Academies!!! And – Fires in California

Welcome to Peaceable Paws!


It is with a very heavy heart that I watch the news reports of multiple out-of-control wildfires in California. You can see all the fires here:

I worked at the Marin Humane Society for 20 years (Marin County is just north of San Francisco, on the other end of the Golden Gate Bridge), lived in Sonoma County (where several of the fires are), moved to Monterey/Santa Cruz in 1996 (another wildfire hotspot) where I was on the Board of the Santa Cruz SPCA, and Paul and I purchased 160 wilderness acres outside of Red Bluff in Tehama County (yet another fire site) where we had many wonderful times camping. We have many friends in the Golden State. It’s heartbreaking to think of all the destruction, loss of property, human and animal life, and loss of forests in one of the most beautiful regions of our country. As a Humane Officer in California for many years, I worked at my share of disasters, and I know all too well how devastating these fires are. A large part of my heart will always be in California, and I am sending good thoughts to everyone there, as more evacuation orders go into effect daily. Be safe, my friends!!


Meanwhile – back at Peaceable Paws… I had a feeling that it would be hard for me to keep up with blogs once our academies started back up, and I was right. But the good news is we are having a GREAT time. We’ve completed one Level 1 Academy (Basic Canine Behavior and Training), one Advanced Training and Behavior Study, one Cognition Academy (my favorite!), and our Brain Candy (Cognition) workshop – also a favorite. So far we are managing to follow CDC Guidelines for COVID-19 – masks, social distancing and cleaning/disinfecting… it’s a lot of work, but it’s worth it to be back on the other end of the leash, working with people who love dogs as much as I do.

Here are some shots from recent academies:

Basic Canine Behavior and Training – July 2020

This is a 6-day intensive academy that focuses on the principles of behavior and learning (operant and classical conditioning) and basic clicker training skills. We use shelter and rescue dogs for this academy. We offer 4 scholarships for this academy (value, $1500) for trainers and would-be trainers who are working with shelters or 501(c)3 rescue groups. Contact us if you want more information about our academies or the scholarships!

Advanced Training and Behavior Study – July, 2020

This academy (also 6 days) goes beyond the basic training skills, including teaching a behavior chain, experimenting with the Premack Principle, and Whsitle Cues, and also delves into the fascinating world of behavior studies.

Canine Cognition – August 2020

This 6-day academy – my favorite, along with Cognition-PLUS, explores the incredible cognitive potential of our dogs’ brains. We teach object, color and shape discrimination, imitation, reading and more, and each team has to devise a cognition test that they administer to the other academy dogs, as well as some outside dogs we bring in for the tests.

And the Brain Candy Workshop

This one is similar to the Cognition Academy. We teach many of the same behaviors but it’s a two-day weekend workshop instead of a 6-day academy.

So, as you can see, we’ve been busy here at Peaceable Paws. I want to give a huge thanks to all the students who have come here to learn with us – we look forward to seeing you again!

Next up on the calendar – an Aggression Academy next week, then a bit of a break until our next Basic Training and Behavior Academy in mid-September. Meanwhile, no further sightings (or soundings) of our transient coyote, but a 4-point buck has been hanging out in the pastures with a doe and fawn, and we’re seeing lots of Monarch butterflies in the last week or so. (Yay!)

Until next time – you all stay safe and well – and far away from the flames!

Warm Woofs,


Pat Miller

“Fostering harmony between the human and non-human animals of our world…”



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