First Post in the Separation Anxiety Series

28 Nov

Separation Anxiety: Diagnosis is now live on the new blog. Come check it out!


We’re Moving . . . (Again!!)

23 Nov

I’ve taken the past few months to really build up my training business (which has gone very well) and I launched my new website yesterday:

I’m still getting my online store set up (and would love recommendations for products to stock, if anyone has favorites) and have officially launched the blog, you can visit here:

I was considering running the two of them, and keeping this one for more personal posts, but that’s unrealistic. So if you’d like to keep in touch, please find us on Facebook, you can friend me personally ( and/or “like” the training page (

Otherwise, please check out the new training blog! I’m planning on my first set of posts to be on separation anxiety, something I spent ten years battling with Charlie, starting Monday. If this is something you’re interested in, feel free to leave a comment with any points you’d like to see covered.

I’ve also added you all to my Google Reader list (which I will now read!) and I hope to be involved with you all again, it’s been a long hiatus and I miss you!

We’re still here!

27 Oct

I’ve been so busy lately getting my training business up and running I’ve utterly neglected this blog for months.

Since graduating from the karen pryor academy this summer I’ve officially started my own dog training business, poodles to pitbulls clicker training, inspired by my two ever present companions, charlie and emma.

I’ve been working on a website ( and even have a logo!

Business has been taking off and I’m so excited by what I’m doing.

And next week I’ll be visiting oregon for the first time. I’d like to eventually move there and start an organization to pull dogs from shelters and train them for service/detection work. On that note, if anyone had recommendations for places to visit near eugene, portland, and bend, I’m all ears.

And how have the critters been?

Tigress had learned to potty on the toilet.

Charlie continues to amaze me both with his amazing energy (he’s going on eleven years old) and the length to which he’s really recovered from his separation anxiety.

Emma is still battling allergies and incontinence, but shes got cute pink undies that allow her back on the bed.

So thanks for checking back in. please check out our facebook page (to the right) as we update that much more regularly and have some great pictures up.

Wait for it –

2 Sep

I’m taking Charlie, Emma, my friend’s incredibly fear reactive dog Frog, and . . . . Tigress all camping this weekend.


If we’re all still in one piece by Monday I’ll have some interesting stories (and probably pretty cool pictures) to share, so stay tuned!

Welcome to Astoria, NY

29 Aug

We survived the hurricane and my area wasn’t hit as badly as we feared we might be. Many of my neighbors had flooded basements, and there were some fallen trees, but thankfully no serious damage, and most importantly, no lives lost.

As I canvassed my neighborhood checking out the damage, I grew to appreciate my neighborhood more than I think I have in the past – people were out helping each other, sharing supplies, cleaning public property, it was heart warming.

So in salute to my wonderful neighborhood, I’m going to introduce you guys to some of Astoria.

For those of you unfamiliar with NYC, this is what the entire city looks like:

When people refer to “the city” they mean Manhattan. Above the island of Manhattan is the Bronx, which is attached to New York State and the only borough that’s not on an island! Staten Island is to the south, and is also an island, as its name suggests. Queens and Brooklyn are attached to Long Island, which stretches out further east.

I grew up in Queens, first in Woodside, then Forest Hills, and now in Astoria. See if you can find all three neighborhoods:

If you had a hard time finding it, Astoria is the westernmost neighborhood in Queens, located on the East River across from Roosevelt Island. I live two blocks from the river, and it’s a beautiful sight.

Astoria is a rather large neighborhood, so here’s a helpful map to break it down for you even further:


Astoria has historically been a Greek neighborhood, though over the years many ethnicities have come here and it’s as multicultural as any other neighborhood in NYC.  That said, we still have an amazing variety of Greek restaurants and these really exclusive “members only” Greek retirement and community clubs. They’re always packed with people, often older men. Most of them serve food, and if you’re sneaky, you can peek in and watch them gesticulate and argue in Greek over wonderfully delicious-looking food.

I snuck in a few shots of some local clubs:


We also have beautiful wall art in some of the tunnels in the Greeker part of town. They recently had a three day Greek festival in this area:

And then we also have your more customary wall art:

And then art that’s not customary at all:

And we have intricately designed Greek churches:

And our own fancy dance company!

Of course this doesn’t begin to cover all the awesomeness of Astoria – we have several parks (one that’s a sculpture park!), hundreds of amazing places to eat, cool bars, spunky clubs, and several live music venues. If you’re ever in NYC brave the East River and come into Queens!

Come visit Queens! We'll even give you a ride over the bridge!














Emergency Preparations

25 Aug

With hurricane Irene closing in on the East Coast, I feel like a post on how to deal with emergencies is due.

First off, as a disclaimer I must say that I’ve lived almost my entire life in NYC and don’t exactly have a lot of experience with natural disasters. Though lately we’ve been getting quite a few (tornados, earthquake, and now the hurricane). Hurricane Irene is the most serious natural disaster that I’ve had to face, and I’m preparing as much as I can.

First, I have to make sure that I have a safe place to bring all the animals in my care in case we need to evacuate my apartment. In addition to Charlie, Emma, and Tigress, I have a client’s dog, Rally, staying with me as well. If the storm’s not too bad and we just need to leave my apartment (I’m on the ground floor and in an evacuation zone, so there’s a good chance we might get flooded), we can go to my good friend who lives in the same neighborhood, but on higher ground (and on the 3rd floor). If my entire neighborhood experiences an evacuation, we can go to my mother’s house, a 20 minute ride away. If all of NYC gets swallowed by the storm, we can all take a 2 hour drive to my father’s house in Central NJ.

Second, I have to make sure that I have proper containment systems for all the critters. Tigress’ crate training comes in handy here. My car is unfortunately too small to fit three large crates, but can hold two. Rally and Emma need them most. I have martingale collars, and extra leashes for everyone, as well as a harness for Tigress, just in case (I’ll probably tie her to her crate as a back up).

****Edit: Thanks so much to My Life with Flyball Dogs for pointing out that it’s not just important to have crates (and properly sized for your dog/cat), but to have animals that are crate trained. I mentioned that Tigress is crate trained, but it’s equally as important for all the dogs to be crate trained and to be able to settle in a crate in distracting/stressful environments. Most shelters won’t accept pets with their humans, but the ones that do require that all pets are in crates. You don’t want to be turned away from a shelter because your dog won’t stay in a crate. I’m working on editing Tigress’ crate training video and will post as soon as I do.  If she can do it, your dog can do it!



Pups must have proper crate training technique

Thirdly come muzzles. Rally needs one because he may become very agitated during such severe weather and I need to be able to handle him without fear – Emma needs one just in case we’re around strange people.

Fourth is food. I have a freezer full of frozen meat which should keep everyone here fed for up to 3-4 days if the power goes out but we’re still able to stay here. If we have to evacuate, I have a 3 days supply of freeze dried food for everyone. My neighbors went with me to Costco today to stock up on nonperishable people food as well.

Fifth, water. I have a 12 pack of 1.5 liter water bottles. Pups have a 2 gallon capacity water jug that I will refill just before the storm is supposed to hit.

Sixth, “go bags” for me and the pups. First aid kits, medications, important paperwork, extra leashes and collars, extra keys, IDs, passport, money, credit cards.

Seventh – make sure every dog and Tigress has a properly fitting collar with tags that are up to date.

Eighth, fill up the car’s gas tank.

Ninth, I made sure to call or otherwise contact as many people as I could who are in town to make sure they’re OK. Apparently my neighbor from across the hall, who is 7 months pregnant with twins no less, had no idea the hurricane was coming and I may have really helped them out with the heads up. I may also help out some people with pets who don’t have cars get to their safe locations prior to the storm, just in case.

And I wanted to share my very first edited video. I realize it’s shoddily done and needs help, but I’m hoping with some experience future videos will be better. It’s a short video on how I’m working with Charlie to accept a muzzle. He does NOT like wearing things, especially on his face, so as much as he’s giving me in this video is amazing.

Remember that even if your dog isn’t aggressive it’s a great idea to work on acceptance of a muzzle for emergency situations like the one we’re unexpectedly facing with hurricane Irene.

And here’s a quick video of Emma’s second shaping session with the muzzle.

** For everyone who’s subscribed to my Youtube channel, please note that I switched accounts and am closing the old one.**

It’s always better to be safe than sorry!

Carting with Emma – The Finished Product

24 Aug

Attention all high maintenance dogs, Charlie has set the world back on its proper axis and put right all wrongs done to small fluffy dogs (even if he’s not that small). According to him, this is the way it should be, let me know if you agree!

So I finally finished Emma’s cart. It was really easy to polish off (since you last saw it) and I’m very happy with the outcome. Come Saturday, we’ll hit the greenmarket and Emma will carry my groceries!

If you’re interested in how I made it, I’ll give you a short description.

I bought a used jogging stroller off of Craigslist for $40. I stripped it down to just the wheels and protruding shafts. Next I labored for weeks and weeks to figure out how to get the rest of it right. After several trials and errors, today my bright idea hit me and I decided to just buy some PVC pipe for $6 and use $6 worth of hose clamps. So I attached my new longer shafts (the ones I was using previously were spare parts from the taken apart stroller, but were too short) and then I tied a donated milk cart on top. Luckily I already had the harness (Ruffwear’s harness), which is OK for light work like this. I may need to get her a fancier harness if I ask her to pull heavier weight. So I stuck the cat in the milk crate, and off we went! Altogether it cost me $52. A professionally made cart can cost upwards of $400!

Now you might say, yes, well it’s one thing to have a cart, but how do you get Emma to pull it?

Well, I’ve been working with her on pulling since this idea came to me, almost a month and a half ago. At first I just tied light rattly things to her harness for her to pull behind her, and treated her heavily every time she took a step. It was overkill – she didn’t care at all that there was something behind her. I slowly built it up until she was pulling relatively heavier objects for longer distances. Once I got the stroller and broke it down (but before I figured out how to really make it work) I had Emma pulling it around short distances to get used to the way it moved.

The trickiest part has been teaching her how to U-turn with these extra long shafts. She needs ample space to do it, but after a few practice turns she got it down and turns like a pro.

Emma gets tired easily so we don’t go for more than 10-15 minutes, and not unless it’s under 78 degrees outside. I’m hoping the extra exercise might give her a little more spunk in her life.

Tigress actually really enjoyed the ride. She was nervous at first and mewed a little bit, but once we got into the rhythm, she was looking out of her crate and taking it all in. I had to make sure to steer clear of other dogs in case they thought she was an easy snack.

How’s about some more videos?

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