Tired Dog is a Good Dog

Posted: July 19, 2011 in Uncategorized

I took Dojo running yesterday and he was pooped. He spent all day moping around and moaning like a sinner on rivaval day.

Check out the video.



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People as Frogs



It’s 5:30 am when the alarm rings. You slide into running shorts and shoes, drink a cup of coffee and plan your route. Living a ten-minute drive from a galaxy of wilderness and hiking trails means you’re running up to meet the sun on mountain passes every morning. I mean, where else would you be – in bed?

Pink, orange and fuschia screen the western sky after work, and that’s the direction you head. Foot, after foot, clipping along to the sound of your footfall, your mind begins – slowly, begrudgingly – to let go.

But. Why are you doing this alone?


The Story of Seca

“It means flaca, skinny,” she tells me, “because she was the runt.” And, it’s true. Just then her brother strolls by; he is twice her size – and has an underbite that must make chewing arduous. Clearly, Seca was the Goldie Locks of the litter.

Three days later, Seca is galloping up Soldier Trail, skidding to a stop at the edge of a canyon wall. She sniffs at a tuft of lupine pushing up through the sand.

Soon Seca will be biting at snow patches alongside the trail to Mount Wrightson and pouncing on tadpoles in shallow creek water on Mount Lemmon. She’ll race ahead of me for the first two days of backpacking in Sycamore Canyon and walk at my heels on the third. She’ll swing across a vertical rockface in a harness and every night she’ll fall asleep at my feet.

Alas, my journey with Seca is coming to a close and I must find her a new human to love her and take care of her.


You and Seca

You adopt Seca. She travels the whole way with her stuffed chicken and tennis ball beside her. Wouldn’t you? You show her around the house, where her bed will go, and her toy basket and food bowls. She follows you to the back door and pushes through the doggie door; you trail her into the back yard where she conducts a full smell assessment. Later you cruise around the neighborhood, stopping to let her sniff
and pee, sniff and pee.

Come sunset, you know exactly where you’re going to be. Only this time, not alone.

Adopt Seca Now.

Contact her current owner at 520/551-0329 or via email brynag2003@yahoo.com.

Seca is in Tucson, AZ

How To Train a Bear To Dance

Posted: January 13, 2011 in Uncategorized

Last week, I published a post If You Can Train a Bear You Can Train a Dog. You definitely want to read it before proceeding.

For those that read it, here are the 3 questions I presented in that post.

  1. How did the European Gypsies train bears to dance on queue?
  2. How to walk a bear on a leash? And…
  3. How to make a bear heel?

Today we are going to answer one of those three questions for posterity.

I’ve researched this topic far and wide and found very little authoritative information. What’s worse is I wasn’t able to find one place that answered all these questions.

Why is it important to answer these questions?

From what I understand, much of Europe nowadays forbids Gypsies from using bears to advertise their business of fixing umbrellas. If you’re wondering what the hell I’m talking about, well, I told you to read the previous post.

Given the fact that it is now forbidden, I would imagine that the skills of training this wild beast will be lost within a generation or two.

No. I’m not suggesting we open up a bear training business.

What I am suggesting is that knowledge of any kind should NEVER be lost. I don’t think I’m overstating it when I say that losing knowledge due to atrophy of nonuse is no different than losing knowledge due to book burning or destruction of libraries.

So with that in mind, how do you train a bear to dance?

In the olden days, Gypsies of Europe would take a metal plate and put some hot coals underneath it. The bear would then be blocked off from escaping the metal plate.

Since the plate was hot, the bear would instinctively throw his hands in the air (get on his hind legs) and proceed to tap dance on his hind legs in alternating fashion.

While this is going on, the Gypsies would play the drum.

This is classic Pavlovian conditioning.

For those unfamiliar, in 1890s, Dr. Ivan Pavlov performed experiments on the connection between the visual processing center of dogs and their salivary gland.

Note: Dr. Pavlov wasn’t interested in training dogs. In fact, much of “scientific” research cited in dog literature has nothing to do with actual training of dogs. Sorry “science” of dog training.

When showed a cooked, juicy piece of stake dogs would automatically begin to salivate. Pavlov then added the infamous bell to the equation.

Whenever he would show the stake to dogs he would ring a bell, thereby associating the sound a bell makes with the visual stimuli. At this stage, the smell played an important role as well.

After many repetitions, Pavlov decided to remove the cooked, juicy piece of stake from the equation and simply rung the bell. And thus the Dogs began to salivate.

This same type of classic associative conditioning was employed by the Gypsies of Europe to get their bears to dance except they used aversive methods (hot plate) rather than appetitive stimulation (juicy stake).

How to walk a bear on a leash?

Sorry folks. We’re out of time. I didn’t think this post would be this long. I hope you enjoyed it.

Subscribe to make sure you don’t miss the next installment in my How To Train a Bear series when we talk about how to walk a bear on a leash.

Off Leash Dog Encounters

Posted: January 5, 2011 in Uncategorized

This past summer, Dojo and I did a lot of hiking.

The Appalachian Trail. The Sun Fish Pond. The air. The nature. It was all good.


I taped a series of Off Leash Encounters with other dogs as well as people.

In this video, you will see Dojo pulling ahead (which is typical for a young male of the species), however, if you pay close attention you will notice him “checking-in” by looking back to make sure I’m not too far.

We encounter a group of people and a young pit. The pit is on a leash and very excited to meet Dojo.

The dude on the other side of the leash got lucky this time. Both dogs behaved exceptionally well despite the dudester tugging on the leash and creating a lot of tension in the young pit.

Anyways. Enjoy


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Flirting With Dojo

Posted: December 27, 2010 in Uncategorized

How To Prevent a Dog Fight

Posted: December 27, 2010 in Uncategorized

There are many ways in which dogs can get into a good, ol’ fashioned scrap. There are probably just as many ways to prevent it from happening.

Rather than preach about this method or that method, I’d rather talk about a specific, real life, example that I just happen to have on tape 🙂 

Dojo (my German Shepard) and my friend Bill’s pit Molly were doing some in-water dual retrieving. Both dogs (and owners) were totally unprepared and untrained for such an endeavor.

Some factors that didn’t help

  • Both Dojo and Molly are high-energy dogs with strong resource-guarding instincts.
  • They both have strong prey drives as well.

I point out the prey drive because in this scenario the stick is but a prey in their minds.

Some factors that helped.

  • There were both kinda tired from a long hike.
  • They were both in water.
  • Molly is a female.

This last part warrants a close examination.

Aggressive male dogs (and I’m generalizing) are less likely to be aggressive around female dogs. Isn’t this true of all species?

Not that Dojo is an aggressive dog but he can be pig headed when he wants to be.

Moving on.

The thing that saved the day was a well timed “OUT!!!” command.

This prompted Dojo to let go of the stick and thus prevented possible escalation.


A well timed, well trained command is sometimes all it takes to prevent a dog fight.



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Dharma and Greg: What Can Sitcom Characters Teach us About Dog Training

Be a Service-Human to Your Dog

The Issue of Indoctrination in Dog Training

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The Magnificent 7: Best Damn Dog Blogs Around. Period!!!

People as Frogs


How To Stop Your Dog From Biting

Posted: December 27, 2010 in Uncategorized

It’s actually quite easy. All you have to do is learn to speak Dog.  

But instead of me telling you all about that, I’ll let Dojo teach you guys this lesson.

In this brief video, you will see Dojo (the handsome brown and tan German Shepard) playing with another cute but simply not-as-good-looking dog.

The play gets little rough for the black dog and he squeals. Loudly. Suddenly. Abruptly.

The black dog squeals in a way that lets Dojo know that the play is too rough. At which point Dojo respectfully turns his ass towards the sissy dog and leaves him alone.


If your dog is getting too rambunctious, starts to nip, bite and gets into a heightened state of play. All YOU have to do is speak dog to him and squeal like your life depends on it.

If you do it right, you will notice a befuddled look on your dog’s face and he WILL stop biting and carrying on.

And now, watch the video.



I stopped by a local vet yesterday to pick up heartworm and flee/tick meds for my dog. I’ve never been to this particular vet so I encountered an issue that has never come up before.

I wasn’t allowed to buy the heartworm medicine!


I had to check the sign hung on the doors of America. Yup… sure enough…it still said United States of Capitalism.

So I was confused. 

Forgive me, I said to the lady at the reception desk. And why am I not allowed to buy heartworm medication for my dog?

Read the rest on DawgBusiness