From Difficult to Rewarding: Fran Bluhm’s story

Video thumbnail of Can your dog be bullied? Even if no other dogs are around?

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About 5 years ago, Fran Bluhm of Perigueux Poodles, came into my class after some challenging experiences with trainers. She was wary and wondered if I would be any different.

It’s important that you feel comfortable and can trust the behaviorist and trainer you choose. Your dog is a part of the family and can have as much effect on your family’s well-being as any other member, not to mention the importance if you plan to do any activites or sports with your dog.

Do you feel comfortable asking questions? Is the expectation from the instructor on par with your abilities and lifestyle? Will the trainer help you with behavior issues (that almost always crop up!)?

With Fran, it turned out to be the start of a rewarding experience for both of us. She has advanced in many areas with her dogs and competed in agility.

Her success has brought me great joy and…

…the bonus is that like many of my students, Fran has become a friend.

If you’ve wondered what it’s like to work with me, watch this video from Fran.

You can get great outcomes with your dog too! Join Play To Behave and my community at:


Your dog will thank you for it. 😉

Thanks for watching and reading and now I’d love to hear from you.

Hit reply and share your experience with dog trainers.

Stop barking at the TV!

The pace of the music speeds up, you know what’s around the corner and you want to scream and warn the girl on TV! You are on the edge of your seat when…


…your dog starts barking. UGHHHHHHH  You just missed the most important scene and even though you can rewind… the moment you’ve been waiting for is ruined.


Or that DANG commercial with the doorbell comes on again and you brace for the incessant barking once again. Or how about that TOUCHDOWN!!! Fun but suddently your dog is off the chain barking. Grrr…

Your stress level is now up and you can’t relax. That’s not what you want after you settle in to watch your favorite program after a long day or turn on your favorite team.


Barking at the TV can be annoying and/or frustrating. Maybe you thought your dog’s barking was cute or even funny at first, but after a while, barking can totally ruin your mood, wake people up and even bother your neighbors. How can you even have friends over to watch a game?


So now instead of relaxing…


…you are managing yet one more thing, adding to the stress of the day.


How can you stop that barking?!


Watch the video for 3 steps you can take to stop the barking at the TV and 2 mistakes you will want to avoid.

Need more help? Did you know you can teach your dog when to bark and when to stop? You can, using the 3 simple and easy steps in “Stop The Barking”, which you’ll find inside Play To Behave. Go to https://playtobehave.com/JOIN and learn more.

Thanks for watching and reading and now I’d love to hear from you.

Please scroll down and tell me if you have a system to prevent the barking at your TV? 

Your leash isn’t really an obstacle!

Link to page mentioned in the above video:


Whether it’s pouring rain or you have a dog that can’t wait to sniff, chase or lunge on the leash…

…leash walking can be at best, annoying and at worst, dangerous.

But your dog HAS to be walked… especially if you have a high-energy, crazy, young dog….right? 

Well, sort of. 

Watch this video and to discover another alternative to leash walking that will help with all that energy and also end up improving your dog on the leash!

Link to the page mentioned in the video above:


Thanks for watching and reading and now I’d love to hear from you.

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The first step to stop leash pulling

Link to video mentioned in the above video:


When your dog pulls on the leash, it’s not only annoying, it can be a safety hazard. Being pulled, even by a small dog can take you off balance and before you know it, you are on the ground!

It happened to me once when my puppy pulled me forward and I tripped on a rock. My knees, wrist and elbow healed but my FitBit still has a scratch on the face. Good reminder to watch where I’m going as well as another reinforcer to keep on training.

So what’s a great first step to stop leash pulling? Start training before you ever leave the house!

Stay safe and get started right before you ever leave the house.

Watch the video to find out more.

Link to the video mentioned in the video above:


Thanks for watching and reading and now I’d love to hear from you.

Please scroll down and leave a comment.

Take your keys to bed and your dog will thank you for it

Businesses are beginning to open up and while you may not go back to work just yet, you may start to leave your house more often for other reasons.

Have you thought about how your new puppy or dog might react to your disappearance after being home so much?

You aren’t alone. A number of you have written me to ask about this issue.

A couple years ago, (initially unbeknownst to me), Rae, my 4 year old Aussie, realized that when I opened my bathroom shade, it meant we were ready to go downstairs. But as the sun came up earlier and earlier in the Spring, I started raising my shade earlier to use the natural light as I put on my make-up. Raising my shade no longer meant we were ready to head out and start the day.

Rae was incensed! Why weren’t we headed downstairs!? She started staring at me, wiggling, whining and then started barking!

It took me a while to figure out why. The shade was her cue!

This was interesting to me and I wondered how long it would take her to desensitize to the shade – to stop pairing the shade with going downstairs.

So I tested it.

Just like us, your dog makes associations based on past experience and behavior can even becomes automatic. A sudden change in that association can now cause your dog to get anxious, just like it did with Rae and the shade.

And when that association tells your dog that you will be leaving… and probably for a long time… the anxiety can be profound enough to basically cause a “panic attack”.

With a “panic attack”, your dog can become destructive. Very destructive. Not to be spiteful or to “teach you a lesson”, but because your dog gets so upset, worried and panicked that that energy is released in the only way they know how – whining, barking, having accidents or chewing. They can’t control it!

Next thing you know, you are getting the rugs cleaned… again…, replacing furniture or worse… on the phone with contractors getting estimates on repairs to the door frame, cabinets and more. I have many photos from clients with huge holes in their walls, dog with injured paws and more. The damage from a panic attack can be astounding as well as scary and dangerous.

Remember that your dog has a whole different sense of time and little to distract them from thinking about you, so even when they don’t panic, they may be depressed and/or wonder if they’ve been abandoned every time you leave.

Here are 3 ways to get started to help prevent and treat separation anxiety:

  • Separate from your dog for short periods of time, at random times. Slowly increase the length of time but continue to separate at random times and for random amounts of time so your dog won’t know if you are leaving for 1 minute, 1 hour or 1 day.
  • Change any cues that can mean you are leaving. Pick up your purse, put on your coat, grab your keys, put on your shoes or whatever you normally do when you leave your house, at random times, so your dog does not always pair these as cues with your absence.
  • Make departures and arrivals boring. Very boring. It’s hard to do because it feels impolite not to say goodbye when you leave, but it can help lower your dog’s anxiety.

Not your problem? Your dog has always been fine when you left in the past? That is no indication of what might happen when you return to work.

So, get started now especially if you have a puppy or even more so, if you have a rescue. It’s really important to prepare your dog for a change in schedule.

Remember I said I tested how long it would take Rae to stop reacting when I raised the shade? As it turned out, it took about 11 weeks.

Yes, 11 weeks.

Get started now and get your dog ready for the changes ahead.

Start today by picking up your keys before you go to bed, putting on your jacket for breakfast and pretending to set the alarm before you settle in with a good book on the couch. In the long run, these little things will benefit both you and your dog.

Thanks for reading and now I’d love to hear from you. Please scroll down and leave a comment.