Category Archives: Training

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?

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.

My Mom Is Feeling Under The Weather

Champagne a gorgeous Pitbull, and Abby our BeaBull (Left to Right)

Abby, “So my mom has not been feeling well these last couple of days, therefore our walks, tummy rubs, treats, and so much more declined considerably. I didn’t know what to do so I asked her to take a look at our old pics and whichever one made her smile to post on her website. And so she picked the above pic. I am staying close to her, and I am trying not to be too demanding. Crossing my fingers, well if I had any, that my mom fells better soon. Sloppy kisses to all of you!”

Lessons From Our Dogs: Let’s Relax

Blast from the past. Dexter and our Alex, and on the background Walter.

It’s a beautiful sunny day here in Annapolis, MD and on Sundays we try, operative word try, to take this day to relax, and just enjoy being home. Living with dogs-if you pay attention-could teach you many things, one of them is learning to relax which for most people is hard to do.

I look at them when they are taking a nap, and it’s beautiful to see how they don’t seem to have a care in the world. We, humans, need to learn to do that. Anyway, enjoy your day, and take a moment, or a day for that matter, to relax. Stay safe.

Back To Our Old Routine

Abby and Charlie, “Mom, we saw a fish. Could we get it?” Mom, “No!”

Since Abby and Charlie were driving us up the wall-totally my fault of course-this is what their day looks like:

  1. Walking – extremely important therefore I listed it first. If possible, twice a day
  2. Behavior and Training – make your pup wait for you while you take laundry out of the dryer; eye contact to you right before you feed him; sit while you put on his Halti and much more
  3. Structure – your dog should have time for walks, behavior and training, crate time, and naps
  4. Job – find out what your dog loves to do and hire him/her for that job

The above are just a few of the things you need to do in order for your dog to be balanced, and for you to keep your sanity and minimize at all cost your hair turning gray. There are studies that state that stress causes our hair to turn gray so for the sake of vanity if nothing else, follow the above list. Stay safe!

Confessions Of A Pet Parent And Dog Trainer

Marcela, “Don’t they look like angels? You’ll think different after reading this post.”

To say that Abby and Charlie were given lots of food, treats, naps, and freedom since November of last year would be an understatement. Let me start from the beginning. Once November came around, my body went into holiday mode so the kids, Abby and Charlie, for the most part did what they wanted. And after 3 months of that, we were about to pull our hair out, and so Cynthia and I decided that they needed to go back to having exercise, structure, a job, etc., in order to keep our sanity.

How are they doing? I’ll tell you in a future post. For now, what I’d like to convey is that whether you are a pet parent, or a pet parent and dog trainer, like me, we all-at one point or another-end up relaxing the rules we should have for our dogs, and as a result they drive us up the wall. Now, rather than feeling frustrated, angry, and discouraged-all these are negative feelings-we could instead look at how we remedy this situation and get to work. So with that in mind, let’s get to work. Stay safe!