my dog and i june 2015

It has been a wonderful start to the Summer and here on the Mountain, everything is blossoming, blooming and delighting in the sunshine. It is SO much easier to have a big group of dogs when the sun is shining…no muddy paws, wet dog smell or confinement in a little kitchen. Everyone and I mean me too, gets to stretch out and relax. I am one of those people who is happier outdoors and most of my dogs agree with me!

It is always a bit of a surprise when I have a dog visitor who does not enjoy the outdoors. These days, I will often have trainees come to stay with me from one of the bigger cities. We have several dogs who visit from DC and even someone from Trump Towers in Manhattan! It is so interesting to watch their reaction to being given the run of our property and sometimes, simply taken off the leash! Of course, they are often here in order to do just that…but making the leap from never leaving their owner’s side to operating more independently can be a scary thing.

Many of our animals spend much of their lives waiting for us to make decisions for them and when they come to our place, they are expected to spend at least a portion of their day, entertaining themselves. As part of my vision, a dog needs to have a sense of himself here on the planet and if he does not know how to find that, I will try to help him do it. A great many of the behavioral issues I have come across come from a lack of confidence and in the healing environment of the country, many of my students get the space as well as the direction they need to find themselves.

I can honestly say that within a very few days of consistent routine, regular exercise and the chance to hang out and smell the roses, most of our guests release a sigh a relief…

Of course, it is important to remember that not all dogs will immediately recognize that being “in the country” is a good thing! I have a couple of city dwellers who are horrified at having to be outside the house at all. And some who do not think that they should have to go out in the rain to go to the bathroom! Also quite a few who hate it when they get a burr in their coats or greenbrier on their tails. It is quite funny to watch a city dog learning about being playfully rolled in the mud or learning how to cross a stream for the first time! Let’s not even talk about snow!!

But nature is my best helpmate and allowing the elements, the peace and the energy of the other dogs to support my training program has been one of my greatest lessons.

I have seen so many dogs return to their owners with a new attitude and the confidence to handle life a little less defensively and I am so grateful to be able to have been a part of that metamorphosis.

So as we welcome Beau, the Bouvier from DC who is still recovering from yesterday’s walk and say goodbye to Charley from Raleigh, who now sits outside a café quietly with her owners…the work continues and I am blessed that my work is also my joy!!

Have a question? Find me at or email me at

– Janine Lazarus, LBSPY 66. June 2015.

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