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Does your dog fly out the door when it is opened?  Run into the street from the front lawn?  Leave the room you are in to maraud around the house on his own?  Your dog could use some safe and practical boundary training! Teaching dog boundaries requires just three things: a dog a long line a regular or training collar With a long line attached to your dog via his […]

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Teba closeup

As a dog behavior consultant, I meet weekly with dog owners full of angst. Disillusioned dog owners come to me with regularity, their dreams of a raising a perfect puppy or giving a better life to a rescue dog going awry. Usually it’s something simple (pulling on the leash, jumping on visitors, digging in the yard, barking, house training issues, etc.) Those dog stress symptoms are easily fixed through training […]

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basset hound with soulful glance photo

As a dog trainer, nothing makes me cringe like the use of the P-Word: “Punishment.”  I have a visceral reaction to it, like I have to several of the other culturally and emotionally charged words in our English language.  Here’s why I react to the P-Word: From the get-go, dogs don’t know right from wrong or “should” from Shinola®…  They invented the phrase, “If it feels good do it.”  Timothy […]

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Rescue Dog

Assuming a shy dog was abused Dogs, like humans, are born with their inherent personalities. That personality is Nature’s “stamp” and like us, a dog is stuck with the personality they’re born with. A confident, willful puppy (barring trauma in a critical period of early development) will be a confident dog just like that kid voted most popular in high school will probably have no problem making friends throughout life. […]

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Dog in training

As a kennel owner and professional dog trainer for over 24 years, I have dog products coming out my ears. The latest supplement, gizmo, training tool – you name it, I’ve tried it.

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My home town of Petaluma, California is home to the much acclaimed World’s Ugliest Dog Contest.  This is the event’s 25th year, so I simply had to attend. On benches, awaiting their 15 minute of fame on the red carpet, were all the ugly dog contest hopefuls – each  vying for the $1500 prize and a trip to New York City for guest spots on Jimmy Kimmel Live, the Today […]

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As we move into summer and the month of June “National Dog Bite Month” approaches, I think back years ago to when I was hired as a freelance writer to pen an article on Dog Bite Prevention for the National Safety Council. In the process I interviewed several top dog training and behavioral experts of the day. One of my questions to them was this: “In your opinion, what is […]

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Little Girl Embracing Her Pet

Several weeks after coming home with an extra set of little paws from visiting your local animal shelter or adding a new ‘holiday’ puppy to your household, you may find yourself thinking…Now what? With the right guidance, raising a new puppy can be a breeze, but without it – it can be disruptive, even heartbreaking. Here are some easy tips from the Diva: Vaccinations and Safety Did you know that […]

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The rewards of rescue dogs

I am moved lately by the power of love. And how the simple act of kindness toward a dog needing a new or loving home brings this power into play in our daily lives. Just the other day, a friend relayed a touching rescue dog story to me. She had been traveling in a popular tourist town and met a shop owner with a new rescue dog. The dog, it […]

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image dog talk diva camilla gray-nelson at global pet expo 2012

Camilla Gray-Nelson, also known by her witty online personae Dog Talk Diva™ announced that she will unveil a new Dog Talk Diva™ product line at Global Pet Expo 2012, February 29-March 2, in Orlando FL (Booth 3272). These dog products are targeted to the unique challenges women face in the training and management of the family dog. Dog product offerings include the humorously titled “What Did Mama Say” Follow-Through Tab […]

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I Am Not Sure

The plethora of doggie daycare centers around the country in the last few years is nothing short of mind-boggling.  But with the popularity of daycare services for dogs, there comes an unrealistic expectation –that all dogs can and should be social with others – they’re “social animals,” after all.  The truth, however, is not nearly as simple or clear-cut, and many dog owners are finding themselves disillusioned and confused when […]

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Many years ago, when I first began my career  as a dog trainer, I was out training one of my students at our country feed store.  While I was putting the dog through his Sit/Down/Heel paces, a young homeless man passed me with his puppy on a rope and muttered, “Sit is stupid.”  At the time, I was a bit offended and passed off his comment as one of utter […]

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Some dogs house train themselves; other dogs need our help being convinced it is more pleasant to do their business outside than on our Persian carpet. For a dog, pooping and peeing is just another behavior, like begging at the table or hanging around my horses.  Like with any behavior, they will repeat it if it ends in a good result and avoid it ONLY if it ends in a […]

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Barking dog

When dealing with dogs, we must THINK like a dog.  With dog behavior issues, it’s not what we do that matters, but how the dog PERCEIVES what we do.  When we give our dog too much freedom – the freedom to patrol the entire yard or property while we are gone, the freedom to hike off leash without voice control, the freedom to roam about the house and explore with […]

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In my preceding post, I explained how to stop your dog from jumping on you.  Now, I’ll give you my favorite tip for solving another jumping problem:  Your dog jumping on guests. To prevent this embarrassing situation, my favorite “cure” is teaching the dog to go to a special bed or mat, whenever the doorbell rings, and stay there until his owner gives him permission to leave. Think Pavlov. 1. […]

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Almost every person bringing their dog to me for a training or behavior consultation has “Jumping Up” on their list of things they want to stop. Does your dog jump up on you or your guests?  Would you like to stop this annoying (and sometimes dangerous) behavior?  This article is about stopping your dog jumping on you.  Our next article will address a dog jumping on guests. There are any […]

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In women’s lives and roles as girlfriends, wives, and mothers, many of us equate accommodation with love. We clear the sofa for our husband, when he needs to sit down; we change our schedule around, so we can attend our child’s recital or softball tournament. It’s what we do. All good people, to some degree, accommodate the people they love. It is a good and desirable thing. In becoming leaders your […]

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FRUSTRATION & ANGER vs. SMOTHERING LOVE Have you ever been so frustrated with your dog that you yell at him? It’s what most people do when they are at a loss on how to control, command or even just get their dog’s attention. When your dog fails to respond, your anger and frustration escalate. Finally, you give up and walk away. Read on to learn the keys to becoming a […]

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Your dog is looking for a leader. A powerful figure with quiet confidence, in whom he can safely put his trust and follow. Powerful “alpha” dogs are quiet and direct. So are powerful people. When you become that kind of leader in your dog’s eyes, he will listen to you, follow and obey you. Often when women work on becoming a leader, they are undermined by certain personal habits that […]

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understand-yourll-dog

Although much ado is made by some people about how understanding wolves helps us understand dogs – I disagree (sort of). It’s not our dog’s great-great-great-great-great…grandparents that hold the key to understanding your dog now.  Do YOU bear much resemblance to your ancient ancestors?  I doubt it. Neither does your dog. What IS key in understanding modern dogs is to realize that ALL social group mammals (dogs, horses, cows, wolves, […]

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My husband hates fish.  I wish he liked fish.  I like fish. Don’t all normal, healthy people like fish?  Maybe if I put fish on his plate every night for dinner, fed him MORE fish, got him used to fish, surrounded him with fish…he’d learn to like fish.  He just needs more exposure to fish… How ridiculous is that reasoning?  But it’s exactly what we do with our unsociable dogs […]

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 Unless you’ve been under a rock for the last 20 years, you know the dog training world is deeply divided on training philosophy and methodology.  I’ve been thinking a lot about this schism over the past couple of weeks, and I HAVE FOUND THE HEADWATERS! If I’m not mistaken, the entire rift can be traced back to one, critical source: the myth of aggression based dominance.

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Running Dog

You can’t argue with the Word of Dog. But I’ll give you some tips to help get your dog’s COME recall on the fast track to salvation. THE PROBLEM: If there is one command that gives owners grief, it is the COME command.  They scream, they threaten, they beg, they chase, they bribe and cajole – and their dogs still do not come when called.  Why is the COME command a […]

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pit bull dog with surprised curious look in golden eyes, thumnail photo

1. First and foremost, dogs are animals that just happen to live with humans. We domesticated the dog, not because we wanted a companion, but because we needed their skills of hunting, killing and defense to help us humans survive and prosper. 2. Selective breeding has changed the “wrapping”, but not the contents. Domesticated dogs – be they toy or giant, sporting or non-sporting, long-haired or short – are still […]

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I’m starting to notice a trend in my consultations with women coming to me for help with their dogs.  When we come to the inevitable subject of discipline, most women start to shy away.  They want better control, but they don’t want to discipline a dog as a means of getting that control.  As I probe to find out why, the recurrent answer.  “I’m afraid he won’t like me,” they […]

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My good friend and riding buddy called the other day. She wondered if I could help with a horse behavior issue that had confounded her for weeks. Her new horse would NOT go over water on the trails near her house. She said she had tried everything, to no avail. It was limiting what she could do and where she could ride this horse. She was at the point of […]

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The Sanchez Family

You’re home from work, trying to get some kind of dinner on the table, the kids are running wildly around the house and suddenly you hear “Mom! The dog is jumping on me! He has my Barbie and he won’t give her back.” Before you can wash the meatloaf off your hands to get in there, the crying begins.  You’re yelling at the dog, yelling at the kids, yelling at your […]

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Dog collar dangers are REAL! PLEASE…Forward this to EVERY DOG OWNER you know! I’m back from my trip, and was all ready to write a clever blog about by dog adventures in sunny Spain…but tragedy intervened. Today I received a call from a dear client whose two dogs come so frequently to my kennel, that we all consider them family here. They are litter mates and inseparable. Cared for to […]

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dog-training-rules

I was reminded yesterday as I consulted with a rescue dog owner, how little guidance there is for dog owners that adopt a rescue dog.  When they bring their new dog home, they do what they think is right to help them acclimate to their new forever home, but often do exactly the WRONG things. Here are my best rescue dog tips:

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zoey corgy puppy

Think of all the “naughty” things your puppy or dog has done over the years.  Were you watching when he did it?  Probably not.  Did you blame the puppy?  Probably.  Hmmm. I’d like to come to your dog’s defense, with a different perspective on on to have a well behaved dog.

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Anyone who’s owned dogs for a while, knows that dogs often relate differently to women than they do to men. I hear comments every week from women in my dog training classes like, “He doesn’t jump on my husband, but he’s all over me when I walk in”, or “My boyfriend can walk him and he listens to him at home, but he drags me down the street and won’t […]

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Dog collars

Head collars, harnesses, slip chains, martingales and “pokey” styles – so many collars, so little information! How do we choose the RIGHT collar to train our dog? In case you haven’t noticed, trainer recommendations differ widely when it comes to dog training collars. One will advise a head halter, another will prefer a classic slip chain, while still another will recommend either a metal or plastic “pokey” style for your […]

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A client came to me the other day, for help introducing a new puppy to her older, cranky-ish male terrier.  She was terrified of the dogs meeting each other, fearful the older dog would fight first and ask questions later.  I realized at the end of the session, that I had walked her through what must be a terribly anxious scenario for many other dog owners. During our session, she […]

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Papillon Playdate

Training is what a dog knows.  Obedience is a dog doing what he knows, when he’d rather not. Most dogs I know are trained. Very few are obedient. Most owners train their dogs. Very few know the difference between dog training vs obedience and how to turn training into true obedience. Here’s my approach, from the natural perspective. In nature, obedience and following are about rank…not knowledge. In nature, the […]

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great dane with woman dog trainer sunset scene

In 20 years of dog training, I’ve yet to find any subject more provocative that that of Power, Hierarchy and Dominance and its place in dog training. It’s a lightening rod that divides dog trainers into one camp or the other: those that train to achieve hierarchical dominance over their dog, and those that feel any training any training that involves hierarchy and dominance is, by association, inhumane. Here’s my […]

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