Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Cooking with Sarah: Thanksgiving Recap

We had a great Thanksgiving at our house.  You may recall that I was planning a HUGE dinner that day and I got to admit, next year I won't be so ambitious with the dishes.  My problem might have been that I kept adding stuff (like Butternut Squash Risotto at the last minute).  Only I am crazy enough to add a labor intensive dish like risotto to an already full menu at the very last minute but seriously folks, it was butternut squash risotto and it was delicious.  While I absolutely LOVE cooking and Turkey Day is by and far MY DAY, I also didn't have much chance to chat with our guests as everything took a little longer, even though I started a half hour early (according to my schedule).  Fun fact:  when you wrap a turkey in bacon and stuff it with dressing, it takes a lot longer.  Like almost 2 hours longer.  But that's OK.  So dinner was late.  So what if the mashed potatoes were cold by the time everything was done.  It was still delicious.  Here are some highlights from our Turkey Day:

Bacon Turkey is the most beautiful thing in the world.
Our good friend Julie cooking vegetables.  Hurley supervising droppage!
Sadie supervising the Turkey carving
Sweet Potato Cheesecake was by far the highlight of the meal.  This one is a permanent T-day fixture now!
The dogs did really well with all of our guests.  Hurley did not take off with the turkey and satisfied himself with only one quick lick of the turkey plate.  Maggie did not climb on anyone's lap (that I noticed) and Sadie barely barked when our guests came to the door.  Success!  One of my favorite aspects of holidays is seeing my dogs continue to improve behavior-wise.  Having a house full of people & food is challenging for even the most well-behaved dogs and my 3 did a great job being cute, wiggly and friendly to all who would let them lick their fingers!

I hope everyone had a great holiday weekend!  Next stop, Christmas (or Hanukkah or Kwanza or Festivus).  The Mom-in-law is coming to visit from Cape Cod and word on the street is that she is bringing us lobster!! 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Return of the Crate

Deja vu.  Didn't we all read a post about this subject just a week or two ago?  Yup, just like Two Grad Students, we too have had to return one of ours to crate-ville.

Every fall, we encounter the same issue with Sadie.  Indoor poopies.  I know it's cold & rainy outside but seriouslys?  I feel like pooping inside for her is the equivalent of me demanding a heated toilet seat.  Hold on!  Must get out the Honey Do List...but I digress.  Usually, her Fall Indoor Poopies only last a few nights or maybe a week tops.  But it's now the end of November and this has been going on since October.  Maybe she leaves us a surprise in the bathroom during the day or maybe she sneaks down into the basement at night.  But it's been almost daily for at least 6 weeks.

So we made the decision to start crating Sadie when we're gone for extended periods of time and at night.  I don't feel one iota guilty about this - girl's been pooping in my house, yo!  And she happens to love her crate.  When we got Hurley and set up one of the crates for him, I would regularly find her napping in it.  I had to set up our second crate after we got him just so she would have her own place to nap.  The only difference now is that the door is closed.

Yes, she gets bathroom breaks right before I leave in the morning and right before we go to bed.  She even gets alone time in the yard so that she may do her business in peace (she's always been a bit shy about doing her business in front of others and I think Hurley follows her around outside too much for her pooping comfort).   But whether it's performance anxiety in front of her brother or princess-ness about the cold wet weather or jealousy over my soon-to-be-installed toilet seat warmer (kidding!), this pooping princess has been thwarted once and for all by my good friend crate.

Who me?  I am way too cute to poop.

Has the change in weather brought out any abnormal behaviors in your dogs?

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sadie & Her Sweater

We got Sadie's new sweater from Our Waldo Bungie last week.  Sadie is just a little bit in love with it. 

This being her first sweater, she wasn't quite sure what was going on when I first put it on her.  She stood in place for a few minutes before she figured out she could move.  Once she moved, she didn't stop. 

For about a half hour, she trotted from wherever I was to the door and back again; she was convinced that sweater meant we were going somewhere fun.  So off I took her to the shop so she could sniff around and show off her new sweater. 

We took the sweater off when we got home and laid it neatly on a chair.  The next morning, the sweater was mysteriously missing.

Imagine my surprise when I located in under Sadie's head on her bed.  Yup, she loves her new sweater so much that she got up in the middle of the night, snatched it from the chair and curled up with it.  Thanks Waldo Bungie for making my precious Sadie so very happy!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Giving Thanks

I have so much to be thankful for this year.  But most of all, I am thankful for these three:

What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving?

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Cooking with Sarah: My Favorite Holiday

Thanksgiving is hands-down my favorite holiday.  This is because I love to cook.  I also love to host.  Third, I love to challenge myself in the kitchen.  I'm definitely not the type of person who cooks the same Turkey Day dinner year in and year out. 

Four years ago, we hosted 20+ people and had to cook 2 turkeys.  The Hubster had the brilliant idea of grilling one of the turkeys since we lacked two stoves and IT. WAS. AWESOME!!

And then there was Turkey Day two years ago.  A much smaller crowd this time and we had a theme:  everything in pie form.  Turkey Pot Pie, Shepherd's Pie, the normal sweet potato & green bean casseroles with pie crusts.  It was brilliant and it was intense on the gut.  There really is only so much buttery pie crust a human being can consume in one meal.  However, that was also the Thanksgiving we discovered that Sadie LOVES little kids, so long as they provide her with an endless supply of Cheerios.  One of my favorite Sadie memories is little Sully walking Sadie all around the living room. She was so patient and calm and I was so very proud of her. 

This year, one of our good friends is visiting us for the Holiday and I knew I had to make it special.  Enter Bacon Turkey.  Originally, our concept was that everything would include bacon.  That would've been even more awesome than the Pie T-day but, alas, we've got vegetarian friends and I'm not going there with fakin' bacon. 

Photo from recipe posted at

And because I am the ultimate planner, I do have a Turkey Day spreadsheet & binder.   The cover page of said binder is what is pictured above.  Yes, all of the recipes are printed and there is a cooking schedule.  I need my head examined.  For reals.

Here is our Thanksgiving menu in all of its glory:

Mushroom & Walnut Plate
Bacon-Wrapped Dates

Bacon-Roasted Turkey & Pan Gravy
Garlic Mashed Taters
Sausage, Apple & Cranberry Stuffing
Roasted Green Beans & Almond Brittle
Pumpkin Ale Mac N Cheese
Dinner Rolls
Corn Bread
Holiday Soup & Salad
Shredded Brussel Sprouts w/ Maple Hickory Nuts

Sweet Potato Cheesecake
Pecan Pie
Pumpkin Canollis

I hope your Thanksgiving is as delicious as ours will be!  And for the record, we are still apprehensive about Hurley and the Turkey.  It's a good thing I've been working on "Out" with him.  And "Off".  And "Leave It".  And "Go Lay Down".  Yup, we will be using all of those in healthy doses this week!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Dog Training and the Art of Compromise

Let me share some core truths about myself:

1.  I am always right.
2.  I think I am always right.
3.  I don't like admitting that I'm wrong.
4.  I like winning.  A lot.

All of these things sometimes complicate the compromise that is necessary when raising & training dogs together.  I'm sure I'm not the only one who has had one of these conversations:

Hubster:  You give the dogs too many treats.
Me:  You don't use treats to shape, lure & reinforce behaviors enough.

and then later:

Hubster:  Why won't Hurley sit for me but he sits for you?
Me:  I give him too many treats.  :P (yes, I do actually stick my tongue out at the poor Hubster)

As we tackle each new training issue that comes along with every one of our dogs, our training know how reaches its limits and we have to learn something new in order to overcome the problem at hand.  Oftentimes, this raises some conflicts between the two of us on the best route to take when training our dogs.  The Hubster and I aren't too far apart on our training philosophies.  Neither of us want to use harsh training methods and each of us prefers to use training methods that we, respectively, are more talented at.  I fall back on the "I can get my dogs to do anything with a treat in my hand" positive reinforcement style of training while the Hubster goes with his "I'm the boss and the dogs do what I want 'cause they respect me" Leader of the Pack style of training.  While each of us dabbles in the other's methods, we certainly have our strengths which drives our training preferences.  And neither of us are wholly right or wholly wrong. 

So when Hurley started displaying resource guarding issues, both of us struggled with what we knew and didn't know.  We struggled with each other's philosophies and, in all honesty, did not see eye to eye regarding the correct path forward.

Enter compromise.

The first thing we did to get on the same page was sit down and map out the commands, rewards and punishments we utilize.  Yes we have a spreadsheet now.  What behaviors still needed treats to help shape and reinforce and which ones should Hurley do without a treat each and every time?  How many times will we ask for the behavior?  What will we do if he doesn't obey?  In what specific situations do we always require a certain behavior from him?  What verbal commands and what hand signals do we use? 

Though lengthy, that was the easy part.  We were already on the same page 99% of the time but the exercise helped us identify areas where we might be sending conflicting messages to the dogs.

The harder part was coming to a compromise on who we sought professional help from to help us with what we didn't know - how to proceed with Hurley's resource guarding behavior.  The Hubster quickly found a Leader of the Pack style trainer while I offered up a positive reinforcement class.  In the end, I agreed to go with the trainer that he had found for several reasons:

- Positive reinforcement and Leader of the Pack training are not mutually exclusive.  One of the reasons why I haven't felt comfortable with his style of training is that I suck at it.  I need guidance on what rules to institute in the home to give Mr. I'm-All-That Hurley more structure and reinforces who's in charge.  I need to learn how to correct my dogs without showing frustration or anger.  I also have found that, with 3 dogs, pack dynamics and understanding them is much more critical than ever before.  And while we have taken a positive reinforcement based class with Maggie, we have not taken a Leader of the Pack based training class.  In short, we've had professional guidance in one method and not the other.

- I spent about 1/2 hour on the phone with the trainer we selected to ensure that I felt comfortable that he was not too harsh in his methods, that he would respect where I drew the line and that he would help the Hubster and I continue to find ways to compromise and complement each other.

- The Hubster agreed that we will continue not to use the methods I am opposed to: choke chains, prong collars, harsh corrections, alpha rolls, etc.  In return, I offered up the Martingale collar as a training tool and agreed to use it throughout the duration of the training class (though I still prefer the front clip harness).  I promised to not let Hurley up on the bed for the duration of the class.  

I guess if I could sum up our compromise, it would be this:  We will correct Hurley's behavior when he misbehaves and we will reward him when he does behave.  We will shape new behaviors utilizing rewards in the beginning but phase them out more quickly. 

The last couple weeks have been hard on us as we struggle to figure this all out.  But today, we go hand-in-hand-in-leash to our training class together.  We know the core of our compromise and path forward and while details will still be ironed out, we are in a good place.  And Hurley is in the best place he can be - our family.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Blogaversary: Year in Review

Wow!  My blog is 1 year old today.  First, let me say...Phew!  I had very vague reasons for starting a blog (somewhere between everyone else is doing it and wanting to document my fosters) but this year has seen me grow as a writer & dog owner, start a business and raise a puppy. 

Here are some of my favorite memories from the past year:

Choco Wonder Foster:  We had a glorious 3 weeks with Choco, my very first (and to date only) Pitbull foster.  If only I had known that the Hubster was planning to surprise me with a puppy for my shop opening, I would have lobbied hard for this little guy.  He stole my heart in 3 short weeks and watching him go home with his forever family was sooooooo hard

Hurley joining our family was unexpected.  I was so surprised, in fact, that I was in a state of shock for several days.  Though I worried about the amount of work a puppy requires, about not being able to foster until he was full grown (hint, hint, Hubster) and felt guilty that he was not a rescue, Hurley has enriched our lives so very much.  I thought I had a pretty smart dog (Maggie) but Hurley's brains puts all others to shame.  It's tough keeping up with him and not letting him manipulate me into being his Pez Dispenser O' Treats.    And while puppyhood is naturally challenging, he is on his way to becoming a great dog who will continue to enrich our lives as we grow together.  I am so thankful that I will get to spend my days with such a fantastic dog.  Thanks Hubster for the greatest gift you could have given me!

 Monday Fun Days were my favorite addition to the blog.  And while we're taking a winter break from our hikes and explorations of Oregon, we'll be back next Spring for sure!  Having these days to spend some quality one on one time with the girls was my favorite part of the summer.

Opening NoPo Paws is my greatest achievement to date (other than raising my dogs and landing my fantastic Hubster of course).  I am so so proud of the shop and enjoy every second of it.  While this blog is not about my store or owning a small business, it's such a big part of who I am.  This blog would not be here if it weren't for me taking this ginormous step in my life.  Both blog and boutique have fulfilled me in ways that I hoped and in ways that I never expected.  Perhaps the most memorable aspect of this past year is that I feel that I have become true to myself and have found my path in life.  One that includes running a little pet store and writing all about the dogs I am blessed to share my life with.

Here's to another momentous year!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Resource Guarding: The Store Is Where It's At

Over the past few weeks, we've been testing Hurley out to see where and when he reacts to other dogs and what relation that has to potential resource guarding.  There was lots of good and some not so good.

The good is that Hurley was great at non-pet stores.  He patiently walked back and forth down the Home Depot aisles as I gathered everything I needed.  We saw two other dogs while we were there, one in the distance and one walking right past us.  Though he noticed both, he had no reaction to either. 

But our trip to Petco didn't go so hot.  In the presence of the familiar-smelling bags & bags of dog food, he pulled & sniffed and then barked at the one dog we did see as we left the store.  So... food-rich environments being one of his triggers - Confirmed! 

"I'm about to chase you!" aka making friends at the dog park

We've had many successful outings to the dog park and other than an occasional bark at Stella the Great Dane, he does well.  For the first time the other day, he did not come when I called him.  Now, in general this is not a good thing.  But in this particular instance, it showed me that he is starting to see the company of other dogs as higher value than returning to me.  While this is a positive step in terms of canine socialization, we also need to start cracking down on our recall!  I shouldn't have to ask him to come twice, right?  (Ha - we've never had fail-proof recalls with any of our dogs so take that with a humongous grain of salt.  There was that one time Maggie & Sadie decided chasing a Whippet out of the dog park and down the busy street was the funnest game ever.  Good times.) 

Hurley will never be known for his speed.  Look at how hard he is trying to catch up with his new buddy!

Hurley's also been doing well encountering other dogs on walks.  He doesn't bark or react and though he gets a little excited sometimes about the prospect of meeting the other dog, I am working on calm behavior and teaching him to ignore the other dog in favor of earning a piece of kibble. 

And then there's been a few training classes.  Hurley & I went to a clicker training session last weekend and while his behavior wasn't perfect, he did pretty darn awesome.  There was only one other dog there with a similar energy as his and they reacted to each other once.  The second time?  He turned away to come back to me and the trainer for a treat.  Progress! 

Last night was his first training class at his 5 week Basic Manners-type course.  He was extremely vocal due to a variety of factors:

1) The class is held in a pet store/doggie daycare (his food-rich environment trigger)
2) Most of the dogs there had similiar energy/reactivity levels and behavior challenges.  They all were setting each other off, at least at the beginning of class.  I didn't think Hurley would let the German Shepherd win the most persistent vocalization award but he did finally settle down.  
3) Most of the class was intro dog trainer lecture type stuff.  This is REALLY BORING for Hurley.

I feel we've made a tremendous amount of progress recently by consciously testing him in both familiar and new environments to identify what resources he feels the need to guard.  And we found what I thought we would find - while his issues aren't solely related to my shop, they are limited to closely similar environments plus a healthy dose of "you react at me, I'll react back" type of behavior.  As we've explored our training options & discussed his behavior, underlying causes and triggers, what is growing more obvious is that this is a somewhat common adolescent male puppy behavior.  Right now, he is all teenager and he's just a normal dog.  He doesn't have a severe behavior issue that we do not have the know how to deal with.  And with all of our dogs, guarding my shop is another behavior that I'll have under my belt in the "been there, done that" category.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Resource Guarding: Identifying the Cause

One of the most difficult aspects of "diagnosing" Hurley's budding resource guarding is identifying the cause.  As I noted in my last post on this issue, we believe the core issue stems from being the runt of his litter and having to fight for resources as a tiny baby puppy.  The thought of the below little ball of fur being squished out of the way and away from his mom's milk just makes me love him all the more - for the spirit that experience installed in him.  Even when that spirit causes training issues.  I can just imagine that smart little brain o' his having to figure out how to get what he needed when he had larger puppies around getting in his way.  And given his talent as a linebacker, I imagine infant Hurley head butting and plowing his way in.  He's one smart cookie - the fastest route is usually the most direct one!

And while identifying the potential root cause for the behavior is all well and good, it's not enough to set us on a practical path towards resolving this issue and improving his behavior.  To do that, I've needed to identify current causes - what in his life right now does he feel the need to guard?

There is the obvious resource that dogs guard - food.  We've seen from Hurley's behavior with high value treats, trying to steal treats that are given to his sisters, hard taking of treats, and general possessiveness of the store (a food rich environment), that part of the issue is related to food.  That's the easy diagnosis.

But the other half of the issue?  Me.  I believe that I am a resource that Hurley is possessive of.  Hurley and I have been attached at the hip these past 6 months.  While his sisters only get the pleasure of my presence mornings, evenings and Mondays off, Hurley has been with me 5 days a week, all day long.  When looking at the entire picture of resource guarding, it's not enough to just talk about the food.  Attention and toys can be part of the issue as well and in our case, I am certain that my attention is part of the equation.

The good news is that he's not possessive at home.  He is learning to share with Maggie & Sadie (The accurate description is that they have always been great at sharing with him - he takes and they let him.  We are putting a stop to him taking and encouraging sharing behavior).  Maggie will even let him share her bone - she gnaws on one end while he nibbles on the other.  If his issues were truly insurmountable, I doubt that we would see this type of easy-going behavior around some shared resources at home.  I mean, really?  Who can say their dogs share a bone?  But while he's accustomed to sharing his resources at home, he is not accustomed to sharing them at the store.

My store is the environment where Hurley has me, food & toys all to himself.  He has never had to share the store with Maggie & Sadie.  I'm pretty confident that this is the basis for the behavior we're seeing.  If he doesn't have to share Mom's shop and all the attention & treats he receives there with his sisters, he sure doesn't want to share it with other dogs who aren't part of his pack.  And when they enter, his bark is to let them know whose turf they're on.  A part of our solution will certainly be bringing everyone into the store when it's closed to practice sharing resources in this particular environment.

So now that we've narrowed down the causes to food, food-rich environments, my shop, my attention and most specifically, my attention and food in my shop, the next step is to identify the full scope of triggers.  Isn't that the same as cause, you might ask?  Possibly.  But what I mean by triggers is identifying the specific circumstances that trigger the behavior, not the general environment.

I'm in the process of testing Hurley - is my store the only environment where this behavior happens?  How close does the other dog have to be?  Does on leash or off leash affect the response?  How is his behavior in a different area of the store not close to the counter?  Essentially I'm mapping out his threshold.  I'll be talking about our experiences in identifying triggers/thresholds in my next post on Hurley's resource guarding.  Stay tuned!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Morning Walks with Sadie

Somehow over the years, Sadie has become our most well-behaved walker. This from the dog whose previous owners admitted to us that she had never been on a leash until the day we took her home at 1 1/2 years old!  Through the use of a front clip harness and loads of patience, she is now fairly top notch. 

I cherish my morning walks with Sadie.  I know my day will start well.  And when I'm frustrated with an experience with Maggie's reactivity or Hurley's ongoing puppy training, I know I can put her in her harness, fill up my mug with coffee and spend the next 30 minutes just enjoying life. 

One of my favorite things about our walks is how much Sadie is enjoying life right back at me.  After we stop at each curb, I say "Good Girl" to release her and she bounces to the end of her leash, then looks back with the happiest smile on her face.  She wiggles her butt in greeting when we encounter people and is no longer startled by garbage trucks, hand trucks or delivery people otherwise unloading at the nearby businesses.  And while I'm pretty sure she spends the entire walk on the hunt for cats & squirrels, her on-leash behavior when she finds them is slowly but surely improving.  Her joie de vivre is contagious and it always lifts my own spirits. 

What do you enjoy about walks with your dog(s)?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Next Steps

We are starting to formulate a plan for helping Hurley get over his resource-guarding issues at the store.  I know Sunday's post had a few moments of me wallowing in my emotions but we are not giving up!  One of the greatest gifts this blog has given me is the forum to spew so that I can get it all out and move on in a productive manner.  Sometimes a girl just needs to unload!

We're taking a variety of approaches to Hurley's most recent issue.  And I'm fully employing the Hubster's help because I know this is one issue I can't tackle alone.  One thing I have to be more aware of is how my worries over this issue may cause the behaviors at times - if I expect him to behave inappropriately, he very likely will.  This is my greatest challenge as a doggie parent (and has always been so).  Fortunately, the Hubster is a lot more level-headed about these types of training challenges and will help both me and Hurley get over this current hurdle.

We believe that this behavior stems from his early in life experiences with his litter mates.  When the Hubster picked Hurley out, he was the smallest of the remaining puppies in the litter.  The night he came home, his ears were covered in scabs and his belly scarred.  Our vet told us this was indicative of him being the runt of the litter and having to fight his littermates for food.  We have made huge strides in his behavior around food.  But we've still got a ways to go and this is just another way in which the underlying issue is raising its ugly lil head. 

Our first reaction to Hurley's recent resource guarding-based aggressive behaviors was to say "no more treats" and "no more store" but after calming down a bit, I've come to realize that those are exactly the worst things to do.  One of the biggest mistakes we made when Maggie started displaying aggression towards small dogs was to never go back to the dog park.  What we didn't realize is that one bad experience with that one small dog was etched into her memory and colored her view of all small dogs.  We didn't create a positive memory with a small dog to replace the bad one.  You cannot solve an issue by avoiding it and so we move forward with Hurley prepared to challenge him, re-focus him and pile on as much doggie socialization as we can. 

Step 1: Enroll Hurley in a basic training class.  While he will likely be the star student since he has so many of the behaviors that are covered in a basic training class down, our goal is not so much to add commands to his repertoire as to accustom him to receiving rewards in the presence of other dogs, solidify his basic commands in the presence of distractions, and to continue canine socialization in a controlled environment.

Step 2: Beef up rules & regulations at home.  We do have a feeding routine that includes Hurley being fed last and sitting nicely for his food.  I am stepping this up by not allowing Hurley to lick clean his sisters' bowls when they are done - which I hope will re-inforce that not all food is his.  The Hubster and I are in the process of mapping out other household behaviors that will strengthen our place as leaders.  Simple things like making him sit & wait at doors, sit to be petted, spend extra time just chilling in his crate, controlling when playtime occurs, etc.  Many of these rules will be created without the use of treats, using our affection & toys, as his reward. 

Step 3: Temporary time-out from the store.  The reality is that I must have a welcoming environment for my customers and their dogs to have a successful business.  And that welcoming my customer and dealing with Hurley's issues at the same time is usually difficult for me.  So that's where the Hubster comes in.  Hurley will, for the time being, only come to the store when my husband can be with him so that he can work with Hurley while I help my customer.  So Hurley stays home during the week and makes several visits over the weekends.  I will also try to set up structured visits from the dogs of some of my best and most understanding friends & customers to help work on Hurley's awful greetings in the store.

Step 4:  Remove of all high value treats and bullies, rawhides, etc at the store.  At home, we will practice enjoying such treats in the presence of Maggie & Sadie.  The goal is to be able to give all 3 of them one of these items and have them all go to their separate beds, kennels, etc to enjoy them in peace. I don't expect for them to be able to enjoy these treats while all piled on to the same bed (that's asking for a dog fight!) but my goal is to get Hurley to respect Maggie & Sadie and not attempt to steal their treats from them. We are going to go very slow on this one so that we don't create any resource guarding issues at home. 

Step 5: Increase visits to the dog park where he gets the opportunity to socialize with all sorts of dogs.  We're also considering enrolling him in doggie daycare for a weekly visit after we finish the training class (our budget dictates only doing one of these things at a time).  We will also create situations in which we can practice on-leash greetings outside of the store environment.  I'm going to be looking around to see if we can find a group walk here in Portland - I hear they do wonders for reactivity issues.

Step 6: Create new training challenges.  Quite frankly, we've been working so hard on his impulse control issues that I've stalled on teaching him new commands & tricks.   Therefore, the same few tricks he shows off for customers who come in the store, and gets treats for, are no longer challenging to him.  I need to make him work harder for the rewards he is given.

I'm sure this is just the beginning of the full picture of how we address the budding resource guarding.  Both the Hubster and I are spending a lot of time researching this issue but I am finding that most of the advice out there relates to resource guarding issues with people.  That is not Hurley's issue.  I can give his bowl, take it away, give it back, pet him, move the bowl around while he's eating - all of this may make him antsy but he never acts out towards me.  We are lucky that this behavior issue is so specific in one way but challenged to find solutions at the same time.  This is going to involve some trial and error and creativity on our part.  And if the steps we are taking aren't enough, I'll bring in a trainer to the store to help me formulate a plan in that specific environment. 

Now I've got to get crackin' - lots to do!  Including a new training schedule and spreadsheet.