the Woof Diaries

… Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Your Dog (and then some) …

The Search Is On.. May 28, 2013

Choosing a Trainer

A lot of research should go into finding the RIGHT trainer for both you and Fido. You must find someone both you and your dog are comfortable with. There are many things to consider and questions to ask. 

Things to Look For Into a Training Program

  • The program is Positive and Motivational
  • Ongoing Testing and Assessment before, during and after training
  • Variety of Classes and Options
  • Opportunities to practice new skills such a puppy play dates or group walks.
  • Collaboration with the Community, being involved with animal related groups within the community such a rescues and shelters, this allows additional resources to offer safe and productive training programs for dogs and their families.
  • Passion for dogs AND their handlers! 
  • Safe, Healthy Environment
  • Patient, Calm and Professional
  • Effective Communication, such as educational materials, progress reports, online resources, client handouts, etc.

These questions will give you a better idea of who the trainer is, what kind of methods they use, the equipment they use and much more. 

  • What method of training do you use?
  • What kind of educational background do you have? Do you belong to any clubs or organizations?
  • Do you attend any continuing education courses? What do you do to keep up with new techniques and advances in obedience training?
  • Do you provide a follow up with your clients?
  • Can you provide references from past clients?
  • What services do you provide for pet owners? Do you specialize in a certain area, such as therapy training, sports training, etc? 

In addition to asking the right questions, it helps to understand training methods used by trainers. Not all trainers are alike. We all use different methods or techniques. It’s important you understand them ahead of time and find a trainer that uses methods you agree with. 

Training Methods

Lure-Reward Training –  Trainers use a lure to entice Fido into a certain position, typically a treat held in the hand.

Compulsion-Praise – A trainer manipulates Fido into position by using physical placememnt or training equipment. Meaning a dog may be physically moved into a sitting position by the trainer by applying pressure on his bottom or brought into heel using a head collar or collar correction. 

Marker Training – Using a sound, word or clicker to mark or immediately pinpoint the moment Fido is correct with a certain behavior.  For example, when teaching “sit” the VERY moment Fido’s bottom hits the floor the trainer would use the desired marker to tell the dog he was correct. 

These are the MAIN methods used, although you will find others that use shock collars, prong collars or other ways of forcing a dog into a certain behavior. Fresh Start does not support those methods, so we won’t discuss them on here. If you choose to use a trainer who uses such methods, be sure they are doing so CORRECTLY. There is a RIGHT way and a WRONG way to use any method, including those with shock or prong collars. When using such tools, if used incorrectly, physical damage can be done to the dog.


Happy Searching! 



So Close to Launch! April 19, 2013


I am beyond thrilled and excited to say the launch of our online dog training program is coming VERY SOON! I know some of you have been looking forward to this for quite some time and I can assure you, we have been too! A little update on how things are going… We originally planned on launching in early April. However, it’s been a lot more work and planning than I originally thought. Not to mention our website developer, Kelly’s Web Innovations, had a beautiful baby girl earlier this month! So things got a bit side tracked to say the least. I have been working on writing different courses and obtaining materials. While Kelly has been working on perfecting a very user friendly website. Today, I spoke with Kelly briefly about an idea I had. I thought it may make things easier on the student and myself. So after our discussion, we decided to change things around a bit. Rather than accessing class materials online and having to log in to the web site each time you wanted to work on class materials, materials will now be emailed to the student on a weekly basis. The following is a step by step guide with helpful information on how the program works.


The first time a potential student visits the site,, they will be able to view a list of the many courses we have available. Each course will have a course description where the visitor can view the objectives, course material, required materials if there are any and of course the cost. Any important information a potential student would want or need to know will be available in the course description. Potential students are encouraged to read about each course before choosing so they can view the wide variety of lessons offered.


Step 2 May be the hardest of the entire process. Potential students must now choose which course they would like to register for. Once a course is chosen, the student will be taken to a registration page. This is a simple, straightforward form about the student and the dog they intend on using our program with. This information is not only important but REQUIRED. All parts of the form must be completed before moving onto the next step, payment.


After completing registration the student will be taken to our payment area. Payments can be made thru PayPal or by sending in via postal mail. Students using PayPal will gain access quicker to course material than those mailing in payment. Payment must be received and cleared before the student will gain access to any course materials or student area of web site. At this time, we do not offer payment plans. Our courses are low in cost and we feel, quite affordable when compared to traditional training, such as private or group lessons. However because we feel quality training should be available to everyone regardless of income, we are willing to offer discounts or alternative payment arrangements when needed. Potential students wishing to take advantage of our discounts or other payment arrangements must contact us to do so.


Within 48 hours of cleared payment students will receive an email with login information and information on their first week of courses. Depending on what course the student has signed up for determines the length of the class. We offer 2,4 and 6 week courses depending on the material being taught. Students will receive their course in sections, at one section per week. Meaning if a student signs up for a 4 week course, they will get 1 email per week for 4 weeks, each containing a different section. The FIRST Sunday after your payment has been received, your first week of class materials will be emailed to you. We will be sending out weekly course sessions every Sunday evening.


The last step in the process is simply completing the course. Each week you will be send course material for the week. Occasionally you may be required to login to the web site and view additional class materials such as videos and worksheets. At the end of each section the student is required to complete a review and will be given the opportunity to ask the Trainer questions or express concern regarding any problems they may be experiencing. Once the student has completed the course entirely they are required to take an exam reviewing the information they’ve been taught. When passed successfully, each student will receive a certification of completion. I know this may sound confusing and may be a bit much but I assure you the program is easy to use and will be very simple to use. The best part about our program is the one on one attention and feedback EACH student will receive from the trainer. The Trainer is always available via email and if necessary by chat or phone. I wanted to create this program because I want everyone to have the option of training available to them. So many people avoid traditional classes or private trainings because of time constraints or the expense involved. This program will change that. Everyone can complete training on their own time and a much lower cost than traditional training. I look forward to working with some of you!


Shaddai Show Leads & Collars April 4, 2013

Filed under: Dog Products,Leads and More,Unique — Katie @ 6:02 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

As a trainer and all around animal lover, I am always on the look out for new products. This happens to be one of the amazing products I came across and I have to share with you all! Even if you don’t have a show dog, these Leads and Collars are great for any dog!

Shaddai Show Leads and Collars

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Before Micah began making these beautiful leads she did months and months of research on the technique used. Each lead is made with high quality kangaroo leather that is stretched, beveled and conditioned before the braiding even begins. Kangaroo leather is also the strongest of all leathers and holds up very well.

Right now all of the leads are made using a 4 strand braid. A core is used in the leads for added strength.  While they are generally strong enough for everyday use, most have a 130lb test, they are not intended for strong pullers. Some leads can also be made a bit stronger at 275lb test!

While there are people out there who know this skill, many don’t want to share their secrets so learning takes quite a bit of time and practice.

Micah currently has Leads and Collars for sale on her Facebook page. She also accepts custom orders as well. Go check out her page, give her a “like”…. from what I hear when she gets some more likes she’ll be running a contest to win one of her leads!

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Shaddai Show Leads & Collars Facebook 


Stuff it. Your Kong that is. April 3, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Katie @ 9:38 pm



Lilies and Cats Don’t Mix! March 29, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Katie @ 4:08 am
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Hoppy Easter! March 28, 2013

With Easter upon us, please consider a few things before bringing home that adorable bunny (or chick!)

With Easter upon us, please consider a few things before bringing home that adorable bunny (or chick!)

Easter is Almost Here!

Many parents choose this time of year to purchase a bunny for their kids. While it’s tempting to add that adorable furry critter to your Easter baskets, please stop and consider a few things!

Rabbits aren’t a seasonal decoration or toy. They are living, breathing animals who need people to care of them, even after the holiday is long gone. Sadly, bunnies purchased this time of year often end up in shelters, looking for new homes.

Rabbits have LONG Lifespans.  Bunnies can live 7 to 10 years- some even longer. Parents need to think long term and realize while it may be cute now, this soon to be full grown pet needs devotion and care for many years to come.

Kids lose interest in things. They grow and as they grow, their tastes and interests change and that cute little bunny may be forgotten about before next Easter rolls around. Make sure your family won’t lose interest once this novelty wears off and the holiday passes.

(HINT: Filling a basket with a chocolate bunny is always a better choice !)

Bunnies are NOT Good Pets for Small Kids. People see bunnies and generally think they are a good, low maintenance “starter” pet but this is 100% FALSE.

Small children cannot carry and cuddle rabbits- this is the one thing that scares Rabbits the MOST.  When this happens, often the rabbit is dropped and the end result is broken legs and backs.

Lifting the rabbit the wrong way could be devastating for the rabbit and child. To protect themselves, rabbits scratch and bite because they have no voice to cry out when in pain or scared. So little Susie goes to pick up her new Bunny and suddenly has scratches all over and the bunny has bitten her. Parents blame the bunny and that once loved pet is now on his way to the shelter. Thousands of rabbits are surrendered to shelters for THIS reason EVERY YEAR.

Rabbits Aren’t the Right Pet For Everyone.  If you are looking to get a pet that will cuddle up with you on the couch, come running to you at the end of a long day, one that you can take to the park … get a puppy. Yes, rabbits can be trained but even the most trained rabbits tend to do what they want, when they want.

Rabbits Are Not Low Maintence.  Their cages must be changed frequently. They need some grooming, especially the longer haired breeds. Their nails need to be trimmed and sometimes their teeth. I personally had a rabbit years ago. Most rabbits will chew down their teeth, however mine did not. I had to take him to the vet monthly, sometimes 2x’s a month to get his teeth trimmed down. It wasn’t cheap.

Rabbits Should Be INSIDE. A pet rabbit should be kept in the home, with his family. Yes, an outdoor cage has been used for years and seems to be normal but research shows rabbits that are kept as pets are better off indoors with the family, where they can interact with each other. Cages should be large enough to give a full grown rabbit room to move around freely. Bunnies are picky about their space and they like it clean.

Rabbits REQUIRE Exercise. Daily. They need room to run and jump.

Bunnies Need Vet Care Too!  Not every vet will accept a bunny as a patient. You will have to find a Vet that accepts Bunnies and is knowledgeable about them. They need checkups, dental exams, treatments if they get sick, etc. Rabbits should also be Spayed or Neutered. Not only does this help prevent breeding, it helps prevent female bunnies from uterine cancer.

If you’ve read all of this and you’re still convinced getting a rabbit is the right choice for you and your family, ADOPT. 


Just A Dog?! March 27, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Katie @ 6:55 pm
This came across my Facebook page today and I had to share.

This came across my Facebook page today and I had to share.


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