Dog Training – It's All About the Relationship

lenny photo

Photo by AndyMcLemore

Your dog’s behavior doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Perhaps you’ve heard the phrase (or seen it written here): “The dog is always right”? The reason is that dogs are simply responding to what is happening in their environment. And, specifically, how their environment makes them feel.

Whatever your dog is doing, it is ALL about the relationship that you have with your dog. And the relationship that you have with the significant people in your life. And the relationship that you have with yourself.

The obvious relationship that matters here is how you are with your dog. Are you nervous? Rigid? Harsh? Grounded? What are you communicating with your body language? What is your emotional state communicating to your pup? 99% of the time, what your dog is doing is “right” – meaning that your dog is simply taking in all of the information that you’re giving (and primarily the physical and emotional information – NOT the intellectual or conceptual information) and doing what makes the most sense to a canine under the circumstances.

Guess who else’s behavior doesn’t exist in a vacuum? YOURS! You are affected by your self-image and beliefs, and the relationships that you’re having with those around you. One of the biggest challenges that I’ve had over the past 10+ years of working with people and their dogs has been helping the PEOPLE change their habits. I would see, over and over again, how the emotional atmosphere of a person’s life – their stress at work, or in their primary relationships, or their view of themselves – was affecting how they lived their lives. Their habits. And this is important, because…

Your habits are creating your dog’s habits.

A little over 5 years ago I decided to branch out and get some training, as a coach, from the Robbins-Madanes Institute for Strategic Intervention. For me it was an opportunity to not only focus on shifting my own habits of being, but to also develop more skills at facilitating change for the humans with whom I was working. In the time since then, it has truly been an honor to not only be helping people with their dogs, but also to be helping them with the overall quality of their lives.

During that time, it became a passion of mine to work with people on improving their romantic relationships. You may notice that my original site (yes, this existed BEFORE Naturaldogblog) www.neilsattin.com has been revived. There’s a lot of great content there, and more in the works, that’s focused specifically on improving relationships. I’m also about to launch a podcast, called Relationship Alive, focused on helping you have amazing relationships (or easeful breakups – should that be the path that you choose). So stay tuned for more information on that.

In the meantime – think about it this way. Your dog is an emotional creature, picking up on everything that’s happening in the environment and responding from a place of heart – not head. What’s going on in your world? Where is the stress? Where is the tension? Where is the anger? Where is the love? Now look at your dog’s behavior, and ask yourself “how is my dog giving a voice to everything that’s happening in our world together?” I look forward to hearing what insights you uncover.

Dog Training – It’s All About the Relationship is a post from: Natural Dog Blog – Training and More

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Gray foxes can have blue eyes

This is something that hasn’t been mentioned anywhere, but gray foxes (Urocyon) can have blue eyes:

And another (perhaps the Western version, which might be a distinct species):

Most of them have very dark brown eyes, and you really can’t see that they don’t have the exact same cat-like pupils of the red fox. However, the blue-eyed ones really do show off their oval-shaped pupils quite well.

Gray foxes are the most basal species of canid and are not closely related to any other canids, except of the island fox of California, which is just an insular dwarf of the mainland species.

The exact systematics of gray foxes are still being worked out, but I do expect surprises in the future.  These animals have an extensive range in the Americas, and their lineage is really quite divergent from anything else we think of as being in the dog family.

Blue-eyes, well, they certainly make them more stunninglybl attractive.

 

 

Natural History

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Easy Rise and Shine Smoothies

Tropical Morning Smoothie Recipe

Thank you McCormick for sponsoring this post. Visit your local Wal-Mart to pick up McCormick Good Morning Breakfast for your family!

I know I’ve talked a lot around here about my feelings on the importance of eating healthy breakfasts as the best way to start the day, but I’m going to be honest with you guys and tell you that the past month has been full of processed breakfast foods (so many food pouches) for both the kids and myself. It hurts to type that out, man, but it’s the truth. Between moving into a new house, hosting a big joint birthday party for the kids two days later, adjusting to Essley returning to school and activities after winter break, several sickness sweeping through our house, Robbie going back on the road with the band, and me returning to a normal work schedule after the holidays (phew!), I’ve been on auto pilot since the New Year with zero time or energy to focus on breakfast. However, I decided a couple of weeks ago that I needed to come up with a solution that would allow me to make delicious, wholesome breakfasts again, without wasting precious time. After playing around, I came up with this super yummy breakfast smoothie that everyone in the house adores, and that Essley affectionately named the “Rise and Shine Smoothie.” I know you and your family will love it too!

Makes 1 serving. Easy to multiply to make for your whole family.

INGREDIENTS
1 packet McCormick® Good Morning Tropical Twist Smoothie Boost
1/2 banana
3-4 strawberries
1/3-1/2 cup almond milk, soy milk, or cows milk

Add all ingredients to a blender and blend for about 60 seconds. (We like ours kind of thick.) Pour into a glass and garnish with strawberries. Enjoy!

These Rise and Shine smoothies are so great because they take less than five minutes, can be taken with us if we’re running late, and can easily be changed up so no one gets bored. We have made them with frozen mangos or a whole frozen banana instead of pineapple, with plain Greek yogurt and water instead of almond milk, and with a handful of frozen blueberries added. The possibilities are endless, but the star of the show and one item we never leave out is the McCormick Good Morning Smoothie Boosts. They’re the best, truly. They contain no artificial colors, flavors, or sweeteners, are gluten free, and our smoothies go from ordinary to extraordinary with a boost of taste and nutrition! Blend into your favorite shake recipes for a drinkable breakfast on-the-go. Blend with juice, milk or fruit for a drinkable meal on-the-go. It’s the exact thing I needed to create wholesale, yummy breakfasts that everyone loves and that doesn’t take a lot of effort or time that we simple don’t have right now.

Mornings are fast, too fast. Between getting ready for your workday and preparing your kids for school, there isn’t much time to create the flavorful, fulfilling breakfast your family deserves. McCormick Good Morning breakfast is a break through line of products to help you do just that. If you’re like I was and feeling overwhelmed at breakfast time, I encourage you to check them out. In addition to the Smoothie Boosts, of which we’re such huge fans, they also make Good Morning Breakfast Seasonings, Good Morning Breakfast Toppers, and Good Morning Slow Cooker Breakfast Seasoning Mixes. Yum!

If you try our Rise and Shine Smoothie, I’d love to hear what you think! What are your favorite ways to create satisfying breakfasts on little time?

Thank you for supporting the brands that help make Bubby and Bean possible. I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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Marmots don’t predict the weather

yellow-bellied marmot

A yellow-bellied marmot can’t predict the weather. Its cousin, the groundhog, can’t either.

I have not written anything about this in a while, but those of you who live outside of North America need to know something:

Every Candlemas, local news stations across the Anglo-American world will be covering a bizarre ritual. At the local zoo or wildlife center, some people with super-thick gloves will be annoying the resident marmot this morning. In my part of the world, it will be French Creek Freddie, a groundhog, who will be roused from his deep hibernation. He will be taken out into the broad daylight.

And somehow, it will be determined if he saw his shadow or not, and if he sees his shadow, then we’re in for six more weeks of winter.

The big ritual happens at Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, and it is supposedly based upon an German custom of annoying a badger or hedgehog on Candlemas for the same purpose. Neither species is found in Pennsylvania, although wandering American badgers have occasionally turned up in Western New York and even West Virginia.

So they went with the local marmot species as a stand-in. The one in Punxsutawney is called Punxsutawney Phil. There is already a livestream set up for his prediction this morning.

In Montana, a yellow-bellied marmot named Bitterroot Bill. He’s not exactly the ground of Pennsylvania, but if the groundhog of Pennsylvania is a stand-in for a badger or hedgehog, shouldn’t a yellow-bellied marmot do just as well?

At least Van Island Violet, an endangered Vancouver marmot, will be left alone to sleep through her hibernation. Canadians, at least on the West Coast, are nicer to their local marmot than most of us are.

Indeed, this is about the only day that groundhogs get any truck with people in my area. Groundhogs are agricultural pests, and during the hot days of summer, they are frequently used as target practice by those hunters with itchy trigger fingers or those who are starting to doubt their marksmanship skills.

But if you ever see the Candlemas rodents when they are roused from their winter naps, they are quite grouchy. That’s why the handlers have to wear such thick gloves. I’ve never hibernated, but I can imagine that being roused from such a state is pretty traumatic.

I’ve always thought this is a bizarre custom for several reasons:

One is that I can’t imagine the groundhog is looking for its shadow when it’s hauled out into the light. I don’t even know that groundhogs even know what shadows are. The main thing these animals seem to be caring about is why they can’t be put back to bed.

The second is that, um, if an animal sees its shadow, that means the sun is out. If the sun is out, then that will melt the snow, and I would think that the sun shining would be a sign that winter is on its way out.

I suppose I’m thinking this stuff out too much.  It is, after all, just a regional folk custom that went viral long ago.

Most people don’t even know that today is Candlemas, because it’s not an Anglo-Protestant holiday at all.

In North America, it is Marmot Day.

The national news will let us know what ol’ Phil saw. Of course, he won’t be interviewed. There will just a proclamation read, and the news will report on his prediction. The local news affiliates across the country will report on the local marmots, and we will go on our merry way.

And then the real meteorologists will produce their forecasts. People will follow those a lot more closely than the rodent predictions.

And we’ll go back to our lives. The marmots will go back to sleep. When the grounhogs arise in spring, the guns will go off as soon as the find the vegetable patch.

But for one day, they are feted, even if they are too grouchy and dazed to realize it.

Natural History

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Community Rallies Around Heroic Pit Bull

Ossifer the pit bull hero

Photo Credit: The Happy Pet Vet

Gun violence is terrifying and often deadly. Thankfully, one dog in Chiloquin, Oregon saved the day when there was a shooting in late October. Because of his heroic actions, although one man was sent to the hospital, there were no fatalities from the dangerous attack.

According to the Herald and News, around 5:30 p.m. on Friday, October 27 a suspect aimed a gun at the son of Bridgett Glenn. The shooter hit the man once before Ossifer, Bridgett’s loyal pit bull, lunged at the shooter to prevent him from hurting additional victims. Ossifer protected the people, but received three shots in return – including in his torso. A representative told the paper that “It is extremely rare for a dog to survive that.”

Ossifer the dog who survived three bullet shots

Bridgett described her dog’s actions as “an amazing thing.” Thankfully, Ossifer had an amazing surgeon to help him. Dr. Tawnia Shaw, at The Happy Pet Vet, spent five hours operating on the heroic pup. Although he had to be resuscitated once during the operation after a cardiac and pulmonary arrest, Ossifer miraculously survived. In addition to an incredible medical team, the clinic said that Ossifer’s great health before the shooting was a reason he pulled through. A representative for the clinic told the Herald and News, “That dog was fit,” adding that Ossifer “was in athlete-type condition.” We all know how important exercise and proper nutrition are for helping a pet live their best life – it’s heartwarming to know that it can help heroes survive, too. According to The Happy Pet Vet, Ossifer had to stay at the hospital for two days after his surgery before going home on October 29.

Because of how extensive Ossifer’s injuries were and how much care was required, a local State Farm agent, Chris Watkins, started a fund to help Bridgett and her family cover his care. The community has also joined in and rallied around this canine hero. As of the last update, over $ 3,000 has been collected to help Ossifer. The community has helped in other ways, too. A commenter on Facebook shared that The Chiloquilters made a new, beautiful blue bed for Ossifer so that he has a comfy place to rest while he recovers. According to the veterinarian, Ossifer “is loving it.” There was even a Meet and Greet Silent Auction Fundraiser hosted at a local church where people could greet their local celebrity in person and bid on items donated by local businesses and individuals to help care for the hero. The event’s Facebook page noted that Ossifer wanted to thank his many supporters at the event.

Ossifer the Pit Bull play with his toy

Halo Pets

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Stairs are not mountains

These Bernese Mountain Dogs may be able to climb mountains, but household stairs have them flumoxed! Wishing you a weekend filled with no mountains to climb (unless that’s your thing, than have at it)! Until next time, Good day, and good dog!


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Emmylou Harris Joins Best Friends Campaign

Fans of country music, canines and cats are singing the praises of Emmylou Harris! The entertainment icon, who will be honored with the Recording Academy’s Lifetime Achievement Award at the…



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DogTipper

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The Universe’s Plans, Valentine Cards, & Other Random Thoughts

Valentine's Day Cards from Bubby and Bean
Valentine's Day Cards from Bubby and Bean
Valentine's Day Cards from Bubby and Bean

How’s that for a post title?

I received an email last week from a long time reader who said she had no idea we had a card/art shop and was so excited to discover it, which I have to admit made me chuckle. I not only started the Bubby and Bean Art Shop before I started the Bubby and Bean blog and social channels, but the blog was supposed to just be a small offshoot of the shop that I’d use to help promote it. And that’s why I had to laugh – because there was a time when the art shop (and my clothing line) were how I paid the bills, and the blog was not much more than a thought in the back of my head. These days, the blog is how I support myself and my family, and the art shop is such a tiny part of my work that in the off season (basically any time outside of the holidays and the period right around Valentine’s Day), I sometimes forget I have it. The universe just as a way of deciding things for us sometimes, even when they’re nothing like we initially planned.

That said, after putting the card and art shop in vacation mode for several weeks after the holiday rush, I just reopened it and added a bunch of Valentine’s Day cards. So if you’d like to give or send your loved ones hip, handcrafted, eco-friendly cards this year, I’d love for you to check them out.  Oh yeah, and you can take 25% of your order today through 1/25/18 with code LOVE2018. Woot!

Happy early love day, and may the universe have all sorts of the best plans for you this year.

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Animal Welfare Law Rankings by State

The Animal Legal Defense Fund, the nation’s preeminent legal advocacy organization for animals, released the 12th annual year-end report (2017) ranking the animal protection laws of all 50 states. For the 10th year in a row, Illinois is in first place—followed by Oregon (2), California (3), Maine (4), and Rhode Island (5). Kentucky holds firmly […]


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Football Star Named Pet Parent of the Year

As we get closer to “the Big Game,” football takes center stage…but one special player has gotten a big paws up for his work OFF the field. Petplan pet insurance has named pro…



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DogTipper

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