Friday, October 8, 2010

Is YOUR dog a Canine Good Citizen?

We all set goals to obtain for ourselves, why not our pups!? Try out these test items with your dog. If you really want to work for it we offer sessions and a CGC training class (coming soon at to prep you and your furry friend for passing. The AKC will award you and your pup with a Certification and all sorts of items to show off your dog's new manners and accomplishments! There is even a course for puppies and we will be offering STAR Puppy classes at our new training facility too! Stay on top and check out our new digs on Oct 30th from 2-5pm in Scripps Ranch. I am a CGC Evaluator and would love to help you reach your goals! Below are the 10 test items highlighted.


(see for detailed test information)
Test 1: Accepting a friendly stranger
This test demonstrates that the dog will allow a friendly stranger to approach it and speak to the handler in a natural, everyday situation.

Test 2: Sitting politely for petting
This test demonstrates that the dog will allow a friendly stranger to touch it while it is out with its handler. With the dog sitting at the handler's side, to begin the exercise, the evaluator pets the dog on the head and body.

Test 3: Appearance and grooming
This practical test demonstrates that the dog will welcome being groomed and examined and will permit someone, such as a veterinarian, groomer or friend of the owner, to do so. It also demonstrates the owner's care, concern and sense of responsibility.

Test 4: Out for a walk (walking on a loose lead)
This test demonstrates that the handler is in control of the dog. The dog may be on either side of the handler. The dog's position should leave no doubt that the dog is attentive to the handler and is responding to the handler's movements and changes of direction.

Test 5: Walking through a crowd
This test demonstrates that the dog can move about politely in pedestrian traffic and is under control in public places. The dog and handler walk around and pass close to several people (at least three).

Test 6: Sit and down on cue and Staying in place
This test demonstrates that the dog has training, will respond to the handler's cues to sit and down and will remain in the place cued by the handler (sit or down position, whichever the handler prefers). The dog must do sit AND down on cue, then the owner chooses the position for leaving the dog in the stay. Prior to this test, the dog's leash is replaced with a line 20 feet long.

Test 7: Coming when called
This test demonstrates that the dog will come when called by the handler. The handler will walk 10 feet from the dog, turn to face the dog, and call the dog. The handler may use encouragement to get the dog to come. Handlers may choose to tell dogs to "stay" or "wait" or they may simply walk away, giving no instructions to the dog.

Test 8: Reaction to another dog
This test demonstrates that the dog can behave politely around other dogs. Two handlers and their dogs approach each other from a distance of about 20 feet, stop, shake hands and exchange pleasantries, and continue on for about 10 feet. The dogs should show no more than casual interest in each other. Neither dog should go to the other dog or its handler.

Test 9: Reaction to distraction
This test demonstrates that the dog is confident at all times when faced with common distracting situations. The evaluator will select and present two distractions. Examples of distractions include dropping a chair, rolling a crate dolly past the dog, having a jogger run in front of the dog, or dropping a crutch or cane.

Test 10: Supervised separation
This test demonstrates that a dog can be left with a trusted person, if necessary, and will maintain training and good manners. Evaluators are encouraged to say something like, "Would you like me to watch your dog?" and then take hold of the dog's leash. The owner will go out of sight for three minutes. The dog does not have to stay in position but should not continually bark, whine, or pace unnecessarily, or show anything stronger than mild agitation or nervousness.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Product review!

I recently came across the Dog Brick, a fun interactive food dispensary game for my dog and clients. The Dog Brick, distributed by Company of Animals (, is an easy to learn game for dogs of all ages and sizes. The concept is simple! Fill the hidden slots with your dog’s kibble and slide the covers over it. The center section can also be filled with additional treats and kibble which are then covered with four plastic dog bones. The dog quickly learns to remove the middle section bones and slide the outer covers to reach the hidden slots. Some use their mouth, some their paws. For small dogs, like mine, it holds his complete meal.

The game offers wonderful mental stimulation for the dog and proves to be entertaining for them! For dogs who need something to do when you leave the house this is a great choice. The bones and sliding sections of the toy work well and there are minimal pieces to clean and pick up.

This is a great interactive food game for dogs and children. Children can be a part of helping to feed the dog by filling the slots and hiding the treats in each section. They can easily carry the tray over and watch without having to encroach into the dog’s space- this keeps it fun and safe for everyone playing! I have two young children and we’ve all enjoyed watching Bosley enjoy his meal time! Not only does Bosley enjoy eating his kibble out of it each morning but my 3 1/2 year old James enjoys being a part of feeding time more so now than he did when it was just a scoop of kibble here and there into a bowl.

Remember, your dog learned how to eat their meal out of a bowl long ago. Practice offering them more ways to earn their meals. Stimulate them!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Explore on all fours!! Summertime Safety and Fun!

Whether you choose to visit the beach, desert or mountains there is a vast selection of pet-friendly places in San Diego. For a nice breakfast with your pooch visit St. Germain’s Cafe in Encinitas ( . They also offer a festive Yappy Hour on Friday and Saturdays through the summer months. Fiesta island and Del Mar offer dog friendly beach areas. Leash laws at Del Mar dog beaches vary throughout the year so be sure to read the signs. If you feel like grabbing some pizza and a micro brew after a long hike or jog along the boardwalk swing by Pizza Port in Carlsbad ( ) to enjoy their dog-friendly patio. Rancho Coastal Humane Society in Encinitas has Cricket’s Corner, a quaint dog park attached to their grounds. Dexter’s Deli ( sells all the supplies you’ll need for your adventure and welcomes dogs of all sizes to shop with you. One of my favorite areas to walk is along the San Elijo Lagoon in Solana Beach ( There are more than 7 miles of trails available. Out east is another great spot: Mission Trails Regional Park. Cuyamaca Rancho State Park allows dogs on their trails as well as camping and fishing.

Once you decide on your destination, be sure to always plan for the unexpected. There are always a few things to keep in mind. The morning may start off foggy and cool but San Diego often warms up quickly. Always be prepared. First remember to bring water for both you and your dog. I prefer the collapsible bowls since they are easy to carry. You can purchase one at any local pet store. Water will help prevent overheating.

Remember! Dogs don’t sweat. We may have plenty of ways to cool our bodies down on a hot day however dogs rely on just two. Their skin and armpits don’t contain sweat glands like ours do. They perspire through their paw pads. Their main way to cool down, however, is by panting. Since they have fewer ways to release heat from their bodies it becomes more important for us to pay attention to the potential of heat stroke.


  • Hot skin
  • Salivation
  • Exaggerated panting
  • Sudden stop of panting
  • Rapid or erratic pulse
  • Anxious or dazed, staring expression
  • Weakness
  • Twitching muscles
  • Lack of coordination
  • Blue or red tongue / lips
  • Vomiting
  • Convulsions or Collapse


  • Move to a cool, shady place
  • Wet dog with cool, not icy water
  • Leave airways unobstructed
  • Do not apply ice
  • Fan vigorously to promote evaporation
  • Allow cool water, ice cream


There are several ways to help your dog avoid over-heating during these hot summer months. Be alert to your dog’s excessive panting when it’s combined with high temperatures and excessive exercise. Recognize how far his tongue hangs out during your workout. Be sure to take several mini breaks if you notice his tongue hanging more than halfway out of his mouth as this can be a beginning sign of over exertion. Don’t forget to stay hydrated.

Temperatures on pavement can rise up to 150 degrees which can be quite painful on the paw pads. Would you walk barefoot on 150 degree blacktop? If you answered no, your dog would probably say the same if he could speak! Recognize whether or not your dog begins to pick up his paws more quickly as it can be a sign that the footing has become too hot. Consider purchasing paw protectors for your dog in case the ground gets too hot or is covered with burrs or foxtails. Help prevent your dog’s paws from possibly getting sore, cut or burned. Lastly, plan your excursions, walks and hikes during the early morning hours or just prior to sunset when the temperatures are lower.

When you choose hiking be sure you read all signs before entering the trail. Some national and state parks don’t permit dogs. Always keep a leash with you and ideally hooked to your dog. Even if you believe your dog is reliable off leash a leash is the tool you will need to prevent your dog from chasing wildlife, other dogs, hikers etc. Remember in San Diego county there is a leash law. If you walk or otherwise bring a dog to public or other private property (where dogs are permitted), you must restrain the dog by a hand held leash (not longer than 6 feet in length) (SDCC Sections 62.669[a], 62.601[d], and 62.601[y]), unless otherwise specified by signs. Retractable leashes are considered to be longer than 6 feet even if they are set to 6 feet or less. You will be subject to ticketing and fines for using one, in addition to being caught breaking the above county code sections. Don’t assume just because your dog is safe off-leash that all other dogs and owners will be too!

Please be a responsible dog owner and pick up after your dogs. Not all dog parks, beaches and trails have doggy bag dispensers. If they do, don’t count on them being stocked. Whatever you decide to do, have fun and make it enjoyable for your dog! Any excursion you take your dog on is a great opportunity to train. Take note when they recognize a new distraction or object and praise them with a scooby-snack or a good dog! They’ll need a chance to take in a snack just as you will and working on some behaviors you like as others pass by you is a great opportunity to train and treat. Have fun and keep it pawsitive!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Horse Recall- reinforced with the clicker!

Madeline and I had a great time playing with Chrissy yesterday at the barn.
We practiced some recalls and I have to say I love how reliable Chrissy's recall has become.
I use her name for my orienting sound generally to get her attention and my whistle to recall her. This particular video I had already put away my clicker and treats for the day but this behavior for Chrissy is pretty reliable now. Notice how Madeline is at the other end of the arena and calls Chrissy back to her! Chrissy has fun with this game.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Reliable Recalls

Here's a quick video of Bosley coming when called quite reliably when he least expected it. He retreated to relax in the shade under a tree only to remember how FUN it is to come running to me when called!!

Don't forget!- Your recalls need to be well trained in low distracting environments first to build the foundation of the behavior linked with the desired cue. Is your dog's tail wagging when they get to you!? It should be fun for them to WANT to come to you!