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December 2020
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2020—Wow, what a year!
COVID-19, fires, social unrest, political drama, this has been a tough year on so many levels. But dogs have remained a constant source of good through all of the challenges. I want to express my sincerest thanks to all of you who have allowed me to support you in your dog training efforts this past year. You and your pups are a true gift in my life. Happy Winter Holidays and Happy New Year and let’s hope 2021 brings only positive changes.

Shadow’s holiday shopping guide

Winter is a time of gift-giving. And Shadow wanted me to make sure that you keep your dog in mind when you are shopping for the family. Here are some of the things she thinks your pup may enjoy.

Food Toys. This is a no brainer for Shadow. She prefers meals from food toys over a boring bowl any day! Kong Classic Dog Toy is Shadow’s favorite (stuffed with kibble and soft dog food, of course).

Another great choice is West Paw Toppl Treat Toy. It is a little easier for dogs to get the food out. There are lots of others too, but these are our favorites.

Bully Buddy. Does your dog or puppy enjoy a good chew? The Bully Buddy is a nifty little gadget that makes chewing bully sticks safer by keeping the chunky ends secured so your dog doesn’t swallow them whole.

Tugs and things that fly. Have you met my dog? She loves to chase and tug. While ChuckIt! Balls remain Shadow’s favorite, two other toys are a close second. The Chuckit! Zipflight Disc (soft Frisbee) and the Kong Wubba tug toys get two paws up.

Favorite new book (OK—this suggestion comes from Mardi, but Shadow approves). Treat Everyone Like a Dog: How a Dog Trainer’s World View Can Improve Your Life, by Karen B. London, PhD. If you want to geek out on both dog training and making life better for the humans in your life, this is a book for you. I am really enjoying reading it!

Does your dog bark when people come to the door?

You are not alone. Most dogs bark some when people come to the door (and in fact, sounding the alarm is one of the things many of us appreciate about our dogs). But with COVID and the lack of visitors at our homes, many younger pups are having an especially hard time when people come to the door. Even some of our seasoned dogs who used to be OK with visitors are now noticing the contrast and reacting more strongly. What can you do? Thankfully, most of the training needed for dealing with this can be done by you and your family (no unfamiliar visitors required). Click here for tips on helping your dog feel safer, respond more calmly, and quiet down sooner when people are finally allowed to visit again.
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What will 2021 hold for Good Dog Santa Cruz?

Since so many people sign up for my newsletter to learn when new classes will be opening, I wanted to give you an update on what I will be offering in the new year.
  • Private and semi-private programs. I plan to continue offering private and semi-private lessons—outside, with social distance, and masks. Check out my website for current offerings and availability. And if I am not available (I am already booked into February) please feel free to email for referrals to other trainers who use similar, effective, force-free training methods.
  • More online resources. I am currently in the process of restructuring my website to offer more online resources to my current and past students as well as others who may be interested. Articles, training handouts, videos, and maybe even a few webinars. Check out my new resources section in January!
  •  What about classes? I’m sorry to say that at this point, I do not plan to bring back public classes in 2021. With the uncertainty around COVID-19, I feel it is best to stick to working with individuals and small groups who are already part of the same “pod.”
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