About Me

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My name is Lesli Hyland. In my fifty one years on this earth, my home and my heart have been graced with the company of twenty four dogs. Many came to me as seniors. All of them taught me something and helped determine the course of my life. I became a dog trainer because of them. I met my friends because of them. My husband and I are are forever bonded by our mutual connection to them. Currently, as a Dog Walker I have access to other people's dogs and I am allowed to experience their unique personalities. The dogs make me a better person by forcing me to closely examine my motivation, my actions and my choices. Everything I do affects their behavior, safety and happiness. It is an awesome responsibility. The dogs keep me honest.

Monday, August 27, 2012

And Mamacita makes 7...

So...it looks like Mamacita is going to stay...
SEVEN DOGS????  Am I nuts?  Perhaps...but I see so much potential in MC and so much that could go wrong!  I may not be the BEST dog trainer, but I'm good at reducing reactivity, having lived with a very reactive dog for almost 15 years now and having 90% of my private training business centered around different variations of reactivity.  I know I can help her.
MC's training challenges are as follows:
1.  reactivity toward strange dogs and strange people.
3.  Jumping, pulling on leash, lack of basic manners; intolerance of handling
4.  scratching at people and dogs when excited and playful; scratching on doors to get out/ in
5.  chewing/ destructive behavior

Alrighty then...here's THE PLAN:
1.  Introduce the clicker (conditioned reinforcer) - DONE
2.  Create "Look at that/ Look at me" behavior chain- STARTED
3.  Use counter conditioning / desensitization to decrease reactivity toward people/ dogs - STARTED 
4.  Get her into a basic manners class with a like minded trainer for different exposure.
5.  Introduce her to agility basics. (train GO, HERE, OUT)
6.  Use harness or head halter to help with pulling!
7.  Train SIT, DOWN, WAIT (she has SIT and WAIT under her belt)
8.  Crate her when not supervised - duh!  The chewed glasses, drawer pull, pen and long line...were
     a broad hint that she needed less freedom!
9.  I immediately stop her from the scratching stuf, but I fear it is self rewarding and has a history of
     reinforcement (it works!) so I will need to be creative on that front...
10. Create and reward calm behavior in the house using crates and tethers during 'down time'.
      Train ENOUGH to shut down her craziness and give the other dogs a break from her pestering.
11. Use Counter Conditioning / Desensitization  to increase tolerance of handling/ restraint. (STARTED)

If this sounds like alot of work...it is!  Particularly when you add in the training and exercise and TLC the other 6 dogs also need.  I am thankful for a flexible work schedule, the ability to take dogs to work with me, a VERY helpful husband, a big fenced yard, lots of "dog friends" and access to plenty of off leash hiking areas.  I am lucky and so are my dogs.  I would never attempt to have multiple dogs if I didn't have the lifestyle I do (and a husband who often works from home too!).

Maybe I need to quit my job and become a full time "dog-Mom"!
Of course then I couldn't afford the vet bills...


  1. so happy to know where mamacita is :) kept looking at her pic when she was on the rchs site. best of luck with her!

  2. My foster left last week, Tally-ho was placed in a great home, Vanna is going to Wisconsin in Sept. and then I'll only have 4. BORING! But hunting season will soon be upon us so there's lots of work to do with the 4. Hunt tests, conformation & obedience. Glad to have a manageable pack where everyone is getting just what they need. Especially me, some down time.

  3. Congratulations Lesli and Brian! Entering the corgi world will be a great experience I know. Love your list of training challenges and all your responses. My only thought was: hopefully you also have a list of all the wonderful things she brings to you and your pack. Or the things she already does well. She was surely a great mom and from your descriptions over the past couple of months I know she has lots of great attributes especially to channel into agility. I bet she'll teach you a lot. And I bet she'll be FAST! Have a great, great time with her.

  4. Those pesky vet bills...if it weren't for them, I'd probably have seven dogs too! (and a bigger place). :-)

    So glad you have a plan, sounds like she fell into the perfect hands. Lucky dog. Have fun!