Learning My Place

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Oct 032019
Sammy, Labrador Retriever, Canton, MA

Sammy’s owner contacted me, because just like a lot of new puppy parents they wanted to get off on the right foot. The whole family was very committed to doing all the things that I advised and taught them to do.

For this little girl it was nothing more than learning where she fit in with this new family. Because she wasn’t doing anything that SHE considered wrong, the effort was naturally placed on her owners, kids and parents alike. My job was to teach them how to do that.

So proud of my Sammy. Turns out she loves to train and so do her family members… who knew???

Congrats to Sammy and her family for doing such a great job.

 Posted by on 10/03/2019

Trying to Fix the Traumas

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Sep 122019

Cooper’s owner Sandy contacted me shortly after she adopted him from down south. She knew he had issues and what those issues were. Even though she was an experienced dog owner, she still wanted a little guidance in the best way to train a reactive dog.

One of the issues was aggression (he bit her sister twice) and another was his fear of riding in a car (he was found living under an overpass).

Because Sandy’s mom lives with her, we needed a plan that would keep everyone safe, especially since Sandy’s mom was under hospice care, which means nurses coming and going regularly. Since Sandy is such an experienced dog owner, I knew Cooper was in the best hands possible going forward.

Cooper, Boxer/Hounds  Mix, 
Middleboro, MA

When it comes to aggression issues with dogs, most often there isn’t just one issue that can trigger a dog. In Cooper’s case, I felt there might be some protectiveness with Nana. After all there wasn’t anyone like Nana. Cooper loves Sandy’s mom and spends a lot of time with her in her room and has never shown an signs of aggression with her.

Even though I reserve the right to muzzle a dog, I don’t if I can help it. I don’t want my first days with a dog associated with muzzling them. In this case I didn’t. I worked Cooper to the point before reaction. Anything more, I switched places with Sandy and instructed her instead.

It was important for Sandy to start working obedience with Cooper in order to establish her role in his life. She absolutely needed to be the leader in his eyes. If not, nothing we did would matter.

Sandy knows that Cooper might never be 100% reliable around strangers but for her this situation is manageable. We talked at length about prevention and how important it is not to put Cooper in certain situations and then what to do if reaction happens.

Although Cooper is still a work in progress, I am very optimistic about Sandy and Cooper’s future.

Nice Work!

P.S. At the time of this writing, Sandy contacted me with a progress report on Cooper. Sadly Sandy’s mom passed. But Sandy was happy to tell me that Cooper was a perfect gentleman while she had people staying with her before and after the memorial service. In fact, now that it is just the two of them Cooper is excited when company comes.

They also recently went to Maine and although Cooper was medicated for the long ride, he did amazingly well. He wasn’t the panicked dog he once was in the car. He also loved playing with Sandy’s great niece and nephew while visiting.

I cannot state enough how excited and happy I am to hear this news. There is a lot of healing to go around for the both of them right now but I’m so happy they have each other to do it.

 Posted by on 09/12/2019

Can’t We Just Play?

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Sep 122019

Shadow’s owner contacted me for advice with training, even though she was an experienced dog owner. She explained that “this one wasn’t like the last one”. Gosh I wish I had a quarter for every time I’ve heard that. Again, welcome to puppyhood.

Shadow seemed to be a little more difficult with jumping and having accidents in the house along with being frightened to pass a certain point on their quiet culdesac.

It’s hard when you have such a friendly dog who just wants to say hello to everyone he meets, hence the jumping. But regardless, not all people like being jumped on by a large dog.

We started with taking the guess work out of housebreaking by getting them on a schedule as well as learning a variety of obedience commands.

It is not unusual for me to try to empower owners to do the work that is necessary to resolve the issues. This was one of those cases.

If you want your dog to succeed, you have to practice. And when you think you’ve practiced enough, practice some more. Obedience is never finished.

I’m happy to report that Shadow and his MORE confident owner have done extremely well. Working as a team makes things a lot easier.

Nice job!

 Posted by on 09/12/2019

Teaching Children Early

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Aug 082019

Rex’s owners contacted me because they were having a few important issues that needed immediate attention. Since they were first time dog owners, they weren’t sure what to do and how to go about doing it.

Unfortunately, after a little conversation with them, we don’t believe Rex came from a reputable breeder after all, which explained a lot about the behaviors he was exhibiting.

Without going into a lot of detail, we managed to finally get housebreaking under control, as well as the family working on socialization constantly, and curing Rex of his nighttime anxiety.

And although Rex is a little on the skittish side (but getting so much better daily), there is one person that this pup can’t wag enough for and that is for this adorable little girl. Because she is the perfect age to start training her dog, I quickly enlisted her on the things she could do to be part of Rex’s training. Her dog…. also her responsibility.

With consistency I’m happy to relay that Rex is doing much better with housebreaking (just a little more tweaking required), which is nothing compared to getting a good night sleep. Rex can now get through the entire night without barking until sunrise. Hooray!!!

As far as Little Miss goes, she can be my assistant any day, no teeth and all!

 Posted by on 08/08/2019

The Gentle Giants

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Aug 042019
Bruce, St. Bernard, Plymouth, MA

It’s not very often you get to train a big teddy bear, so I always cherish those moments when they come along.

Bruce’s parent’s contacted me because at 4 months of age and still growing, they needed to know how to handle such a big boy.

Now St. Bernard’s aren’t necessarily known for their obedience skills, but never judge a book by it’s cover, right? Well Bruce did phenomenally well with everything we taught him.

So the next time you see one of these beautiful giants, don’t let their size intimidate you, because not only are they super sweet, but they are also very smart and just might be able to show your dog a thing or two.

 Posted by on 08/04/2019

Bring on the Labs

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Jul 312019
Hunter & Lexi, Laborador Retrievers, Middleboro, MA 

Hunter and Lexi’s mom contacted me, because Lexi (black lab) was the newest addition to the family and even though Sue was an experienced dog owner, she felt she needed a little guidance to correct the things she was having difficulty with and maybe to do a little brushing up with Hunter.

We focused on Lexi first and addressed all her puppy misbehaviors. Honestly, aside from Sue wanting to pull her hair out a few times, in my opinion Lexi truly was a good girl. She was a puppy. Welcome to puppyhood.

One of Lexi’s biggest problems is that she wasn’t being mentally exercised. That in exchange gave way to too much pent up energy and no place to put it. It wasn’t enough that she and Hunter had each other to play with for hours on end. She needed more, which is what she found with obedience training.

And even though Hunter hadn’t been formally worked in a long time, it wasn’t long before he picked back up everything he had been taught years before.

I was so happy to spend time with Sue and her beautiful dogs. Even happier that we were able to accomplish the goals we set in such a short time.

The best part was that although these dogs demonstrated how smart and obedient they could be, they still knew how to pour on the “class clown personalities” that only labs can.

Great work!

 Posted by on 07/31/2019

Teaching the New Kid on the Block

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Jul 282019

Buddy is a good boy and a happy addition to his new family. Lucky for Buddy his owners are retired, so they get to spend lots of quality time together every day.

Buddy’s owners reached out to me initially because, at their age they wanted to get things right from the beginning and not have to backtrack.

When I started training Buddy he was a typical puppy. He loved watching the birds at the feeders and was doing great in the house as far as chewing and housebreaking, etc. But unfortunately one day his dad tried to take a screw out of his mouth, that Buddy had picked up off the shop floor, and nipped him.

So now not only did we have to teach Buddy to give things up willingly, but I also had to teach his dad that being too much of a softy isn’t always a good thing, especially when dealing with aggression.

I had so much fun training with this couple and Buddy. They are young minded seniors who wanted to take time out their busy schedules and enjoy having a dog again.

I’m happy to say, not only does Buddy walk well on a leash now, but most important, you can take anything out of his mouth without worrying about being bit, which is naturally a huge relief for his owners.

Nice work guys!

 Posted by on 07/28/2019

Little and Big Dogs Have the Same Needs

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Jul 172019
Marley, Longhaired Dachshund, Bridgewater, MA

Marley’s owner contacted me because she was having housebreaking issues but also wanted to expose her to some training.

Upon my evaluation, it was obvious Marley was under-socialized, which is something I see a lot of. Unfortunately her owner didn’t seem as concerned. I tried to emphasis the importance of socialization at this young age, as the natural window of socialization had already closed, and the only thing to do now was to get Marley out to meet people and other dogs. However, week after week I was given excuses as to why her owner couldn’t/wouldn’t take her places.

I am happy that Marley learned a lot through obedience, but I truly don’t understand the disconnect of small dogs and their owners’ lack of understanding that they need all the same things larger dogs need. If you don’t socialize with them, you are depriving them of their natural existence.

I was happy to meet Marley and hope her obedience training continues through practice. However, my biggest hope is that her owner will take my advice and realize that socializing her now is a lot easier than later.

 Posted by on 07/17/2019

Starting Over with a Puppy

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Jul 082019
Theodore, Lhasa Apso
Middleboro, MA 

Puppies will be puppies no matter your current age, which is what my clients remembered quickly after having their dog a short time and that they needed a little help this time around.

Theordore was just doing ordinary puppy things like having accidents in the house and a few other minor issues.

Given that this couple is older they wanted to have a trainer, because they felt, like with everything things change, including how to train your dog and they wanted someone that could show them. Things like you don’t put newspaper down anymore. Who ever thought that was a good idea?

Once these owners realized that they could manage a lot of Theordore’s misbehaviors through training, the more in control they felt, which made for a more relaxed home.

Nice job. Just keep remembering you love him!

 Posted by on 07/08/2019

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