Aug 9, 2011 Issue #14 Published by Sue Skiff


Yes, you’re right. I missed a week. And, I came close to missing a second one. I am having trouble with ideas.

Help me. Tell me what you want me to write about. I am tired of writing articles that are just based on top key words. What do you want to know?

Write to me.

In the meantime, enjoy these two articles, from two years ago, one written by me, and the other by Emma.

It’s a Dog Meet Dog World

The Socialized Dog

You remember when you got your puppy. You got the right equipment and food, you took it to the vet, and you got advice. Everyone said it, “Your puppy needs socialization.” So, for a few weeks, you and your puppy attended “puppy kindergarten.” The two of you learned some basic obedience, and your puppy learned to play well with others.

That was weeks ago. Your dog no longer needs to play with other dogs, and may not even want to. Many dogs outgrow puppy-like play, just as we humans outgrow toddler-like play. And, many dogs live full lives with minimal exposure to other dogs.

When you were young, did your parents take the family dog to play with other dogs? When you walked your dog, did your dog greet every dog that you encountered? If you are over 30, you probably answered, “No, to these questions.” Yet, you realize, your dog was perfectly happy.

Today, it’s different. Dog parks are everywhere. Dogs go on play dates, and to doggie daycare. And, when walking your dog, you encounter strangers who expect your dog and their dogs to meet.

To Greet Or Not To Greet?

Is it important to you that you allow your dog to meet other dogs? Does your dog enjoy it? Chances are that, just like you, your dog would like the opportunity to choose its own friends, and it doesn’t want extended meetings with every dog it meets.

Ensuring Your Dog’s Safety

If you decide to allow your dog to meet other dogs, then two things need to happen when you encounter a strange dog. First, assess the situation. Second, control the way your dog approaches the new dog. As a dog trainer, I can’t stress enough the importance of having a command routine as part of the meeting process. This routine is not just for your dog’s safety. It also strengthens your position as the one in charge, a necessity for a dog living in a human-run world.

Teach your dog to always walk on a loose leash, and to sit whenever you stop. Most importantly, teach it to always come immediately when called. These skills will greatly improve your chances of keeping your dog safe when it comes in contact with other dogs.

Dogs, like humans, have established social rules. Older dog pack members will tolerate young puppies that run up to, and jump on, them. However, this toleration ends once puppies approach adolescence. It seems that dogs consider it to be bad manners. Consider behaviors which are tolerated in human toddlers but not in adults and teenagers.

Greeting Etiquette

Every dog, like every human, has its own sense of personal space. Some can handle strangers coming right up to them, others cannot. Don’t assume that a dog which is walking calmly with its human is friendly towards other dogs. Think about people who appear fine near strangers, but become verbally, or even physically, aggressive when the most innocuous contact is initiated. Dogs can be the same way. So, before allowing your dog to approach another dog, ask the other dog’s guardian if her/his dog is okay with it.

Now that your dog is ready to meet other dogs, be ready to respect the wishes of the guardians of other dogs. Another dog guardian can have a variety of reasons for not wanting her/his dog to meet yours. So, when presented with the opportunity for a dog meet and greet, check with the other dog’s guardian to make sure that it’s okay. Be understanding and respectful if s/he says, “no.”

While you’re checking with the other guardian, observe the degree of control s/he has over her/his dog. If her/his dog is ignoring its guardian’s attempts to get it under control, it would be safest for all concerned to skip the dog meet-up.

Once you’ve agreed upon a meeting, come to an agreement with the other guardian as to the extent of the meeting. Will it be a simple mutual sniffing, or an off-leash romp together? Whatever the case, be respectful of the other guardian’s wishes. Upon agreeing, give your dog its release command. At the conclusion of the meeting, call your dog back to you, and continue on your way.

Emma’s Principles to Live By - By Emma

From time to time Sue and I tweet on Twitter about things that people can learn from their dogs. I thought that it would be a good idea to put them all together; to give you an idea of the principles that I, and many other dogs, live by. I think that humans don’t have a clue about valuing the things that are important in life. By following my principles, you’ll learn about valuing those things that are truly important. Sue thinks that a list like this may have been written before. I assure you that I am not trying to steal anyone’s material.

Remember What’s Important

First of all, your loved ones are extremely important. You should let them know this often. When you’ve been separated from them, and you come back together; enthusiastically let them know how happy you are to see them. When you are together, hang out with them, give them kisses, and let them give you massages.

Of course, food is important, so eat with gusto, even if you find that you are eating the same food over and over. Always take new foods when they are offered to you. If they taste funny, try to eat them, anyway.

If It’s Worth Doing, It’s Worth Enthusiasm

I find it strange that people will do things reluctantly, or slowly. As far as I’m concerned, anything that you feel is important enough to do should be done with enthusiasm and much energy. Go ahead, have fun with whatever you’re doing, even if you have done it many times, and think its just the same old thing. It’s never really the same.

Sleep is important, so take lots of naps. Play is important. Play as often as you can. Play is even more fun when shared, so always invite others to play with you, even cats. Even if someone in your house has never played with you before, keep inviting her/him to play. Maybe one day s/he’ll join in. If no one will play with you, play anyway.

Never Pass Up an Opportunity to Make a New Friend

Making new friends is important. Everyone you come into contact with is a potential friend. Let each being that you approach, or that approaches you, know that you’d be happy to meet them. If they show any interest in you, invite them to play. Play is a great way to make friends. Let cats know that you want to be their friend. If they hiss at you, keep trying. If they swipe at you, bark at them.

What’s Not Important

Now, Sue disagrees with me about putting in this last part. She says it’s not really a principle that humans are going to want to learn. But, I think that it’s important to say, and I know that many dogs will thank me for saying it. Baths are not important. They are evil. If someone tries to bathe you, resist it as enthusiastically as you would do anything that you like doing. If resistance doesn’t work, then act pathetic, so that the person who is bathing you will feel really bad about it. Humans, get this, cleaning is what tongues are for, so stop with the bathing already.

So, there you have it, my principles to live by. I hope you found it useful! Until next time, Emma.


It’s part of life in the 21st century. You get the kids off to school, work all day, pick the kids up at daycare, make dinner, and collapse. But, what about the dog? How do you find the time to train it to be a good citizen? Maybe, you managed to get your dog into a puppy kindergarten class, and then a basic obedience class. But, you really didn’t have time to practice the way the instructor wanted you to, and now, well now, it’s all kind of fallen by the wayside.

You know that your dog can do better. Perhaps, your dog has some behavior issues. Whether or not they’re serious issues, they make your life harder, don’t they?

So, what do you do when you’re already stretched, and you know your dog needs more? The answer is “day training.” Day training starts with a meeting with me where you describe your dog training needs, and your dog’s behavior issues. I then come to your house for an hour or so, on agreed upon days, to train your dog. You get to get on with your life, while your dog gets training and attention from a professional. And, that training and attention is customized to your and your dog’s exact needs.

Maintaining what your dog learned is also built into the day training program. At the end of each week of training, I meet with you to go over what your dog has learned, as well as what you need to do to maintain the learning. After the agreed upon number of weeks has elapsed, I return for a follow-up or two, to make sure that you and your dog are on the same page, and everyone’s happy. For more information on day training, visit my dog training website

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Silver Linings is a publication of Silver Linings Pet Services, and is published for the purpose of marketing services. The current address of Silver Linings Pet Services is: 5555 Merritt Drive Concord, Ca 94521