Dogs on the Furniture?

Some people think that by giving your dog rules and boundaries, it takes away from their character. For example, allowing your dog on the couch.

The dog being on the furniture isn't the real problem.  The problem is that there must be a time and place for everything.  When your dog has respect for furniture, like anything else you expose him to, he will act accordingly and appropriately.

Your dog should understand that the couch represents calmness and not excitement, therefore lessening the chance of possessiveness and other issues that might arise from allowing the dog to freely bound onto the couch.

All these issues translate to the car, the bed, etc.

The more you set your dog up to succeed, the easier your dog will have transitioning through situations he's not accustomed to. 

As with all of my advice and teachings, everyone in your family must be on the same page for establishing and enforcing rules. 

Remember, "Confidence. Patience. Consistency."

-Coach Mike


Something I HATE in the dog world

I hate the term "it's all in how you raise them."

This term to me means that there's no hope for a dog that shows signs of unwanted behaviors.  This means to me that everyone working so hard in shelters and rescue groups are wasting their time.  Why?  Because that term, "it's all how you raise them" means that no matter what you do, or who you are, that the dog could never act right or be rehabilitated.

That is wrong.

Any unwanted behavior in any dog can be changed.

How many stories have we heard about severely abused or neglected dogs being rescued from horrible situations, and then become therapy dogs, service dogs, or just stellar family members?  I hear and witness success stories like this all the time. 

People have dogs that they treat wonderfully, had since 8 weeks of age, no abuse, no trauma, no drama.  Sometimes their dog doesn't act appropriately.  Some people do everything "right" or "by the book" and still have a dog they can't control. 

That is why this term is false.  It's not "all in how you raise them." 

By using my philosophies and mottoes, I know any dog can be taught to be a well behaved, trustworthy, respectful canine.

"Confidence. Patience. Consistency." is the first rule to always have in mind.  Without all three, there is little to no chance the dog will understand what you expect of him, and make the right choices to do the right thing.

"Changing Expectations and Associations." is the next step.  A good example that I come across quite a bit is your dog having fear aggression with other dogs.  So every time your dog sees another dog, he starts spitting, growling, snarling, acting crazy.  You immediately about face and remove your dog from seeing the other dog across the street/down the block. The association for the dog is fearful aggression when he sees the other dogs, so he acts out.  The expectation that the dog has for the owner, is that the owner will remove the dog from the situation.  Therefore the dog never has to face its greatest fear, which is other dogs.

So we change the expectation by not removing the dog every time he acts crazy, and the association will change because your dog will learn to trust you, and not to have fear aggression, but confidence when he sees another dog.  

Therefore building the two main ingredients with any relationship: "Trust and Respect."


But according to those that believe "it's all in how you raise them" - then this could never change.  (But I do it all the time with my clients and their dogs!!!)


The next time you hear someone say "it's all in how you raise them", I invite you to open their minds about what they're saying.  They do mean well, but it conveys the message that any dog with a sketchy past can never be changed or trusted.  Which we all know is incorrect.  That is a huge disservice to anyone that adopts, fosters, rehabilitates, trains or rescues dogs.


What terms in the dog world irk you?  What terms need more explanation or more understanding?  I invite your input in the comments section!


Thank you.

-Coach Mike

How to pick a dog trainer

How to pick a dog trainer

Posted by Mike on March 23, 2014 at 8:50 AM comments (2)

Hi everyone.  This is my first Blog post.  I thought I would write about something that anyone who views my website could use.


If you're here it's probably because you need help with your dog.  First of all, your dog thanks you for recognizing this and looking for assistance.  Sometimes that is the hardest part!!!


But how to choose the right dog trainer? There are so many out there.  So many tactics.  So many beliefs and styles.  How do you know where to start so you make the best decision for your dog and you?


I could get into a long list of different types of training styles, tools, tips, philosophies..... but I won't.  That is not my place to analyze other people's beliefs or philosophies.  I have a much simpler way of finding a good dog trainer.


Meet his/her dog.


Can they handle their own dog?  Does their dog have manners?  Is their dog someone that you would want to be around?


Some dog trainers put so much focus on how many certificates or titles their dogs or themselves have.  Those certificates certainly look nice, and give credibility in those particular events.  But can the dog walk on a leash?  Can the dog be gentle around children? Does the dog hang out like a normal passenger in the car, or does it need to be restrained or put in a crate?


A million framed certificates on the wall means nothing if the dog is not well balanced.


I know of some trainers that have excelled in agility, obedience, and utility.  But their dogs are so full of anxiety and other problems, that they can not bring their dogs in public without there being an issue, or a fight.  If they even bring the dogs in public, or go on walks.  To me, that is no way to own or live with a dog.


My previous dogs, Maverick and Sienna, were almost always with me.  They went with me all over the city and suburbs.  When in the car, they were excellent co-pilots.  When they were at home while the wife or I had to work, they were trustworthy and never destroyed anything (except a made up bed once in a while).  They lived peacefully with cats, and other creatures.  Their leash, outside and home manners were impeccable.  I never really thought about it being an option.  I always figured if the dogs want to be part of the family, they must act appropriately.  For a lot of their training, I didn't know what I was doing, I was just following my gut and had high expectations that they met and sometimes exceeded.


My new dog, Quantum, is shaping up to be the same way.  He is being taught all facets of being well behaved.  I expect him to do all these tasks very well because he is a reflection of me and my training.  If I had an out of control dog, I would expect my clients' trust in me to go way down.  But since I have a well mannered, respectful, calm, confident, patient canine, this gives my current and potential clients a reason to use my services and to stay with me.


In summary, the best advice I can give you on selecting a dog trainer is to meet their dog.  That will speak for itself.


Thank you for reading this.  I look forward to your comments!


-Coach Mike