My friend Tom O'Dowd is not just a long time friend as well as a wonderful, kind, smart man and a talented videographer. He's also a singular source for cool information from every corner of the 'net. We share a fascination with animals and behavior, and so he's great about passing along to me all kinds of stuff.

This past weekend, I had the privilege of meeting Cindy Hickey while I was teaching in Minnesota. In every seminar, I have a deep conviction that there is at least one dog and one person that I am there to help in some way. Additionally, in each seminar I give, there are blessings and lessons that I take away from the dogs and people I work with and meet.

Any given day's emails are a collection of odd amusements, worrisome reports, sad news, glad tidings, and requests out of the blue. Recently, I was contacted by an Argentinian journalist writing for a woman's lifestyle section of a publication. She wanted to know:

Looks like winter's grip on the farm is loosening. The redwinged blackbirds are back, staking out their territories with their distinctive calls. I saw a killdeer working some snowy fields - a surprisingly early return, I thought, until the next day when the rains had turned the snow into puddles seeping into the ground. The willows are already blushing with their thoughts of spring, and the maples are running hard and fast. They say this will be a great year for maple syrup.

A while ago, I received an email from a reader who took issue with my opinion re: Jean Donaldson's teaching her dog Buffy to hump her leg on command. I have received many emails on that one, to be sure, with some people practically jumping up and down in their defense of Jean's choice, others thanking me for speaking out. It surely touched a nerve, and I still can't help thinking that if it had been a different trainer, and it had been a man or a male dog, folks might have had a very different response. 

Winter is a time for creativity, new projects, planning and making things happen. I'm pleased to announce that one of the winter projects is now ready to rock and roll: Quality of Connection Leads.

I designed these leads to promote handler awareness, softness & subtlety, and the connection (not the correction). Crafted from top quality leather, these leads feature tight braiding, brass hardware and fine details.

Available leads: