a non-profit whose goal is to help keep dogs out of shelters 

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Our Next Free Workshop 
Workshops are from 1:30 - 3:30pm at St. Luke's Episcopal Church, 6030 Grosvenor Lane, Bethesda. Only demo and service dogs are allowed. 

It's not too late for today's "Advice for Adopters" workshop! If you can't make it, the next one is on Sunday, March 17. Show up today or register here for March.

THIS Sat, Feb 23:   Helping Your Fearful Dog Navigate the World
Some of us have dogs that are afraid of strangers or other dogs or vacuum cleaners or balloons or trucks…We could go on and on. Just like humans, dogs’ reactions vary. A few hide. Others look away.  Some growl. What they all have in common is that they depend on us for help. Come learn what signs to watch for, how to help your dog feel safe, and what you can do to reduce your dog’s fears. Remember – Your dog is depending on you. Speaker: Juliana Willems, KPA CTP, CPDT-KA (www.DogLatinDogTraining.com) Register here.   

Free Video: "Fun, Enriching Activities for Your Dog" 

 Maddie's Fund® has provided a grant enabling Your Dog's Friend to videotape some of our workshops. If you're looking for fun, creative ways to keep your dog busy, our newest video is for you!

Check out this recent workshop, presented by Karen Baragona, CTPT-KA, of Eager Beagle Dog Training. It's about letting dogs be dogs and do dog things, like sniffing, digging, playing, and exploring, within the bounds of your house rules and lifestyle. Watch for lots of ideas on harnessing your dog's natural instincts and hardwired behaviors to satisfy their need for physical exercise and mental stimulation. 

Here's the link: https://youtu.be/_59ZMj252Yc. Share it with everyone you know. There's a lot of great information, and it's FREE!  #ThanksToMaddie 

Life With a Reactive or Anxious Dog
It's Not About the Destination, It's About the Journey

by Laura McAuliffe
Dog Communication  - Posted in Latest Articles

If you’re an owner of a reactive or anxious dog you probably worry about the kind of life your dog will have. You may feel like you aren’t doing enough or worry that your dog is missing out on having doggy friends, chasing their ball in the park and running off lead in the woods like ‘normal’ dogs.

Every week, we meet new clients who adore their dogs, most of which are perfect at home and love their people, but who are reactive to other dogs or can’t cope in the outside world. We often hear from these lovely, kind and dedicated people that they feel like they aren’t doing enough, that they are somehow letting their dogs down as they don’t have the kind of lives they always imagined their dog would have. These dogs are generally happy in their lives with their people. Their difficulties (normally walks) are only one aspect of their lives with normally loads of positives and good bits in the rest of their lives.

Sometimes it’s about acceptance, changing our perspective of what we thought life would be like together and coming to a new realisation of what a fantastic life we can share with our reactive canine friends, perhaps just a different one than we imagined.

If our goals are to be off lead in the busy dog park and happy to play with any dog who decides to say hi or to be able to happily ignore dogs that approach and spend 5 minutes sniffing their bum inappropriately then it’s likely we’d face a long road of disappointment as these just aren’t realistic for so many dogs. If we can change those goals to leading a life together with our canine friends that we both enjoy and finding activities we can engage in that we love doing together then we have a real chance of success.

Our canine friends' lives are far too short to keep striving towards goals that may be unachievable or may only be achievable with sacrifices. The time our dogs share with us is so transient that it’s far too precious to waste. There’s so much fun to be had outside of walks - doing scent work, having a massage or a TTouch session, visiting friends and family with your dog - that we shouldn’t let issues on walks become our sole focus. Find what your dog loves and what hidden skills they have, and you may see them in a whole new light.  Of course we should train and we rehabilitate but this should always be with the goal of a better and less stressful life for both dog and human, not just to reach potentially unrealistic goals.

This isn’t just relevant to reactive dogs but also to dogs that are anxious. I know this from personal experience as I spent (wasted) many months trying to get my (happy in every other way) but noise phobic and largely agoraphobic young Inuit, Elsa, to increase the boundaries of her small world. She had home, a couple of happy walks and our lovely farm venue that she felt comfortable with and the rest of the world was scary due to her extreme noise issue. She absolutely adored dogs, she must have had a hundred dog pals and would play happily with them for hours at her safe places but I wanted her life to be ‘more’. It seemed such a shame it was so limited, I wanted to be able to do agility in a class and take her on different walks.

I spent a great deal of time working on expanding her safe places and was moderately successful but all that ‘work’ (which was of course all reward based and done without stress) ate into the time we had to just play with pals, do scent work and have fun. I lost Elsa just after her second birthday, after several months desperate fight to save her, to an untreatable blood disorder. We never had the time to enjoy the ‘bigger’ and more ‘normal’ life we worked so hard for and in hindsight I wish we’d spent less time striving for it.

She taught us so much in her 26 months with us. She played hard, loved her family and friends and saw joy in the little things.  She adored playbowing at beetles and doing scent work to find my childrens’ lost Lego.  Her world was small and her life wasn’t ‘normal’ but she was so incredibly happy within it - she didn’t want ‘more’ she was content with the life we had.

We should love our time with our dogs, have long term goals to strive towards but also remember to ensure that we enjoy all of our time together and find the fun in our shared journey.

For Elsa 14/6/13-13/9/15

(c) Laura McAuliffe, 2017. Dog Communication

Dog Communication, in Surrey, England, has been rehabilitating dogs with anxiety and aggression issues, using only positive, rewards-based methods, for over 10 years.

Laura McAuliffe is a Full member of the Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors & an ABTC registered Clinical Animal Behaviourist.

12221 Parklawn Drive, Rockville, MD

Puppy 1st Grade:
- Wed, Mar 20 - May 1 (no class on Apr 17) at 11:45am
- Sun, Apr 7 - May 19 (no class on Apr 21) at 8:30pm
for our Puppy Kindergarten graduates or with instructor's permission

Basic Manners: Tuesday, Feb 19 - March 26, 8:15 - 9:15pm

Vet Visit & Grooming Tricks: Mon, March 4, 1:30 - 3:30pm (1 session)
Train your dog to stand for exam, target a lap, give paw for handling, lay on mat, and put her head in a "muzzle" - all useful for vet visits, bath time, and nail trims.

Distracted Dog: Sat, March 16 - May 11 (no class on April 20) at 5:15pm
Learn to help your impulsive, impatient dog control his normal doggy impulses and pay more attention to you, even around distractions.
Prerequisite: a positive training class or private instruction with a positive trainer

TTouch Methods to Calm Your Dog: Sat, March 23, noon - 2:30pm (1 session)
Body work, wraps & movement exercises to help your reactive, fearful, easily distracted, or elderly dog. Screens are used to help dogs relax without the visual distraction of other dogs. Learn enough in class to continue TTouch at home.

Simmer Down, Now!: Sun, March 24, 5:20 - 7:30pm (1 session)
Learn behaviors that will help encourage your dog to relax - both at home, when you have guests or deliveries, and on the road, like at kids’ soccer games and outdoor cafes.
Prerequisite: a positive Basic or Puppy Kindergarten class or positive private training. Dogs in class must be friendly with other dogs and people.

Kids & Dogs Summer Camp
-Monday, June 24 - Friday, June 28, 1:00 - 4:00pm
-Monday, August 5 - Friday, August 9, 1:00 - 4:00pm
for kids, 8 - 13 yrs old; dogs must be friendly around people & other dogs.

Check out our Basic MannersPuppy Kindergarten, and Puppy Party schedules here.

Free Spring Workshops
Workshops are from 1:30 - 3:30pm at St. Luke's Episcopal Church, 6030 Grosvenor Lane, Bethesda. Only demo and service dogs are allowed. 

Advice for Adopters - guidance for adopters, potential adopters, and fosters
Sun, March 17, April 7 & May 19

Help! My Dog is Reactive! - advice from veterinary behaviorist Dr. Leslie Sinn
Sat, March 16
Children & Strangers & Men, Oh My! - with trainer & author Colleen Pelar 
Sat, March 30 

It Must be Magic - simple solutions to common problems
Sat, April 13 

On the Go - tips & tricks for bringing your dog out and about around distractions
Sat, May 4 

Learn to Speak Dog!
Sat, May 18

You can see all of our workshops and register at http://yourdogsfriend.org/free-workshops/

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Training Center: 12221 Parklawn Dr, Rockville, MD 20852
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