Two Alternative Therapies YOU Can Do for Your Pet


How do I look so good? A healthy diet, exercise and Reiki of course!

I wrote about alternative health therapies in an earlier post which you can check out here.

Last week, the kind folks over at Pet Radio Magazine offered to host one of my posts as a guest blogger! I was so excited! Head on over to their website to read about two of my favorite alternative therapies, Tellington Touch and Reiki, and how YOU can use them to enhance your pet’s health and well-being.

You can find my post here – but don’t stop there! Spend some time and check out their other blog posts, radio shows and cool pet products.

Have a great weekend and stay cool!

Dog Parenting Done Right – My Kids Have Paws!



I love this mug, and not just because it was a thoughtful gift from a lovely person. I love it because it’s true. My pets are my kids. I didn’t give birth, but the emotional involvement I experience with my furry kids is indistinguishable from my perspective.

Not long ago, a Facebook friend posted a picture of a bumper sticker that expressed a similar sentiment and the snide observation, “She must have a lot of ex’s”. I was a little surprised at the rancor contained in the comments. People took it as a personal affront that someone would express their love and affection for their pet by referring to the animal as their ‘kid.’ I refrained from commenting back because, well, arguing with people on the Internet always goes so well, right?

But, I’m still going to have my say.

First – Of course there is a difference between having a pet and having a child. Of course! A difference of several orders of magnitude and that’s not even including the whole gestation and birth thing. There is no comparison.

There never was.

Pet parents are not comparing their furry kid to your two-legged one. They are not comparing the trials of house-training to the rigors of child rearing. It’s like comparing apples to cake. I mean, come on – they’re both delicious!

So it baffles me when I hear people get angry because I call my dogs my kids. Angry, like my word choice has devastating implications for their parenting skills. Maybe because my dog is better behaved? I can guarantee my dogs won’t have an unwanted pregnancy, or do drugs, or quit college. Can you?

No, it’s not that at all.

When it comes right down to it, those people are imposing their definition of love and how it should be experienced, on my relationship with my dogs. At some level, conscious or unconscious they are offended by the simple fact that I call it “LOVE” and that I define my relationship in terms of parent-child.

Guess what? You don’t get to do that. Here’s why.

There is too little love on this planet right now. We as a species, as a community, as individuals – we ALL need more love. We need to feel it, we need to express it, and we need to share it. It is essential to our health, mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. Study after study shows that humans who don’t give and receive love experience all kinds of trauma – depression, anxiety, high blood pressure, heart attacks – can all stem from a lack of love.

However, not everyone wants to bring more people onto the planet – yet they still want, and deserve to experience the kind of love that comes from nurturing and caring for another being. Opening your heart and home to a pet – dog, cat, pig, goat, rat, hamster, rabbit, take your pick! – Makes you more loving and compassionate. It makes you a better person. If you do it right.

And that’s the real trick.

In my book, Dog Care and Training for the GENIUS, I talk extensively about developing this relationship, how to build it, how to nurture it and how to deepen it. But what it comes down to is this – It’s all about the love. Having a dog in your life means you get to feel unconditional love.

Experiencing that love means letting yourself be vulnerable. And that can be kinda scary. You have to take all the good times and fun AND the bad times as well. You have to just dive right in, and experience the whole thing. Spoiler alert – parts of it are going to suck. Like really, really horribly suck.

So I guess some people find it easier to minimize, or trivialize the love between human and dog. Because to open up, and really feel that depth of love can be terrifying. Or maybe they don’t think it’s possible because they haven’t been able to experience that in their human relationships? I find that incredibly sad, but that’s for another post.

Be brave. It’s totally worth it. Even the sucky parts. Having a dog at your side through the journey of life makes everything more bearable. A dog is a constant friend and companion, who is always – and I do mean always – happy to see you, to spend time with you. Dogs are friends who will never judge, and give steadfast love in return for some food, a comfy place to sleep and to just be with you.

And I say – own the title Dog Parent! You’ve invested time, money, but most importantly, your heart into this furry being that shares your life. Maybe if more people thought of themselves as Dog Parents and not dog owners it wouldn’t be so easy for them to shove the dog in the backyard and ignore it? Maybe they’d be more motivated to actually train their dogs instead of just letting them run wild? Or take them to the vet for basic care like vaccinations and getting spayed or neutered?

Maybe owning the title Dog Parent makes for more responsible dog ownership?

I think it does. I am proud to say I am Mama to two lovely dogs, Golly and Xander, and one very spoiled, ancient kitty, Sage. Yep, that’s them at the top. I love them. They are my children. Four footers are the only kind I ever wanted, and I have never been disappointed by my choice.

Tell me about your kids! Share their stories and pics in the comments, please

Understanding Your Dog’s Personality

Because we all need a little love sometimes.

We bond so strongly to our animal companions. Humourous as the caption is, the video illustrates just how strongly our animals bond to us. You can see it in this sweet Dalmatian’s body posture and expression; just look at how relaxed the eyes and mouth are.

Do you have this deep bond with your dog? Or do you wonder sometimes if your dog even likes you? It takes time to develop a relationship with your dog. If your dog is new to your family don’t expect to have a blissfully harmonious relationship from the start. Allow time for you to get to know each other, make the effort to understand your dog’s personality.

Dog Personality?

You bet. Every dog is an individual, with a distinct personality. Dogs have emotions, intelligence and they express their own inner selves with unique, endearing and sometimes irritating mannerisms.

imageThat’s Domino, my Belgian sheepdog. He was a wonderful companion for 14 years. Domino’s personality, like most herding breeds was the classic type A overachiever. He was willing to do anything I asked the instant I asked. His willingness to work and intelligence were beautiful and I was so lucky to have him in my life. If Domino could speak English he would have said, “What’s that? You want me to what? Okay I can do that. Let me show you how good I am at it! Look at how fast I am! What else can I do for you?”

imageThat’s Xander, my 19 month, 90 pound puppy. His mom was a Great Pyrenees and daddy was most likely a Lab since he doesn’t have the Pyr’s size  or hair. He does have the Pyr’s intelligence. And independence. Asking Xander to do something usually gets me this response, “Really? You know I know how to Sit, and Down. I did it just a while ago for you. Oh  okay  but only because I like you. Oh food? We’re cool.” He is every bit as smart as Domino, but he thinks about everything I ask of him. He is the polar opposite of Domino’s personality. Which is cool, and sometimes frustrating, but good too. It’s been a good learning experience having for my own a dog that challenges my ingenuity as a trainer.

I encourage you to learn your dog’s personality, and like any good friendship that won’t happen over night. Understanding your fur kid’s temperament is key to having a solid friendship, and building trust means you have to prove you’re worthy of it.

How do you do that? I tell you how in my new book, Dog Care and Training For The GENIUS. Look for it to be published next month. But for now, to help you build trust between you and your dog, try this…

Instead of playing on your phone during commercials, observe your dog. Don’t try and engage her attention. Just watch what she’s doing. Get in the habit of observing your dog’s behavior when you are not interacting directly to get a sense of who your dog really is. Does she entertain herself by playing with toys? Does she just sleep? Is she near you? In a different room? Curled up next to you? Try to get a sense of your dog’s inner emotional and mental state by observing how she behaves when she’s left to her own devices.

What is your dog’s personality? Tell me some of the things you’ve observed about your dog in the comments!

Another Dog Blog?

If you’re here, you must love dogs. Actually it’ll help if you love all animals. We’re going to talk about your dogs and my dogs but I’ll throw in some of my animal stories from my years working with exotic animals too. 

So stop by often for training tips, dog behavior explained and some just plain cute or funny animal stuff.