Laurie C Williams CPDT-KA

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Laurie C. Williams CPDT and her 6 year old Maltese dog Andrew may have been runners-up on the CBS summer reality show Greatest American Dog, but they are America’s designated champions in demonstrating the beautiful, mutually respectful relationship that can result from positive, dog-friendly training.
A canine education specialist, dog behavior counselor and trainer for over 25 years, Laurie is the owner and Director of Training and Behavior Counseling at Pup ‘N Iron Canine Fitness & Learning Center in Fredericksburg, VA, 45 minutes south of Washington, DC.  The 11,000 square foot, state of the art dog training, daycare and fitness and rehabilitation facility is the only one of its kind in the country. 

Laurie is the host of the radio podcast show DSPN – Dog Sports and Performance Network on Pet Life Radio and a professional member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT).  Laurie was one of the first dog trainers in Virginia to receive the CPDT (Certified Pet Dog Trainer) credential issued by the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers and is an A.K.C., U.K.C. and APDT Rally Obedience judge.  A nationally published writer, Laurie’s work has been featured in Fitness, Good Housekeeping, Shape, and 9-1-1 magazines.  She is a Contributing Editor for the APDT Chronicle of the Dog, is a weekly columnist for the Stafford County Sun newspaper and is a featured author in the newly released book Dog Trainer’s Resource 2.  Laurie is an AKC Canine Good Citizen evaluator and a Delta Society Pet Partner therapy dog evaluator.  She has participated in both Animal Assisted Therapy and Animal Assisted Crisis Response with her dogs since 2003.

Blog posts by Laurie C Williams CPDT-KA

2010 APDT Conference - The Year of the Puppies

As the saying goes, the third time's the charm.  The Association of Pet Dog Trainers conference in Atlanta last month was the third one I've attended.  With the ever changing location, venue, topics and speakers, by design every conference is certainly unique, but there was something about this conference that made it stand apart from the others.  Now I could start with the obvious.  This was the first conference I've attended since being elected to the APDT Board of Directors.  It was also the first time I've been a speaker and presenter.  But still, there was something else that made this one different.  It was the the emphasis on puppies. 


It Takes a Village

My first introduction to structured, group dog obedience classes happened more than 26 years ago in Jacksonville, N.C.  We were a young Marine family, my husband newly transferred to Camp Lejeune, and along with our infant (human son), young Irish Setter Casey, and Irish Terrier Fiona, we moved into base housing.  I thoroughly enjoyed the "mommy and me" classes and baby playgroups during the day, but I wanted to do something with our dogs at night.  So I enrolled in my first dog obedience classes run by the Jacksonville, NC Kennel Club.  I'd always taught my dogs obedience and tricks on my own, ever since I was a little girl.  I was mostly self-taught, drawing on what I read from books I'd gotten from the library and had even won several pet contests run by our local 4-H.  But this was completely different.  I was introduced to the competition obedience Novice, Open and Utility exercises, and I have to admit, I was in awe. 


Selecting the right dog extends to rescue dogs too

There seems to be a double standard going on.  We devote quite a lot of time (and rightfully so) toward counseling prospective dog parents on selecting the right dog for their family and individual situation.  In fact, right now on there are over 20 titles of books and dvd's on that very topic.  Most focus on matching dogs and humans based on a certain dog breed's characteristics and the human's lifestyle.  Criteria such as size, temperament, exercise requirements, trainability, coat type and grooming requirements are taken into account.  If you live a sedentary lifestyle, you're steered away from breeds that need more activity such as sporting breeds and terriers.  If you live in an apartment, smaller dogs and dogs that don't require much room are suggested.&nb


The Only Resolution A Dog Owner Needs

Well, when it comes to their dog(s), that is.  Right before the New Year I took an informal poll of my doggie friends and colleagues requesting their New Year's resolutions, and there seemed to be a recurring theme: to spend more time with their dogs.  We all lead busy lives and it’s hard to fit in that extra quality time, especially when you have multiple dogs as so many of us do, but there really are multiple ways we can use the time we do have more productively.


Maybe We Are Smarter Than They Think

This past Sunday, Cesar Millan was supposed to bring his Pack Power tour to the Washington, DC area, but it never happened.  So, sadly, he wasn't able to "transform dog lovers in DC into Pack leaders," as the advertisement touted.  The tickets, priced at $150.00/$75.00/$39.50 went on sale October 10, but suddenly a couple of weeks ago it was announced the appearance was canceled.  And not only his DC appearance, but according to the website Cesar's Way, the appearances in Dallas on November 15 and Los Angeles on November 21 were canceled as well.  The Patriot Center website cites the reason for the cancelation as "due to circumstances outside of his  control..."  However Cesar's way says "commitments to charity events."  That one sounds much better.  How can people be ticked o


Yes, Sigh, Dominance Again ....Sorry

But at least this time someone's put a funny spin on it.  A friend sent me this cartoon and ever since I've been trying to circulate it all over the place, on my Facebook page, to all my Yahoo email lists, and now here at Dog Star Daily.  Yes, this tiny, little cartoon in 4 quick frames illustrates the simplest of concepts of what can happen when you try to dominate another being that just doesn't want to be dominated, for whatever reason.  Enough said.

For a larger view of the cartoon, go here.


Your Dog's Just Not That Into You

During our Basic Manners I class, I usually go around the room and have each new student introduce themselves and state what they hope to accomplish from attending the class.  Just like my new friend Casey Lomonaco has pointed out, teaching their dogs not to pull on the leash is a popular objective but teaching their dogs to come when called is right up there too.  In fact, I'd say when a dog refuses to come is even more irritating because it manifests much more often and occurs at the most inopportune times like when you're running late for work and need to get your dog into the house, when it's pitch dark outside and you want to go to bed, or when there's 3 ft of snow on the ground and sub zero degree temperatures!  When it comes to leash walking, yes, that is definitely something that needs to be taught.  Dogs aren't born with leashes attach


A Girl and Her Clicker

It's gone.  I have hundreds of them, all different sizes, shapes and colors.  Some are loud and some are soft.  Some are attached to colorful wrist coils, others to lanyards.  Some are plain, some are imprinted with Pup 'N Iron.  But this one was special.  It had history and was well seasoned.  The moment I arrived in LA to tape Greatest American Dog, they came and took away most of our personal effects - laptops, cell phones, cameras, books, magazines, photographs, keys, and any training materials such as books, dvd's, etc.  We were allowed to keep our clothes and toiletries, of course, and then, just like Survivor, they let us keep a couple more luxury items.  I chose a clicker.  This clicker.  I'd used it when introducing scent discriminati

no pits and rotties

Uncle Sam says Pits and Rotties we DON'T want you

On Friday I received a frantic call from the director of Family Housing at Marine Corps Base Quantico asking if I was certified to administer the AKC Canine Good Citizen test.  I answered yes, but asked him to explain the urgency.  Apparently, the U.S.M.C. recently (August 11) issued a corpswide ban on Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, wolf hybrids, and any mixes of those breeds from all Marine Corps bases, to include base housing.  I guess this shouldn't really come as a surprise.  The Army issued the same ban earlier in the year, and separate military bases have been implementing their own bans here and there as a result.  So now, even though they carry the nickname Devil Dogs, the U.S.M.C. is not extending their Semper Fi motto to the family pet .... if it's of a certain breed, that is.


Love ya, but your dog is driving me nuts!

The other day, a friend asked me what's the nicest, most tactful way to tell his good friend that her dog is driving him nuts.  He says her dogs are very badly behaved, completely out of control, are terrible beggars, and even jump in his lap and try to steal his food when they're sitting at the dinner table.  And yet his friend does nothing.  It's getting so bad he really doesn't want to visit her anymore, but he really likes his friend and doesn't want to hurt her feelings.  In this case, I definitely consider myself fortunate to be in a position where people not only expect but pay me to tell them when their dogs need training.  But what about someone who isn't a dog trainer?  How should he or she handle this delicate situation?  Darn, if ever there was an occasion for a Hallmark card, this is it!  I really don't see this as much different than instances where you don't like a friend's spouse or significant other, kids,



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