Random Keywords

Random-randomLooking through some of the keywords people have put in to find my blog on search engines. I have done ZERO SEO work on my blog because I’m not interested in getting views. I just want to tell my story to the world and people who are interested. If you want to read, awesome. If not, you’ll die a painfully horrible death that’s ok too.

Anyway, here are some that stood out, or were super common in the list of 400 keywords people searched for. I didn’t include the obvious ones like ‘heather Hamilton dog training’ or ‘how do I potty train my puppy’ or ‘great dane puppies’ because those aren’t interesting at all, and those actually make sense.

sexwoman, pet gay sex, husband leash training, sex lasben muskart, sexwoman ah nd animal, dogtraining gay fiction, puppy with no money, heather hamilton dog, dog training gay bara, singapore roller coaster vector, can bearded dragons eat triscuits, gay puppy training pads, dog gaysex, heather beck dog training

So, let’s think of this logically. Lots of gay animal sex keywords mentioned. I don’t think I have ever wrote about gay dog sex, gay puppy training pads, dog training gay fiction, or anything gay in Singapore. But, ok. Not sure how my blog came up with those searches. Great job, Google. Let’s clear something up. Dogs can’t be gay. Ok, moving on.

‘husband leash training’. This makes sense if you are into that sort of thing. I can see the appeal. I don’t think I would write about it on my blog, however. I would have to go look through every single post I have ever made to see if I have discussed ever attaching a leash to my husband.

Next one is ‘puppy with no money’. It is a sad world indeed. That puppy may just need to find a job.

Now, Singapore roller coaster vector. I.. don’t even know what to say about this one.

Can bearded dragons eat triscuits? Umm, I guess they could if they wanted to… Not healthy for them, but I’m sure if they were hungry enough, they certainly could eat a triscuit. Man, what are people searching for nowadays? Bored much?

And the last one that is interesting and kind of cool – ‘heather back dog training’. Heather Beck is a trainer in my area, a highly reputable awesome trainer, I might add. She owns K9 Lifeline and teaches workshops throughout the year. The workshops I have attended this year have all been at her facility, and I am also taking her Certification course next week at her facility. She travels to Belize a lot to help adoptions out there as well as spay/neuter and help with vaccinations. She also works with Cesar Millan on his workshops. I’m excited to get to actually work closely with her next week.

Anyway, this post was random, but I wanted to at least write something this week. Just a heads up- next week will be busy since I will be at my workshop, so don’t expect a post from me.

Chow for now brown cow.

Life Lessons

life-lessons-no-school-taughtToday, I feel like I need to sort out some of my feelings based on the decision I had to make recently. Yes, it has been about a month or so, but I’m not ‘over it’. I’m fine for a couple days now, and then I’m caught off guard by someone checking in. “Hey, how’s the training going with Ryder?” “I heard what happened with Ryder…”

So, I’m finding big decision quotes and how they relate to what I’m going through. It’s helping, because I feel like a bigger person for making this decision. Even though it sucks, it was right. I’m having dreams… and I wake up, thinking I’m boarding Ryder, and I actually walk all the way downstairs to the kennel he used to sleep in, and he’s not there. I think if he was actually there, I would check myself into a mental hospital, but that’s’ not the point.

So, here’s to you, Ryder. Because I did what was best.


“There must be a few times in life when you stand at a precipice of a decision. When you know there will forever be a Before and an After…I knew there would be no turning back if I designated this moment as my own Prime Meridian from which everything else would be measured.”
― Justina ChenNorth of Beautiful

This decision was life changing for me. It changed my personally, emotionally, and it has changed the way I see aggression. It has changed the way I train, and how I interact with people with difficult dogs. And it changes the way I evaluate dogs. I will not set myself or the dog up to fail by taking on a case too difficult for me for my current skill set. I am more reserved as a person, and I have taken a step back from the ‘Let’s go do this’ attitude I usually have.


“Waiting hurts. Forgetting hurts. But not knowing which decision to take can sometimes be the most painful…” 
― José N. Harris

 “It does not take much strength to do things, but it requires a great deal of strength to decide what to do.” 
― Elbert Hubbard

“When faced with two equally tough choices, most people choose the third choice: to not choose.
― Jarod KintzThis Book Title is Invisible

All 3 of these quotes represent what I felt like before it happened. This is what I felt when we were weighing the option of rehoming or euthanasia. Waiting on the family to make a decision. Then, the procrastinating to make the appointment. Then, making the appointment and hoping a miracle would happen. Then, after it happened, the healing process. At least I made a decision.


“If you always make the right decision, the safe decision,
the one most people make, you will be the same as everyone else.” 
― Paul Arden

I am not the same. And I never will be ‘normal’. My experience with this situation has been life changing, and I will never be the same again, either.

“It’s not hard to decide what you want your life to be about. What’s hard, she said, is figuring out what you’re willing to give up in order to do the things you really care about.” 
― Shauna NiequistBittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way

I have sacrificed time with my husband, my free time, and my mental health to make this transition. Not necessarily because of Ryder, but he helped me overcome this career obstacle that every trainer needs to go through. And going through this fueled my fire to not give up. I am sad and crushed that it had to come to this, but he is at peace now. I have given up sleep on weekdays, and sleeping in on weekends to be able to switch my career and do what I love. I love my husband for being so patient with me, as when I find something I want, I go for it. I can’t stop. It’s a curse, and a blessing.

So I’m still in the process of grieving. But I’m fine, and I’m healthy, and I will be ok.  I really miss him though. Sometimes, when I don’t have any boarding dogs, I feel like he’s at my house in his kennel. I wake up at nighttime sometimes and hear his bark. A few times, I have really thought he was there.

I’m able to talk about him more and more. People who follow me on my blog, or know me in person, people who love great danes, people who have been interested in hearing my progress with my new career… they ask about him. They sympathize and understand. People who have had aggressive dogs or dogs with mental illnesses have reached out and given me their support.

People who know me know this will haunt me for a while. Out of respect, out of love, out of concern, they won’t say anything, but they are thinking it. And I want all of you to know – I’m ok. I will be fine. Sometimes, I’m a rock. Other times, I’m so fragile, just a caring look will break me. Professionally – I am put together and you will not see this while I am working. Putting on this armor sometimes helps me take my mind off of it.

I write this blog and keep a log of how I feel for a few reasons.

1)       I want people to know I’m human too. I succeed, I fail, I feel. Just like everyone else.

2)      I have a mental disorder I have chosen to not be medicated for. I am an emotionally passionate person with bipolar Type II, so when I feel sad or happy, it’s on either side of the spectrum. When I’m sad, I’m devastated. When I’m happy, I’m annoyingly joyful (ask my husband!) I am living with this. It’s a choice I have made that I am proud of. I can do it without medicine.

3)      I want to help people realize they can do whatever they want. I want to train dogs. I’m doing it. I am changing my destiny and improving my quality of life.

4)      I use this as a therapy tool – it helps to put all these feelings somewhere. I choose to make this public. I am not hiding anything. I write about the good, the bad, and sometimes, the funny. Sometimes, it’s personal. Other times, educational. And occasionally, just downright sad. I  write about my journey. This is what my blog is about.

5)      Education. I do occasionally write educational articles on this blog about dog training. Many people can benefit from just reading about what I go through to learn how to better communicate with their canine friends.

6a0133f351a1fb970b0191030616ca970c-500wiSo, in short. Ask me, don’t ask me. Read, don’t read.  Love me or don’t. But if you get anything from the journey I have taken so far, please – get this: Live and be passionate. Life hurts and it knocks you down, and you are MEANT TO FEEL. So feel!! Crying, being sad, being joyful and being angry are all parts of being human. Embrace this, but don’t let it rule you. Get back up after you have been brought down. Don’t let it stop you from being a great person.

10 Things

Sims Medevil Keg

Sims Medevil Keg

To increase confidence and positivity, think about all the GOOD things about yourself. When you are depressed, this is very hard. However, with practice, you can get better at it.

I practice this every day now and think of 10 things each day that I’m good at, or I think is a good personality trait.

My 10 things for today are:

  1. Spontaneous personality
  2. Bouts of super excitement where I think I’ll explode!
  3. Love my friends and love hanging out with them
  4. My mom says I fit as much as I can into 24 hours and squeeze every last drop out of my life.
  5. I love my clients’ dogs like I love my own dog.
  6. I want to change the world, and I know I am capable of making a big difference.
  7. I am a social chameleon.
  8. I love my friends!
  9. I give 100% at everything I do. I don’t cut corners, and I strive to fix problems.
  10. I have motivation to always be more. I don’t give up when things get hard.

10 Things I completely love:

  1. My whole life – I’m awesome!
  2. My family and friends
  3. Lime-flavored popsicles
  4. Warm Bodies
  5. Final Fantasy, Lost Odyssey, Kingdom Hearts, Last of Us
  6. Songs I can play over and over again and not get sick of them
  7. Drinking spiked lemonade by a pool, lake, or river
  8. The small successes in my life
  9. Romance sex novels
  10. How I can control everything in my life – I make my own decisions, I make my own mistakes, and I am in control of my own life

10 Things I strive to be:

  1. A great dog trainer
  2. Have a great home (it’s my list, I can put whatever I want on here)
  3. Confident
  4. Strong
  5. A great educator/teacher
  6. Non-judgmental
  7. Successful
  8. Happy
  9. Inspirational to others
  10. Have calm, assertive energy to be a strong leader

Happy Thursday, everyone! What are your 10 things?


Pal Royale

FRIENDSRecently, I was feeling pretty down about not hanging out with my friends. It felt like everyone was too busy for me. Now, I’m pretty excited to say that I know I have lots of friends who want to hang out, and that everyone WAS busy, but now they want to chill with my awesome self! Makes me a happy panda!

I had a friend picnic that was really fun, even though we got completely fucking soaked rained on. I had a few previous clients come, and some friends I met at a dog workshop I took a while back. My parents came, and I got to see my niece. That was a really fun day! We played at the park, played with the dogs in the splash pad, and got to chat with everyone. Fun day!

I recently had a friend stay with me from out of town. She travels and moves all the time, so I can’t keep track of where she is. First here, then Washington, then Florida, then California – seriously, woman, calm down! I met her in college, and she moved shortly after I got married. It was an awesome thing to see her. I get to see her a few times a year, and she stays with us, so I get to see her on my way to and from work, and in the evenings.  She doesn’t give us much notice when she’s in town, so I usually can’t change my plans that late in the game (work and client appointments, previous engagements, etc). But it’s still nice to see her. She painted my nails, and we talked about all kinds of stuff.

IMG_9949I made a new friend as well, who was one of my clients, and my hubby and I were invited to her husband’s birthday party a few weeks ago. That was fun, especially since we were outside a ‘work’ setting. I’m seeing her again soon for a girls’ movie night with adult beverages. YAY! By the way, did you know they make cake-flavored vodka? Yeah, I know. Awesome, have to get some immediately.

I had another friend come back from a 3-week long vacation, so, we are trying to plan a lunch date. She’s a very special friend, who was also a previous client. To protect her privacy, I won’t say anything more. All I can say is that she is awesome, and I want to be her when I grow up!

A friend who used to live here, then moved out of state will be in town for a couple days this week as well, and we plan to have lunch together on Thursday. HUGE deal, because I haven’t seen her in almost a year! I see her husband a lot more because he flies in to town to work. He works with my husband, so whenever he comes to town, we always go drinking, or hiking or something. Very fun couple. We need to make plans to visit them, along with a thousand other people.

I’ve also been hanging out with a trainer friend and her hubby pretty often. We’ve gone horseback riding, played video games, and watched fireworks over the last few months, and we are going to watch a movie this week. Have you ever seen Hoodwinked? It’s a really funny who-done-it show with a Little Red Riding Hood twist. I like random movies like that. Speaking of movies, I just watched Warm Bodies as well, and I LOVED it! Since I rented it, I watched it three times, and I want to watch it again. I’m addicted to the main character. He’s like deliciously hot to the point where I think I’m creeping myself out. Well, he’s a zombie, so I guess that’s ok. Yeah, he’s hot non-zombified too. Ok, I’m weird. Whatever. I would zombie rape him. Here’s a trailer about it. Erm.. not zombie raping, but Warm Bodies. Ok I’m done.

Ok, one more because I have an unhealthy love for R. ❤


Hottest zombie I have ever seen

And here’s a trailer for Hoodwinked. Yeah, it’s silly. But it’s really funny.

Anyway, my life is pretty much awesome. I’m happy to say I’m elevated again, so I always end up taking on too much. I’m not going to this time. When I have client cancellations, I take the night off. I didn’t used to do this, and I tried to fill the appointment with another person so that I could fit in more. I was overworking myself. I need a break, and I need more structure with my plans. With the help of a trainer friend, I have revamped my pay-per-session prices, changed my package prices, and I am putting together a group class I want to start offering next year. I have also written up my boarding contract and I’m being more of a business, than just an on-the-side hobby. I also changed my business name, which was much needed. I don’t train with positive-only techniques anymore, so I needed to update everything.  We are no longer Pawsitive Dog Training. Our new business name is Project: K9. It is a good change. I’m getting ready for the big leagues!

Peace out, fans! Thanks for reading and following my story!

The Perfect Dog

Napoleon, helping Aspen learn a solid 'place' command with distractions

Napoleon, helping Aspen learn a solid ‘place’ command with distractions

It has been a while since I have given an update on my boy, Napoleon. So, I’m posting one now. The last time I wrote about him, we had a successful off-leash excursion. We still struggled a bit with some kids on skateboards, and sometimes (rarely) some whining in the crate.

Those 2 items have been addressed and handled. He is now off leash 90% of the time, and I don’t bring him on a leash when I go to clients’ houses either. When I take him on walks, I have complete control over him without a leash, or any equipment.

We have worked hard on his obedience and recalls, and I now I have 95% confidence that if he was adrenalized and I didn’t catch his energy levels in time, that he would still come back. He just recently passed his CGC test and is now a Canine Good Citizen of the world! Yay, Napoleon!

Now, our one last issue that I had to pick and choose my battles was feeding time. He would get so excited he would jump up and down repeatedly, shake, run into walls, and run you down to get his food at dinner time.  This has been a challenge since we adopted him 2 years ago. Now, he will sit, whine and shake until you walk towards the back door to open it up to put his food down. Since we feed raw, I always feed outside.

I can’t wait for him to be calm every single time (it was taking upwards of 4 hours for a calm dog, and even then, I didn’t achieve the level of calm I wanted), so this has been a challenge. We have tried switching up the feeding time, we have tried a place mat, where he cannot move off of the mat at all – tail included. That Is what I wanted him to focus on instead of feeding. He can do that no problem, but the shaking and whining is still a problem.

So, I have separated preparing the food in the morning, and feeding at night. So, they are 2 events, and that has seemed to help with the adrenaline at dinner time. I choose to wait to feed until he is calm at nighttime, then walk upstairs (no words) and get his food out of the freezer). He comes upstairs and follows me calmly and I open the backdoor to let him outside, again – calmly. Then, I come back in, get his food, go outside and put it on the ground. He gets excited, but sits automatically (no words, again), and I walk away.

This has REALLY helped and was our last hurdle to become my ‘perfect’ dog. There really is no such thing, but I’m bias, and I love my dog, and he has worked very hard for that title. He deserves it.

What an improvement, huh? He can walk himself on the treadmill now, I just have to turn it on for him and turn it off when he’s done. He ignores cats, dogs, and other people when we are on our off-leash walk. This also includes skateboards.

Such great progress, and I’m so happy for him. He has worked hard and gets a beef heart for dinner tonight. Yum!


Napoleon, resting after a long day.

Reflection of Positivity

Napoleon and I, after a short training session

Napoleon and I, after a short training session

With all of the emotional challenges I have faced recently, I have to keep focusing on the positives. I focus on how much good I do, and I also face the grim truth: We can’t save them all. But, the ones we are able to save will live on with better lives. I have to think positively.

So, this week’s blog is about my successes this year with my business and personal gains. At the beginning of the year, I had set goals.  Goals I had to accomplish in order to make a huge life change. To take a leap of faith, to make the jump. It all comes down to that decision.

My biggest goal was to get my certification. I have been talking to the owner of K9 Lifeline for quite some time (starting over a year ago) about taking her certification course. At the time, it was around $3,000 and 2 weeks long. Well, that means I needed the money, and I also needed 10 days of PTO. It takes a full month for me to earn 1 day. So, that was 10 months of absolutely no sick days, no vacations, and no ½ days for my own personal sanity. I started saving up my time last year around November. I had a few days saved, so if I didn’t take a day off for Christmas or any other holiday, or get sick, or have an emergency, I could take the course in July.

I had the time, but the Difficult Dog Workshop was in June, and I JUST HAD to go. Which cost me 3 days. That’s 3 more months of no sick days or vacation. I can do it, I know I can. That means I can take my certification in October, and to play it safe, let’s plan on November.

Then, I found out the eTouch Workshop was coming in October with another very reputable trainer. Ok, that’s another 2 days. Which means I’m looking at Dec/Jan. Ah man… at this rate, I’ll never get it. And I’ll never take a vacation!

Then I heard from another trainer that the course is a little cheaper, and is only 6 days, instead of 10, but I get the same amount of material. WHAT?!  Really?! I can take it now! So, the plan is in motion, and I hope to get my certification at the end of August! YAY!

Pack Walk 6/28/13

Pack Walk 6/28/13 (Click to enlarge)

I have also started doing my pack walks. This wasn’t a requirement, but it is a success, and I’m proud I have been able to organize this event. Every time I do them, they get a little easier, I gain a little more confidence, and more people show up for them!

I am now offering a nutritional workshop (hopefully twice a year) because so many clients have been interested in what is the best dog food or I’m interested in raw, I’m just feeding chicken, is that ok? I want to educate and help people do what is right for their dog. Wow, another big event, planned. Hook. Line. Sinker.

I have attended a few nutritional workshops, watched online seminars, increased my training network and made some awesome friends as well. I have read so many books, it sometimes feels I’m reading the same things over and over again. But, if I attend a seminar, read a book, or meet with new people at a workshop, and I learn ONE new thing, it was completely worth it. If I learn a lot, that knowledge is invaluable because I will build on that and learn more new things and become an even better trainer.

I have been asked to help during my trainer friend’s Saturday Socials, and I feel I am becoming more and more confident each week.  This was huge for me, because eventually, I want to run these. I have run a small social in my backyard with 11 dogs (specifically picked out who would be able to come) and I was pretty confident (but so nervous too!). I am more confident and assertive when I am by myself because I sometimes feel I am such a baby in this field, so when I am around someone with more experience, I tend to freeze up a little or my heart starts pounding. I have only been ‘on my own’ training for 2 years. I worked at Petsmart and did simple sit/stay training with my dogs in high school, but not like this.  I will someday be as awesome as these trainers. I can do it, and I am well on my way!

Mowgli was here for boarding for a weekend

Mowgli was here for boarding for a weekend

I have started boarding in my own home. This was a scary move, but overall, I really enjoy it. The dogs are kept safe, get plenty of attention and stimulation and are in a loving environment. And I get to experience what handling more dogs feels like in a safe way. I try to only board dogs I know for this reason. Sometimes, I board dogs I haven’t met before, and it can go either way. I had a crazy dog I boarded in the beginning that was a disaster, but right now, I’m boarding 2 that I had never before. Both are sweethearts, and I’m happy to have them! I get to practice some of my own techniques, I get to practice reading dogs I don’t know, and I get to practice walking multiple dogs at the same time. Sometimes this is a huge challenge because I’ll be walking 4 dogs at once, and only one knows how to walk on a leash nicely. So, we take an hour to go around the block. But that’s just it – I get to practice!

I have actually started making money, and even though I won’t show a profit this year (which is actually a good thing for taxes, of course), I will next year. This year, I attended 2 workshops (so far, and plan to attend another) and my certification course, which weren’t cheap. So, I made money, and then spent it all on workshops.

I have plans in the making to get a better ‘dog car’ as mine is really taking a beating with all the dogs coming and going in it. This may not happen next year, but the year after. In the meantime, I need to find a way to keep my seats intact! Even Napoleon’s kennel won’t fit in my backseat.

We have plans about our location for when I get more serious about doing this. Either having a facility on my own lot, or leasing/purchasing a facility in the future. This is WAY in the future, just a dream right now, but it’s something.

The biggest success, if you can call it that, would be the decision the family and I had to make about their dog, Ryder. You can follow his whole story here. He was a very special Merle Great Dane who had an unpredictable streak. He could be loving on you and playing, and then turn and bite someone. Unfortunately, these are some of the hardest dogs to work with because you can’t find a trigger. We thought it was men, hats, uniforms, etc – but, he wouldn’t go after the same person twice, or the same hat, and if you switched the hat with another person, he would be fine. 95% of the time, he was manageable and just needed training. The other 5% of the time, he was unpredictable and could seriously hurt someone. He was hard to adopt out, and we didn’t find the right home. So, we made the decision to euthanize him. We didn’t come to this decision lightly and it was months of talking about options. I won’t get into everything again, but this was the right thing. I cried pretty much the whole week, I was emotionally exhausted, I didn’t want to talk about it anymore, I wanted a miracle to show up on my doorstep and be the perfect place for him, or I wanted Best Friends to take him. Neither happened. But now, I am at peace with this decision and I am still sad of the outcome – it won’t ever be a ‘happy ending’. But, I know he is running free and will be happy now, without having to worry about anything. I had to make this decision and it has made me a better trainer. This was a turning point in my career. I’m sad it had to be him, but I’m happy he is free and healthy now.

Most of all, I can’t ‘count’ how much I have learned this year, but I have really taken an initiative on learning as much as I can, and sacrificing so much to do this. I have also learned so much about myself, and I feel more complete because of what I have accomplished.  I don’t have the constant stress feeling of ‘Am I doing this right?’ or ‘I’m going to fail, what if I fail?’ feelings. If I fail, I get up and try again. If I get bit or kicked in the teeth, I put a band-aid on and try again. I won’t let other trainers, dogs, people, or my mistakes stop me from continuing on. I will learn from them and be a better trainer for them. I’m happy to take constructive criticism and coaching, but please – no need to be an asshat about it. I want to learn, and I can admit I don’t know everything.

I work in the dog industry, a bite is bound to happen. Not that I want it to, but just like working in construction, it’s inevitable. It’s not if, it’s when.

I’m happy, and I see an end to these 100 hour workweeks. I see a light, and I’m excited to see what happens. Scared, but excited.

I can do this.