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19 Mar

Remote Puppy Socialization and Info Group Class

New puppy?  These are difficult times and I’m here to help you through it.  Join me for remote class about puppy socialization, enrichment and training during these times, Tuesday March 24 at 6PM ET.

This 90-min remote video class will let you virtually meet other puppy owners sharing the same struggles right now.  I will help guide you through the challenges of socialization (especially now!), house training, puppy mouthing and crate training and other common puppy issues .  These sessions are intended puppies under 16 weeks of age.  (Regular distance sessions are available for older dogs/puppies.) We will discuss how best to socialize your puppy, provide you with enrichment ideas, best practices for house training, crate training guidance, how to deal with puppy mouthing, chew training, body handling, resource guarding prevention and a Q&A will give you ample opportunity to ask any questions you might have, all from the safety, comfort and convenience of your own home.

These sessions are affordably priced at only $40 for the session and includes a dozen puppy relevant handouts.  SCHEDULE TODAY.  SPACES ARE LIMITED!

Happy Training! Looking forward to connecting (remotely!) with you soon!

–Kate

18 Mar

Kids and Dogs – Keeping Them Busy During A Pandemic

Kids at home? Dog at home? Need something for them both to do? Starting next Monday 3/24 I’m offering a kids and dogs tricks/games remote video class. Each session will focus on one easy, kid friendly trick or game that your school aged child (ages 6-12) can teach or play with your dog. All they need is access to a laptop or tablet with a webcam to login into a Zoom meeting and lots of treats! Limited to 4 per class. I’m currently offering this on Mondays and Wednesdays so register today! You can register for one or all or any combination.  Each class will be a different trick but wanted to keep it flexible for people to join without locking you into multiple sessions if you didn’t want to be.  (Contact me if these time slots aren’t good – I’m open to adding more if they can fill!)

REGISTER TODAY!

Happy Training! Looking forward to connecting (remotely!) with you soon!

–Kate

16 Mar

Online Booking Now Available!

COVID-19 is impacting every industry, and dog training is no exception.  I’ve moved all my sessions and educational presentations online via Zoom, Skype, Facetime or by phone sessions.  And I’ve added the option for you to self-book to schedule sessions.  BOOK HERE!

I’ve also added a new offering, which I mentioned in my last blog post, but in an effort to ensure new puppy parents have all the tools they need, I’ve added a discounted new puppy session for only $50!  Learn how best to socialize your puppy during this pandemic, get enrichment ideas, best practices for house training, crate training guidance, how to deal with puppy mouthing, chew training, body handling, resource guarding prevention and anything else you want to chat about in our hour session.  Share this with your friends, shelters and rescues.  Puppies are going to be missing out on key socialization with everything being shuttered so it’s important to get all the information you can before you have a fearful adult dog on your hands.  Remember, as my mentor Jean Donaldson said, “Heavy socialization is the single smartest investment you can make in a dog.”  So book your session today!

And if you don’t have a puppy but still need help (and let’s face it, most of us are home with our dog more – great opportunity for more training!), here’s a list of remote training options:

  • Fear and Aggression (new and existing clients) – help with fearful dogs, stranger danger, resource guarding, body handling, dog with baby/toddler issues, vet/grooming phobias.
  • Pre-Baby Prep – helping you help your dog be prepared before your baby arrives
  • New Dog/Pre-Adoption Counseling – helping set you and your future dog up for success or troubleshooting your new dog settling in
  • Foundation Skill Training – focusing on training the skills needed for AKC CGC or therapy dog certification (doesn’t include certification)
  • Basic Obedience – puppy or new dog basic skills
  • Whole Family Dog Training – training for the whole family (including school aged kids) and your new dog
  • Cat Consults – address common cat behavioral issues
  • Puppy Socialization During COVID-19 SPECIAL OFFERING– for puppies age 16 weeks and under

And stay tuned for more news later this week!

Happy Training! Looking forward to connecting (remotely!) with you soon!

–Kate

 

15 Mar

How To Socialize Your Puppy In A Pandemic

With the COVID-19 pandemic upon us, many new puppy owners are struggling with ways to train and socialize their new puppies.  We know that puppy socialization, up to about 14 weeks, is the most critical time for puppies to learn the world is safe and to have lots of positive experiences.  But how do you do this during a pandemic when everyone is being encouraged to socially distance or isolate?  Many group training classes are being canceled and many private trainers, like myself, have ceased doing in home visits for everyone’s safety.

The answer:  remote distance training to learn about proper socialization and how to create lots of novel experiences for your new puppy to explore, so you have opportunities to reinforce novelty.  And once you’re well underway with socialization then we can move to remote video sessions for basic obedience skills like sit, down, coming when called, leave it, wait, go to place and more!

I am now offering one hour, remote new puppy sessions to help guide you through the challenges of socialization (especially now!), house training, puppy mouthing and crate training and other common puppy issues .  These sessions are for puppies under 16 weeks of age.  (Regular distance sessions are available for older dogs/puppies.) Each private one hour phone session provides an opportunity for us to discuss how best to socialize your puppy, provide you with enrichment ideas, best practices for house training, crate training guidance, how to deal with puppy mouthing, chew training, body handling, resource guarding prevention and gives you ample opportunity to ask any questions you might have, all from the safety, comfort and convenience of your own home.

These sessions are affordably priced at only $50 for the hour and includes a dozen puppy relevant handouts.  To get started, complete this registration form and then you will be contacted to set up your appointment time!

Learn more about what to expect, how to prepare for a remote session with me and read some review from remote clients here.

Happy Training! Looking forward to connecting (remotely!) with you soon!

–Kate

19 Feb

Why Using Food Isn’t Bribery

Piggybacking off my recent post “But, my dog isn’t food motivated” I thought I’d touch on another thing I hear commonly from clients – “I don’t want to bribe my dog with food.”

For some reason, a lot of people see using food in training as some form of corruption, like if they use food the dog will like them less.  Let me tell you this secret – it’s not true.  In fact, the opposite is true.  I know, I know.  You want your dog to work because they love you or because you’re in charge.  Nope.  You don’t work for free and neither do dogs.  You go to work to get a paycheck.  Should we start saying you’re being bribed to go to work?  Maybe as a joke but I doubt you really see yourself going to work and receiving a paycheck for those hours worked as an illegal or dishonest thing.  No, you earned that paycheck.  And it keeps you coming back week to week.

Motivation takes many forms and drives everything that you, me and your dog does.  So what’s the difference between a bribe and motivation?  Let’s look at definitions:

Bribe –  “persuade (someone) to act in one’s favor, typically illegally or dishonestly, by a gift of money or other inducement.”

Motivation – “the reason or reasons one has for acting or behaving in a particular way.”

When training obedience behaviors, we start with food to lure a dog into the position we’re teaching.  The dog follows the smell of the food into position and then we pay (reward) the dog in that position.  Over time we fade out the food lure, move to a hand signal and eventually verbal cue, and the dog only gets the food if they do the right thing.  They did the job and they get the paycheck.  If the dog does the wrong thing, like goes into the wrong position, then we cancel the food reward and the dog doesn’t earn it.

In cases where we are helping a fearful, anxious or aggressive dog, and need to change how the dog feels about a situation (like helping him not be afraid of strangers or have his food bowl taken away), we use food to build a strong positive association between the scary thing predicting really yummy food is coming.  Eventually, if done right, the dog goes from “I’m afraid of that” to “Yippee, I love that because it predicts steak!”

How are either of these situations bribery?  They’re not. They’re operant and classical conditioning, not bribery.  They’re science.

I could feasibly make a case that bribery happens with poor training mechanics by incompetent trainers or regular people who just don’t know any better.  Here’s an example.  If every time you wanted your dog to sit, you first went to the treat jar, got a treat, showed it to him and then said, “Look what I have…now sit.”   Maybe that’s bribery.  But competent trainers don’t train like this.

What’s different?  We teach the dog what we’re asking them to do in order to get the paycheck.  We break it down into manageable parts so the dog wins often and stays in the game.  Then we make it gradually harder.  And after the dog is reliably trained, we move intermittently rewarding them with food to help keep the behavior strong.  This is the same idea behind slot machines.  They don’t pay out every single time, but the chance that they will next time keeps you playing.  But we can’t do it too soon, or the dog will quit playing our game.

So please, use food in training.  I promise you it’s not nefarious and it’s not going to damage your relationship.  In fact, your dog will love you more if you’re the cheese lady.

If you need help finding a qualified trainer, check The Academy for Dog Trainers directory or the Pet Professional Guild directory.  If you still can’t find help or are unsure if the trainer you’re considering is using the right methods, contact me.  I also offer remote sessions for many issues.

And remember, there’s only a few days left to register for my Dogs & Storks: Preparing Families With Dogs For Life With Baby workshop in Brooklyn, NY.  I hope to see you there!

Happy Training!

–Kate