Category Archives: dog trainer

Fall Season 2022 And Dogs

My Alex, a Pit Bull mix. A blast from the past.

I had to put, “Fall Season” as to not confuse people with the movie Fall. By the way, the movie is great! Watch it when you get a chance.

According to what I found out, Fall starts September 22, but I am already feeling the change in weather and I am loving it! Here in Maryland during Fall you could walk anytime of the day without sweating your butt off. Yeah! As you can clearly see, this may be my favorite season. I am known to change my mind though.

Pet parents, continue with walks, hikes, outings, etc. Go out and enjoy yourselves. Stay safe.

Multi-Dog Household And Energy

I’ve recently seen that shelters are struggling with the large intake of dogs that it is believed stems from the desire of people to adopt dogs during the pandemic, and this is yours truly trying to influence you to go out and adopt, but-and this is super important-make sure that your energy, that of your current dog, and new dog align together.

What do I mean by that? Well, this is what I mean:

  • You and your dog are for the most part sedentary – meaning that you go for a walk once in a while and both of you are ok with it. Do not adopt a dog-regardless of age-that is hyper or needs a huge amount of exercise because it will not work out
  • You and your dog are active – meaning that you walk/run/hike every day and thrive on being active. Adopt a dog that is active and have a wonderful time!
  • You are active, but your dog is getting old and requires less exercise – You could adopt an active dog that could run/hike/walk with you, always remembering to provide your senior dog with shorter walks and time to go potty
  • You are sedentary, but your dog is active – do not adopt a hyper dog to provide exercise for your current dog. It will be a huge headache having 2 active dogs

You are probably thinking, “Marcela, I thought you were trying to encourage us to adopt, but your post doesn’t seem to suggest that.” To what I’d respond by saying that having a multi-dog household is wonderful as long as the activity level matches that of the pet parent and current dog in order to be successful. With that being said, if you are thinking about adding a new doggie to your family, this may be the right time. Do you have a multi-dog household?

See You Later Dexter

Walter, my Alex, and Dexter (L to R)

This is a post that is hard for me to write, but I need to get it off my chest. There are clients with whom I still keep in touch with, even after years have gone by. They end up being friends and every so often we contact each other, and so last week, I found out that Dexter, a Boxer mix, passed away January 2022. I had to read the e-mail twice to make sure that what I was reading was right. After that, I just sat down and cried. I couldn’t respond to his mom right away. My heart was breaking, and I could only imagined how his mom was feeling. Later on, when I gained some of my composure I contacted her.

And so, this is for Dexter. My dear Dexter, yes my heart believed that you were mine, although my mind knew better. Thank you for being such an amazing dog. You were not trusting the first day you were with us, but after that it seemed as if you knew this was your second home. You made your mom very happy, the dogs that hung out with you, and yours truly as well. You were a handsome boy and you had a calmness that until now I haven’t found in any other dog. Thanks for the time we had with you, and the joy that you brought to us. We’ll always love you. See you later my handsome Dexter!

Abby And Charlie Swapping Beds

Charlie, “I like Abby’s bed better than my own bed! Could I keep it?”

I have absolutely no idea why Abby and Charlie swap beds. Do you know why your dogs swap beds? If you do, please share that information with me because I am quite curious about this unexplained phenomenon. Years ago, I made it a point that each dog would go to his/her bed, but now I look at it this way, if both dogs are ok swapping beds then so be it. Enjoy your week!

Dog Walking Tips During Summer

Alex, a Pitbull mix, and Walter, a handsome Australian Sheperd.

To say that I love to walk with my dogs would be an understatement, but when it’s hot I need to be aware and mindful of the following:

  1. Pick an appropriate time to walk – I do my best to walk them before 9am and after 7pm
  2. Dark or black color coats – dogs like Walter, Australian Shepherd in the above picture, tend to overheat faster than dogs with light or white coats like Alex, a Pitbull mix
  3. Know the breed of your dog – dogs with flat faces and short noses regardless of the color could overheat fast because they are unable to cool down like those with long noses
  4. Water – always, and I mean always, carry with you enough water for you and your dog
  5. Take a break – you could stop for a couple of minutes under some shade or find a store that allows dogs inside like Home Depot so both of you could get a break from the heat, sun, and humidity
  6. Limit your time – if you usually walk 1 hour, depending on how hot it is, you may have to walk 20 to 30 minutes instead

Summer is a great time to walk with your dog, but just be careful and mindful of the above tips. What time do you walk your dog when it’s hot? Enjoy your week!

Stop Talking To Your Dog!

Abby and Charlie, “Mom, you talk too fast so we’ll just go ahead and ignore you. There!”

Years ago, when I took my very first dog training class with an excellent dog trainer, Janet Bennet, there was a lady with a small dog and during class she had conversations with her dog rather than plainly telling him, “Sit.” To say that I smiled about this exchange between the two of them would be an understatement, but I know now that that is the worst thing you could do with your dog.

Yes, you should use words to teach your dog commands, but dogs don’t need a story of why you want him to do something. To be effective at communicating with your dog, use your body language, tone of voice, intention, and energy. And if you have a fearful, sensitive, excitable, or shy dog, the least you talk to him, the better for both of you because you will not be frustrated and he will learn at his own pace. So, let’s leave our talking for the trainer you are communicating with about your canine companion and start communicating properly with your dog. Stay safe!

Abby’s Vet Visit: She Did Great!

Abby, “Mom, please let me sleep and stop taking pictures of me!”

Taking Abby to the vet is-I know a lot of pet parents will no believe me-wonderful. She is calm, friendly, curious, and cooperative. When she was younger, she was hyperactive so I had to take her for a long walk before her vet’s appointment, and although I no longer have to do that, I still walk her.

If you have a dog like Abby, going to the vet should be a walk in the park, but if you have one like Charlie, well, that is another post for another day. Enjoy your week and stay safe.

Is Your Anxiety Affecting Your Dog?

Remy, Abby, and Charlie, “Man! Are we lost again?”

Yes, your anxiety is affecting your dog. Before I start a session with a client and her dog, I make sure that the pet parent is relaxed and ready to work. Dogs are able to figure out when you are sad, stressed out, angry, etc. How do they do that? I believe they do it by looking at our body language, tone of voice, and smell.

A couple of months ago, I had to get a quote for some home repairs, and I just didn’t feel like doing that that particular day, but I’ve already made the appointment, and I did not want to waste this person’s time so I started to get ready, 30 minutes prior to the appointment, while Charlie and Abby slept. Now, once I started to get ready, both Abby and Charlie, woke up and started to pace, followed me around, and tried to make eye contact. I stopped for a minute and looked at both of them, and asked myself, “What is going on with these two?” I realized that I was stressed out, and that I was stressing out my dogs without realizing it. What did I do? I sat down, started touching their ears and neck, and after a couple of minutes Charlie, Abby and yours truly relaxed. And with that being said, yes, we do stress out our dogs, and if we pay attention to them, we’d be able to modify our behavior-human behavior that is-and learn to live a balanced life. Have a great week!

Treating Dog Anxiety

Abby, Charlie and Remy after a nice morning walk. If they were guard dogs, they would all be fired!

Anxiety in dogs is something that pet parents have a hard time dealing with or recognizing for that matter. These are some of the signs a dog will exhibit when anxious: pacing, drooling, barking, destroying things, nipping, etc. I always recommend for pet parents to have a vet do a physical exam to rule out any medical condition their dog may be experiencing, and once they get a clean bill of health we could start addressing the anxiety in their dogs.

Charlie, a GSD mix, had a lot of anxiety when we got him from the SPCA in Annapolis, MD. By the way, most dogs from shelters are very anxious, it’s rare to find one that is not. Our Charlie went from screaming murder at the top of his lungs any time: we left the room; we exited the car; we went to a new place, etc. How is he doing now? Way better and still working with him, but understand this, your dog’s anxiety will disappear with time if you are consistent with the following:

  1. Walk him! Yes, this gets a lot of that anxiety and pent up energy out of them
  2. Don’t talk too much to your dog. Use your body language, energy and intention instead
  3. Start working with a trainer on basic training and behavior modification
  4. When you are overwhelm, walk away, take a deep breath and work with your dog once you are on a relaxed state of mind. No, you cannot drink wine. Sorry!

The above is just a few of the things you could do to start dealing with your dog’s anxiety. Charlie is super smart, he is a GSD mix after all, but I am still working with him and I have seen amazing results. Don’t despair, be consistent and your dog will one day bring you joy rather than stress. Enjoy your week!

Managing A Multi-Dog Household

Abby, a Beagle/Bulldog mix, and Remy, a handsome Pit bull napping while I write this post.

A few pet parents have asked me how do I manage a multi-dog household and this is what I tell them:

  1. Exercise is the #1 ingredient and the most important of all. If your dog is tired, chances that he will have the energy to get in trouble highly decreases. He can run, walk, hike, etc.
  2. Each dog needs to have his own area for eating. If you use a crate, great!
  3. Never leave your dogs loose in the house while you are out running errands
  4. Manners! Dogs have manners so there will be no pushing, pawing, steeping over one another, etc.
  5. Do your best to spend a few minutes with each individual dog

I have Abby and Charlie as my dogs and demo dogs, but I also get my clients’ dogs that stay with us for short and extended times so I make sure that my pack gets along with each other. Now, aside from what I listed above, you, the pet parent, have to practice being a zen person. What is that? A zen person lives peacefully and has a sense of bliss. Yes, this may be the hardest part for most of us to do, but this is good for our dogs, and for us as well. Any questions? Stay safe.