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The Whole Enchihuahua this Saturday from 12-3pm

Roo and I will be there demonstrating our Rally skills along with some of my small dog friends.

Where:  Dolores Park (Dolores Street @ 19th Street)

Join the San Francisco SPCA for the third annual Whole Enchihuahua! This fun-filled afternoon in Dolores Park includes a doggie costume contest (registration is noon - 1pm, contest starts at 2pm), live music, food trucks, children's activities, an exciting dog training course, Ask-A-Vet booth, Ask-A-Trainer booth, free dental checks for dogs, pet-related vendors, and adoptable dogs and cat from the SF SPCA and our rescue partners.

This event is designed to raise awareness about Chihuahuas, which represent a disproportionately large and growing percentage of dogs in Bay Area shelters.

Join us for a great day in the park with your pup!


Pilates for Dogs: Watch Senior Dog Penny in Action!

Penny demonstrates her pilates skillsCan you spare 5 minutes? That's all you need for a quick workout with your dog.

Exercise balls/discs are a great way to keep your senior physically fit.  The idea is that the dog strengthens their core muscles trying to balance on the disc.  Other benefits include increasing your dog’s body awareness, balance and flexibility.   Not only does your pooch get a good physical work out but it is a great way to provide mental stimulation and build a stronger relationship through positive training. Check out 15 ½ year old Penny enjoying her core strengthening training.  Penny has been working out on her disc for 2 years. 

The exercises have been a great confidence booster for my fearful dog (Read Penny's story) and have been really helpful restoring some of her balance after developing canine vestibular syndrome 2 months ago.  


Watch Penny in action!

Recommended DVDs available at

 Pilates for Pooches
Get on the Ball

*Before beginning any new exercise program for your senior, it is always good to check with your vet or a Canine Physical Therapist.



Rain is Here!

Sencha's mom always makes sure he is dressed for rain!Rain is here!!!!   For many dogs that might mean that they don’t get their daily one hour walk or trip to the dogpark or beach.  If you find that you are cutting back on your dog’s exercise, why not increase their mental stimulation around your house or apartment.  Feed your dog’s meals from interactive toys, teach a new trick or take a training class to brush up on your dog’s skills.  Boredom can often lead to unwanted behavior problems like barking and destruction.  So take a trip over to your local pet store for some new toys and sign up for a fun, training class with Fido and help beat Fido’s wet weather blues!



 Favorites from Go Fetch:

Nina Ottosson’s Interactive games

Pyramid Treat Dispenser

Treat Dispenser Ball

The Roxxter


Starmart Bob-A-Lot Treat Toy

Treat Stik

Premier Busy Buddy Tug-a-Jug Treat Dispensing Toy


Muttville is moving!

I started my career volunteering for Muttville, and I am proud to continue to be at their service. Muttville recently acquired a lease for space inside the old SF SPCA building, righ tnext door to the Dog Training building where I teach. To introduce the new space to its many volunteers, Muttville threw a party and unveiled the beginnings of the future home of Muttville Senior Dog Rescue.

Here is Sherri Franklin, founder of Muttville, thanking the many volunteers who came to check out the new digs and celebrate this amazing milestone.



Shy Dogs Wanna Have Fun, Too!

Stacey originally wrote this article for Muttville Senior Dog Rescue's blog and newsletter in August 2012.

Here is the article, as published by Muttville:

Stacey Campbell, owner of Go Fetch Dog Training and a trainer at SFSPCA plus a long-time Muttville volunteer, wrote this feature article for our mutt-readers. Fosters and adopters alike may know a shy dog (or two?). Enjoy this article, featuring Stacey’s own senior ‘shy dog’ Penny:

Eight years ago, I adopted Penny, a 6-year-old beagle mix rescued from a research lab. I was a novice pet owner; I had a dog growing up but never one as an adult. I was an avid animal lover and under the impression that all dogs were created equal, they just needed to be loved. After a few weeks, I began to understand that Penny was not your typical happy-go-lucky dog. Housetraining issues, bolting, and shaking harder than an earthquake in response to anything that moved pretty much summed up my new dog.

For the first few months, I treated this 6-year-old dog like a puppy. I completely flooded her with people, places, and new experiences thinking she needed to get exposed to them and just “get over it.” Little did I know that I was actually making my dog worse.

Adopting a shy dog can be a rewarding experience, but it is not for everyone. Dog parks, social occasions or typical dog fun stuff may not be part of your routine. In fact, you can completely throw away any agenda that you may have for your new dog. Your decisions are not going to be guided by what you think is best, but by the needs of your dog.

Owning a shy dog means that you must become an expert on canine body language. Most importantly, you need to become an expert on reading the body language of your own dog. I can’t stress this enough. Ask yourself what does my dog look like in a relaxed and happy state versus a stressed and fearful state? You always want keep your shy dogs relaxed and happy. That means you must become your dog’s biggest advocate, and remove them from situations that may be stressful or perhaps not even exposing your dog to those situations to begin with.

That leads us to the question of how you are going to help your wallflower adjust to her new home, family, and friends. Your dog is going to be rewarded for being happy and relaxed rather than a perfect sit or down. If I have a dog that is fearful of people, I simply want to reward her for being happy and relaxed when a person approaches versus sitting for a treat. I don’t really care about the sit but more about my dog being happy. Once my dog is happy, I can shoot for rewarding the nice sit. On the other hand, if my dog displays stress/fear, I will want to ask that person to not approach and remain at a distance where my dog is still happy and relaxed while she is getting her reward. Remember, happy and relaxed always earns your shy dog rewards.

Along with reading your dog’s body language, figuring out what is rewarding to them is extremely important. The two go hand-in-hand in training. Does your dog love cheese, chicken, hot dogs, liver treats or tennis balls? Does your dog love to sit on your lap or spend time in their crate? Even removing your shy dog from a situation can be rewarding. Make a list in order of importance to your dog.

There are many activities that can be good for your shy dog, but again, your dog is going to dictate what is best for him/her. Signing up for a local training class or more specifically, signing up for a class geared toward Shy Dogs is a good start. Perhaps go early and get your dog used to the new environment and leave before the class ends. Understand that earning rewards for relaxed and happy are more important than doing a perfect down behavior in class. Let your instructor know so they can help create a more positive environment for your dog. If a class is too much, leave immediately and work up to being able to attend a class. There are plenty of private trainers that work specifically with shy/fearful dogs. It would be a good investment to seek the help of one to get you and your new dog off to a good start.

Lastly, the best advice someone gave me is to love your dog for who they are now. Anything beyond that is a huge bonus and it is our job to help our wallflowers blossom.

Do you have a shy dog? Tell us about your experience helping your wallflower enjoy his/her life. Submit your comments below.