she who must be obeyed …

My garden is looking quite wild this morning, and if I stand for just long enough, I can see each plant grow an inch or two. My coffee is darn near perfect. My kids have been for a long run and are now picking raspberries. Our kitchen is looking like a garden farmy kind of disaster,…

Is there really such a thing as a stubborn dog?

Every day of every week I have a person tell me their dog is stubborn and won’t do ‘this or that’. And just so we are clear, this is the formal definition of STUBBORN – ‘having or showing dogged determination not to change one’s attitude or position on something, especially in spite of good arguments…

learn me …

“We hardly know one another” “You can learn me…” “Learn you?” “Yes or No” ~ The Constant Gardener I am asked, almost on a daily basis, why dogs respond to me the way that they do. I think this always catches me off guard, a little or a lot, as I don’t really think about…

ditch the TOOL BOX …

The virtual  Trainers Tool Box. The ‘make believe’ place where ideas, techniques, theories, and training aids are stored. Just in case, because you never know when you’ll need it. The smoke screen place that assumes no blame and no shame. The illusion that all knowledge is usable and viable and fair. Again, just in case, because…

Band-Aid Behaviors … they simply don’t work

If you think dogs can be reactive, please note that they have nothing on us humans. We might be the most reactive species there is. Some of us more than others. And it doesn’t bode well for our relationship with our dog most of the time. Handlers that tend to be reactionary to their dogs…

What I’ve learned about dog training from Jacques Pepin

For me it is all the same. We do different things at different times, but it is all part of the greater whole in my opinion. Whether I am cooking, gardening, working with clay, training my dogs, reading about 14th century concubines, hiking, or watching a good movie, or what ever, it’s life, it’s part of me,…

Training and Oatmeal, they have a lot in common

If you are good at working with another animal, teaching new skills, building complex behaviors, bringing words to fluent understanding, and doing so incrementally, for an onlooker it should be about as interesting as stirring oatmeal. Training should not be sensational. Training should not be about heightened emotions. Training should not be about entertaining onlookers….

Chasing Sunshine …

Marketing is powerful. Promises of things better than before, changes, new outlooks, more comfort, better health, full control, sexier, wealthier, or maybe a life with more simplicity. In any case, it is based on ‘chasing sunshine’. Running after what we think will be better, that might make us happier, or that could possibly bring brightness to…

From Noah & Kinsey – Scholarship Recipients 2015

This is the second year of our Riffle Memorial Scholarship. We had two recipients this year, and it has been a pleasure to work with these Teams, watch them grow, watch them hit bumps but get back up with new knowledge, and to open the world of the ‘behind the scenes’ part of training, which…

learning between the lines

Hurry up and wait. Milestones that allow us more, or allow us to believe there is more, and we seemingly and willingly give up precious days and precious moments to focus on, well yet another moment. But when you reach a certain age, like I have,  you learn to savor each day, each lesson, and…