Lucky and his pals

Lucky and his pals

Lucky and his pals

Lucky is doing very well and continues to fit nicely in our family. He has completed his puppy training classes and was reacquainted with his sister, Marilou, at puppy school. They were so excited to see each other and at every class they always played hard together.

He is growing like a weed! He is 45 lbs now (6 months old) and has a perfect body condition score. He has been fully vaccinated and all that remains for veterinary work is his neuter operation.

Sometimes Lucky has a tendency to play too rough with the boys. He will jump on them and grab them with his mouth; not hard but it is something that I want to stop. A couple of times he tore thru their shirts with those needle-like baby teeth. By the time I try to correct him he has run off and probably doesn’t know what I’m upset about.  Any advice you might have would be appreciated.

Jason and family

My Advice

The bad behaviour of a dog jumping up on people such as when a puppy is excited, or any other time, has to be absolutely unacceptable. That means Lucky can never, under any circumstance be allowed to jump up on anyone. The best way to explain this to Lucky is to “read his mind” and anticipate his behaviour.

Try to put Lucky in a situation where he is tempted to jump up on you and be ready to give him a physical correction. Don’t get mad, don’t say “no” just do something that will give him quick,  unpleasant feedback. Some people thump the dog in his chest with their knee, others step on his back foot (hard) or you can give him a sharp slap on the nose. I suggest you combine one of these with the command of “get down” or “off.” The point is he has to feel a  sharp pain and he has to realize that his behaviour brought this on himself. Timing is essential. The correction must come exactly as he is doing the bad thing. That is why you have to “read his mind” and be ready to anticipate the behaviour. Make sure you have control of the situation by having Lucky on a leash or a long line so he cannot run off.  When he gets it right PRAISE him!

Until Lucky has this concept very clear with an adult (don’t expect your kids to do this) he should not be put in a situation where he can jump up and get away with it. Ideally you should be there to monitor what is going on. This is crucial training to insure that Lucky is respectful of everyone all the time. If Lucky has a few effective corrections he will understand. However, every time he repeats the bad behaviour he “learns” to do it.  Remember,  he wants to please you he just needs to understand what you expect of him.

This is the beginning of adolescence for Lucky and he is going to find more ways to test your authority. Above all Lucky needs to have respect for you and every member of the family. He will be a much happier dog if he feels secure by knowing his place in the “pack”.


Agility duo: Corky & Drummond


Corky over agility obstacle

I just wanted to update you on my boys: Corky and Drummond.

Corky  (aka Cortland) gets better and better at agility, although the truth might be that it’s me getting better. He’s so willing and attentive to every nuance of my body. He would do anything to please me and I’ve never had a dog that snuggled like he does, sitting on my lap, leaning on my chest with his head nestled in the crook of my neck. And then he goes out and beats up Drummond in a play fight – so he’s no wussie.

Drummond is my dear clown. Always thinking, with an amazing and sometimes crazy sense of humour. He just turned three and is finally starting to settle down a little. He is going to be a great agility dog, if I can keep his attention long enough. He’s so darned smart and I’m getting wonderful distance with his commands, a necessity when you’re a half-crippled senior trying to run. Corky matches my stride so that I’m never too far behind him but Drum has strength and speed and it’s such a pleasure to be able to send him out to an obstacle and have him do it flawlessly. He really is incredibly smart and he learns so quickly. His only “downfall” is his love of people; downfall in agility, that is. This winter’s lessons will concentrate on helping him to learn that the judge and ring crew are not there to say hello and rub his bum. He certainly does love socializing.

Susan Whelan

Oliver & Alistair have their portrait done

I am honored to share that a print of this portrait will be hanging in the new oncology suite at the Colorado State University small animal cancer center, along with the message.  I truly hope it brings some joy to people in dark times and reminds them that there is a smile around the corner.

Alistair & Oliver enjoy the autumn in Colorado


We have been having a magnificent fall here in Colorado.

Alistair is obsessed with chasing leaves and Oliver laughs at him in his very dignified and mature way. They are growing up into such wonderful companions. Alistair is a goof, his antics have me on the floor laughing sometimes and Oliver looks on like a wise old man, totally unruffled by anything the world throws our way.


A letter from Gracie

Hi Mama,

It’s been a long time since I’ve written to you. My life is just so busy now that both Mom and Dad are retired. We have lots of walks (my favorite thing) every day. I like the beach in the summer but still only go in up to my elbows. Also I have to spend time each day chasing the cats and napping.

So it’s a happy, busy life here in Antigonish. Mom wants me to tell you that I’m very healthy and well behaved. I love people, especially the littlest ones, and my family loves me very much.

Woof Woof,