Mayor Max the Mayor of Idyllwild Turns 12


I spent my first 4 years of life in the town of Idyllwild.  My Dad was a Sheriff for Riverside County Sheriff’s Department and was stationed on the mountain.  I don’t remember much about those times but my mom has told me stories about the warm, caring people of this wonderful small town.  When I’ve gone back over the years to visit I have stopped by “The Grey Squirrel” because that was one of the places that had been there since 1952, and it is an amazing store.  Now Idyllwild has a new mayor and I must say he is a tail wagging sweetheart.  Yes, the Mayor of Idyllwild is a Golden Retriever.

I first met Max at the birthday party for Don Robinson who was at the time the Mayor of Banning.  I was honored to meet such loving and caring Mayors, but yes one of them was a dog.  As Idyllwild is a non-incorporated city, it has no human mayor. Idyllwild Animal Rescue Friends (ARF), a non-profit 501(c)(3), sponsored its first-ever election for cats and dogs. Constituents cast their votes via $1 donations each with all proceeds benefiting ARF. 14 dogs and 2 cats were nominated. Mayor Max was inaugurated to his one year term on July 1, 2012.  To learn more about Mayor Max visit his website.

This weekend I had the honor of attending Mayor Max’s 12th Birthday celebration in Idyllwild with my family and our dog Yukon. What a wonderful way to spend a Sunday with people from all over (Max has quite the following) and many, many dogs were also in attendance.  We had a wonderful time.  A reporter talked to my daughter and I from The Valley Chronicle and asked what we thought of a dog for Mayor and we told her we thought it was awesome.  A Mayor with so much spirit and love is the perfect Mayor for any town.  Max asked that guests not bring presents to his celebration but to please donate to Idyllwild Animal Rescue Friends (ARF), it is never too late to donate to this wonderful organization and if you happen to be in the town of Idyllwild watch for Mayor Max and say hello he loves to meet new people.

Happy Birthday Mayor Max.



Daisy Runner and Max Walker Review


I am an ultrarunner and spend many hours on the trails with my dogs.  I have tried a variety of hands-free leashes and have always returned to a regular leash, until today.  Today Yukon and I hit the trail for our 11 mile trail run consisting of fire road and single track with the Daisy Runner and the Max Walker Leash.  I had the leash adjusted down to the 4 foot level and this was perfect.  It will extend to 6 feet but personally I think at 6 feet I’d trip over it and go flying. I attached the leash to a flat collar. I would never attach this leash to a choke or pinch.  The waist band was very comfortable and there was no chaffing at the end of my run. I finished my run delighted with this system.

I love the bungee in the Max Walker.  Every once in a while Yukon goes “Squirrel” and does a little tug, the pull on me was almost unnoticeable due to the bungee.  Yukon is trained to loose leash walk, run on one side, and ignores most distractions. For the most part he never lunges at anything on our run, but every dog occasionally has the “Squirrel” moment.  However, if you have a dog that pulls on the leash consistently or lunges at everything this system is not for you.  With the bungee you have little control. Also, if your dog is a puller or crosses in front of you, you have a huge risk of flying over the top of your dog.  If this describes your dog I would advise working with a trainer on loose leash walking and also getting your dog to focus on you throughout you walks or run.  Once your dog is doing this 95% of the time you are ready for the Daisy Walker and Max Runner.

The company that makes this system does sell them from their website but they charge a ridiculous amount for shipping and handling.  I purchased mine from Amazon and it qualified for free shipping and was $5 cheaper.  My cost for this amazing system $30. You do need to measure your waist and select the medium or large Daisy Runner.  Yukon and I give the Daisy Runner and Max Walker 5 out of 5 paws and look forward to using it on our next run.  Let’s go Yukon, Hershey & Alusia Sue!


I started my New Year off by running with my local running group today on the trails.  What a great way to start the year. One of the other runners brought their dog out for the run.  The dog was a little fearful of people so when people approached the dog would BARK and stiffen up.  The female owner would tighten up the leash, grab the dog’s collar, pat the dog on the head, or step over the dog and hug the dog.  When the male owner had the dog he would extend the leash and offer no reaction to the behavior, the dog approached more people and barked less.  Why?  The female owner thought she was comforting the dog by hugging the dog or patting the dog on the head.  What she was actually doing was reinforcing the behavior.  She also was more nervous with the dog and thus would pull in the leash unconsciously signaling to the dog that she was stressed so the dog felt a need to bark even more to protect the nervous owner.  I spend a lot of time as a dog trainer at parks just observing people and their dogs so that I can enhance my training skills.  The behavior with the owners that I saw this morning I see repeatedly at parks.  Unfortunately, if this behavior is continually reinforced the dog may eventually bite.  Besides that the dog is very uncomfortable and stressed which is not good for the dogs overall health.  The best thing that you can do for most dogs in this situation is to loosen up your grip on the leash and do not pat them or hug them when they are barking at another person.  Notice I said most dogs, that is because all dogs are individuals and the protocol that I use depends on the individual dog.  So if your dog has this issue please set up a training session with a trainer as soon as possible because the more the behavior is reinforced the longer it takes to change the behavior. I was very happy to see that the owners brought their dog out on the trails today. Socialization is another piece of this puzzle. Image