The Dog Blog


Talking to the animals! with Rosie Barclay

I owe the internet a debt of gratitude. Twitter and facebook, and of course Dog Star Daily, have opened up some great friendships and collaborations for me and have allowed me to meet some amazing dog trainers from all over the world. I have learned a lot and remain humbled by their skill, experience and compassion. I thought it was my turn to repay some of this debt by introducing some of the top pet behaviourists here in the UK so we can share their experiences, too. What makes someone choose this career?

Rosie Barclay BSc(Hons) MPhil CCAB is a Certificated Clinical Animal Behaviourist and Chair of the Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors (APBC). As well as TV and radio appearances and working with dogs and owners, Rosie has used her skills to help the animals at the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust in Jersey. I asked Rosie how she first got into the training world.

Orange QUARANTINED ANIMAL sign in window

Dog Training and Dinner Disasters

I was just cooking dinner the night my newly adopted retired racing greyhound delivered a level 3 bite to the meaty part of my right hand. Pots were on the stove, the TV was on, and a nice meal was the only thing on the agenda at the end of a relaxing rainy Sunday. I wasn’t dog training. Preoccupied by the timing and ingredients of the recipe, I marched over to the new black dog sitting on a dog bed in the corner to take a rawhide chewy away from him, like I’d done dozens of times before. It plays like slow motion in my head to describe it now. I reached in, and without a sound he nailed my hand, hard. OMG. I could NOT believe it. After letting out a primal guttural shriek, I rushed to the sink and knew it was bad.

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Talking Dogs

A short video clip from one of my workshops.

Jack trained using positive reinforcement aka "throw the ball throw the ball"!

What "method" of Dog Training should I "use"?

There are many types and "methods" of Dog Training. The marketing behind dog training is massive. We have whisperers, listeners, lifetime trainers, "grew up with wild wolves", pack leaders, bonding, natural dog training, protection dog training, positive reinforcement, reward based training, motivational training and more. It's quite difficult to decide and the internet can be unhelpful in aiding that decision.

Recovery & Dog Training

Through uncontrollable circumstances early on, and later choices in my life, I was sporadically exposed to recovery and eventually immersed in it. While I never fully embraced the 12 step programs, I have great respect for their followers. I’ve also found some of their sayings to be very helpful reminders throughout my life. In fact, they even apply to dog training.

“First things first.” – This saying is based on the model of the medical triage. You must take care of the most immediate problem before you get to the underlying issues. For instance, you must stop the bleeding before you worry about putting in stitches.


Advocacy Overdrive - Ohio Ends BSL After 25 years!

In February of 2012 after 25 years of breed discriminatory legislation in the state of Ohio, Governor John Kasich signed HB14 into law ending breed discriminatory laws aimed at banning pit bulls and other “types” of dogs deemed “dangerous”.

As with all BSL the dogs are judged based on "looks" or "type" and what amounts to gut feelings and guesses. Thus sending countless dogs to be euthanized without a proper evaluation. When dogs do seriously harm or in the rare event someone dies from dog bites those dogs are euthanized.

In it’s wake BSL leaves responsible dog people that are guardians of such types to be prejudiced against in various ways. These include refusals of insurance and housing or stiff fines and confiscations of innocent dogs. In addition many dogs are never considered for adoption and are euthanized or languish away in cells at shelters.

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Give and Take


Hippotherapy - Boy + Service Dog + Tolerant Horse = Good Times

Today’s outing with Bubbles involved a new species of animal — for Sam and for Bubbles! We decided to try an evaluative session on horseback to see if Sam could benefit from equine therapy. Many researchers have noted that often, when autistic children are first introduced to hippotherapy, the new environment may prompt crying, screaming, tantrums, and avoidance behaviors such as flopping down and becoming limp. For our Sam, there's also risk of flight.

Group stay, Muttamorphosis Dog Training.

Does your dog have the Sex Factor?

Some of you may have read my previous blogs on the challenges of owning an un-castrated teen dog.  After much frustration at the beginning of February, & following advice from two training friends who both own un-castrated males, I’ve been working with Border Collie Guinness & his urges for over a month now.  Nicked-named the ‘sex factor’ by one colleague, this is a great phrase to describe behaviours which often intensify during a testosterone surge, usually experienced by entire male dogs between the age of 7-15 months.  ‘It’s a bit like your 14 year old locking himself in his bedroom with a dirty magazine’, she explained.  The canine equivalent where Guinness was concerned included frantic leg cocking & urine marking, intensive sniffing, licking & salivating over other dog’s wee & leg humping.

Roxy rests with benefit of Har-Vest

Rescue - Who rescues who?

A little more than a year into my relationship with 'rescue dog' Tommy the Wizard, the shih tzu I reluctantly took in and then fell in love with and fully adopted, I find myself once again fostering a dog who arrived with issues, uncertainly and no formal training. Roxy is a nearly 5 year old puggle (a cross between a pug and a beagle) whose owners found me agreeing to take custody of her for the express purpose of finding her a new and wonderful forever home during a narrow window of opportunity. How did they do it? First success -- I answered the phone and listened to the story.



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