Students and grads of The Academy were given the opportunity to share their writing chops and win some swag to start 2020 off on the right paw. Because blogging can be such an effective way to reach people and the start of a new year often inspires us to start something new, or increase and improve our efforts at something, we decided to host our own little competition.

Among the entries were blogs about enrichment, the role of cooperative handling in caring for our dogs, the need for transparency in dog training and more. We are so proud of the contributions to the industry made by our students and grads and we hope you enjoy (and share) these fantastic blogs:

The Entries:

Old Dogs Learning New Tricks: Glenna Cupp of Practical Pup in Monmouth and Ocean Counties, NJ

Don’t Let a Trainer Hurt Your Dog: Kayla Block of Understanding Dog Training in Sacramento, CA

Transparency in Animal Sheltering and Rescues, The Muddy Language of Dog Behavior Titles and Five Things To Do For Your Dog Before Your Baby Arrives: Kate LaSala of Rescued by Training, serving NYC, Westchester County NY and Fairfield County, CT.

“Mise En Place” and Dog Training: Joan Forry of The Dog Abides, LLC in Chester County, PA.

FRUSTRATE YOUR DOG THIS YEAR: Tim Steele of Behavior Matters Academy in Sacramento, CA.

Things We Have to Do to Dogs: Maggie Kieppel of Practical Obedience, LLC in Green Bay, WI

How To Play With Your Dog Using the Science of Operant Conditioning: Joey McKinistry of Creature Comforts in Ontario, Canada

New Year! New You and a Happy Dog!: Katherine Davidson of Dog Inspired in Montreal, Canada

Healing the Profoundly Fearful Dog by Nickala Squire of Carefree Canine in Grand Forks, ND, featured on Understanding Dog Training, who was also featured on Companion Animal Psychology: Why You Should Never Train a Dog to Come When Called Using a Shock Collar

Let Them Be Dogs: A Note from budding trainer, Zach Smiley of Oklahoma City, OK

The Quest for the Perfect Puzzle Toy: Jessica Ring of My Fantastic Friend in Ellicott City, MD. This blog also features this video which we just can’t get enough of!

The winners:

Tim Steele for Frustrate Your Dog This Year. Tim’s shined the light so brilliantly on how we can enrich our dog’s lives in ways that we may not have thought of…and how frustration and problem solving are critical pieces of satisfying enrichment:

Giving our dogs a chance to say, “well, this is interesting – I’ll have to figure this out” is good for them.

We often talk about “enrichment” for our dogs. I daresay that there’s a certain level of beneficial frustration in every one of those enrichment options.

Zach Smiley for Let Them Be Dogs. Zach has highlighted the glory of the canine nose in his note and has some wise words for us all:

Here is my advice: Let your dog use their nose! Did you know that dogs possess up to 300 million olfactory receptors in their nose? AND the part of their brain that processes those smells is 40 times greater than ours! Can you imagine? They live in a nostril driven world! Allowing our dogs to use the most powerful tool they have is a win-win for both us and for our dogs.

Zach also included information from Dog Field Study, lending further credence to the advice to let your dog sniff!


Thanks to all of our writers for entering the competition and sharing your wisdom and experience with the world! Your swag is on its way because we all know a little R+ goes a long way. 🎉