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Category Archives for How To

Dog Training: Clickers and Herding

Since we have no herding news of our own, after a long lapse in lessons due to non-stop work and family demands, today Champion of of My Heart looks at how someone else uses some clicker training in a herding context.

Herding is often taught using mostly pressure and “corrections.” And, when you ask about how clicker training might fit into the process, you’ll hear some grumbling about things like:

  • The livestock are their own “reward.”
  • Clickers make dogs focus too much on you and not on the task at hand.
  • It’s a natural, much more dynamic process than teaching another kind of trick or easily segmented task.

So, when our pal Anna from Happy Healthy Pup, who recently relocated from Salt Lake City, Utah, to Atlanta, Georgia, suggested I talk to Astrid Smith from A Dog’s Journey … well, I sent and email and got on the phone.

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Book Review: The Bedtime Book for Dogs

The Bedtime Book for Dogs by Bruce Littlefield is dedicated to Littlefield’s Good Dog Wes and all Good Dogs in our lives. Check out our video book review.

The Bedtime Book for Dogs: Summary

best dog blog champion of my heartThe Bedtime Book for Dogs tells the story of a dog who wanted to play, but his friend was busy … so the dog uses a variety of talents to seek his own adventure.

Since Lilly has been known to get into dangerous scrapes while making her own adventure, you might be saying, “Uh-oh,” about now.

Rest assured all is well in the end, but I’m confident my friend Susan McCullough, who writes the Northern Virginia Dog Blog (which is often about the importance of scooping the pooping), would blanch at this Good Dog taking care of business at the local park.

As our friends at like to say, “There is no poop fairy.”

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Dog Training: Dogs + Chickens

I met Lisa Marshall from Estes Park, Colorado, during my big trip to New York City last month. Funny that we had to go across the country to meet. Anyway, she faces a challenge of being a dog-lover and a home chicken-raiser. She needs our help.

You see, Lisa wants to enjoy her mountain life (much like ours) with both her dogs and her chickens living  free on the old range, but the dogs need to learn NOT to harass the poultry.

best dog blog, champion of my heart

Obsessed with the chickens, Lisa's dogs try to break into the chicken yard and have nearly eaten a bird or two that flew the coop.

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Blog-aversary #4 – Help Me Pick One Post

Today, April 13, 2011, marks the FOURTH anniversary of Champion of My Heart. Forget “dog years,” I believe this makes us downright ancient in blog years. As part of our celebration, I’m writing to ask for your help. Happy Tails Books, owned and operated by Be the Change Royalty Kyla Duffy, invited me and Lilly to share ONE best-of blog post in a book of stories by top pet bloggers (a charity project). And, I cannot decide which of our many posts to pick, polish, and submit.

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Dog Training Docket

The challenge of working 10-12 hours every day for weeks (possibly months) on end is that the pace leaves little room for much more than survival. That means, other than the usual daily dog training cues and rewards, not a lot happens. So, to keep myself on track and to renew my commitment to all of you who follow our dog training tales, here is a recap of what’s currently on our dog training dock / dog training wish list.

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Evacuating and Sheltering Small Animals in A Disaster

Following the earthquake and tsunami in Japan and the Indian Gulch wildfire in our canyon, where officials warned those with animals (especially large ones) to evacuate sooner, I received an invitation to attend volunteer training for small animal disaster sheltering … if I ever wanted to help in a makeshift animal shelter in the event of an emergency.

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5 Ways a Fearful Dog Improves Your Life

I sometimes wonder if I’d ever deliberately adopt a truly fearful dog again. Truth? I didn’t know what I was getting myself into with Lilly. Still, I cannot imagine missing out on all the amazing things she taught me about not just dogs and dog training / dog learning theory but also about life and love, relationships, and finding (perhaps) my true calling.

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Retooling A Tug-a-Jug

Lilly first conquered the Tug-a-Jug years ago. After a cleanliness-related mishap, however, the rope became useless. So, I asked Janet Velenovsky, who works with Premier Pet Products on toy designs, what kind of rope I could use to get Lilly’s Tug-a-Jug back in business.

I first interviewed Janet for this magazine article on the history of dog toys. I still haven’t quite reconciled my feelings about the company over its newish shock collar company ties, but we have this toy and want to use it. Lilly loves it. And, it’s too easy without the rope.

Many thanks to Janet, who offered these options via Facebook:

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