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.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


James:  I don't feel good.  I HATE "go for a ride"
Me:  I know buddy, but you like
        "go for a walk", right?
James: "Walk?" (lifting his head)
Me: We're here!Good boy not to puke in my car!
James: (nose twitching) Smells...interesting here! 
Me: Let's go.
James: Hey, Mom, look!
Me:  That's bear poop JJ.
James: Can I eat it?
Me: Sorry, dude.                                                                        
James: (sigh, trots along with me)  Hey, Mom, look!
Me:  Yup, deer prints
James:  We should follow them!
Me:  Lets stay on the path.  There are more good sniffs up ahead.
James: OK...you're right!  Bunnies!!! Gulp
Me: A little bunny poop won't kill ya.
James: gulp...gulp...gulp
Me: I said a little!  Come on, move along. Here get a drink in the stream.
James: I like the way the water feels on my feet. Let's stand here for a while.
Me: You look like you're posing for a picture.
James: (smiles)
Me: Time to move on.
James: Hey, Mom, look!
Me:  Yuck!  Racoon poop - Don't roll in that!
James:  Are you kidding?  It smells so delicious!
Me:  It means a bath when we get home...
James: (rolling) Totally worth it. Thanks Mom.
Me: (sigh) Sure thing, buddy.

Friday, September 13, 2013


Imagine for a moment that your four year old son is attacked by an out of control child at the playground.  The child hits and kicks your child, scaring and hurting him.  As a result, your previously socially outgoing son, now yells and throws a tantrum when another child comes near him.  Sometimes he yells at the other child.  Sometimes he tries to run away, thrashing against your restraint.

Here's some advice:
Force your child to sit on the ground and tolerate a child coming close.  If he is terrified and thrashing, hold him down.
Slap your son and yell at him when he gets "aggressive" toward an approaching child.

Would you follow this advice?    I surely hope not!

But people are given this advice regarding their dogs' behavior all the time...AND THEY FOLLOW IT!  Blows my mind.  And makes me very, very sad. Most people don't want to hurt their dogs. They do it because a "professional" told them to.  Dogs view this treatment from human beings as an attack.  Isn't that what CAUSED the issue in the first place?

Some dogs don't even need an actual scary event to occur to become defensively aggressive toward other dogs.  Lack of socialization and exposure can cause a dog to be fearful of what they do not know and result in "aggressive" displays as a coping strategy.

How can it possibly make sense to cause our dogs fear, pain and emotional stress as a way to stop behavior that is fueled by fear, pain or emotional stress???  Ay yi yi...

Please stop and think before implementing any advice given by anyone, regarding your dog.
If you wouldn't do it to your child, don't do it to your dog.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Hey boo boo, I see you.

   I had the strangest experience last night.  I woke up hearing Pogo walking around out in the kitchen.  I jumped up to get him outside...just in case... He was moving quickly, differently than his shuffling gate of late.  He maneuvered the deck and stairs with more ease than I've seen in a long time.  He moved around the yard at a good clip but did not "go".  We came back inside, but he was still revved up.  
   I sat on the floor and watched as he paced around the kitchen island (memories of his mother, Gillie), but occasionally Pogo would pause in his loop and LOOK AT ME.  I mean REALLY LOOK AT ME.  His head was up and there was a clarity in his expression.  At one point he stopped in front of me, leaning into my petting, then reached up and licked my face before continuing his pacing. 
   I gave him one more chance to "go" outside, (which he did not), then I put some food in his dish which he ate all of.  I went back to bed, listening for his footsteps which ceased fairly quickly.  Sneaking out for a peek, I found him lying on his dog bed. 
 Lying back on my own pillow I felt like I had been given a gift.  
   Brian says maybe he was sleepwalking, dreaming of younger days.
I think something physiological occurred in his brain, giving him a shot of adrenaline 
and a brief period of consciousness. Either way...I am thankful 
that I was able to have him back with me...
if only for a moment.