“Call him Voldemort, Harry. Always use the proper name for things. Fear of a name increases fear of the thing itself.” – Dumbledore


This is my Darwin.  I rescued him when I was 19 years old. He was my best friend for 12 years before he crossed the Rainbow Bridge about 10 years ago. He was also a complete asshole.

Darwin once found a dead raccoon in the back yard, and rolled on it. It was the worse smell I have ever endured in my entire life.The smell emanating from my dog was unbearable. Like a summo wrestler took a shit on a burning tire. It was kinda cathartic to finally admit it out loud: My dog is an asshole

It would have made a maggot gag.

I spent over 4 hours trying to get the smell off of him, and at that point, me as well, thus causing me to have to cancel a date with a guy I had been crushing on foh-evah. Like, since 4th grade.

Darwin seemed to have problems with skunks. Especially how he envisioned his relationship with them…

…versus the reality.

As Dumbledore pointed out to Harry in the quote in the beginning of this post, fearing to name something what it actually is can be detrimental.  I hear this a lot from my clients.

Client:  Hi, I’m interested in dog training. I have a 7 month old puppy.  He’s been biting us, jumping, stealing things from the counter and this morning chewed our sofa.


Me: Wow – he sounds like an asshole!


Client:  He is!  Thank you for saying that! I love him but he’s SUCH an asshole!

It’s okay to call a thing a thing.  It doesn’t make you a bad dog owner, and as a matter of fact, you may feel better when you finally accept that your dog is an asshole…you can move on now.  Start to address why he is that way, and what steps you can take to address the behaviors that are unsavory. Begin to Pilot his behavior, and answer his questions.

Because let’s face it.  Your dog isn’t bad.  He’s just an asshole.

He has a very good reason for everything he does.

- Chewed your slippersSeparation anxiety
Counter surfingNever properly taught boundaries.
Pees in the house? Overstimulated outside

So it may seem to you that your dog is an asshole, I think what we all mean is your dog is a great dog, he sucks at being human. Some dogs just get how to “human” easier than others.  Congratulations, your dog sucks at it.


Now let’s learn how to communicate your adorable little asshole.  Because let’s face it, he probably thinks you really suck at being a dog.

What’s the most “asshole” thing your dog has ever done?

Photo: charlesdeluvio

Photo: charlesdeluvio

Keep calm and pilot on

Kerry Stack
Darwin Dogs
Dog Training in Cleveland, Ohio



(A customer brings in a beautiful long haired Shih Tzu for a trim up. As I am petting the dog, I feel that she is very matted.)
Me: “I am sorry, but Missy is very matted. She needs to be shaved down very close to her skin.”
Customer: “Oh no, she’s not matted. Can’t you see how long her fur is? I brush her every day.”
Me: “I’m sure you do, ma’am, but you are only getting the hair on top. The hair on the bottom has become very matted and needs to be shaved.”
Customer: “Can’t you just shave the bottom and leave the top?

-Grooming Life



My dog is going to the groomer today.  It’s been about 8 weeks and wow, is he overdue.

The last time I was at the groomer, there was a  ”gentleman” in the waiting room ahead of me picking up his dog.  I walked in just as he started a rant against how expensive the groomer was and what a racket groomers had going on.

I looked at the dog he now had:  a rather large doodle, with a beautifully trimmed coat, bright eyes and nicely shaped nails.  Unfortunately, the dog’s manners matched his owner’s.  The dog was bouncing everywhere, actually jumping up on the chairs in the waiting room and running across them, even climbing on people who were sitting.

I like my groomer, Mariah.  Yes, she’s expensive. I get what I pay for, though, and do I really want to send my dog (i.e., family members) to the equivalent of a drive-through window?  To be honest, I’m not even sure how my groomer manages to turn some of the these rescues she’s worked with from hideous balls of matted filth to front-of-the-line adoptable cuties – I suspect black magic is involved.  Or at least a spell.


So what are you paying for, and why is it so expensive? I found this article that summed it up quite nicely.  Please give it a read by clicking here.


I have indeed walked right by Orion after he was groomed, not recognizing him. 



Kerry Stack
Darwin Dogs
Dog Training in Cleveland, Ohio