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

Teach wait to your dogs, a useful safety behavior

Hurry Up and Wait! Teach A Safety Skill

Hurry! Yes, dogs are always in a hurry to get out the door, and explore the world awaiting. However, especially with multiple large dogs, you run the risk of being mowed over in the melee. More importantly, bolting out the door is a huge safety concern, one that could end the life of your pal. Sadly, my mother had a little dog whose short life ended under the wheels of a car, after bolting out the front door. In my opinion, WAIT is one of the most important skills a dog can learn.

Labs love to find poison ivy and share it.

They Give and They Give (or, how to get poison ivy from a dog)

Anyone living with a dog knows they just keep on giving: boundless affection, furry hugs and doggy kisses, undivided loyalty and the list goes on…….  However, we can also be recipients of that which is not desired. That which is not desired is also freely given and shared. This week I have been the victim of undesired sharing from the labbies. There is no pinpointing the culprit; it may have been only one, or, perhaps all three.

Bridget: my go anywhere lab

Blog After Thought: Providing Pet Travel Information

In my previous blog, I pondered the issue of how to best educate pet owners on safe and responsible travel. Naturally, making information available is very sensible and a major oversight when I wrote “Lady, Your Dog Is Miserable.”  When I became immersed in the social media of Face Book and Twitter, Amy and Rod Burkett, of Go Pet Friendly became friends.  This lovely couple is devoted to making pet travel easy; they blog about all that encompasses pet travel. I am positive you will be delighted after visiting them at www.gopetfriendly.com

A great backyard way to keep the dogs cool.

Lady, Your Dog Is Miserable

Sadly, as the title implies, many dogs I observed while vacationing at Niagara Falls where not having fun. One dog, engaged in a game of Frisbee on a grassy shady park area, looked blissfully happy. This dog was fortunate enough to have an attentive human being. My own dogs were enjoying their respite away from myself, but I could not squelch observations of dogs on “vacation” with their humans. Being trained to observe, my vacation could easily have become a series of lectures to complete strangers on how stressed their companions were. Fortunately (for our relationship) I practiced some impulse control, and we had a fabulous time.

Who could not smile at leaping Doobie, who learned to play.

No Therapy Like Dog Therapy

Over the years, my life has taken some bumpy turns; I have been in some not so happy places. Different times, different circumstances: always one constant. Always present were my unfailingly affectionate and loyal dogs , guiding me on my way to better times. Not the same dogs over the years, to be sure, but always at least one dog.  When I felt poorly we took to the back roads, wooded trails, rivers, streams and forests. I was often at my happiest when it was just me and the dogs. There is no therapy like dog therapy.


The Poop Tells All

Yes, well, feeling a little silly this evening, after a grid-like search of the yard, for a deposit left by Talley. You see, she has been suffering from a recurring bout of colitis, and the poop tells all. Is the poop now firm, cow plop mushy or (sorry) liquid in nature. Right now, I am a poop detective. Bridget, who rarely has diarrhea, not to be outdone, joined Talley in the digestive disasters. Doobie (confirmed by on site inspection) has the only normal poop of the three. With umpteen (feels like) meds on board, and back to cooking boiled meat/hamburger, I pray for normal firm formed poop.

Doobie feels safe to approach and take treats.

Socialization of Adult Puppy Mill Dogs

Why focus on socialization for a 6 year old dog? Surely Doobie is well beyond the early puppy months for critical socializing efforts. According to our own Dr. Ian Dunbar (http://www.dogstardaily.com/training/socialization-with-people) puppies need to be fully socialized to people by the age of three months.  Adult puppy mill dogs are special projects that require ongoing efforts, for them to live some sort of a normal life. Sadly,the only socialization they received was staring at four walls. Fortunately, Doobie has proven to be amazingly resilient, yet at the same time, fear rears its` ugly head in a heartbeat if he is placed, according to him, into harms way.  The reminders, seeing the fearful body language, screaming go away, are quite wrenching for me. Great care is taken to manage the environment for Doobie, yet some situations just happen.


Talley where she most loves to be: the cave.

Anxiety and Talley World: We Need To Pay Attention

Tonight I noticed that Talley glanced at Argil ever so briefly as she took refuge in her favored corner cave, complete with air duct. As you may recall, I had written previously about the battle fought and lost, by Argil, to keep the air duct Talley free. It was not to be. However, I belive there has been some fall out from that event. Even though there were no harsh reprimands or verbal scoldings, and certainly no physical punishments, it confused Talley and her world according to Talley rules. Displaced from a favored location, she was not certain of where she belonged. She began to seek out other "caves" in the home. There has been other odd behavior. A few nights ago, while I was out teaching class, Argil had the dogs outside, and Talley would not come in. Everytime he went back out for her, she had moved to another location in the yard, but still refused to move. Being a smart man, he finally went and got some cheese, and was able to bring her in.

Doobie (R) wants to stay on the grooming platform, even when his turn is over. Talley on (L)

The Hairy Dog Days of Summer

The Hairy Dog Days of Summer


Don’t ever let anyone tell you that labs shed lightly; that would be a lie, or, at the very least, gross misinformation. For us, the dog days of summer have been awash in hair. Short haired breeds can and do shed copiously. Old Billiebob (R.I.P.March 2009) was a long haired Collie X, and he actually shed very little. He held on to his hair until he was combed.  The labs, on the other hand,  had been freely donating, hair rolling off, just from being petted.  I am certain other multi-dog homes can empathize with our hairy situation. One hairy dog is a challenge. Think times three!


You know you might have a hair problem when:



A Lab Lesson In Random Reinforcement (from the lab point of view)

My boyfriend Argil is a beaten broken man. He learned the hard way that he is no match for the determination of a certain stocky English Lab named Talley. Argil (foolishly) entertained the notion that Talley could be kept from her coveted corner cave, complete with her own personal AC duct. For Talley, the latter is the best of worlds, a cave and lovely cold air to lie over. Argil has not found this arrangement to be so compelling. You see, he is a strong believer in effective circulation of cold air throughout the house. As badly as Talley wants access to that corner, Argil wanted equally as badly for her not to be there. He loves Talley dearly, but thought surely she could settle upon another place to repose.



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