Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Product Pick - The Manners Minder

There are many products out there to enhance our dog's lives.  Oh, does my pocketbook know, so many products!  Of course some are better than others, and the Manners Minder falls into the "better than" category.  This machine was invented by a wonderful veterinary behaviorist from Colorado, Dr. Sophia Yin. 

The Manners Minder is, in simple terms, a remote-control treat dispensing device.  Press a button on the remote and the machine will spit out a treat, with or without an accompanying tone.  The tone can be used like a "click" for dogs that are clicker trained - they quickly learn to associate the new sound with food.  The machine can also be set to dispense treats randomly without manual activation, making it a great tool for teaching a long down-stay, working on separation anxiety or other skills.

The Pros:
  • Product works well and takes small, uniform treats (like Zuke's) or kibble.
  • Excellent for advanced skills, distance work, long stays, preventing jumping up and many other behaviors.
  • Comes with an informative DVD, written training guide and a great target stick.
  • A unique, innovative tool for any positive motivation trainer or dog owner.
The Cons:
  • The machine noise is a little loud when dispensing a treat.  Spend plenty of time acclimating your dog to the sound before you begin training with the machine.
  • Expensive - retails for a little over $100, but if you shop around it can be found for closer to $80.

Manners Minder treat dispensor

Monday, November 28, 2011

Best Friends

Doug Duncan and Doggy Business

This past week I met with Doug Duncan, owner of a local dog walking, training, boarding & daycare facility, "Doggy Business".  My thanks to Gay Robson, longtime client and friend, for introducing us.  Doug is on the Northeast side of Portland in a 3,000 sq/ft building.  He runs a busy operation with 11 employees.  I may go teach some intermediate and advanced level classes for him after I recover from my surgery - probably some Rally Obedience and other fun things for owners who have already taught their dogs the basics.  Doug uses positive motivation and clicker training, so it should be a good match.  Check back later on to see what exciting courses are set up! 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

On a Personal ("Non-Doggy") Note...

Those of you that have known me for a while are probably aware that I have a "bad hip."  A real bummer for anyone, let alone a dog trainer.  I have been plauged with hip pain on my right side ever since Ethan was born four and a half years ago.  Since arriving in Oregon (and making use of the health benefits that come with my husband Kyle's job at Oregon Health and Science University), I have been seeing an entire team of doctors, all working to get me in better shape.  The bad news is that I seem to be worse than ever right now, but the good news is that orthopedist Dr. Andrea Herzka, along with the others treating me, think that a (second) surgery has a decent (60-75%) chance of "fixing" me. 

Gulp - under the knife again!  I go in for the procedure on January 4th, followed by 3 to 6+ weeks of recovery, determined by what the surgeon discovers and fixes while I'm under.  We are blessed to have my mother, Jane Babbitt, flying out from Maine for the entire month of January to help with cooking, cleaning and taking care of Ethan.  Hopefully this will be a successful surgery, an easy recovery and a full resolution.  I am already looking forward to the chance to once again go for hikes with my family, run agility courses with Pistol and Apple, and in general lead an active, pain-free life.  Your prayers and good thoughts are welcome!

Apple (left) and half brother, Mr. Peabody (right)

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Why Won't My Dog Listen?

Maybe you're better off than most.  Better off than me, I'll admit.  Maybe your dog listens to you all the time, the first time you ask for something.  No?  Alright, because it's something you can work on.  Even on a holiday (it's pretty easy to get started).  Take a quick break - halftime, a commercial break during the National Dog Show, or just a moment to let that turkey settle (honestly, are you really going to walk it off?!), and read this short article on why dogs don't listen to their owners.  It's written by your favorite trainer! (That's me, right?)

Why Won't My Dog Listen? by Mary Majchrowski, CPDT-KA

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Welcome to the Bravo Dog Training Blog!

Welcome to the first, the only, blog for Bravo Dog Training.  Written by Mary Majchrowski, CPDT-KA (That's Certified Professional Dog Trainer - Knowledge Assessed.  Quite a mouthful, huh?).  Get ready to experience the best dog training tips, how-to's and solutions.  Happy Thanksgiving, check back soon!