Five Years of Eileenanddogs

Fifth Anniversary of Eileenanddogs blogFive years ago today I published my first blog post.

It included this training blooper movie I made, still one of my favorites. If you’d just like a smile today, stop right here and check out the video.

When I set out to be a blogger, the main thing I knew was that I had something to say. A lot of things to say. The problem was that I was in a strange position to be saying them. I am not a professional trainer, and it’s pretty safe to say that I never will be. I caught the training bug, though. I started thinking about this stuff and couldn’t stop.

What I am is a writer. Maybe born to be, and certainly nurtured to be. Most important: that’s how I naturally express myself now, however it happened. And it turns out that this is now the main place I do it. I love it here. I am privileged to write and edit professionally for organizations and individuals, and my book was a labor of love,. But for “dessert” I always come back and write on my blog.

Summer, Clara, and Zani

Reactive Posts

It’s partly my friend Marge’s fault that I started the blog. She kept telling me to do it. I made various arguments against it. One was the “I’m not a professional trainer” argument. Also, I remember telling her, “I’m reactive. I don’t come up with stuff creatively. I just write about stuff that I read that ticks me off.” She said, “That’s OK!”

Turns out it was.

I have indeed written a lot of reactive posts. This is the first one, I think. “But What If Your Dog Runs Out Into Traffic?”

Five years later would write it differently, including that it wouldn’t be so long. I can answer that silly question much more succinctly now!

Zani

Another thing you can notice in the “Traffic” post is that I didn’t know the term, “management” when I wrote it.  Management means steps we take to put humane limits on our dogs’ behavior that aren’t intended to train behaviors. Like grabbing the dog if he runs into traffic, grin. Although better management methods usually involve more planning.

My favorite “reactive” post (and there are a lot of them!) is this one:

But We Don’t Give Our Kids a Cookie Every Time They Tie Their Shoes!

This post won me recognition with a Freshly Pressed award (now called Discover) from WordPress.com. In investigating it I learned a lot of interesting and positive stuff and was pleased to be able to share it.

Body Language Posts

Clara, Zani, and Summer

But it turns out that not all my posts are reacting to things people say that I disagree with. With three dogs I can film and comment on lots of interesting dog behavior, besides the stuff we do when training.

My favorite is this one:

Dog/Dog Resource Guarding in Slow Motion

The technical definition of resource guarding behaviors mostly includes overtly aggressive or threatening behaviors. But I’ve learned from my teacher and through observation that many dogs are expressing mild guarding behaviors a lot of the time. The ways that dogs “pull their punches” are fascinating to me. When you think about it, it’s a very good survival trait when dogs can work things out without overt aggression. I’m not forgiving my very bossy dog, Clara, though. She is a master at this, but I intervene a lot since she is quite capable of making my other dogs miserable through these “nonaggressive” but still obnoxious behaviors. (There’s a classic at 1:13 in the blooper video above.)

My body language post that got the most attention was this one:

Dog Facial Expressions: Stress

This post was put together with photos (actually video stills) of poor Clara at a particularly scary vet visit.  This post got picked up and sent viral by an extremely popular NSFW page that was outside the dog training community. They may have posted it as a joke, but that’s OK with me. The post is still naturally popular within the training community, and I let trainers and other educators use the photos for educational presentations and other good causes.

Clara

Here’s the story of how Clara came into my life as a feral puppy.

When I started the blog, I had had Clara for almost a year and I figured I would be writing about and presenting lots of videos about her socialization.

But I found that her socialization sessions were too challenging for me to be carrying around a video camera, and a lot of the process would have been very boring to view anyway. I did finally compile a video of her progress and posted about it.

She has come a long, long way. But at home, she’s just a regular dog. So you see a lot more of “regular dog” Clara than “amazing progress for a feral puppy with many strikes against her” Clara.

Socializing a Formerly Feral Dog

Clara

Most Popular Posts

I have published 272 posts in five years including this one, and have 163 in the oven.

My five most popular posts of all time are as follows:

Does Your Dog REALLY Want to be Petted? 203,408 views
Ringing the Bell to Go Out: Avoid These 4 Common Errors! 102,642 views
The Secret to Quick Non-Crumbly Homemade Dog Treats 90,560 views
Before You Share That “Cute” Dog and Baby Picture… 42,759 views
Operant Learning Illustrated by Examples 38,237 views

I have no idea why the ringing the bell one got so popular. This year it’s actually ahead of the petting post. The irony is that I never successfully taught my dogs to ring the bell to go out. To ring it, sure. But I never successfully completed the training. They all have their separate ways to ask, though, and none of them is obnoxious. And I can sure tell you what some of the mistakes with the bell-ringing thing are!

Books, Webinars, Magazines, and Mentorships

Summer

I’ve had a lot of other great projects going on during these five years. I’ve written a book on canine cognitive dysfunction, and it won a Maxwell Award for 2016. Remember Me? Loving and Caring for a Dog with Canine Cognitive Dysfunction  is available in paperback, hardcover, and all major electronic formats.

I co-produced a book with Marge Rogers out of my series of blog posts based on her puppy-raising videos. Lessons for My Puppy is available as an iBook and PDF, and it’s free!

I thank the Pet Professional Guild for believing in me early on and hiring me to do two different webinars, one on thresholds in dog training and the other on canine cognitive dysfunction.

Over Threshold: The Changing Definition

Canine Cognitive Dysfunction: What Owners and Trainers Need to Know

And this seems like a nice time to announce that—if I understand the schedule correctly—I will have articles in the next five issues of Clean Run magazine!

Finally, the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants came up with this great idea of a writing mentorship invited me to be the mentor! I had a blast with my writing mentees and auditors for eight weeks starting in January of this year. I’m pleased to announce that the next writing mentorship is scheduled to start on January 14, 2018. I will do another one in 2018 if I can schedule it, but I can’t promise. So if you are interested in a working mentee spot, it would be wise to sign up soon for January.

To My Readers

Thank you. It’s an amazing time to be a writer, in this era where one can get instant feedback after hitting a blue “Publish” button. It’s a little scary at times, but you kind and curious people keep me going. I love the thoughtful comments, the kindly criticism, even the pointed criticism when it’s on the mark. I love the building of community and making new friends.

Thanks for reading and responding.

In Memoriam

In memory of my friend Anne Springer, who passed away recently, here is her blog post on how to pick a dog trainer. The best on the subject I have ever read. Coincidentally, she published it on this date in 2013.  Miss you, Anne.

Cricket, RIP May 31, 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Related Post

Eileenanddogs’ First Birthday!

Copyright 2017 Eileen Anderson

 

 

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16 Responses to Five Years of Eileenanddogs

  1. Leanne Tucker says:

    I thoroughly enjoy your blog and always look forward to reading it and sharing it. In my opinion, it is one of the best available on the subject of dog behaviour and training. Here’s to many more years of thoughtful and thought provoking discourse!

  2. Auntysocial says:

    I found you whilst searching for information on a theory I sort of / kind of had about a dog I re-homed from a former very harsh, abusive owner that seemed to have stopped responding to me unless and until I upped the tone and volume of my voice – despite clearly having heard me the first time. Crossed my mind that maybe she had become so used to being shouted at she would now only respond to a raised, cross voice but it seemed an unlikely if not daft theory but was the only one I could think of at the time.

    Lo and behold after a Google search and just a few clicks I came across your blog on “The Punishment Callus” which to date still remains my favourite because it had such an effect on me, my approach to dogs and training and set off a need to learn more and be open to every possibility. Reading that resulted in the sound of a thousand pennies dropping when more of the dog’s odd behaviour and little quirks suddenly made sense and I only wish I’d realised it sooner but the most important thing is that I realised it.

    I look forward to another five years of fantastic posts and brilliant insight into the minds and lives of our dogs so we can become better owners, handlers, trainers and better people. And on behalf of the dog that first brought me to you (despite her sadly no longer being with us) a huge thank you. You helped us make her short life a lot happier 🙂

    • Eileen Anderson says:

      Auntysocial thank you so much for telling me that story! That post made a bunch of pennies drop for me too, the more I learned as I worked on it. I’m so glad it was helpful to you and the dear dog you saved. Thanks for your kind words–they part of the R+ that keeps me writing!

      • Auntysocial says:

        Good – I’m glad it keeps you writing!! Thing is and weirdly enough it brought home what I’d already learned years before but with horses rather than dogs which was if you treat them well and show enough respect, kindness, patience and let a horse learn to trust you there is nothing he won’t do for you.

        Why I didn’t apply that learning to dogs sooner I’ll never know because the one thing I have always been able to do is take the world’s most nervous, skittish horse and make him learn to trust me and follow my lead to the point of one that was destined for the slaughter house and deemed “useless” later doing well in horse trials with me and for many years. The guy I learned most from as a very young girl later went on to ride with the Metropolitan’s Mounted Branch and performed in this display of 2006 which gives you some idea of what I maybe should have known sooner but for some reason didn’t. Enough time and patience will move a mountain and make a horse jump through what to him looks like a solid wall.

        Either way up your posts have made me much more open and more successful with horses I’ve subsequently worked with too. It stretches far beyond just dogs 🙂

        https://youtu.be/GE4YU2QY_Yw

        • Eileen Anderson says:

          That’s interesting–most of the dog and horse people I talk to “got it” with dogs first, horses later. So glad the blog is helping with both. The Metropolitan’s Mounted Branch is really impressive!

  3. Suzanne says:

    Eileen, I enjoy your blog tremendously and am grateful for all I have picked up from what you share. I wish you continued joy in all you do and look forward to gleaning more and more in the posts to come. PS: My fur family insists that I thank you profusely for the epic non-crumbly treat post. 😊

  4. That video Eileen. I have got to show it to everyone I work with. All those thinking it’s got to be perfection or we failed miserably and ruined our dogs forever. Congrats on 5 years,!

  5. lbradblog says:

    Congratulations on your 5-year anniversary. I find your blog to be helpful and informative. Keep on writing!

  6. Congrats on the 5th anniversary.:-D You and your dogs are AWESOME <3 <3 <3 I have had the pleasure to follow your blog posts and also YT videos for several years – and i am really looking forward to continue to enjoy what you have to share. I think you are incredible good at what you do, very openminded and shares it all in a way that have made me think different reg. some problem dogs and for that i am forever greatful. I wish i lived closer so that i could bring you a cake – but a virual HUG have to do 😉 …. so here it comes : HUGS from Norway 🙂 – Ann

  7. Lisa Mallory says:

    Congratulations Eileen! Your Blog has helped so many people in so many ways. I’ve learned so much, and have also gotten an “insiders” glimpse into the world of your own dogs. I didn’t realize that Cricket passed away on May 31st. That’s my birthday. I really miss hearing stories about her. What an amazing home she had with you! Best to you in the future.

    • Eileen Anderson says:

      Thanks so much, Lisa. I do have more stories about Cricket; hopefully I can write some up one of these days. I’m glad you like hearing about her.

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