23 Mar

Expecting? Prepare Your Dog Now!

Are you expecting?  I’m sure you’re overwhelmed with emotions, excitement and maybe even a little bit of fear right now.  And if worrying about your dog is part of that worry, let me help. 

As a licensed Family Paws Parent Educator and a certified behavior consultant and trainer whose speciality is fear and aggression, I work with a lot of families with dogs and kids.

And experience tells me,  it’s always better to be proactive than reactive, so with that in mind, if you’re expecting, now is the perfect time to schedule a one on one video session to help prepare your dog (and you!) for the big changes ahead once the baby arrives.

Our private 2-hour video session includes a complete assessment, areas to focus on and personalized training plan to help prepare your dog for baby, homework, enrichment recommendations and an assortment of dog/baby handouts and resources as well as an opportunity for you to ask any questions or discuss any concerns you might have.

Book today to get started!

Happy Training! Looking forward to connecting (online!) with you soon!  Stay safe.



20 Mar

Got Kids AND a Dog? You need Family Training!

You planned on getting a new dog in the spring and everything was going to be perfect.  But now the virus happened and everyone is at home and admit it, it’s getting a little nutty.  We can help!  We know that taking on the mega-job of parenting kids AND a dog together is NOT easy!  Families need specialized training tailor-made just for them.  And that’s EXACTLY what we offer – remotely, from the safety and comfort of your home.

Our 6 session remote video package is customized to get EVERYONE involved. You’ll get all the tools and support you need to get your kids on board, your dog in check and the whole family playing for the same team! It’s fun, effective and 100% positive!

You’ll get:

    • Master training skill every week
    • Put your new skills to use in YOUR home – where you need it most!
    • Involve your WHOLE family in the training – YES! Kids too.
    • Play training games that make learning FUN!
    • The parents’ program has all the most important skills for raising kids and a dog together
    • The kids’ program is full of fun games where they’ll have so much fun they won’t even know they’re learning!
    • AND there’s even “in a nutshell” videos to help keep grandparents and nannies on the same page, so when people start coming back into your home, they can be up to speed!
    • Stay on track with a recap of your session
    • Watch videos that coach you through the skills you’ve learned
    • Feel confident that you’re on the right path!

So whether you want to get ahead of the game or you’re struggling to keep your head above water, our family dog private training program has EVERYTHING you need to look like a PRO in your new role, and actually ENJOY doing it.

Please note this package is not for dogs who have any fear, aggression of behavior “‘problems” other than normal puppy issues like play biting, house soiling, etc.

Book today to get started!

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


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!)


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


10 Feb

4 Things To Do Instead of Hugging Your Dog

I think it’s safe to say, we all love our dogs and we want to show them how much we love them.  One of the most common bits of information I deliver to clients is that most dogs don’t like to be hugged or kissed.  It’s a hard conversation to have and it often shatters them. They tell me, “But, but, I love her and want to show her how much!”  (Video of a very sad young girl learning dogs don’t like to be hugged here. And at the end you see the dog lip lick, walk away, stretch and shake off – all signs of stress.) The core problem here is humans and dogs show affection in different ways.  And to dogs, hugging is restraint.

Think about the times your dog gets restrained – vet and groomers primarily, and for many dogs, those aren’t very fun experiences (but, they can be with proper training!).  Remember fight or flight in science class?  If your dog is unsure about a situation, very often their first instinct is to flee – to flight – away from the scary thing, to create distance and feel safer.  Hugging/restraint prevents your dog’s natural instinct of flight and often if the flight option isn’t available, then the dog tips the other way – to the fight side.  If the dog can’t create distance by fleeing then he may feel the need to create distance by trying to get the hugger/kisser to go away by growling, snapping or biting (fight).  The end goal is the same if the dog feels uncomfortable or threatened – to create distance between them and the threat – either I go away or you go away.

This is the second big obstacle for clients.  People don’t want to think that their dog sees them as scary.  But if we’re doing something that is weird and completely unnatural to our dog then that’s often how it will be perceived.  It’s not about our intent – it’s about how the dog interprets it.

Dr. Coren, a psychology professor at University of British Columbia looked at 250 images online of dogs being hugged and over 81% of the images showed at least one sign of the dog being stressed.  The findings were reported on Psychology Today.

A small percentage of dogs, 7.6%, seemed to be comfortable with hugging, and some may genuinely enjoy it, but it’s not the norm for most dogs.   Most are likely tolerating it, at best.  And that’s where having a solid understanding of dog body language comes in.  (Pictured here is me and one of my personal dogs, BooBoo.)

What do you see in these pictures?  In the pictures at the top you can spot whale eye/side eye, lip lick, ears back, stiff bodies, furrowed brow, leaning away, closed mouths and tight muzzles.  But, in the picture to the side, BooBoo is relaxed, her mouth is open, eyes squinty/closed and she’s leaning in, not away.  (There’s a great, free, self-paced course on body language if you’d like a refresher or need some help.  Get it here.)

Let’s talk a little about kids and dogs.  Often I get called into clients for bite situations and sometimes it’s because the dog has bitten the child, sometimes because the child tried to hug/kiss the dog or startled the dog while they were sleeping.  Children can be scary to many dogs, even without them hugging.  Kids are on the dog’s eye-level and have a much harder time understanding the dog isn’t a toy stuffy.  They can be grabby, not realize they’re hurting the dog, are unpredictable and move differently than adults.  And kids are often encouraged by their parents to hug and kiss to show affection, so a child would naturally want to hug and kiss a dog.  And this is where problems happen.  In my work as a licensed Family Paws Parent Educator and a private trainer for The Family Dog programs, I spend a lot of time counseling families on dog bite prevention and kid/dog safety.  Dogs bites and kids are a huge public safety concern.  77% of all dog bites come from a familiar dog, not a stray dog wandering the streets.  We need to do better to keep kids safe and dogs from being surrendered or euthanized because of biting kids.

So how can we show our dog we love them without hugging or kissing?  Here’s some ideas that I’m sure your dog will love!

  1. Take them on a sniffari!  Let them wander and sniff all they want.  No heeling here!
  2. Play their favorite game – fetch, tug, hide and seek – whatever they enjoy!
  3. Give them a yummy treat not because you asked them to do something to earn it but  just because you love them and they like pleasure too!
  4. Teach a fun, new trick using some special treat.  If you need some tricks ideas, this self-paced online course is a great start. (Use code RBT for a discount too!)

And don’t forget, if you’re in the NYC area, join me for my Dogs & Storks Bringing Home Baby event on Feb 24th at 7PM.  Let’s help you prepare your dog for your new human baby!  Details and tickets here.

Happy Training!