Starting Over, a Re-introduction

Here we are, three-and-a-half years into the "project" known as Dogs Abound. I have had some stops and starts with blogging along the way, but honestly I've been horrible about committing to it. I *should* be blogging, for a variety of reasons, increased web traffic and all that jazz, building our brand, etc., etc,. And also because my web guru Reg says so (are you reading this Reg???).

I figured it was time to hold myself accountable, and put down the constantly swirling dust devils of ideas I have about training dogs down on the 'ol interwebs for posterity. Now that I have been doing this "dog thing" for a while, and am often teaching others, there is a lot I do know. And a lot more I still don't know, or at least am constantly turning over and over in my mind about what is "best" or "right," or at least, what is the most fair and effective way to get from point A to point B.

So, the re-intro.

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My name is Elizabeth Randall, or Liz. I have been professionally training dogs for seven years as of this writing. I focus on positive-reinforcement-based training solutions, though I shy away from labels such as "clicker trainer" (though I love clickers and markers and use them daily), or "force free" (that's a whole 'nother can of worms that maybe I'll get into further down the line), or any of the other terms that people tend to use to compartmentalize what others do. I personally am obsessed with observing what smart reinforcement systems can do with dogs. The results are frankly astonishing once these methods are applied in a consistent and adept manner.

I teach pet dog skills, work with owners on behavioral solutions, and teach agility. Anyone who knows me knows agility is my life and my love, and its influence is seen frequently in my pet dog training. In order to competently "play" in the sport of agility, one's understanding of how to create, manipulate, motivate and maintain behavior has to be quite vast. So many moving parts all corresponding at high speeds...!!! Its a science and an art that one will never quite master, no matter how long we play at it. Which to me, is part of the allure. I'm a little masochistic that way apparently.

Currently I have three dogs. Forest, a 10 year old(??) Italian Greyhound - Miniature Pinscher mix (and the reason for all this training insanity!), Phineas, a seven year old pittie mix, and Beatrix, a three year old Border Collie. All three have competed and titled in a variety of dog things, but Forest is basically retired. The other two are currently actively competing in agility at the highest levels, and, Phin also has recently embarked on a competitive career in Nose Work. I am VERY excited where we will go together down that avenue as well. These three dogs have brought so much to my life, I am so very fortunate for each of them. They constantly push me to be a better trainer and a better person, and I am so lucky to have them here navigating through daily life with me.

I will be *trying* to keep up with this blog, ideally on a weekly basis, to discuss different training topics--sometimes it may be agility-related, often it will be generally just training-related, and I am sure some daily life and business stuff will just creep in, but the goal is to help people look at training from a new perspective, and to hopefully help people tackle and work through challenges they are facing with their own dogs.

Here's to getting a jump on the new year.