Pet Lover Geek

Dogs & Kids: How to Achieve Harmony in the Household

April 30, 2022 Lorien Clemens Season 7 Episode 8
Dogs & Kids: How to Achieve Harmony in the Household
Pet Lover Geek
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Pet Lover Geek
Dogs & Kids: How to Achieve Harmony in the Household
Apr 30, 2022 Season 7 Episode 8
Lorien Clemens

Do you pay attention to how your dog is feeling? Probably. Do your KIDS pay attention? Likely not...and that can lead to chaos and potential big issues (bites and other injuries for both the kids and dogs!). 

Join us to hear Lorien's chat with Justine Schuurmans, the CEO and Founder of The Family Dog about how "listening" to your dog, and teaching kids how to properly behave around dogs can help create peace in your household.  Did you know that dogs have 16 different ways they show us they are unhappy before they growl, and 18 before they bite!? Tune in to this episode of Pet Lover Geek to learn more about your relationship with your dog.

Thanks for listening! Check out our sponsor, PetHub for more great pet parent resources.

Have an idea for a PetLoverGeek episode or have something else you want to share? Drop us a note to

Show Notes Transcript

Do you pay attention to how your dog is feeling? Probably. Do your KIDS pay attention? Likely not...and that can lead to chaos and potential big issues (bites and other injuries for both the kids and dogs!). 

Join us to hear Lorien's chat with Justine Schuurmans, the CEO and Founder of The Family Dog about how "listening" to your dog, and teaching kids how to properly behave around dogs can help create peace in your household.  Did you know that dogs have 16 different ways they show us they are unhappy before they growl, and 18 before they bite!? Tune in to this episode of Pet Lover Geek to learn more about your relationship with your dog.

Thanks for listening! Check out our sponsor, PetHub for more great pet parent resources.

Have an idea for a PetLoverGeek episode or have something else you want to share? Drop us a note to

00:00 Music

00:00 Lorien Clemens

Hello and welcome to Pet Lover Geek. Our guest today is an amazing lady that I've known for many years. I'm so excited to have her on. She is a family-oriented mediator that has made it her mission to teach families how to safely and happily coexist with their furry friends, specifically dogs.

00:20 Justine Schuurmans

No cats.

00:22 Lorien Clemens

Cats are another discussion entirely, but I'm really excited about this. Stick around, we've got our quick little musical interlude that you'll be listening to, but Justine Schuurmans is going to be talking with us about her business, The Family Dog, and how she can help you have a more peaceful, furry environment. Hang tight. 

00:41 Music

00:51 Lorien Clemens

Okay, welcome back. I wanna make sure that everybody sticks around to the very end of this episode by the way because we have a very special opportunity for our listeners and our PetHub community at the end of the episode so make sure you stay tuned, but without any further ado, welcome to the show Justine.

01:09 Justine Schuurmans

Thank you so much for having me Lorien. It's so nice to see your face again.

01:12 Lorien Clemens

I know!

01:13  Justine Schuurmans

It feels like a long time.

01:14 Lorien Clemens

It has been a long time. I mean, I used to always be able to count on running into you every now and then out on the circuit of trade shows and conferences and things, but you know Covid.

01:22 Justine Schuurmans

Not anymore, exactly, stealing all the fun from us. We have to like actually go out of our way now to sit down in front of a computer to see each other. 

01:30 Lorien Clemens

It's kind of crazy. Although I just was able to get on the road and starting to see people. I went to Global Pet Expo a few weeks ago and I got to tell you it was so nice and also a little unnerving to see everybody you know?

01:40 Justine Schuurmans

Yeah, I can imagine reentry into the world again, it's fun though.

01:45 Lorien Clemens

Yeah, it's a little bit like, "oh wow, I have some anxieties I never knew I had okay good."

01:48 Justine Schuurmans

Yeah, I went to a conference last summer in Indiana and it was amazing. It was so nice to just sit -- I mean we were all masked up but it was just so nice to be in that environment again or learning together rather than just, you know, alone again.

02:01 Lorien Clemens

Alone, yeah, well let's jump on into what the topic is, which is really truly about finding ways that you and your family can have a healthy, happy, lovely, peaceful existence with your doggos and a lot of people don't think about it in terms of you know, "oh well, you know I just have a well-trained dog or whatever." But as soon as you add children to the mix, things can get a little weird, and before we get into your thing I'd like to share a little personal story about why this is so important to me and it was always important to me even before my life changed and we have a child now as part of our household. But a lot of folks don't know this, our son Sagan, who is now almost three. He's going to be 3 in just a couple of months, incredible. When he was just about four and a half, five months old, he and our dog Ullr, who is the sweetest, kindest dog and like just a big cuddly furball. Had never had an issue before and Sagan was on the floor doing tummy time and Ullr was sitting right next to him playing with his own toy, and Sagan rolled over, as babies want to do, and reached towards where Ullr was chewing on his own chew toy, and Ullr, we believe, just you know, correcting a puppy nipped at him, and nipped him in the face, and you know 4 hours and many stitches and many tears later. We got back home with Sagan and had to make a very, very difficult decision because Ullr did that and then his demeanor towards Sagan just a few hours later, changed, and we noticed it and it was palpable and we thought oh wow we can't do this.

03:51 Justine Schuurmans

Can I ask you in what way his demeanor changed?

03:55 Lorien Clemens

He no longer seemed to want to be around him and it was a very traumatic experience, obviously, when it happened, you know, and we weren't expecting it. It was completely out of the blue. We'd never seen any indications that Ullr was even uncomfortable or growling or any kind of anything that would have been like an oh pay attention, this is a bad thing, and he's always been amazing around kiddos. It never once occurred to us that there was an issue and having been in the industry for a while and having you know, literally, like said, "what signs do I need to look for?" We had been actively looking for anything that would show that either dog was uncomfortable. Our other dog at the time was a geriatric Boston Terrier who was a grump to everybody and we did not put her near Sagan because it's just like let's just keep the old lady away from the baby and know that everybody's gonna be much happier, but it wasn't true with this, you know, beautiful lab mix that we had. We were very lucky and those family friends who called him Uncle Ullr had some teenage boys who'd been bugging mom and dad forever about, "could we get a dog... could we get a dog?" and they had literally said, "well you know not every dog's like uncle Ullr. We can't always guarantee we're gonna get a perfect dog." So when I called her -- our dear, dear friends -- like hi, she's like, "oh my God, let me ask the boys." And like 30 seconds later, "okay fine we'll take him." You know kind of a thing. Very lucky we still get to see him all the time. It all ended happily.

05:13 Justine Schuurmans

It's the real farm that the dog went to live on.

05:16 Lorien Clemens

Right, yeah literally.

05:17 Justine Schuurmans

And the amazing farm with the real fun kids and yeah.

05:20 Lorien Clemens

And he got an upgrade frankly, you know, in terms of like he's with teenagers that play with him all the time. He is the only animal in the house. He is like doted on and goodness knows he's getting gourmet food all the time. So it worked out but it also left a big scar on us as a family and then also losing my dog. So this -- what you're gonna talk about today -- is so personal for me now and we do have a new puppy in the house. She and the boy are fast friends, but as we're moving into, you know, he is really understanding things. He's almost three. This is now becoming one of our new focuses, you know. 

05:59 Justine Schuurmans

And how old is your puppy? Just out of interest.

06:01 Lorien Clemens

She is about a year and four and a half, five months.

06:04 Justine Schuurmans 

Okay, yeah, so she's right in that sort of adolescent period.

06:08 Lorien Clemens

Yeah, we say that she is an assertive lover. She's like you will love me and let me show you why. She just wants to be everybody's best friend. She's the most sweet and social dog I've ever met.

06:20 Justine Schuurmans

Just like her Mama, she's a good marketer, right? 

06:23 Lorien Clemens

Yeah, there you go. Yeah, she is. She is. She's instantly lovable. So anyway yeah, let's talk about this because one of the things that The Family Dog is focused on is stopping the 77. Talk a little bit about what that is.

06:35 Justine Schuurmans

There are so many things that you said. I had a pen in my hand because I was gonna start writing notes and I felt like too rude so I'm not gonna write notes but there's loads of things that you said that I would love to address. The first one being I am so sorry that happened to your family because it's not how we ever perceive a kid-dog relationship.

06:54 Lorien Clemens


06:55 Justine Schuurmans

As a parent, we just have this idea of everything being harmonious and beautiful and lovely, and when things go South or they don't look how we want them to look, it's not only you know, a bit of a broken dream, but it can be heart wrenching and traumatic and all of the things that you just talked about. So I think that to move on to the next piece of that is rehoming a dog that you love. There are lots of people if you go online that will give you so much flack for rehoming your dog, but what you did is obviously so brave and so hard and probably, without doubt, the only and best decision you could have made, and you give everybody the opportunity to live that beautiful life. Maybe not together because that was not the best situation for Ullr to be in, and you know, and obviously forsaken it could have potentially been dangerous, which ultimately would have been dangerous for Ullr as well, and so I think we have to try and take the stigma away from rehoming dogs that choose or would prefer not to live around children. They're an acquired taste. Kids are. That's why some people choose not to have kids as grown-ups. They don't want to have children because just not their thing and for some reason, we don't allow dogs the freedom to say it's not my thing.

08:27 Lorien Clemens

Yeah, it's hard too because you know, especially when you had a pup that has always been great around kids.

08:33 Justine Schuurmans


08:34 Lorien Clemen

Thinking back like he never actually had a baby in his house touching his stuff you know what I mean?

08:38 Justine Schuurmans

Yes! Exactly.

08:40 Lorien Clemens

He had had nieces and nephews who were quite little, I mean, you know from 1/2 on he had been around, you know, kiddos, but it was always like they were coming to visit. They would throw him the ball. They would give him retreats. They weren't literally like crawling up and touching his toys.

08:54 Justine Schuurmans

Right? Exactly! It's a very different thing and also Sagan, as baby was not moving very much so he's kind of got used to him not moving then all of a sudden out of nowhere like kids do their unpredictable. You know they don't have any self-control, they just do what they want. They grab, they do whatever, and that's really disconcerting for some dogs, you know, I really don't appreciate that kind of behavior, so it makes sense that he might have been startled or anxious, frustrated, whatever to have him react like that. But yeah, so this is obviously where I specialize because I think that when people get a dog, they know that they have to take their dog to some kind of dog training. It's not unusual for a family to take their dog to a dog training class, but as you have experienced firsthand. Ullr could have won Westminster agility trials, or been the best obedience champion with a bazillion blue ribbons to like line a whole room, but if he can't get on with your child, he's not going to be successful in your home. That's really what it comes down to, and I think we really underestimate how important it is to have parents that are very clear on what they're teaching their children. Very clear on what they're teaching their dog and kids that know how to interact with their dog. Play with their dog, touch their dog, let their dog rest so that everybody is happy. You know we can't just put all the focus on the dog to get this right by themselves, because they can't.

10:23 Lorien Clemens


10:24 Justine Schuurmans

And it's not how intelligent they are and how smart they are at performing some behaviors. It's how easygoing they are in the home and how understood both parties are. It's like any relationship, right? You can't just have one person saying this is how it is. You're gonna react to it and then we're going to be happy. That's more like slavery. It's not really how that works. For a really good relationship to happen, I would say, "this is what makes me happy" and the person on the other end says, "Oh, this is what makes me happy." And then we go okay well how do we blend those things together to become a team? It sounds really basic, but it really is important. 

11:01 Lorien Clemens

Oh totally.

11:02 Justine Schuurmans

We just kind of don't listen to dogs at all. We're like, oh well, that's life. We're gonna just make this happen. I mean even just reading dog body language. How many people really know how to read? You said, you know, "we were looking for the signs that Ullr was not happy." And I think the general public would probably be shocked to know that there's 16 different ways that dogs will show us that they're not happy with the situation or they're uncomfortable before they growl, and 18 before they bite. That's a boatload of information that we might just be missing out on if we haven't been taught how to read those signs, and I have to say I did an apprenticeship when I first started training. It was in like, gosh, 90, no hang on a second, it doesn't matter. It was nearly 20 years ago, around 20 years ago, and as part of my apprenticeship for learning how to become a dog trainer. No part in there was reading dog body language. So if I'm not learning it as a dog trainer, it's not surprising that the general public might not know how to read their dog's body language, but without that we got nothing. Think about how much we rely on it with our kids. We can see how from a distance, you know, you can see your kid maybe at the other side of the room reading a book or getting frustrated because they can't turn the pages and then you as the parent... Hi, my dogs come up to say hello, I can't talk right now I'm busy. We're doing an interview. You have to get down. So as a parent you can step in and say, "hey, do you need some help with that book?" and help fix it for them, right? Or they're getting angry. Maybe they wanna hit a sibling. Well, you can step in and say you know, "not right now. We're not doing that right now." Or just get to the root of the problem, but if we can't see the signs in our dogs, then we can't ever step in. We don't even know it's there. So then that builds up and builds up and builds up and then, you know, the straw that broke the camel's back thing happens sometimes and then it's like the growl or the snap, and then we notice it. So what I'm trying to do with my business is help everybody listen to the whispers before we have to shout. Oh my God Lorien one other thing I have to say, I'm sorry I'm just like rattling stuff off now, but we ask our kids, and Sagan being three, you've gotta be right in this zone, but we ask our kids to use their words. We say, "say things nicely" So if they have a sibling or they're grabbing something off the table you say, "Please can you do this? Or can you please stop doing that? Or I really don't like it when you do that" or anything. The basic language, and so we do that so that we don't have to have them resorting to having to shout or having to hit or throw or kick or whatever and so we have to then give dogs the same ability to whisper. Teach them to whisper. Say I saw that whisper, I hear you, don't worry I'll take care of it so they don't have to get to the shout or the bite or the snap.

14:00 Lorien Clemens

And I think too one of the things that we probably as new parents, first-time parents, probably weren't ready for, even though we did a lot of preparation frankly on like what do we need to know as far as getting the dogs ready and everything like that was just how stressful it is for everybody. To have that newborn. I mean, we've done the whole thing where we applied baby crying into the house and treated, treated, treated, and you know we brought home stuff from the hospital the day before he actually came home, I mean we did like all this stuff. We had set up safe spots for the dogs throughout the house. You know, like we did a lot of the stuff, we were very cognizant of all that, but then at the end of the day, like what you said about the unpredictability of babies, but it's also just the unpredictability of mom and dad.

14:46 Justine Schuurmans


14:47 Lorien Clemens

Yeah, and for Tom and I, you know, here we are CEO and CTO of a startup company. Super stressful that's like got that, oh let's add in a new baby. Oh, let's add in older dog who's at the end of life, so we have that stress going on. You know she's senile and whatever. So then all of a sudden you got Ullr who's been like the perfect dog in the middle of all this and reflecting back now obviously, but I imagine that for him he was doing a lot of like trying to make Mommy and Daddy happy and oh my God and then finally got to the, you know, get away from my toy.

15:22 Justine Schuurmans

I think trying to keep himself balanced in a home where there's a lot going on. You know, there's stories of dogs that start just peeing when they're seven years old. They're just peeing in the house, but it's often an emotional thing that's happening that there's some level of anxiety and maybe Ullr really didn't have an issue with Sagan. That moment was just the straw that broke the camel's back because there was a lot of other stuff going on, and I think dogs tend to take on a lot of our emotion. We don't really realize it, but they're absorbing that and so that is going to come out sideways.

15:53 Lorien Clemens

Yeah, for sure. Stop the 77 has always been in my mind. Can you just give people what that statistic is? Because it was pretty daunting when you explained it to me the first time we met.

16:01 Justine Schuurmans

The dog bite statistics are pretty scary, like 50% of kids under the age of 12 have been bitten by a dog, 50%, which is wild, but the 77% number is 77% of dog bites to children come from the family dog or a friend's dog. They are not strange dogs in the park. They're not rabid dogs, they're not wild dogs. They are our dogs and so when I read that statistic, I was like oh my goodness, we are complicit in this. How can we not be? They're our family members it's not just like some random dog wandering around. They are our dogs living in our homes and it has to be a mismatch of expectations. Like we have these expectations on dogs they cannot live up to and it's unfair to ask them to and it's a lack of understanding of where they're coming from and again, what we're asking of them. I mean dogs and humans have been living together for the last 10,000 to 40,000 years, and we've had this amazing relationship. When we say dogs are man's best friend. We've bred dogs to do jobs that we just cannot possibly imagine doing ourselves. You know, herding livestock, protecting livestock, ratting, going down holes and killing vermin so that we could live in, you know, germ-free spaces, retrieving, all of these different -- scenting for hunting as well -- all of these different functions that are really cool. If you're, you know, if we're talking about 10,000 years ago, but now we're asking those same dogs that have all of that same DNA that we've chosen to give them. We've bred these dogs intentionally to do these amazing jobs and then we're having them live in apartments in busy cities and saying now you stay in the crate while I go to work or while I take the kids to school or to their activities. We're giving them a quick, you know, 10-15 minute walk around the block a couple of times a day. Maybe Chuck them a bully stick and then be like hope you're good, and the truth is, they're not good. It's very relatable I think to our COVID experience. We were all going a bit crazy, weren't we? When we had to stay in our homes during lockdown. Not see our friends, not do the activities that we did? I mean, I like to go to my hot yoga class. My hot yoga studio closed down because nobody could go, but there was a lot of frustration, pent-up anxiety, lack of social stimulation, and people were really depressed and I can't help but wonder if our dogs feel that. How do we give them that outlet? How do we help them check some boxes for their own life? I mean, if we think about it in the context of kids, anybody listening who has children, you would never just give a kid one lollipop a day. Your attention for you know half an hour. Let them play for another 20 minutes and then say, okay, we're gonna put you in a room now for the rest of the day and hope you're alright, I mean, no. We know stuff would go wrong right? There'd be coloring up the walls, they would be trash in the joint. It's so relatable for parents. That's why I like working with parents because they know it. They know this intrinsically because they have kids and so it's not a far jump to look at our dogs and be like hello, same stuff's going on just in a furry body.

19:28 Lorien Clemens

I could go off on that. There's like so much I could go off on with like Covid and parallels, but also I am all about okay, let's get some actionable stuff, and then, give people a taste of what you do and they're gonna wanna go check you out and like look at your whole program. So let's talk about right off the bat what are some actionable things that mom and dad could be doing and that the kids can be doing because it is that family affair thing right? So what about that?

19:58 Justine Schuurmans

 So I think that that's a really good place to start there. First of all, we talked about this earlier, but I would love everybody to go and learn about dog body language. I've got a great video. We can post a link to it if you want. It's called what your dog is desperately trying to tell you on YouTube. If you wanna Google that, you'll find it. That gives you all the science. That's number one. Understand what your dog is trying to say because then you can start some communication. Number two, split up the roles in your family. Understand what parents should be doing and what kids should be doing, because that's where a lot of conflict happens. So kids aren't just short frown-ups, right? They don't have maturity, the patience, the experience, the skill to do the things that grown-ups need to do, so we shouldn't put them in a position where they have to do grown-up jobs like walking the dog around the block. It's just not safe. We could spend a whole half an hour talking about that, but really my recommendation is usually over the age of 14 to walk alone with a dog, which seems really old, but it's absolutely not when we go into more detail. So what are the things that kids can do? Kids can bring all of the fun. Some real serious fun. They can help out around the house, so they can play games. Let's talk about fun. They can play games that both they and their dog might like, retrieving balls, hiding treats in a room that a dog doesn't go into, or a basement or whatever. Keeping the dog out. Hide some treats around and then say go out it. Go find it. They can stuff food toys. They can play with a flirt pole. Do you know what a flirt pole is?

21:32 Lorien Clemens

Yeah, like the tug and pull play toys. 

21:35 Justine Schuurmans

It's like a long fishing rod.

21:38 Lorien Clemens

Yeah and there's something on the end.

21:39 Justine Schuurmans

With a dog toy on the end exactly and I love that because the dog's mouth is on one end on the toy and the kids hand is really far away so there's no interaction that can kind of go wrong, but that's a really good game to play. We could play hide and seek. There's a whole bunch of -- if people are interested -- I've got a whole bunch of games that they can play that they're kind of training games, but they're also just fun activities for kids and dogs to put like money in the bank account of their relationship so that when kids make a mistake because they will because they're kids and we're all not perfect, but kids you know they're learning the ropes. The dogs much more likely to say oh you didn't mean it. We normally have a great time together. I'll let that one slide, but if they don't have that money in the bank account. Then they're not so tolerant. They're like, ah, you always do this to me. I hate it when you walk past and you just kind of like step over me or you know take my toys off me when I've got it in my mouth. If they're constantly doing that stuff, that's when you get that straw that broke the camel's back. So kids do all the fun stuff. Parents do all the things that are responsible or icky. So anything that the dog doesn't particularly like, probably like having paws wiped, having their ears brushed, nails clipped, having a bath, and you know all dogs are different, so some of them hate that stuff more than others, but anything that the dog does not like should never be the kid's responsibility. We're trying to put money in the bank.

23:01 Lorien Clemens

Yeah so to that point. So we have this ritual that we do at our house now that everybody gets their nails cut at the same time. So I do the cat and he's actually very good about it and then Sagan can give a treat to Tormound the cat.

23:13 Justine Schuurmans

Love it.

23:14 Lorien Clemens

And then I do Hedy's nails, our Boston Terrier puppy, do her nails and then Sagan gets to give treats to Hedy and then Sagan it's your turn now and then he'll sit there and let that happen, but we've done this about five or six times now in the last month or so and I tried to cut his nails the other day because they needed to be trimmed because baby nails go very fast and he's like no, no Tourmond first, and then he was very upset that I didn't have the treats ready to go for him to be able to give them to Tormound. So to that end, like yeah, I'm doing the yucky stuff that might get me scratched a bit, but he's getting to reward the animal.

23:53 Justine Schuurmans

So you've just done it perfectly. Well done. 100,000 bonus brownie points to Lorien.

24:03 Lorien Clemens

Thank you! Really the problem is getting my kid to get his nails clipped.

24:06 Justine Schuurmans

But what you've done, you've set up what we trainers call a predictable and pattern of precedent. So PPP. So look at Sagan, he's like I'm all over this. I'll do it, but this is not how the pattern goes. So patterns also can be really helpful for parents doing stuff like that. When we do this, you do this, you know, so when the kids are doing their homework and we don't want the dog being annoying, or when the kids are having tummy time the dog does this over here away, separate, and then the dog would just be like, oh, I see the mat coming out for tummy time. Or I see the books coming out on the counter and they start to just like take themselves off to the spot where they go to have their chew toy or whatever away from that activity that the kids doing. The patterns are really good. You're doing it without even knowing it. I don't need to be here, you could just do this yourself.

24:51 Lorien Clemens

Oh no no no. Trust me I wish you were here two years ago when we had our issue. I would love it though if you can talk about the program that you have and like how does it work and what could people expect when they go to use The Family Dog.

25:03 Justine Schuurmans

So I think that the main thing that I think is missing is that again, we're working on training the dog to do certain behaviors, and what we're missing is the parents' understanding of what they need to teach their kids because it's not natural. We don't necessarily know exactly what we're supposed to do, but when we don't have that clarity, that's when everything can kind of like fall through the gaps. So a lot of my family training staff is helping parents get real clarity on what their house should look like and how it should run and how they can motivate their dog and how they can motivate their kid and what they should be teaching their child to do around their dog and how to set up their home. One of the things we didn't talk about was having in fact, full disclosure, can we say this Lorien? We had a quick chat before we started recording.

25:47 Lorien Clemens


25:48 Justine Schuurmans

Both Lorien and I have had a pretty rough trot recently.

25:53 Lorien Clemens

Yes we have.

25:54 Justine Schuurmans

Close to tears and maybe even closer to tears. So as a parent we are exhausted almost all the time. Is that fair to say?

26:08 Lorien Clemens

100%. Then you add in a dog that's sick currently, which both of us have had.

26:15 Justine Schuurmans

Yes. I've had dying dogs. I've had dogs in the ER. I've had emergency surgeries. This is different dogs not the same one. Yeah, I've had kids trying to go to college. Visitors to my house just a lot of stuff, all great, some not all great some of it was not great but we are spread so thin, so when you've got kids that you're trying to parent and a dog you're trying to parent, you can't be on all the time and I think if you ever read any books about kids and dogs, they're always like oh, you need to supervise all the time, you're like, okay, try doing that. Yeah, that's beautiful. It's just not possible to do it all the time. So one of the things I think is really important is to help families set up a safe space for their dog to go away and love being in that place. There should be no end of bones and toys and chews and frozen, you know, food stuffed whatever kongs or whatever you want to use so that the dog actually really enjoys going there so that the parent can just take a break. And when I say a break, not a break from life because you're still probably reading the kids a story of giving them a bath, but you don't have to be managing the interactions because when the kid and the dog are in the same room and in the same space you're teaching, you're not supervising. You're constantly giving feedback to both parties about what's good and what's not good, and if you don't have the energy to do that, no well, you can't have the energy to do it 24/7, but you need to know that you do have the energy when you're going to let the dog out of that space and say, right we're on now. What are we doing together? Let's play a game. Let's do an activity, even if it's just reading a story and their kids like sitting next to the dog, petting them. Just being mindful of how they're touching the dog. Is the dog still enjoying it? 

28:06 Lorien Clemsn

Do you suggest that that space is like a crate or a room? Because we have a dog who if she is not right next to where everybody is, she's miserable you know.

28:19 Justine Schuurmans

I think it really depends on your dog. You know I have dogs that really want to be close to me, and unless you -- if you set up your life where your dog has learned to be fine being away from you then they'll do it -- but if you haven't started that off from the beginning with your PPP and your pattern every day. We do 2 hours away, then it's likely your dog is going to be like why am I out here when all the fun is happening over there?

28:44 Lorien Clemens

We're already seeing that now with our pandemic puppy, because yes we were with those people that got a pandemic puppy. I'm going to work a couple of days a week rather than working from home all the time and my husband's like oh, she's miserable when you're not here. So yeah no, we've got some...

28:59 Justine Schuurmans


29:01 Lorien Clemens

Rejigging to do there for sure, for sure.

29:02 Justine Schuurmans

Yeah, I totally understand. I think it's just exhausting parenting both kids and dogs, and so my program really tries to help families feel supported with a specific kind of help that they need because again, you can go to a dog training class and teach a dog all the tricks under the sun, but it's not gonna help you when you come home. Like when your kid drops the ice cream on the floor and the dog runs over and wants to like, you know, snatch it up or you know, eat the pills that the kids you know poured all over the ground.

29:31 Lorien Clemens

Or the raisins that they're picking out of their oatmeal and throwing on the floor. 

29:34 Justine Schuurmans


29:37 Lorien Clemens

Alright, well this has been great. Unfortunately, we are out of time. You and I can literally talk all day long.

29:43 Justine Schuurmans

We could, it's true.

29:46 Lorien Clemens

It's been too long so we have to make sure we do this again sometime, but I want to thank you for coming on the show. Just really great stuff and I think everybody got a little taste of you know what they'll find when they go to The Family Dog, and by the way, as I mentioned, make sure you listen to all the way to the end at the very end, we'll give you a special offer that's just for PetHub members and Pet Lover Geek listeners. So tell people where they can go online right now to check you guys out?

30:07 Justine Schuurmans

Yes, go to When you get there there's two different sides of the website. I work with professionals so that they can help families but you wanna go to the family side if you're a family and there's free information there, there's a program called the Peace Love Kids and Dogs Club. I would love you to come and join. Come and hang out with us and get to talk to me regularly about all your stuff, but yeah, go and check it out. There's a bunch of stuff on there. Videos for kids. I used to work for Nickelodeon before I did this so I do love making a video. 

30:36 Lorien Clemens

Thank you for the nudge because I've actually literally had this conversation like we need to join Justine's group.

30:42 Justine Schuurmans

Please come join me, it's a baby. It's a fledgling group. It's just launched so I'm looking for new members.

30:50 Lorien Clemens

Because we were checking it out on the site and I was like oh! and I've literally been having this conversation like in the last couple of weeks and you do it.

30:56 Justine Schuurmans

I need you Lorien. I need you.

30:58 Lorien Clemens

Yes, we will be there. We will be there. Sagan and I will be there. Thank you so much for joining us. Make sure that you check out the links we're providing you as part of this podcast or if you're reading this on make sure you check out those links. I'm Lorien Clemens and it's been wonderful having Justine from The Family Dog. Please make sure that you check out all of our Pet Lover Geek shows powered by PetHub, and if there's anything you'd like us to geek out about, please drop us a note and we'll be happy to check it out. Give your pups and your cats a snuggle cuddle from me and have a great day. 

31:29 Music