Archive for the ‘Ema’ Category

Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Many dog owners believe that they train their dogs when they are puppies and then the training is over. But dogs, like people, learn and grow over the entire course of their lifespan. Most of the website and our conformation and performance stories have focused on Kanzu and Kuyu. But Ema has a special place in our pack and she continues to delight everyone who knows her with her ongoing progress and life journey. For reasons that are unclear, Ema had 4 homes before she was 18 months when she came to her forever home with us. See Ema’s Story to learn more about her early days with Linda. Ema’s ‘habilitation’ has been a long but steady and delighting process. As she nears her 8th birthday, Ema has reached yet another amazing milestone.

Accompanying her best friend and dog walker-trainer extraordinaire, Chris Ashton from Enlighten Dogs, Ema attended a pack hike with more than 20 other dogs and their owners-families. Enlighten Dogs hosts a monthly hike or nature walk open to the public for dogs and their people. This hike was at Prospect Park in Redlands and Chris and Ema led the pack. This is an accomplishment that seemed impossible not very long ago. But with Chris as Ema’s leader, she has learned how to be part of a canine pack without dominance and aggression. She has continued to grow and learn and as a result, her world is opening up and she can now have many wonderful new experiences that never would have been available to her without continued training and conditioning.

So, who says your dog is too old to change or learn. And who says you can’t teach old dogs new tricks. Ema is here to tell you she is living proof that even an old dog, who had a very difficult start can learn and change and keep getting better and better. The process isn’t easy but the rewards are well worth the investment .

Click Here for info about Enlighten Dogs pack hikes

Ema AKA Sprout 8 wks old

Ema Christmas at 7 and a half years


While most of my posts are about Kanzu and his achievements and progression toward titles, I am also proud of my girl Ema and her latest accomplishments. Recently, Ema has a whole new ‘lease on life’ thanks to Chris Ashton, a dog trainer, ‘dog walker extraordinaire’ and owner of Enlighten Dogs

Ema is my 7 year old, female Rhodesian Ridgeback who came to her ‘forever home’ with me after 4 homes in her first 1.5 years of life. (For more information about Ema and ‘Ema’s Story’ she her page

While Ema is very affectionate and gentle with humans, she has always been highly dominant with other dogs. She can be unpredictable and aggressive if she feels she needs to protect me from other dogs or especially if she thinks Kanzu is being threatened. This combined with her strong prey drive for the many cats in the neighborhood have made walking Ema a real challenge for me. And, as I became more nervous about walking her because of some of our close calls, Ema became even more protective. As I became less likely to walk her because of her unpredictable behavior she had less opportunities for socialization and the cycle perpetuated itself.

Then I saw a flyer for Enlighten Dogs. I have a strong commitment to positive dog training and to the value of utilizing pack dynamics to shape desirable K-9 behaviors. I had tried many dog trainers and behaviorists with little success. But I was immediately drawn to Enlighten Dogs’ emphasis on positive dog training and their understanding of pack behavior and the value of breed specific exercise for eliminating undesirable behavior. Chris began ‘walking’ Ema and providing positive training experiences and much needed exercise and stimulation twice a week. He used a variety of positive training techniques to give Ema a sense of purpose and to strengthen her trust and understanding of boundaries. (See the photo of Ema in her doggie back pack that is used to emphasize to her that the walks are her job which is calming to a dog.)

Within a few weeks Ema was walking not only with Chris but with other dogs. At first Chris exposed Ema to one new dog at a time with much structure and firm but fair boundaries. Gradually, he increased the number of dogs on a walk until Ema was walking with a whole pack. And now, Ema enjoys not only walks but even bike rides and pack runs with a wide spectrum of breeds of all shapes, sizes and temperaments.

Within only a few walks, Ema was a new dog. I can now walk her with confidence and without fear. She is happier and more interactive with both me and with Kanzu. She is playing more and is generally just happier and healthier.
I am very proud of her and grateful to Chris and Enlighten Dogs. It is as if Ema has truly been enlightened!