Category Archives: about

Welcome to our odyssey

Welcome to our new blog. Gypsy and I attended a workshop seminar on March 17-18, 2012 in Bellingham, WA with internationally-acclaimed veterinarian/animal behaviorist, Dr. Sophia Yin, who is known for her ability to solve problems of aggression, fear, barking, jumping, biting in dogs and cats.

Our workshop was titled Raising the Perfect Dog: Identifying and Avoiding Unwanted Behaviors.

Here was the agenda:


Saturday, 17 March 2012 – Start Time is 8:30 a.m.

  How to Train a Dog, Cat, Horse, Giraffe: Using Positive Reinforcement to Create a Bond for Life
  Hands-on Exercise for All Participants
  Recognizing Brewing Behavior Problems in Dogs
  Reversing Brewing Behavior Problems
  Dominance versus Leadership: Myths and Facts about Dominance in Wolves and Dogs
  Teaching Dogs to Learn to Earn: A Fun, Safe, and Quick Alternative to the Alpha Role
  Demonstration with Dog and Hands-on Exercises for All Participants

Sunday, 18 March 2012 – Start time 8:30 a.m.

 Feuding Fidos – Understanding and Mending the Rift between Household Hounds
 Hands on – Canine Working Spots
 If Punishment is so Bad: Then Why does it Work for the Trainer on TV
 Hands on – Canine Working Spots
 The Many Faces of Fear and Aggression

So the workshop didn’t contain a lot of new information I didn’t already know, such as classical conditioning, desensitization, operant conditioning, shaping, reinforcement, punishment types and fallout, Bob Bailey’s chicken camp findings, and signs of fear. However it was presented an a whole new light in terms of reactive dogs, not just all dogs in general as how I learned these processes prior.

Gypsy had a working spot on Sunday. There were 10 working spots from the 200 or so people who attended (although not all applied for working spots). Dr. Yin selected all the working dogs.

So the basis of this blog is based on her Learn to Earn program, which is essentially teaching the dog to focus on you and control impulses based on some pretty high-maintenance homework, self-discipline by the owner and proper mechanics for rewarding the dog. Proper mechanics is HUGE!! And not easy, might I add!

I learned a lot about Gypsy’s fear, anxiety and how and why she responds the way she does — or rather the lack of knowing what to do when she encounters too much anxiety.

So this blog is our Learn to Earn journey. It is basically the foundation for desensitizing her anxieties and lack of confidence. This program isn’t the “fix,” but it’s the first steps and must-have to proceed.

The Learn to Earn program is featured in Dr. Yin’s book, “Perfect Puppy in 7 Days.”  Learning the mechanics at the seminar is invaluable to our impending success.

I’m sure there are a few programs like hers that are aimed at getting the dog’s focus and teach impulse control. The main difference, in my view, is Dr. Yin’s program is SPECIFICALLY targeted to special needs and reactive dogs. One other I know in particular is fantastic, but is geared toward any dog. And the trainer states in the book that if the dog is having behavioral issues to consult with a certified behavior consultant. I’m going to incorporate a little of this other program into ours just for a little more fun games (I’ll add it in the POA to be posted soon).

So here we go. We’ll take it a day and week at a time and re-evaluate in a week to see if any changes to the POA need to be made (as they often do).  So check back here and see our progress.

Stephanie and Gypsy
(and Apollo too!)

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Posted by on March 18, 2012 in about