Let’s stop calling our dogs stubborn all the time. They very well might be stubborn and I know that is a word we trainers use probably too often as well, but the reasons behind the stubborn-ness are SO important. A main reason we see that creates stubbornness in dogs is no history of accountability or learning to learn how to do things by following instructions from man. That was a bit of a mouthful. Let me unpack that. If there is little to no guidance given to a dog from a person and no...

Everyone says dogs need a job and they’ll be less stressed, reactive and over stimulated…but what does that even mean? I’ve known lots of dogs with jobs and they still do all of those unwanted behaviors. The difference comes when you have more influence over their decisions. That’s the secret. I think sometimes we struggle saying those things out loud and trainers try to find gentler ways to say things, but they aren’t being clear. Bottom line, when your dog has a job that involves...

You can’t teach an old dog new tricks. This is a phrase I heard a lot as a kid. Usually it implied that a person can’t learn something new because they are too set in their ways. Of course we know that isn’t always the case. It really depends on the person’s mentality, how hard they are willing to work at it, with some limitations sometimes of course. Mainly, the person has to MAKE the decision to change and then change is a possibility. But what does that mean for dogs? The saying...

Retrievers are very special indeed. I love Flat-Coated Retrievers and Golden Retrievers. Others will swear by their Labrador Retrievers. You must know that they are all very similar, but we’ll focus on the golden. I’ll start with what inspired me to write this blog. I grew up with many dogs, one of them a golden. She was wild and fun until the day she passed. Something that struck me about her that I didn’t know about the breed at the time was how loyal she was. I grew up with herding...

It’s that time again, holiday get a puppy time! Also, go to the rescue and adopt a dog for the holidays! I think it’s wonderful…or it can be. I never want to discourage anyone from doing that. However, as a trainer and someone who worked in rescues for several years, serious caution and advice is necessary. First off, never do this on a whim. Research the breed or breed mix you are adopting. Know that when you go back to work after the holiday break, the dog is properly covered for...

To kids, dogs often must be a chore or they are ignored. How often has your kid grown tired of a new toy, hobby or sport at school? Many kids under 15 grow tired of everything at some point. Then they get some freedom around 15/16 and nothing else matters but their journey to independence. Human nature, normal, unavoidable, life…right?! Where does that leave your family pet? Many kids and families are over-joyed at their new puppy or family dog. It’s so exciting and fun at first. That can...

Incremental success equals stacking! This is a key component in dog training that gets overlooked. Of course everyone wants results quickly. Who wouldn’t want that? The problem is even though you can make a big difference quickly, the true long-term consistent success comes from stacking! The key is to start with small expectations, build the muscle memory of completing a new routine, and then add more tasks once you’re consistent. Want to know something interesting? The above sentence was...

Common questions from dog owners before training: Will my dog still be able to sleep with me? Does my dog HAVE to be crated? Why can’t my dog just have some free time in the yard? Why can’t my dog get affection and belly rubs from me? Why can’t I designate an area of the couch for him/her? The thing is, your dog CAN have all of those things...possibly. We treat each dog individually, but have everyone start off by heavily restricting privileges for a while when going back home or starting...

The vast majority of dogs we see from rescues, evaluate in shelters and get in for training that have fear aggression, aggression or reactivity issues have two main problems...certain genetic factors and lots of kindness shared with them. This is a tough one to communicate properly, though the concept is simple. Dogs that are not taught a solid “no”, but get lots of love, pets, play and treats end up in shelters, passed to another family or worse. Dogs, just like people, need to learn...

Meet Happy…the very suppressed dog… Let me explain! There is a new trend for balanced trainers and other trainers that “correct” bad behavior. The trend is to say we only suppress behavior, we create ticking time bombs that way and we don’t do any actual training. WHEW! That’s a little hard for me to even type out because of the craziness behind it. If correcting dogs is ALL it took I would be out of business. Me just telling people how to correct dogs would diminish my industry and...

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