Welcome to “Pet Ponderings”, my blog that is packed with “ah-ha!” moments and fun stories from the front-lines as I see dogs and cats for behavior issues and share tips on how you can avoid some of the pitfalls that I see every day.
I’m starting off with the adventure story of how I got here (spoiler alert… there are tigers involved!)
Then I think you will enjoy what is coming next!
Look for a fun post once or twice a month.
Sometimes it will be a behind the scenes look as you travel with me in my daily life as a Behavior Consultant.
Sometimes it will be an eye-opening look at why your dog or cat does what they do!
Sometimes it will be an opportunity for YOU to ask questions about YOUR pet!
My aim is to help you to better understand and appreciate your dog or cat through interesting behavior facts, tips, and stories.
I want to accomplish that by helping you to solve any issues that might be going on right now or that come up in the future.
AND I’d like to help you to maximize the already wonderful connection that you have with your pet!
But who am I to be able to do that?
If we haven’t been formally introduced before now… my name is Suzi Moore and I have been professionally involved with animal behavior for the last 35 years.
It all started when I was 17 years old and I had the DREAM “first job” as an assistant in the Dolphin and Exotic Bird Show at a local amusement park.
I got to help the dolphin trainers behind the scenes and was eventually even allowed to help maintain some of their trained behaviors.
(Fun fact…although their “show” names were Nemo and Neptune the real names of the dolphins were Happy and Boogie 🙂 )
Just seeing how these magnificent and intelligent creatures soaked up information and ENJOYED learning new tricks got me hooked for life.
Next stop… Lions and Tigers and Bears…
My next stop was an amazing experience attending and graduating from the Exotic Animal Training & Management Program at Moorpark College in Moorpark, CA.
Here I received a formal education in animal behavior and the science behind it – what makes animals do what they do, how to get behavior to happen when we want it…and not happen when we don’t want it…it was FASCINATING.
And I got to learn all of that surrounded by and caring for lions and tigers and bears (“oh my”…but really!) as well as monkeys and exotic birds, wolves, camels, mountain lions, a sea lion, plus creatures I’d never even heard of!
We trained all of them in a co-operative fashion without ever needing to lay a finger on them… no punishment or force, no pain or fear. Everyone had fun!
Training Cats and Dogs…
Then, a few years after graduation (and a few interim adventures working with a tiger, a leopard and training house cats for an entertainment show!) I decided I wanted to help people by offering dog training classes.
But I had a moment of doubt! Even though I had trained a leopard and monkeys and birds… I had never actually trained a DOG!
Since dog training had been around for so long I somehow thought it was “different”. Besides, when you trained a dog it seemed like you needed to know how to use a “choke chain” and learn about being “alpha”.
Back To The Books…
I didn’t know about any of those things! So I read a bunch of books. (We didn’t have the Internet back then!) And I learned how to give the perfect “leash correction” (don’t leave me here…the story gets better, I promise!).
After learning all of the established “dog training” techniques of the time (remember this was still the late 80’s!) I set out and conducted dog training classes at a local veterinary office.
It went well, and the dogs all learned the proper behaviors…but…it didn’t feel quite right. Where was all the fun and joy in learning?
Why did I need to jerk on a collar to train a dog when we didn’t need to use those things to train a dolphin (and certainly not a cat…can you imagine)?
That was it for me. I just couldn’t condone punishing a dog for incorrect guesses any more.
After all, they really were just “guessing” at that point – can you imagine what your school years would have been like if you received a physical correction for a wrong answer? Yikes!
A Positive Approach…
So even though I was sure people would think I was crazy… I started to teach people how to train their dog using the same methods I used on the leopard… and the monkeys… and yes, even the house cats!
And guess what? Yup… dogs are NOT different. They learn the same way as monkeys and dolphins and even our kids!
Luckily for everyone, the whole dog training world was on the cusp of changing and new methods like “clicker training” were on the horizon.
In 1995 I opened Positive Approach Dog Training & Daycare, a dog training and daycare business teaching those positive techniques as well as helping people solve behavior problems of all shapes and sizes. I enjoyed that vocation for the next 16 years before selling the business to concentrate on one-on-one behavior consultations.
And Now Another Approach…
And now, after a very long career of helping people to change their pet’s behavior for the better, one pet at at time, I hope you will join me on this new journey of mine…
… using the Internet to reach even more people and pets and making dog and cat behavior even more understandable and FUN. It all starts with this blog and from here…who knows!?
But enough about me…I’d love to hear from YOU! What would YOU like to learn… about animal behavior in general or your pet specifically?
Please scroll down and leave a comment and I’ll do my best to incorporate your questions and suggestions in future posts.
And be sure to sign up to receive notifications of future blog posts! You can do that over on the right side of the page.
I’m looking forward to having you along on this next adventure!