Ava… and the Christmas Miracle

Merry Christmas and again, thank you for all you do. We appreciate you so much!  And by the way, this is huge, my brother surprised us again and came in yesterday when I got home from the sniff spot. This morning Ava was manic with her toy and I did OSR and she just laid down on the couch and chilled after that. AMAZING!!!  :heart:

Norman… and the Pyrenees

Hi Paula! Wanted to share with you another wonderful thing my boy was able to do this morning! I was out with him for a walk and an old Pyrenees mountain dog and owner were standing on the other side of the street and Norman did not even look at the dog and we did OSR while I had a chat with the owner. There would have been no way I could have done that at the beginning of this year. The PMD was about 13 and couldn’t care less about Norman which I’m sure helped a lot but I was gushing with pride, even to the stranger/owner who must of thought I was a bit crazy :zany_face: :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Norman… and independence?!

Good morning Paula, I wanted to let you know that Norman is my boy and I am so, so proud of him. Saturday he took himself off to have a snooze in our bedroom (which he never does-he normally follows me around) and then when he woke up he came running in the living room to where we were sitting and looked for me, jumped up on the sofa gave me a kiss and promptly laid down next to me and fell asleep again. He is becoming so much more relaxed and happy 🙂

Norman… and the neighbors

I also wanted to report that Norman had a wonderful complement yesterday……. I went down to the neighbors with him (they have known him since a pup) and they couldn’t believe how calm he was!! Of course I was beaming from ear to ear! I’m so proud of him!!❤️😊

Clover… and “Grandma’s” Visit

As an update, Clover has been home with us. My mom is a great guinea pig since she’s pretty calm and unfazed by Clover and doesn’t try to get in her space. And she knows we are practicing with guests so she’s been willing to help.

I’m pretty sure Clover remembered that last interaction with my mom because when we did the arrival protocol, Clover did her stranger danger bark and she doesn’t do that too often anymore (even when we have had repair guys come). So we just let her chill in the crate until she relaxed and then when ready brought her out on leash and did OSR by the couch. My mom and I chatted for a couple hours and Clover was mostly relaxed but definitely keeping an eye on my mom. Like idling at yellow I would say and dipping into green now and then. We put her back in the bedroom while I made dinner and the girls came home and she came back out on leash after dinner and was then much more relaxed around my mom and curious about her (sniffing at her a bit and even laying pretty close to where she was). The girls started doing tricks with her so she got a little playful and was then much more herself. She even laid down on the couch between my mom and me (a few feet away from my mom) before bed. We’ve just kept her on leash while we are all together.  This morning, Clover was a little startled when she came out and my mom was still here so she barked but we just did the routine again and did OSR on the couch and she settled. She at one point went close to my mom to check her out and sniff at her and then froze and growled quietly so I just said her name and she refocused on me and we did more OSR. But she’s mostly ok. She just walked by my mom (on the leash) and gave her a little lick on her hand and walked off. I would say it’s mostly a really positive experience. She’s just uncertain here and there so we are doing our routines and I can see her settling back down again. My mom leaves tomorrow so we will probably just keep doing what we are doing. So that’s what’s happening!

I’ll let Brian tell you about how he encountered a dog on his walk with her last week (all went well thankfully, but it was an off leash dog so we are lucky). 🙂

Norman… loves a back scratch

Today I discovered that Norman loves a back scratch. He came over and sat on my lap with back to me. I asked if he was ready for scratches-we have been practicing- he didn’t jump off so I gently started to scratch his back and he leaned into it. I stopped and he looked back so asked if he was ready, said scratches and he leaned into me while I scratched his back again. This lasted for about 5mins and then he climbed off and laid down next to me and went to sleep. We really are becoming friends. I also did OSR with him while Edith was in the kitchen. He had grabbed his ball and was stress squeezing it and then came over and looked at me so I acknowledge him and gave him some kibble-he totally did OSR with me never looked at his ball again and fell asleep while I played with Edith. He would never have done that before. He totally responded to it. He still barks when the UPS man comes up the driveway but Im working on it. When that happens I just get down on the ground at his level and wait, I don’t say anything-he does come over to me and I say good boy but he is pretty anxious and wont take the kibble, I just wait and eventually he calms down enough to start taking the kibble from me. I know I should start the OSR before he gets to orange but he is better at hearing things before me. I’ll get better but I do feel like it is working.




I would consider myself an animal person especially a dog person after having a childhood filled with animals including my best friend Ben, a Boxer to my adult years where I was a Veterinary Technician and was old enough to have my own dogs. I chose to share my life with Border Terriers (BTs). I had horses and being from the UK they were/are almost an accessory to owning horses as well as being almost as popular as a Labrador in the UK. The reason for sharing my life history with animals is that I thought I knew how to “train” a dog. I have seen/heard all the different methods and I knew for sure what not to do. Working in the Veterinary world I knew my dogs would never behave like a majority of the pets brought into my practice. I don’t hit, or use force/ train devices such a prong collars but I would shout, or at least raise my voice. I would handle them, touching paws, sticking my fingers in their mouths-all the vet tech stuff. I used to laugh that my dogs never wanted to sit with me as they knew I would poke and prod. I was very fortunate my first 2 BTs were wonderful little dogs, really easy to “train”. They lived a life as barn dogs, would venture out and about around the farm. I was never worried about them really, I would always find them staring at a hole. One of the two I considered my heart dog-gosh he was a special boy. The reason I mention him specifically is that I lost him in a freak accident. He was from a breeder in California although I was living in New York. Life changes brought me to California so decided to get another Border from the same breeder; my next heart dog. Oh how wrong I was. “Norman” turned everything I knew about “training” a dog up on its end. I called him Naughty Norman as he was a wild. I even sought out a personal 1:1 dog trainer. This helped a little but as he became an adult he had his moments that I just tolerated and thought It was just Norman. After losing my older rescue BT, Phoebe I decided to get yet another BT puppy from the same breeder, I thought Norman was lonely from losing Phoebe. Bearing in mind Phoebe was not nice to Norman when he was a pup but we dealt with it and she became “tolerant” of him. I bought the new pup, Edith, home and Norman attacked her. Luckily I was holding her so he was only able to grab her little nose (no injuries) but even so it scared me, Edith and Norman because I screamed at him. I was now terrified to have Norman anywhere near Edith. I never, ever had this issue with dogs I have had in the past, always having 2 dogs together. Clearly I was doing something wrong with my training methods. This is where Paula and Inspire Canine Behavior counseling and Training comes in. Myself and Norman needed behavior counseling desperately. From the initial 15 minute free phone consult I felt Norman was going to be OK and I was going to rebuild a relationship with my dog. Paula explained in detail her recommendations for Norman and I signed up for a 3mth Foundations package. It has definitely been a learning curve for me but Paula is incredibly patient and for the first month I had 1 hour virtual teaching session per week as she explains her model. Everything I described to Paula about Norman in my words, which honestly were more like complaints about how Norman didn’t do this or that, Paula would turn it around and explain why Norman would be displaying certain behaviors and of course it was inevitably my fault. Why would Norman think or behave like a human? he is a dog! He was as stressed out as I am but his answers were not to go and drown his sorrows in a glass of wine, his answers were fight or flight or bark and be reactive. Paula’s guidance on how to help my dogs feel safe with me and in their environment has been both invaluable and has made a genuine difference in Normans behavior. I am building a stronger relationship with my dogs that I absolutely love. Paula is passionate, caring, incredibly knowledgeable and always backs up her knowledge with peer reviewed publications. Paula’s methods just make sense. No more “barking” orders at my dogs.


Gemma Bachmann

Clover… the Huntress!?!

We have been introducing the flirt pole. Are we doing this right? I took a video. I usually let it fling around a bit more so she can jump at it like a kitty. She likes that. But I kept it chill on video. She’s doing great at dropping it when we ask her. She is kind of obsessing about it to the extent that we say all done, clean up, and she still barks and whines at where we put it away. We just ignore her until she focuses on something else. She usually eventually gets her cardboard and calms herself down. The cardboard has been a great tool. We will save some unchewed boxes for after flirt pole practice because the existing scraps she had already chewed on weren’t exciting enough to entice her. New boxes are probably a better bet when she’s that excited. She actually kept returning to the cabinet where the flirt pole was throughout the day and into the evening. Not constantly. Her obsession eased up, but around the kids’ bedtime, we found her staring at the closet again and pawing at it. That’s actually a time when her arousal goes up, so it makes sense. I imagine maybe she was thinking, “Man, that flirt pole would feel great right now” because she had some energy. But she dropped it on her own. As we’ve discussed, I’m glad I have a better attitude now and can see what’s happening for her more clearly. I’m glad she likes it so much! And we just have to develop strategies around when and how we use it because it really gets her excited.

Cleo… and the parking lot

After work yesterday walking from the shop to the car a man walked right past us and she didn’t speed up or move out of the way😭🤗 I kept saying good girl as we walked by!

Cleo… and the Complex

I have to share this with u. We were walking around the complex and a lady was walking toward us to go upstairs to her apartment and cleo looked and it was the quickest she went back to sniffing the grass. Maybe took 3 or 4 seconds. Even while the lady continued walking toward her she didn’t look back up! I wanted to cry🥲