Just dogs with Sherri

Dog on a leash. Pay attention!

Fanny pack gone wild.  :)  I had to bring several balls with me to this beach in Connecticut.  Other dogs stole the balls all the time so I had extra bags to put the wet balls in.  

Fanny pack gone wild.  :)  I had to bring several balls with me to this beach in Connecticut.  Other dogs stole the balls all the time so I had extra bags to put the wet balls in.  

I see ducking dogs everywhere.  Team after team stroll past Elsa and I; at the beach, the park, malls and street, ducking.  What do I mean ducking?  

Ducking - to avoid or evade a blow, unpleasant task, etc.; dodge.

Humans strolling along, walking their dog with their arms swinging back and forth.  Along with their arm swing is also the leash swing, perhaps a poop bag swing if you are one of those folks who attach a poop bag holder to the leash.  While the leash swings the dog ducks to avoid the constant and annoying leash and/or poop bag holder hitting them in the face or head.  

When I am working with a client on walking, loose leash walking or heeling, I'm all eyes.  I was trained as a youngster in obedience by a very strict obedience teacher.  She was unfortunately a harsh conventional method trainer but that was many, many years ago when there was nothing else.  She watched our every movement looking for things that would interfere with the robot like obedience we were training our dogs to do.  

The obedience teacher hated when the human students swung their arms about willy nilly.  She'd scream at you until you stopped.  If you held your body crooked, you'd hear about it.  Anything that was unlike a statue was not allowed.  So, although I hated the training method; movement was something that was drilled into my head.  To this day, the arm that holds Elsa's leash is motionless, typically held by my waist.  For those students who did not catch on to the "no flailing" rule; they were told to keep their hand in a belt of waist of pants.  

I see people walking along, not paying any attention to who is on the other end of the leash.  The leash can be whipping them in the face, their collar half pulled over their head, the humans hand even hitting the dog in the face as it swings.  So many dogs walk very far away from their human simply due to an avoidance behavior.  The guardian has no idea that their dog is not enjoying the walk because of the swinging.  

When you walk your dog, pay attention.  Yes there are times when something can happen for a moment and you might miss it.  But typically if you look down at your dog on a regular basis you'll notice this kind of stuff.  Does your dog strain at their leash?  Either sideways or backwards?  Well maybe they are trying to avoid the swing.  

The whole poop bag holder is a big thing now.  I don't understand attaching one to a leash, honestly.  I wear the very chic fanny belt; although it is not on my fanny.  ;)  I carry everything I need on a walk in it, poop bags included.   

So pay attention.  Ask someone to watch you walk.  Be aware of what your body is doing.  Along with the annoying face swapping, there could be other things going on that you have never noticed.  

Just Dogs with Sherri update

Good Monday morning.  Last week was a very busy one with lots of great things happening.

#1 - I'm a Grandma; which is about the most exciting news ever.  Yep, a new Grandma to an adorable little man.

#2 - I got to visit with my sister and brother in law which is always a highlight in my life.

#3 - My dog related bohemian bracelets at Sherri Lynne Designs are really making a splash, and

#4 - I'm working on an exciting new project.

Oh and I got a new washer and dryer, woooohooooo.  :)

A busy week also brought with it some horribly hot weather.  That has meant out in the early hours of the morning and then hunkering down inside for the rest of the day.  I'm hoping that the horrid weather will break this week.   As a northerner I am not a fan of temps in the high 90s and into the 100s.  Give me a 65 degree day with a breeze, and I'm a happy camper thank you very much.

Elsa and I have been checking out some new, cool dog products that I hope to share over the next couple of months.  We love to try innovative dog products that make the whole dog/human relationship even greater than it already is.

I cannot believe how many puppies are out there right now.  With all of my FB groups I'm seeing a whole lot of new babies.  If you are one of the lucky ones who have a new canine family member, my book is a great addition.  Feedback for you and your dog is just for you.  It is also available on Amazon in both paper and ebook version.  As for us, we are hoping for a new canine addition in the new year, I can barely wait.

Just a short update for this morning, many, many, many things to get done today.  Have a great week.


Who is Sherri?

Every once in a while I like to introduce myself.  Some of you may be new readers so I thought that I would say hi and tell you a bit about myself.  Give you  a little insight as to who is behind "Just dogs with Sherri."  I love everything about dogs and spend most of my time either writing about, training, photographing, cooking for or simply hanging out with them.  

It all started for me at the young age of 13; I was handed a leash, stepped into the show ring with a Doberman I'd just met and the rest is history.  My show handling was mostly self taught through trial and error; but I did have the privilege of receiving much knowledge from the renowned Martha Covington Thorne back in Canada. I clearly remember the day Martha said to me "young lady, never stop handling; the show world needs handlers like you," as she handed me my huge trophy. I started out in the conformation ring as a Junior handler and moved up to handling breeds of all kinds. I handled Dobermans, Airedales, Irish Deerhounds, Irish Terriers, Mastiffs, Bull Terriers, Great Pyrenees and of course Standard Poodles.

During my show years I was also active in obedience training. This was where I learned the old conventional choke collar methods of training. I am not proud of training dogs like this but when I was 13, way back then; there was no other way. I never had fun training my dogs with this method and as soon as I learned of positive reinforcement training everything changed. I never looked back but I am happy that I have the conventional experiences. This gives me an insight into this type of training, the mind set and reason why I never use it anymore.  It is all a part of the evolution; one of the pieces of who I am today.

I gave up the show ring shortly after the birth of my first daughter; putting all my energy into being a Mom in a small town. As my children grew into their pre-teen years I became a well known baker in the area. I attended a weekly farmers market where I was quickly dubbed the "cookie lady." I also supplied a local restaurant with an array of cheesecakes. 

From baking I went back to the dogs as a Pet sitter. I loved spending the time while my children were in school just chill'n with lots of dogs. It is very rewarding walking and playing with dogs who otherwise spend their long days alone because their guardians worked all day. This was not a long gig as we were soon to move to California; so I gave up the dog walking and focused on the move.  Once here in California I met and worked with another dog trainer and not long after that I became a private in-home dog trainer myself.  Having years of experience behind me it was an easy transition.  I loved it; for almost 16 years I have got to meet some amazing dogs and their guardians.   

My specialty in dog training is behavior modification through positive reinforcement.  This encompasses a focus on living with our dogs in the best way possible.  I love working with dogs and their guardians, helping them to come together; living life as smoothly as humans and dogs can.  I have worked with everything from the tiniest little pocket pooches up to the giant Irish Wolfhounds and Great Danes.  Each one was interesting and exciting in their own way and all play a part in life with dogs.  

Next I started dabbling in photography and quickly discovered that this was yet another branch about to evolve.  I am a freelance photographer with a preference for dogs.  I do love photography in general but my camera is never far from a dog.  I shoot for many of the big dog magazines and do a great deal of private work.  I love it all, capturing the very essence of a dog brings me great happiness.  Having the opportunity to meet so many wonderful people and amazing dogs is truly a dream come true.

Throughout my years of training I have written and had many articles published. I am near completion of a second novel titled And Back Again; there is a third children's book in the works and a training book that needs attention to complete.  If you are in need of behavior help; please visit my email consultation page to receive help today.  There are also cookies in the mix; I am in recipe mode as I work to create a very healthy and tasty cookie for our companions.  If you'd like to see all what I do, please visit my main webpage at Just dogs with Sherri, that's me.  :) 

Love to hear from you and please feel free to share this blog with your friends. 

Some people just don't get it.

I was watching the Colbert Report last night.  I think Stephen Colbert is great; he is very funny, knows how to get a message across and really talented.   That said, I was really angry as I watched one of his pieces on the Super Bowl, where he is demoted basically to the Puppy Bowl.  Most dog lovers know about the Puppy Bowl that is an Animal Planet Production.  The Puppy Bowl is a bunch of puppies hanging out in an area made to look like a football field.  Cute, but hokie, like most of Animal Planet television shows, in my opinion.  Anyhow back to Stephen Colbert. 

Stephen Colbert spent time with the puppies on the "field" which was fine.  He was rolling around having fun but then they were in an area that looked like a locker room.  There is where the problem was.  I was uncomfortable just watching the interaction.  He was banging around, yelling and basically acting like an idiot.  The puppies were reacting to this scary interaction.  They signaled their fear, but of course he (Stephen Colbert) was oblivious to their communications.  It was just a room of puppies to him; he had no idea that they were sending him so much information.  One puppy in particular was quite worried about the whole thing and as I sat watching I said to my son "if one of those puppies were mine."  Well, you get the idea.

Just found the episode - It is long so go to 5:36 part to see the Puppy Bowl part.  Tell me what you think.

Puppies and dogs can and will go through life surprises, startles and even big scares; but it is how we deal with the information given from it that is important.  If a puppy gets scared enough, it can leave a lasting impression.  What will scare one may not scare another.  I can guarantee that the puppies were already over stimulated which can be a very bad scenario.  Puppies need environmental stimulation, but not too much.  The idea of a little being good then a lot is better does not apply to stimulation and socialization.  Too much can be a very bad thing. 

Dogs signal to us constantly; but often it is not until they have to resort to a huge "in your face" signal that we notice.  They may have been telling their human for a half hour before they had to scream.  People just don't get it and watching the Colbert Report only proved that point.  Puppies will react to the stimulus around them; we need to see and deal with those reactions.  Not by coddling but by manipulating the environment as we can and guiding by example.   When the only leader around is the one producing the problem, that is a big problem.  The puppy has no where to turn, no where to go for reassurance. 

The point I'm trying to make is that no one saw a problem with what Stephen Colbert was doing.  That is the problem.  No one said "the puppies are scared, let's tone it down."  We choose to live with another species yet we don't take the time to know them.  How do they communicate?  How can we best communicate with them and how can we coexist in a harmonious way?   Puppies are brand new dogs, who are just starting out on their journey with humans.  It is up to us to get it right.

The big picture may have looked good to the writers and directors; but was anyone listening to what the puppies were saying?  No.  A big thumbs down for both the Colbert Report and Animal Planet from me.

Just dogs.

                                    Penny, Elsa, Luke and I having a snugglefest. 

Just dogs with Sherri, "oh what do you do with dogs?"  Is a question I hear often.  I have shortened the answer due to the practice of offering up what I do.  I do dogs. 

I am:

- first and foremost a dog trainer.

- a dog photographer.

- a dog writer. 


To elaborate a small bit.  I started my life in the conformation show ring at the age of 13 years young.  From there I went on to train with conventional training methods (choke collars).  In the mid 90s I discovered positive reinforcement training and never looked back. I have taught years of group obedience classes; then moved on to private in-home training where I was able to do more personalized behavior modification.  I am now offering email behavior consultations.  I love that I can help so many people with one on one assistance on their everyday to serious canine issues.  Giving people the tools to help make living with their dog a smooth one is about as good as it gets for me.  Being able to reach those in remote areas and help anywhere in the world is remarkable.  Help is just a click away. 

Canine behavior is by far my biggest passion; it is where my love of photographing dogs stemmed from. 


 Specializing in action photography and the canine/human connection.  It started years ago when a camera was left in front of me.  It didn't take long to discover that I loved capturing the very essence of a dog.  I very quickly worked into many of the big dog magazines; having been in many, had feature photo spreads and covers.  But it is the private shoot that really charges me; capturing a dog for the person who loves it.  That or capturing the love between the two; the canine/human connection. 

Stopping  a moment in time; one that you might never see otherwise is as they say, priceless.


I needed more, I have a lot to say and writing seemed the way to do it.  I have been writing this blog for years, almost 7 years now.  Pretty crazy when I look back at the beginning.  So this blog gives me an outlet to share dogs with you all.  When I hear about new canine related things; I like to share them with you.  When my dogs and I experience new, weird, crazy and interesting things; I like to share them with you. 

After blogging for years I put my love of writing and photography together into my children's books.  The Luke and Elsa series.  If you have not seen or heard of them; check them out on my website books page.  I am currently working on book #3 in the series which will feature other dogs as well as Luke and Elsa. 

There is also my novel PBJ and me (which is on my book page of my website as well).  A book that came from a trip, an adventure that changed everything.  I had planned to do a cross country photography book with the trip but it quickly became much more than just pictures.  I am currently working on the sequel to this book which will hopefully be out soon. 

I also have a training/behavior book for the new puppy owner that is very near completion.  Stay tuned for the news on that one. 

But wait, there's more.

Canine behavior, photography and writing are my main work; the stuff that fills most of my days.  But there is more, I am working on some new treats which will hopefully be available soon.  There is also the canine related gear that I am working on.  Testing canine related products for lots of big dog companies.  Nutrition, grooming, grooming products, dog related human gear and the list goes on and on and on.

So what do I do?  Dogs, Just dogs with of course me, Sherri.  :)