Saturday, February 11, 2017

The rumors of my death have been exaggerated.

Hello readers,

Sorry I have been away so long. I have, for many months, been having daily migrane headaches. It has proved to be very debilitating!

Thus far, many causes have been ruled out but the cause has not yet been determined and may never be clearly defined.

My neurologist is working with me to find a suitable and effective treatment for the symptoms. Nothing really positive to report on that front, as of yet.

We recently adopted a new pack member. Her name is Wendy. She is a black Labrador approximately a year and a half in age. She is a sweet girl who has some aggressive behavior problems.

In the very near future, I will be posting in more detail about her and the work we are doing with her.

Our daschund, Trigger, has been my little buddy throughout my problems with the migranes. It is really interesting that he seems to always know when, where, and with what intensity the pain comes.  I will also be posting about my observations of Trigger soon.

Till next time


Monday, March 14, 2016

Phobias and Anxiety in Dogs

This adorable beagle is Boomer.  I was blessed to have him live
with me for about 15 years. He had a severe phobia of children.

Dogs sometimes experience psychological  issues.

The term "Dog Psychology" should not infer that we analyze a dog based upon his reaction to pictures of ink blots. It does not work like that, However, dogs do occasionally suffer from psychological issues.

In this blog post, I attempt to address the psychological issues associated with anxiety and phobias in dogs. Anxiety in dogs factors into a lot of behavioral issues. In order to help the dog experiencing these issues, it is important that we understand a little about dog psychology.

I work with a lot of dogs that have aggression and anxiety issues. Most of the time, these issues can be traced to some sort of trauma in earlier life. However, this is not always the case. 


So called, "inherited" fear is sometimes seen in entire litters of puppies. This type of fear is very difficult to address with training. The fear is persistent and tends to be generalized. In other words, the pups are generally fearful and reactive. This particular abnormality is generally observable in puppy-hood . It tends to begin around two to ten months of age and never completely goes away.

Some breeds are generally highly reactive and tend to have this inherited fear. Some examples of affected breeds are German Shepherds and Pointers. However, even in the affected breeds, this does not affect every individual dog in the breed.

Early life experiences

Sometimes experiences in puppy-hood imprint on the dog and have a long lasting effect. Nervous mothers or litter mates can influence lasting anxiety on a pup. Poor nutrition in puppy-hood  can have a negative effect on early mental development. Dogs that are isolated as pups tend to be reactive and very anxious as adults. Pups need stimuli at an early age. Their emotional development is negatively impacted when they are isolated from other dogs and/or  people.

Previous Trauma

Phobias, or irrational fears, in dogs can, in many cases, be traced to some early trauma. This happens because the dog associates a seemingly benign stimulus with a traumatic event. 

For example, a dog that is abused by a child may associate the pain of the abuse with all children. This dog may become extremely fearful of children. I suspect this is what happened in the earlier life of a beagle named Boomer that I adopted many years ago. Boomer was highly fearful of and aggressive toward young children. I did not live with any children so, it was safe for me to adopt him and work with him to address the issue. He was my loyal companion from the time he was nine months old until he died as a very happy senior dog at fifteen years of age. He was really a great beagle and I was somewhat successful in my attempts to help him with the phobia in regard to children. He got much better. It took many years, but he was eventually capable of being around children without growling, snapping, whimpering or getting physically ill. However, he never really became comfortable around children. He always showed subtle signs of stress when children were present. The point is that there was hope for Boomer. In the proper environment, he thrived. He would never have been suited for a home with young children but he was a great companion for me! It is important that we not set the dog up for failure. It would have been unrealistic to have expected Boomer to ever be a good dog for a child. That is something for which he was simply not emotionally nor psychologically capable.

Yes, Boomer's fear was irrational. Not all children would hurt him. In fact many of them distributed tasty treats to him over the years, which he loved. But, he was always, at least slightly, stressed around children. Whether or not the fear is rational makes it no more or less real. Boomer's fear was very real for him. It was important that I understand that and not force him to do more than he could do.

This is Cody relaxing with me.
Dogs also frequently develop a phobia of the veterinarian. This is understandable. The dog is quite likely linking a trauma that the vet was treating with the veterinarian. For instance, shots hurt. I hate needles. Our little Cody also hates needles. He once cried loudly when the vet simply removed the cap from the end of the needle. He associated the sound with the pain. Cody now loves the vet because the nice people at the vets office are always giving him tasty treats. He knows where the treat jar is kept in the exam room and he keeps sharp focus on it the whole time he is in the room. He now associates the vets office with really good, fun, and tasty stuff! 

Effect of the owner's fear/anxiety/phobia

As I frequently mention, dogs take their cues from us. They can sense when we are stressed and this can impact them greatly. This is why it is important that we control our emotions when working with our dogs. If we get overly excited, they in turn, become stressed.

For instance, when working with a dog that is scared of thunder, it is important that during a thunderstorm that you not react to the thunder. If you make a big deal out of the thunder, the dog's fear will be reinforced. You need to remain calm to help your dog remain calm. It really makes sense if you think about it. If the dog sees you reacting he thinks something like, "the person is upset too thunder must be really bad". The best thing to do is to act like you did not hear the thunder. Don't say, "poor baby" or something like that to the dog.  Just let the dog see that the thunder has no effect on you. I do not mean to suggest that this is the magic bullet to correct fear of thunder. However, it will help. There are other techniques that you can use as well. I will be happy to discuss this with you in a training session.

I hope this has been of some help for you.

If you have issues with an anxious dog or a dog that has some sort of phobia, please contact me. I am happy to help you!

-Till Next Time
This is our former foster, Dr. Phil McBeagle after his welcome to the
pack bath. When Dr. Phil first joined our pack he had a phobia of
doorways. We were able to help him get over that fear. He is now
happy in his forever home with an entire pack of beagles.


William Moore
Professional Dog Trainer
Moore Services for Your Money
William Moore Canine Training

Saturday, March 5, 2016

"Humanization" of dogs: The pros and cons

This is Brain from one of my favorite television shows.
He is a very good example of a humanized dog. He
is actually very over-humanized.


In recent years, dogs have increasingly become part of our families. People love their dogs and tend to treat them as people. I think this is, in large part, due to the way that dogs bond with people. This tendency to bond with people and become faithful companions is why dogs have become known as, "man's best friend".

We share our living space with dogs. Dogs make good companions. 

People dress their dogs in facsimiles of human clothing. Unfortunately, we tend to think of them as little people with four legs and a tail. 

Pros of the humanization movement:

There are some very good things that have come out of this movement to make our dogs part of our families.

This is me and a blue tick hound named
Joe. The picture was taken in 1982
When I was growing up (in the 1970s  in Georgia) most dogs lived outside for their entire lives. We had fenced in backyards or dog runs. Many dogs roamed freely outside in the more rural areas. We loved our dogs back then, but, they were not generally thought of as family members. Many folks used their dogs for hunting or for herding. This is not a bad thing but the dogs were rarely thought of as family members.

Veterinary care was generally just for rabies vaccines and for injuries or severe sickness. Generally flea and tick control was not nearly as good as it is today. 

Dogs were generally not as healthy and in my experience, the lifespans were noticeably shorter. I knew of very few healthy senior dogs.

The way we fed dogs was much different as well. We used some dog food but it was always supplemented by scraps that we had left over from our meals. There was very little real effort to ensure that dogs ate a balanced and healthy diet.

With this humanization of dogs, dogs are generally much better cared for and have a longer life span. That is a really great thing!

Please understand, I don't think that this trend of having our dogs play a larger role in our lives is a bad thing. The Lovely Shane and I have a tenancy to project certain human aspects incorrectly onto our dogs. It is sometimes a bit of a struggle to realize that our dogs are really, in many ways quite different from us as adult human beings.

Some of the "toddlers". Two of these are former fosters
and two are permanent members of our pack.
The Lovely Shane has, quite correctly, pointed out that adult and senior dog behavior is more closely analogous to human toddler behavior. As always, there is much wisdom and validity to her point. However, as with most analogies, this one is not exact. While human toddlers grow up and their behavior changes in many significant ways, the dog's behavior does not change in the same ways. This is an important thing to remember in order to set your dog up for success in training. You must set your expectations correctly and to do this it is important to understand that dogs do not mature in the same ways that we do and they do not think exactly like people think. Dogs can be very intelligent but their minds work differently than do ours. For this reason, I think the over-humanization of dogs can prove to be a great hindrance to your training efforts and ultimately to your relationship to your dog.

Cons of the humanization movement:

While I love my dogs and they are absolutely part of our family, I understand that dogs are very different from people. It is important that you as a dog parent(or owner, or handler) understand this as well.

I am convinced that many, if not most, of the behavioral problems that we have with our dogs is the result of our misunderstanding of the fact that dogs are not people. I know this seems simple. I also know that I see the results of this fundamental misunderstanding quite frequently.

Our dogs, while great and loyal companions, are not our peers. They look to us for leadership.

The results of one of Copper's most notable
trash can incidents.
You have perhaps heard it stated that dog's live in the moment. This is a popular saying of dog trainers with television shows. I think it is over-stated at times but it is, indeed, true. For instance, dogs do not always immediately link cause to effect. Sometimes this link seems to never be complete. For example, my demo dog, Copper loves to sniff through the trash and eat any items that he finds interesting regardless of whether they are dangerous to him. This happens, in large part, due to his instinct as a Beagle. He is lead by his nose. He is a very well behaved dog but, the allure of fresh smelly trash is overwhelming to him at times. For that reason we go to great lengths to keep him, and the rest of our scent hounds, out of trash. We do this mostly by making the trash physically inaccessible.  However, there are times in which our best efforts fail. Copper has, in the past, eaten treasures from the trash that have made him sick. He does not, however, seem to link the eating of the trash to his tummy ache. 

Dogs are very much dependent upon us humans. This seems to be an emotional as well as physical dependence. We must remember that dogs communicate differently than we humans communicate. Dogs do not use much verbal communication. So called "body language" is very much a part of their communications. It plays a much bigger role than verbal communication. The dog consistently looks to your body language for his cues. The dog notice subtle differences. I believe this is how my dogs often realize that I am not feeling well and try to comfort me. They notice subtle differences in the way that I interact with them and others. 

This aspect of their communication is important to remember when dealing with anxiety in dogs. For instance, if a dog is afraid of thunder, you should not be overly affectionate with him when he is scared. In other words, do not act like you are reacting to the thunder as well. If you react, it tends to reinforce his anxiety. To us, this may seem counter-intuitive, but it is true. It serves as an illustration of one of the many ways that dogs are different from humans. Over-humanization may lead us to react to the dog in a way that actually does not help him.

Eating is another of the many areas in which your dog is quite different from you. We love the
These are peanut butter and jelly
duplex dog cookies. We used to sell
these on the treat bar at Petco. Dogs love the
peanut butter and I like the taste as well.
taste of food. Our taste buds are very refined and sensitive in comparison to our dog. The dog does not get all that much enjoyment from the taste of the food. It is actually the odor that the dog enjoys. Dogs do not have a need to chew their food nearly as much as we do. Their saliva actually works quite differently from ours. The main purpose of a dog's saliva, in regard to eating, is to lubricate the food. In people, the saliva begins the digestive process (at least that is my understanding). So, we have much more time to taste the food and we have better taste buds to taste. Therefore, much of the marketing of dog food for taste is really directed at the human consumer rather than the dog. This is also the reason that high value foods for a dog are generally very smelly and not really appealing to the human sense of smell or taste for that matter. Although, some of the high end dog biscuits are quite tasty! When I worked at Petco, we had a treat bar with bulk dog cookies. These were human grade food. Some of them tasted pretty good. It was also fun to see the look on customer's faces when I would eat them. However, the dogs like them more for the smell than the taste. My experience has been that the heavier the odor, the more the dog likes the treat. Also, the smellier ones that the dogs really enjoy are not all that tasty to my pallet.

I have not done exhaustive research on this particular subject. I am sure there are many other areas that I have neglected to cover here on both the pro and con sides. However, my point is that it behooves us as adopted dog parents to understand that while we share a significant bond with our dogs, they are, indeed very different from us.

This is a grain free food that Petco actually sells for
$80.99 in a 25.3 pound bag. When I worked there we
carried a similar food and actually sold about 3 bags a week.
In my humble and perhaps biased opinion, I think that this over-humanization of dogs is exacerbated by those who market their products to us. This is a fact of which we need to be aware in all of our purchasing decisions. A dog's dietary needs are quite different than our own. Please keep this in mind when choosing dog food. Dog food manufacturers many times attempt to capatilze on our tendencies to humanize our dogs. This is evident in the prevalence of  dog food alternatives that mirror closely the current dietary trends in humans. For instance there are vegetarian , grain free, and gluten free foods that are pricey and very heavily marketed. While I am certain there are some dogs that benefit from this type of diet due to relatively rare health issues, it is not necessarily good for the dog just because it is beneficial in people. For that reason, before you switch foods to address some perceived problem with your dog's health, it is my strong recommendation that you seek veterinary advice. Please avoid the temptation to seek this advice from those who have a vested interest in selling you the food. When I worked at Petco, we were trained in dog nutrition. However, that training was very heavily geared toward selling food and not so highly motivated by the true needs of the dog. Sales people are simply not experts in dog health. Neither are dog trainers in general. The true experts are those who went to medical school and have examined your dog. I am referring, of course, to your veterinarian.

I hope that this post has been helpful to you in your endeavor to better understand your dog.

If you have any training needs or questions please contact me.

Till next time 


Friday, February 26, 2016

Who are the True Friends of Man's Best Friend ?

Trigger the Dapple Dachshund 
Trigger, our adopted Dapple Dachshund recently experienced a severe health problem. He had an intestinal obstruction and was very close to death.

He stopped eating for about eight days. The x-rays showed evidence of obstruction and it seemed that the only option to save his life was costly urgent surgery.

As you may recall, I had back surgery about six months ago and missed quite a bit of work. This depleted quite a bit of our family funds. However, Trigger needed medical attention and we were determined to provide what he needed. Trigger is a member of our family and that is our responsibility.

You see, this is the responsibility that we all accept when we adopt a dog. We are responsible for their needs throughout their lives.

Well, we began to seek funding. We borrowed some money. Some of you folks, upon learning of Trigger's situation, generously donated money.

As many of you know, I was, at one time, employed by Petco in Peachtree City, Georgia. Petco claims to support dog adoption. They host adoption events at their stores. This is not, however, an exclusively altruistic endeavor for Petco. I was the Dog Trainer at this store and was also involved as a volunteer with one of the rescue organizations that participated in the events.
What are Petco's motives in their support
of  adopted dogs? If you are thinking revenue,
you are probably correct.

The adoption events do expose a lot of dogs to potential forever homes. That is a great thing! In fact, we adopted Trigger as a result of one of those events. However, we who care about adopted/rescue dogs must always remember the motives of Petco as a corporation. Petco makes a lot of revenue from the supplies that these adopted dog parents buy at the events. My observations during my employment there indicated that it was an average of about $300 of revenue for each adoption.This is revenue from supplies that the adoptive parents buy for the dog (beds, food, crates,toys, training and grooming services, bowls, bedding, etc.) Multiply that by hundreds of thousands and pretty soon you are talking about real money :).

I am not against making a profit. In fact, that is part of the reason that I am in business. My business is a for profit endeavor as well. I really enjoy eating at least two are three times a day and having a roof over my head and other luxuries :) . So, profit is not bad. I want to make as much as possible without compromising my ethics. Moore Services for Your Money treats our customers the way that we would like to be treated. Therefore, ethics and honesty is very important to us. We do advertise however, you, as our customer can and should trust that what we say in advertising or anywhere else does truly reflect our beliefs.

Petco maintains that they are seriously concerned about the welfare of homeless dogs. They make a really big deal about how many hundreds of thousands of dogs that find forever homes as a result of their adoption events. This is great! I truly applaud them for this and encourage them to continue this endeavor.  Petco also supports a non-profit called the Petco Foundation. Again, this is in no way exclusively altruistic. The Petco name is promoted at every opportunity, even the name of the organization screams "Hey, look how much Petco cares!". That is good. I do not begrudge them this promotional and marketing opportunity and the Petco Foundation actually does some great work. However, we must keep the Petco corporate motivation in mind here.

At this point, if you are still reading, you are likely wondering what this information about Petco has to do with Trigger's health issues. Please indulge me a few more lines to explain:

In our efforts to raise money for Trigger, The Lovely Shane set up a gofundme page. We really did not raise much directly from the page but we did get indirect donations and help from the publicity that it generated.

Petco has a presence on Twitter. I contacted @petco by private message on Twitter and simply requested that they retweet a tweet that I sent out earlier with a link to the gofundme page. I explained that I am a former Petco Dog Trainer and that Trigger was adopted at one of their events. I explained the very urgent and potentially life and death need for the surgery. I did not ask for money from Petco. I did not ask for a personal endorsement of my business. I very literally and quite simply asked for a simple click of the mouse to help one of these dogs that they claim to care so much about.

The terse and rude reply that I received was that Petco does not retweet or in any way promote "private fundraisers".

My friends ,customers, and fellow dog lovers, Petco literally refused to move a mouse a few inches to help one of these dogs that they claim to care so much about.

I thought, "well maybe this is just an employee who does not understand Petco's alleged commitment to these dogs". So, as a business owner myself, I thought the CEO should know about this apparent disconnect from their message. So, I sent an email to Jim Myers, the Petco CEO. I have sent him email messages on a few other occasions. He never has responded directly but always forwards the message to an associate who responds to me quite promptly. This case was no exception. I got a response that indicates that Petco never retweets or makes any sort of public acknowledgement of these sorts of requests. The response essentially indicates that it is too much work for them to move the mouse and click on these. Folks, I am not in anyway exaggerating here. This is essentially what the email indicated.

I have to give Petco credit. They did forward my contact information to the Petco Foundation and to a non-profit that in "qualified cases" does "sometimes" provide assistance.

However, what I learned from this experience is this: Petco cares publicly about dogs like Trigger when there is potential revenue at stake (like the adoption events) but, when there is no potential revenue involved (like the retweet request) they will literally not even clck a mouse in an effort to help.

Even in their forwarding of my request to the Petco foundation, Petco's interest seems to be revenue motivated. They could attach the Petco name to any assistance that Trigger ultimately received via the foundation.

So, that is the bad part.

Here is the great part:

Trigger was helped by many true friends of man's best friend.

Flat Creek Animal Clinic where Trigger was initially evaluated and treated allowed us to break the bill up into payments. We paid the bill in full yesterday. We can not thank them enough for this!

The Animal Medical Clinic  in Peachtree City gave us a great price on Trigger's care and medication. They were also going to do the surgery at a great price! Trigger thanks you and we thank you!

 Elisa Price with Critter Sitters was very generous to us in the form of retweets and publicity. By the way, if you need pet sitting please contact her!

Several other people provided loans and donations. We really got great support in only a couple of hours!

The really great news is that Trigger did not need the surgery! It was apparently a parasitic blockage. He is now doing much better! We still incurred quite a bit of expense. He spent all day at the vet's office doing diagnostic testing to make sure that he no longer needed surgery and that is never cheap.

However, we were able to pay back the loans. And the donations helped greatly in covering the treatment and diagnostic costs!

So, Trigger is now back to his old self. He has his appetite back and is doing very well!

We truly appreciate the help of all of you who are truly friends to man's best friend!

God Bless you all!


Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The Cuddles Chronicles

This is Cuddles our 16 year old Corgi Mix.

Caring for Senior Dogs

Dogs are a lifetime commitment: 

The Lovely Shane adopted Cuddles when she was a puppy. She is now about 16 years old.

Cuddles still gets around pretty well considering her advanced age. However, dogs have many of the same issues that are common with aging for people.

Cuddles seems to have some arthritis. Her major age-related health issue is that her sight is diminishing. She is almost blind.

Cuddles also gets confused from time to time. It is sort of like the senility that is common in people. There are times when she is a little irritable. I am sure that the limited sight is anxiety provoking for her.

Cuddles is still a member of our family. We do all that we can to make her comfortable. For most of her life, she slept on the bed next to The Lovely Shane all night. She has trouble jumping on the bed and is much more frail than she was in her younger days. For that reason, we have made her a dog bed on the floor just a few feet away from The Lovely Shane. Since the cold weather is rougher on older dogs, we have a small electric heater near her bed to keep her warm on the really cold nights.

Cuddles has always been very good about letting us know when she needs to go out to relieve herself. She is still housebroken but, lately she barks to alert us that she needs to go out and then does not go out. I don't think this is a health problem because she is eliminating but, we do have many false alarms. I think this is due to her mind aging.

I am writing this not to complain but to remind you that a dog is a lifetime commitment. They will all likely need a little extra and special care in old age. It is your responsibility to care for them and it is a responsibility for which you need to be prepared.

Senior dogs are a joy to have in your pack! Please don't let this discourage you from adopting a senior dog. Seniors can also be trained. You can absolutely teach a senior dog new tricks, so to speak.

If they are fortunate enough to not have many serious health problems they can get old enough to experience the mental issues that I mentioned in relation to Cuddles. They can get confused and irritable. They also get generally slower in old age. Remember however, this happens to people as well. It is just nature.

When you add a puppy or adult dog to your pack, you need to be prepared to care for them in their senior years. It breaks my heart to see senior dogs that end up in shelters or rescues because people no longer want to care for them.

If you need any assistance training your dog of any age please contact me at anytime.

Till Next Time

William Moore
Moore Services for Your Money

Friday, December 4, 2015

Getting a puppy for Christmas??

This is a campaign that dogster ran in 2012.

A couple of years ago, I wrote a post here detailing why dogs should not be given as gifts.

Having a dog in your home is a serious responsibility and I still believe that it should not be taken lightly.

I was surprised recently when I saw an article on recently titled "It’s OK to Get a Puppy for Christmas If You Agree to Do These 30 Things". I thought that perhaps my long time colleague, Annie Phenix was kidding. Especially since last year she wrote and article titled,"What Not to Give This Year for Christmas: Puppies!",  Both articles are spot on!

I suppose the point that Annie is trying to make is that you must consider that is required when you bring a dog into your home. That cute little pup will grow up. The person who owns a dog makes a commitment to care for the dog for the dog's entire lifetime.

There is great information in the two articles that Annie wrote. My earlier blog post also has some good information about what is required of dog owners.

Also, if you are considering bringing a dog into your home I suggest that you read my book, "Parents Manual for Adopted Dogs". The book will help you to welcome the dog into your home.

Remember that training is also a commitment that you have to make to a new dog. As a professional dog trainer, I do not train dogs. I train people in the proper techniques to use with their dogs. Training the dog requires a commitment from the owner. Polite Dogs = Happy People is my motto when it comes to dog training. However, to get a polite dog, the owner must work with the dog! I can show a dog owner the proper technique but, the owner must apply the techniques in a consistent manner.

If you are considering welcoming a new dog into your home or if you want to teach the dog that you already have in your home to be a Polite little guy or girl, please contact me!

Till Next Time


Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Dog Steps. Why is there so little variety at the pet stores?

As our dogs get older, many times they need a little extra help in jumping on and getting down from things. Also, some of our smaller canine friends also need a little help.

Some of us like to have a dog in the bed with us at night. I know some dog trainers get all bent around the axle on this matter, but, if the dog is well behaved and waits to be invited on the bed, I really do not have an issue with letting the little guys and girls sleep on the bed or get on the furniture.

Most of the pet stores (Petco, Petsmart, etc) carry a few types of dog steps and ramps but the quality. quantity and variety is very limited. And considering the quality of these products, they are generally very over-priced.

The Lovely Shane and I decided to begin making our own custom dog steps and ramps. We have been doing this for about a year now in our workshop where we build other wood craft items.

As many of you know, for years, we have been building and selling the best porch swings available anywhere.
We also build the best custom cabinets and shelving available anywhere.

We can build dog steps or a ramp to your specifications to fit your needs. We can make you new dog steps look like a piece of custom furniture and fit your decor.

So, if you are frustrated by the quality or selection of dog steps from other sources, please let us help you.

Click here for a form that you can use to tell us about your custom dog steps needs. For type of project, choose custom furniture.

We look forward to working with you soon!

Remember, Copper the Whopper Beagle says: "Dog steps make great gifts!"

Till Next Time-