Friday, October 29, 2010

Can These Dogs Be Saved?

Recently, we received an amazing email from someone out in cyberspace.  It might be a joke, but unfortunately, it probably is not.  Since there was no phone number to call the person back, and since it was not specifically addressed to anyone, I am not sure if it was sent out to multiple dog trainers.  It is extreme, but so classic.  It is as if someone stitched together a patchwork quilt of so many of the phone calls and emails we get from people who have severe problems with their dogs' behaviors.

Before any dog trainer can even begin to help someone like this, they will have to get some sort of commitment from this person that she will quit making excuses for herself.  I have only put the text of the emails here so as not to share the name.


I am at my wit's end. I have had several dogs in my life and for the most part have not had a lot of problems other than several of the dogs seem to get very protective of me. Currently I have a 4 year old Great Dane and a 5 year old Chihuahua. The Chihuahua came to us at about 6 months of age. He had been to a couple of different households and was somewhat skittish when he came to us. But he also would growl at any person he didn't know coming into our home. When we got the Great Dane she was a very sweet puppy. But the Chihuahua (Chico El Diablo and believe me he is aptly named) started attacking her from the moment she (Daphne)came in the house. She is basically a sweet natured dog but Chico has slowly made her more and more aggressive. We have done some training but it has obviously not been enough. Originally Chico used to go back and forth with my daughter to her Dad's house and back to mine. But since he has an issue with peeing and pooping everywhere he can sneak off to, he now is full time at my house. There are times that Daphne and Chico get along great, they snuggle up together and sleep with each other sometimes. But Chico is always trying to rule the roost. Daphne has gotten fed up and sent him to the emergency vet twice with puncture wounds. Daphne is a different dog when Chico is around, she seems somewhat protective of him and she is definitely protective of me. When I walk her on a leash ( which I admit is not very often) she is very skittish and seems nervous. When my twelve year old daughter walks her she seems still a bit skittish but much more relaxed.

When my daughter's friends come over she jumps up and barks in their faces and Chico goes for their ankles. But Daphne eventually calms down and wants to be petted by the visitor. Chico, on the other hand has gotten more and more aggressive and if we let him down when there is someone in the house he doesn't know, he immediately goes for their ankles.

I have a live in nanny for my daughter and she has never really gotten along well with the dogs. I don't think she dislikes them, she just doesn't want anything to do with them. Sometimes when she gets home when I am not there Daphne jumps up and barks at her and sometime she ignores the fact that she is even there. When I am home and they jump up and run at the door, I make them go lie down and don't let them run at her. And usually when I am not around there doesn't seem to be that much of a problem. But every once in a while Daphne seems more aggressive. Sometimes it is when Julie is carrying packages, but tonight she was just getting out of her car and Daphne was actually nipping at her pants. That is the first time she has done that.

This can't go on. I am so stressed every time someone wants to come to the house I don't want anyone to come over. Never mind the fact that Chico has destroyed every carpet in the house. I am at the point that, as much as I love them, I want to find them another home. However, they are my responsibility and I don't want to foist that off on someone else. The other problem is that I work full time, go to law school part time and am a single mom so I don't have a lot of time. I realize that the household is chaotic and I am sure that I am really half or maybe more of the problem. But I have to do something before something bad happens.

So, if you have any suggestions or can let me know about training I would appreciate it.


 And here is my reply:

(Name Deleted)

If you are serious about fixing the problems you are having with your dogs, you need to pick up the phone and call me at 253.569.0411. 

The situation you describe sounds like Hell on earth and it is a VERY dangerous situation.  You are in law school?  You must know that you are out on very thin ice!

Without seeing your interaction with the dogs, I can't diagnose the problems for sure, but from what you have said in this email, I would be willing to bet money that you are almost 100 percent of the problem.  Dogs' behavior problems are a reflection of what is going on in the families that they live with.  None of the problems the dogs are currently experiencing (as you describe here) is their "fault." 

You can take them and drop them off at a shelter or take them to be put down at your veterinarian, but know that the reason the dogs are behaving the way they are (as you describe in your email) is a direct result of living in your household.  Almost all aggression that develops over time (the way you have described it) is a result of the humans not doing what they need to do to fill the role of leader in the household.

If your dog is not house trained and is soiling all over your house, that too is a direct result of a complete lack of leadership and consistency on your part. 

To fix your problems with the dogs, you will have to stop doing what you have been doing, completely change your behavior, devote time to the relationship you have with them, maintain consistency with a new set of reactions and behaviors on your part, set aside your stress and CALM DOWN.  If you want your dogs to change, you will have to change.  Unfortunately, this is very difficult for some people. 

I may be willing to help coach you, but only if I think you are completely willing and able to set aside your old habits with the dogs, step out of your comfort zone and change your behavior.  Otherwise it will be a complete exercise in futility for both of us.

Excerpt From Fran's Hunting Diary

Our friends, Fran and Scott are passionate about upland hunting.  Here is an excerpt from Fran's diary this week with a couple of pictures.

Wed – Oct 27, 2010

We hunted the draw behind Sarge in the picture.  Scott and Disco on one side of the thick stuff, me and Sarge on the other.  When we were about halfway down, Disco pushed up a rooster right in front of Scott - about 10 ft.  It took off to the left, I watched it come up and Scott miss completely with his first shot and his second shot just dusted the top of the rooster as it left the county.  Didn't appear to be hurt in the slightest.    Scott had brought my brother’s side-by-side gun we just bought - in case we decided to shoot some clays – but he forgot his own.  Normally, an excellent shot, he totally missed an easy shot.

After hunting the bottom of that draw, Sarge and I moved to the top edge near the road and hunted back to the truck.  Scott and Disco went off to the top of the hill to the left.  Disco pushed up two roosters that were holding on the edge of really thick cover – the kind you can’t walk in.  Scott missed his first shot and "caplooyied" the rooster on his second (he figured out the gun).  Scott said Disco sat on the whistle and waited for him to send her for the rooster. (good girl) He said it fell in the heavy cover and was extremely happy to see her come out with the rooster.  Disco was really happy with herself, too. 

Sarge hunted really nice.  Easy to control, stayed within gun range, and most importantly, will get into the nasty stuff.  See the green (orchard) in the distance over Sarge's shoulder on the right side of the picture?  At that very corner, Sarge wanted to go up to the point.  He kept trying, but I was meeting Scott to the left, so instead of following him (his nose) just a few more yards, I headed the other direction.  Scott and I were talking at the end of the draw and a rooster flushes from the corner - right where Sarge wanted to go.  He deserves to get his own rooster.  He was so excited with Disco's bird when they got back to the truck.  :))

Ruby found two hens.  Both were well within gun range when I flushed them.  She was a good girl :))

Robert hunted super nice, too.  We just didn't get into any birds.

We saw a few wild flushes and a couple mallards.  A fun day hunting.

Fran :))

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Traveling Tacoma With Your Dog

Check out our new blog!  Our first post is up and if you like taking your dog on cool outings, you need to see this.

Fast Pup Dogs At Swan Creek Watershed In Tacoma

T-Pattern Ruby & Jag

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Fast Pup Dog Training Unleashed 2

Puget Sound dog trainer, Kate Johansson of Fast Pup Dog Training makes sure each day that all of the dogs in training receive intense exercise in the form of an off leash walk and run. Exercise relaxes and calms the dogs which makes them much more receptive to learning. Check out the fun this group of dogs is having.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Visiting Tacoma Area With Dogs Mount Rainier

Fast Pup Dogs on a prairie with Mount Rainier in background

Mount Rainier dominates the landscape around the South Puget Sound.  There are many photo opportunities with dogs and the great mountain.  Here the dogs pose before playing on a prairie in Area 13 at Fort Lewis.

Another view of Fast Pup dogs with "The Mountain" in background

While dogs are not allowed on any trails within the actual Mount Rainier National Park, there are beautiful, scenic hiking trails and lakes in the mountains near the park.  This photo was shot in Area 14 at Fort Lewis.  (Approximately 65 miles from Mount Rainier National Park.) Fort Lewis, or as it is now called, Joint Base Lewis McChord has thousands of acres that are open to the public with a special permit.  If you are staying in Tacoma with your dog for more than a few days, it is worth getting a permit and taking advantage of the beauty of the wide open spaces.

Fast Pup Dog Training of Tacoma is on a photo safari getting ready to build a new website for traveling dogs.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Fast Pup Dog Training Visits Point Defiance

The Fast Pup Dogs visit Point Defiance.  Here, a ferry sails by behind them.

Sunday, October 17th was a beautiful, crisp, sunny and cold fall day.  There was frost on the ground at Sunrise and then the day warmed up into the high 50's.  We are on a photo safari for the launch of our new website,

If you would like to join us on safari, please give a call.  If you want to tell us about your trip with your dogs or let us know how cool your own city or town is for dogs, please contact us with your stories, pictures and videos. 

Fast Pup Dog Training Visits Owen Beach

Owen Beach has spectacular views of Puget Sound

Owen Beach is a great place for dogs and for a picnic.  We don't need a stuffy waterfront restaurant.  Grab the dogs and pack a lunch.  Fast Pup Dog Training of Tacoma is currently conducting a photo safari of Tacoma with dogs for our new website,

If you want to join us on Safari, give us a call. 

Five Mile Drive At Point Defiance Great Fun For Dogs

What a great way to exercise both owner and dog!

Five Mile Drive near the Point Defiance Zoo is a beautiful drive with great beaches, picnic areas, views of the Puget Sound and even a dog park.  There are many trails to explore and dogs love going along.

Fast Pup Dog Training Tacoma is conducting a photo safari for great views of Tacoma and surroundings.  We are launching a new website.

Check back for the progress we are making.  

Tacoma Is A Great Place To Be A Dog

The sidewalks along the Tacoma water front are wide enough for a bunch of dogs to walk with ease--even with the many skaters, bikers and skateboarders passing by.  

Fast Pup Dog Training, Tacoma, is launching a new website,


If you are traveling to a cool destination with your dog, or you just want to report about the great things awaiting a traveler with a dog in your town, please send us your stories, pictures and videos.

Travel with Dogs Tacoma, Washington

Fast Pup Dog Training took the dogs on a photo safari to the Tacoma water front.  Here we are looking out across the sound at Vashon Island.

The Fast Pup Dogs hanging out on some rocks on the Tacoma  water front.  A beautiful October day--crisp and cool.

Watch for our new website, 

If you travel to a great spot with your dog, or if you want to let other dog owners know how cool your own town is for dogs, please send us your articles, pictures and videos!

We are doing photo safaris around Tacoma right now.  Please let us know if you want to join us for the fun!

The-Traveling-Dog Blog Tacoma Photo Safari

 Did you know that Pick-Quick Burgers in Fife was recently rated number one burger joint in Washington State?  It even made the newspapers in Sweden!  We visited with the dogs, and it was gooood!

Fast Pup Dog Training, Tacoma is getting ready to launch a new website and blog,

We are currently conducting a photo safari for photos of our dogs at various landmarks around our great town of Tacoma.  We will be inviting dog lovers from all over the world to write articles as well as submit photos and videos of their travels with dogs.  No need to go on a journey at first!  Just look around at where you are now and dig in to the delights available to the dog traveler right where you are.  We want to know what is cool for dogs in your area.  Are there lodging accommodations in your town that cater to dogs?  Where can the dogs go for fun?  (No dog parks please.)