I’ve been crazy about dogs all my life. My first school writing assignments documented my feelings for our family’s dog. I became focused on dog training and behavior in 2001 when I got my first dog, Sage. We attended several classes together, experienced great results, and started investing huge amounts of time on training when we joined an agility club in 2004. By this time we had also brought our second dog Logan into our lives, which only increased my fascination with dog psychology, as the two dogs are so entirely different.
In agility class, I was introduced to clicker training for the first time, and pushed to understand the way dogs think. Sage and I received compliments for excelling in class and we enjoyed some of our brightest moments together. This experience definitely triggered my passion for understanding dogs, which has evolved into a passion for helping people with their dogs.
On the other hand, the agility environment was very intense with hyper, excited dogs, and Sage started showing signs of aggression. And then it seemed everything started to bother her, which I later realized was a long string of negative associations. Her outbursts began my journey to more deeply understand how to care for a dog’s peace of mind.
I researched both diet and psychology extensively and enjoyed the fruits of my efforts. We had gone to a very dark place, where she was constantly on guard, even in our home. And then we got back on track, back to enjoying other dogs, fostering new friends, trusting the world to be a good place. During this time, I spent hours and days on end reading and working with specialists. We even attended a “Difficult Dogs” class. All of these experiences were excellent.
When I tried a new technique and saw results, I often thought – wow, that was easy! I started figuring a lot of solutions out on my own, because I had “learned how to learn” (and I taught my dogs “how to learn”). My friends and family approached me with questions, and they even recommended me to people they knew.
My experience has continued to grow constantly with my own dogs – we never stop training – and has diversified even further to include foster dogs and countless shelter dogs. I have been a volunteer dog walker, and always enjoy meeting a new dog and seeing his/her uniqueness. I am fascinated how a technique that works great with one dog will not always work great on a different dog I meet 5 minutes later. Naturally I figure something different out for that dog!
Dog Momma has been created to document the advice I keep giving out repeatedly to friends and family.
I assure you I am not done learning myself, but I do have plenty to help you with now. As I continue grow and learn, I will tell you what I find. The reason I thought this website was a good idea is based on my own experiences getting information. There is a ton out there but it’s not always quick or easy to get. My goal is to be totally objective, linking you to other experts’ ideas or products. I am not particularly interested to establish or preach “my own” style or method – there are plenty of great ideas out there but they don’t always get to people effectively.
About the logo… while I always say Sage has been my “PhD level” education in dog psychology, it was Logan’s paw who ended up next to my foot in the Dog Momma logo. Logan has extra big paws and we always get compliments on them. And the feet idea? Well, I just walk, walk, walk with dogs. I can trace many good things back to this daily routine 🙂
***Update! Welcome, Rio! We recently adopted Rio from Dogs Hope, a shelter specializing in pointers in North Carolina. We are integrating him into our pack. He has already inspired many ideas for Dog Momma. Stay tuned…