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January 31, 2018

I thought I had seen it all until last month when I consulted with a sleep deprived couple and their 17-month old Flat Coated Retriever. They needed help in the bedroom. Yes, you read that correctly. In the bedroom and in their bed, no less.

As a friend of mine from Louisiana used to say, “You can’t make this stuff up, Brenda.”

It turned out that every night at bedtime there was a threesome of sorts going on. Badger, who was now 75lbs, had developed a nightly habit of climbing onto his Dog Dad’s side of the bed and refusing to budge, even an inch. It was so bad, that the couple had a new routine where Badger’s Dog Mom would get into bed first to stake out her husband’s spot. Then she would quickly turn out the light and her husband would make a mad dash for t...

March 11, 2017

          Happy was a year and a half old female German Shepherd mix and the most fearful dog I had ever met. When strangers approached at a distance, rivulets of drool streamed from her mouth. She vomited when loaded into the car and of most concern was her great determination to slip out of her collar when on leash.

          I didn’t know then what I know now about exposure, threshold and reactivity. Still somehow, through instinct and compassion I was able to identify Happy’s triggers and humanely teach her to remain neutral in fearful situations. I naively achieved this using positive reinforcement and also by listening to Happy, letting her set the limits and never forcing her toward anything that frightened her....

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