Dog Training

Serving Surrey & Langley BC

July 23, 2017
by Liz Gaige
Comments Off on Why BSL (Breed Specific Legislation) is BS

Why BSL (Breed Specific Legislation) is BS

As a dog care professional I train, board, and walk dogs daily. Over the years I’ve encountered many dogs with a wide variety of personalities and behavioural issues. I’ve worked with both happy-go-lucky dogs and some with pretty severe issues. In my experience, breed has never been a reliable predictor of which is going to be which.

As someone surrounded by dogs all day I’m astonished that anyone still believes that breed is what we should be focused on to stay safe. First off, it’s extremely difficult to determine the breed of a dog based solely on looks.

Behaviour, Not Looks

More importantly, we in fact need to be assessing each dog’s behaviour, which is unique to the individual and is a blend of nature, early nurture, and life experience.

I’m out every day with my client’s dogs and I take the responsibility of keeping them safe very seriously. There are enough poorly behaved dogs out and about (of all breeds) that I’m always on the lookout to avoid possible negative encounters. When I see a dog in the distance I begin assessing immediately whether it is in our path and what the dog’s body language tells me about how he’s feeling.

And I don’t make that assessment based on the dog’s breed…because that information doesn’t help me.

I gain much more valuable information from a dog’s posture, face, ears and tail that tell me about his frame of mind. Out and about in the real world, guessing a dog’s breed simply doesn’t tell me what I need to know about a particular dog in a particular situation.

THE most reactive dog I have ever worked with was a black lab. He started out well in life, but a few unfortunate and uncontrollable encounters and he was rendered a barking, snarling, fearful wreck with dogs and most men.

You never would have guessed it from the way he looked.*

To learn more about Breed Specific Legislation and why it doesn’t work, check out the HugABull Advocacy & Rescue website or Facebook page, or search the hashtag #BSLbytes.


*I’m happy to report that with positive reinforcement training and regular practice the black lab made significant progress.

February 12, 2017
by Liz Gaige
Comments Off on Dog Toys for Heavy Chewers

Dog Toys for Heavy Chewers

Because I have a variety of dogs coming to stay for boarding, I’m always looking for tough, durable chew toys. Enough of my boarding guests are hard chewers that I often restrict access to many of the dog toys in the toy cupboard. (Yes, there is a whole cupboard.) If I don’t choose wisely, my stash would be shredded in no time.

Today I found a great solution to the tough, durable dog toy problem. Continue Reading →

May 19, 2016
by Liz Gaige
Comments Off on Rest in Peace, Dexter

Rest in Peace, Dexter

Surrey dog walking

My all-time favourite photo of Dexter, just taking a break on a walk. In the early days he sometimes needed a rest before we headed home.

I got some sad news a couple of weeks ago, about a Fuzzy Buddy of mine. Not technically my dog, but one I loved nonetheless. Rest in peace, dear Dexter.

It’s a strange kind of relationship, being a dog walker. I spend time with and get to know the personalities of the dogs I walk quite well. I’m not family, but I definitely get attached to “my dawgs” and they feel a lot like family to me. Especially if they’ve boarded with me as well.

I enter their homes, walk with them, play with them, typically do some training, occasionally feed them, often give them treats…and always care deeply about the their welfare, especially while in my care. It’s sad to have to say good-bye. Continue Reading →

March 14, 2016
by Liz Gaige
Comments Off on Tricks, No Treats

Tricks, No Treats

Almost two years ago I blogged about a video I found of a magician who made dog treats disappear, much to the confusion of the dogs who were hoping to get one.

It’s a cute and funny video to most people who view it, but to me it’s even more. It’s a wonderful example showing just how much dogs engage with us and look to us for information and to make sense of things. This “checking in” often goes unnoticed as we go about our day with a dog underfoot, but after watching this I hope you’ll be left with both a smile and a new appreciation for how much your dog looks up to you.

February 26, 2016
by Liz Gaige
Comments Off on Calming Signals, Not Just For Dogs

Calming Signals, Not Just For Dogs

In this classic example of a calming signal. puppy Dakota is turning away Champ's inquisitive nose.

In this classic example of a calming signal. puppy Dakota is turning away from Champ’s inquisitive nose.

Hurrah! It’s not just dogs who exhibit calming signals, it’s horses too. And I’ll bet if we take a closer look at the other animals we rub…well, ankles with (more so than shoulders, right?)…we’ll find signs that most others do too. Simply put, calming signals are ways to make social interactions go more smoothly between animals who interact in social groups.

We humans have all kinds of social calming signals, from self-depricating laughter to verbal cues (i.e. “Excuse me”) to culturally specific social norms, to keep our interactions from going awry, our actions or words misunderstood. Doesn’t it make sense that social animals have the same? Continue Reading →

February 7, 2016
by Liz Gaige
Comments Off on Even More Ways to Tire Out Your Dog Without Breaking a Sweat

Even More Ways to Tire Out Your Dog Without Breaking a Sweat

“A tired dog is a happy dog. Better yet, a tired dog is a happy owner.”
Liz Gaige
Animal Lover, Dog Walker, Doggie Foster Mom, Animal Behaviour Nerd

20151109_143253There are just some days when you get home beat. Getting out the door to give Fido or Freida enough exercise to keep him or her quiet for the evening just isn’t going to happen. So, how to keep them–and by extension you–from climbing the walls and getting into trouble?

Enter brain games! Food puzzle games are great brain games that help tire dogs out. They certainly aren’t a replacement for physical exercise, but they sure help burn off some energy in a pinch.  Continue Reading →

February 4, 2016
by Liz Gaige
Comments Off on More Ways to Tire Out Your Dog Without Breaking a Sweat

More Ways to Tire Out Your Dog Without Breaking a Sweat

“A tired dog is a happy dog. Better yet, a tired dog is a happy owner.”
Liz Gaige
Animal Lover, Dog Walker, Doggie Foster Mom, Animal Behaviour Nerd

IMG_2475I’m a big believer in environmental enrichment to aid in animals’ mental as well as emotional health. That’s not the only benefit, though. All that mental work and the physical activity in chasing down the kibble really does tire out your dog. Best part, there’s no extra effort on your part, therefore, no sweat.

I know the dogs love playing food puzzle games but I’m actually not sure who has more fun, me thinking up new ways to amuse the dog or the dog playing with my latest creation. Continue Reading →

January 23, 2016
by Liz Gaige

How to Tire Out Your Dog Without Breaking a Sweat

A tired dog is a happy dog, as I like to say. And “A tired dog is a happy owner,” I like to say even more.

PLEASE can we play food puzzle games?

PLEASE can we play food puzzle games?

Moxie, our HugABull foster dog, is a clever girl and loves to be active. Me, not so much. I mean I’m clever and I do get out. I’m a dog walker, after all. I just don’t feel the need to then add an extra couple of hours of exercise to my already busy days.

Thankfully, there’s more than one way to tire a dog. Physical exercise has its place, absolutely. Dogs are very physical creatures and they innately need to move. It helps them feel good and keeps them in good mental spirits when they can explore and use their noses as nature intended. Plus, it gives me a job. All good.

But. There is another, highly overlooked way to tire out your dog and keep him happy without having to break a sweat while you do it. Oh yeah!

They are called food puzzles. Not only does your hound burn brain power figuring out how to make them work, she also feeds her biological need to hunt and scavenge. Continue Reading →

December 13, 2015
by Liz Gaige
Comments Off on Unofficial Moxie “Personals” Adoption Ad

Unofficial Moxie “Personals” Adoption Ad

After a settling in and assessment period our foster dog Moxie is now available for adoption and the rescue has posted her profile for potential adopters. Given Moxie’s style in the thank you letter she sent her Sponsor Mom, somehow I think she would have written it a bit differently…

Looking for Love…and Bacon Treats
(a.k.a. Will Do Anything for Food)

FuzzyBuddyBC Moxie smileHi, my name is Moxie (The Wonder Dog). I like walks in the park, picnics (or anything else that’s all about food) and playing fetch ANYTIME, ANYWHERE, with ANYTHING.

I’m a very happy girl, especially in the morning when I get out of my crate and bounce (yes bounce) around the yard in sheer joy. I love to play tag and get some pretty serious air even when I’m barely trying. I’d be a whiz at agility.

I’ve got lots of energy and LOVE to play fetch, learn tricks, and play food puzzle games. I’m pretty clever, too. I learn quickly and only ask for a bit of kibble in return. It goes both ways, though. I love to cuddle so I’ll want to train you as well, mostly about where I like to be massaged and how to give me really good treats when I look adoringly into your eyes. Continue Reading →

December 11, 2015
by Liz Gaige
1 Comment

Moxie the Foster Dog is Officially Adoptable

FuzzyBuddyBC Moxie the Foster HugABullIt’s official, our happy-go-lucky Moxie, the lovable pit bull foster dog from HugABull Advocacy & Rescue is ready for adoption! It’s been a crazy fast ride, the time has flown by and it feels a little surreal.

I’ve loved working with Moxie the past five+ weeks and will miss her terribly when she goes; it’s the bittersweet reality of fostering. At the same time, I’m really excited that she will quickly and happily wriggle her way into the hearts of a new, loving family just like she did ours.

Moxie has been a delight, making me laugh out loud on a regular basis and impressing me with joyful exuberance and ability to learn quickly. Here are a few things we’ve been up to… Continue Reading →

November 11, 2015
by Liz Gaige
Comments Off on Fostering a Pit Bull

Fostering a Pit Bull

Foster dog Moxie pit bullIf you’re following the Fuzzy Buddy Facebook page or Instagram feed you’ll be well aware there’s a new roommate in the house. She’s an adorable 2 year old and her name is Moxie.

After contacting half a dozen dog rescues and not hearing back I got in touch with HugABull, a Lower Mainland group focused on rescue of and advocacy for pit bulls. Funny how things always work out for the best. Continue Reading →

November 10, 2015
by Liz Gaige
Comments Off on Teaching Heel With a Hands-Free Leash

Teaching Heel With a Hands-Free Leash

Hands-Free LeashA big shout out to my friend, colleague and dog walker/trainer extraordinaire, Carey of Carey’s Dog Walk & Play. Carey was kind enough to pass along a hands-free leash she was no longer using and I’ve been trying it out with the wonder dog, foster dog Moxie this past week. It’s come in very handy.

Moxie is a lovely 2 year old pit bull who pulls, pulls, pulls. She has places to go! After the first couple of walks in the neighbourhood to test the dog, I decided it was time to test the new-to-me leash. Continue Reading →

October 11, 2015
by Liz Gaige

My First Fuzzy Buddy


“Like any good feline worth her whiskers she simply ignored my mild protest and wormed her way deep into my heart.”

I’ve loved many Fuzzy Buddies of all shapes and sizes over the years, but the first one snuck into my life before I knew I needed her, a shy ginger tabby I inherited when my sister and her family moved and couldn’t take Lewis (nee  Marmalade) with them.

I’d gone with my brother-in-law to pick Lewis up at a cat rescue as a Christmas present for my nieces and nephew and had visited regularly after that. Lewis and I had a special bond from that very first day — so much so even my 3 year old niece noticed, “She likes you better.” Continue Reading →

September 15, 2015
by Liz Gaige
Comments Off on Foster Dog Kane

Foster Dog Kane

Kane the Foster Dog

Kane the Foster Dog

Wow, last week was a busy one, trying to keep up with a lively, four legged, Fuzzy Buddy. That would be Kane, the adorable, adoptable foster dog, a 3.5 year old doberman with boundless energy and plenty of personality. Kane’s owner went into palliative care in the final stages of a terminal illness so Kane needed a place to hang out until a suitable home could be arranged. In the week he was here a little spot in my heart opened up just for him.

Doberman’s are high energy and smart, not a good combo if you want a compliant, fuzzy, foot warmer. Fortunately, Kane’s owner put a lot of time and energy into him, as was clear from observing his interactions with other dogs and his environment, as well as his responsiveness to requests. Sometimes. Really, for a dog under stress in a strange place without his owner and no way to explain to him what was happening, Kane did remarkably well. And kept me very entertained. Continue Reading →

June 30, 2015
by Liz Gaige
1 Comment

Hope for a Feral Cat

I fell in love a while ago. And hard. I knew it couldn’t last, a sort of summer romance that you know will end but embark on anyway. A tale of love with a convict on lock down.

Suzie Sunshine (nee Scrappy) LAPSMeet Suzie Sunshine. That sure wasn’t her name when I met her. Scrappy, they called her. This little rescue cat had been brought in to a local animal shelter, Langley Animal Protection Society, and while her sibling was adopted quite quickly, Suzie’s fierce determination to draw blood from anyone she encountered earned her the name and associated reputation.

I didn’t know all that when I first met her, I just saw a small, frightened young cat who kept herself tightly contained in a corner of her kitty condo. She intrigued me. I wanted to connect. Continue Reading →