Category Archives: Training

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!

Belated Happy New Year 2022

Charlie and Abbie “helping” mom cook our New Year’s meal.

Happy New Year! Sorry for the delay. Let’s give you a run down of what we did this past holiday. We ate a lot-as expected-both humans and canines; we slept and took naps; we did walk, and added playtime for Abby and Charlie in order to stay consistent and active; and-wait for it-we realized that we’ve given too much freedom to Charlie so after the holidays-meaning now-Charlie and Abby-will be doing some needed behavior and training. Anyway, that’s a post for another day.

Abby, “mom, what kind of guard dog sleeps on the job? Could you tell me again what did we get him for?”

Charlie-more than Abby-certainly took it to heart when we said nap time. Regardless of what you did, I hope that you enjoyed your holiday and your family. What did you do this past holiday? Stay safe and bundle up!

A New Bed For Abby And Charlie

Abby to Charlie, “Could you move over a bit? You’re appropriating Our bed!”

We got a new bed for Abby and Charlie a few weeks ago-at this point you’re probably saying to yourself, “That’s so nice of you”-because we got tired of moving their two beds from the kitchen to the living room. By now you’ve realized that such action was self-serving. Anyway, Abby and Charlie are still working out the logistics of sharing one bed, but they both seem to like it. How many beds does your canine companion have at home?

Thanksgiving 2021

Remy, Abby, and Charlie, left to right, on Thanksgiving day. Ready for a nap!

I hope you had a wonderful, uneventful Thanksgiving! We enjoyed our food, the company of our canine kids, and the visit of handsome Remy. Look at that face! Stay safe.