View Post

Tracking Jaguars With Rescue Dogs

I woke early, packed my bags and left the Airbnb in Ezcazú (a suburb of San Jose). I arrived bleary-eyed to a wagging lab and his handler, Stephanny. She warned me, “He jumps.” And jumped he did – Tigre left a few tiny bruises on my arms as he chomped on my wrists. He calmed down quickly, though, as we …

View Post

Why My Dog is More Danger Running in Latin America Than I Am

I thought that taking my dog to Latin America would keep me safe while running. I actually spend my runs defending him. Let me describe to you today’s run, a fairly typical one in the last few months that we’ve driven from Mexico to Costa Rica. As Barley and I head out the door, a neighbor calls to us, “Don’t go …

View Post

Playing Tug-o-War with a Log in the Smoke of the Stehekin

I tug, wrenching my butt up and bending my front paws. My teeth feel strong, biting into the flesh of this stick. My claws dig into the sand, and I wag my tail a bit. The stick doesn’t budge. It’s longer than I am, protruding from an underwater tree. I’ve been working at it for ages, up to my belly …

View Post

How Antecedent Arrangement Keeps Me Productive (And Safe)

In dog training, we talk a lot about the concept of antecedent arrangement. Essentially, this concept builds off of the concept that we’re more likely to do things that are easy. If I want my dog to stop stealing food from the counters, I might start by clearing the counters of all the tasty food before I leave for work. …

View Post

Things I Learned from Working in an Animal Shelter

Animal shelter work is not easy. As a member of the Denver Dumb Friends League behavior team, I spent my days dodging urine, blood, and teeth. My job is to use science-based behavior modification techniques to help traumatized shelter pets become safe companion animals. Rather, that’s what my job my job was. I’m leaving Denver Dumb Friends League in four …

View Post

Staff Only – Bite Quarantine

I post plenty on social media about how much I love my job. There are cute fluffy kittens and amazing turnaround stories. But working in the animal behavior department at an animal shelter isn’t all puppies and inspiration. Today was hard. It started with a kitten that’s had 28 training sessions. My job was to see if she was ready …