Archive for Training

Training a Rescue Dog: The Story of Guinness

I’m compelled to tell this wonderful story about my pal Guinness. Guinness is about 11 years old and is a re-homed Cocker Spaniel who lives with my good friend Karen at Tails by the Bay in Homer, Alaska. Karen took Guinness into her home several years ago, and has lots of experience training a rescue dog, (or more accurately, re-training) as she has been involved in rescue for many years.

We don’t know a lot about Guinness’s background, but we do know that he had some type of accident that injured his spine. He has had mobility issues since Karen got him, and they have been getting worse over the years.

The first time I met Guinness was in the fall of 2016 when I went to Alaska to watch Karen’s dogs while she was out of town. At that time, Guinness was doing pretty well – he was walking and getting around fine, if a little bowlegged. I went up again this past summer and Guinness’s mobility had deteriorated to the point where Karen had purchased a cart to support his back legs. At this time, Guinness could no longer walk. He was able to scoot around on the floor by pulling himself with his front legs, but his back legs were pretty much useless.

Well, Guinness didn’t need professional training for this – he took to the cart like a fish to water! What he really needed was some off leash dog training instruction! We had to keep a close eye on him, because he’d take off down the road like a sprinter, not realizing his limitations. He did take a couple of spills when rounding corners, but quickly learned not to panic and to wait to be righted. The cart has greatly improved Guinness’s quality of life – he’s now able to go out with the other dogs and able to go to the beach, again.

UPDATE!! I just got this video from Karen.

The cart (among some other things) has strengthened Guinness’s core to the point he can walk, again! Let’s hope he keeps improving and maybe won’t need the cart at all, someday.

It’s so heartwarming to see his improvement. He’s a real trooper – at 9 ½, when most dogs are gearing down, Guinness is taking it to a higher level. And, not to be self-serving, but it’s really helped with the house training, as well. Not that Guinness wasn’t house trained, but now he can take himself outside, rather than having to wait for someone to put him in his cart and help him out.

If you’d like to access some dog obedience training videos, check out our selection here– we have tons of them!



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Bad to the Bone: Analyzing and Assessing Dog Bites
Presented by Cara Shannon
Produced by Raising Canine

Understanding the potential damage a dog may do in future incidents is one of the most important skills you can have when working with behavior problems. Building on the work begun by Dr. Ian Dunbar, consulting with a veterinary behaviorist, emergency room veterinarian, emergency room and general practice physicians, and other experts in the field of dog behavior, and dog obedience training, Cara Shannon presents comprehensive bite hierarchies for analyzing bites to humans and dogs. Cara than uses photos and case studies to help consultants gain fluency in applying the hierarchy to actual cases and bites.

Read what other prominent dog behavior consultants and authors have to say:

“Wow! Cara’s credentials give this DVD credibility and she really did her homework. Good stuff for every instructor’s breadth and depth of knowledge. – Terry Ryan, author “Coaching People to Train Their Dogs”

“Represents a major step forward in the analysis and treatment of dog bite behavior. Clear and easy to understand . . . invaluable . . .” – Jim Barry, author “the Ethical Dog Trainer” & “Positive Gun Dogs”

This DVD should be used by all people involved with dogs that get aggressive . . . .” Ken McCort, Four Paws


Positive Gun Dogs
by Susan Smith, Jim Barry, and Mary Emmen

The first book on positive methods for sporting dogs ever published in the United States. If you’d like to learn to train your dog in a systematic, efficient manner, with force-free methods that you’ll both enjoy, then this book is right for you!

Positive Gun Dogs includes:

  • Clear, systematic instructions for all levels of dog obedience training
  • Simple, easy-to-follow diagrams for key exercises
  • Recommendations for solving common training problems
  • Training logs
  • An introduction into how animals learn


Read what other prominent authors have to say about this book:

“This book illustrates how you yourself can develop keen, reliable, accurate gun dogs by modern methods, using clicker training instead of correction. The authors are familiar with the demands of the sport, the nature of the dogs involved, and the ins and outs of applied behavioral science as well.” —Karen Pryor

“This book brims with crafty applications of learning laws. The discussions of transitioning to intrinsic reinforcers, generalizing, and proofing are among many first-rate treatments of topics in this goldmine of a book. Never preachy in tone, Positive Gun Dogs deals rationally with the motivator choices and presents a clear option for those who would rather not employ pain to train their field dogs.” —Jean Donaldson, Director, San Francisco SPCA Academy for Dog Trainers and author of Culture Clash.