Photo Friday ~ Sabrina cuddles

Baylee (formerly known as Sabrina of Mutts Matter Rescue) takes some time to cuddle with her new big sister Carly. Baylee is adjusting well to her new home and we’re looking forward to more updates & pictures from her new family soon!

Baylee snuggles up with big sister Carly for an afternoon nap.

Would you like to find a snuggle buddy for your family pet? Visit Mutts Matter Rescue and check out some of their adoptable dogs who love to play and snuggle with other dogs!

Just like that, Sabrina is Adopted!

We have come to notice when fostering in my house that our foster pups don’t stay with us very long. It’s both good and a bad at the same time. First the bad (and it’s not really even bad at all): I feel like I’m just getting to know the dogs well enough and they are finally getting into a rhythm with us. They start to learn the rules of the house and get into a daily schedule, which makes things much easier for us. Then they are gone! Also, being a trainer, sometimes I wish I had a little more time to teach them a few more things before handing them off to their new forever homes. Plus…I.Just.Love.Dogs. Having one more in the house (once they start to get the hang of things) just feels right. Shhh… don’t tell my husband.

The good part though, is that the dog gets to go to their forever home that much faster! My house is only a transition from the dreadful life they had before to an amazing life they will have after and that is OK. I truly am happy for all my foster dogs when they go home! It’s a bittersweet feeling and hard to explain unless…well…you’ve done it too. With all that being said let’s get back to my most recent foster Sabrina!

Sabrina was picked up this past weekend by her new mom K and one of her new human sisters. They were wonderful people and were so excited to take Sabrina home. They had been previously approved by Mutts Matter Rescue and were just waiting for the right dog to come along. Sabrina is going to live with her new parents, 3 human siblings (two brothers and a sister) and a doggy sister too. They explained how they live on a huge property that contains a plant nursery and that Sabrina would have not 1 but 3 ponds(!!!) that she could play in! I couldn’t help but to think how perfect this would be for her since just days ago when we had that 90+ degree day in MD, Sabrina figured out it was super cool to play in her water dish and lay in the mess fresh water to cool herself down. She is going to be SUCH a water dog, just like her new doggy sister Carly (who is a lab mix).

Sabrina and I the morning before she left to go to her forever home. 🙂

Couldn’t be happier for this darling girl and can’t wait to get updates from her family about how much she’s growing and how well she is settling in.

Are you interested in adding a dog like Sabrina to your family? Visit Mutts Matter Rescue and check out some of their adoptable dogs.

Training Tip Tuesday ~ Grooming Part 1: Brushing

Recently I had the pleasure of having a long-haired Clicker Savvy Foster (Sabrina) in the house. It reminded me that not many people know the importance of early preparations for puppies/dogs who will need to be groomed on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. With that being said, if you have a dog that will need to be brushed nightly to help avoid hair matting, start early!  If you get the dog as a puppy, begin to pair the brush with positive reinforcement such as treats, chews, toys or attention and praise. Fortunately for me, while she was here, Sabrina wanted nothing more than to be loved on by people.  Her favorite type of reward was attention. As long as we were giving her attention she couldn’t care less as to what else was happening.  With that being said, every night I would spend a couple minutes just giving her all the love and praise in the world with one hand while I would gently brush her with the other. **Note: For puppies, it might be wise to do this when they are good and tired.**

Sabrina was what I would consider an easy case.  At just 3 and half months she was a very calm puppy. Other dogs will need a little more distraction or a higher valued reward to accept brushing or combing. That’s OK. Here’s an example: If you have a dog who likes peanut butter, take a spoon with peanut butter on one end and hold it out for the dog to lick while you brush the dog with the other hand. When the peanut butter is gone then the session is over. You want to take baby steps and continue pairing good things with brush time. The benefit is that you are teaching the dog that while being brushed good things happen and yummy treats keep coming. Eventually your dog will make the connection and hopefully begin to enjoy brush time.

In the next couple of weeks, we will talk more about other aspects of grooming such as bathing, ear cleaning and nail clipping… stay tuned.

Photo Friday ~ Gentle Play

Here’s a short picture story line of our Clicker Savvy Canine Bailey playing gently with our MMR foster pup Sabrina. Bailey is usually a rough and tumble type of guy. He’s very physical and very verbal when playing with older dogs that he knows well. But when it comes to puppies, Bailey takes on a different persona and becomes a gentle dog who knows how to control his body. Sabrina takes full advantage of this at times and will climb on him or playfully bat him in the face, but Bailey doesn’t seem to mind. In this series of pictures Bailey is laying down and using only his head, paws and gentle jaws to play with Sabrina… check it out!

Does you dog play nicely with other dogs? We’d love to hear some stories…


3rd Times The Charm ~ Meet Sabrina!

Meet Sabrina!

Our 3rd official foster pup is Sabrina, a 3 and 1/2 month old mix breed puppy who is up for adoption through Mutts Matter Rescue. We’re not exactly sure what she’s mixed with but some people think she might be a Collie mix, or maybe even Saint Bernard mix. What we do know is that at 3 and 1/2 months and already 20+ lbs, she’s gonna be a big girl. No worries though, she is as sweet and gentle as can be.

I am always on the move!

Sabrina might have had a delayed start on puppy socialization but she is super lucky her foster mom is an OPERATION SOCIALIZATION Certified Trainer and knows just how to get this girl on the right track! Since day 1 Sabrina has been in training, learning a variety of things that are important to a puppy her age. She’s gotten the opportunity to meet several well mannered dogs & puppies as well as over a dozen or so new people of all ages, genders and races. She is also being introduced to new sounds and situations daily.

"I'm gonna be an Operation Socialization Certified Puppy!"

Along with good puppy socialization Sabrina is also doing very well with a couple other important puppy behaviors, potty training and crate training. In fact, Sabrina is so comfortable in her crate that you will often see her slip off into it on her own for a nap after a good round of play with her foster brothers.

Goofing around in the yard... Sabrina runs the show.

Nap time.

Sabrina is becoming a very Clicker Savvy pup. She has learned several great foundation behaviors so far such as “sit” and a nose target behavior “touch” and is in the process of learning “down.” One of foster mom’s main goals is to teach her to sit automatically while someone say’s “hi” (being greeted). Sabrina is going to be a big girl so it is very important that she learns early that jumping is not a good idea. She is doing GREAT! Sabrina almost automatically sits when she comes up for attention. If 4 paws are on the floor we are also rewarding for this and usually she sits the moment you reach down to pet her. Such a smart girl!

Foster mom say's I have a very lovely "sit"

Today we’ll be taking a mini trip for lunch to one of the nearby Operation Socialization Destinations to get some more real world experiences into her repertoire. Whoever is lucky enough to adopt this sweetheart won’t be disappointed, I promise!

If you are interested in adopting Sabrina or others like her,  just visit Mutts Matter Rescue and fill out an adoption application.

Here are some more pictures cause we all know you can’t get enough of puppy pictures!

Always on the move!

Hi there.

Don't you want to love me forever?

Training Tip Tuesday ~ Emergency Recall

Recall, it’s one of the most important behaviors to have one cue and reliable. Having a number of recalls in your training arsenal is a good thing. You want to make sure though, that you have one cue that no matter what, will stop that dogs in its tracks and return him (or her) to you. Many trainers will refer to this cue as an Emergency Recall. A cue that if your dog hears, it’s been paired with something he loves so many times he thinks, “really I get that right now” and turns and comes running back to you for it.

Callie practicing a basic recall

When training something as important as an Emergency Recall, you want to make sure that you pick something the dog absolutely goes bonkers for! For some dogs that might be steak, or roasted chicken, or a favorite lunch meat/cheese found in your refrigerator. Whatever it is, you want to make sure it’s something that your dog doesn’t get on a regular basis. You want this to be a special treat for him. Once you’ve got that figured out, you want to pick a cue or word to pair with that super special treat. A word that is not used in your daily conversations and is not repeated often. Sometimes this is the hardest part of teaching the behavior, picking a good word to use. I’ve had people use weird food names, brand names, or even a word in a different language that would never otherwise be spoken. It’s up to you!

Once you have chosen the cue & the super special treat to give your dog, all you have to do is begin to pair the two over the next couple of weeks. Here’s how:

Week 1: Start out by getting your dog’s attention, saying your cue (in this case I will use “Jiffy”) and then immediately following your cue give the dog the special treat. Repeat this about 5 times and then end the session (Get dogs attention, Cue Jiffy= treat, Jiffy= treat, Jiffy= treat, Jiffy= treat, Jiffy= treat, end session). Over the next week you want to do this at least once per day at different times of the day and in different rooms of the house.

Week 2: Begin testing your dog randomly by saying the cue out-loud when the dog isn’t expecting it or is in a different room of the house. Most dogs will come running as fast as the wind. When they do, give them the special treat. Over the next week continue to practice. You want to do this at least once a day at different times of the day and in different rooms of the house trying to cue when your dog isn’t expecting it. (Note: if your dog doesn’t come running when you say the cue, A: try to go back to week 1 for a couple more days and then try again or B: change the treat. Perhaps the treat you’ve chosen isn’t special enough, try something new and think smelly! Dogs love stinky stuff like feta cheese or sardines)

Week 3-4: Once your dog is consistently responding to your cue, begin to switch things up or make them even more random. Begin spacing out the times/days you cue the behavior. If you have a fenced in yard, you can practice outside. Remember that anytime you use this cue you must pair it with a special treat. This is a behavior that you want to be as consistent as possible with your rewards.

Rest of the dogs life: Considering this is an Emergency Recall, it shouldn’t be used very frequently. With that being said, if you haven’t used it in a while, don’t forget to practice it every now and then to keep it fresh in the dogs mind and highly rewarded!

Well, that’s all I have for today’s tip! How many of you have an Emergency Recall in place for your dog? What other ways have you found to successfully get your dog to come running back to you? We’d love to hear your stories!

Photo Friday ~ ClickerExpo Manners

Last week we had the pleasure of attending the ever so awesome ClickerExpo to help expand our knowledge on animal behavior and of course clicker training! This weeks Photo Friday shares a couple pictures we took of some of the many well mannered pups we were lucky to of met while soaking up tons of information in presentations or training labs.

A great example of how "settle" on a mat can be useful in public.

Service-dog Julia in a relaxing down while her owner takes notes during a presentation.

Crate training is not just for the home environment. This dog is relaxed and comfortable in her pop up travel crate while another dog is demoing for a lab.