About Temerity Dogs
“Temerity” is a great word. It means “audacity,” as in, “oh, that’s far too bold!” I hear an edge of admiration to the word. I believe the best way to approach a problem is from a place of determination and positivity. The person who taught me to see the world this way is Vesper, the dog that graces my logo. She’s taught me that anything worth doing is worth doing with enthusiasm, so let’s get in there and play.
Tegan’s Training Philosophy
There is no single way to train a dog, just like there isn’t one way to teach humans. Every dog needs something a little different. The best person to tell you what they need is the dog. By paying attention to body language and context, a dog will eventually make clear what guidance or experience would help them. It requires patience, experience, and a whole lot of creative problem solving, but I do believe that positive, reinforcement- and game-based “fun” training can solve most common dog problems.
Also, string cheese helps too.
About Tegan Moore
As much as we love our dogs, we misunderstand them all the time. Misunderstandings lead to disconnection, chewed furniture, frustration–on the part of the human and the dog both–and, occasionally, really bad situations. It’s my job as a dog trainer to help bridge those misunderstandings so our species can live together in the kind of stupid doggy bliss that we were meant to. C’mon, you know what I’m talking about.
But aside from being bossy, why do I get to tell you what to do?
Resume: Tegan Moore
My first sentence was “I see a birdie.” My first request of Santa was “dog!” My favorite movie was Chips the War Dog, which is a terrible made-for-TV disaster but starred a Working German Shepherd!!! I was an early reader; I collected dog books like most kids collect… literally anything else. I got picked on because my bicycle had a saddle and reins. Hard to bike like that.
I called it “Hamster Hills.” Inspired by all my dog breed encyclopedias and obsessed with conformation and genetics (I explained simple coat color genetics to my mother as I bred for cream kits; I was seven at the time) and yet severely limited in my resources, I bred and raised hamsters for local pet stores. I would have preferred rabbits. Or sheep. Or horses.
My cairn terrier and I finally found a local family that could drive us the hour one-way to the 4H Dog program, and even though their children ruthlessly bullied us in the car (me and the dog both), it was the best thing either of us had ever done. Both of us tolerated the obligatory obedience training because we loved agility. I learned my first training mechanics, which I remember to this day, and a lot of nonsense about how to force my dog to do things he didn’t want to do (which was everything except the a-frame). At the county fair we failed miserably at conformation and obedience, but got a second place in agility, which was pretty good for an idiot child with ADD and an idiot cairn terrier with ADD. After a year my mother got wind that we were being picked on and wouldn’t let us go anymore.
I worked at a local woman’s barn in exchange for riding lessons. In life in general, I was not a hard worker, but I loved mucking stalls and polishing tack and washing horses. I rode two Arabian mares (Summer and Amber, god bless your hearts, girls) for two summers and it was the highlight of my childhood. I have a picture of myself with a triangle perm wearing a Star Trek: Voyager t-shirt and ill-fitting jeans sitting bareback on Amber, the more skittish of the girls and my favorite, as we trotted around the warm-up ring. It’s a distillation of why I had no friends at all for a very long time.
I discovered rock & roll and anger. My dog died, my parents divorced and I moved to the city. Nothing interesting happened for a long time.
Fostered cats and then litters of kittens. The first litter was semi-feral and the second had horrible ringworm–all seven of them. I adored them and found them all spectacular homes.
And then came Vesper. I wanted a high-drive dog for agility, and the universe certainly provided. Vesper is a kelpie and German shepherd cross with extreme reactivity, and training and reconditioning her, keeping her velociraptor-sharp brain busy and figuring out how keep her engaged with me in distracting environments (like agility trials!) has made me a much better dog trainer than I might otherwise be.
Reckless was born in September 2015. He’s a German coolie, one of only a few hundred in the US, and secretly Kanye West wearing a muppet suit. He likes to run fast and bite things.
My husband shudders when I speak of our hypothetical third dog.
I believe that there really aren’t any rules to dog training except “make sure it’s fun.” Every dog is different, every family has different needs, and every situation will call for a somewhat different approach, but every solution should be thoughtful, kind, and positive. It’s not that you can’t get results through other methods… it’s just, why use force if you don’t have to? I think of how my childhood cairn terrier and I drudged through obedience training back in the 90’s. Today, my kelpie cross loves obedience training; if I used corrections, I’m sure she wouldn’t like it much either.