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Pit Bulls

Big Announcement from Dogs Rock! Vermont

Big Announcement from Dogs Rock! Vermont

A big announcement from Laurie at Dogs Rock! Vermont¬†ūüźĺ

Working with difficult and behaviorally challenged dogs has always been work that I have been drawn to. I have always found myself advocating for the underdog so to speak! Furthermore, working in rescue and sheltering has always been near and dear to my heart. A lot of my experience, and what makes my training so thorough, is that I have spent hundreds of hours working with dogs in and from not such great circumstances and understand the needs of both the dogs and people involved!

It has always been a career dream of mine to work for an organization in which I can use my unique skill set for the greater good- advocating for dogs who have suffered cruelty and neglect at the hands of puppy mills, animal hoarders and dog fighters. Since launching my business, I was blessed with the opportunity to start volunteering with the¬†ASPCA¬†on their Field Investigations and Response Team. After deploying with the ASPCA three times this year to some of their temporary shelters across the nation, I was approached by the ASPCA’s Anti-Cruelty Behavior Team to join them once a month in overseeing playgroups, addressing behavioral concerns, and to become a go-to behavioral floor lead for daily care staff at their temporary shelters.

What does this mean?

Dogs Rock! Vermont will still be up and running! I will be taking on less new clients and focusing more on working more with dogs facing aggression and specific behavior issues. Those still in programs with me, or who have been training with me, are good to go! We will continue to conduct business as usual around my new schedule.

When does this take effect?

I will be deploying (traveling) with the ASPCA approximately once a month for 7-12 days at a time. My first travel deployment is scheduled in about a month.

Can I still refer people to you?

As mentioned above, I will be working in a much more limited capacity than previously, and therefore will be focusing my work less on puppies and basic obedience, and more on dogs with behavioral needs. If you have friends or family looking for basic training services, the¬†Vermont Dog Club¬†in Essex Jct is a great place to start or visit¬†Vermont Professional Dog Trainer’s Network¬†for other area trainers that I would recommend in the area.


Thank you all for your continued support and for choosing to follow me for your dog training, behavior consulting and relationship building needs. My new role with the ASPCA is a dream come true for me and I am honored to be a part of it! Stay tuned for further updates!


Montreal BSL is Back

Montreal BSL is Back

Montreal pit bulls have lost again.

After the passing of breed specific legislation (BSL) laws in September, the Montreal SPCA spear-headed a suspension of the laws, citing that they were too vague in wording, discriminatory to the dog-owning public and would lead to the euthanasia of behaviorally sound animals.

The Montreal Court of Appeal overturned the majority of the suspension on Friday, Dec. 2, citing that the laws were largely put in place for public safety and therefore could not be suspended.

What this means:

  • All pit bulls or “pit bull-type dogs” must wear muzzles outside
  • All pit bulls or”pit bull-type dogs”must be on a 4″ leash or less outside
  • All pit bulls or¬†“pit bull-type dogs” must wear harnesses outside
  • All pit bulls or¬†“pit bull-type dogs” must have a special registration

What this does not mean (but could in the near future):

  • All pit bulls or¬†“pit bull-type dogs” will be euthanized once they enter the sheltering system


Professional dog trainers recognize that dog bites are a serious issue facing communities across North America, especially in major urban areas where dog populations tend to be higher.

However, breed-specific legislation has been proven to be ineffective in controlling the amount of dog bites sustained to the public. In fact, many municipalities across North America are repealing their BSL¬†laws as they are beginning to understand the negative impacts it’s causing in their communities.

And contrary to popular belief, the majority of dog bites and attacks occur within families or close friends and know the dog who has attacked them. These bites and attacks are largely contributed to a lack of education in canine behavior and a lack of supervision of children around dogs.

The ban put in place in Montreal specifically targets the American Staffordshire terrier, the American pit bull terrier, and the Staffordshire bull terrier, any dog containing any mix of any one of those breeds or any dog that looks like it may physically contain breed characteristics of anyone of those breeds.

Science has repeatedly proven that you cannot designate a mixed breed dog as a specific breed based on how a dog looks. DNA testing is the only true way to determine the true genetic makeup of a dog.

If the suspension is fully repealed, this ban will result in the euthanasia of behaviorally sound animals completely suitable for family living. Families who are unable to comply with the restrictions required by the new ban, for financial or resource reasons, will not only lose a part of their family due to these new laws, but will have to live knowing that their family pet was euthanized based solely on how he looked and not on his actions.

Rather than imposing a band which will take up community time and resources it would be better to allocate that funding towards low-cost spay/neuter, low-cost annual medical care for pets and low-cost dog training for owners.

What can you do to help?

Take a look at this article,¬†Here’s How You Can Help the Victims of Montreal’s Pit Bull Ban, for suggestions and ideas of how you can make a difference right now in Montreal.

Consider making donations to local rescues, such as All Breed Rescue Vermont, who have already begun moving dogs out of the city and to Vermont.

Fireworks and the Absolute Myth of Reinforcing Fear

Fireworks and the Absolute Myth of Reinforcing Fear

I was holding back writing about the Fourth of July. It’s that one time of year that all dog lovers’ Facebook walls get flooded with articles about keeping pets indoors, playing calming music, creating forts under coffee tables, etc. I certainly didn’t want to add to that collection- there’s already plenty of that information out there!

However, last night my dog was having her yearly melt down and I happened to be traveling with her and some friends. Now, here we are in a new place, with new people and she completely out of her comfort zone. One of my friends mentioned the idea of not coddling her, because she heard that it reinforces the fear of the fireworks. Okay, let’s stop there!

This is so far from true! Here is another myth created by dog trainers and “dog experts” that has no actual scientific truth or back up. The sad thing is, that I believed this at one point to be true as well! You know where I first heard this? From watching “The Dog Whisperer.” How can you not believe sometime that is being broadcasted as fact on National Geographic? So, no I don’t blame you for believing it either.

Dogs look to us as their companions. We are their leaders, their support system and their strength. In a time when your best friend is most vulnerable, would you turn your back and ignore them, or even worse, punish them for being afraid? What would that do to your relationship? It would probably ruin it a little bit.

Remember above everything else to love your pets this weekend. Be aware of their mental state. If your dog asks for space, give your dog space. If your dog asks for comfort, comfort your dog! Most of all, have a fun, safe and happy Fourth of July weekend!!!

Read this awesome article by Patricia McConnell about why you can’t reinforce fear in dogs!!!

Meet Holly!

Meet Holly!

Meet Holly!!! This lovely lady is working on her basic obedience and is looking for her forever home!!! Part of the Dogs Rock! Vermont free shelter training program at All Breed Rescue Vermont, Holly’s adoption would include a free training consultation!!! To find out more about Holly go to

Meet Bama

Meet Bama

Dogs Rock! Vermont welcomes Bama of All Breed Rescue Vermont to it’s shelter dog free training program. This sweet girl had my heart within moments! Today we worked on some very basic obedience to get her ready for her forever home.¬†

She’s very smart and will make an amazing companion!¬† Learn more about Bama at:

Know Your Breed

Know Your Breed

When greeting and playing with other dogs, pit bulls (generally speaking) are confident, exhibit stiff posture and are borderline confrontational.

It took me years to master the skills of honing in on incredibly subtle cues and I am still usually on edge when introducing one pit bull to another dog (pit or not) when I don’t know their background or history.

When evaluating ANY DOG for aggression thresholds, it’s incredibly important to take that dog’s socialability (with people and other dogs) into account because a dog with low socialability, given the right circumstances, will not hold back from defending itself or things they may consider valuable to then. You do not know a dog’s bite inhibition until it actually bites. So when that dog happens to be a pit bull at high arousal, things can get dangerous very quickly if they have low or no bite inhibition and because of their genetic predisposition to bite and hold.

The most important thing to take away from this post is to know your breed. Do your research. Know what your dog is capable of and don’t set them up to fail.

Is your typical family companion raised pit bull going to maul a child out of nowhere ? No. Are all pit bulls inherently dangerous creatures? No! Are pit bulls incredibly strong, muscular animals capable of causing a lot of damage? The answer to that one is yes.

This blog was a response to this Facebook post by Jo-Rosie, Archie the Super Pit & Co.


Meet Sue Ellen

Meet Sue Ellen

Derp! I am Sue Ellen!!! My free training session by Dogs Rock! Vermont was number 3 of 118. Today we worked on loose leash and focus skills! I am a sweet and gentle girl who loves snuggles and butt scratches. ūüź∂ If you are interested in learning more about me, please visit All Breed Rescue Vermont at¬†

Meet Westside!!!

Meet Westside!!!

Meet Westside!!! FREE shelter session #2 at @allbreedrescuevt !!!! Westside is an adorable pittie who has been at the shelter wayyyy too long, solely because he’s a pit bull! He’s friendly, good with other dogs and is a super goofy dude! To find out more about Westside visit: