Tag Archives: dog training

A Blogger’s Update

Well, I’m sure you don’t want to hear the boring stuff from the last three years, but I do feel I need to catch you up on a few things.

Ruby is now eight years old. I think she’s gotten a bit grumpier in her old age. She really has no tolerance for rambunctious puppies. She gets to go to the office with me on a pretty regular basis and absolutely adores all the attention.

Tic Tac has become the most amazing cat and he and Charlie have a wonderful bond. His most endearing trait is each evening he insists on laying in Charlie’s arm like a little baby. He’s now nine years old.

And then there’s my “heart” dog – Khayla Jane Money Pittie. Everyone is surprised when I tell them she’s twelve years old. Her exuberance when she welcomes me home each evening includes flying up and launching over all three steps of the porch. She and I can spend hours and hours cuddled up and napping together on the couch. We’re thinking of creating our own sport around this.

My day job is with the American Kennel Club (AKC) in the Performance Events department. It’s data entry and a whole lot of customer service in the different field sports, like hunt test, lure coursing, herding, etc. It’s only seven different sports types, until you count up all the variations by breed groups and then it grows to eighteen. I work with a great group of people, but it does make for some interesting internal dialogue because I have such a strong shelter dog background.

I have also become a full-fledged trainer for Teamworks Dog Training, LLC. Who would have thought the girl afraid of dogs most of her life would be a dog trainer… with nationally recognized letters behind her name? Woot! Woot!


A part of me never would have thought I would be a part of this dream team of dog trainers.After all, I spent most of my life afraid of dogs and when I did get my first introduction to dog ownership and training it was about dominating and negative reinforcement. Ugh!

Working for Michele at Teamworks has opened my eyes to real dog training. Robin took me in as her assistant and when I was ready sent me on to Christi’s “finishing school.” I  owe a big thank you to these two ladies.


I continue to take classes with my girls and learn, learn, learn. I love this journey.

Training Really Is That Important

So, one of my part-time jobs is teaching classes at Teamworks Dog Training, LLC. I teach puppy class, a manners class, and a distraction proofing class. I really enjoy the dogs I meet and watching their progress over the course of the seven weeks.

I try to make sure that the humans know what an important thing they are doing for themselves, their dogs, and the bond between them. It really does make me all emotional thinking about it.


And then a friend posts a recent rescue experience on Facebook and it really drives home the importance of training. I’m posting it here, with her permission, in its entirety.

“I have been going back and forth on whether to post this or not, but I think it’s important for people to learn from the tragic as much as we take joy in the positive. Remember: owning a pet isn’t enough. Training is part of their care. [my emphasis]


“A month and a half ago I brought home a foster dog named Optimus. He was super friendly, had a huge smile and at 97 lbs was quite the hunk. At the shelter he was uncertain, didn’t appreciate people invading his space and let you know. Over the course of his stay here, I got to know a friendly, happy-go-lucky guy who ignored the other animals in the house and just wanted to be your one and only. He began to trust me and would let me in his space, but was still wary of those he didn’t know when it came to his crate.

“I also got to know a dog that wouldn’t tolerate anyone messing with his food or high value food treats. After an evaluation by a reputable rescue, it was determined that because his behavior was so ingrained it would be difficult (if not impossible) to reverse and even more difficult to manage given his lack of warning. Not to mention the sheer challenge of placing a dog like this in a responsible home. His power, size and behavior made him a high risk for becoming a future bite dog or even worse. He was deemed not safe to adopt out. While it hurts my heart, I completely agree. As a result of this determination, Optimus was euthanized this morning. I hate that it had to be this way for him.

“Why did it have to be this way? Because while his owner was happy to have a big, powerful, gorgeous dog, he didn’t think it was important enough to train, mold and shape this big, powerful, gorgeous dog into a well-behaved and safe animal.

“The result? He sentenced him to death with his lack of training and then by dumping his responsibility on someone else. I’m sorry Optimus that you were desired for your looks, but not important enough to invest time and training into. I wish I could have done more for you. Be free now. I’ll miss your huge smile and big bear hugs.” ~BK


Mister M

So you see it means the world to me to see Mister M come to class with his mom and dad. He’s just nine months old but has been bounced around to several homes and fosters – hmm, maybe that’s what makes him such a bouncy guy. He’s an adolescent who hasn’t had any structure or direction in his life. He is loveable and boisterous and real jumping bean Tigger.

M has found his furever family. They understand he’s not the perfect dog (yet!) and that training is the second best thing they can do for him. I can already see they’re giving him tons of love and a good home.

One last thing, please be thorough in researching your dog trainer. Punishment based training is not a solution. I truly believe in Teamworks dog training philosophy …

At Teamworks, our goal is to help you create a successful relationship with your dog by building trust and mutual understanding.  We believe in and use family-friendly, humane training methods that enable effective communication between people and dogs.  We teach our classes using positive-reinforcement based training and encourage the use of humane “people empowering” techniques.  We do not use or tolerate harsh physical punishment-based methods, as that outdated style of training has been shown to damage the bond between dog and person, and often escalates aggression.



Last month, gosh it seems like only yesterday, Facebook was full of people sharing what they are thankful for on a daily basis. I thought I’d put together a post of all the dog things I’m thankful for.

I’m thankful …

One. For Charlie, my sweet husband, who understands the need for dogs in my life and the many ways he supports me in that.

Two. For my sweet Ruby Jewel, my first foster failure – her wiggly butt when she sees people and she wants affection.

Ruby Jewel
Ruby Jewel

Three. For my very own Pit Bull, Khayla – there is nothing more wonderful than having her draped across my lap.

Khayla "The Money Pit"
Khayla “The Money Pit”

Four. For my first shelter dog, Tippi, who taught me about dedication and love for family.

Five. For Spice, the cat who was raised like a dog and only became a cat after Charlie came into my life.

Six. For Sugar and Snips, my red Chow Chows – they were so beautiful.

Seven. For Tic Tac, the little alien who gets on all the counters, and gets me up in the wee hours of the morning by enticing Ruby to chase her all over the bed.

Tic Tac creates his own chaos.
Tic Tac creates his own chaos.

Eight. For Shannon Johnstone’s Landfill Dogs project – wonderful photographs tell such a larger story.

Nine. For my first foster, Bubba Rex – seeing him be adopted from the miserable little pup that came to us.

Our first foster
Our first foster

Ten. To have met the rock star of a foster coordinator of the Wake County Animal Center (WCAC) – Joanne’s strength doing a job that tears at your heart inspires me to keep doing what little I do for the shelter. And she got me into Hurricanes hockey!

Eleven. For Dogs Playing for Life® playgroups at the WCAC – it’s a wonderful program and great fun to watch.

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Twelve. For Dr. Jen and the things she’s done to improve the life of our shelter animals.

Thirteen. For the volunteers at the WCAC – you inspire me with your passion, dedication, and energy to help all the abandoned.

Fourteen. For all the staff at the WCAC – they have a love and dedication to the animals that few of us have seen.

Fifteen. For the opportunity to volunteer at the WCAC – whenever I come back I realize I’ve been away too long.

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Sixteen. For assisting with dog training and being able to transfer my knowledge to the dogs I meet at the WCAC.

Seventeen. For Jenny, Christie and all of the All About Pets Grooming staff – they are just the best people.

Eighteen. For Erin of Hoof and Paws Pet Care – she has a special bond with animals and I trust my fur kids with her completely.

Nineteen. For everyone at Teamworks Dog Training – every class and trainer has taught me so much about understanding my dogs.

Twenty. For Robin and Christie allowing me to assist in their dog training classes – learning from them and helping others has been amazing.

Twenty-one. For the new disc dog classes at Teamworks Dog Training – Ruby keeps wanting to jump ahead.

Somebody loves disc...
Somebody loves disc…

Twenty-two. For Dr. Tham and his students in the dermatology department of the NCSU Vet School – Khayla looks amazing and I know we will get her to perfection one day – hopefully without the kangaroo kibble.

Twenty-three. For Dr. Price of Six Forks Animal Hospital – she has such a wonderful bedside manner.

Twenty-four. For Pit Bull blogs like Two Pitties in the City and Love and a Six-Foot Leash who inspired me to blog and foster.

Twenty-five. For the art of Dean Russo – he shows a Pittie’s true beauty.

Twenty-six. For Pit Bull hero stories like Lilly’s and Wallace’s – the world needs to hear the good.

Twenty-seven. For our Dogwatch® Hidden Fence – it has given Ruby such joy to race around the yard letting all her inner Greyhound out.

Twenty-eight. For my magnificent Magnolia tree in my yard – it seems like Ruby sees it as her personal tree house.

Twenty-nine. For two dogs who love riding in the car.

are we there yet - are we there yet - are we there yet
are we there yet – are we there yet – are we there yet

Thirty. For the wonderful mini-vacation at the beach we were able to take with our dogs – we highly recommend Seahawk Inn & Villas in Atlantic Beach, NC.
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And I admit that as soon as I finished this I thought of a dozen more things …