Working with dogs and dog owners is my passion! It brings me great joy to know that the work I am doing is improving the quality of the lives of a dog and owner. The first thing you should know about me and my approach is that I am completely self-taught. I didn’t learn anything I will show you from a book, a video, or another trainer. I developed ALL of my own techniques! I don’t think about how to interact with dogs. I have the ability to look at a dog and tell you what you need to do to change any behavior the dog has. Clients often ask me, “Why did you do that?” Most often my reply is “What did I do?” I frequently am responding to a dogs energy in a given situation rather than “thinking” about what I am doing. I feel VERY lucky that I happened onto training dog owners as my career!
Most people have dogs because they like to share affection with their dogs. Dogs like affection. First and foremost they need structure in order to be happy and feel secure. Insecurity drives a LOT of bad dog behavior! Success is in finding the right balance that meets the primary needs of both you and your dog.
Long ago, before I started training, I once had to have a dog that I raised from a pup put down because he bit someone. This was not a choice I made lightly and was probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life. I have a very close friend that had a similar experience, and with a golden retriever no less.
Nobody ever told me or my friend that we had to train our dogs not to bite people — in a sense, that’s what needs to be done! In the absence of clear leadership, a dog will step up and attempt to be the pack leader. This is why it’s essential to make sure that your dog knows that you are in control and making the decisions. That way your dog doesn’t feel the need to take control of any situation. It allows your dog to simply relax and be a dog.
Another way of looking at this is that dog misbehavior is usually the result of miscommunication. Either you aren’t getting the message across to your dog that you’re in charge, or your dog does take his lead from you, but doesn’t clearly understand your expectations.
Unfortunately, you could be doing 95% of the things you should be doing to demonstrate to your dog that you are the pack leader, but by not doing only one or two things it sends your dog a mixed message and causes your dog to question your authority in those situations or in all situations.
By asking you the right questions, I can determine where this process is being derailed and show you what you need to do differently to put things back on track.