Today may be the warmest Christmas Eve on record here in Northeast Ohio. It's 60 degrees and sunny. This is what I call a great day to take a hike. So you guessed it, Kelly and I took the boys on a hike.
After loading the boys up in the car and grabbing all of our gear, we arrived at the nearby hiking trail. Being Christmas Eve I didn't think that people would have time to go out and hike, but I was wrong. When Kelly and I pulled in there were 10-12 cars in the parking lot. Typically theres a max of 4-5. With all of the cars we decided to park farthest from the trail head towards the back of the parking lot.
Fast forwarding a few seconds, the boys had relieved themselves and we are walking through the parking lot to hit the trail. As we are walking a couple cars pull in and park. As we are approaching to pass by, one of the people in the car opened the door and out came a small white dog off leash heading right towards us. I instantly exclaim, "Please leash your dog!" Fortunately they were able to grab the dog rather quickly and leash it up. The reason why Kelly and I go to this trail is because there is a leash law in effect and we hope that people will follow it. So about 2 minutes later we are on the trail walking. As we are about to hit a corner that is somewhat blind, a dog appears - off leash with no owners in sight. The dog starts to approach us and once it gets within about 8 feet I had to spray her with spray shield. It was a pretty direct hit so it resulted in her retreat pretty quickly. This is a position that it really sucks to be put into. But had I not sprayed, things could've been worse. It could've turned into a dog fight resulting in multiple injuries to multiple dogs. There aren't many dogs who enjoy being approached by an off leash dog while on leash. Leashes can cause frustration and remove a dog's flight response option.
In the end, the dog who was just being a dog was sprayed in the face. It could have all been avoided had the leash law been followed. I'm not writing this to publicly shame the dog's owners. This is being written because it's not fair to dog owners that have dogs that need space. Kelly and I have both put a ton of work into helping our dogs feel comfortable around new dogs. It only takes one bad experience for a dog to start being very uncomfortable around other dogs.
Leash laws are made for a reason. No one is perfect. Years ago I was hiking in a park on a trail where I never saw anyone. I had V off leash. V has a 95% recall out on the trail. Out of the blue someone appeared with two dogs. I called V and he didn't come to me. Instead of coming to me he went up to the investigate the other two dogs. I ran up there and nothing had happened between the dogs. I apologized at least ten times, grabbed him and walked passed her with him leashed up. To this day I feel bad about the situation and no longer do I let V off leash on hiking trails. Prior to that instance we had come across dogs while he was off leash and he ran on back to me no problem when I called. It can happen even if you think your dog will come back to you every time.
Please keep your dog on leash in dog friendly areas where it's the law to keep your dog leashed. Even if you think your dog will come every time. Believe me, there will be a time when your dog doesn't come when you ask. The other big reason is because of the other dog; not all dogs like being approached by other dogs. There are lots of dogs out there that are very afraid of other dogs and their people are working hard on building their dog's confidence. One instance of a dog running up to them could cause a huge setback. And finally, your dog could very easily be sprayed in the face with a deterrent. Let's all be on the same team and follow the rules so everyone can enjoy the outdoors without having to have the added worry of being approached by an off leash dog.
Hey y'all! Kevin from All Dogs go to Kevin here. It is safe to say that this year has been the best year of my life. Lots of changes happened with ADGTK and it has been fantastic. About halfway through the year my wonderful, beautiful, and talented girlfriend Kelly moved on up to Ohio. Since her arrival we have been able to make some big changes to the classes which we have found have helped people a ton. Also since Kelly's arrival we have been able to co-teach all of the classes which has really provided even more help to our clients. That's right, all of our classes are co-taught by two professional trainers.
This past year we've added Katherine Knapp to the team to head our Dog Walking and Pet Sitting departments. She has done a wonderful job and she even watches our dogs when we go out of town. Katherine is doing fantastic and we couldn't be happier with the services that she is providing to our clients. In 2016 we plan on advertising these services more so they're more well known to the general public and also our clients.
Another awesome sight to see every time we walk in the doors is our awesome assistants/interns, Chris, Crystal, Sierra, Lydia and Katherine. They all started as students and decided that they wanted to pursue a career in the dog training field. It's fantastic to have all of them on the team and we are very lucky as they continue to show their dedication day in and day out. They make our jobs so much easier by demoing the skills we are teaching the dogs during classes, helping people with training equipment, and also they do a fabulous job at cleaning up pee and poo during puppy socials. We've been told we look like a nascar pit crew. Thanks again guys, we love having y'all.
The business was opened in March of 2012. At the time the only service offered was private dog training done in the person's home. This is a service we continue to offer. Now we offer 15 different group classes, dog walking and pet sitting. As I'm writing this I am humbled and overwhelmed with joy to see all the hard work pay off. It means the world to me that we are able to offer services that people need in a humane way that the human and dog both really enjoy.
I'm not really sure what to expect for 2016. My expectations though are more growth. As I mention above, we are really going to focus on getting the dog walking and pet sitting off the ground. Did I mentioned that all our pet sitting and dog walking services include training? That's right! Your dog will not be doing undesirable behaviors on our watch.
As for Kelly and I... Kelly has accepted a job with the world renowned The Academy for Dog Trainers. I'm so proud of her as that is a real honor. She is such a hard worker and this really shows it. My goal this year is to attend the academy to further my knowledge and to get a formal education. As I preach a lot, dog training is an unregulated industry and anyone can call himself or herself a dog trainer.
I want to personally thank you all for sticking around the website/Facebook page. It's always great getting to know everyone. We will continue to post lots of fun True or False and multiple choice questions. I also want to thank you all for your support. I know there are a lot of you that have been around since the beginning. I will never forget you guys and will always be thankful for your support. Additionally, I want to thank all of our awesome, wonderful, dedicated clients. You guys are the best and really keep us going. Keep on coming back with your smiling faces and happy dogs.
Thanks so much for reading and have a wonderful holiday season!
- Kevin, Kelly, V, Villere, and Rosa
When I first got into dog training I thought dog tricks were dumb. I thought they served no good purpose and were a waste of time. Well, I also had ultimately no knowledge of how dogs learn and why they do the things they do. My opinion has now changed.
The other night during week 2 of our first session of tricks class I had a thought, and also came to a realization. Why do dogs do tricks so reliably but struggle with the common cues that we need them to do on a daily basis? The answer is because humans love to give their dogs rewards when teaching tricks, but often times struggle to give rewards when asking their dogs to do things on a daily basis. It's as if we have the mindset that in order to do a trick, we need to reward the dog, but in order to get our dogs to do the things we want on a daily basis, we shouldn't have to reward them, they should just do it. I'm not sure where this mindset comes from, but it certainly hurts the relationship between the person and dog and creates this power struggle.
A dog does what it does because of the consequences it receives. A dog's brain isn't set up to listen to humans by default because they know we are humans and they are dogs. That isn't how their brains work, and it never will be. Dogs are just like any other animal in regards to learning. It comes down to what kinds of consequences they receive for the behaviors they do.
Teaching your dog tricks is a fantastic relationship builder, and it also really gives you some hands-on insight as to how dogs learn. Get the dog to do this thing, then give a reward. The dog is likely to do that thing again. This style can be transitioned right into the real world. You can look at any behavior you'd like your dog to do as a trick. Does your dog jump on the table while you're eating dinner? A fantastic trick to teach your dog is how to hold a down-stay on a mat during the duration of your meal. To make this work, you just need to teach the trick and then reward the dog. This means that you will be giving your dog small food rewards every couple of minutes to keep him holding his down stay. Here's how to teach the beginning of this trick:
Does your dog jump on guests when they arrive? There's a trick for that as well. Instead of allowing your dog to jump on the guest, teach your dog the trick of sitting to greet people. To make this work, you need to have some high value food rewards and a leash to help control the situation. Here's how to teach the beginning of this trick:
Does your dog pull your arm nearly out of the socket while attempting to go for a walk? There's a trick for that too. The trick is walking with you and receiving rewards. To accomplish this, you need to be consistent and give lots of rewards. It's also important to start off in an area where your dog isn't too distracted. I mean, you wouldn't introduce a brand new trick to your dog out in the front yard, right? Start off inside your home and then take it on the road. Here is a video on how to get started with that:
Does your dog try to bite the leash and play tug while you're attempting to walk? Well, you guessed it! There's a trick for that too. This one actually consists of teaching a few little tricks to your dog and rewarding often, especially in the beginning. Here's how to get started:
Reward your dog and life will be easier. Reward your dog for the real life "tricks" as you would for the other tricks that you do for fun. If you do, there will be no power struggle and your life will be easier and a lot less stressful. Training a dog takes time, patience, consistency, and lots of rewards. It's not necessarily easy, but it will get easier with the work you put in. Remember the more rewards you provide, the more behavior you will receive. Reward that dog.