1. Where did you
learn about dogs?
We have lived with dogs, and lots of other animals, all of our lives. We have
trained our horses and llamas the quiet way, which is also known as natural
training. Native American Indians worked their horses this way and it is
based on true animal communication. We do not use “traditional”
dog training methods, because we don’t believe they are as simple &
effective as natural training.
don’t you use choke chains, shock collars, halter collars or clickers?
People like to use devices – they seem quick and easy. We believe that
as long as you rely on a device you are not teaching your dog to use her
brain. You are relying on the gimmick to create the action and it will be more
difficult for you and your dog to be off leash or good at distances and
distractions. Relationships should not be built on bribery or force –
they should be built on love, trust and respect. We teach people to connect
with their dogs in a way the dog understands quickly. In our trainings we
have you use your touch, your voice and your intentions to modify your dogs
behavior and respond to your requests.
3. Does this
training work with all dogs?
Our training works with all ages and types of dogs. The
key is communication and developing an ongoing relationship of love, trust
and respect. Our goal is to teach you to understand your dog, and know how to
develop healthy a relationship with her.
4. How long
should my training sessions be?
A relationship is on going all of the time, not done in sessions. You don’t think of being a good parent
or partner for 10-15 minute sessions a day – it is who you are as a
parent or partner all day long and the same applies to leadership. With
a large vocabulary you can communicate and connect all day long – giving
your dog lots of jobs to do to keep him busy and entertained. This creates a
happy human and a happier dog.
5. What kind of
leash/collar is best?
We are very picky about the collars and leashes we recommend. The wider the better for the comfort of the
dog and it should be made of a stiff material that does not collapse and
become narrow if the dog were to pull against it. Narrow collars can cause damage to the
trachea and cause too much discomfort.
The same can be said for leashes. A ¾”
– 1” wide leash made of a double thick nylon is the best as it is
more comfortable to your hand and it has greater weight with which to
communicate. Light weight leashes are
no good – it is like trying to take your dance partner around the floor
by one hair – you have to work too hard to get results. By holding your partners ponytail you can
do less and accomplish way more.
Remember – always do the least amount possible to get results –
it is what is fair to the dog.
6. How do I fit
the collar to my dog?
Be sure that your collar is comfortable to your dog. It should be a strong,
but comfortable material like, nylon, leather or cotton and try not to get
one with sharp edges. Some of the fancier collars that have designs on them
have melted or stitched edges that have a sharper edge to them – these
are not the best for your dog. Look for doublewide edges or nice thick
material. Beware of the designer collars
that may be pretty but are not functional.
Take your collar and put the edges between your thumb and forefinger
and press down – does it collapse and become narrow? Then it is not stiff enough to be gentle to
your dog. A collar needs to be stiff
enough so it disperses the energy when you give a direction.
When the collar is on the dog you should be able to fit a flat hand (four
fingers) between her neck and the collar, not too big to slide off and not
too small to choke. If you are sizing a collar on a puppy, please make sure
you check the sizing every couple of days – as puppies grow quickly and
could out grow the collars before your know it.
7. When should
Right away. We say dogs are never too young or too old to learn. Puppies are
learning all of the time so it is better to begin now and teach them correct
habits and good manners, rather than wait until they have learned all of the
bad ones and you have to work twice as hard to get on the right track.
Rescue dogs could use a little time to get used to the new environment, but
don’t wait too long. As soon as she seems to have settled, start with
some of the simpler rules of the house and build from there. That way she is
clear about her status in her new home and she will feel more secure.
8. Is it ever
too late to train?
Any dog who entered our home would be expected to learn the rules of our
house and they would all be capable of doing so, no matter the age. Saying an
old dog can’t learn is like saying an older person can’t learn
something new. All dogs are willing and able to adapt to a new environment
and this often means learning better manners or expanding their vocabulary.
Sometimes it just takes extra patience to help them overcome old, bad habits.
9. Is it okay to
get 2 puppies at the same time?
We do not recommend it. You are bringing a puppy home to develop a
relationship – if you bring two puppies home they will have a
relationship with each other. This relationship will be far stronger than the
one they have with you and you will be hard pressed to become part of their
We recommend that you get your first dog and teach him to be the best he can
be, when he is really connected to you, has great manners and is more mature,
and then think about bringing in another baby. The beauty of this theory is
that the older dog will teach the younger one the tricks of the trade.
However, if the older dog is not so good, than the same thing will happen and
he will be teaching the younger dog bad manners and your troubles will
10. How do I get
my puppy used to the leash?
Practice and patience. First they need to get used to the collar, so let the
puppy wear the collar around the house while you are with her. She might fuss
and scratch at it, but just ignore this and let her keep it on until you no longer
see her fussing. The collar needs to become like a shirt on your back –
when it’s on you don’t even notice it. If you were to take the
collar off while she is fussing, then she would learn that fussing works and
that the collar is negotiable and it is not. She will quickly forget it’s
From there you introduce the leash. What bothers a puppy the most is the
pressure she feels on her neck when you give it a gentle pull forward. The most important thing to teach your
puppy is to give to pressure not fight it.
You can do this by giving a gentle pull forward and then release it the
second the puppy takes a step forward.
Typically this means pull forward 3” and then release, pull
forward 3” and then release.
Each time the pup steps forward give her happy praise. She will learn that is what you want and
she will feel that giving to the pressure feels much better than fighting it. This should take only a few minutes.
11. Should I send
my dog to the trainer so he can train him for me?
As we have mentioned before, this is all about you and YOUR relationship with
your dog – not about someone else’s relationship with your dog.
The trainer needs to be teaching you and you need to be teaching your dog.
You wouldn’t send your child to someone else’s home to learn
manners. You got a dog to have a relationship, make the best of it and learn
to become a great dog person.
12. When should
The best answer is always and forever. Dogs crave socialization –
it’s who they are. The important window for socialization is the first
five months of a dog’s life. Unfortunately, people are reluctant to
socialize young puppies because they haven’t had all of their shots.
This is a terrible catch-22.
Socialization is really about experiencing new things - not just dogs and not
doing the same thing over and over.
We encourage you to take your puppy to as many new situations and
environments, as you deem safe. Many stores are puppy friendly and this gives
you great opportunities to teach your puppy that the world is a wonderful
place full of wonderful people.
It is just as important to introduce other animals into your puppy’s
world, just use good sense. Arrange play dates with physically and
emotionally healthy dogs of all ages, shapes and sizes.
Dog parks can be too risky for young ones, so try to wait until the puppy is
bigger and emotionally stronger to handle the big dogs playground.
13. Is it okay
for the dog to be in our bed?
We think it’s just fine to share your bed with your dog. It is natural
for the pack to sleep together. However, it is not okay for your dog to think
the bed belongs to him. You need to teach your dog that he is welcome on the
bed when you invite him up and when you tell him to get down from the bed he
must do so with no arguments. You do not want to see how many dogs are in our
14. Where should
a new puppy sleep? The laundry room?
We put our new puppy in bed with us for the first few nights. Puppies are
taken from their litters too early and still benefit from sleeping next to a
warm body with a beating heart. He’s actually bonding with you while
you sleep. Tiny pups sleep hard through the night and there is little worry
of accidents. As they get older we put a short leash attached to the puppy
and our wrist so we get a little tug if they start getting up and we can take
them out to potty and come right back to bed, (no playing).
Starting your puppy out in your bed does not mean you will have to have a dog
in your bed for the rest of your life. As soon as your puppy has gotten used
to the routines and security of your home (approximately 5 days) then it is
fine to move him off the bed and into a crate or onto his own bed next to
Puppies should not be ostracized to another room for sleeping. This can create
an insecure and independent personality. Puppies never sleep away from the
pack in nature – they would howl and cry for the pack to come and find
them before a predator does.
15. What do you
think of crate training?
It can be a great training tool and comfort for your dog. Crates are just
like personal dens for your dog and he will take comfort in having one. No
matter where he is, if he has his crate he feels safe and at home. It is
important to make the crate a positive and safe place. Never use it as a
punishment. He should get his best toys and bones in the crate. Crates are great
for keeping a young puppy safe when she can’t be watched at the moment.
It can help in potty training, because a dog should not soil their den.
However, pet store puppies are highly likely to soil their crates because
they were forced to in the store environment.
Crates are just very handy. We use one during the more intense training
periods in the first year of a dog’s life, and not as much as the dog
matures. Once a dog is trained to the crate it is always an option when you
16. What do I do
about separation anxiety?
Insecure dogs, previously abandoned or overly attached dogs can have terrible
issues when you leave the house. They actually think they will die, because
the leader is gone and may never come back. The damage they do while you are
gone is their way of stressing out; torn furniture, soiled carpets, or
scratched doors – all efforts to save themselves or release the stress.
You must teach your dog that you come and go all of the time, it’s no
big deal. Do not dramatize your departures or your arrivals.
Pretend you are working on a project outside and all of your tools are inside
the house. Go out of the door and then come back in to get a tool then walk
right out again – not noticing the dog at all. At first he will get all
excited each time you enter the house, but if you do this 30 times, he will
get bored and barely lift his head as you enter or leave. For some dogs it
will be 30 times for other it will be 300 – everything is always
according to the needs and sensitivity of your dog. Try to increase your time
away from the house in little increments.
Eventually you will grab the car keys and go sit in the car for a few minutes
and then drive around the block. Dogs are aware of the sounds and behaviors
involved in your leaving for work, so try to create a realistic experience as
you desensitize him. Plan on spending your weekend practicing until you see a
change in your dog, it will pay off with a lifetime of security and peace.
Crates can be handy for separation problems. While some dogs feel better
having the whole house to roam about and protect, others feel much better
being confined to their crate, it feels safe and secure, and the dog
doesn’t’ have to worry about being responsible for the house.
17. Why does my
dog pull so much?
Unfortunately people teach their dogs to pull – they don’t mean
to but they do. People think their new puppy needs to sniff in 30 places
before they can potty, so they pull you here and pull you there – this
is the beginning of the end. Then they learn to pull you towards the squirrel
on the tree or to the dog walking towards you. Each time you let them pull or
drag you somewhere they learn to pull even more.
18. What about
Mostly puppies are the victims of carsickness; they just don’t have
their equilibrium yet. Do not feed the puppy before a ride (less to toss up),
and try to make the trips short. They will usually grow out of it by 8-12
Unfortunately, once a puppy has thrown up in the car, he remembers it and it
affects the future trips because he is remembering that one really bad one.
You can try to desensitize the puppy to the car by getting in the car and
practice going down to the end of the driveway and back, then just around the
block. Spend some time just sitting or playing in the car and not going
anywhere. Create happier memories for him.
Ask your vet about temporary solutions for unavoidable trips that could pose