Leslie Fisher

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I brought my first dog home at the tender age of 5 and according to family lore, said “Mom, look what I found.” Tramp, as he became, was bleeding from a gunshot wound, but survived to be a wonderful and colorful family pet, succumbing at the age of 16. And so it went over the years, a long line of furry faces and names coming to recollection.

I wish my Mother lived on, to witness the success of Look What I Can Do! Dog Training, founded in December of 2006. As the saying goes, the apple does not fall far from the tree. These days, I am owned by three labs, and live in the waterfront area of Earleville MD, an ideal location for my gang. Many a morning we are off to the Bohemia River, so Talley, Bridget CGC RN RA and Doobie can do what labs do best. My boyfriend Argil “adopted” all three labs, and turned not a hair at three large dogs taking up occupation.

In addition to running my business, volunteer work for Lab Rescue of the LRCP, Inc occupies some of my time, doing post adoption home checks, and providing assistance with behavioral issues. As I spend more time doing behavior consults, I frequently see that these troubled dogs often share a history of training methods that are forceful and ineffective. One of my main goals is educating clients that positive force free training produces happy willing dogs, and a wonderful dog-human relationship. No dog ever needs to be hurt in the name of training. Appropriate education needs to be provided to clients, so they can advocate for their dogs.

There has been much professional growth since 2006, including the March 2010 professional designation of CPDT-KA (Certified Pet Dog Trainer- Knowledge Assessed) after sitting for national licensure exam. PMCT (Pat Miller Certified Trainer) also goes behind my name, and I am equally proud of this title. Pat Miller was a strong early influence in my career and has very high standards in her Internships. I excelled in three of them to earn the PMCT title.

Reading articles and attending seminars on a regular basis, I feel, is a professional responsibility, to bring clients the most recent information in the field. To that end, maintaining a professional presence on twitter and Facebook has become like another non-paying job, but a richly rewarding one, making friends with so many like-minded professionals, from literally around the world. The journey so far has been exciting and fulfilling; I trust the years to come will bring nothing less.

Leslie Fisher PMCT, CPDT-KA CGC Evaluator ABC Student Mentor Member: APDT, MAAPPPT, TrulyDogFriendly

Blog posts by Leslie Fisher

Lovely rescued aussie/golden mix Jackson, with me for board/train in Elkton MD, is learning to acclimate to a new home and neighborhood.

Wouldn`t It Be Nice?

What happened? Your newly adopted dog, seemingly afraid of everything, wants no part of a leash, going for a walk, visiting friends and acts like children are little aliens. At the dog park he runs into a corner and plays invisible. Wouldn`t it be nice if he acted like the dog you really signed up for? Jackson, with me for board/train in Elkton MD, a lovely aussie/golden mix, is acclimating to his new home and neighborhood. Jackson is one lucky dog! 

Sadly, the former scenario repeats itself frequently, as frustrated at wits end folks relate their tales. People don`t sign up for project dogs in need of major rehab, but it happens. Seeming apparently adoption ready in the shelter, some dogs prove to be otherwise upon reaching their new home.

 
article national dog bite prevention week dog star daily leslie fisher elkton md

Bite is a Four Letter Word

BITE. The very word conjures an array of human responses: anger, fear, sadness, confusion amongst others. Dogs bite. Dogs bite for reasons very clear to themselves.  Humans often have difficulty comprehending the chain of events leading to a dog bite, hence my sharing of education by dedicated professional Joan Orr of DOGGONE SAFE . Joan has been busy promoting National Dog Bite Prevention Week May 16th – May 22nd.  Of note: a staggering 70 % of all dog bites occur to children under the age of 15, according the American Veterinary Medical Association.

 
board and train, separation anxiety, look what i can do dog training, cecil county md

Separated From Life By Separation Anxiety

Yes, I agree excessive time has elapsed since last I blogged; life events do have a habit of intruding, particularly the planning of a wedding! Sadly, I now write of a life event which resulted in the end of a life, the life of a three year old beagle deprived of a second chance. Separation anxiety can and does end doggy lives.  Recently, this young beagle, with perhaps years of life left, was separated from life by separation anxiety. She spent much of the last year in a basement crate, prior to being relinquished to SPCA. Yes, she was adopted, but by folks who were ill equipped to handle commitments of time and resources necessary. They decided not to try; her short life ended with euthanization.  What if I had offered pro bono services, I ask myself? Even so, sometimes people are just not ready to take on a project.

 

 
Christmas 2010

Beyond Shock Collars and Being Connected

All too well we know of many dogs` continuing connection to the receiving end of a shock collar. Not the best confidence booster in the world, is it?  However, this blog is less about the evils of shock collars, (as evil as they are) and more about the connections one gains in the world of positive dog training. Nothing equals the pleasure (well almost nothing) of being able to use those connections to make life better for dogs.  Shock collars will not magically disappear without ongoing intervention of determined individuals spreading the good word. Often it is one dog, one person at a time. In a recent discussion with facebook colleague Tony Cruse, he hoped, with his positive methods, to influence the widespread use of shock collars on farms neighboring those of a client.

 

Some Things Are Meant To Be

As the morning sun dances over the graceful boughs of our douglas fir Christmas tree, as my three labs slumber nearby, I reflect that some things are meant to be. How very meaningful that the man I share my life with, loves Christmas equally as I do. Argil, the man in my life, adopted all three of the labs, or, "the kids" as he call them. The house we share is located amidst my old stomping grounds. Years ago, I worked down the road at Windfield Farms, and spent hours birding the marshes and fields nearby. Often I stood at a location across the creek from his home. Some things are meant to be. Arriving here has been coming home again. We are both certain that I was meant to be in this place. Glancing again at the tree, I wish meeting Argils` Mother had been possible.

 
Bridget poses in front of a tool box

Filling Up Your Tool Box

Kelly Dunbar, in a recent post, alluded to effective and ongoing use of training tools, to prevent deteriorating doggy behavior. What a great reminder for all of us who are owned by dogs. One of my personal goals as a dog training professional is to keep filling up the tool box. Oh, I often think: “if I only knew then what I know now.” Fast forward five years and yes, I will be thinking the same thing. You see, we are always adding new tools to the box, as part and parcel of our trade. Only ever hire a dog trainer whose education is ongoing. My toolbox was distressingly empty prior to Pat Miller and the launch of my career. As green as grass was I, a Level 1 Instructor Intern in 2003. Prior to the Instructors course I am embarrassed to admit, a dog training book had never occupied shelf space in my home. The knowledge and foundation I acquired with Pat Miller were the very first tools of my trade.

 

Jumping For Joy Jackets Jubilance and Just Because

This past month, puppies are presenting with persistent jumping jack-in-the-box behaviors, and owners seeking help, immediate help. Some I am seeing privately, others in class, and yet another in a board and train setting. One was a three year old Great Dane who had been woefully under socialized and had fear related behaviors. Some of the pups were athletically leaping to shoulder height, nipping and grabbing at clothes, and had left a few bruises and torn clothing items behind. This is not good. This kind of overly aroused wildly unfettered behavior needs to be nipped in the bud. Why do puppies jump up anyways? Because:

 

Now THAT Is A Motivated Recall

Yup, those furry flying figures would be the three Look What Labs, racing with fiendish fervor,(in honor of Hallo`ween) each figuring on being first to Mom. Now THAT would be a motivated recall! The first fiendishly flying figure would be Bridget, always getting the jump on the others. Attempting to make up ground, and casting the evil eye on the leader, is Doobie, my puppy mill rescue. Finally (this is always the order) would be English Lab Talley, stolidly chugging along. She gets A for effort and for never giving up. Her stocky little self just cannot cover ground like the two American Labs; Talley has much less stamina also. Do you routinely get that kind of action happening on a recall? As this was a distance recall; let me describe the setting.

 
A happy go lucky pit bull

Hey, Can I Pet Your Puppy? Be the Change For Animals

As a puppy, Ransom was outrageously social, leaping and “smiling” with a big toothy grin at new people and dogs alike, coming into class. Happily, Ransom learned some impulse control, and to greet humans more appropriately. Ransom is a Pit bull. People are wary of large leaping dogs, and often more so, hold preconceived notions of the bully breeds: notions that these social creatures are dangerous fighting dogs. My heart ached reading an account from my client, of puppy Ransom, denied petting from a child. Why did Dad take the child’s hand and walk away? My client, upon inquiry, stated that Ransom was a pit bull. Clearly, Dad possessed preconceived pet prejudices. Clearly, there is a little boy growing up with the same learned opinions.

 

 
Talley english lab, anxious, behavior

Wait For That Behavior

Talley, my 5 year old bouncy anxious English Lab inspired me to get busy and write. When excited or anxious, which is often due to her temperament, she becomes, well…..bouncy! (all three labs give me plenty of scope for practice.) This behavior has been quite consistent over the five years of her loveable short stocky labbie life, and is unlikely to change. True to form this morning, excited by an impending trip to the pond, there was much bouncy bouncy behavior at the backyard gate, the magic gate to freedom. Talley knows the drill, which is why I wait for the desired behavior to happen.

 

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