What’s the Goal

Mama Sally:  By and large, what I’m looking for from dogs, is to learn that calm and relaxed behavior will get them what they want.  Clearly there are times that dogs can get rowdy and play, but when they’re in our homes, I’d really like them to be calm and stay relaxed, no matter what is going on.  Training through this is not always easy, and here’s why!

Photo Credit: NofYam (Flickr Creative Commons)

Puppies at the “Daisy Hill Puppy Farm” learn at a very young age, that if they are pushy, they can muscle other puppies off of the teat, then at the puppy pan with food as they are weaned, and then with toys, and also in getting attention from humans, etc. Puppies figure out that being pushy is how to get what they want!  And when something works to get them what they want, even very young puppies will learn to keep repeating that behavior.

Fast forward and that puppy has now come to his new home.  Owners are so crazy in love with their new bundle of fur, that they fall all over themselves to let that puppy know how much they are loved.  They let him jump up….charge new people, dash out a door, go nuts at mealtime, etc. Very few owners initially remember that the adorable little ball of fur will someday be a big, rude, annoying ball of fur when he performs the exact same behavior.  And our little puppy is still practicing the same behavior that worked to get him what he wanted at the Daisy Hill Puppy Farm.

Photo Credit: Helen Marshall (Flickr Creative Commons)

Over time, this is where puppies and dogs become part of “the system” and get recycled, or re-homed, or relegated to the back yard, etc. When puppies grow to full size, their bodies may look adult, but their minds and emotions are still very immature.  Owners forget that, and I often have to remind them that the larger the dog, the slower they mature.  Just because a dog weighs 70 pounds, he may still only be 7 months old, and thinking as a puppy.

This is when I’m usually called to step in and help.  My goal is always to help that dog owner fall back in love with their dog.  I don’t want another dog to be recycled!  The first thing I want a dog to understand is that being pushy and bossy or that being a bully won’t earn them anything from me.  Those rules just don’t work in my world.  And because I clearly communicate what I do want from that dog, once the dog can calm himself enough to learn, boom! He’s all in, and learning starts.  Dogs learn best when they are calm and relaxed.

Leashing is a great start!

Rugby James:  I remember when I was a new pupper wif the Mama, she had different rules than the udder homes did.  I jumped on everpawdy, I barked all the time, I shopped for naughty stuff what I could steal and destroy, I growled around my supper dish, I pulled on walks, lotsa naughty fings.  The Mama really did have her hands full trying to teach me what she wanted from me!

First, she putted a leash on my little red collar, and that really helped me calm down.  It also stopped a whole lot of naughty stuff on account of I just couldn’t do it when I hadda stay next to the Mama.  She scolded me if I did naughty fings, so I learned to avoid doing those fings.  She always had a nibble of sumping good handy, and when I stayed calm, or didn’t react, she gived me a lil nibble, petted me, and telled me sweet fings. She teached this stuff to everpawdy in our family so all of the Uprights was doing the same fings wif me and that really helped me learn.  If they didn’t have time to work wif me, I gotted to stay in my crate wif toys or naps until they could watch me.  That way, I didn’t getta keep doing the naughty stuff wifout getting corrected, and they prevented me from doing the very stuff they were trying to teach me to stop!  Lil by lil, I was able to make progress to learn to stay calmer and more relaxed, and that sure made fings in our house happier!!  It helped me feel more secure and not worry so much that I was gonna get gived back.  When you’re a new dogger in a home, you just doesn’t understand why you’re there, or what happened to the last place you lived at.  New doggers feels anxious and worried, and sum doggers, like me, what have had lotsa different homes, is extra worried.  When Uprights teach us to calm down and what the rules are, it really helps us feel safe and happy in our new homes!

puppy placemat.1
Teaching Rugby to go to his “Place” was very helpful in calming him.




  1. Annette & Troops says

    Kobi is our rescue dog with the history of multiple previous homes in 3-4 years.

    Kobi seemed delighted to find his new home would put up with his bad behaviors but we were thinking "Boy what did we get ourselves into? and, We can't give him back again !!"

    We also thought the bad behavior were from the many transitions and nothing could be done about them.

    With your help and the command "Leave It" Kobi is changing his habits slowly but surely and we are now working on the barking.

    Scratchies work wonders for calming Kobi.

    You and Rugby James have been a life saver for Kobi L. Bear and the Lucas family.
    Thank You

    • Sally says

      Annette, you have totally and completely made my day!! I'm absolutely tickled pink to know that Kobi is improving and life with him is getting easier!! Nothing makes me happier than giving folks hope and help!! Belly rubs to Kobi and Kailey!! BIG hugs to you too!! Barrooo!!!


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