Lisa Spector

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Lisa Spector is a concert pianist and a graduate of The Juilliard School. She has won first prizes in prestigious national piano competitions, and performs concert tours internationally. She is the founder of Lisa Spector’s Music School.


A lifetime dog-lover involved in agility training and competition, she has served as a volunteer puppy raiser for Guide Dogs for the Blind. As co-founder of BioAcoustic Research & Development, Lisa has presided over the groundbreaking music and canine research conducted in 2004-05 with 150 dogs. She is the co-creator of Through a Dog’s Ear and the pianist on the music series. Lisa is an agility enthusiast and a student of Sandy Rogers of Ace Dog Sports.

Photo of Lisa and friend by Imogen Brown

Blog posts by Lisa Spector

Dogwise Forum and It's Me or the Dog on Animal Planet

I am so honored to be the featured author on the Dogwise Forum. I so loved meeting the owners of Dogwise after our presentation at the APDT conference. If you have any questions on using sound therapy to help your dogs, I'll do my best to answer them on the forum. Please submit them by tomorrow evening.

Also, Casey Mattherws-Lomonaco notified me that she saw last night's airing of It's Me or the Dog on Animal Planet. Victoria Stilwell played Music to Calm your Canine Companion to help successfully calm Great Danes. I can't wait to see the show myself. Did anybody else watch it?

 

What It's Like to be my "Dog" during Salsa Dancing

It’s not like I dress in a dog costume or anything silly. But, I was reflecting on my salsa dance class (probably my favorite 90 minutes of the week aside from my dog agility class) and what it’s like to be a “follower”. In salsa dancing, it’s called “leader” and “follower”. In dog agility, it’s called “handler” and “dog”. Since I’m female, I’m the follower in salsa, which makes me the equivalent of a “dog” in agility. Both activities require partnership with clear communication, yet very little of it being verbal. While agility and salsa dancing couldn’t be more contrasting, because of salsa dancing, I gained some awareness of how my dog thinks.

 

Are We Listening to our Dogs?

It’s 4 am and there is only one reason I am awake. My dog heard something outside and started barking. I live in a rather rural area surrounded by wildlife. One of the benefits of not having neighbors close by is the peace, quiet, and tranquility that comes with the territory. I think it’s also been good for my dog. No longer are the days where he is stimulated with all the people walking by with dogs and other distractions in my old neighborhood. But, then there is the occasional deer, skunk, raccoon, in the middle of the night that gets his attention and he finds it urgent to wake me with loud barking. No complaints. Sanchez is a fabulous watch dog - he barks, finds me, we check it out, I reassure him all is safe, and he stops barking.

 
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Why I love watching Victoria Stillwell train dogs on “It’s Me or the Dog”

I am not a professional dog trainer or an animal behaviorist and I don’t even have a television. So, why would I write about Victoria Stilwell and her inspirational dog training methods on “It’s Me or the Dog”? Because when the producers of the show contacted me for permission to play the music of Through a Dog’s Ear on the show, I wanted to make sure she used dog training skills that I supported. It only took three short online video segments before I completely fell in love with her training style and now regularly watch her show to help expand my dog handling skills, and more importantly, improve my relationship with Sanchez, my yellow Lab.

 

Top 10 reasons I love Victoria Stilwell’s training methods:

10. She loves dogs and turns training into play and fun, hence making it enjoyable and stress free for the dog and the humans involved.

 
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Take My Dog Out to the Ball Game

My dog, Sanchez, and I participated in the Dog Days of Summer on Saturday. The San Francisco Giants were playing the Philadelphia Phillies and invited dogs to attend the game, an annual activity at the AT&T ball park. A portion of proceeds benefited the San Francisco SPCA and dogs had their own bleacher “seats”. When I learned that they were expecting 600 dogs, I thought it would be great fun for us. After all, Sanchez is a career change dog from Guide Dogs for the Blind and had a great amount of experience in large crowds, in a variety of social settings, when he was in training as a puppy. I hadn’t been to a ballgame since I left New York, over 20 years ago, so I thought I would also enjoy the experience.

 
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How do you safely capture a lost dog?

Does anybody have any advice about what to do when you find a non-aggressive lost dog? With July 4th approaching and Humane Societies in the U.S. reporting that there are more lost dogs on this day than any other of the year, this would be valuable information. Late the other night, I found a wandering Beagle. I had dog food in the car and he came within inches of the food and then went roaming off. I tried to follow him but lost him. I called emergency services and they said they'd keep an eye out for him. Luckily it was a very quiet area without traffic, but I don't know how far he went and the sweet dog keeps entering my mind. He was friendly, but he was intent on following his nose and I really hope it lead him to his family. I'd like to be more prepared on July 4th, just in case it happens again. Last July 4th I found a wandering dog and fortunately I was able to put a leash on him and the story has a happy ending. Any advice would be appreciated.

 
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8 Tips for Keeping your Dogs Calm on July 4th

July 4th is around the corner, along with the fireworks that inevitably come with this holiday. Almost all humans with canines in the United States declare this day the worst day of the year for their dogs. Veterinarians say that July 3rd is usually the most trafficked day in their offices, with clients coming in to get drugs for their dogs. Last year, I found a lost dog on the 4th of July. He was obviously a well fed, well groomed, and well behaved dog that escaped his yard when he heard the fireworks. When I called our local Humane Society, I was informed that it is the busiest time of the year for them, as more dogs are found wandering loose on July 4th than any other day of the year in the U.S.

Eight Tips for providing a safe July 4th for your Canine Household:

1. Make sure your dog gets plenty of exercise earlier in the day.

2. Keep your dogs inside during fireworks, preferably with human companionship. If it's hot, air conditioning will help.

 
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What it's like to be stage mom - to a DOG!

Being a concert pianist and having the experience of performing in many countries and concert venues, I know very well what it's like to be in the spotlight and get lots of attention, and quite honestly, I never grow tired of it. However, my dog, Sanchez, obviously had enough of playing second fiddle to the limelight. Sanchez has always loved a great deal of attention and thinks the world should revolve around him. Keep in mind, he has never lacked getting attention. When he was a puppy in training for Guide Dogs for the Blind, he even wore a green jacket that said his job description, but it might have well said, "Look at me, I'm the cutest thing in the world". Teenage girls would come up to us screaming "He's SO cute!!!"

 
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Through a Dog's Ear free music to shelters

As the co-creator of Through a Dog's Ear, I receive emails from all over the world hearing how much it is helping dogs with behavior issues and how comforting the music is to them. There is no place I'd rather help dogs than in shelters. When I didn't even have a dog, I started volunteering at my local shelter and then when I got one, I got trained in their education department and took my dog to schools and spoke on the importance of neutering and spaying, positive training, etc. When we signed with our wonderful publisher, Sounds True, they agreed to donate 2,500 copies of Calm your Canine Companion to shelters and rescue groups. Sounds True, by the way, is a dog friendly company outside of Boulder, CO where employees bring their dogs to work. I've never experienced a more productive, calm, friendly office atmosphere.

 
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Why Dog Agility Is Similar To Playing Music

It wasn’t long after I started agility training that I became aware of the similarities between giving a music performance and running an agility course. Since I’ve been playing the piano for nearly 40 years and performing most of those years, I fortunately already learned how to handle stage nerves. So was I ever surprised that the night before my first agility trial, I was so nervous that I only slept 3 hours. With a two and a half hour drive ahead of me in the wee hours of the morning, the short amount of sleep didn’t help my anxiety. But, it luckily didn’t affect our performance, as we managed to take two first places and qualify on 3 out of 4 runs that weekend in my first novice AKC agility trial.

 

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