Boy, my dog loves to run off leash—tearing down the beach, chasing her ball in the park, or romping through the tall grasses on hikes. In the central coast area—Santa Cruz and Monterey Counties—we have limited areas where dogs are allowed off leash. And this can sometimes be tough when you have a dog that… [Read More]
Welcome to Ruffly Speaking.
I hope you enjoy my blog. My goal is to get people thinking, talking and exploring a wide variety of dog-related topics. Please let me know what you think!
Help, My Dog Is a Barkaholic!
My dog Shadow is a barkaholic. If there were a 12-step program for such a condition, she would surely be a good candidate to attend. She likes to bark when she is happy and excited, when she is concerned, when she would like something from us, when something surprises her, when other dogs bark, and… [Read More]
Puppies–Starting Off on the Right Paw!
I started my training career almost 20 years ago working with a wonderful young woman and her new puppy. I was so excited to have discovered clicker training that I wanted to share it with the world! And what could be better than playing with a puppy, socializing it, and yes, teaching beginning behaviors using positive… [Read More]
Dog Parks: The Good, the Bad, and How to Make It Better!
Dog parks, in theory, are a great idea. Dogs need to run free, stretch their legs, and play with other dogs! I have to admit that one of the biggest joys in my life these days is when my dog Shadow is racing around with one of her pals. In our central coast community with… [Read More]
The Magic of Classical Conditioning
When we are training our dogs, we generally use a process called operant conditioning. This is when the dog’s behavior determines the consequence. For example, the dog sits when you ask and you give him a treat. The dog sitting made the treat happen. But there is another type of learning that is often underutilized… [Read More]
Getting a Handle on Handling
Has your puppy or adult dog ever squirmed when you checked his ears? Squealed as you touched a toe? Or slunk away when you brought out the brush? If so, you are not alone. A very few easygoing dogs seem to have been born enjoying all types of touch and handling. But many puppies and… [Read More]
Handling the Puppy Crazies
Our discussion at puppy class this week was all about the puppy crazies. You know, when the switch flips, and your normally sweet and wonderful pup turns into a wild, jumping, biting, running, out-of-control tornado. I totally understood why my students were both frustrated and worried. Is there something wrong with the pup? How do… [Read More]
The Nose Knows! Fun with Scent and Nose Work.
I’m fascinated by a dog’s sense of smell. I love to play scent games with my dogs. In fact, we’ve taken scent games to the level of ultimate fun—playing find it in the house, garden and even on walks. One time a few years back, I watched my dog Chance use her nose to explore our rather weedy… [Read More]
What’s Rewarding? Ask Your Dog
I was leading a training class the other day that included a mildly fearful dog. The dog was responding well to cues, able to do the behaviors, and seemed to be handling the environment. But she did not seem to be having a lot of fun. Her human companion suggested she switch from food rewards… [Read More]
7 Ways to Pump Up Your Training!
Do you want to get more out of your training? Here are 7 critical concepts to help you and your dog get the most out of your training sessions. Make training fun. This can’t be said too much. Start with fun. End with fun. Keep lessons short—stop before your dog wants to stop. Include lots… [Read More]