Hi All

Erin McKee

New Member
Just learned about this group. I'm a "training geek" and always up for learning more ways to relate better with my dogs, and ways to be a more effective trainer, to help others, too.

I have three English shepherds, who have taught me so much in my journey, Missy was basically trained "old school" because that's what I knew at the time. Ceilidh is my crossover dog, and showed me just how powerfully effective positive methods are, and how much fun clicker training can be! Now Tucker is reaping the benefits of what the other two taught me.

We are kind of all over the place with what we're learning. I work with reactive dogs (having learned a whole lot in helping Ceilidh to cope, she's very reactive, and neophobic). I assist in a class for Therapy dogs (after having gone through it with three of my own dogs), that's a particular love of mine. All three do agility, I've tried herding (the dogs are great, I am not so much...), Missy loves to track, I've started Tucker in tracking, Ceilidh has taken a flyball class and loved it, she's my Freestyle partner, Missy and Ceilidh do Rally, Missy is my Therapy dog, Ceilidh has been trained in Service dog tasks, and Tucker, at two, is just starting to get enough impulse control to go beyond the bare basics. All three have done a lot of work in body awareness (I saw the thread on back end awareness, it makes a huge difference in how a dog handles all kinds of things). Other than that, he's gotten the same basics that the grrls have- mat work, allowing handling, leash manners, basic target training, moving his body (backing up, stepping sideways, walking on both sides of me, turning in a circle, etc.), a solid recall and "leave it", boundary training for our yard (we don't have a fence, so they need to know to stop at the curb unless released to do so), to potty in their "bathroom" corner, so we don't have land mines everywhere and dead spots all over the lawn, door manners, etc.

In all of that, we have a lot of fun, and we all love to play learning games. I use a marker for capturing behaviors, I like to use a clicker but don't always have it with me. So all the dogs know a marker word, and I sometimes click with my tongue.

As for what we're currently learning, because none of them is keen on having their paws handled (they tolerate it is all, and I wanted to make it more positive for them), we're learning "hold hands"

Ceilidh is learning to back through my legs, and to place her toys in a box consistently (she tends to spit them in the general direction now ;-)

Because Missy came late to learning to offer behaviors, and tends to worry about making mistakes, she's learning that *anything* she offers is a Good Thing. Missy and Ceilidh are practicing doing things in unison (spin, sit and wave, heeling on left and right sides, backing, taking a bow). Tucker is starting to learn to take a bow. He's learning left and right (lift a front paw on cue). He also does "are you sad?" puts his head down between his front paws while lying down (captured while I was keeping him occupied during a meeting).

Both Missy and Ceilidh have a lot of tricks that they do, and we're always refining those, adding little variations, and learning variants. I look forward to working more with Tucker, as his attention span continues to get longer.

Oh, and one cat comes when called, sits up and lies down on cue. Not much more; he is, after all, a cat. The other one is not the brightest bulb, though sweet, so she doesn't do much more than look cute.

Well, that's a bit long! Can you tell I love training? ;-)

Erin, with
Missy the Wonder Dog
Ceilidh the Squirrelly Grrl
Tucker, the Teenager
Robin Goodfellow Cat
and Felicity Cat


Staff member
Ooooh you're going to have alot of fun on this site, I can tell! Your dogs sound awesome, and you'll be an asset to this forum! Welcome to the DTA!


Experienced Member
Welcome! I can't believe that I've never heard of English shepherds, but you learn something new every day. You're in the right place if you're obsessed with training. ;) I can't wait to hear your input on some of the topics in the forums.

Good luck!