Archive for Miscellaneous

Professional Dog Trainer: Tips from a Veteran

Ah, these young, dog trainer, whippersnappers have it so easy. Back when I was learning how to become a professional dog trainer, I used to walk 18 miles in the snow, carrying 40 pounds of dog treats, wearing flip flops, with a clicker the size of a TOASTER … er, not really.

My goal is not to come across as a grizzled, old, veteran dog trainer who paid her dues while everyone starting in the dog training profession today has it easy. Rookie trainers face many challenges when entering the industry. This is hard work to get into, and even harder to do it well. The benefits new trainers have today include many more educational opportunities than were available when I started more than 25 years ago. And, you have old … er, vintage dog trainers like me who are willing to help you learn the ropes!

Join me October 9 at 10 a.m. Central for the live webinar, Things I Wish I’d Known When I First Became a Professional Dog Trainer, offered by Raising Canine. You’ll get tips that some of us veterans learned the hard way, on topics including dogs, clients, and business. If you’re just starting your journey as a dog trainer, or if you’re thinking about getting into the field, this webinar is definitely for you. It will also be great for those considering making the leap from other jobs into training dogs full time.

This webinar, by Teoti Anderson, CPDT-KA, KPA-CTP for Raising Canine will be live October 9 at 10 a.m. Central. If you join us live you’ll be able to ask questions. If you can’t join us live, no worries. You can purchase the webinar for listening later. Real-life tips for the professional dog trainer industry via webinar — technology I certainly didn’t have when I started out! Take advantage today!

Courses for Dog Trainers: House Training

Never was a dog training subject so enshrined in mystery and mythology, so misunderstood, as house training. No other dog training project causes as much frustration, aggravation and disappointment as house training. And there are so few courses for dog trainers that address this topic.

The house training industry is swollen with products to attract the beast, encourage the act and contain the waste. Pheromones, posts, sprays and wipes promise to help your dog know where to go. Pads, litter boxes, sacks and bags help to capture and contain the mess. Soaks, enzymes and oxy-stuff will neutralize the odor and eliminate the stain, leaving your home as fresh as a meadow in spring. But does any of this stuff work? Is any of this at all necessary?

Let’s not forget about the dog’s part in this. Did Fluffy really poop on your bed because he’s angry you went to Dairy Queen without him? Or maybe it’s separation anxiety? Is Spot peeing on the carpet because he’s lonely, or did he just forget where to go? And is there any such thing as partially house trained?

When I was a kid, about a hundred years ago, all our dogs were house trained with little more than a baby gate and a stack of newspapers. How is it possible that this low-tech solution was so effective, but now, in this modern age, house training still sits high on the list of dog behavior problems people seek help for. And that frustrate dog owners for months (and sometimes years) before seeking help. And sometimes, sadly, the dog that doesn’t know where to go will lose his home as a result.

The fundamentals of house training will be revealed to you in a 90-minute dog training course webinar called “The Straight Sh*t About House Training” (One of the best courses for dog trainers). We’ll lay out a simple house training protocol that will work great for 95% of all dogs. We’ll have solutions for puppies and adults, and even those latchkey dogs your relatives claim you can’t train. We’ll debunk the myths and legends about house training products, which ones are worth your time and money and which ones aren’t (hint: most of them aren’t!). We’ll even have help for the more challenging cases that have stumped so many for long. Whether you’re a dog trainer helping owners, or an owner with a house training problem, or a new puppy, or just want to be prepared for your next challenge, then this webinar is for you!

Barbara Davis, CDBC has been a dog trainer and behavior consultant for over 35 years. Barbara is a founding member of IAABC (International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants), and has been Dog Division Chair since 2013. Committed to continuing education, she is faculty mentor for IAABC’s acclaimed Animal Behavior Consulting: Principles & Practice course, and offers many other workshops and seminars through her business in southern California. She’ll be presenting her webinar, The Straight Sh*t About House Training on May 8.

Dog Behavior Training: Treat or Euthanize

When doing dog behavior training, we’ve all had at least one – that case where we just don’t know if we’ll ever be able to improve the dog’s behavior. Inevitably, it’s an extreme emotional problem – aggression, fear, or anxiety. The animal is either hurting himself or hurting someone else. We all have our own way of dealing with these situations. Personally, I don’t want to recommend euthanasia. I feel that the dog should be seen by a veterinary behaviorist, because there are many things they can do that a trainer cannot. Until this avenue has been explored, I feel it’s inappropriate for me to make that life or death call.

I have vivid memories of one particular case I had like that. It was a rescued coon hound. The background info said that he’d been a medical research dog. Of course, we never know for sure if this type of information is correct. I had some doubts because a coon hound is a pretty big dog, and most labs want smaller animals because of space issues. However, this dog was not normal by any stretch of the imagination, and that type of environment could certainly result in aberrant behavior.

The owners brought the dog to me, and the minute I saw him, I knew I was not going to approach him – he was flat out scary – this was not going to be straight forward, good old dog obedience training! He had a hard stare the entire time he was there, as well as penile crowning and piloerection. He was not affiliative to me or the owners. At this time, I was running a dog sanctuary, and he didn’t even seem particularly curious about the dogs in the environment. No sniffing around, looking out windows, etc. Just very abnormal behavior, in my opinion.

During the intake I learned that the dog had attacked the husband (the less dog-savvy of the two) three times. The last time he sent the husband to the hospital. The dog was a severe resource guarder and they lived in a very small space. They had an apartment in Manhattan, and anyone who’s lived in New York City knows that unless you’re wealthy, you’re going to live in a very small space. They also had a small one-room cabin in the Catskills. So, in either home, space was tight.

In the last incident, the husband had been in the kitchen cooking dinner and the dog started growling and stalking the husband – I assumed he was guarding the food that was cooking, but it could have been something else. The husband backed up, but the dog came after him. As we know, in most aggressive situations, the dog just wants space between you and him or the object he’s guarding. In this case, the fact that the husband was creating that space didn’t affect the dog’s behavior. He trapped the husband in the bathroom and attacked him, sending him to the hospital for several stitches – I can’t remember how many, but it was a lot. That was when they called me.

The wife was willing to euthanize the dog, but the husband wasn’t. The wife was dog savvy and didn’t have problems with the coon hound except in specific situations, and she was experienced enough to know how to deal with those situations. It was the husband’s first dog, and he was adamant that he wanted to try working with the behavior before giving up on him.

After taking the history, I decided to refer them to the vet behaviorist in Cornell. In dog behavior training, we trainers do not have to make that decision. We can, and should, refer a case like this on to a vet behaviorist. There are many things a vet can do that a trainer cannot.

The first reason I didn’t want to take on this case was because I was frightened by the dog, so that didn’t bode well for working with him. I could have given instructions and kept my distance, or we could have desensitized him to a muzzle but, all-in-all, I really didn’t want to work with this dog.

The other reason I didn’t want to take on this case was because the wife was adamant that she wanted to walk in the woods with the dog off leash. I felt this was dangerous and a liability waiting to happen. I could see the dog guarding something – a carcass, garbage, whatever – and some innocent bystander walking by and getting attacked. Unless the wife would agree to keep him on leash, I wasn’t willing to risk that. And she really wanted him to be able to roam.

They met with the vet behaviorist, and it was recommended that they euthanize the dog. They called me, very upset – they hadn’t like the vet behaviorist and felt that she had no empathy. Personally, I wasn’t at all surprised that she recommend euthanasia, and was in agreement with that recommendation. However, they did not want to work with her and really wanted me to help them. Aargh!

I wasn’t going to put myself in that position. I’d already decided I didn’t want to work with this dog, and had informed them of that decision and why I made it. However, I did give them some dog behavior training help. One of the situations where the wife had problems was when the dog was in his crate, so I gave her a protocol for approaching and opening the crate. The other situation was when he had chews, so again, I gave her a protocol.

They reported back to me a couple of times to let me know that things were going well. The wife had no problem approaching the crate, and could even take chews away from the dog. However, the situation with the husband had not improved much – at this point it was a whole lot of management.

Then, one evening I got a hysterical call from the wife. The dog had attacked the husband and he was in the hospital with some very serious injuries. At this point, the husband agreed that the dog should be euthanized. It was a difficult call for the owners; they suffered a lot of guilt over that decision. Personally, I had no problem with it. I didn’t see this dog ever being reliable enough to be considered safe.

Ultimately, this situation was a pretty easy call. It’s those other cases where you feel like there’s hope for the dogs that are difficult. And that’s why Dr. Lore Haug will be doing a webinar for us on that very topic!

If you’d like to attend this webinar, you can get more information here: 

Susan Smith, CPDT-KA, CDBC is the owner of Raising Canine, LLC, (, which provides online education for professional dog trainers and dog behavior consultants, as well as business and marketing education and consulting to help their businesses, including an intensive course for those wanting to become professional dog trainers. Sue is also the co-author of the book “Positive Gun Dogs: Clicker Training for Sporting Breeds.” Sue is certified through CCPDT and IAABC. She is an ex-Board member for the CCPDT, an active, professional member of CCPDT, APDT, and IAABC, and was named APDT Member of the Year in 2004.

Dog Training Courses: Clients in Group Classes

As a professional dog trainer running group dog training courses. One person is talking on his cell phone. A couple others have struck up a conversation with each other and are ignoring you giving instructions to the class. One person has started working his dog while you’re still going over a demo. And another student is wrestling with his barking, adolescent Schnauzer. Sometimes, it may feel like you’re a ringmaster who’s lost control of the circus!

As a professional dog trainer who runs group dog training courses, you face some unique challenges that you generally don’t have to worry about with private lessons. In private lessons, you customize the lesson for one client. In a group class, you typically have a curriculum that you teach to a group of people. Everyone in the class comes with a different skill set, ability to follow directions, individual goals and personalities. Your group class topic may be the same for everyone in the class, but that doesn’t mean everyone is going to learn it the same way. And if you have a particularly difficult client or clients in that group class, it can make your job as the instructor that much more challenging.

In the upcoming Raising Canine webinar, Dealing with Difficult Clients in Group Classes, you’ll learn that challenging clients don’t have to be thorns in your side. Most people aren’t trying to be difficult. If you’re going to be completely honest with yourself, aren’t there certain personality types that just seem to rub you the wrong way? That isn’t their fault. As a teacher, it’s your job to help all your students reach their potential.

Understanding how adults learn can go a long way toward better reaching them and help them with their dog obedience training. The webinar will also cover common barriers to success and how to overcome them. For example, what about the Chatty Cathy who keeps interrupting you? Is she just rude … or does she need something else from you? Maybe she’s actually nervous because she feels her dog is out of control and is embarrassing her in the class in front of the other students. Maybe she is an auditory learner – she learns more by listening, rather than watching your dog training courses and dog training video demo. Do you have more patience for that barking Schnauzer than the Chatty Cathy? Then this webinar is definitely for you! After all, if you don’t help the people, you’ll never help their dogs with your dog training courses.

With the Raising Canine webinar Dealing with Difficult Clients in Group Classes, you’ll learn effective, polite ways to deal with common issues that often come up with clients so you can stick to your schedule and still get results. Don’t write off difficult clients! With patience and positive techniques, they may turn into your best customers.

Teoti Anderson, CPDT-KA, KPA-CTP, has been a professional dog trainer for more than 24 years. She is the author of The Dog Problem Behavior Solver, Ultimate Guide to Dog Training, Dog Training 101, and more. Teoti is also a popular international speaker and educates pet parents and fellow trainers on canine behavior. (Do you want a link? If so, you can also include: For more information, visit her at

For more information on this course, go to Dealing with Difficult Clients in Group Classes. While you’re there, don’t forget to check out the hundreds of great on-demand webinars Raising Canine offers – you can find them at this link:

Online Dog Trainer Course: Getting Centered on Zen

“Zen” suggests many things. A Japanese school of Mahayana Buddhism that emphasizes the value of meditation. A state of calm attentiveness in which one’s actions are guided by intuition rather than conscious effort. A slangier definition might be a feeling of peace and relaxation, as in “having a zen moment”. Being “zen” might mean having awareness in the present moment, which will help release you from anxiety, frustration, stress and anger. A popular and useful dog training technique, which will be discussed in detail in my upcoming online dog trainer course.

A dog training technique?

“Dog Zen”, “Doggie Zen” and “Puppy Zen” are common names for this class of training techniques that have been hanging around for about 50 years now.  The basic concept involves identifying and isolating a tiny bit of your dog’s impulsive behavior, and then manipulating the environment over and over again until that impulse comes under cognitive control.


Now for just a little bit of “dog psychology.” Impulses and emotions are produced in the mid-brain, the baby brain, the puppy brain. In order for any individual, human or canine, to attain impulse control, otherwise known as self-control, the part of the brain that thinks and makes decisions (the cortex) has to learn to exert control over the small, but very influential mid-brain. Once the cortex, the center of cognitive processing, gains control over the impulses, the individual is relieved of the stress and frustration that may be associated with the almost reflexive responses that occur when random stuff in the world triggers mostly unwanted behaviors.

Impulsivity is responsible for such problems as counter-surfing, dumpster-diving, jumping up for greetings, hyper-excitability, and door-dashing, among others. Now, we’re not claiming that Zen will cure all these problems, but it will give your dog the foundation and life skills on which specific training will certainly be more successful.

Zen works for all dogs, all breeds, all ages. The techniques are simple to teach and practice, and some form of Zen can be incorporated into many different types of interactions with your dog, including feeding, leash walking, and play. You can get Zen just by making a few small changes in the way you manage and interact with your dog. Zen is simple enough for even a small child to learn.

Ready to get started? In just 90 minutes, you can become a Dog Zen master, and attain the skills and knowledge you need to incorporate these important strategies into your life with your dog! Visit and sign up for my online dog trainer course, Getting Centered on Zen.

Barbara Davis, CDBC has been a dog trainer and behavior consultant for over 35 years. Barbara is a founding member of IAABC (International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants), and has been Dog Division Chair since 2013. Committed to continuing education, she is faculty mentor for IAABC’s acclaimed Animal Behavior Consulting: Principles & Practice course, and in to her online dog trainer course, she offers many other workshops and seminars through her business in southern California.

Breaking Up Fights During Dog Socialization

One of the most often asked questions The Dog Gurus get is “What tools should a pet care center have at its disposal to break up a fight?” It seems there is an ever growing list of things you can use to stop a dogfight and safely protect yourself from getting bitten. So naturally, concerned pet care facility owners want to do proper dog socialization to keep the dogs and staff safe.

But I’ll be upfront about one thing…the more you are worried about the proper tools you need to break up a fight, the more I get worried that you are focused on the wrong issue. Don’t get me wrong. I absolutely think it’s vital to keep the staff and dogs safe in the event of a fight, and when working with dog socialization fights are always a real possibility. But fights should be so rare that just a handful of tools should suffice to keep folks safe.

The biggest two tools you should have in your toolbox to prevent dog fights during dog socialization in your pet care center are a formal dog evaluation process and an excellent staff training program. If you have those two things in place then you have the best tools available for minimizing and preventing fights. So start there.

Now, if you really want some other tools, here are the other ones I would include to help break up a fight:

  • Kennel lead– Each staff member should be trained to carry a kennel lead with them at all times. It should be a part of their uniform. That way, if they need to leash a dog quickly, they aren’t wasting valuable time looking for a leash.
  • Radio/Whistle– When a fight breaks out, it’s important to let others know so that they can assist in breaking up the fight. If you have a small center, the noise of the fight may be the only communication you need. However, if you have an outdoor area, or a very soundproof building, then you’re going to need some way of quickly communicating the fact that a fight is going on.
  • Object to startle and distract dog(s)– One of the main goals in stopping a fight is to startle the dogs so that they release their hold on one another. You can use this by making a loud noise (hitting metal bowls together or making a loud sound with a marine air horn), by dumping water on the dogs (if you have an accessible water hose or large bucket of water), or by disorienting the dog (by tossing a blanket or bedding over the dog). Decide the best way to distract them and have those tools handy.
  • Object to move between dogs– If you haven’t startled them, then it might be necessary to try to separate them by pushing something in between the dogs.
  • Good tools for this include a small piece of playground equipment that you can push toward the dog, or even a chair that you can push in between the dogs.
  • Spray Shield– If nothing else has worked, then try using this citronella based deterrent to get the dogs to separate.


With proper evaluations and staff training, these dog socialization tools should provide you with the back up you need to intervene in the rare instance that you do have a fight. To learn more check out Fights and Bites in Daycare webinar on February 6, 2019.

Robin Bennett is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, author, speaker, and expert on dogs. She founded one of the largest dog training companies in Virginia and has been using her expertise in “reading dogs” to teach families how to train their pets as well as helping others in the pet care industry keep dogs safe for over 20 years. Robin’s first book, All About Dog Daycare is the number one reference on opening a dog daycare. She is also Co-author of Off-Leash Dog Play… A Complete Guide to Safety and Fun, and an extensive staff training program called, Knowing Dogs, which are the leading staff training resources for dog daycare and boarding facilities. Robin is currently co-founder of The Dog Gurus, the nation’s premier resource for dog care professionals. Through The Dog Gurus she is now helping pet care professionals get their lives back by showing them how to create sustainable businesses with teams that truly know dogs.

For more information on this course, go to Fights & Bites in Dog Daycare. While you’re there, don’t forget to check out the hundreds of great on-demand webinars Raising Canine offers – you can find them at this link:

Becoming a positive reinforcement dog trainer tips: Dog gear!

Understanding dog training equipment

Professional Dog Trainer Tips for Choosing Gear

For those becoming a positive reinforcement dog trainer, it is important to understand equipment when looking for a tool to address a particular training need. There was once a time not so long ago when the average home with a dog had one collar and one leash. A quick trip to most pet supply stores will quickly make it clear that this is no longer the case. Simply choosing color can be overwhelming, much less which style. You may have tried this collar only to find that it doesn’t work. A neighbor recommends another harness, so you tried that only to find that doesn’t work. Perhaps you read about yet another option, got one and found that it worked at first only to stop shortly thereafter. As a result, many pet lovers and professional dog trainers end up with a basket full of equipment, losing faith in all of them. So what are you to do?

As so often is the case in dog training, it depends! It depends on what you want to get done, your dog, your training skill, and many other factors. Those involved in professional dog training understand that, as with any profession, the right tools can make all the difference.

Tip #1: Choose the right tool
Think of choosing dog equipment like choosing shoes. If you’re going on a hike, ballet slippers are probably not a great choice. They may be the best out there, but they are not going to get the job done. The same holds true for dog equipment – different pieces are designed for various reasons. Some tools are best for dogs with larger lips, some are better for larger dogs, others for smaller dogs. Research and ask around. Talk to people with experience with issues like yours and dogs like yours. Don’t ask the owner of a confident Labrador what they use, when you have a fearful chihuahua. If you’re struggling, contact a professional dog trainer.

Tip #2: Choose the right size and fit.
For those becoming a positive reinforcement dog trainer, learning how to fit equipment is crucial. If you are a size 8 shoe and you go on a hike in size 6 or size 12 boots, you will be in for a world of hurt either way. Size matters with dog gear too. Too tight can restrict breathing or movement, put pressure on sensitive areas, cause chafing, and discomfort. Too large can result in accidentally coming off and your dog escaping, instability in movement, sliding around, or hitting sensitive points. There are lots of online videos and resources to tell you how to choose the right size for your dog. They usually give a range of dimensions so, if you don’t already know, there are resources that demonstrate how to properly measure your pet.

Now let’s assume you got the right size boot, but you didn’t tie the laces. It’s not the boot’s fault if your foot falls out during the hike. Likewise, properly fitting the tool is critical to its function. Most tools that are not obviously easy to fit come with instructions – read them! If you’re struggling, contact a professional dog trainer.

Tip #3: Introduce it slowly and carefully
For some, throwing on your first pair of 5” heels for the day is no biggie. For others, some time is needed to adjust. Dogs are no exception. Some equipment you can just put on a dog without issue. Typically, that is because the style is somewhat familiar or the dog is confident. However, in many cases, dogs aren’t so confident with new things or a particular style of equipment is so novel it’s terrifying. A great example is a head collar. Go slowly, and don’t force it. Allow the pet to get used to the idea, then slowly introduce the equipment. Start out with a loose fit, patiently teach the pet that moving around in this is a great thing that results in hot dogs! Gradually adjust the fit, encourage the pet to move more. Never force or scold, and always proceed slowly at the dog’s pace. If you’re struggling, contact a professional dog trainer.

Tip #4: If you’re struggling, contact a professional dog trainer.
If you’re a runner and you’re having pain, you might try different recommended brands. You might research to ensure you’ve fitted the shoe properly. You might even wear your shoes around the house to get used to them a bit more. But there comes a point when you’ve tried several things and the pain just isn’t going away. That’s when it’s time to talk to a running professional or a medical professional. Alternatively, if you’re not sure right off the bat, save yourself the time and hassle and go to skilled professional immediately. Of course, as I write this, I am restricted to the couch after ankle surgery resulting from bad advice from a doctor. Advice is only as good as the one giving it, so make sure your professional is skilled and qualified.

For becoming a positive reinforcement dog trainer and wanting additional information, check out my upcoming webinar through Raising Canine: Gearing Up: Selecting, Fitting, and Using Dog Equipment.

Guest post By Katenna Jones

Online Dog Training Courses: Client Bonding

Webinar on bonding with clients

How to Make Your Dog Training Clients Love You

For those interested in Online Dog Training Courses, there’s a new webinar on Raising Canine: “How to Bond With Your Client”. Wendy (the presenter) is a great people person – unlike a lot of us dog trainers. Don’t miss this dog trainer course, online, if you’re looking for more rapport, longer relationships, and more client referrals, click below:

Bonding with your clients: Improving Client Relations for Better Outcomes

Enrichment & Exercise: Helping Your Clients Find Reasonable Alternatives

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Your clients need not train their dogs to Jerry the Daschund’s level of self-sufficiency, but this is a great example of an owner’s creativity in attempting to keep his pup mentally stimulated and exercised. You may find some clients are reluctant to provide sufficient exercise and mental stimulation for their dogs. Here are a few challenges and tips:

1.         No time for exercise. Many clients perceive their exercise options as a dog park visit, a long walk, a jog or run. That’s not necessarily true. While those can be great ways to exercise some dogs for some clients, they’re not a great fit for everyone. Recommend some alternatives that clients can do at home or that require less time. A short walk, if that’s all there is time for. Tug and fetch can be done in short bursts, right before work or after. Scenting games can be done anywhere, with little preparation, and are not time consuming.

2.         Don’t enjoy walks, what else is there? Increasing mental stimulation can be an exercise replacement for some dogs. So incorporating interactive toys, short training sessions, and games can be helpful. There are also a number of sports now available to dogs and their owners. Review some of the options with your clients and see if one or more sparks interest.

3.         Don’t see the need. This one can be a little trickier without some case specific facts. You’ll need to point out very specific ways in which greater exercise and mental stimulation will benefit your clients dog. Look at the reasons your client is asking for professional dog training help. Relate your clients specific challenges to improvements that enrichment, exercise or mental stimulation, might make.

Determine what your client’s challenges are, brainstorm some reasonable options that fit their interests and schedule, and give them a plan for getting started. Need help convincing your clients to incorporate more mental stimulation and exercise? Read our blog “Enrichment & Exercise: Why Your Clients Need to Make the Time.”

Talking Dogs, How Technology Can Make It Happen

Every professional dog trainer’s dream? Dogs talking to humans. In the article “Meet The Researcher Who Wants To Get Dogs Talking To Humans In Five Years,” new technology is discussed that will facilitate clearer communication between dogs and their people. Specifically, service and search dogs are both mentioned in the article as targeted audiences for the technology. Researchers are training dogs to utilize a specialized harness to indicate specific hazards, in the case of service dogs, or a specialized dummy attached to the collar to trigger a GPS location signal, in the case of search dogs.

But as a certified professional dog trainer, it’s important to remember that dogs speak to humans all the time. Dogs are social creatures, and every interaction is an attempt to convey something – I’m happy; I’m hungry; don’t take my bone; I have to pee. It requires training and practice to understand some of the more complex or subtle forms of communication, but they certainly are talking. For an in depth discussion of interpreting dog body language, register for Raising Canine’s “Canine Body Language.” Interpreting body language is an essential skill if you’re interested in becoming a professional dog trainer.

Can technology help us to improve our relationships with our dogs? Absolutely. In the instance described above, the service and search dogs are being trained to communicate in specific, human-friendly ways that a lay person can easily understand. The technology is an interface between the dog and the human that the human handler can easily interpret. So while technology can help, there is still a need for training and an understanding of body language for communication between humans who specialize in dog training and dogs to exist and improve.