Wednesday, January 30, 2013

It's Dog Time!

Leslie Smith grew up in Kansas with two Cocker Spaniels, a pen and a notebook constantly at her side. She spent much of her time in her professional life writing for the corporate world, while in her spare time she volunteered with her local animal shelter. When she heard about, she leapt at the chance to combine her two lifelong passions, canines and writing! Now the editor at, she focuses on animal welfare and pitbull advocacy.

She was also a guest on PAWsitive Radio, All Things Pets, and what a conversation we had!  We talked about how animals connect people... and the importance of kindness. That kindness can make a difference in a dog's life. is a content rich website featuring animals for adoption, positive reinforcement training videos and tips, ask the expert (health, diet, behavior and more) and information about ages and stages.  In our conversations about the needs of shelters and rescue organizations, Leslie gave some great information that she hears regularly from them:
  • volunteers
  • financial support
  • help with dog handling and walking
  • help with fundraising events
  • writers (to write up the stories for dogs- well written stories help dog's get adopted)
  • photographers
  • help creating videos
  • supplies (e.g. cleaning supplies, blankets, food, etc).
Make sure you check out  

The website has something for everyone!

Listen to the rest of the conversation with Leslie here:

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Monday, January 28, 2013

Are you the leader of your pack?

 Who is the leader in your house?

According to Ron Berman, in many homes, the pack leaders are the dogs, and not their human family member.  Ron is a Certified Forensic Consultant, and one of the most knowledgeable experienced experts in the evaluation and investigation of canine aggression in the US. He has personally trained more than 10,000 dogs in his 33 years as a behavioral consultant.  Ron really has seen it all, he has testified  in more than 250 cases as an expert in canine behavior, and temperament, bite wound evaluation and animal cruelty cases. His mission is to help pet owners notice the warning signs in their dog's behavior and to get help immediately.

Knowing the warning signs of aggressive behaviour is the first step in knowing what to do and what to avoid. Ron Berman was my guest on PAWsitive Radio, All Things Pets! and he offered some important information for pet families to learn how to recognize aggressive behavior in dogs, and how to deal with this behavior, and how to protect your pet.

Ron explained that there are five signs or levels of aggression that owners must pay attention to and deal with immediately : 

1) Growling (this is the lowest level, and if the dog is looking at you and growling, that is a sign of aggression).
2) Snarling and growling (where dog is showing his teeth)
3) Lunging and snarling
4) Snapping (tired to bite but the dog missed)
5) Biting

When pet owners notice these behaviours, Ron suggests they seek a recommendation from their vet for a qualified and respected behaviourist who will do an evaluation of the dog in the family home, then work with the family to effectively lead the dog (instead of the other way around). It is important that pet owners know that there can be serious repercussions of dog aggression. Ron has seen this in the courtroom in terms of legal cases but has also seen the aftermath of injury caused by dog bites. Ron's tips help keep our pets and family members safe, and enjoying the healthy and respectful animal human bond. 

Listen to Rons tips and suggestions here:

Ron reminded listeners not to put their hands in the middle of a dog fight. The typical reaction is to put their hands on the dog to separate them, however, this often results in people being bitten. Understanding the warning signs, working with professionals to train your dog (and the family) will go a long way in building trust in your dog, helping your dog be safe, and enjoying a healthy animal human bond.

The more aware pet owners are the better able they are to help their pet be centered and relaxed.  A centered and relaxed dog is a happy dog.

You can visit Ron at: Website:

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


You are not an average 'dog-owner' and this is no ordinary blogpost

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Sunday, January 6, 2013

Dog Stories on the Radio

Animals are the topic of conversation around the world. Have you noticed that pets create such a wonderful topic for conversation with loved ones, and strangers. It is easy, comfortable and safe to talk about our pets. There seems to be no shortage of stories to share when it comes to pets.

As we traveled with our dog Toby, the star of our books On Toby's Terms and Toby The Pet Therapy Dog, on book and speaking tours, I enjoyed the stories that were shared with us.  One story that touched my heart was shared by a gentleman who's dog had escaped from their farm.  The family searched for weeks, put up posters, had notices in the papers, called shelters on a daily basis, and alerted every person they knew.  They had given up hope that their four legged family member would be found. One day the gentleman had to travel to a nearby community, about 30 miles away.  In a conversation with the shop owner, the topic of dogs came up. The gentleman shared his story about their missing dog and showed the shop owner a photo. The shop owner smiled and said "he's here!"  A local had taken the dog in after he showed up on their property. The "foster parent" had put up posters in that community, talked to everyone she knew and no one knew the dog's owners. The shop owner contacted the "foster parent" who was delighted to be part of this emotional reunion. The family doesn't know how the dog traveled 30 miles, but to be reunited after a few months, was incredible.  Although this happened a number of years ago, and their dog had passed away, the emotion in the man's voices was as if this happened yesterday.  I too was in tears listening to this heartwarming story... a story with a very happy ending.

At a bookstore event, a lady shared a story about her life as a child, she had a number of medical issues and her dog became her healer, companion and gave her strength to persist through the many medical procedures.

Pets give so much.... their stories connect people....

When we adopted Toby, we truly had no idea how he would impact (and change) our lives, touch the lives of people around the world, and become our teacher.  Nor did I know then that Toby's story would be shared on radio programs around the world.  Dr James Sutton interviewed me about Toby's story, you can listen to our conversations and stories here:

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