a dog. What happened was this:

I took Sparta for a walk.

I know what you’r thinking.  How on earth could taking Sparta for a walk result in a mess on the floor from Orion.  Was Orion trying to get back at me?  Answer: No.  Dogs don’t work that way.  Here’s the blow-by-blow.

1) I know Orion is a super-hyper dog with a lot of energy.  If I don’t help him get rid of that energy in productive ways, it turns into nervous energy.

monkeyboy-oklahoma-oThat’s a bad thing. Orion had a lot of energy that morning.  I’ve been pretty busy, and haven’t been giving him quite enough outlets during the day.  Yes, we still hiked, but he’s a dog who needs a LOT of physical activity to be at his best. And while each day he had enough  exercise to skim the energy off the top, I didn’t empty his cup, if you will.  Unfortunately, that builds up over time.

2) Orion has a nervous temperament as well.  He’s like a skittish racehorse. And when he has some shock to his system (like my taking Sparta for a walk before him, which is our usual MO), he literally can’t hold it anymore  Like a 4 year old on Christmas morning.  Yes, the child has been potty trained, but if you add too much excitement, nothing is stopping the flood.

Or as I refer to it, The Fountain of Youth

Or as I refer to it, The Fountain of Youth

3) I forgot who my dog was.  Orion has a bit of separation anxiety, especially with Sparta.  I know Orion initially self-soothed by, uh, eliminating in a high stress situation.  Yes, we worked on that, and he’s been amazing these past few years.  But this is a behavior you manage, rather than cure.  Orion hasn’t eliminated in the house in a very, very long time. I just happened to create the perfect storm for him.

So what should I have done?

1) Paid more attention to his need for activity.  Yes, I was busy, but that’s a reason, not an excuse. If I blow the engine on my car because I was too busy to change the oil, I don’t get a pass from the mechanic who has to replace my engine.  I’m the one who got the car/dog.  It’s my responsibility to change the oil/tire out the dog.  No excuses. Figure something out, or, in my case, clean something up.

2) Control the situation. So the amount of activity in our house has been down, meaning I was already setting Orion up for failure.  So I added on top of it.  I know he’s used to going for the walk first, and was ready to go!  Except, I reneged on him.  And rocked his little world.  That merely added to the stress he already had from lack of activity.

giphy (12)

 

3) Know your dog. This is Orion, not Sparta, who hasn’t gone in the house since, like, ever!  I know his triggers, and as I work with him, they trigger him less and less, but still, he has them.

So this week I’ve been proactive.  His amount of activity per day has been increased.  I’ve gotten him accustomed to being along in the house first, while I take Sparta for very brief walks, (like out the front door, down the driveway and then back) so he gets used to the idea and isn’t traumatized by it.

So now when I’m presented with two dogs who are each waiting for their (separate) walks, each with a lot of energy, I’m able to manage the situation better.  I hold up a leash and let them know I’m ready for my first solo dog walk of the day with one of them.  And rather than this reaction from each of them:

giphy (13)I get this.

giphy (14)Orion knows now that just because he isn’t first doesn’t mean he isn’t skipping his walk.  And I know now that good enough is only good enough for so long.  Now I’m very careful to make sure I get rid of all of Orion’s energy.

Keep calm and pilot onKerry Stack
Darwin Dogs
Dog Training in Cleveland, Ohio

 

 

 

An Entertainment Break

- Pete and Tank, Brittany, from Brittany Graham Photography's own dogs!

– Brittany Graham Photography 

Peeves do not make very good pets – Bo Bennett

 

I’m a sucker for movies that make me laugh. Especially if they’re animated, and double especially if there are animals involved.

So, when this little preview appeared before me, I couldn’t hit play fast enough.

I’ll have to wait a full year before I can sit in a movie theater, hopping up and down on my seat, and making people question my age. But, I think it will be well worth it. Please enjoy and suffer the wait with me for The Secret Life of Pets.

Keep calm and pilot on

Danika Migliore
Darwin Dogs, LLC
Dog Training in Cleveland, OH

 

 

 

 

If You Meet Me On the Street….

  Have no fear of perfection – you’ll never reach it.
- Salvador Dali

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Hello, my name is No-No Bad Dog!!!
Brittany Graham Photography

I ran into my hairdresser yesterday.  This is my hair looked like.

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I call it: The Kerry.  It will rival The Rachel.

We all do it.  If I see my hairdresser, my hands immediately fly up to my head to check my coif.  If I see my doctor, I toss the ice-cream cone I’d been licking.  Funny thing is, people do it to me, too.

I saw a few of my clients at the dog park yesterday.  Immediately, they put on their game faces, and make sideways glances over to me, and then anxiously back at their dogs.  Guess what…you’re not fooling me.  I know your dog isn’t perfect.  Guess what, neither are mine, and I never want them to be.

Out on a walk, I see you.  You’re calmly Piloting your dog, answering your dog’s questions as they arise:  (Can I eat that?  No.  Is that other dog a threat?  Nope.)  You’re doing fine.  Brilliantly well done!  Until you see me.  OH NO!  IT’S THE DOG TRAINER!!!!  You get flustered, and embarrassed that your dog is “misbehaving”.  Suddenly you’re jerky in your movements.  You start talking at your dog, escalating.  You’re adding energy that wasn’t there before, and you’re dog is feeding off of it, until you’ve finally got the leash wrapped around you both like cat’s cradle.

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Brittany Graham Photography

I just smile.  You think I’m judging you, but I never will.  You were doing fine.  You were answering your dog’s questions as they arose, and there’s nothing bad in that.  That’s the basis of Piloting!  It wasn’t until you saw me that you crashed your plane.  All because you cared about what I thought when I saw you.  Guess what?  My thoughts don’t matter.  You’re doing fine.  Don’t let your concerns about what others think rule your actions!

My Sparta will still occasionally bark at a dog who’s being walked….three streets over.  Orion sometimes will steal a tissue out of the garbage.  Point is, I know how to manage them.  I know how to address the situation when someone tries to take money out of my Piloting piggy bank.  It’s up to me to help my dogs live in my human world, so I answer their questions.  With Sparta, she’s asking if something a threat.  No, it isn’t.  Orion is trying to claim something that I’ve already claimed (the garbage can).  He’s asking if he can have what’s mine.  Uh, no you still can’t.  Both answers will entail simple negative body language.  Questions answered.  We’re done.  No punishment necessary. Questions aren’t bad….it’s when answers aren’t given that bad things start to happen.

I don’t ever want my dogs to be perfect.  I don’t want your dogs to be perfect, either.  So when we’re at the dog park together, and your dog doesn’t come the first (or second) time you call them, I’m not judging you.  However, when you stop calling them after the second time, go over and retrieve your dog, I will give a little internal fist pump.  Keep calm and answer their questions.

 

Keep calm and pilot onKerry Stack
Darwin Dogs
Dog Training in Cleveland, Ohio

 

Being True

   This above all; to thine own self be true.

   - William Shakespeare

Danika and Porter

Go to any job interview and they’ll all ask you the same question:

What are your weaknesses?

We all come up with grandiose answers where our weaknesses are still strengths: I work too hard. I am a perfectionist. I spend too much time working.

But what if we took some time to really answer those questions and answer them honestly.

My weaknesses? I don’t let things go. I’ll harp on a situation for way too long. I react emotionally when I should, instead, be taking a step back. I’m impulsive.

It’s not fun or easy to admit, but it is what it is. Now try admitting the weaknesses of someone that you love. No, I’m not telling you to throw your significant other under the bus. What about someone that you had a hand in raising. That relies on you to provide them with their every need and who selflessly loves you back.

What if you had to name the weaknesses of your dog?

It’s hard to admit them at first. It took me a while with Porter. You find yourself making excuses, but it’s just who he is. We work on them daily, but they won’t ever fully go away.

Porter’s list: Dog reactive. Food aggressive. Resource Guarding.

Why is it important to know his weaknesses? Because I can’t make him into something he’s not.

When I first was looking for a dog I had grandiose thoughts that my new family member would become a therapy dog. We could visit hospitals and nursing homes together. I would be able to take him to races and community events easily, never having to pay attention to him. But that’s not the reality. He can’t be a therapy dog nor a service dog. It’s not in his nature and I have to come to accept that.

It’s so important to know what your dog is capable of. We get individuals all the time that when we ask what issues they’d like us to work with them on, they say “dog reactivity, biting, and we want him to be a service dog”. We can absolutely show you how to work with your dog’s reactivity. Not a problem. Biting? Yeah, we’ve got you covered there too. But trying to take that same dog and change him into a service dog? Well, that’s like taking me with all my weaknesses (the impulsiveness, the major emotional reactions) and having my career be as a firefighter or a nurse. There’s no way that’s going to work. I would not be good at my job. And it would stress me out as well. I would be unhappy. My colleagues would be unhappy. It’s not a good fit.

My weaknesses, just like Porter’s, don’t make me a bad person or him a bad dog. We learn how to compensate and work with our weaknesses, just like I work with and help Porter with his.

You can’t force a dog to be a service dog. It’s amazing that you want them to be, truly amazing. But take a look at the bigger picture. Does your dog have the right temperament? Are the areas that your dog needs to improve areas that would ultimately affect how he would perform?

Don’t pretend your dog is something he’s not. Buying a vest that says “Service Dog on Duty” doesn’t make him a service dog. It’s detrimental to the image of service dogs as well. Don’t be ashamed of who your dog is or hope that he can be something he’s not.

Remember, you’re Pilot. That means you have the responsibility of putting your dog in situations where he’ll succeed. Love him for who he is. Not what you had hoped he could be.

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Porter may not be a service dog but he makes me laugh constantly. He keeps me warm at night. He lets me pet him and forget about the stress of the day. In a sense, he’s my service dog. He just doesn’t have the official title. But who cares about titles? Not dogs. They’re just happy to be yours.

 

 

Danika Migliore
Darwin Dogs
Dog Training in Cleveland, Ohio

It’s a Dog

The more you find out about the world, the more opportunities there are to laugh at it.

 - Bill Nye

Brittany Graham Photography

Brittany Graham Photography

Phone call.  I just barely missed answering it (okay, I was busy eating raw cookie dough from the mixing bowl – priorities, ya know). Voicemail:

“Hi, my name is ____ and I’m looking for some help.  I just recently acquired a dog.  She’s a…well, ….dog.”

This person gets it.  She doesn’t have a “doodle”, nor a “GSD”, nor even a “mutt”.  She has a dog.  Her dog’s name might be Fifi or Rascal.  Her dog might love fetch and snuggles and long walks on the beach (along with chewing up the furniture).  That’s what her individual dog’s personality is (and yes, they do have different personalities).  However, Fifi/Rascal is still a dog, and that’s an incredible being who doesn’t need a specific breed to make it even *more* awesome!

After all, I’ve never made an appointment with a doctor and immediately pointed out that I’m half Slovak, and part Scottish and German.  Because I’m human, with a distinct personality.

 

fd455023_tumblr_lt67npxWml1qjvkh3o1_500
Confession:  I’ve always had a pretty big crush on Bill Nye.  I mean, he’s smart, funny, and knows his way around a bow tie.  I think I can honestly call myself a Nye Girl.  Nye-list?  I kinda “a-Nye-hillated” that one, but I think you catch my point: I wouldn’t kick him out of the lab for eating crackers.
Hey Bill....I got my ion you

Hey Bill….I got my ion you

Anyway.
You can imagine how thrilled I was over this little tidbit of his that I recently discovered regarding dog breeds, and origins of dogs.  It’s a short little piece, but the concepts introduced, when you put it all together at the end, is pretty amazing.  I’ll admit, at first I wasn’t quite on board with what he was saying, but he tied it all up nicely with, well, a bowtie.

If you’re offended at the concept (or rather, revocation) of breeds, as yourself, why?  Does Rover really need to be a AmStaff for your to love him the way you do? Is your little Bella any less precious if you think of her as a dog rather than a poodle?  Your dog isn’t less special if you eliminate the breed description and replace it with “dog”.  It makes them unique, with their own little personality, all packaged up in a big/little, fluffy/short-haired, being called dog.
Keep calm and pilot onKerry Stack
Darwin Dogs
Dog Training in Cleveland, Ohio

 

A Lesson From Porter

  Breathe. Let go. And remind yourself that this very moment is the only one you know you have for sure.
   – Oprah Winfrey

5-9-14

Sometimes, I let my mind run a little too much. I’m constantly thinking about the next thing I need to be doing, what I should have done, what I could’ve done better. It can range from things that happened that day to things that happened 5 years ago.

The worst is when I go to bed. I’ll lay down and know that I need the sleep that is about to come, but I can’t get my mind to stop. The constant buzzing and swirling of the day’s events, of past events, fill my mind. Then comes the frustration. The thoughts of I really need to be asleep right now. Why am I not asleep? I’m going to be a mess at work tomorrow. And now I’m in a whole new swirl of thoughts and emotions that only keep me up longer.

When we first brought Porter home he slept in his crate. I wanted him to know that this was a place he could sleep on his own. I wanted him to enjoy his crate and not mind going in there at night if he had to. But, eventually he was allowed to sleep in the bedroom.

The first night he slept in the room with me, I was on alert. Would he go to sleep? Would he pace? Would he understand that his bed was the one next to me on the floor? As I laid there trying to listen to any movements he might make, I heard him stand up and do a few circles in his bed. Then I heard him lay down. I waited to see what would happen next. A few minutes went by, and then all of a sudden I heard him take a huge deep, cleansing breath. One of pure contentment and of letting go. I smiled to myself and found myself mimicking him. And suddenly I was asleep.

Porter does this every night. He settles into bed and then there’s one big deep inhale and exhale of breath. It’s a nightly reminder to me that at the end of the day, you just have to let it go. There’s no need to worry about what happened that day or what’s going to happen tomorrow. Just one deep breath and you can relax for the night.

5-9-14(1)Our dogs are wise. You may not think so, in fact, each time Porter accidentally runs into a wall I find myself shaking my head and wondering about his actual intelligence. But they’re creatures of the present. They are beings that completely invoke living in the moment. Keep an eye out and you might be surprised at the lessons your pup can teach you.

Keep calm and pilot onDanika Migliore
Darwin Dogs LLC
Dog Training in Cleveland, Ohio

Faulty Logic

Blame is just a lazy person’s way of making sense of chaos.

Douglas Coupland

Brittany Graham Photography

Brittany Graham Photography

Today I had a conversation with my friend Anne (not her real name), who was having some problems housebreaking her dogs.  I spoke with her for several minutes on the phone.  While I was sitting on my couch with a nice, hot cup of coffee, helping her identify the housebreaking issue, Orion jumped up on the couch, jumped over me, and knocked my arm holding the cup of coffee , spilling it all over my couch.  I pose  question: whose fault was that, mine or Orion’s?

The answer:  Neither and both.

Let me explain.  There is one mantra I’d like you to chant over and over again.  Something that will help you get through moments like the one I had today.  Moments when your dog chews up your favorite shoes, or leaves a puddle on the floor.  This is important enough to tattoo somewhere (inconspicuously, of course).  Something that explains why you’re having problems with your dog,and what your reaction should be:

My dog is a wonderful dog, who is learning to be human. I am a wonderful human, who is learning what it is to be a dog. 

Ink it

Ink it

It’s a learning curve for both of you!  Cut yourself some slack.  Cut your dog some slack, and understand that you are working on a bond that transcends species!  How many of us can say they have the perfect friendship/relationship/marriage that doesn’t have its ups and downs?  Not me.  And that’s a relationship that’s at least with someone who speaks the same language as you!  That’s why I’m completely, 100% against blame of any kind.  Wait a minute:  let me get Captain Jack to explain.  Everything sounds better coming out of Johnny Depp’s mouth, right?

But you HAVE heard of him?

But you HAVE heard of him?

Look at it like this…what are your goals for your dog?  To be good?  But a good what?  Your dog can only be the best dog he can be.  You can only be the best human you can be.  Leave room for lots of error.

There’s an old saying about how to housebreak a puppy.  Basically:

“A rolled up newspaper can be an effective training tool if used properly immediately after a housebreaking accident or if your dog chews something. Take the rolled up newspaper and hit yourself over the head while chanting the phrase “I forgot to watch my dog. I forgot to watch my dog. I forgot to watch my dog.”

hate that mentality.  Blame.  It’s like ketchup to a kid. It goes with everything.  

"Why yes, I would love a side of blame to go with my piping hot dish of guilt!"

“Why yes, I would love a side of blame to go with my piping hot dish of guilt!”

That’s not to say there isn’t a problem.  But let’s start out in the right frame of mind now, and starting off training by blaming anyone isn’t the way to go.   Here are some simple ways to appropriately deal with a situation that you’ve deemed negative (remember, “negative” doesn’t mean “bad”, merely that you don’t want that behavior again).  Let’s focus on the two problems that occurred today, Annie’s housebreaking problem and Orion’s incident, which we’ll dub Coffeegate:

Be rational.  Orion didn’t wake up this morning and decide to leave a huge coffee stain in the middle of my couch.  Dogs don’t premeditate anything.  The universe isn’t conspiring against me, and my life doesn’t suck.  I have a coffee stain on my couch.  End of story.  Your dog doesn’t hate you when he pees on the rug, nor is he getting back at you.  You aren’t the world’s worst dog owner and your dog isn’t stupid.  You’re trying (as a human) to understand why your dog is acting, well, like a dog!  Understanding the logic of another human is difficult, let alone another species.

Determine if there is indeed a problem.  Orion is allowed on the couch.  I’m allowed to have coffee.  Perfect storm of clumsy dog vs. clumsy owner?  Possibly.  Odds of the same situation happening again?  Minimal.  But that’s not always the case.  Housebreaking issues?  Yeah, you know that’s gonna happen again.

"Deja-Poo", when you feel like you'e pooped here before

“Deja-Poo”, when you feel like you’e pooped here before.    Britany Graham Photography

Have a plan.  My plan for the couch?  I flipped over the cushion.  My plan for if the perfect storm aka “Cofffeegate” starts up again?  The PAW Method.  Answering’s Orion’s questions about whether or not he can jump up on the couch when I have coffee (hint: read this article to see how).  Annie’s housebreaking issues are going to take a bit more effort, but here’s the Darwin Dogs’ method on dealing with housebreaking issues.

Move on.  Yes, come on. You can do it.  Don’t cultivate anger.  As Mark Twain said:

“Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.”

Now think about all the times your dog has been angry at you. Or blamed you for something.  Sparta, Orion and I had a pretty terrible day last week.  Within the first 2 hours of waking up I accidentally kicked Sparta in the face while going up the stairs, and then punched Orion in the throat when I reached for my phone.  Do you know how each dog reacted? Without blame.  I felt terrible. That’s because I’m stuck being a human.  My dogs?  They got over it instantly.  How lucky are they who have no word for “blame” or “guilt”.  As Hoagland stated so succinctly:

In order to really enjoy a dog, one doesn’t merely try to train him to be semi-human. The point of it is to open oneself to the possibility of becoming partly a dog.

Brittany Graham Photogaphy

Brittany Graham Photogaphy

Keep calm and pilot on

Kerry Stack
Darwin Dogs
Dog Training in Cleveland, Ohio