Dog Training

Let me start this post by simply saying dog training can be a really polarizing subject. It’s akin to parenting opinions I suppose. I have yet to talk about our pups on the blog in fear of the million and one opinions that might surface. There is a part of me that really wants to learn from others but whenever I’ve seen a blogger share something they are going through at the moment I usually then see a lot of patronizing dog owners who believe they know best and that their method is the best method.

This has got to be similar for human parents talking about parenting techniques on blogs as well.

If you were to simply google “dog training” or utilize YouTube search for dog training videos whether it be broad subject based or for specific obedience skills, you’ll find a million and one opinions on what to do. It’s exhausting, overwhelming and confusing going through everything. My boyfriend has taught me amazing basics to obedience training and I can handle Havoc and Rogue on walks fairly well but we can always do better by them.

The goal of this post is to share how my boyfriend and I are learning how to best support our dogs as they are showing behaviour we know nothing about and instead of analyzing and guessing ourselves we’re seeking professional help. We want to consistently and diligently approach training with the pups as much as we would with our own fitness regimes.

Goals for Rogue:

  • Not jump on us or guests when we/they come in the front door
  • Get over fear of people, other dogs, and cars on walks

If you can’t tell walks right now are a bit stressful for mom & Rogue. I know she’s feeding off of my demeanor and I’m constantly on guard assessing where the next danger is for us.

Goals for Havoc:

  • Be able to go on walks without dog aggression towards other big dogs

I love my walks with both pups but my stress is always heightened and I’m constantly scanning so I know when we are about to approach other dogs or people. Running with Havoc is actually less stressful than walks because he’s so focused on running beside me.

This weekend we booked 2 different consultations. Our first one was with Carolark on Saturday afternoon at 4:30 pm (which was a paid session) and then Natasha Lowe from Coyote Canine Dog Training came to our house Sunday evening at 5 pm for a free consultation. Here is what we learned from Carolark and started implementing immediately as we could see the benefit in trying her recommendations.

Rogue:

As easy to implement tactic we’ve already tried over the weekend is to keep treats in our pocket/purse and reward her low when we walk in the door. She’s even been sitting when we walk in because she has realized she’s getting treats at ground level vs jumping up to greet us. Even after trying this Saturday and Sunday we’ve seen huge improvements.

Havoc:

When getting ready for walks, he gets super excited/agitated/anxious. If we pull out his leash or collar, he runs around the house is circles, jumps and just generally is leaving the house at 100% all out “let’s go!” mentality. Carolark mentioned we should work on leaving the house in a more calm manner. So Sunday morning we started our work. Mike got Hav to sit calmly as he picked up his collar and leash and Hav did so well. He wasn’t pulling on the lease or making his usual high pitched whining noises as we headed out for a neighbourhood walk. Mike took Rogue one way and Hav and I did our walk in a different direction. We passed a huge black lab in the neighborhood and Havoc usually whines really loudly and pulls on the leash a bit. His fur did go up on his back but he barely whined and kept in position for heel. I was so proud of him and it was amazing to see him already making improvements after just one walk.

What we didn’t like about Carolark:

  • I personally felt patronized the entire time in how she spoke to me.
  • She didn’t explain how she works with dogs and the progression of training we can expect to receive.
  • She barely acknowledged Mike and just want to take Rogue through obedience paces (which she excelled at – I felt like a proud parent).
  • She also fed Rogue a ton of cheese and I didn’t even hear her ask me if that was ok (which apparently she did but Mike said it was really fast and quite soft).
  • She didn’t even address the objective we’d like to work on with Havoc and just told us we had a highly anxious dog on our hands.

While I’m sure Carolark is a great training facility, it just isn’t a fit for us. It was an ok first date there just won’t be a second date.

However, after our consultation today with Natasha Lowe, which was an hour and a half of really great discussion, we not only saw Havoc fall in love with her but we kind of did as well. Havoc brought her a toy, which he rarely does with anyone and lie at her feet. Another great aspect of the consultation is that we knew exactly what type of progressive training we’d receive over the upcoming weeks. I never once felt patronized and she had an amazing rapport with Mike. She addressed both Mike and I and listened intently when we spoke. It was uber important Mike like her as he’s much more familiar with dog training than I am. She was amazing with our dogs and didn’t try to assert any obedience from them. She observed everything that was going on and asked great questions to not only understand the dog’s demeanor but also ours.

I can’t wait to start training with Natasha!!

One thought on “Dog Training

  1. Hey Robin! Congrats on finding someone to work with, I agree with how confusing it can be when trying to do what is best for our fur family when it comes to behavioral quirks. They seem to be doing really well so far and I wish you continued success.
    Much love
    Bonnie

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