Why Dog Training is Really People Training


"My hoomin & I go to puppy skool and we learns together!"

...So, is shipping your dog off to "boarder" training school for two weeks useful?
Or is it like sending your car to driving school...and expecting that to make YOU a better driver?

Over 15 years as a trainer, I've had a smattering of people ask if they could send their dogs to me for training. I tell them, no, I don't have a facility for that -- and, even if I did, I would discourage that kind of training anyway. Why?

Because dog training is mostly people training.

If you want to have a happy, well-behaved dog, you have to understand your pet, learn how to teach him what you want him to know -- and teach yourself how to be your dog's positive leader (which does NOT require physical domination, choke collars or yelling).

Dogs don't "misbehave" because they're "bad" dogs, but for these three main reasons:
1) "misbehavior" (like grabbing your unattended pizza slice from the table) comes naturally to them
2) nobody taught them not to do it -- you can't blame a dog for thinking "If you're not gonna eat that, I'll eat it!"
3) their humans don't know how to train them, and don't bother to find out

Any competent professional trainer -- using a wide range of methods, some less desirable than others -- can teach a dog to listen to him. But dogs need to learn to listen to their human owners, not to a professional trainer.

So a trainer's real job isn't teaching the dogs -- it's teaching the humans how to teach their own dogs.

That only works if the humans are continually involved in the process -- which can't happen if they're sending their dogs to be trained by somebody else. Some trainers who do that kind of training require the humans to come for a few hours of work with their dogs toward the end of the program. By that time, after being drilled by professionals for weeks, these dogs are quite good at listening to commands.

So a frustrated owner, who's sent his unruly, ill-mannered dog away for two weeks, reports to the training facility -- and is amazed by how much his pooch has learned: "Wow! This was well worth the thousand bucks I paid!" The trainer then hastily teaches the human owner how to "drive" his newly-educated dog, and human and dog go home to enjoy a new and orderly life together.

So, what's wrong with this picture? The dog has been trained by a professional with years of experience and understanding of why dogs do what they do and how to get them to do something else. But the human owner doesn't have that knowledge and experience. A couple of hours of instruction can’t possibly teach someone how to consistently apply those newly-learned commands to create a predictable structure within which a dog earns what he wants by being a “good” dog.

**********************88888888 So, when inevitable glitches arise, the human owner doesn't know how to make adjustments. In short order, both human and dog fall back into old dysfunctional habits. Is it possible to send your dog off to be trained by a pro, and end up with a good long-term result? Maybe. Is it likely? I doubt it.

Because dogs take their cues from us, their human companions.   Behaviors evolve over time -- and if dogs and their humans are not partners in training, that simultaneous evolution of good behaviors and human leadership won’t occur in synch...or at all.

Dog training ain't rocket science, as the saying goes. With a little guidance from a good trainer, almost all dog owners can – and should – learn to train their own dogs. The only requirements are an open mind, some time and effort, and patience. When you and your dog learn together, you'll be creating an unshakeable bond of trust and love. And, in the end, that's a whole lot more satisfying than sending your car to driving school!


Howard Weinstein started Day-One Dog Training in Howard County, Maryland in 1998. You can reach him through http://dayonedogtraining.com. He's also the author of Puppy Kisses are Good for the Soul & Other Important Lessons You& Your Dog Can Teach Each Other (available in both paperback and e-book at Amazon.com -- http://tinyurl.com/9rah6kg -- or http://dayonedogtraining.com).


Jaunty Callie, Farewell & R.I.P.

May 1, 1996-December 13, 2012

So, courage...it's not the absence of fear. It's forging ahead despite your fear. Our little Welsh Corgi Callie displayed that courage throughout her life.

We first fell in love with Callie because of her extraordinary powers of perception and patience. In her breeder's kitchen more than 16 years ago, we were trying to decide between Callie and one sister remaining from a litter of seven girls. Now, of course, all puppies are adorable. And Callie's sister was adorably dragging around a 3-foot-long furry-squeaky-snake toy...which Callie really wanted. So we watched as Callie watched and waited. She never made a move to steal away the prized toy. She. Just. Watched.

And when her sister got distracted (as puppies do) and dropped the toy, Callie triumphantly took possession. And Susan and I said, "We want that one." We knew she would be smart and clever and exceptional, and she never disappointed us.

CalSnake1 Baby Callie & the liberated snake

She almost didn't have a name, though: for two weeks before we went back to take her home, we came up empty. Then we stumbled across a volume on Celtic folklore in a mall bookstore, and found a moon goddess named Callie Berry. And that became our new puppy's enchanting name. Further proof of her enchantment (because she always smelled like flowers and baby powder) came when a gorgeous blue and black butterfly landed on her back one sunny summer morning.

100_1278  Callie's butterfly friend

With her big dark eyes and white face, Callie was uncommonly beautiful. She was also born shy and skittish. When she first came to live with us and our other new puppy Mickey (four months older and already ensconced as Queen of the Realm after two months with us), Callie was very timid and seemed downright depressed. Mickey claimed everything in their domain: "My Mommy, my Daddy, my toys, my noms..." Mickey even tried to reclaim her original crate, which she'd outgrown, by squeezing in alongside the new baby sister with whom she wanted to share nothing.

CalMickCrateSqueeze   Mickey: "Why can't they ALL be my crates?"

Gradually, relations warmed. One day, Callie came over and bowed her face to Mickey, who maternally and affectionately proceeded to lick Callie's eyes clean. This endearing ritual would be repeated many times over the 16 years they spent together.  

And then Callie discovered how much she loved squeaky toys. She'd happily march around the house with a toy in her mouth, making "Callie music" -- which always made us laugh.

CalSquirrel   "I take requests...as long as it's squeaky!"

But Callie's shyness with other dogs and new people made us concerned for the limitations it would place her life. Over time, with training (at which Callie excelled) and treats (an appetite which never flagged), we were able to take advantage of everyday situations to help her conquer her skittishness. When our morning walks took us past the elementary-school bus stop, the kids would flock to our cute dogs. Mickey would wade in to be petted by as many kids as possible. Callie would creep off to the side, but a couple of the kids gravitated to "the shy one."  And with each pleasant encounter, Callie's confidence grew.

Later, we were invited to visit Howard Community College's Kids on Campus summer camp program, for a fun class called Pets & Vets. A dozen 8-10-year-old kids would be ready and waiting to ask questions, pet the dog, laugh at her tricks -- and knowing Mickey would soak up the love and attention, we first took her without Callie. We didn't really think Callie would enjoy the intensity. We were wrong -- as Callie proved when we experimentally took them to camp together. Then, one hot day, Mickey decided she no longer enjoyed her visits, so she retired and Callie took over as a solo act -- overcoming her fears and having a wonderful time.

CallieCollege1.2008   Professor Callie and her camp kids

We had to say farewell to gallant Callie this week at the advanced age of 16 years and 7 months. She's crossed that Rainbow Bridge with her refreshed puppy bounce, and I know Mickey is there for her, waiting to lick her eyes and show her around. We miss them both more than we can say.

Except for two hollow weeks in May 1996, between Annie's passing and Mickey's arrival, Welsh Corgis have been my companions for 31 consecutive years. We have reminders of our three amazing dogs all over the house, which now seems empty and sad. The best way to celebrate Annie, Mickey and Callie -- and thank them for all the joy they gave us and all the lessons they taught us -- is to get another Corgi puppy. And that can't happen too soon for me.

Pets often turn out to be the best of what we would like to be. Annie was the personification (dogification?) of confidence and wisdom; Mickey, sweetness and love; and Callie, curiosity and courage.  

Callie Berry, our jaunty and brave little friend, thank you for the honor of your company.


Know Where YOUR Nearest Emergency Animal Clinic Is!

"Doc, I doesn't feel so good. You fix?"

...So, what would you do if your dog (or other pet) gets sick or injured when your own vet's office is closed?

The past two evenings, I happened to get panicky calls from folks who'd been part of my most recent puppy class. Both had puppies with sudden, alarming medical symptoms: repeated vomiting for one, disorientation and loss of balance for the other. Both asked my advice. I told both the same thing (probably confirming what they already knew): "Get your puppy to the emergency vet!"

The causes of the symptoms they described could have been nothing serious -- or they could have been life-threatening. Fortunately, in these cases, both puppies were OK. 

Just like kids, pets have a knack for needing emergency care overnight or on weekends.
Wherever you live, do yourself and your pet a favor, look up your nearest ER vet clinic -- before you need it -- and keep that info handy.

We actually have three emergency vet clinics in and around my territory of Howard County, Maryland. If you live in this vicinity, please put this information where you can find it easily -- it could save your pet’s life!

1- Emergency Animal Hospital, 10270 Baltimore National Pike (Route 40 West), Ellicott City, MD 21042; (410) 750-1177; open weekends, holidays and nights 7PM-7AM - http://ellicottcityemergencyvet.com/

2- Emergency Veterinary Clinic, 32 Mellor Avenue, Catonsville MD 21228; (410) 788-7040; open 24 hours, 7 days - http://www.evccatonsville.com/

3- Anne Arundel Veterinary Emergency Clinic, 808 Bestgate Road, Suite 111, Annapolis, MD 21401; (410) 224-0331; open 24 hours, 7 days - http://www.aavec.com/

Howard Weinstein started Day-One Dog Training in Howard County, Maryland in 1998. You can reach him through http://dayonedogtraining.com. He's also the author of Puppy Kisses are Good for the Soul & Other Important Lessons You & Your Dog Can Teach Each Other (available in both paperback and e-book at Amazon.com -- http://tinyurl.com/9rah6kg --
or http://dayonedogtraining.com).



“When You Can Take the Nom from My Hand…”

“To bite? Or NOT to bite? Dat is da question…”

…So, how – and how readily – will a dog take a treat from a human hand?

Remember the 1970s television series Kung Fu (if you’re old enough, or you watch vintage TV shows)? Starring David Carradine? When his character Caine is a young Shaolin novice, impatient to complete his spiritual and martial-arts training, his teacher holds out a small stone in his palm and says, “When you can take the pebble from my hand, it will be time for you to leave.”

OK…what does this have to do with dog training? A lot, actually.

For some dogs, it’s a measure of trust and confidence – for others, of patience and politeness. Ideally, a dog should happily come up and take a treat without being afraid or aggressively grabby. As with children, how and what we teach can nurture trust and patience – or diminish them.

I recently went to see a family with an 8-month-old Boston terrier named Penny. She was smart, energetic – and fear-aggressive to the point of snapping first and asking questions later when encountering people and dogs she didn’t know. Would she take a treat from my hand? Or would she bite me? I knew my preference. But puppy Penny had the sharp teeth, so her preference was of far greater concern to me!

When I started Day-One Dog Training fifteen years ago, I learned that even skittish dogs can be convinced of benign intentions with lots of patience and offers of tasty noms. Don’t force the issue; just toss treats so that each one moves a dog incrementally closer to where I’m sitting, and within fifteen minutes most dogs are willing to come up and calmly take treats from my hand.

Penny, however, would have fled, circled and barked non-stop. Her mom put her on a leash so Penny would have to hang out in our vicinity as we sat at the kitchen table. With the precision of clicker training (after determining that the sound of the clicker didn’t scare her), I started rewarding Penny with a click-treat each time she’d stop barking at me. She got the idea within a few repetitions: “Ohhh…being quiet gets me noms. I can do dat!”

Then we made a new rule: she had to be quiet and sit in order to earn her click-treats. Penny mastered that -- when asked, and when it was her idea -- and we soon advanced to requiring her to lie down to get what she wanted. And, almost imperceptibly, each treat I tossed to her landed a little closer to me.

Penny was focused and invested in the game, the rules of which made it easy for her to win her desired click-treats every single round. So we worked through the hour, giving her mom lots of practice at rewarding calm behavior with click-treats. Penny did equally well no matter who was delivering the rewards. But I doubted she’d feel brave enough to come over and take a treat directly from my hand. I offered a few times, but she just wasn’t ready for that literal step forward, and I didn’t want to push her and wash away all our progress.

And then, when our hour was up, Penny looked at me, thought for a second, and – totally on her own – came right up to me and asked to take a treat from my hand. Yaaaaay, Penny!

Is Penny cured? No. But with that one small step for a puppy, closing the distance between us, she took one giant leap for puppy-kind. She’s now a work in progress, and her humans know how to patiently replicate Penny’s experience with me with each new person she meets, to help her move forward…one step at a time.

I’m constantly amazed at the power of that little clicker in the palm of a human hand. If your dog has any behavioral quirks, problems or bad habits, clicker training is likely to be your fastest, most effective and most enjoyable road to improvement. Wherever you may be, you can find a trainer to show you how it works. You and your dog will be glad you did! If you’re in central Maryland, please contact me at http://dayonedogtraining.com. Click-treat!

Howard Weinstein started Day-One Dog Training in Howard County, Maryland in 1998. You can reach him through http://dayonedogtraining.com. He's also the author of Puppy Kisses are Good for the Soul & Other Important Lessons You & Your Dog Can Teach Each Other (available in both paperback and e-book at Amazon.com -- http://tinyurl.com/9rah6kg --
or http://dayonedogtraining.com).


No crying in baseball! And no yelling in dog training...

Harley sez: "Quiet puppies get noms!"

...So, you remember the movie A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN, about women's baseball in the 1940s? Tom Hanks plays team manager Jimmy Dugan. And when one of his players gets upset and teary-eyed, he growls at her, "There's no crying in baseball!"

I just completed another in my continuing series of 7-week puppy kindergarten classes. And I hope this group (and all my clients) not only learned what they should do to teach their puppies, but also noticed something I never do: There's no yelling in dog training.

It's simply not necessary, and also not effective. When we yell at our noisy dog to "Shut up and stop barking!" she just thinks we're joining in the barking. Or she thinks we're crazy. What she doesn't think is, "Ooo! I should be quiet!"

The first week of this most recent class, a big, happy 4-month old Rottweiler pup named Harley started barking excitedly at the other puppies from the moment they walked into the room. Here's what I didn't do: yell at Harley. Here's what I did do: I moved closer to him, had my clicker ready, went on talking to the class over Harley's noise -- and the instant he stopped barking for a breath, I clicked him and gave him a treat while I said "Good quiet!" The look of delighted surprise on his face was priceless.

Within ten minutes, Harley understood that he got click-treats for being calm and quiet -- and got nothing for being noisy. (And clicker training was new for him, but he got the connection in the first few minutes and within ten repetitions.) For the rest of the hour, Harley remained quiet, watching me closely -- and I'd randomly go to him (now requiring him to sit for his rewards) and click-treat him for being "Good quiet!" 

With a little help from me, Harley figured out for himself how to get the nice human teacher to give him what he wanted -- lots of tasty noms! -- and I got what I wanted: a big puppy who was happy to be quiet in class.

If you find yourself yelling at your dog -- for anything -- stop. Then start over, with quiet patience, and reward good behavior instead of trying to shout down bad behavior. It really works -- just ask Harley!

Howard Weinstein started Day One Dog Training in Howard County, Maryland in 1998. You can reach him through http://dayonedogtraining.com. He's also the author of Puppy Kisses are Good for the Soul & Other Important Lessons You & Your Dog Can Teach Each Other (available in both paperback and e-book at Amazon.com -- http://tinyurl.com/9rah6kg --
or http://dayonedogtraining.com).


Are Pit Bulls Dangerous Dogs?

"Just 'cuz I'm a pit bull doesn't mean I'll hurt anybody!"

...So, are all pit bulls nasty? I know a delightful pit bull pup named Tater Tot who would disagree.

Here's the truth: Any dog can bite. Any dog can be made into an aggressive dysfunctional mess by misguided training, cruelty or abuse.

But on April 26, 2012, a Maryland Court of Appeals judge ruled in a civil case that pit bulls are "inherently dangerous," making pit bull owners more susceptible to lawsuits and liability in dog-bite cases. Essentially, that ruling means if your dog is a pit bull, there's a presumption of guilt, no matter the circumstances.

Opinions like this may be well-meaning, but they're based on false reasoning. It's like saying, for example, that V-8 muscle cars are inherently dangerous because they're involved in more speeding incidents and accidents. On the surface, such a statement may appear statistically true. But a rumbling black Mustang, driven responsibly, is no more dangerous than a whispering Prius hybrid.

It's the idiot behind the wheel -- or holding (or not holding) the leash -- that causes the problem.

Sure, fast cars appeal to dangerously-aggressive drivers, but that doesn't make the cars themselves inherently dangerous -- and it doesn't make everyone who drives one an aggressive knucklehead. And just because miserable sociopaths may prefer to own powerful pit bulls instead of toy poodles doesn't make every pit bull owner a sociopath nor every pit bull automatically dangerous.

Some dog breeds (or mixes) do have a genetic tendency to be more assertive, even aggressive, but tendencies are not certainties. Individual behavior covers a wide range, and the human element makes them wildly variable and unpredictable.

While I'm always watchful for individual puppies who may have behavior issues, 15 years as a trainer (working with over a thousand dogs of all breeds and mixes) has taught me that I can't generalize. Not only do I not want to exclude pit bulls from classes, I want those owners to learn how to use positive-reinforcement and clicker training techniques to raise happy, well-adjusted dogs with good manners.

Whenever I have a pit bull puppy in a class, I can see flickers of terror on the faces of other dog owners as they try to keep their puppies away from the presumptive monster. But, invariably, the baby pit bulls end up being the darlings of the class.

The aforementioned Tater Tot was typical: a happy, enthusiastic, silly girl with gold fur and a big grin who played well with her classmates and won the hearts of all the humans. Tater is likely to grow up to be an excellent ambassador for her breed. 

Breed profiling is not fair, and it can create a false sense of security. Let's say pit bulls disappeared from the planet: Wow! We've been saved! Except that nasty people who get their kicks from owning the baddest dog in the neighborhood will choose some other breed to ruin.

The authoritative federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says this on the subject of a 20-year study on fatal dog bites, listing the breeds involved:
It does not identify specific breeds most likely to bite or kill, and thus is not appropriate for policy-making decisions related to the topic... There is currently no accurate way to identify the number of dogs of a particular breed, and consequently no measure to determine which breeds are more likely to bite or kill. Many practical alternatives to breed-specific policies exist and hold promise for preventing dog bites. For prevention ideas and model policies for control of dangerous dogs, please see the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Task Force report on Canine Aggression and Human-Canine Interactions: A Community Approach to Dog Bite Prevention 



Howard Weinstein started Day One Dog Training in Howard County, Maryland in 1998. You can reach him through www.dayonedogtraining.com. He's also the author of Puppy Kisses are Good for the Soul & Other Important Lessons You & Your Dog Can Teach Each Other (available in both paperback and e-book at Amazon.com or www.dayonedogtraining.com).


Happy Sweet 16, Callie!

Take a Bow, Callie Birthday-Girl!

...So, today is our little Welsh Corgi Callie's 16th birthday. It's been a month since we lost our other adorable Corgi Mickey. And though we miss Mickey every day, we're so lucky to still have our little May Day puppy with us. Callie really does make us smile every time we look at her.

Although Callie doesn't see or hear too well any more, she still manages to be remarkably aware of everything going on around her. And she still supervises us when her stomach-clock goes off, making sure we serve all her meals and snacks at their appointed times. She doesn't look a day over five, and she still marches along on our morning walks. Her graceful adjustment to most of the creeping hardships of old age is nothing short of inspirational.

After 16 years, I could tell Callie stories all day long. So I'll just choose a few, remembering back to the fun Corgi Club picnic-parties we used to attend, at the Silver Spring home of a member of the Pembroke Welsh Corgi Club of the Potomac. The hostess had a nice fenced yard, so once inside, the dogs roamed, ran around and played freely, while the humans visited, ate and laughed at all the cute dogs. Callie has always marched to her own drummer -- a quality never so apparent as in this picture below. When all the humans and dogs gathered for group pictures, Callie happily broke ranks to take center stage. 

One year, when they were still puppies, Mickey and Callie had a run-in with a cousin named Bootsie. Mickey was outgoing and fearless, but Callie was still a shy, skittish baby. Unfortunately, Bootsie was a bit of a handful (earning the nickname "The Bad Bootsie" among the humans, including her breeder) and Bad Bootsie decided this was a good day to bully Mickey. Quite to our surprise, baby Callie rushed to Mickey's defense, confronting Bootsie with her most fearsome bark: "Leave my sister alone!!" And Bad Bootsie did just that, scurrying away to bother other puppies who didn't have a gutsy little sister to stick up for them.

Corgis generally love pretty much all food. So, to keep the dogs from mooching, the party food was safely isolated on tables up on the porch, and a makeshift gate kept the dogs off the porch. Theoretically. The dogs would gather in frustrated little gangs (as seen above) desperately trying to figure out how to get up there. Clearly, this was a job for clever Callie, who was born with an uncanny determination to solve problems -- especially those involving access to noms! So, of course, Callie was the one and only dog who figured out how to breach security, triumphantly squeezing past the gate and bouncing around on the porch among the food tables.

Callie has given us so many great days, smiles and wonderful memories throughout her long and happy life. It's a privilege to take care of this amazing little doggie, and we cherish every day we have with her. Happy Sweet 16, Callie Berry!!

Howard Weinstein started Day One Dog Training in Howard County, Maryland in 1998. You can reach him through www.dayonedogtraining.com. He's also the author of Puppy Kisses are Good for the Soul & Other Important Lessons You & Your Dog Can Teach Each Other (available in both paperback and e-book at Amazon.com or www.dayonedogtraining.com).

Sad News...R.I.P. Mickey Heather

January 25, 1996 - April 2, 2012

We had to have our beloved 16-yr-old Corgi Mickey put to sleep today. She was toddling along pretty well for an old lady, right up until yesterday. Then she started having seizures last night and this morning. Susan took her to the ER vet and we were told it was likely Mickey had a brain tumor.
With no real treatment options, we didn't want to put her through prolonged diagnostic hospitalization, and didn't want to wait until she was in pain. So we made the difficult decision to let her go with her dignity intact.

We sat with her in the examining room for a long time, giving her lots of hugs, pets, kisses and ear rubs, and she was very calm, comfortable and snuggly. She looked just like the 4-month-old baby puppy we fell in love with so long ago, though that seems like only yesterday. And the end was completely soft, sweet and peaceful. As any of you who've lost a pet know, we miss her very much.

We were so lucky to have her with us for so long, and she was the best dog anyone could ever ask for. She had a happy life, and she made us smile every one of the 5,800 or so days she shared with us. In Mickey's honor, please go give your own pets some special love!

As some of you know, we did a TV commercial with Mickey about 10 years ago, and that day was the most fun we've ever had. She was a superstar, worked her little furry butt off for hours, and did everything we asked of her. She was perfect! If you'd like to see our special little Mickey in her prime, one more time, you can see her commercial here. Thank you, Mickey, for so much puppy love.


Support Your Local Shelters!

...So, OK, don't donate the cat! But there are other ways you can support your local animal shelter and the innocent, homeless critters hoping for a new forever home.

Most of us live near one or more shelters. Some are municipal, others private. But pretty much all of them are short of resources -- space, money, help, or all three -- and even moreso in these tough economic times.

We animal lovers can, of course, contribute money to shelters, humane associations and rescue groups. Most shelters can also use donations of clean blankets and towels. If your dog has toys she never plays with, the homeless doggies might appreciate them. And if you have food your pet didn't like, or no longer eats, many shelters welcome donations of fresh food as well.

Many soft-hearted souls say they can't even go into a shelter because they want to adopt all the homeless animals. But even if you can't do that -- or adopt even a single one -- there are other ways you can help make their lives more comfortable while they're waiting to become someboy's well-loved companion. To find out what your local shelter can use, please give them a call or check their websites.

Howard Weinstein started Day One Dog Training in Howard County, Maryland in 1998. You can reach him through www.dayonedogtraining.com. He's also the author of Puppy Kisses are Good for the Soul & Other Important Lessons You & Your Dog Can Teach Each Other (available in both paperback and e-book at Amazon.com or www.dayonedogtraining.com).

Happy Sweet 16 to Mickey!

   Mickey...the TV Star!

...So, you bring a puppy home and you embark on an adventure. You never really know where it may lead, or how long it may last.

These days, the average doggie life-span is probably around 12 years. A little shorter for big dogs, a little longer for small dogs. But there are no guarantees. My niece Kimberly lost her big sweet rescue Great Pyrenees pal named Blake last year at age 5. And our friends the Wright family lost their wonderful Dutchess at about age 6.

So we are are infinitely thankful that our little Mickey is celebrating her 16th birthday today.

She was a 4-month-old wild puppy when we got her. She turned into a magnificent and dignified lady, and though she's sometimes a little confused these days and her long, lovely fur is now threadbare, she's never lost her essential sweetness. Mickey quite simply has never met a person or pooch she didn't like.

Mickey also gave us the most fun day we've ever had -- the day we and Mickey made a local TV commercial together (for a self-service pet-wash and groomery). In a long day of hard work and shooting video, Mickey happily performed take after take until we got what we needed. But more often, she nailed it on the first try. Please watch the 30-second commercial at the YouTube link -- and pay special attention to Mickey's progressive surprise as she leaps off the chair at the beginning, and her brilliant hiding behind the curtain as her character tries to avoid getting a dreaded bath. Then look at her beaming little face on the grooming table. (Link: http://youtu.be/X_0b4_Kgjoc)

Mickey, we love you more than you can ever know, and we cherish every day we have with you.
Happy, happy birthday, little Mick! 

Howard Weinstein started Day One Dog Training in Howard County, Maryland in 1998. You can reach him through www.dayonedogtraining.com. He's also the author of Puppy Kisses are Good for the Soul & Other Important Lessons You & Your Dog Can Teach Each Other (available in both paperback and e-book at Amazon.com or www.dayonedogtraining.com).