Archives for posts with tag: The Art of Training Your Dog

Every good dog needs an education, not just the teaching of basic commands, but enough of an understanding about the ways of the human world they share with us to make appropriate decisions when circumstances require them to do so.

As many dogs do not.


Will your dog learn not to cross the street when cars are coming?  Probably not, but she definitely can learn to wait at the corner or the curb or whatever you have to separate pedestrians from traffic.  Will your dog learn the command “Use your inside voice”?  Maybe yes, maybe no.  But she can discern the difference between letting her hair down at home, so to speak, and manners befitting an outdoor cafe, a trip to the hardware store, a walk through a street fair.  How will she learn these things?  With education that is not robotic.  With education that encourages, even requires her to think and make decisions and to do so mostly for the pleasure of getting it right.  And by allowing her to figure things out when she is ready to do so.

When I take a service dog in training, meaning in my case, a puppy, to a restaurant, I do not ask her to sit or lie down next to the chair I am sitting on or under the table.  I usually tell the pup, this is your space for now, and proceed to converse with both the waiter and my companion.  Of course I do not ignore the pup.  I always watch her out of the corner of my eye.  At first, the pup will stand there.  What?  What!  What…  And then the pup, observing that I am happy to be where I am, will relax and either sit, fine with me, or lie down, also fine with me.  If you are lucky enough to be training a pup when you have an older, trained dog, the pup will merely copy the older dog.  Oh, he’s relaxed.  I think I’ll lie down, too.  Either way, the pup has made a sensible decision, and aside from perhaps an ear scritch, needs nothing from you.  Why not give a treat, say?  Because the emphasis is on the rightness, the comfort, the calmness, the satisfaction, the safety of making a carefully thought out, appropriate, sensible decision.  And the beginning of making good decisions when you are not around to give you opinion or a reward.

Are you teaching your pup to heel?  Good for you.  When you say the command, eventually your dog will fall in at your side.  But the dog who has been allowed to make sensible decisions will also fall in at your side when you are walking in a crowd. And like a service dog who often will help other people when that’s an appropriate thing to do (yes, it is appropriate sometimes), your dog may begin to decide when there’s something she can do without being asked.  She may get close to you or someone else who is feeling bad or sad.  She may put herself between you and something causing you to be stressed.  She may even bring a toy or ball when you are the one who needs to play.  She may pull you into the park, but not into the street.  She may – but don’t count on it – make the sensible but heart wrenching decision not to steal the defrosting roast.  Yeah, well, maybe that’s more sensible than we can count on.  But still.

As always, thanks for stopping by.  It was the sensible thing to do!




La Paz


When training your dog, increase his ability to think, his confidence, your pride.  As he learns new commands, begin to string them together and see what happens.

Wait, Take it, Come, Out



As you admire your teaching ability and his learning, don’t forget that he knows things you don’t.  Be sure to observe him when he’s outside, when he’s meeting new people, when he’s interacting with other dogs.  Note what he does when you’re happy, when you’re feeling ill, when you plan to leave the house with him, or God forbid, without him.  Figure out what he thinks is funny so that you get it when he cracks a joke.  Take him seriously, too.  He’s so much smarter than you think!

Need more hints?  Here they are:






My trusty assistant has been been watching for the first review of Dog Smart, The Art of Training Your Dog and here it is:

I got it!!

I love it.


And then this was added:

It’s clever and insightful and completely dear.  It demystifies dog training and explains its rationale in a format that is easy to absorb.  You can quote me.

And so I did.  Thank you, Jane.

Dog Smart is now available for the iPad and the Kindle Fire.  Why an all graphic dog training book?  Because your dog doesn’t read and you shouldn’t have to either!



What’s a girl to do when the publishing world has been turned upside down by ebooks, when publishers who say they want something fresh and new really want Law and Order, Topeka and when the price of books have gotten so steep despite the bad economy that it feels unfair to the reader?  Self-publish an ebook, that’s what.  With an ebook, I could make the book delicious but keep the price low.  I could reach more readers and make a little dough to keep Sky in bully sticks.  (You have your addiction, she has hers.)

But wait.  I could create what I’ve long wanted to – an all graphic dog training book.  I could keep the training effective, humane, easy-to-do, and, because the book is graphic, memorable.  But Photoshopping, formatting, all that tech stuff?  No way.

So the problem was, how do I find a copacetic epublisher to do all the things that make my eyeballs roll up into my head, someone I could work with who would make great suggestions and listen to my ideas, someone who would feel about the book – and about dogs – the way I do.

No problem.

Larry Block (Manhattan Noir, 8 Million Ways to Die, A Walk Among the Tombstones and about a gazillion other wonderful books) said he was going to self publish a book with Telemachus Press.


And that’s how I found Steve and Claudia Jackson, Steve here with one of their rescue dogs, Jackson.  Yup, Jackson Jackson, because Jackson was already his name before they adopted him.  Is that Karma, or what!  And is this?  Steve and Claudia and their staff were professional, warm and attentive and gave my book the superb care they would have given to one of their own.

Dog Smart, The Art of Training Your Dog is now available, for $4.99, at the iTunes store and for the Kindle.  It will soon also be available for the Nook and there will shortly be another version on Amazon that you can buy and download to your PC or Mac if you don’t use an e-reader.  Dog Smart can help you make your dog an even better friend than he is now, showing you how to teach him all the basics, solve your dog problems, communicate more effectively, understand canine body language and learn to play a variety of games and even do some nifty tricks.  And if the writing bug should strike and if you should write the book you’ve always wanted to, the way I did, now you know where to go, to my hardworking publisher at Telemachus Press.