For the majority of modern dog owners, choosing the right dog trainer is one of the most important decisions they will have to make regarding their dog. Unfortunately, it can also be one of the most difficult decisions to get right. Assuming you have already determined that you need the help of a trained professional Read More
FINDING A GOOD TRAINER One of the most important decisions you will make in paving a path to happiness with your pet is choosing a competent and kind dog trainer. The absence of standard credentials required by law, or established professional ethics, makes it problematic for pet parents to find a great trainer in an unregulated field. However, Read More
First of all, I have certainly never referred to myself as a ‘purely positive’ dog trainer, but I have heard many others – usually pretty vocal opponents of humane modern dog training – label me and others with that description.
“R-E-S-P-E-C-T, find out what it means to me.” In the film ‘The Blues Brothers,’ Aretha Franklin sings about her need for some respect. The words of the song are as applicable today in human relationships as they were then, but what does the word actually mean?
I’ve only ever had female dogs. This has never been a conscious choice on my part, I just fell in love and adopted dogs that happened to be female. I don’t know if things would be any different if I had a male dog in the house, but people often ask me what the behavioral differences between male and female dogs are and if gender either influences or suits one lifestyle over another.
Obedience. Such a loaded word. It makes me cringe when it is used outside of the dog competition world. And quite honestly, I would love to see that word changed to something with a kinder connotation in that world as well. It’s been the status quo word reserved for dog training for so long that Read More
We're very excited to share the news that full episodes of It's Me or the Dog are now available on YouTube via the @ItsMeOrTheDog channel. It's been quite a while since we broke ground on that series back in the early 2000's, and I never would've guessed that we'd end up shooting over 100 episodes and have the show airing in over 200 countries.
Heart dog. Say those two words to any dog lover and their eyes will go soft. They will look wistful. They will be fondly thinking of a dog they currently share their life with if they are lucky. If they are less than lucky, there will tears in their eyes. They will be thinking of Read More
The line that dogs have gone from the dog house into our house isn’t exactly true. Dogs have not only shared our homes, but our sleeping quarters for a very long time, around 14,000 years to be exact. The human-animal bond isn’t a new thing. It turns out that 14,000 years ago we were buried Read More
I am sick of seeing commercials, print ads and even suggestions made on pet food packaging itself, about caring for the wolf in your dog. There isn’t as much of the wolf in your dog, at least advertised. In fact, there is very little grey wolf in any domestic dog! Several studies, including one from PLOS Read More
Family dog shows can be wonderful events to attend. They are great places to meet up with friends, spend time around lots of other dogs, show your own dog off and hopefully win some rosettes. Some dogs really enjoy these events and walk round the show ring with a relaxed body, bright eyes and a Read More
As a trainer I have helped many clients prepare for their coming baby, but in going through this myself, I have adjusted my expectations, and also what I will be teaching from now on.
First of all, I’ve certainly never referred to myself as a ‘purely positive’ dog trainer, but I’ve heard many others – usually pretty vocal opponents of humane modern dog training – label me and others with that description. It seems to be somewhat of a dog training unicorn, in that there are those who still Read More
In the competition sport of agility, there are many variables to manage. When I created a behavior modification program for my own dog, here were some of the things I considered to help set him up for success.
"She's a rescue." I found myself wanting to say the words out loud as I walked my Labradoodle past a girl who looked at us disapprovingly and then shot me a judgmental glare. Why did I feel the need to justify anything to this complete stranger? Why have "purebred" dogs become so vilified?
Those of us who work professionally with dog behavior cannot turn off our skills. Sometimes the things that we see make us twitch and want to intervene.
Sometimes owning a reactive dog is just plain hard. The idea of getting up and taking a walk in the mornings, when I know I might end up with a whirling dervish instead of a dog at the end of my leash, makes me want to stay home under the covers, safe in bed. However, Read More
I spent the first two articles of this three-part series talking about Tricky’s drive, what I did that caused her to lose it, and the things I did to build it back. Now I will talk about what I’ve done to keep it and suggestions to help others to do the same.
There’s nothing like vacationing with your dog! My focus in this blog will be on dog behavior and the things you can do to support having a great pet-friendly trip.
It's simple but not easy to be skilled at managing a reactive dog. It takes lots of practice to sharpen your own mechanics while teaching the dog various exercises to help the dog stay focused on you.
I did not wear any clothes with my logo on it for the first month after moving to New York City, horrified that people would see this dog trainer with a “bad dog.”
It may seem sometimes like everyone else has a “normal” dog while you struggle to make minute changes towards the better with your own. How can we cope?
There are many wonderful resources for you to read about whether bringing home a puppy over the holidays is a responsible choice for your family. This article is meant to help you make good choices once you have already decided to bring a new dog home for the holidays.
I find that new puppy-owners tend to fall into two camps - those who expect too much too soon, and those who expect too little for too long.
Dog Training Frustration? Here are 14 things you can do to relax instead of getting frustrated with your dog.
Working with a positive trainer is one of the best things that you will ever do for your dog. Below is a list of 5 things that may surprise you about your trainer followed by a list of 5 things you may want to remember when you hire a positive trainer.
You know that life for your newly adopted dog has just taken a turn for the better, but your dog needs you to demonstrate it for her. Here are a few tips for helping to make the transition from shelter dog to a adored member of your family.
Marketing is there to make you buy something- in this case, the training services of any given trainer. When trainers that use punitive methods advertise their services, they are going to be really good at selling them to you. They have to. Think about it: “We shock your dog into compliance!” is not exactly the best tag line.
Our clients were pleased, their dogs were happy, and our business was successful. Surprisingly, in the face of all this success, I was feeling unsatisfied, exhausted, and had what I learned to call “the burnout of compassion fatigue”.
There is perhaps no greater experience than participating in an activity with your dog that satisfies you both. The bonding experience created is unparalleled.
A common theme I've heard from pet parents who fell victim to "bad egg" dog trainers is that they all had a feeling that something wasn't right. But they trusted their trainer (they were a professional after all, right?), and assumed they knew what they were doing.
I see dogs that truly enjoy meeting new people and other dogs, and find myself wishing the same for my not-so-social dog. It's easy to get discouraged, but know that many people are experiencing the same things with their dogs as you are.
Why is it that our pet dogs are struggling more than ever to cope in our domestic world? Resource guarding, leash aggression, aggression towards other animals, and aggression towards people are some of the most common aggression examples that dog trainers see on a daily basis.
I truly believe the only way for positive gun dog training to gain any kind of ground in this country is by developing good hunting dogs, strong hunt test results and some field trial wins. There are indeed positive trainers already making strides, but the numbers comparatively are very small. This must change, and it is fair for those who advocate traditional gun dog training to demand proof.
If you're like me, you grew up thinking that to call a dog trainer was to admit defeat—you were capable of training your dog or you didn't deserve to have one. If you're like me, you're also wrong, because there are lots of good reasons to work with a certified dog trainer (none of which are Read More
It's that time of year when we start shopping for holiday gifts for our friends and family, but have you remembered your 4-legged friends?
Dog is abused, abandoned, neglected. Dog is rescued. Dog has behavioral issues stemming from a difficult past. Rescue group calls in a trainer, who puts a shock collar on the dog to "fix" him and make him adoptable. While the above scenario may be oversimplified, it happens all too often in the rescue world. I worked on Read More
VSPDT Laura Brody discusses the topic of dog socialization and why modern domesticated dogs are showing more signs of dog-dog aggression than ever before.
Or trainers. I can't clearly put this in any one person's lap. Let's back up and see where we are. First off, I am not going to identify the trainer(s), the dog, or the family. My purpose is not to belittle or attack anyone. Instead I want this to be a learning experience for other trainers and a warning to owners.
Scenario: A pleasant neighborhood on a sunny day, we observe a human and her dog taking a walk together. All of a sudden, the dog strains on leash, barking and lunging. The human tries to calm the dog down to no avail. She keeps looking around and sees nothing that should make her dog react Read More