Five-point checklist for a safe Halloween for your dog

Halloween is a lot of spooky fun for humans, but for some dogs, it can be downright scary! There are plenty of dangers that can be avoided if you plan and prepare well. Here is our five-point checklist to help you and your dog remain safe and happy.

  1. Keep candies and decorations out of their reach.
    Human candy is for humans only! Chocolate and xylitol, a common sweetener, are both highly toxic to dogs. Likewise, be careful when it comes to decorations. Chewing on electrical wires and unattended candles can be deadly risks. Pumpkins and corn decorations can also be harmful if ingested in large amounts: at the very least, these real foods can cause gastrointestinal upset and at the worst, if a dog were to chew off large chunks, a choking or blockage hazard. Glow-in-the-dark accessories and fake blood can also be toxic. If you suspect your dog has ingested something, rush them to your nearest emergency clinic or call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center for help: 888-426-4435.


    Reg loves his pumpkin costume!

  2. To costume, or not to costume?
    Many people love dressing up their dogs for Halloween, but do their dogs actually love it, or are they just tolerating it? Making sure the costume fits well and is introduced properly and positively is key. By putting it on slowly, little bits at a time, and pairing the experience with lots of little bits of high-value treats (i.e., deli meat without flavorings or additives, bits of cheese or natural hot dog, etc.), your dog may be able to tolerate a costume just fine. Remember your dog should be able to move freely in the costume, and to remove small parts if they can pose a possible choking hazard. If your dog still shows signs of not enjoying himself in the costume, don’t force him to wear it! Most dogs are happiest not having to wearing costumes, so it’s important to remember that. Remember, signs of discomfort/stress can be very subtle: licking of the lips, turning the head away, seeing the whites of the eyes, folded down/back ears, tucked tail, hunching over, furrowed brow.
  3. Preparing for Halloween trick-or-treaters and parties is very important!
    Some dogs don’t tolerate large parties or unfamiliar visitors coming to the door, and with Halloween costumes making everyone look and sometimes even smell different, it can be even more frightening. Opening and closing of doors can also pose a risk if your dog is likely to bolt from fear, or even excitement. Management is most important. For fearful or anxious dogs, having them in a separate area with some soothing music or white noise machine to lessen the noise of the party can be best. You can also opt to give some calming treats and enrichment, to assist as well as give him something to do. For dogs that may want to join in the party, remember to be careful with opening and closing doors—it may be best to keep him on leash or have gates in place to prevent him from going into areas where he could possibly bolt and escape.
  4. Bring them in!
    Remember that pets unattended in yards can always be at risk, regardless of the festivities taking place or time of year. Because so many more people are out on Halloween in costume, it can again be scarier for your dog and put him or her at added risk, so it’s best to bring them in and only take them out while you are able to actively supervise them.
  5. Don’t forget to have proper ID for your dog.
    Remember to have a collar with up-to-date contact information either imprinted on the collar, or on attached tags. Microchips are also a great tool to consider. This will ensure that, if your pet does go lost, you will be reunited more quickly.

In addition to our five-point checklist, we really love Doggone Safe’s Halloween Safety Page, filled with videos and other tips for the entire family.

Happy Halloween!
Owner, Delightful Doggies

September 2016 clients

Autumn is here! The changing leaf colors and cooler mornings have signaled the official beginning of the fall season, and we are very excited to have a lot of new clients coming on board, and returning clients, to enjoy this season filled with wonderful training fun! September is one of my favorite months, and I’m really looking forward to October.

Check out the September clients by clicking on the below photo icons to go to our Flickr album; if you click on the slideshow button on that webpage (top right computer/play icon), you can view them in a fun slideshow format. You can also LIKE and follow our Facebook page to see even more photos of client dogs, great articles, news items and blog posts as they’re posted; we are also planning on some fall and winter specials so be on the lookout!

Max Stout Lola Roxy Cooper Mochalatte and Katie Roo Quinn Olive Morrie Mueller, Kona and Ziggy Morty Stella Sammy Zoey Teddy and Marley Sam Penelope Barney Cisco and Nalu Vader Kuma Winnie

Wishing you an amazing autumn!
Owner, Delightful Doggies

A Weekend with Suzanne Clothier: The Elemental Questions

I was honored to attend a weekend-long event with Relationship Centered Dog Training expert Suzanne Clothier a couple of weeks ago, while she was here in Denver. A weekend full of learning with her was truly an amazing experience, and I took many great items of wisdom from it.

Out of that entire weekend, her “SEE the Dog: The Elemental Questions” made the strongest impression on me. I will admit it’s been hard to write about dog training lately, as I have felt some burnout at times. Many of my thoughts lately have been about the ethics—or lack of—within the dog training profession. The Elemental Questions Suzanne posited were very exciting and encouraging to me, as I view them as an essential way to determine if your approach with a dog is going to be based on trust and respect, and are in alignment with the ethics I strive to uphold.

The Elemental Questions are:

Hello? This is the introduction, the initial observation where we would look to the dog and how he interacts with the world.

Who are you? This is all about figuring out the dog’s perception—how does he respond to the items in his world? What does this tell us about the dog? Is he happy and confident? Or a shrinking violet?

Roo says, Yes! We can hang out together!

Roo says, Yes! We can hang out together!

How is this for you? This is the question you must ASK CONSTANTLY. It’s about being able to determine the mental, emotional and physical balance of the dog in the immediate situation. If we aren’t able to continue to ask and receive answers to this question, we risk damage to our relationship with our dogs, as the dog may be out of balance and in need of our intervention!

Can you? Is the dog able to pay attention to you? To sit when asked? To walk beside you? What is this dog able to do in this environment? With this distraction present?

May I? Will you allow me to look you in the eyes? Are you able to allow me to pet you? Do I have permission to take you by the leash for a walk?

Can we? What can we do together? Can we practice some tricks? Can we enjoy an outing to the park? Can we relax here together? This brings the relationship full-circle, being able to engage together in activities.

Answering these questions is very dependent on our ability to really read a dog’s body language, and make the best decisions based on that information. Dogs cannot tell us in English—we must be able to read, and respect, what their body language tells us. When we’re able to see what truly makes a dog happy, we can better fulfill his needs. When we’re better able to see the gaps in how comfortable he is, we can make plans to adequately address it. When we really understand the dog, and when he is able to think and learn with us, then we will have true training success.

I encourage readers to ask these questions of their dogs, and to always remember to ask, How is this for you? By really paying attention and listening to what our dogs tell us, we can make the best, most effective and efficient, and most humane training and behavior plans!

Let us know if we can help you better understand and build a relationship with your dog,
Owner, Delightful Doggies

Client spotlight: Desmond the Boston terrier

Congratulations to our September client spotlight, Desmond the Boston terrier puppy!


Desmond gives his best sit-stay

Desmond is around four or five months old; he is a rescue pup and is learning all the basics through our Day Training program! So far he has learned touch, sit, free (his release cue), down, leave it, drop it and come. He knows how to sit and wait for a release to get his food and toys, and he was housetrained very quickly! Des is smart as a whip, and getting a great start on learning everything he needs to be with his human companions!

In the last couple of weeks, Desmond has been teething a lot so we have also been teaching him proper bite inhibition, and getting him acclimated to wearing his leash without biting it! He’s also starting to learn how to heel, little bits at a time, as it is a complex skill and he needs lots of breaks to chew. Being a puppy is hard work!

Day Training is a favorite of ours because we get to work with dogs one-on-one and it’s a lot of fun! It’s also great for the owners because we are able to give more pointed advice on working with their particular dog, and “speed up” training so that it’s easier, more efficient and effective, and less stressful for all involved.

We really appreciate Desmond, and his mother and roommates’ dedication to learning how to best care for him and providing all that he needs to be the best little “Boston terrierist” he can be!😉 Thank you for allowing us the opportunity to work with all of you!

Happy Training!
Owner, Delightful Doggies

August 2016 clients

It’s officially the end of summer, and this was our most successful summer to date! We are really looking forward to autumn, and expect to be very busy! We really appreciate all our clients, their referrals, and the support of all those out there who know us. It’s such a joy to work with so many wonderful people and their dogs.

You can click on the below photo icons to see photos of all our August clients; if you click on the slideshow button on that webpage (top right computer/play icon), you can view them in a fun slideshow format. You can also LIKE and follow our Facebook page to see even more photos of client dogs, great articles, news items and blog posts as they’re posted. We’d love to have you join us there and LIKE and COMMENT on our posts!

Roxy Cain Penelope Mueller, Ziggy and Kona Morty Morty Grom Cisco Nalu Maia and Callisto Maisy Ryder, Nala and Indy Taylor Sammy Armina Lola Mochalatte and Katie Barney Charlie Olive Stout Desmond Honey Stella Cafe and Macchiato

Enjoy the remainder of your Labor Day weekend!
Owner, Delightful Doggies

Client spotlight: Roxy the chow/shepherd mix

Congratulations to our August client spotlight, Roxy the chow/shepherd mix!


Foxy Roxy chills in her yard

Roxy is in foster with a wonderful family who are likely to become foster failures.🙂 We have been working with her and her mother for a few months now, and it’s been a real pleasure to see this girl come out of her shell!

Roxy was taken into rescue after living on a property with many other animals, all living outside. She wasn’t very well socialized and was really thrown for a loop when she went from being a rural, outside-only dog to a suburban dog with a nice home to come inside to! Getting her acclimated and past her anxiety of this change has been a process. We have been able to help her feel better physically through adequate supplements and TTouch work, and get her acclimated to new things and experiences through gradual desensitization and counterconditioning, and TTouch techniques like groundwork.

Her mother has learned the importance of taking it at Roxy’s pace–we have not forced her into situations, her ability to choose is important–and building trust. In time, she’s learned how to be comfortable coming upstairs from her preferred downstairs area, accept having a collar on her, go on short neighborhood walks, have fun with enrichment toys and activities, receive basic grooming like brushing, and her current goal–getting into the truck via a ramp! She’s already conquering that final task on the list, and should be able to go to GoodTimes for a Pawbender soon, woo-hoo!

Working with dogs like Roxy and their committed family is what makes this job a very fulfilling experience. Roxy is a blessed dog to have found a home with such patience and love! We also have a lot of fun working with her and her mom. We appreciate them, and they are a very worthy client spotlight!

Thank you for choosing us to help you!
Owner, Delightful Doggies

Hi! I’m Armina and I’m looking for a new home!

13606888_1112495715489542_5340183807137808219_nHi there! I’m Armina! I’m a young, goofy, and adorable rottie mix and I am looking for my forever home! My current parents rescued me from living in a backyard and I really love being with them. These Colorado summers are sure hot! Together we’ve learned all sorts of fun things; did you know you can get treats for tricks? My favorite things are squeaky toys, walks, car rides, belly rubs and hot dogs. In fact, about the only thing I really don’t like are cats, which is a problem for the cat I currently live with. We’ve tried really hard to get along, but I need a cat-free home.

What else would you like to know about me? I’m just over a year old, weigh about 75 pounds and am spayed and up-to-date on all my shots. I’m house trained and crate trained and can hang out in the house unsupervised. I’m pretty agile; you should see me jump! So I do best with a yard that has a six-foot fence. Since I’m a young gal, I am pretty energetic, but a few games of fetch and going on walks get me ready for nap time!


Miss Courtney can vouch for me; I’m awesome!🙂

I’m eager to learn and have learned the basics like sit, down, off, and leave it. Because I can get pretty excited on walks and am a strong girl, I would do best with someone with experience training big dogs like me. I would really benefit from continued positive reinforcement training to be the best girl I can be! I need to be in a house with no small animals or children; they are just too much! I’m good with other well-mannered dogs when properly introduced.

Contact or 303-550-5652 for more information on adopting me!

The Look At That game

Our newest YouTube video features Jackson C., a client of ours who was reactive to other dogs, people (especially the mailman!) and large trucks while on leash. Jackson would lunge and bark, and even nip, which was a liability for his mom, and making daily walks quite unpleasant!

The Look At That game, found in one of our favorite training books, Leslie McDevitt’s Control Unleashed, is one of our go-to techniques for reactivity. This game is effective because it creates a very positive association with the item (“trigger”) to which the dog reacts, as well as teaches them how to disengage, and refocus on their handler. The video shows the process we used in training with Jackson using this technique.

We have had lots of success working with dogs like Jackson, and would love to help you if you’re facing such issues; contact us for more information and to get started!

Happy Training!
Owner, Delightful Doggies

July 2016 clients

July was an amazingly wonderful month. We had some adorable puppies and many dedicated behavior modification clients. It’s always a pleasure to work with so many different clients with a variety of needs and levels. Thank you for helping us continue to be the best trainers we can be! Working with you helps us learn and grow, as much as you!

Check out all our awesome clients by clicking on the photo icons below; if you click on the slideshow button on that webpage (top right computer/play icon), you can view them in a fun slideshow format. You can also LIKE and follow our Facebook page to see even more photos of client dogs, great articles, news items and blog posts as they’re posted, so we hope you’ll interact with us there!

Cain Olive Armina Mochi Dixie Kona Morty Morty Honey Harley Cisco Nalu Mooney Callisto Maia Taylor Roxy Sammy Mia Ryder Indy and Nala Quinn Penelope Jake Maisy Lola

Thank you for your continued support!
Owner, Delightful Doggies

Client spotlight: Cain the husky

Congratulations to our July client spotlight, Cain the husky!

Cain settles on his mat

Cain settles on his mat

We have been searching for a new, perfect-fit home for Cain, and he comes with two free training sessions to whoever adopts him successfully. In the meantime, his mother has been doing a great job of doing what it takes to ensure Cain is happy and learning all he needs to learn.

Originally contacted for separation anxiety issues, Cain’s behavior has improved over behavior modification sessions we’ve had with his mother in addition to providing lots of outlets for him: day training, daycare visits and more time to be a dog have all proven to cut back on the amount of vocalization he was having in his home. In addition, we used an Auto Trainer and gave him more freedom at home alone to teach him how to be quiet and non-destructive after doing morning Day Training sessions to help him have some fun and learn how to properly walk on leash, deal with distractions and control his impulses.

Cain also accompanied me to a dog-dog play workshop with the great Pia Silvani. He received SO MANY compliments from her and my colleagues on how great he was with other dogs, and what a smart and sweet guy he is. Many couldn’t understand why we weren’t getting more inquiries for his adoption–I confer! If I wasn’t at my three-dog limit, I would definitely want to bring Cain home and have lots of adventures with him. He’s one of the most enjoyable dogs I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting and working with!

Not everyone would put in as many resources as Cain’s mother has to ensuring his happiness. It has been a bit of a roller coaster ride, but he and his mother have come a long way, and are doing well in the meantime as we search for his perfect permanent home.

We want to extend a huge thanks to his mother for taking our advice and doing whatever it takes to help this young boy grow into a happy adult! If you are interested in adopting Cain, please contact me for an application.

Thank you,
Owner, Delightful Doggies

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