Saturday, April 30, 2011

Misha May Foundation behavior class at Winston's Doggie Playhouse - #2 JR

JR has realized that he will receive treats for calmly standing or sitting, but not for jumping up.

Misha May behavior class at Winston's Doggie Playhouse - #1 JR, Boston T...

JR explores the room, randomly jumping up on people for attention or direction. In video #2 Lorraine shows him how to get what he wants.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Please help Baby who is a 4-5 month old kitty. She is a typically active loving sweetheart. She seems to get along with everyone! Contact or 303-239-0382.

Please help Gabby, who was once a much loved dog until her owner passed away. She is a very young 13 year old shepherd mix who loves everyone. Contact 303-239-0382

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

K & Mattie have a Misha May play / train date #2

Kabul, who is not quite one year old, likes to engage with other dogs in addition to playing with a ball or toy. Mattie, 9 years old, likes focusing on retrieving, with little or not interest in engaging with other dogs.

Since the goal of the play date was to provide an opportunity for them to be themselves and feel safe together, I didn't have any agenda that they would need to play together or like doing the same thing. They created quite a bit of trust today in allowing each other to be who they are with no pressure or expectations.

When K takes the ball Mattie is interested in, she waits for an opportunity to get it back rather than choose a different ball. K is quite confident and skillful in his relationships with dogs. Mattie isn't very confident, and wants to avoid confrontation, so she is patient. At one point, I intervene to let K know that ultimately the ball is mine, and I am going to continue to play with Mattie.

This difference in play styles was later accommodated by throwing two different balls, one for each dog. K played for a short time, interacting with me and then entertained himself in other ways. Mattie continued to retrieve her favorite ball as long as I could throw.

In this situation, throwing one ball for them to compete over could be disastrous. K would either get the ball first or take it from Mattie, hoping for interactive play. Or Mattie would give it up to him, losing her confidence. Neither dog would be getting what they most enjoy. Needless stress and tension would be created.

K & Mattie have a Misha May play / train date

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Misha May volunteers gather to do behind the scenes rescue work

Volunteers are so important to any organization, but espeically to a non-profit rescue like Misha May. We really appreciate these folks who gave up their Sunday to update files and write thank you notes. To learn more about volunteering, please email

Misha May's Corky meets Doug

Doug tries to help Corky find a home by showing how sweet, loving and tolerant he is. Corky is a lovely cream tabby boy about 4 years old. Email for more information.

Kaylice brushes Misha May's Corky cat for her project

Corky was lucky enough to receive lots of attention today from Kaylice, a student who has focused her school project on The Misha May Foundation. Kaylice would like to recommend Corky as a great kitty to be adopted!Contact mishamayfoundation@gmail. com to learn how to adopt this calm loving cream tabby.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Misha May Foundation Training: Samson guards his food #3 - what about th...

Exercise Goal: To teach Samson that hands picking up his bowl are safe and also bring a treat. Samson sits and looks at Lorraine anticipating treats. Lorraine tosses cheese this time. Lorraine demonstrates how to throw a piece of cheese away from the bowl enabling her to pick it up without direct confrontation. Some dogs are sensitive about their empty food bowl or even the water bowl. There are many variations of these exercises to choose from dependent upon the dog, his issues and his level of aggression. Puppy Exercise Goal: To teach puppies right from the beginning that people around the food is a great thing. Lorraine has raised quite a few litters of rescued puppies for Misha May. She keeps feeding time fun and light by serenading them, and having more bowls of food than there are puppies. Puppies will naturally migrate from bowl to bowl and usually littermates are fine with the give and take, making space as needed. If growling or struggling occurs, Lorraine rains kibble into the bowl in question right in front of these puppies and sings-songs 'there's always enough' or something like that! The puppies relax and realize that everything is okay. It is a beautiful lesson for the rest of their lives.

Misha May Foundation Training: Samson guards his food #2 - It's okay if ...

Exercise Goal: To teach Samson that people moving around his food bowl pose no threat. Samson begins with an empty bowl into which Lorraine tosses kibble. Samson sits and looks at Lorraine, understanding that she is the source of his food. He is more relaxed than in the first exercise; his tail is not tucked. Then Lorraine switches to small pieces of turkey preparing Samson for a bigger challenge. She moves away and toward the food bowl, each time tossing turkey to Samson. Samson enjoys the food and is undisturbed by the movement.

Misha May Foundation Training: Samson guards his food #1 - It's raining ...

Exercise Goal: To teach Samson to relax while eating and not feel threatened, because people are the source of his food. Samson, a 5 year old neutered male Rottie mix, has shown discomfort with folks being around his food dish. When very uncomfortable, he will growl softly. It seems that he believes, perhaps because of a past experience, that people around his food are threatening. Maybe they will take it away. In this first of a series of three exercises, we are teaching Samson that people moving around his food can only mean good things. Lorraine tosses kibble into Samson's bowl while he is eating, and he continues to eat without being disturbed. She helps him make the connection that she is the source of his food by waiting for him to look at her and see that she is indeed tossing the kibble. Because he did very well in the first exercise, we proceeded to the others. If he had shown any discomfort, we would have stopped immediately, asked him to do something at which he could be successful like a 'find it' (we throw the treat on the ground for him to find), and then begun fresh the next day. As with all of our dog training, we are lowering the anxiety, building trust,and creating an environment for learning with precise goals. We also create a safe environment for the people, thus Samson was tethered just in case he became aroused or overstimulated. The Misha May Foundation offers a 6 week behavior class called Understanding Dogs. There is also an Apprentice Dog Trainer Program. for more information.

Misha May Foundation Dog Training: Samson is rewarded as people approach

Exercise Goal: to create positive assocations between Samson and approaching people. Samson, a 5 yr old neutered male Rottie mix, is uneasy, and sometimes even startled, when people approach, even those he knows. And, if that person is approaching a person he really depends upon, such as his seated foster mom Shannnon in this video, he is even more troubled. Since Rotties were orginally bred to guard, they guard, when they have not been taught a different behavior response. We wanted to teach Samson the correct response to approaching folks. In this exercise, Shannon says "Mom" in a cheery voice as her mother approaches. Samson already knows and likes Susan very much, so the exercise goes well. Because Samson remains calm and welcoming, he gets a treat from Shannon and then also from Susan. Right away, he begins to anticipate Susan's approach and moves toward her for a treat. He still hears Shannon saying 'Mom" and can get a treat from her as well. This exercise should always begin with people the dog likes and trusts the best, and then can slowly include people they know less, until finally it can be done with strangers with the dog on a leash. If the dog ever shows signs of discomfort or stress, you have gone too fast and should go back to the beginning. You really can't go too slow, but moving too fast will not teach the dog what you want. The Misha May Foundation offers a 6 week behavior class, Understanding Dogs. There is also an apprenticehip program to learn to be a relationship based dog trainer. for details.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Valentino & K - Misha May Play #3: calm and comfortable

Valentino & K are now very comfortable with each other. Instead of seeking information through continous contact, they join together in looking, listening and smelling. They each go off on separate missions in the yard aware that they can come together again and play or not.

Misha May Play - Twinkle & K #2: look at us now!

In this next play session, Twinkle and K are running side by side. Twinkle still slows things down as she jumps in her hole and just stops. K waits patiently for things to begin again rather than jumping on her as in the past. Twinkle keeps her gaze toward K and is very engaged. She even seeks him out when he disappears behind the building. Keeping play times short in the beginning, or even stopping them if the dogs seem to be out of sync, goes a long way toward building trust. They can come together fresh each time and get to know each some more.

Misha May Play Twinkle and K #1: getting to know each other

Twinkle and K met once previously to this play session. Their play was not very well matched so I stopped it after their first few minutes. I skipped one day and then let them get together again fresh. Twinkle was less nervous and timid this time. K was less pushy, matching Twinkle's running with less chasing of her and more running with her. K, under a year neutered male, lived on his own in Afghanistan until he was rescued just over 2 months ago. Twinkle, a 3 year old spayed female, has lived in the same home since she was 2 days old, first as a foster with her rescued mom and littermates, and then adopted by her foster mom.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Valentino and K on a Misha May play date

This is the second playtime for Valentino, adopted through Misha May, and K, in training with Misha May. They are both nice neutered male dogs. I had every reason to believe they would play well together. They played for the first time on the day before, and had previously met daily while alternating being crated and receiving treats in each other's presence. Valentino has only been with dogs that are nice and has never been in a fight or even threatened. He has lived in the same home since he was 2 days old, first with his rescued mom and littermates, then adopted by his foster mom. K, under a year, lived on his own in Afghanistan until just 2 months ago. I imagine he met all kinds of dogs and experienced many situations that required him to ascertain whether he could trust and let down his guard or not. Both dogs are being respectful and inviting while exploring what will be and what will not be tolerated. I believe that as their play continues and they get to know each other better, their styles will become even more similar and harmonious