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, June 16, 2014


Goose turned 8 weeks old on June 14!  He is gaining in size, endurance and coordination.  He is awesome!
We continue our careful barrage of socialization.  This week he met several new people, including a couple kids, and met some new doggie friends.  These are, of course, dogs I know well and am confident about their health status.  You don't want to sacrifice safety for social exposure.

We have started training the basic postures of SIT, DOWN, STAND and establishing a positive association with his name. GOOSE = cookies, praise and games.  We are encouraging him to follow us on and off leash. We are introducing TOUCH (hand targeting) .  He is a quick study.

His house training is coming along VERY well.  The few times he has gone potty inside have been lapses in my supervision.  Last night he grabbed a piece of newspaper off the end table, played with it a bit then put it down and peed on it!  I kid you not!  Riot!  He sleeps through the night without having to "go", which is a blessing, as neither my husband or I do well with sleep deprivation!

His ability to tolerate being crated is a work in progress.  He is great in the car crate now. :-) And he will eat in his kitchen crate, following the lead of the other dogs.  But simply getting him to chill out in a crate is not happening at this point.  Thankfully, he is tolerating being left in the crate when I leave the house, but only barely.   He screams a little less than he used to. :-P  

Goose has his first visit to our veterinarian this morning.  He will have company, as Cubby, Chalupa and James are also due for their annual exams. This oughtta be exciting! :-P


Thursday, June 12, 2014

RAISING GOOSE - Don't fence me in

Doesn't this look like a nice place to take a nap or have a meal?

How bout this one?

Goose says thanks, but no thanks.  

My little angel is not enamored with confinement.  He strongly expresses his displeasure when crated or gated ... for naps, home alone time or meals...in other words he barks his fool head off!  Ay yi yi.

Before any of you well meaning dog trainer types roll your eyes and tell me I need to ride it out - he'll stop eventually...WRONG!  He will bark a LONG time.  When I tried to "let the baby cry" he barked until he had himself so distraught that he had hiccups and was shaking.  Not to mention the fact that he DOES have to eat, so letting him "cry it out" at meal times is counter productive.  I have left him crated and crying when I've had to leave the house without him.  He is barking when I leave and barking when I return (I sneak up driveway and listen).  Has he been barking the whole time???  He will not eat food or treats I leave with him in crate.  The blankets and food look like a tornado  came through his crate.  Obviously he was not a happy camper in my absence.

So here are our current solutions and training goals:

Bedtime was solved easily enough - Goose happily (and quietly) sleeps through the night in bed with my husband and I. 

Meals?  We're working on having him eat in a crate with the door open. That means gating him out of the kitchen where the other dogs eat.  At first that was too hard.  He sat at the gate and cried, ignoring the food in his open crate.  But this morning he moved back and forth between the gate and his crate and finished his breakfast.  Good boy.  We will work up to closing the crate door.

In the car?  He will fall asleep in a crate in the car if 1.  He is VERY TIRED and 2. Another dog is along for the ride. So that's where we are right now.  We will work up to him being able to tolerate the crate without another dog.

As for naps throughout the day?  I just let him crash wherever.  Not a solution, not a plan, just being human. Don't wake a sleeping puppy. 

When I do have to leave him crated when I leave the house...
1.  I spray crate with DAP
2.  I play the radio (same noise that he hears when we are home)
3.  I make sure he can see at least one dog for comfort.
4.  I hope that eventually he will just get used to it.
5.  I cry as I drive down the road. :-P

He is only 7.5 wks old and has only been here a week!  So I'm not TOO worried yet, but if his crate tolerance does not improve I'll get out the clicker and work on shaping him to go in and stay in willingly.

Stay tuned...

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Before and After - Part 2

We kicked off RED DOG SOLUTION'S Agility Season with blue skies and warm temps! It was great to meet new students and renew friendships with returning students.  The 80 x 100 field is level,  with plenty of shade outside the ring!   For my own use, I LOVE being able to grab a dog and walk down to train, spur of the moment! SO HAPPY with my decision to create this space here at home!

I am looking forward to hosting run thrus and agility workshops through out the Summer and Fall!

RAISING GOOSE - Puppy Socialization

Bringing a puppy into your family is a BIG undertaking.  In addition to house training, chew training and teaching your pup polite behavior, there is the VERY IMPORTANT task of properly socializing your little environmental sponge! 
Socialization  is not just about exposing your pup to the world, it is also about insuring that your pup has POSITIVE exposure to the world.

Plop a toddler down on the floor in the middle of 6 rambunctious, barking, jumping dogs and the kid will love dogs, right? Wrong.  The kid will likely get scared and it will be harder the next time a dog is in the picture to convince the toddler to interact or worse you may create a serious fear of dogs.

Pups are no different. Allowing a pup to interact with people and other dogs without being restrained (held, kept on tight leash, in a corner etc) is vitally important.  I cannot imagine how terrifying it must be to be tethered or held while something new and scary comes toward you and touches you!  Yikes! Puppies should be allowed to approach new people and things on their own and given the freedom to back away if they feel threatened.  This is how they build confidence, by feeling in control of their own safety.

1.  Keep leash loose so pup can advance/ retreat as needed.
2.  Do not hold a puppy up to a person or hand a puppy to someone he/ she doesn't know.
3.  Don't be in a rush.  Dragging a puppy through a doorway into a new space or picking up a hesitant pup to move him toward what he is worried about is not going to help him meet that environmental challenge with confidence next time.

Your goal should always be that your puppy ENJOYS a new interaction, not just tolerates it.  If pup is overwhelmed, move to a quieter spot and give her time to recover before moving on.  Treats can help, but shoving food into a scared pup's mouth is not accomplishing what you may think it is.

Another common mistake regarding socialization is waiting too long.  The key developmental period in puppies ends at 16 weeks!  After 4 mths your pup is less open to new experiences and his personality becomes more fixed (brave, shy etc).  You can always use desensitization and counter conditioning to help your adolescent dog become more comfortable with novel things, but true socialization effects how your pup will view environmental and social  challenges for the rest of his life...And it has to happen early!

Think you've socialized your pup well, but he is still fearful, aggressive or spooky as a young adult?

1.  Don't give up - keep working on positive exposure paired with lots of reinforcement.  Sometimes dogs seem to turn a behavioral corner at 2.  Don't ask me why...but it happens.
2.  Genetics are genetics are genetics.  You've all heard "You can't fix stupid".  Well...pups are born with a set of genes that we can't change, only make the best of.  Sometimes in spite of our best efforts our pups grow into worried adult dogs.  Sensitive souls I call them.  They can make lovely pets once you accept them for who they are and change your expectations slightly to give them the time and space they need to be comfortable in their world. 
3.  Take a long hard look at the actual amount of socialization that you gave your pup.  Meeting a couple men...or your niece's toddler...or going for a walk once downtown... when you are a childless, single woman who lives on a dirt road is just not enough! Repeated positive exposure is needed to cement social and behavioral flexibility.

My new pup, Goose was 6 1/2 wks old when I got him.  He is 7 1/2 wks old now. 
I am keeping a socialization journal.
To date he has actively ENJOYED  meeting the following:
Men - 7 (including one biker in full gear, one man in suit, one painter with brushes and ladder, several junkyard workers)
Women - 17 (varying sizes and shapes)
Kids - 1 (3 yr old boy)
Dogs - 14 (big, small, young, old)

He has been curious but a bit overwhelmed by 3 Dogs (moving away, but back toward to investigate).
He has been passively socialized with:
6 yr old female child
baby in stroller
(siblings of the 3 year old boy he played with)

Goose has been to the following new places:
friends house (2 different)
bank (2 different)
store (2 different)
downtown Brandon (walking)
back field of our property
Junk yard/ steel yard

He has also been scared by 1 dog (my cranky old Vizsla who growled fiercely at him for jumping on his head!), but it has only happened once while coexisting with that dog for the week.  Right now they are both napping at my feet about 6 feet apart.  Goose will have to learn that not ALL dogs want to play with him and he will learn that by meeting LOTS of friendly dogs so he knows what friendly looks like and also by being CAREFULLY exposed to less than tolerant dogs so he can learn what the "ugly face" means!
Here is Goose taking refuge with his "nice" siblings after being yelled at by his big, "mean" older brother!

 Stay tuned...for an on going blog series about RAISING GOOSE!