All the world’s indeed a stage. And we are merely players. Performers and portrayers. Each another’s audience. Outside the gilded cage
~Rush (adapted from William Shakespeare)

Recently I was lucky enough to meet a fellow dog trainer by the name of Shannon, owner of Your Good Dog training.  Seeing how dedicated he is to not only his dog, but his clients’, as well as his general demeanor regarding training, I asked him to write a blog post.  Please give his Facebook page a view. Our thanks to Shannon for his post!



What is it about human nature that makes people want to attach themselves to a tragedy? When I hear a story of animal abuse on the news I feel badly for what those involved have gone through but I know that the rescuing agency will give them the immediate care and love that they need. I also know these animals will not spend one second beyond the date they become available in a shelter. When a dog is abandoned and left to starve after the owner vacates an apartment and it ends up at local animal control the staff and volunteers will give it all the love it deserves but when it moves to the adoption floor she is just another furry little face. However put her story on the news and here come the adoption request by the truckloads. Got a story about a Pit Bull caring for a half blind Chihuahua? The request come in by literal tens of thousands. What happens to all those loving homes when they don’t get the famous dogs? “I’m sorry but you did not get the dog that was on the news but we have many more…. hello? hello?”

Most of the millions of dogs in the nation’s rescues, shelters and pounds do not have huge tragic stories. Most are just dogs. Just dogs whose worst crime was having a previous owner who did not take the time to teach them to coexist in our human world, just dogs who got old, just dogs who ran off. Every dog pulled from a pound has at least one story, the one about the day they were rescued. If you need to have a dog with a bigger story then make one up. Dogs are the best secret keepers.

Our dog Karma comes with one heck of a story. I’m not sure of the exact details (begin sappy Sarah McLaughlin song *here*). She was found running down the road dragging a chain that was padlocked to her. She has a BB embedded in her leg. She has monster sized anxiety that she struggles to overcome. We are her third, and final, family. I knew none of this when I pulled her. Well, except the anxiety part. I saw that she would not survive in that environment and brought her home. While her story is one that if properly marketed would get a lot of people wanting to rescue her it is not any more or less sad than that of the dog that had what would appear to be a great life. The dog that had a family, a big yard, kids, toys, everything except attention and leadership. The dog that now finds itself in the pound because “we just don’t have time for it” (yes, I have heard those exact words referring to a dog being surrendered: “it”). The story of the beagle that is surrendered because “she’s hard to walk” (yep, also real) is as heartbreaking to me as the Pit Bull that was rescued from a multi-state dog fighting ring. I have worked with both and at the end of the day each is simply a loving animal in need of a person. Dogs live in the now, they couldn’t care less what happened to us before we showed up at the pound. We should extend the same courtesy to them. The story that got you to the shelter is nowhere near as good as the one you could bring home!

 Shannon Duffy is the owner of Your Good Dog, a dog training company that services the Akron and surrounding areas. Shannon has always had a love of animals and discovered his passion for training while volunteering with shelter dogs. He volunteers with Pay it Forward for Pets, Summit County Animal Control, the HSUS on the Disaster Animal Recovery Team and One of a Kind Pets. The focus of his volunteer work is the evaluation and training of the dogs that are considered to be difficult. His training methods are fun and rewarding for the dogs, the clients and himself. At home he has an awesome dog named Karma who is a rescued Pit Bull that sometimes helps on training sessions.


Keep calm and pilot on


Kerry Stack
Darwin Dogs LLC
Dog Training in Cleveland, Ohio

Placebo In Effect

It hurts doesn’t it? Your hopes dashed, your dreams down the toilet. And your fate is sitting right besides you. – Rounders


Some things just boggle the mind with how evil they are.  Fake charities.  Moms shaving their kids bald and passing them off as cancer patients.  Dogs being passed off as service animals who don’t even know the basic commands.

For a lot of people, service dogs represent a link between the world and a human who may be isolated either mentally, emotionally or physically.  That service animal is a door.  No, I’ve never seen a perfect service animal (hence the word “animal” instead of “machine”).  But typically these dogs are like the Special Forces of the dog world.  Meaning they’ve been through boot camp, Special Forces training and have had real world experiences (or at least the dog equivalent).  They are cherry-picked animals who were chosen because of their ability to handle public scenarios, because they don’t panic easily, and because they flat out can do the job.

Then something like this comes up:  A family has a child who needs help from a service animal. They save thousands of dollars to pay for the dog, holding fundraisers, benefits and drives to help cover the cost of the dog.  They finally receive their canine lifeline, and…he isn’t even housebroken.  He’s destructive. He can’t even do basic things that most dogs are taught in the first few months of living in a house.

You know that door to the outside world?  The one that some person has been waiting for?  Who has spent thousands of dollars on?  What if it’s locked.  Nobody has the key, and nobody ever will.

A recent article from Dogster described it perfectly:

But the point is that even in the best of circumstances, people who are trying to cope with illness or disability are already struggling against a stacked deck. You need an exquisite degree of sadism to not only deliberately exploit that pain and desperation, but add to it for nothing more than a quick buck.

Aside from trying to cope with whatever physical, mental or emotional challenges these dogs are supposed to help alleviate, they are actually making the problem worse!  Fake service dogs usually make you think of someone who can’t bear to be away from their little Princess, and therefore decide to call them a service dog and take them everywhere (even though poor little Princess isn’t mentally equipped herself to deal with the stressful situation these dogs are put through). That’s bad for so many reasons.

Companies selling fake service dogs though?  That’s a new low.  That’s like a pharmacy selling placebos…and charging you full price.  Oh, and there’s still side effects to this placebo.  Just no alleviation of symptoms. That’ll be $10,000 plus your hopes and dreams.

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