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Welcome to 2022!

Working with your dogs was probably the highlight of my 2021.

The hardest part is always saying goodbye to you all and your dogs after I’ve worked with them. It’s so amazing to watch your dogs think, learn, and resolve issues. I often think about the dogs I’ve worked with, and wonder how everyone is doing. I thought that a blog might be the solution that helps us all stay in touch! So please touch base with me when you get a chance!

Aside from the wonderful successes I had this year with your dogs, 2021 was tough.

It kind of reminded me of my first two sessions with a Rhodesian Ridgeback named Zion. Zion was a very big guy, whose head came up to my waist - and he didn’t like me when we first met. He barked and lunged at me, but I was able to win him over by tossing a treat whenever he stopped barking. Pretty soon he realized that he was being rewarded for being calm - for not barking. He liked the game of chasing down treats that I threw, and in a short period of times was actually sitting for the treats. We had a good session that day, and worked on all the basic exercises and focus behaviors.

The second session - a week later - Zion was excited to see me pull up in front of the house. He was the model student throughout the whole lesson, was prepared for class, and did great with the polite walking. I was so happy and proud of him. At the end of the hour, I turned around to get my notebook and write his homework, and he lunged and grabbed my whole right butt cheek in his mouth. He didn’t bite down hard, just kind of held onto me as if to say, “Not so fast, Pal. We not done yet.”

That’s how 2021 was for me. It had some ups and downs

- ruptured my appendix, tore my rotator cuff…and also some amazing times, training dogs and performing with my dog Reggie, but in the very last week of the year, I had to take a very complex allergy test. They put 90 tiny needles in my arms, each with a sample of something I could be allergic to. The doctor knew how to read the results by the size of the bump it would leave. Guess what I am allergic to? DOGS…

Not so fast, Pal. We’re not done yet! Next week I start a series of allergy shots that will continue for about three years. Supposedly by then, my allergy to dogs will be gone.

In the mean time, let’s train some dogs!

It’s a new start. Welcome to 2022…More stories to come - stay tuned!

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