I’m going to say it again - If someone is making you feel like shit, do not continue to employ that person.
I keep getting this from clients.
🚩“We came to you because the other trainer made me cry”
🚩“We spoke to a trainer and they made us feel so ashamed.”
🚩“I wasn’t expecting you to be so nice.”
❓How come we are SO good at positive reinforcement for the dogs, and so woefully terrible at it for the people? How does anyone think it’s okay to be cruel or judgemental to someone who is coming to you for help?
You can be the most amazing trainer in the world, but if you can’t be kind and compassionate towards the people as well as the dogs, you need a new job.
❕Dog training shouldn’t suck.
❕You shouldn’t dread training class.
❕Your dog trainer should lift you up, not put you down.
Here’s the thing; I don’t train dogs. That’s not actually my job. My job is to teach people to understand their dog, enrich their dog’s life, and train their dog new behaviours. My job is to listen to people’s concerns and empathize with their fears.
Some dog trainers are just jerks. They feel that their way is the only way, and everyone else is inadequate.
Others are wrapped up in their own trauma and stress that they can’t be effective teachers. They started working with dogs because working with people was too hard and then, surprise surprise, the dogs come attached to people.
And some are just so tuned into the dog that they get blinders on and forget to pay attention to what the people are learning.
I promise you, there are kind, compassionate dog trainers out there who actually have people skills. If someone makes you feel uncomfortable or judged, get out.
And dog trainers; up your game
Dog breeds mean something.
One of the most pervasive myths about dogs is that it's "all how you raise them", and that all dogs are essentially golden retrievers in different outfits.
📚But here's the truth; dog breeds have been bred for hundreds of years (even thousands in the cases of some of our mastiff and sighthound breeds) to perform different jobs. We have accentuated their skills, structure and looks so they can be successful hunters, companions, herders and guards.
There are exceptions to every breed. There are border collies who don't herd, pointers who don't point and german shepherds who'd rather spend the day on the couch than tending stock.
The likelihood of your dog being one of those exceptions decreases when you buy your puppy from a reputable preservation breeder.
⚠️ So don't buy a dachshund if you don't want them sniffing everything and sounding the alarm when the mailman comes.
⚠️ Don't buy a gundog and expect them to stay dry and clean (doodles are technically gundogs, by the way).
⚠️ Don't buy a livestock guardian dog when you live in a condo.
There are about 340 breeds recognized by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI). Chances are, if you're willing to take the time to provide a dog enrichment, companionship and dog friendly training, there is a breed out there for you.
🐕 Do your research and find it!
Photo by @abbotsforddogsit
Let's talk rest!
Usually when I’m talking to clients and people who are new to the higher energy breeds, they want to talk about exercise. What kind? How much? When? Where? Is fetch okay? What about dog parks? 🎾
But there is another half of the equation that frequently gets left behind as we scramble to socialize, exercise, enrich and train.
That is rest, both physical and mental. 💤
Here’s the thing about dogs with lots of energy and drive. They are bad at boundaries. They don’t know when to quit, and they will happily push themselves past their limits.
💤 Puppies need between 18-20 hours of sleep a day.
💤 Adult dogs need between 12-14.
I don’t know about your puppy, but Biscuit sure didn’t sleep 18 hours. It was a job getting him to sleep at all!
Puppies and adolescents are growing and developing. Their bodies need time to rest so they can process all their new experiences, recover from any physical or mental stress, and invest energy into growing strong, healthy bodies and minds.
⚠️If they don’t get adequate rest
⚠️ They are at a higher risk of injury
⚠️ Their bodies can’t recover from stress properly.
⚠️ They are less able to focus, and are more likely to exhibit problem behaviours. Just like us.
The thing is, resting is boring. When you are an active, driven young dog, you have MUCH better things to do than take a nap.
❤ So just like we structure their exercise, feeding and training, we need to structure in some rest, and teach them that taking time to lay low is okay.
So take a look at your dog’s activity over the past few days.
Did they spend all Monday snoozing at home while you were at family Thanksgiving? Or did they spend the whole long weekend partying with their friends? If it’s the latter, give them today off.
Want to know more? Click Follow to continue learning about living and working with high intensity dogs!
Children deserve a safe park. (And yes we know Fluffy is a nice dog but any dog can bite)
People who are scared of dogs deserve to feel safe.
On leash dogs deserve to live their lives without being accosted by off leash dogs, which increases fear, frustration and anxiety.
I want my dogs to be confident and happy.
There are no safety guarantees in life, just as there are no guarantees in behaviour. But when the odds of an incident are so high, I can't ethically take the risk.
So we'll find other parks, other trails.
But it's a shame that good, responsible dog owners have to choose to leave because irresponsible, self centered dog owners won't.