Woofstock: a review

Our city is crazy enough as it is with all the pedestrians, cyclists, motorists, etc…but now gather over 300,000 dogs and their humans (combined) together in the span of five city blocks, along with loud music, people yelling into microphones, food and drink everywhere, garbage strewn about and piles of ‘caca de chien’ that people have completely missed picking up, overflowing garbage bins covered in urine, and tell me that your dog is not going to become completely over-stimulated.

Yesterday, I ran into some very interesting people and wanted to give you a glimpse:

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Salinger: Week Two

Week Two and this little guy is starting to really settle. He makes me laugh out loud on a regular basis and I'm consistently blown away by his resilience. Walks are a lot of fun in this gorgeous weather as we explore the neighbourhood and meet some of the friendly dogs who live near us. There's a lot of exploring and grasshopper-hunting.

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Salinger: Week One

Salinger has been with me for one week and so far I have taught him to sit. That's it. I'm not worried about "obedience" at this stage. He's just a puppy! What I'm worried about are positive experiences. We explore the neighbourhood, we try a different route every day, we visit local businesses (paramedics, police station, long-term care facility, construction sites, etc) and even if it's just stepping in the door and experiencing a different kind of flooring and having a few treats and a little dance party, that's a great experience. I don't expect anything of him!

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The Daycare Dilemma

Daycare can be a great option for dogs who would otherwise be left alone for 8+ hours a day, or if they have isolation distress / separation anxiety that you are currently modifying. We must advise that there are few dogs that are a good fit in a daycare environment. Dogs are not built to be physically and mentally stimulated for long periods of time, and daycare can do just that. Overstimulation can cause aggression and inappropriate play between dogs. 

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The "Dog Park Dog Trainer"

We dog trainers have what we call a negative conditioned emotional response to a few things in the dog world. The terms "alpha", "pack leader", "stubborn" and (human) behaviours like alpha rolling, or the use of positive punishment (leash corrections, shock collars, physical reprimands). 

A common one comes to mind this week after three separate clients came to me and stated "this week I tried [XYZ] because there was a dog trainer in the dog park and (s)he said that it's very effective." 

It's hard to bite my tongue in those moments because [XYZ] is generally well-meaning but poor or dangerous advice from someone who may be a hobby dog trainer, but has little to no education in the field. More often than not I have to undo the damage there and explain why pinning the dog on the ground after he barked at the dog who was relentlessly humping him [or insert some other normal dog behaviour here] is not only ineffective but dangerous and considered inhumane..

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How much do you have in your bank?

I often imagine the dog training experience as a series of banking transactions - the visual really helps me to measure our work but also to gauge where we may have a deficit or where the dog has a need. 

When we bring home a puppy, we often make a series of assumptions that can be quite harmful - how many times do we trainers hear "oh my dog is fine with that. I can [manhandle, groom, pick up, travel with, etc...] him and he doesn't care.". Every. Single. Day. 

The challenge is this - there is a HUGE difference between tolerance and enjoyment and most of us don't actively seek out the difference in every moment we spend with our dogs. 

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Why Size Matters in Dog-Dog Play

Your Chihuahua may love Boxers and your Rottie mix may adore Dachshunds. But when little and big play together, keep close watch. Big dogs can unintentionally harm small dogs—and on the rare occasions when friendly play escalates into a scuffle, the smaller dog is at risk for serious injury or death. If you let your dog play with very differently sized dogs, supervise vigilantly...

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