I’ve been dreading writing this blog post for a while now.
Many of you who have followed my training journey through my dog training videos, courses, lessons and eBooks, you have become acquainted with my two beloved dogs; Onyx the black & white Siberian Husky and Chase the red & white Border Collie.
Today, I am saddened to announce their crossing of the rainbow bridge.
Chase was the sweetest and most gentle dog this world has ever seen. She wouldn’t hurt a fly. She was so nice, even to strangers that she would lick them (no wonder the breeder had named her Kisses when she was just a puppy.)
I’ll always remember her sweet demeanor and her relentless energy for catching Frisbees at the park. She loved playing so much that she would literally play until she could no longer walk.
Also, one of the best memories I have of Chase is her love for swimming in my pool. As soon as she saw me in a bathing suit, she would get so excited and jump right in. Then we’d play tug inside the pool. Good times!
Onyx was my baby girl. She taught me everything I know about training dogs. Huskies are not known to be the easiest breed to train, and in fact, many of them are independent-minded and stubborn. Sure, they love their owner, but they would much rather do their own thing.
Puppy Onyx was the best puppy one could ask for. She listened, followed me everywhere, and I was her entire world. However, that quickly changed once she became a teenager (and once she realized that there was a whole world out there to explore.)
In other words, she “ACED” Grade 1 and 2 of obedience school.
However, when we got to Grade 3, it was like she forgot everything I had taught her. The goal of Grade 3 was to get her to obey all of the basic obedience commands (heel, sit, down and stay) without a leash and with eight other dogs around.
Problem is she loved other dogs so much that she would just leave me and do what I call “puppy burns” around the room. She would run from dog to dog, trying to play with them.
So, we failed Grade 3…. TWICE.
But I was determined, and I literally trained her (and Chase) for an hour each night at my local school parking lot. We eventually graduated but it took a lot of work, effort and dedication.
It was worth it!
The struggle brought us closer and without it, this website wouldn’t exist and my life would have been completely different than what it is now.
That’s why saying “Goodbye” to my two beloved dogs who had been with me through thin and thick, and with whom I’ve shared so many memories with… Was extremely difficult.
It feels like losing a member of your family.
So recently, after Chase and Onyx passed away, I wanted to get a memorial to honour their life and to remember all the love and dedication they had given me all these years.
I asked my veterinarian and even looked online, but nothing I saw really reflected their essence. It was all either cheaply made in China or I knew it wouldn’t last outside in the harsh Canadian weather.
So, I made my own pet memorial stone.
Here’s what it looks like:
Not too shabby, eh? It’s a heavy piece of natural granite that I personally engraved with a machine called an etcher.
It’s the same quality of stone you would expect to see in a cemetery for humans.
You see, growing up, my father was a headstone engraver which he spent a lifetime mastering. Before he retired in 2008, he taught me all the tricks of the trade.
Never did I imagine that I would ever use this skill to engrave the memorial of my own pets.
I’m so glad my father taught me this trade though. It turned out wonderful and truly reflects the genuine zest my dogs had for life. A wonderful tribute to remember them.
While the passing of my dogs was a very painful thing to get through, I know deep down that I provided them with the best life I possibly could.
(Not many dogs can say their owner taught them countless tricks, including playing chess. And not many dogs experienced skijoring, something I did recreationaly with them in the cold Canadian winter months.)
Fast-forward to today.
I’ve received SO many kind compliments about my dog’s pet memorial.
People just can’t believe that I engraved it myself. And next thing you know, the word spread around and everyone, including friends, family members and even neighbors are requesting I make one for their own pet who also crossed the rainbow bridge.
So today, I’m happy to announce the grand opening of my small online shop where my fellow pet parents can order one of these pet memorials directly from me.
The new website is called Furever Memorials and you can check it out by clicking on the link below.
Granted, a pet memorial isn’t fore everyone.
There are lots of ways someone can remember a lost pet. Some people opt for an imprint of their pet’s paw, others choose to build a photo album, and some just prefer leaving their pet’s ashes on the mantel.
Whatever people want to do is perfectly fine with me! There is no right or wrong way to remember a lost pet.
Personally, I wanted something more traditional. Something I could put in my garden and remember the love I shared with my dogs every time I go outside. It’s kind of like they’re still here with me in spirit.
When I designed this infographic, I wanted two distinct versions. The first one was to be given to my students so that they can print it and refer to it while training their dog.
The other was to be a graphic-oriented infographic, where people could share it on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, or post it on their website.
Here is the second version:
(Click the photo to enlarge, and check out the sharing instructions at the bottom of this page.)
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If you would like to download the printer-friendly version, visit the four stages of luring training concept page.
So this blog post is going to be a little different than most…
The reason why I created this website and the reason why I do what I do in the dog training world, is because I want dogs to live better and happier lives. And I wholeheartedly believe that positive reinforcement training is the best way to achieve this.
Unfortunately, not everybody agrees. So I thought, what if we have a page on this site that is full of dog training success stories. Stories about how our dog’s lives transformed, how they happier and better behaved as a result of training this way?
For example, when I first started training my dogs to do tricks, I thought my dogs were only doing it because I had a treat in my hand. But then I realized how much my dogs LOVED the training, how their tails were wagging in excitement the moment they saw me with a clicker or preparing training treats.
And how it brought me closer to my dogs than I ever could have imagined. I remember training my dog Chase to put her head on my lap while watching TV one day, and she was doing it for praise. I thought it was the coolest thing!
So I have a favor to ask you…
Would you mind sharing with me your story about how life changed as a result of training your dog with positive reinforcements? You can talk about a special moment, a funny story or anything you want.
I look forward to reading it! (Thanks in advance!)