I Took An Intro To Dog Training Class! Was It Accessible? #DogTraining&Blind

by Chelsey Zumpano

I started taking a intro to dog training class on New Skills Academy. It’s a website to take courses and you get certificates. I saw an add on Facebook talking about the intro to dog training course and it was only $25! So I took my chance because all those other dog training courses are thousands of dollars. (you are not required to be certified). Taking a course for me makes me feel more productive than just reading a book because you can interpret books anyway and I like the idea of taking tests and quizzes because it shows me what I’ve learned.

The website is accessible, (for the most part), I was able to read all the articles for my classes and take notes. The one thing I had trouble with was finding the text box to take notes and the fact that sometimes it randomly go to the notes and start reading them to me. I was able to answer the quizzes and the test at the end. I wasn’t however able to fill out the worksheets because they were not accessible at all! (Thankfully the worksheets were not required).

Taking the class makes me realize I knew lots more about dog training than I thought. It makes me feel more confident in my dog training ability and has taught me some new things. I got a certificate for completing the course I’m going to frame it and put it on my wall! 

(Also I’m sorry if this post sounds a bit weird because I had to use the Tatian to write it, since my orbit reader 20 didn’t charge!).

If you also want to take a course here’s a link to the website:


If you have any suggestions for what you’d like to see next for Nanowrimo, please let me know in the comments or send me an email to: viblindresources@gmail.com

An Update On My Husky!

by Chelsey Zumpano

Today Hazel plaied in the mud and got extreamly muddy. I ended up giving her a bath. She’s okay with baths, but she loves to play in the hose.

We started doing some new training to help her seperation anxiety where she lays on a yoga mat and I do different things around her, (like steping to the right and returning back to her). It’s to teach her to be relaxed. I’m not going to be videoing it because I just want to focus on Hazel. I will update you all after the 15 days are up. If you want to do this training, please click the link below!


If you have any suggestions for what you’d like to see next for Nanowrimo, please let me know in the comments or send me an email to: viblindresources@gmail.com

Expanding On Calming Signals!

by Chelsey Zumpano

Someone on Facebook asked me to explain more clearly how I use calming signals with my dogs and now I’m going to explain it to all of you!

First I started with Hazel by herself and the calming signal I used is yoning. It’s the easiest one to do for us humans.

So here’s what I did; when Hazel started to act anxious, I’d just yon at her and then she’d relax. I kept doing that all day and it worked! Hazel learned very fast! Calming signals are something puppies learn from their well socialized Mom and continue to learn from other well dogs.socialized That’s why socializing your dog is importain because they have to learn how to communicate with all different types of dogs. That’s why I worked with Hazel first and then Lucy. Also remember dogs can also use calming signals to calm their own self down and you can even use it to let your dog know you heard a noise, (like thunder), and that they are okay.

I wished I knew all this stuff when Ginger was a puppy, but the internet wasn’t as accessible to me as it is now and I was in fith grade. I didn’t really get into dog training books untel afew years ago. It would have been extreamly helpful! Lucy is learning slowly because she and Ginger wern’t as well socialized as they should have been. When I do the calming signals to Lucy and she’s barking or growl at Hazel; she’ll stop and do a soffter noise, then she’ll calm down.

I also use slow blinking, looking away and for this I move my head from side to side, licking my lips, and sighing, (which I realized Hazel does a lot). I will also include the link to the book, “On Talking Termswith Dogs,” and I will also have a link to my YouTube video on the first week of calming signals. (The video is not up as of 11/8/19 and one 50 PM. It’ll be up soon).

Let me know what things have helped your dogs have a better relationship in the comments!


If you have any suggestions for what you’d like to see next for Nanowrimo, please let me know in the comments or send me an email to: viblindresources@gmail.com

Adopt A Senior Dog!

by Chelsey Zumpano

Image description: a Black and tan Chihuahua/Yorkey mix cuddling with a stuffed animal and laying on her back.(Picture credit goes to Chelsey Zumpano).

November is adopt a senior dog month, so I thought I’d talk about my Lucy. Although Lucy wasn’t adopted, but born into our family. Lucy is our 12 year old Chihuahua/Yorkey mix.

She loves to cudle under the blankits with me. She’ll be content to lay in bed on most days. She still loves to play with toys and get treats. She still barks at the door to let us know someones there. She still knows how to do some basic obedience. She loves to be with her people.

A lot of people will reject senior dogs because they have health problems, but they still need a home. There previous owner could have past away or they didn’t have money to take care of them. I wouldn’t want my Lucy to spend the rest of her life in a shelter! I think a senior dog would be great for a first time dog owner because they can still teach you responsibility and you’ll have a companion. They are offen low energy and in need lots of love!

If you have any suggestions for what you’d like to see next for Nanowrimo, please let me know in the comments or send me an email to: viblindresources@gmail.com

Thankful My Dogs Have A Better Relationship!

by Chelsey Zumpano

So my little dog Lucy did not get along with my Husky Hazel. She growled, barked, and showed her teeth. Hazel just jumped around her and wanted to play. It wasnt that big of deal when my Ginger was still alive because Lucy had her Mom to hang out with, so we just kept them seperated. We did try to introduce the three of them, but Ginger would growl at her and all that stuff. I don’t blame her because if I was a Chihuahua, (who was old and not feeling well), then I wouldn’t want a puppy to be bugging me either.

Then when Ginger past away; Lucy didn’t, (and still doesn’t), want to be alone! She cries and won’t stop scratching at the door, if we put her outside to run around, (we can’t even let her out to go potty. I’m not going to lie, but it was extreamly stressful, (especially because Lucy only wanted/wants to only be with me or my Mom), so it meant that it was harder to split my time between the two dogs.

So how did I get them to get along? By using calming signals! You might be wondering what that is? Calming signals are how dogs communicate with each other and us humans can use some of them too. Dogs will use calming signals to to calm dogs down and to let them know, “Hey, it’s okay.” Dogs will also use calming signals at us if they are being yelled at and want us to calm down. Some examples are licking their lips, yawning , sighing, and slow blinking. You can learn more about calming signals by reading the book, “On Talking Terms with Dogs,” linked at the bottom of this post.

The other thing that helped was to be relaxed and not panic when the dogs were together because they can sense that and sometimes feed off it. Now Lucy and Hazel can be in the same room together. Lucy will still get agitated by Hazel, but it’s getting better. I think the reason why it worked for my dogs is because Hazel just wants to play and wasn’t trying to fight Lucy. So please talk to a trainer if your dogs are full on fighting. It’s one of thoughs things that will take time and won’t work for all dogs, but I’m extreamly thankful it has helped my dogs.

Let me know what things have helped your dogs have a better relationship in the comments!


If you have any suggestions for what you’d like to see next for Nanowrimo, please let me know in the comments or send me an email to: viblindresources@gmail.com

How Accessible is Bark Box’s Website?

by Chelsey Zumpano

The other day I was just browsing Facebook and an add popped up for super Chewer Bark Box, so I checked out. They were having a sale because of #NationalDogDay and my first box would be 5 dollars. I jumped at the chance because this box would be perfect for Hazel.

I was able to claim my coupon, then I was able to choose Hazel’s sex, type her name, choose her breed, and her weight category. Next I was able to pick my subscription and i chose six months. I was able to check out with PayPal, which made checking out a lot easier because it just used all my PayPal info.

I even got to chat with a worker and he helped me personalize the box. I told him that Hazel loves to chew, play fetch and tug, but that I’d need some bright colored balls. I also told him about her separation anxiety and that I’m training her to hopefully be my service dog. The only thing about the chat that wasn’t accessible was that I couldn’t read what I typed until after I sent it.

I will let you know what Hazel thinks of her box when it gets here.

if you would like to contribute to this blog or YouTube, please send me an email: viblindresources@gmail.com

Raw Pet App Review

by Chelsey Zumpano

So I was looking to see how accessible, “Raw Pet” was for a friend and dicided that I’d talk about it here. Raw feeding your dogs seems to be really popular at the moment and people say how good it is for your dogs. If I was going to do it I’d cook the food because my dogs lick my face and I don’t want to get sick.

I was able to put in my dog’s age, wheight and how many times a day I feed her. The thing I don’t like about the app is that it doesn’t have exact wheight and I can’t flick through the options. The buttons on the bottom of the screen are not labeled. The other thing is I don’t like the lay out of the app. It does however have a section with more information about raw feeding.

Let me know your thoughts and if you’d like to contribute to this YouTube or blog send me an email to the following address… viblindresources@gmail.com

How my Dog Has Effected My mental Health!

by Chelsey Zumpano

A close-up picture of a black and white husky with blue eyes. The picture is taken from the side and her nose is pointed to the right and her ears are up.(Picture of Hazel and picture credit goes to Chelsey Zumpano).

If you’d been following me on YouTube; you’d know that I got a puppy back in December and I’m training her to hopefully be my service dog. She does take up a lot or all my time somedays. She gives me something to do and that keeps my mind busy. She’s helped me to realize that I want to be a dog trainer.

She can be really hyper and have to find ways to keep her busy. I let her run around in the back yard, play fetch, tug of war, I take her on walks, give her bones, and puzzle toys. It took me awhile to figure those were the things that helped her. But before then she was kind of overwhelming and now she’s better. Giving Hazel a job has helped.

Some ways Hazel has helped me with my anxiety!

1 She will lay on my legs at night and that helps if I’m having a bad anxiety day.

2 She’s helped me to learn more about dogs.

3 She gives me more of a reason to go on a walk.

4 She’s helped me to not be so anxious about going to the vet.

If you want to see some more of my new coping skills; please go watch the video below.

If you have a dog tell me a funny story about him/her in the coments. If you would like to be interviewed by me or otherwise contribute to my Blog and YouTube; please send me an email to the following address. viblindresources@gmail.com

Learning What It’s Like to be a Mom!

by Chelsey Zumpano

If you watched my most recent vlog, (https://youtu.be/uuxluBohc5M), you’d know I got a new puppy. Her name is Hazel and She’s a husky/pit mix. She’s a sweetheart, she wants to play with all the cats and my other two dogs. She’s great with little kids and babies. The only thing is she cries when I leave the room and when I put her in the cage.

Having a puppy is a lot like having a baby. I have to get up with her in the midle of the night, potty train her, wake up when she does, feed her on schedule, and right now I have to watch her 24/7. I don’t have any free time to myself unless she’s sleeping or chewing on her bone. I love training and playing with her. She’s great and has taught me to be responsible.

I haven’t had a baby animal in my room sense Katniss and Audrey were kittens and they lived in my room for the first few months. Having a puppy is a lot different because cats are more independent and could be left alone for short amounts of time. I can’t leave Hazel alone at all. At the moment I have someone watch her when I go places or take her with me.

But It’s all worth it! She gives me something to do every day and she brings more joy to my life.

Hazel has taught me a lot about what it’s like being a mom; it’s hard work, but I know I can do it!

If you would like to be interviewed or otherwise contribute to this blog or YouTube send an email to:


Interview with Author and Guide Dog Trainer Julie Johnson

By Chelsey Zumpano

Monty: a black lab and boxer mix standing in a blue Guide Dog harness.Jetta: a Doberman standing in a red guide dog harness.(Picture credit goes to Julie Johnson).

Julie Johnson is the author of “Courage to Dare: A Blind Woman’s Quest to Train Her Own Guide Dog”

Julie hasn’t been blind all her life, but she has had glaucoma, (which caused her to be legally blind), sense she was around 19 and she only has light perception.

She has successfully trained two guide dogs at the time of this writing. Both pictured above, (Monty is her retired dog and Jetta is her current guide).

(Why did Julie decide to write a book versus making videos)?

“I’m better about writing, then making videos. Also a book is more in depth. I could take the time to say everything I felt was important. There are no time constraint, no worrying about your pronunciation or what you look like. It’s just the words, which feels more comfortable for me.”

I for one absolutely love that she wrote a book because it’s a great way to spread awareness and educate people! It is also a great way to help prove that we as visionally impaired and blind people can do anything we set our minds to!

(what does it feel like to use a cane versus a dog)?

“I’m not sure this is going to be explainable in a meaningful way, unless you have experienced it.  What’s the difference between boots, tennis shoes or sandals?  There’s the obvious things like the dog takes you around things, while you’ll contact things as landmarks with a cane.  Moving with a dog feels smoother, more fluid.  A cane works great when you’re looking for a specific thing, like a mailbox, trash can or chair.  A dog can take you to those things, but you have to teach those skills specifically.  Otherwise the dog views them as obstacles and will take you around them.  Canes are pretty low maintenance. Toss it in the corner when not in use, but a dog is 24/7 care and supervision.  A dog is a thinking being and can make decisions from a distance, offer suggestions of places you might like to go based on previous experience and can be trained to show you all sorts of specific things in your environment.   A dog can provide a lot more information about your environment and is a smoother travel experience, but it’s also a lot more work.”

Julie is working on a second book: it’s a training book manual on all the different aspects of training your own guide or service dog. Julie says: “it’s a huge project and will likely be a couple of more years before it’s finished.” She would like to add videos and other content to make it a full course.

Julie’s writing advice: Write.  That’s really it.  Put your backside in the chair and write.  rinse and repeat.   Anyone can write a book.   It might not be a best seller, but if you want to write a book, you can write a book.  Again, it’ comes down to commitment.

Julie’s advice for owner trainers: Be really, really, really sure this is something you want to do.  Not just “I think that’s interesting” but a deep “I have to do this” feeling.  It will consume perhaps 2 years of your life.  You have to be willing to give up a lot of free time, sacrifice extra spending money for dog supplies, focus only on dog training and be willing to stick it out even when it gets tough.   The folks I see who are unsuccessful with owner training are those who don’t fully commit the time.  Perhaps they try to train a dog and start a new job or get married or some other big life event.  That’s great, I’m happy for them on the new job or relationship, but there are only so many hours in a day and so much mental energy to devote to important things. There are a lot of other factors that contribute to success: a solid dog, training experience, blindness skills, support, financial means and patience, but a deep commitment to the process is the foundation.

You can buy julie’s book on Amazon at this link: Courage to Dare: A Blind Woman’s Quest to Train Her Own Guide Dog https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00QXZSMOC/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_tai_TZ-0AbB8PW4H0

Go check out her website: http://www.guide-and-service-dogs.com/

Are you interested in traning your own guide dog and want to talk to like-minded people? Join this email list: http://lists.myguide.dog/listinfo.cgi/guidedog-owner-trainers-myguide.dog