No Two Alike

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Jul 082019
Emma, Akita, Pembroke, MA

I started training Emma, because I was also training her sister Gabby at the time. How could I refuse two Akitas?

Emma, unlike Gabby, is a little more high strung than her sister. Two different dogs, two different personalities. One owner with not many complaints and the other a little more frustrated.

Sometimes it is hard not to compare dogs. You also have to remember that large breed puppies are still babies, regardless of their growing size. Some dogs need a little more patience and a different approach. And sometimes you need to be the disciplinarian their mother was, because mother dogs don’t fool around.

Once Emma’s mom realized she couldn’t be the marshmallow all the time, the better their relationship became. Respect is earned, not given.

I had the best time getting to know these friends and their gorgeous dogs. Starting out right from the beginning with training was their top priority. I am happy to say they succeeded. They did the work and their dogs delivered.

Nice work you guys.

 Posted by on 07/08/2019

Never Assume

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May 062019

Gabby, Akita, Bridgewater, MA

Gabby’s dad contacted me, because he wanted to do things right from the start. He wanted to learn how to properly train Gabby to avoid any “problems” that a new puppy can bring.

Gabby’s dad owns an automotive shop in Pembroke, so lucky Gabby gets to go to work with her dad every day. Because of that, he needs her to act properly in the shop with employees, as well as customers who might want to say hello to her.

I have to admit that Gabby was the easiest puppy I have EVER trained. The assumption that Akita’s are head strong, isn’t exactly true in her case. Before we put labels on dogs simply because of their breed, maybe we can give dogs the benefit of the doubt. As a trainer, I always look at a dog’s personality first and then factor in the breed standard, because no two dogs are alike regardless of breed. Once you understand the dog’s capability then you can proceed accordingly.

One label I can place on Gabby is that she was a perfect student. Not only is she as chill as chill can get, but she is a smart “I get it” kind of dog. If you are ever fortunate enough to have a (pre-programmed) dog like her once in your lifetime, consider yourself blessed, because it doesn’t get any better than that.

Nice job you guys. I’ll miss you my “little bear”. Don’t worry Gabby those beautiful ears will stand, promise!

 Posted by on 05/06/2019

Some Cooperation, Please

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Apr 102019

Blu, French Bulldog, Scituate, MA 

Blu’s mom contacted me for the usual puppy problems, housebreaking, jumping, mouthing and chewing.

She was justifiably frustrated, because she felt she was the only one in the home trying to correct all of these issues and more, especially when she has a husband and grown children capable of lending a hand.

So we got busy addressing all these concerns and seeing progress. And as a result of learning how to be more assertive with Blu, she found herself being equally assertive with her family when it came to sharing the commitment of training.

I’m so proud of Blu and her eagerness to learn and this family coming together for the sake of Blu’s education and Mom’s sanity. It takes everyone being on the same page to see positive results and this family is a great example that cooperation pays off. Blu is living proof.

I’m going to miss those ears Ms. Blu.

 Posted by on 04/10/2019

A Little Guidance Goes a Long Way

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Mar 272019

Kane, Doberman Pincher, Bridgewater, MA

Kane’s mom initially contacted me, because he was getting overly rambunctious with her youngest son and it was making her nervous. During our initial conversation she stated that she wanted to know how to control him before he was bigger and older.

Kane wasn’t any different than most young dogs that take advantage of their humans, especially when they know their owner doesn’t have any authority over them because they lack leadership skills.

Because dogs are pack animals, they need someone in their lives that is always in control and can guide them. That has to be their owner. It their owner isn’t capable than they will choose themselves, because in their world someone has to be, period.

Showing Kane acceptable behavior over unacceptable behavior wasn’t as difficult as his owner thought. Once she had the right tools in understanding how Kane perceived things the easier it was for her to control different situations, especially those involving the kids.

Kane may look intimidating, but I can assure you, not only is he a teddy bear, but he is now a well behaved teddy bear. Handsome too!

Great job!

 Posted by on 03/27/2019

Crates Aren’t So Bad Afterall

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Mar 272019

Roxy, Chihuahua/Dachshund Mix, Halifax, MA

Because Roxy was never properly crate trained, her mom was missing a valuable ally in her quest to conquer housebreaking.

So we started at the beginning to help Roxy like her crate instead of fear it. Once her attitude toward her crate changed, so did her mom’s guilt about putting her in it when necessary.

Not all people are comfortable crating their dogs, but if your frustration is never ending, because you can’t watch your dog every second, then maybe you could consider trying a crate. There is a big difference between crating your dog and incarcerating your dog. Maybe knowing it’s not forever might give you peace of mind.

Roxy’s housebreaking accidents are now considered history. Not only is she trustworthy in the house, but she’s also more confident with her crate, which has made the entire process a success.

In addition, teaching her some obedience exercises helped her gain more confidence. Now instead of shying away, she is more eager to say hello to strangers. Making her a more balanced and happy dog.

Nice job girls!

 Posted by on 03/27/2019

Do I really Need to Learn?

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Feb 012019
Sadie, Bluetick Coonhound, Halifax, MA

First let me say, that it is not easy keeping a straight face when you’re looking at a face like this. How cute is she? And yes, you really need to learn this stuff, Sadie.

I had previously trained this family’s older dog Tobey a few years back, so returning to visit and training this little one was the best of both worlds. I just had to refresh the memories of mom and dad to get Sadie on the right track. I also had to remind them that she was NOT Tobey. A Bluetick Coonhound is completely different from a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Not only are they obviously two different breeds, but also two very different personalities which required a different understanding of training.

That being said, we got right to it. One of the most challenging things when training a hound is working against their natural instinct of keeping their nose from the ground. That simply means you have to work harder to keep the dog more engaged with you rather than the great smells on the ground.

Now that she has her feet wet with the basics, maybe her next milestone should be a job? How does tracking sound, Sadie? See you never stop learning!

 Posted by on 02/01/2019

It’s a Family Affair

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Feb 012019

Hobey, Lab/Spaniel Mix, Scituate, MA

Hobey’s owners contacted me, because they were experiencing typical adolescent dog behavior and couldn’t quite get a handle on what to do and the right way to do it. What they wanted most was to learn as a family.

Hobey actually wasn’t all that out of control and nothing that a little guidance and instruction didn’t fix.

It always makes me happy knowing that a good dog has a great family that takes pride in teaching their dog instead of just complaining about them.

Excellent job you guys. See you around the hockey rinks!

 Posted by on 02/01/2019

It’s Not Easy Being Shy

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Feb 012019

Draco, Chihuahua, Bridgewater, MA

Draco’s owner contacted me because she felt guilty that she had been unsuccessful bringing Draco out of his shell. She admitted she rarely took him places when he was a puppy and now at 2 years old he was just scared, when she tried to make the attempt. She felt they were on a merry-go-round and were missing out on life together, as a result.

One of the biggest deficiencies I see as a dog trainer is the lack of socialization in dogs. It comes when people miss the natural window of socialization, which only occurs between 8-16 weeks of age. Once that window closes, it is unfortunately closed forever. The only thing you can do from there is desensitization, which can be a little more difficult. Which was the case here.

So we started by adding obedience exercises to his life and a whole lot of “getting out there” to meet people and dogs. This was done initially from a comfortable and safe distance for Draco and then gradually closing the gap. The trick is finding the balance to push your dog at the right time and pace.

I’m happy to report that Draco and his owner have found a new lease on life and are enjoying all the new places they are going and the people and dogs they are meeting along the way. Life and good and a lot more fun and exciting. Just the way it should be!

 Posted by on 02/01/2019

Whisper vs. Roar

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Jan 082019
Great Dane/Shepherd Mix, Bridgewater, MA

Henry’s owner contacted me because his excessive barking and charging at by passers, was not particularly desirable.

In Henry’s case his access to an invisible fence allowed him freedom but it also added frustration, which resulted in charging/barking when people walked past the house. For Henry it had become a vicious circle. Any barrier, whether invisible or not, is still a barrier.

We addressed these issues by temporarily not allowing Henry use of the invisible fence unless his mom was present. This gave her the ability to correct and redirect his behavior when it happened.

Henry is still a work in progress but I’m happy to relay that his mom is very happy with the progress he has made and continues to make.

 Posted by on 01/08/2019

All Dogs Need Exercise

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Jan 082019
Micha, Labradoodle, Halifax, MA

Micha’s owners contacted me, because one of them had never had a puppy and the other hadn’t had a dog in 20 years. They felt they needed guidance on housebreaking, obedience and how to handle Micha, when on occasion, he got “out of hand”.

Training for these owners and Micha went smoothly. The “out of hand” part was simply that Micha needed more space to exercise to get rid of pent up energy. The lack of that opportunity was presenting itself as acting mildly aggressive. I actually hate to even use the word aggressive, because in my opinion he was just being a normal fresh puppy.

Walking your dog is absolutely necessary, but they also need space to run and frolic. That is where long lines come in. When, for whatever reason, going off leash isn’t an option.

Now that Micha can run on a long line, he is happy, healthy and tired!

 Posted by on 01/08/2019
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