Tag Archives: productivity

Starting a training journal

Keeping a training journal while working with your dogs can be very rewarding. I often suggest this to clients that own dogs with behavioral concerns when they enter into a training program, although this can be very useful for all dogs. I keep one for each of my dogs, in fact. Now that we’re well into the new year, I can look back to last year’s entries to see how my dogs have progressed, and what still needs to be worked on. Perfect!

What should go in a journal entry?

Every month, I create a calendar as the first entry. Then, I mark each date that I’ve trained. I also mark when I’ve exercised the dogs, what the exercise routine was, and what the temperature was outside. This way, I have an overview that I can easily reference that shows how many days the dogs and I have worked together and what we’ve done.

Following the calendar page, I enter detailed information regarding what was accomplished on each training date. Did the dogs do anything well? Did they need more attention on certain aspects of what we worked on? How was their endurance when exercising? These details will help you to adjust your next training and/or exercise session.

Next, once you’ve progressed and have several entries, you can look back to see how far you’ve come! I suggest monthly and yearly reviews. This is particularly beneficial if you’re trying to accomplish something specific like behavior management, competitive obedience, or endurance training. It can be used for anything, however. If you come up with a new use for journaling your dog’s progress, please share it with us! info@muttmagic.com

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It is NOT a Pit Bull problem. . .

. . .and I am not a “pit bull” person. I am a “dog” person.


. . .it's a human problem.

. . .it's a human problem.

Pit Bull News

It was noted on WJZ news on Tuesday morning/evening that there is a “pit bull problem” and that there is currently a pit bull overpopulation. A local “Pit Fix” program was also noted as a solution to overpopulation and abuse. The fact that the breed is, unfortunately, notoriously popular at the moment is true. That does not make our current situation a “pit bull” problem any more than there was a “cocker spaniel” problem in the 70’s or a “dalmatian” problem in the 80’s. The problem is people! The pit bull is just as abused and overbred as any other breed in history right now. It is probably more publicized than any other breed in history in part because of the internet- something that wasn’t in existence (or popular) when other breeds were under attack.

While spaying and neutering of pets is important and can certainly help overpopulation and homeless animals, breed specific clinics have the potential to give the wrong message. Much like this news report indicated, the message given is that pit bulls need to be spayed/neutered more than any other breed. This is simply not true. Keep in mind- spay and neuter programs are used by RESPONSIBLE dog owners. Individuals abusing dogs do not spay/neuter regardless of cost- it’s a completely different mindset. Promoting the spay/neuter of an individual breed will not prevent animal abuse any more than banning a breed will provide public safety. This is an effort that needs to be directed to individuals and it goes much deeper than spay/neuter.

We have created and bred dogs for companionship and service. It is our responsibility to care for them. Please do spay and neuter your pets, and encourage all to treat companion animals with love and respect. . .regardless of breed!

You breed. Do you also help rescue?

As a trainer, I work with dogs that come from all places- both reputable and backyard breeders, rescues, shelters, strays, and more. I take them all, work with them all, and love them all. I accept the dogs and the owners for who they are. Working with many rescues, I encounter a lot of individuals who have very strong feelings against breeding dogs. They would prefer to be out of business, having no more homeless animals to save. Of course breeders feel justified in their actions and beliefs as well- this goes for both reputable and backyard breeders, as often the backyard breeders don’t know who they are, unfortunately. As we all know: everybody’s dog is the best dog in the world!

My question to all of you is this: Is there a middle ground?

L-R: Reese, Dojo, and Caddy. . .and in the back is Star. All rescues.

L-R: Reese, Dojo, and Caddy. . .and in the back is Star. All rescues. Puppies are available for adoption through Mid Atlantic Bully Buddies.

As a working dog person, I prefer a purebred and intact dog to work with. I have never bred my dogs, and I don’t intend to. However, when I work a dog in the sport that I choose (Schutzhund), I prefer the uninterrupted drives of an intact dog that is specifically bred for a purpose. I also prefer the muscle development of intact dogs for such an athletic sport. Yes, I’ve successfully competed with spayed/neutered rescue dogs as well. It’s my preference, and I do see a difference. I also participate in rescue. Although I only contribute to the population by adding occasional demand, I find it both important and rewarding to assist in rescue efforts. Personally,  I believe that anybody who adds to the population in any way- whether that be breeding or seeking a purebred dog, should assist in rescue as well. It really is important to see both sides!

Now, this doesn’t mean that a typical family that purchases a purebred dog for the children needs to go out and adopt a rescue as well. Anybody can help, and there are a number of ways. Volunteering at a rescue or shelter can be a great help to them, and very rewarding to you. Donations are always welcomed, too- money, bedding, collars and leashes are all helpful. Of course, if you do feel compelled to take in a rescued life, foster and forever homes are always needed!

Take time today to consider what you can do to help your local animals in need. A few local all-breed shelters are:

Maryland SPCA


Baltimore Humane

Humane Society of Harford County

The puppies in the picture above are available for adoption once they have been fully vetted and spayed/neutered. Please contact Mid Atlantic Bully Buddies for details: MABB

How do I socialize my new puppy?

Pictured above are Ace, Fin, and Red; recent graduates of Mutt Magic’s S.T.A.R. Puppy course! This course is recommended for dogs between 4-10 months of age, and is a great way to socialize your new puppy. Focusing on items such as proper dog-dog social behavior, as well as behavior management, housebreaking, and more, this is a great course to enroll your puppy in to learn the basics, and if he/she is not quite ready for the riggors of a CGC course.
How else do you socialize your new puppy? Be careful! Outside of the controlled environment of a training class, many things can either help or hinder the socialization process. As a young dog, you MUST expose him to as many things as you can, but you must do this safely, and be sure that he is not overloaded and does not become fearful. If you are new to the socialization process, always consult with a professional. Aja, Amber, and Kristen, of Mutt Magic, are all capable of helping you make the right socialization decisions. 
 Stick to small play groups or controlled training classes until your dog has been fully vaccinated. Be sure that your puppy is up to date on vaccinations before bringing her to high traffic dog areas, such as dog parks and pet stores. While learning appropriate dog behavior typically outweighs any health risks, unnecessarily exposing your dog to disease can be dangerous. 
Get your puppy out, and have fun!


As some may know, in addition to running Mutt Magic full time, I also attend school full time. I try to not allow idle time for my brain, and I like to remain challenged. As my summer semester is finishing up, my professor had us analyze the class, which led me to an important realization! People will meet you where you have set your expectations, and will be enriched and grow when they are challenged. Wow. I suppose this is something that we all know, but may not take the time to think about. The next thing the professor asked us was how we would apply this in life.

When I thought of this, I also thought of formerly being that unchallenged employee that used to sit around and email my friends or play computer games. I definitely do NOT have time for that now- nor do I have a desire to be unproductive or to fill time with meaningless things. The next thing I thought of was how to prevent unproductive behavior from current and future employees. I’m lucky to be in a business that naturally provides an enriching environment, but that’s not to say that people don’t need to be challenged! In the past, I’ve found myself thinking about how easy teaching a basic group obedience class is, and there will come a point where my employees will feel the same way. So, what’s next?? Well, that will be different for each person, depending on their strengths. But, it will be my goal to provide a challenge.

I’ll finish by stating that I overall believe school to be a necessary evil. I don’t typically have respect for many college professors, because most of them never actually have made it in the “real world” that they’re trying to prepare students for. For example, I don’t like to be told about business by someone who has never run one, etc. With all of that said, while the above referenced class was not about productivity, this was something very valuable that I was able to take away!