What kind of dog owner are you?

You really only have two options- proactive and reactive. 

With anything- business strategy, healthy living, parenting, things go much better when you put in the work upfront.  The same goes for being proactive when it comes to your dog.  This might be about the the time you're thinking, "Well that's great and all, but how??"

If you start anywhere- start with teaching the place command.  I can't even express how great of a thing it is for your dog to stay in one place no matter what is happening around them.  I just met with a new client that was telling me about all the issues she was having with her dog.  Obviously there is more involved than one simple fix but truly, everything she was dealing with could be solved, managed or dramatically reduced by teaching her dog a solid place command. This is the real deal, friends.

Other ways to take control of how things go on a day to day basis:

1. Make things super clear to your dog what they can and cannot do.Take away all the gray area of sometimes they can get away with it but other times they have to listen. 

2. Don't let those cute little eyes rule the house.  Instead, those cute little eyes should be looking to you for direction.  And when they do look, make sure you have a good answer.

3. No more free-feeding.  We take away their sex drive by fixing them and we take away their food drive by giving them easy access to food all day, every day.  Make them work a  little harder for it- they enjoy the "hunt" even if it just looked like being hand-fed or coming when called or playing hide and seek in the house.  Your dog wants to be engaged and challenged.  Have a little fun with it! 

Start with these suggestions and build from there.  In my own experience, the embarrassment caused by my dogs rushing the door or sniffing my guests private areas or the fear of seeing my dog run across a busy street is enough of a motivation to do the hard work upfront and spend a little time each day training them on new things AND keeping them accountable to what they already know. 

The real key to long-term success is to find your "why" of keeping up with training.  When you think about your dog's behavior- what is it that makes your shake your head, or cry or feel like throwing in the towel? Keep that feeling in the back of your head and how you want to never feel that way again when you want to skip a session or let them get away with something "just this once."   Then, think about what it would look like to have your ideal dog and let that be your driving force for all the day to day moments.  After all, those slow and stead, consistent day to day moments are what makes a biggest difference in the long run.

You really can have the dog you always wanted. Be proactive and watch the magic happen.

What do gravity and dog training have in common? More than you think.

When I was in ninth grade, my natural science (shout out to you, Mrs. Lemp!) told our class “If you remember one thing from this class, remember this- every thing in nature wants to be in balance.” Clearly, this has stayed with me for, dare I say it, decades.  A tree would fall over if all the branches were on one side, gravity wouldn’t work if it only pulled on half of the Earth, we need two legs to stand strong.  So why is it any different when we’re training our dogs?  They need “yes” and “no,” black and white, fun and structure.

Before I became a dog trainer, I had no idea there were two very polarized philosophies of dog training- balanced (that’s me!) where you correct the bad behaviors and reward the good behaviors and purely positive trainers where you ignore the bad behaviors and only focus on praising the good behaviors.  

As in most things in life, I’ve adopted the philosophy of “you do you.” If it works, do it.  If it doesn’t work, tweek your approach until it does.  I follow that philosophy when it comes to how I train dogs and maybe even more importantly, how I coach my human clients.  We are all works in progress, our dogs are no exception.  Sometimes you really have to dig down deep to find what works for the individual dog.  Still, over and over again, I have not seen results with only saying “yes” to a dog.  But what if that was the only method a struggling dog owner heard?  What if that’s all they knew and then when it didn’t work with their dog? Say they felt hopeless and like they had no other option but to surrender the dog or maybe even euthanize the dog? The idea of that is what keeps me going on those days where I’d rather binge watch Stranger Things.  

My number one priority is to keep as many dogs with their families as humanly possible.  And the best ways to do that is be visible, offer a better way and empower dog owners that they have what it takes to have a good dog.  Yes, even your dog can be a good dog!  I do what I do to educate my dog-loving community.  I do what I do to keep dogs alive. To keep them in their homes.  To save marriages and families and make life better for dogs AND their people. So, my dear friends, you have options.  Find what works for YOUR dog. Don’t worry about the thousands of ways to get there, just stay in your lane and keep working at it until you see results.  The information out there can truly be overwhelming- I’ve been the information-overloaded, struggling dog owner myself. But keep searching until you find what gives you results.  The solution is out there.  I've seen it so many times with my own eyes and so many times it starts with saying "yes" and saying "no."

Remember the balance of nature and everything will work out in the end.