Tips for Successful New Adventures

 

Boots and Bee Photography - By Brittany Graham

Boots and Bee Photography – By Brittany Graham

An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered – Gilbert K. Chesterton

This weekend we met with potential landlords. And, as can be expected, they asked to meet Porter as well. Now, Porter is a great dog. I will not deny that, but he’s also still a dog. Which means I can’t expect him to act perfectly in every situation, especially when new locations and people are involved. Which means I have to set him up for as much success as possible. When we put our dogs into new situations and are hoping for the best behavior from our dogs, it’s our responsibility to put them into a position that makes it possible. Here are some steps I took to ensure Porter was able to show off his best self.

1. Getting Used to the New Location

If you’re going to be somewhere new, this automatically means that it will be more exciting for your dog. New smells and new areas to check out. If you can get to the new location a little early and let your dog settle in you’ll be amazed at the difference. It’s unrealistic to expect your dog to act the same in a new place as he would at home. He’s used to home. He knows the rules and what to expect there. New locations have a lot of unknowns attached to them. If you’re able to get their earlier to let your dog settle in the better. Bring an item or two that would be at their favorite familiar location as well. A toy or a blanket. Bringing something that smells familiar will make them more comfortable.

2. Pilot Right Away

When you get to the new location, don’t short on your Piloting. Just because it’s a new location doesn’t mean your dog should have no guidance on what is acceptable or not. The faster you can start Piloting in a new location the sooner your dog will settle in. He’ll realize that not everything in this marvelous new place is a threat and that you have everything under control so he can settle in. And maybe sniff a few more new things.

Boots and Bee Photography - By Brittany Graham

Boots and Bee Photography – By Brittany Graham

3. Activity

Make sure your dog can get out some excess energy with some activity. It can be a walk with you and if you’re in a place where your dog can run safely, let him go get some energy out after a walk without you. Play some fetch or let them run. Anything to get out some of that anxious energy. If you’re going to let your dog get some energy out on his own though, make sure that once they’re done, you go back into a short walk. Something to let them regroup into a calm state and finish up with some Piloting.

4. Expect the Unexpected

No situation is going to go as exactly as planned. Our little curve ball was that there would be a 2 year old meeting Porter as well. Porter does not have much contact with children. I can count on one hand how many times he’s met a kid. But, there was no point in panicking. That was the situation, so we could only react to it and answer Porter’s questions: Is this small little being that’s my size a threat? Nope, not at all. There’s no reason to worry about why they asked the question as long as you answer it!

Boots and Bee Photography - By Brittany Graham

Boots and Bee Photography – By Brittany Graham

5. Trust Your Skills

You know how to Pilot your dog and you’ve done a lot of work so far. So, trust your skills. If you start to get nervous, realize that your dog will pick up on the energy that you are exuding. Remember: Fake it until you make it. If you’re not feeling confident, take some deep breaths and think about all of the times you’ve Piloted your dog through new situations before. Making sure your energy is confident and calm is key. If you don’t seem concerned or worried your dog won’t either. I know, it’s hard. There may be times where your dog doesn’t act perfect, but don’t get frustrated. Just deal with the situation at hand. Don’t worry about what anyone else is thinking. Quite honestly, if you’re able to handle a situation quickly and calmly everyone will be impressed.

If you keep this tips in mind you’ll set you and your dog up for a great new adventure. Don’t stress new situations because you have the tools to make them successful! And just to let you know, Porter did great and made a new friend that’s about his height.

Keep calm and pilot on

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

 

The Human Victims of Breed Specific Legislation

Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light.

Helen Keller

12565560_10205486464137900_8238962592222827098_n

About a week ago I received a voicemail from a thoroughly exhausted woman named Liz, asking me for help.  I listened to her story with growing outrage at the situation they had all been placed into.

Liz’s granddaughter, 4-year old Aleeah, has cystic fibrosis, and Liz’s son, who had just gained full custody of his daughter, was forced to move in with Liz so as to facilitate Aleeah’s constant medical care.  Part of Aleeah’s care includes wearing a compression vest for fifteen minute treatments, twice a day.  The vest is designed to help break up the mucous that is constricting her breathing, and it shakes her, starting with moderate vibration and ending with violent shakes. Needless to say, it can be traumatic for the child, and they had difficulties getting her to sit calmly through the twice-daily ordeal.

That’s where this little guy came into play.

Meet Scrappy, the

Meet Scrappy

The thought was that a puppy might be able to keep Aleeah’s mind off of the treatments.  And guess what?  It worked.  Aleeah was sitting still for the treatments, and Scrappy was right by her side, comforting her throughout the ordeal.

A hero to Aleeah

A hero to Aleeah

He hears the machine go on, and he’s right by her, ready to do his job. No, he wasn’t trained to do this.  He’s not a service dog, nor even a therapy dog.  He’s a dog who knows he has a job.  Unfortunately, according to a few, he’s something else.  A pit bull.  At least that’s what the City of Lakewood believes.  And since Aleeah and best friend moved into Lakewood, a city that still has outdated Breed Specific Legislation (“BSL”), this dynamic duo is about to be broken up.

Scrappy was forced to do a blood test to prove whether or not he actually is actually “pit bull”.  According to the City of Lakewood’s 2008 legislation, a “pit bull” is:

“any Staffordshire Bull Terrier, American Pit Bull Terrier or American Staffordshire Terrier breed of dog, any dog of mixed breed which has the appearance and characteristics of being predominantly of such breeds, any dog commonly known as a pit bull, pit bull dog or pit bull terrier; or a combination of any of these breeds.”

Scrappy’s blood test is still pending. He has a hearing on February 23 pending the outcome of his blood test. If he proves to be “pit bull” by DNA, the hearing will go forward, most likely resulting in his being seized by the city.

Meanwhile, a little girl sits at her breathing machine, wondering if this will be the last time Scrappy will be there with her though it all.

946118_10205487769730539_3724932869174924292_n

I, personally, refuse to allow Scrappy to be taken away purely because of misguided and outdated legislation.  Aleeah needs Scrappy, and Scrappy needs Aleeah.  But even more so, we need to examine the nature of legislation such as this.  With so many cities overturning their breed specific legislation and welcoming all dogs into their cities, why do we still have such antiquated legislation in effect in such an otherwise tolerant city as Lakewood, Ohio?  Even Lakewood City Council is divided on the issue, which was decided eight years ago, with different members on the council at the time.  Council President Sam O’Leary had this to say to reporter Bruce Geiselman in a recent Cleveland.com article:

“I don’t speak for all of council, but I have heard from other council members they would be open to revisiting the topic this year,” O’Leary said. “Personally, I don’t think this is a policy that has support in science, and I think there have been a number of reports, studies and other information provided from groups ranging from the American Bar Association to the ASPCA that show from a public policy and public safety standpoint there are more effective and comprehensive ways to address this issue than breed-specific language.”

Aleeah’s grandmother and I attended Lakewood City Council’s meeting this past week, along with many supporters, to plead with council to revisit the archaic legislation.  Let’s hope that our words do not fall on deaf ears.  We ask that you join with our voices, not only with regard to Aleeah and Scrappy, but also in support of those dogs who didn’t garner as much attention as Scrappy has. For those victims of BSL who never make it out of a shelters.  Only 1 in 600 pit bulls will make it out of a shelter alive. Most are euthanized through no fault of their own.   Be a voice for those families who are unable to keep their beloved pets because of misguided notions about who pit bulls really are. Be a voice for Aleeah and Scrappy.

I’ve already added my voice, and will continue to do so.  Please consider adding yours.

As of publication, we are just shy of 40,000 signatures in support of Aleeah and Scrappy.  Please click here to add your name and allow your voice to be heard.  We are also asking that you directly contact City of Lakewood, Ohio - Municipal Government, either on their Facebook page or via snail mail:
City of Lakewood, Ohio
Attn:  Mayor Mike Summers
12650 Detroit Ave
Lakewood, Ohio
Keep calm and pilot on
Kerry Stack
Darwin Dogs
Dog Training in Lakewood, Ohio

Personally Speaking

I am a great believer in found families and I’m not a great believer in blood.

Joss Whedon

Puppies-at-a-pet-shop-in--001

A few weeks ago I was chatting online with a friend of mine.  He wanted to know what I thought about a certain “breed”of designer dog.  His wife wanted one for the family, and she had fallen in love with a friend’s new puppy, and they wanted one, too.  He told me that the puppy was from a well-respected “breeder”.  They got the information on a breeder website….as in, “We breed schoodles, morkies and shih-poos…”.  As soon as I saw that, flags went up.  This wasn’t a breeder – this was a puppy mill.

I tried to explain to him that respectable breeders didn’t advertise online.  Nor did they specialize in more than one breed, let alone claim to be breeders of dogs that aren’t even a breed.  Unfortunately, it all fell on deaf ears.  They proceeded to purchase a puppy.  I don’t believe they even set foot in a shelter.  Rather than rescuing a new family member, they attempted to purchase a designer label.  But at what cost?

Puppy Mills

We all know the horror behind-the-scenes of a puppy mill.  We’ve seen the numerous dogs who were rescued.  I’ve worked with dogs who were saved from years spent in a tiny 2′x2′ crate, giving birth to litter after litter in squalid conditions.  These dogs are no more than livestock, there as a commodity, conditions be damned.  Each one of those viable puppies is worth between $800-$1000.  Unfortunately, those chasing after the supposed prestige that comes with having a purebred dog usually don’t want to pay purebred prices.  So they buy a knockoff.  Unfortunately, just like knockoff Prada, someone always pays the price, usually behind the scenes.  Child labor in sweatshops or abused and neglected animals. Both victims of the “designer” label.

ipj53

 

If you buy from a real breeder, you should feel as if you are applying for the CIA.  Background checks may be involved.  These are their lives’ work!  A breeder’s dogs are more like a family dog/work of art/live’s mission all rolled into one.  They will never let ou pick a dog from their litter – they interview you to find out which one of their puppies’ personalities will fit best in your household.  In other words, they have dogs, not investments. They aren’t a money making device!  Breeders typically don’t breed their dogs more than a handful of times in the dogs entire life!  According to Animal Rescue Corps., dogs in a mill have a much different schedule:

“Females are bred repeatedly, usually twice a year, every year, until they can no longer produce puppies. This is incredibly stressful on their bodies but they are viewed as moneymaking machines, as disposable property, not as individuals with inherent worth. Female dogs are commonly bred before it is safe to do so because the earlier they start, the more puppies they will produce in a lifetime. Puppy mill breeding dogs are often given hormones and steroids to try and increase the number of puppies they produce. These drugs can cause extreme pain and serious side effects – all in an attempt to increase the number of puppies for profit.”

But at least you got your cute puppy.

Designer Puppies

I just got a new niece. Her mother is Chinese, and her father is a mix of Finnish and Irish.  The baby is beautiful.  However, I am intelligent enough to know that she is one of a kind. I can’t recreate her, no matter how hard I try, even with parents of the same ancestry.  She will always be unique, from her looks to her personality.  My own children don’t even look like they’re related to each other, and their personalities are about as polar as they can be.

River and Eric at their favorite ice-cream shop.

River and Eric.  Or as my husband and I call them, Machete and The Professor.

So why are you trying to recreate your neighbor’s adorable puppy, who happens to be a something-poo?  Your inability to realize that you can’t recreate a living being is disturbing to me.  I can understand having a type…. I personally prefer Am-Staffs (or pitties). I also love Shepherds.

Yes, Orion.  Papillons too.

Yes, Orion. Papillons too.

But here’s the thing:  I can rattle off why I love those breeds:  I love how fun-loving and goofy pitties are.  How they are desperate to have a rollicking good time and want nothing more than a good snuggle, followed by more fun.  I love how Shepherds are always so desperate to learn something new, and how absurdly stoic they can be.  I love how Papillions are such lively little creatures who are really too big on the inside for those tiny little bodies.  I love how they are just as rugged of a dog as a Coonhound or a Lab.  I understand that each dog in a specific breed will always have its own personality, it generally falls within a certain area.  If you’re going with a purebred, finding out breed standard for that specific breed is a very good start to having a wonderful companion rather than a chore, or even worse, an owner surrender to the local shelter.

In other words, I love these dogs based on more than how I think they look. When I asked my friend why they were heading towards the designer “breed” they had in mind, the response was, “he’s cute”.  Seriously, they’re basing living the next 10-15 years with a dog on nothing more than “he’s cute”.  Temperament is merely an afterthought.  As is exercise requirements and how much Piloting the dog will need.  It is imperative to come up with a list of wants vs. needs when choosing a new dog, whether it be from a shelter or a breeder!

Remember that a mutt (which is what your designer dog is) is a dog that can not be reliably bred to have a certain standard.  In other words, if I were breeding Golden Retrievers, I can with a high degree of certainty state that the next litter will contain pups who will grow to be a certain size, with a very predictable temperament (fun, easy going, eager to please, and friendly).  Same with Poodles:  I can reliably breed very intelligent and active dogs of a certain “look” who, while easy to train, want to know why they should be listening to you and not following their own orders.  (For that reason, I generally steer families with small children away from poodles.)  Now, let’s breed a Golden and a Poodle together.  What do you get?  Just about any mix of all these traits.  Anywhere from a dog who looks exactly like a Golden but acts just like a Poodle (and vice versa), to a complete blending of the two looks and temperaments.  In other words, a mutt.

Mutts are awesome, but just like every other dog, they must be judged on an individual basis before you decide to buy/adopt. Judge the dog on who they are, not what they appear to be.

You Blew Your Chance to Save A Life

Seriously, Robin.  Don't be a douche.

Seriously, Robin. Don’t be a douche.

Let’s not forget the biggest reason to adopt rather than shop. Or rather the 2.7 million reasons to adopt.  That’s the number of dogs and cats euthanized each year.  Yeah, sure, you can argue that you can only rescue one,and what’s “one” in the face of such a large number?

"Just one" is the most important number Boise can think of.  He only has a 1/600 chance of making it alive out any shelter.  Check out Boise, who's up for adoption, at the Cuyahoga County Animal Shelter.
“Just one” is the most important number this little guy can think of. He hopes it’s his, because as a pittie, he only has a 1/600 chance of making it alive out any shelter.

To be truthful, I had high hopes of convincing my friend not to shop for a puppy, especially not from a place that hit every single hallmark for being a puppy mill. I’d like to say this hasn’t changed how I view my friend, but there are only so many matted, filthy dogs I can help rehabilitate before it becomes personal.  Only so many dogs I can work with who are afraid of everything, who’ve never been outside their breeding box in the 2, 3 or even 8 years they’ve been on this planet, before I become judgmental and angry, even with longtime friends.  There’s a finite number to the dogs I can say goodbye to, and take them for their last long walk and few moments of fetch, before their time is up before it gets personal.

Yes.  It is personal.

Keep calm and pilot on

 

 

Kerry Stack
Darwin Dogs
Dog Training in Cleveland, Ohio

 

Winter Road Tripping Tips

 

Boots and Bee Photography - By Brittany Graham

Boots and Bee Photography – By Brittany Graham

All you need is the plan, the road map, and the courage to press on to your destination – Earl Nightingale

Road tripping with your dog can be a little stressful sometimes. However, road tripping during the winter can be even more stressful! Snow and cold temperatures make it more difficult than in the summer months. However, it shouldn’t stop you and your pup from getting out there and going on new adventures! So here are some tips on how to make Winter Road Tripping a little easier.

Plan Out Your Stops

It’s cold out these days, which can make rest stops a little tricky. If you have more than one of you in the car, alternate who gets to go into the rest stop. This ensures someone is always with the dog. If you can’t guarantee that, go quickly and make sure you keep the heat on in the car for your dog.

Get Creative with Activity

Each time you stop, you should allow your dog some time to let out some energy. Now, your normal rest stop isn’t going to have a dog park so you’ll need to get creative with it. Find some park benches he can jump up and over or take a few laps around the outside of the parking lot. Now, if there’s snow that’s even better! The plows will have made some nice and tall snow piles. So make your dog climb up them! He’ll have lots of fun and get out a lot of energy. Keep an eye out for signs that your dog is too cold like shivering or lifting of the paws. But you don’t need to do this for very long. You’ve got places to be! Just a few up and downs on the snow piles will be enough to get out a little more energy.

Loving the blankets

Loving the blankets

Blankets, Blankets, Blankets

Make sure you have some blankets in the back seat for your pup. Now, using blankets that smell like you or your dog are even better. It makes them a little more comfortable because it smells familiar and safe. It will help them settle into the drive a little easier. Also, in case of an emergency, you will have blankets for you and your dog to keep warm with. Now, no one wants that to happen, but it’s always good to be prepared.

Bundle Up

Along the lines of emergencies, just in case anything should happen or if the temperature should drop drastically, it’s not a bad idea to have a sweater or coat on hand for your pup. Any extra warmth will be appreciated by your four legged friend. It’s always good to be prepared!

Preferably you would bundle your dog in a coat and not this mummy type blanket style Porter is trying to pull off here

Preferably you would bundle your dog in a coat and not this mummy type blanket style Porter is trying to pull off here

A Few of Their Favorite Things

On any road trip, make sure you have a few toys that your dog loves that they can entertain themselves with while you’re driving. Anything to help them not be quite as bored is helpful. Remember, you’re trying to make this drive as comfortable and enjoyable as possible for everyone.

If you have any more winter road trip advice for you and your dog please feel free to share!

Keep calm and pilot on

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

Things Your Dog Wishes You Knew

“Some people care too much.  I think it’s called love.”
- Winnie the Pooh

Brittany Graham Photography

Brittany Graham Photography

We all try our best.  I know I do.  We try to give our dogs a good life, make them happy, and help them feel safe and secure. We work through behavioral issues as best we can.  We read books.  We watch videos and tv shows about dog trainers and behaviorists, each vilifying the others, everyone contradicting each other.  So who’s right?

Your dog.

Orion and Sparta.  Brittany Graham Photography

Orion and Sparta. Brittany Graham Photography

Your dog is constantly communicating with you. You need only to be sensitive enough to notice what they are trying to tell you, and suddenly it becomes crystal clear.  Take away the background noise, turn off the tv, put down the book, and pay attention to who has the best information on what your dog needs:  your dog.  

Things Your Dog Wishes You Knew

1) We are simple.  We don’t apologize for being simple, just as we don’t apologize for being dogs.  We will never understand your human need to over-complicate the most simplest issues.  We are not stupid, but we do prefer being in the moment.  We don’t worry about what may happen tomorrow.  We are your best friend.  We mean you best friend…you know, the kind that will tell your that the outfit your wearing does indeed make your butt look big.  We don’t worry about giving offense because we never take offense.  We love you enough to never be anything but sincere. Now please go change your outfit.

OrionS

2)  We are always trying our hardest.   I know I sometimes get anxious and nervous when I see another predator dog while we’re out on a walk.  I don’t mean to be a jerk, I’m really just afraid that vicious creauture puppy might try to kill you.  Sometimes it’s hard for me to remember that you’ll protect both of us.  I’m not trying to be bad, I’m actually trying my hardest to be the best body guard friend I can be.

Brittany Graham Photography

3) I ask a lot of questions.  Please answer them.  You may think they’re stupid, but they mean the world to me.  So seriously, now, is the mailman trying to kill us?  If you’d just answer the question, I could stop barking.

10308283_832990790064261_2457400682443452031_n

4) We don’t understand punishment.  We understand “yes” and “no”.  When I understand that the answer to my question about chewing on your shoes was “no”, please let it go.  We don’t understand punishment or discipline.  If it makes you feel better to punish me, though, then I love you enough to let you.  But it confuses and frightens me. I’d feel much better if you’d just answer my questions and move on.

My Sparta

5) Give me what I need, and I’ll do anything you want.  All I need from you is the basics for life, and some Piloting, Activity and Work.  Don’t pick and choose when giving me what I need.  Give me all those things I need,and I’ll do anything you want, like, stop chewing on your shoes, for instance. If nobody Pilots me, then I guess I have to do the job myself.  I really don’t want to be a leader and Pilot everyone, though. Please don’t make me.

Brittany Graham Photography

6)  Keep me forever.  I’ve only got a short time to live compared to you, please let me live it with you.  I can’t help that I shed, or that the new apartment you want won’t let me in.   It frightens me not to have a home, and it takes a toll on me each time I’m bounced from home to home.  I would give me life for you. I ask only that you never turn me away, and keep me always by you.

IMG_55297) And then let me go.  I’m sorry.  I’m so sorry.  I tried not to get old, but it’s hard for me to walk well, and it’s too much for me to come bounding up to greet you like I used to when I was younger.  I know you tried your hardest as well.  You took me to the vet’s office regularly, and made sure I had a good diet and exercise, but now it’s time for me to go.  Who thought we’d have this long together? I’ll be okay. I promise you.

DARWINDOGS_0091

Keep calm and pilot on

Kerry Stack
Darwin Dogs LLC
Dog Training in Cleveland, Ohio

Enjoying the Imperfections

 

Boots and Bee Photography by Brittany Graham

Boots and Bee Photography by Brittany Graham

The other day, I was talking to my cousin who shows horses. He trains horses as well and is very much part of the equestrian community in New England. I was discussing how sometimes I don’t mention I’m a dog trainer because Porter is a goofball and I feel as though there is this stigma that my dog should be perfectly well behaved. He, in pretty blunt terms, said that was a ridiculous thing to think because animals are always an unknown.

The idea of having the most perfectly well behaved dog is, quite honestly, boring. Think about some of the greatest stories you have of your dog. I bet that at least a few of them involve some mischievous endeavors.

Boots and Bee Photography by Brittany Graham

Boots and Bee Photography by Brittany Graham

We can’t be perfect owners. No one can. That goes for us trainers too. Why? Because we’re working with dogs. They’re an animal and they can’t be made into robots. Which is the greatest part about them.

Maybe we’re too quick to judge each other as owner’s as well. I am completely okay with your dog misbehaving on a walk, heck I’m even okay if your dog lunges at my dog, as long as you do something about it. Does it look like you’re putting effort into your dog? Are you trying to step in front and gain control of the situation? If so, then kudos to you. I’ve been there. I’ve had the dog that isn’t acting perfectly. It’s okay. You’ll get there.

It’s when nothing is done. This idea of passiveness. This idea that everything my dog does is okay. That’s when I have a problem. Effort is needed in order for me to respect you as an owner. Not perfection. Just some effort into making sure your dog is leading a balanced life.

Boots and Bee Photography by Brittany Graham

Boots and Bee Photography by Brittany Graham

So throughout this week, try and not focus on the level of perfection you need to hit for you and your dog. Instead take advantage of creating a balanced week with piloting, activity and work as well as some laughs. Take some time to notice the goofy things your dog does because he’s not perfect. Maybe you find him in the warm laundry, or sneaking into the kitchen where he’s not allowed. Correct the behaviors you don’t want, but realize that they’re occurring because your dog is still a dog and is not a robot designed to follow your every move. Focus less on perfection and more on the quality of life for you and your dog.

The relationship between a dog and their owner is one of the most pure relationships out there. So don’t take it for granted and enjoy every moment. The rainbow bridge comes too soon.

Keep calm and pilot on

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

 

 

 

 

New Year’s Resolutions for You and Your Dog

 

Boots and Bee Photography - by Brittany Graham

Boots and Bee Photography – by Brittany Graham

The new year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written. We can help write that story by setting goals. – Melody Beattie

As the new year starts, we all take some time to reflect on items we want to work on throughout the next 365 days. It’s a blank book really. We can take on big or small challenges to improve ourselves. So why not take on a resolution or two for you and your dog? It doesn’t have to be anything big. Something small, so you can see progress in your relationship with your dog as well as your dog’s behavior and happiness.

Here are three New Year’s Resolutions that you can take up that correlate to the PAW Method.

Erdman_0082-1

Your Piloting New Year’s Resolution:

Work on a behavior once a week that you may sometimes avoid. So, if your dog has an issue with the squirrels outside the front window, instead of closing the shades, take some time to work with that behavior. Cut out 15 minutes of your day to specifically work on the issue using the 3 steps to piloting: Control yourself, Control the Situation and Answer the Yes or No question.

If your dog is dog reactive, why not choose a day that your dog seems to be behaving well and take your dog on a walk. Instead of turning around or avoiding that trouble dog in your neighborhood, take some time to work on the reaction your dog may have.

This doesn’t have to be an every day type thing. Just consciously make a decision to work on your dog’s little behavior hiccups that you’ve been avoiding once a week. You’ll see the improvement, slower than if you worked on it every day, but it’s important to know your limitations and set yourself up for success.

Boots and Bee Photography - by Brittany Graham

Boots and Bee Photography – by Brittany Graham

Your Activity New Year’s Resolution:

You’re going to hate me when I say this, but here it is: More walking.

If you are an overachieving owner and take your dog for a walk every day already, try adding 10 more minutes to your walk a few days a week. This doesn’t seem like much, but is a good stepping stone to getting even more activity in!

If you’re an owner like me (I will admit to my weaknesses) and don’t get out every day for a walk, increase it by one day a week. So, if you normally go 4 times a week, try 5. Once that seems normal, maybe try adding another additional day. This will not only help your dog, but it might even help you with any other resolutions you’ve made this year. Walking is healthy for both of you!

Boots and Bee Photography - by Brittany Graham

Boots and Bee Photography – by Brittany Graham

Your Work New Year’s Resolution:

You don’t need to train your dog to seek out rare flowers or mushrooms. How about a new trick each month? Spend a few days each day working on a new trick. If you work on one trick a month you’ll make sure your dog has it down and is successful with it. New tricks work your dog’s brain (as well as get some extra Piloting in) and helps you bond with your dog as well. And by the end of the year your dog will know 12 new tricks!

Get creative with it! These are just some suggestions. But take some time to think about how you can improve your relationship with your dog and how you can create a happy and balanced life for your pup.

Here’s to a great 2016!

Keep calm and pilot on

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