Tag Archives: dog trainer

Summer Safety Tips For Walking Your Dog

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“Take my picture already.”

When I lived in Maryland, I would wake up early, around 6am, to walk my dogs every single day.  Once I moved to Massachusetts, I was able to walk my dog a bit later, around 8am, but even like that I always have to remember the following:

  1. I need to walk Abby early in the morning.  I will probably have to start waking up at 6am again because the weather is hitting 90 degrees as of late.
  2. I have to make sure to take water with me.
  3. I need to pay attention to Abby’s body language.  If she starts panting too much, I will stop the walk, find a shaded area, give her water, not cold water for this can shock her instead of helping her, and wet her chest and head.
  4. Once we come back, I always check her paws, brush her, and wipe her off.  This way I keep her clean but at the same time I check to make sure that she is ok.
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Gorgeous dogs.

My last 3 dogs, pit bull mixes, were mostly white therefore they were able to handle the heat better than other dogs.  In the above picture, the white pit bull will probably handle the heat and humidity better than the dark one.  Please keep in mind that dogs of dark color overheat very easy.  Abby is a perfect example of that and that is why I need to pay attention to her body language.

Go out and enjoy a nice walk with your dog, but try to make your walks early in the morning and/or late in the afternoon and pay attention to your dog’s body language.

Raising Abby To Be A Balanced Dog

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Abby, “Mom, why are they making so much noise?”

To say that I do my best to take Abby every place I can would be an understatement.  Here are some of the things I do with her:

  1. Since I hate with a passion going to the supermarket, while Cynthia goes shopping for groceries, Abby and I go to explore the neighborhood.
  2. Abby accompanies me to walk my clients’ dogs.  Hmm!  Let me rephrase that, Abby accompanies me to walk our clients’ dogs.
  3. I take her to different areas so she can see, hear, and smell a different environment other than the one around our apartment.
  4. Abby, in the near future, will be going with me on consultations, training and behavior modification sessions.
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Abby, “Mom, I can’t find any treats in this area. How come?”

Abby has a long way to go when it comes to behavior modification for let’s remember that she is only a puppy, but I don’t want to wait until she is bigger, stronger, and a total pain in the neck.  She makes a lot of mistakes.  Way more than my Alex ever did, but as I tell pet parents over and over again, “Every dog is an individual and as such they learn at their own pace.”  I do like the improvement I see in her, but that took a lot of work and patience and we have a long road ahead of us, but that’s fine.

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Abby, “Got to get my beauty sleep.”

After we get back home, Abby walks around the apartment for a couple of minutes, and since she doesn’t know how to stop – she hasn’t found her off button – I tell her to go to bed and within minutes, not seconds, she is out like a light.  What a hard working puppy I have.  Enjoy your week.

Dog Training & Behavior Tips

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Abby, “I am sitting perfectly. Could I get my food now, please?”

If you want to start your puppy or newly acquired dog on the right path, these are some of the things I recommend pet parents to do:

  • Start working on training and behavior modification as soon as you get your dog
  • Set rules and boundaries so your dog knows what is not acceptable
  • Be consistent and give clear instructions
  • Provide your dog with adequate physical and mental exercise
  • Get the whole family involved in raising this puppy/dog
  • Give structure to his every day life
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Abby, “Wow! So many things to see and smell.”

One thing, I’ve realized after training a variety of dogs, many pet parents forget to do is expose their dogs to different environments, people, sounds, etc.  Abby is sensitive to sound just like many other dogs therefore she goes everywhere I can take her.

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Some pet parents have told me, “I don’t know why she doesn’t behave.  She went through 2 obedience classes.”  Well, the answer is simple, training was provided, but behavior modification was not.  Training and behavior modification is a lifelong commitment and process, but take my word for it, the bond you develop with your dog and the enjoyment you’ll get from living with a balanced canine companion is priceless.

Teaching Abby To Behave

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Abby, “Moms, it’s snowing!”

Abby, at the beginning, didn’t know or understand that once we were home she was not allowed to run like crazy, nip people, grab things off of the floor as toys, etc.  Well, time went by, 9 weeks, and she is starting to understand that certain things are expected of her if she wants to help Cynthia cook.

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Abby, “Mom, I am not presentable and you are distracting me from helping mom Cynthia finish cooking our meal.”

I like to have Abby in the kitchen when Cynthia is cooking because this is the perfect time to work on behavior.  How?  Well, for one, she is not allowed to jump while Cynthia cooks; for two, she is to keep those beautiful teeth away from nipping or biting; and lastly, she is not to frantically pace back and forth.  This is not basic training but rather behavior modification.

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Marcela, “This is Abby letting me know in no uncertain terms that she is not happy that I am not saying that she is perfect.”

I also like Abby to be in the kitchen because I want her to get used to the different sounds and smells that are typical in a kitchen.  Abby, so far, has been the hardest puppy I’ve ever had to train and work on behavior modification with, but also the most adorable.  Why am I sharing this with you?  Because I want you to understand and know that dogs are individuals and as such they learn at their own pace.

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Abby, “Mom Cynthia, how much longer before we eat?”

Alex, our pit bull mix, was very easy to train.  She got all her obedience cues and behavior, behavior always being the most difficult to achieve, pretty fast and because of that I joined the legions, yes legions, of pet parents that told me that female dogs are smarter than male dogs.  By the way, I no longer thing so.  Why?  Abby proved all those pet parents wrong.  If you got a puppy or dog recently, please work with a trainer and/or behaviorist in order to start your canine companion on the right path.  Many of the dogs I see in shelters are there because of behavioral problems.  Don’t give up on your dog, and find the help of a professional to guide you and teach you how to properly communicate with your dog.

By The Sweat of Your Brow You Will Eat

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Abby, “Mom, give my food now.”

When I was a kid, my mom used to say over and over again, “By the sweat of your brow you will eat,” and I had absolutely no clue what she was talking about.  In my defense, I was 6 years old at that time.  Anyway, now I understand what she meant and this is something that also applies to our canine companions.  By the way, do you see that pair of socks on the floor?  I left them there on purpose.  Why?  So Abby can go and play with them and I can correct her.  She won’t learn unless she makes mistakes.

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Abby, “Mom, you have my undivided attention.”

Notice the distance between Abby and me, but remember that she has been with us for almost 2 months so this was not an overnight thing.  I started with very little distance and now I’ve increased it.  The hand signal is for her to stay and this is why Basic Training is important.  Look at Abby’s eye contact.  Perfect!

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Abby, “Oh boy, when will I eat?”

Now is a good time to feed her.  I started by feeding her in her kennel and then outside the kennel.  Next time I’ll post what she does prior to sitting pretty like that.  Why?  Because she goes bananas and she has learned that she will not eat until she is calm.  As you can see, Abby does work for her food, or should I say sweat?  And just so we are clear, this is a combination of behavior and training.  We still have a lot of work ahead of us, but little by little we are getting there.  Do you make your dog work for his food?  If so, how?  Enjoy your weekend.

Out And About in Seaport District, Boston, MA

Harlow, "I think we should eat here."

Harlow, “I think we should eat here.”

One of the things I recommend pet parents to do with their canine companions is go out and explore different areas in order to acclimate their dog/puppy to a variety of environments.  I trained Harlow a couple of weeks ago, Level II Basic Training and Behavior, so every time she stays with us she brushes up on what she learned and we go out to practice in the real world.

Harlow, " I think we are lost."

Harlow, ” I think we are lost.”

My sense of direction is so bad that even Harlow knew that we were lost.  No problem, we went and asked for help.

Harlow, "Help.  This human is showering me with hugs and kisses."

Harlow, “Help. This human is showering me with hugs and kisses.”

I recommend a lot of things to pet parents and one of them is to get their dogs used to being hugged.  Why?  Because being hugged is not something most dogs enjoy.  Harlow enjoys it as long as you give her a treat.

Harlow, "Am I getting paid to pose for this picture?"

Harlow, “Am I getting paid to pose for this picture?”

Harlow did wonderful during our outing.  She did get startled twice when someone dropped some dishes, we were walking by a restaurant, but she was getting used to the noises better than I expected.  You have to remember that Harlow is only 6 months old.

Harlow, "Wow!  Look at all the people here"

Harlow, “Wow! Look at all the people here”

Harlow was very curious seeing so many people around, but she was not nervous about it.  This is why training and behavior need to go hand in hand.  A balanced dog is a pleasure to have and to take out with you every time you get a chance.

Harlow, "Is that the menu for the restaurant we'll be eating at?  I am hungry."

Harlow, “Is that the menu for the restaurant we’ll be eating at? I am hungry.”

Expecting your dog to behave like a good canine citizen is really up to you.  Dogs are amazing teachers, but they need us to guide them and get them to be balanced.  Go out with your dog and enjoy the outdoors.

Labor Day 2015

Roxy, a feisty Pomeranian

Roxy, a feisty Pomeranian

Most of us are looking forward to this holiday weekend, and some are already enjoying it.  Roxy is certainly not wasting any time at all.  I know napping will be one thing I will be doing this weekend.

Gir, mini Doberman Pinscher

Gir, mini Doberman Pinscher

Don’t feel like napping?  No problem.  Perhaps this weekend you will find fun and games to keep you occupied.  Gir is playing hide and seek.  He doesn’t seem to mind having his picture taken.

Walter and Alex (L to R)

Walter and Alex (L to R)

Ok, so perhaps napping and games are not your cup of tea.  If that is the case, I’d recommend you spend time with your canine companions at home.  They always seem to want to participate in activities such as: cooking, napping, eating, and of course, walking.  Regardless of what you decide to do this holiday weekend, try to include your furry kids in your festivities.  Enjoy your weekend.