Laurel Scarioni

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Laurel Scarioni is the founder of Pawsitive Results Critter Academy, LLC, which offers training and behavior modification for dogs, cats, and parrots. A significant portion of Laurel’s business involves working with people to resolve behavior problems such as fear and aggression. However, her ultimate goal is to prevent such problems, so she also conducts puppy socialization and training classes to help families start off on the right paw. Fun is an important part of any good relationship, so Laurel also offers classes to introduce people to sports such as agility and canine freestyle.

Laurel is a regular contributor to Sonoma Pets, a quarterly insert in Sonoma County’s Press Democrat newspaper, and has also contributed to Fetch, a Bay Area newspaper dedicated to all things dog.

She is a Certified Pet Dog Trainer (CPDT) and has earned a certificate in dog behavior counseling (with honors) from the San Francisco SPCA Academy for Dog Trainers.

Laurel and her husband Athen share their Northern California home with a menagerie of pets that they have adopted from shelters and rescue groups. They are currently owned by Tina the pitbull mix, Butch the Shih Tzu, Edgar the Border Terrier; cats Cassidy and Calvin; and parakeets Magnolia and Lily. You can learn more about Laurel’s business on the web at

Blog posts by Laurel Scarioni

Let Them Pull!

Forget loose leash walking.... I've decided to teach my dog to pull, pull, pull!  Okay, so I'm not going to let her pull all the time... and I do continue to expect a loose leash in many situations... but I am also working to perfect her pulling technique!  Lately, I've been more and more drawn to activities that allow my dogs to do things that they really love to do.  Nose work is one new pursuit that is bringing us all a lot of joy.  I think that activity is what prompted me to allow my Australian Cattle Dog, Myrtle Mae, to pursue another of her passions... pulling!


Wow! What's That Smell?

I just got home from a Canine Nosework seminar a few hours ago and am so, so, so excited about this awesome new sport!  My Border Terrier Edgar has always been very interested in following his nose and I've wanted to get him involved in some sort of nose sport but couldn't find something in my area that fit what I wanted.  When I heard about Canine Nosework, it sounded perfect, so I signed up for an introductory course.  It was amazing to watch all of these beginning dogs learn that they were allowed to use their noses!  We weren't teaching them to use their nose, because they all know how...


I Need a Trainer!

"If my clients could only see me now!", I thought to myself as I laid in bed this morning. Myrtle my 27 pound cattle dog was standing on me, and my border terrier Edgar had just clawed me in the lip as he jumped over my head trying to evade Myrtle's athletic play maneuvers. I must say, though, that dogs jumping on me and blood oozing from my lip do get me out of bed much better than an alarm clock ever has! The thing is, I don't necessarily want to train my dogs first thing in the morning.... or when I get home from work. I love what I do, but when I'm at home I just want to hang out with my dogs and relax. Of course, rude awakenings aren't relaxing, so I guess we're back to that whole training thing again. Anyone know a trainer that will spend the night with me and teach my dogs some better early morning manners? Oh, well, at least I don't blame the dogs... I understand it is my responsibility to either train different behaviors or accept what I have.


Doggie Ambassadors

I was reminded again yesterday how dogs have the power to bring people together, without even trying! I was returning to my car yesterday in a downtown parking lot. The car parked next to me was an old, beat-up low rider with 3 rather intimidating young men sitting in it. I needed to get into my driver's side door, but their doors were standing open blocking my way. That is when I noticed the cute little terrier sitting on the passenger side floorboard. I smiled reflexively and commented on what a great dog they had. The 3 unsmiling thugs suddenly turned into proud doggie parents, and

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Farewell, Fergus

I never thought I'd be writing a eulogy for my youngest dog first. I have 2 geriatric dogs, and my 2 year old is the one I lose!


A Spot for Spot

The “place” cue is a must-have item for dog lovers this holiday season!  A “place” cue works great in many situations in which people commonly ask their dogs to sit or lay down and stay.  For example, dogs can be sent to their place when the doorbell rings, when guests are entering, when the family is eating dinner, and while everyone is relaxing in the evenings.  When a dog is on his “place”, he can’t be running out the door, jumping on guests, begging at the table, stealing food off the counters, climbing on the couch, or chasing the cat.  It is also a great skill for dogs that travel with their families because it gives the dogs a familiar place to hang out in new surroundings and the security of being given a well-known cue to perform.  It is easy to bring a mat along to friends’ houses, hotel rooms, and even outdoor eateries.  

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I'm In Love!

When I adopted Fergus the Jack Russell
Terrier 6 months ago I wasn’t looking for another dog, but he needed a new
home, and it felt like the right thing to do. 
He’s a very nice guy who acts like every person he meets is his best
friend, and he is actually great with other dogs.  He’s a good looking dog and he’s really quite
well behaved.  He integrated into our
house so quickly and easily that it almost seemed like he’d always been
here.  And yet, it didn’t seem quite
right.  I felt a little guilty every time
I looked at him cuddled up on the couch next to me.  I felt bad because I didn’t love him. 


Politically Correct Pets

When President Bush moved into the White House, no one asked Barney if he wanted to come along.  Nobody asked him if he wanted to schmooze with world leaders or work in press relations…. but Barney did try to tell everyone how he felt about it on Friday!  If anyone had been paying attention to Barney’s body language, they would have known that he wasn’t interested in socializing with the press. 

Unfortunately, the language of dogs seems to be as indecipherable to the average American as any other foreign language they’ve never learned.  Despite their regular exposure to dog language, most people are still taken by surprise when a dog bites… especially their own dog, who they really should be able to understand! 


Tails of Terror

In honor of Halloween, I thought I would share some doggie horror stories.  Unlike most haunting Halloween tales, these ones are all true.  They are all true Tails of Terror at the Dog Park.  I truly love the concept of dog parks and have been to a few in other places where everything seemed to be going very smoothly.  However, I have seen too many bad situations at the parks in my area to feel comfortable taking my dogs to them.  The really bad situations may not happen often, but when they do it happens fast and there may be no time to react to prevent disaster.  Too many people at my local parks are too busy chatting to watch their dogs, and often prove to be oblivious to what their dog’s body language is saying when they are bothering to observe.  It is like allowing young children to go unsupervised to play at a park where teenage hoodlums are hanging out!  Here are just a few of the experiences that have led me to swear off my local dog parks.


Do As I Say… Not As I Do!

It must be really confusing for dogs to live with us!  I was thinking today about all of the things that people do to their dogs or in the presence of their dogs that we expect them to never do.  Here are a few of the things that came to mind:
We go to the bathroom in the house!  Granted, we have a specific spot designated for this, but I’ve met many dogs that had chosen a specific indoor bathroom spot and their owners still aren’t happy.  Believe me, no matter how much air freshener you use, your dog knows that your toilet area is inside!  Perhaps that is why so many dogs sit outside the bathroom door when it is in use…. they want us to know that they know what we’re doing behind that closed door!



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