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  • Welcome to Our Blog!

    We are Becky & Dave Bishop! Thanks for stopping by our blog! This is where we update on the events, activities, and adventures here at Crystal Creek Farms, home of Puppy Manners, located in beautiful Woodinville, WA!

    "Dig" around and explore! Maybe you'll find a helpful bone or two! Either way, we'll "treat" you to some great information including dog training tips, puppy help, and how you and your canine partner can become certified in therapy!

    We'll also be sharing videos, photos, and stories---both personal and professional---that will be sure to entertain!

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Tom Cruise & Magic / Feature

When first entering my office, most people notice a photo I have of what appears to be Tom Cruise with his arm around my dog “Magic”. Imagine their surprise when I say, “It is!” Here is the story behind that photo…

If ever there were a dog trainer “moment” in time, the day this photo was snapped in 2001 would be it.

“Magic” and I were hired by an animal agent and were sent to California to meet up with Tom Cruise, Penelope Cruz, and director Cameron Crow for the movie Vanilla Sky. (Don’t buy it or even rent it, unless it’s just to see “Magic”. She’s the only good moment in that dark story). The whole experience was pretty surreal. We were to meet a camera crew at dawn in Malibu beach. “Magic” was afraid of the waves at first, having never seen a beach before. But as the day went on, her true Labrador nature started to show and quickly felt right at home with this giant body of water and endless supply of frisbee-tossing people. I’m sure she thought she was the “star” of this movie. Then Penelope Cruz came out and she and “Magic” had still shots taken. A girl and her dog, on the beach, in deep reflection. Except Magic was foaming and shivering with excitement from chasing frisbees. At first, Penelope was a bit scared of “Magic”. But once she settled, she snuggled up to Penelope and some beautiful shots were taken of this stunning actress and this relatively unknown star, my sweet girl. Later in the afternoon, I was asked to drive by Cameron Crow’s production office so he could meet “Magic” and discuss the scene they wanted her to play.

I got there on time but Mr. Crow was looking at the dallies (not sure what that is but I think it’s Hollywood lingo for scenes shot that day). After about 30 minutes, Mr. Crow came in, followed by Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz. I was not expecting anyone but Mr. Crow, who coincidentally, lives in our hometown with rock star wife Nancy Wilson (from the famous 80s band Heart). Tom Cruise was so nice. Collectively, they asked what tricks “Magic” knew and I immediately put her through her paces. Then they asked if we could practice the scene she had with Tom. Essentially, the scene was Tom coming to Penelope’s apartment to pick her up for their first date. As she lets Tom in, “Magic” was to rush him and well, how do I put this… They wanted the dog to be a “crotch bumper.” Just go head first into Tom’s business and be an inappropriate greeter! Say what?! The obedience trainer’s dog? I had no idea how I would get her to even go near Tom’s “zone” but luckily, I had a stroke of genius! I gave Tom a tennis ball and asked him to toss it for her a few times. After a few throws, he stuffed the tennis ball into his pants pocket and “Magic”, out of frustration, went for the ball by trying to bump it out of his pocket. That’s my girl! A total inappropriate greeting, on command! I was pointing to the zipper of Tom’s pants telling “Magic” to “Get it, you know you want it!” After a few practice runs, Tom took pity on her and threw the ball about 20 more times before we left.

Now for the blunderous part of the story. As I was packing up our things, getting “Magic’s” leash on, Cameron Crow told me how beautiful and well trained she was but he feared she was not thin enough for the part. Yes, you heard it right, even dogs are pressured to be thin in the industry! “Magic” was not over weight and I let him know that I could not take her weight down and he understood. Quickly realizing the odds of me EVER being in the same room as Tom Cruise, I got out my camera and asked if I could get a photo of Tom with “Magic”. He was so gracious about it. He really is a nice guy. “Magic” loved him and he clearly likes dogs. So, the actual scene went to some smaller, black mix breed who, by the way, didn’t even have a decent crotch-bump. But, during the movie, when Tom picks up a picture frame in Penelope’s apartment, it zooms in on a gorgeous photo of Penelope Cruz and her dog on the beach. “Magic’s” big close up. I remember Dave saying “That’s our girl! There she is!” and I think the whole theater woke up and wondered what we were so excited about.

People often reprimand me for requesting a photo of Tom with my dog and not myself. But this photo is priceless to me. I miss my “Magic”. She afforded me so many opportunities as a dog trainer. In a world where black dogs are not adopted, thought of as taboo in some countries and go unwanted, she had an amazing career. She had a part in the film Practical Magic with Sandra Bullock, she modeled for catalogs, did commercial work. She was even used in a promotional video for a corporation and got paid big bucks to drink out of toilet! She could not believe her luck, getting paid to do things she loves. Not every dog can say that. And not every dog trainer is so lucky to have a “Magic” in their life.

April 3, 2011 - 3:14 PM

Karen Parkey - Magic was a wonderfui, wonderful girl. She was lucky to have you and Dave!

Training Tip / Door Manners

Why, hello there, Blog Readers! Zoom here!

Many of you know me from your Puppy Manners class and others know me from Reading with Rover! Of course, everyone knows that I’m the hardest working dog at the ranch yet! Recently, I had hip replacement surgery and I’ve had some more “down” time than usual. When I went to the blog to see what’s new, I was shocked when I didn’t find my own Feature! So I’ve hijacked the blog and I’m gonna share a BIG Training Tip with you today!

Lately, I’ve been seeing a lot of pups (young and old) jumping on their moms and dads and even worse, jumping on the friends of their moms and dads! I’ll be honest and say I used to be that pup just a few years ago! But after lots of hard work and practice, I totally know what I’m supposed to do! So how can you teach your puppies to be like me?

First off—Don’t let your puppy be a “door greeter” for now. Did you know that even Wal-Mart greeters go to greeter school for two weeks before they can greet any customers? Greeting is an art form and you have to practice to get good! Being a proper greeter takes time, maturity, patience, and most of all, consistency. The doorway is a “happy zone” in a family’s house as people come in with high pitched voices and we dogs think it’s ALL about us and how much you adore and love us! We don’t really “get it” when people hug, laugh, and get happy when inviting guests to come in. Seriously, we just think you’re happy to see US, the DOGS! So give us a little break… When the door bell rings or someone knocks, quietly and calmly take your puppy to their designated rug, crate, or gated area until all the guests are inside the house and excitement levels have gone down a notch. When everyone is seated, feel free to let your puppy back into the room but keep the leash on and let your guests greet in a more controlled area of the house. Things will be SO much easier for your puppy if you simply avoid, for now, letting them be a door greeter. But believe me, it’s not forever! It’s just until your puppy improves with practice!

Also consider tethering your puppy, allowing your guests to go to him/her on their own terms. Let your guests tell your puppy to “sit” or “down” and AFTER the puppy has complied, your guests should reward with the treat and proper pets! If the puppy jumps, guests simply need to walk away and the tether will keep your puppy in control. This helps your guests to be better trainers (instead of the “anti-trainer” they usually are!) and it sets your puppy up for success! “Will work for food!” is never more true to your puppy until something like this!

Trust me when I say that there is HOPE for your puppy! I used to be a terrible jumper and I loved nipping at hands. I pulled at sleeves and clothing and all my bad habits went away when I stopped being First at the door! Before Mom would answer the door, she would grab my leash and place me on my rug, give me a bone to chew on and then she’d tether me before any guests came in. As I got older and more mature, I was given more privilege and was even allowed to greet people when they first came through the door! Privilege is like getting your driver’s license! It’s not a right, its a privilege you earn and your puppy has to earn their way to front door.

As you all know, I’m a great dog (and humble, too)! You may not think that I see your adoring stares in class, the envy in your puppy’s eyes, the compliments… But you have to know that I’ve come a long way. My mom and dad always tell people about how I was the last pick of the litter and as much as it pains me to hear, I really was the last one to go. Boy, did I get lucky and I’m forever grateful to those families that turned me down because I really was meant to be a Bishop.

Remember, you don’t always get the dog you want, but you always get the dog you need. The challenges you face with your puppy are just opportunities to learn about yourself and grow as individuals! Embrace it, learn from it, and move forward!

Enjoy this clip from our recent Star-Barks 101 class where Mom talks about proper door manners and shows how your guests can use their body language to stop dogs from jumping on them or other unwanted behavior.

Puppy Manners Blog – Door Greeting from Becky&Dave Bishop on Vimeo.

Have a great weekend! And stay tuned for more tips like these in the future! Email questions and Training Tip suggestions to info@puppymanners.com!

*Photos provided by Carly Chaney.

From Our Family to Yours

Feature / "Bloo" 2006 – July 25, 2010

It’s not easy owning a dog or being their guardian. I mean, when it comes down to it—the dogs own us.

But one of hardest realities of owning a dog is knowing we will almost always outlive them. They start out as puppies, but they are on a fast track to adulthood. But we’re lucky, because we get to watch them become senior dogs, spending their whole lives with us before they have to leave.

And as much as I would have loved to watch our dog “Bloo” get old and gray, it was not meant to be…

On Saturday, July 24th, Bloo had several grand mal seizures. We were aware they could happen but we hoped medication could prevent them. But the meds didn’t work. Seizures are increasingly more difficult to prevent the more a dog has them. They were so painful to witness, and very scary for Bloo. I know Bloo is home now, in heaven, where all his rover-friends await and I’m sure those angels are dancing with joy for the newest, most wonderful rover to join them. We will miss everything about him. He was quirky, with so much personality. Dave often says “this dog truly speaks to me.” He would actually look at me and Dave and do this little chatter, as if mimicking us. He made us laugh every day. He wore his feelings on his furry sleeves and he would let you know if he was upset. He longed for routine, wishing every day could be the same. Everyday, he would “wait” by the door and no matter how hard he tried to go out calmly, he leaped and bounded out the front door, his feet never touching the steps of the deck. I used to call it the “Bloo flew” as he seemed to fly off the deck. Often times, Bloo was so excited to go to Reading with Rover, he would jump into the wrong car and wouldn’t get out! We had to drag him out. And he would almost look embarrassed, as if to say, “Wow, that was dumb of me!” But he was far from dumb. He just couldn’t wait to spread joy!

Sadly, it was at 3:00am yesterday morning, that Bloo went on his final journey to heaven. But as I grieve for his loss, I am encouraged by a friend who just emailed me the following:

“When we have to witness our pets going through so much agony in their final minutes, just know that it’s only a tiny fraction of what they experience throughout their lives with us.”

This puts Bloo’s life in perspective, and it does make me feel better. Even in his last moment, Bloo aimed to please. He looked at me as if to say “It’s ok, Mom… I’m tired and I want to go.”

He loved us a lot. Especially Dave.

A little bit about Bloo, aka “Bloobie”, aka “Crazy Bee”.

Bloo came into our life in the most unusual way. Four years ago, I was looking for a puppy to train for service to a family who had a boy with autism and seizure disorder. Meanwhile, I had another client with two young children and two black lab puppies. As you can imagine, the strain of two puppies and two little boys proved too difficult. They realized they’d do much better with just one puppy, so they offered to give up one of them, knowing I could find a good home. Immediately, I was drawn to the calmer of the two puppies (Bloo) because of his disposition, but it was for that same reason the family preferred to keep him over his brother. Bloo was gentle, an old soul, and he was comfortable, with these amber eyes that just melted my heart. Unfortunately, the family wanted to give me his unruly, high strung yet lovable brother “Lucky” and I really couldn’t blame them. Knowing Bloo had strong potential as the service dog I had been seeking, I explained to the family what I thought he could do in his life, especially as a helper to this little boy.

The family had to make a decision.  My client let me know that his wife was pretty adamant about keeping Bloo.  While I was certain they would keep Bloo and give me Lucky, I couldn’t help saying a little prayer that they would make the sacrifice, and bring me Bloo.  Well, to my surprise, my prayer was answered and Bloo, my little miracle puppy, arrived the next morning. The owner looked at me and said, “My wife and I talked until two in the morning and we think if Bloo can be a service dog, who are we to stop him from achieving a higher calling?”

Amazing family. Amazing dog.

Bloo trained with us for nine months until he was ready to go for his first visit to his new home and to fulfill his duty as a service dog. It was just a weekend visit. Unfortunately, at the end of day two with his adopted family, Bloo had a seizure.

It’s my belief that the event was stress induced, as Bloo, while thoroughly trained, had never spent a night away from our home since he came to live with us. Immediately, we knew that having the seizure made Bloo incapable of being a service dog. When Bloo came back to us, I was determined to re-home him. However, Bloo was determined to stay…

We attempted to send Bloo with a friend for a day, but his stress level was so high, she returned him to us before nightfall. At that point, we were concerned another seizure would take place and we realized that Bloo had adopted us and we had no choice in the matter.

After becoming “our” dog, Bloo went three years without having a single seizure. He became a beloved Reading with Rover dog for Rose Hill Elementary School and he helped so many children. We genuinely believed that he was seizure free until a few months ago when they started happening without warning…

Bloo LOVED kids and I’m not ashamed to say he was the best bed buddy a couple could ask for! I can’t tell you how much we’ll miss that big furry divide that watched over me and Dave until we fell asleep and then, he would hop off the bed and sleep right next to me on the floor. But he was more so Dave’s dog than mine. He loved all of us but he and Dave had a deeply special bond that makes it a lot harder on Dave in this time of grief.

Personally, I’ll miss the way he liked to lift his leg on our “don’t pee here” sign on our front lawn. That was comical and I just couldn’t get upset with him. After all, he was a “listening” dog, and couldn’t read the sign. He was also a “lay at your feet for as long as you want” dog and a “get in the truck and go” dog. He was tenderhearted, a “kid had a bad day so I’ll cheer them up” dog. He was our family dog and he was a fantastic Reading with Rover dog. I do believe the work he did here was his higher calling and we are grateful for the few years we had with him. Not every dog can say “I made a difference,” especially when dogs are here so briefly. He certainly made a difference for us.

I once heard someone say you don’t always get the dog you want, you get the dog you need. And we needed Bloo in our family. He filled our hearts and we deeply loved him. We’re missing him so much already. The house is just too quiet, the silence filling each room.

I don’t have the heart to sweep the floors today because the clumps of black fur that rest in the corners are the only thing that make me feel like he’s still here…

Bloo was special and possessed a special part of all our hearts. He was truly Dave’s best friend. We laugh and say Bloo started out a service dog, but Dave ended up being a service-person to Bloo. Bloo loved and needed Dave in his life to be happy.

Hug your dogs today and every day and thanks to all of you who have been asking about Bloo. Your thoughts and prayers are greatly appreciated in this time of mourning.

And thank you, Bloo, for truly “raising the woof.”

We’ll see you in Heaven. Promise.

July 31, 2010 - 7:53 AM

Violet@CreateBeauty - Hi Becky, Sandy forwarded me the link to your blog and told me about Bloo. What an amazing and special dog. I am so deeply sorry for your loss. And oh how the children will miss him also.
Your story about him is so touching and beautiful. If there is anything I can do please let me know.

~ Violet

August 1, 2010 - 8:55 PM

admin - Thanks Violet. Nice to be in such a great dog loving community of friends. It’s been one week, the silence in the house is evident but we just keep moving. Dave actually put his hand on his chest the other day and said “My heart really feels heavy…” I feel the same but we just keep moving forward with our family of fur and friends like you make it easier.

Feature / "Ewok" & Fay

It was a crazy week here at Puppy Manners as we prepared for our son’s wedding last Saturday. In the middle of all the chaos, we encountered a moment of peace and joy when we received this postcard in our mailbox. It was from our friend and client, Fay, telling us that she and her sweet Labradoodle,  “Ewok”, had passed their therapy test with the Delta Society!

We first met Fay when she came to us with 9-week-old “Ewok” back in September, 2009. I noted “Ewok’s” disposition right away as he was drawn more to people than to other dogs, which usually means he or she is made for therapy! When I mentioned to Fay about the Reading with Rover program, a non-profit organization for children and literacy, she was immediately hooked on the idea! Fay and “Ewok” joined our Pup’prentice Project the following January and as of last month, they passed their test and are on their way to doing good in the community! Sadly, we won’t be around to see it in person, as Fay is originally from the UK and will be moving back overseas very soon. But we are so excited to hear about her and “Ewok’s” continued adventures and all the good they’ll do in her native land! We wish them luck with everything, but just look at them! I don’t think they’ll have any trouble, do you?!

We love stories like Fay’s and “Ewok’s” and will continue to share the success, love, and joy of our clients with all our blog readers! Stay tuned for more features like these in the near future!

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