Ignore the trainer, what is the dog saying?

Whaaaaat? Did you just come to a dog trainer's blog and do a double-take at the title of this blog? Don't freak out, I haven't lost my marbles (yet!), but as usual I do have a point to make! I had the great displeasure a few weeks ago of being at a pet expo and being placed at a booth next to a trainer who uses shock, choke and prong collars almost exclusively to train, and states that they "don't use cookies to bribe their dogs". These trainers subscribe heavily to dominance theory, emphasizing that you need to be the "alpha" of a dog to control them. Old-Fashioned is the nice way to put. Ignorant and border-line abusive is what I like to call it. The trainer had multiple dogs with them, in

Don't forget to laugh with your dog

My dog Regis is the reason I got into dog behavior and became a trainer. I've always loved dogs, I've always been around dogs, but every dog I grew up with was the stereotypical "good dog". Very easy going, not prone to finding trouble when left to their own devices, and free from behavior problems. Regis is definitely not that. Regis is dog reactive with unfamiliar dogs and very difficult to introduce to another dog. He has also been nervous about guests entering his home, which manifests as pilo-erection (hackles up) and howling if he isn't reassured. He hasn't always tolerated body handling, and would violently shake and try to throw himself off of the groomer's table when he was taken in

Are you the alpha? The answer may surprise you!

When you and your dog are hanging out together, do you ever find yourself trying to figure out if you're the "alpha" in the relationship? If so, take this short test to find out! 1) Are you a human being? -Yes -No -Maybe 2) Is your dog a dog? -Yes -No -Maybe -Acts like a cat, I'm a little suspicious 3) Do you have opposable thumbs and are you in control of pretty much everything in your dog's life? -Yes -Yes -Sorry, only yes's for this one. Regis says "Who you callin' the alpha?!" Did you find yourself answering "yes" to the above questions? Congratulations, you're the dominant one in your relationship with your dog. Automatically. By default. Yes, it really is that simple. The definition of

Decoding Trainer Speak: Figuring out what those labels could really mean

It’s a little known fact that dog training is a completely UNREGULATED industry. That’s right, that living, breathing, feeling creature you call your best friend? Anyone in the world can go online and begin advertising themselves as a professional dog trainer whenever they’d like to regardless of education or experience. And some do. After watching one episode of reality television and teaching their dog how to sit, suddenly they think they’re the next great dog trainer. In truth, learning how to train any animal takes time and practice. Different dogs need different motivators, and a good trainer needs to know where best to use operant versus classical conditioning. So the fact that anyone

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Mary Thompson, CPDT-KA, PMCT
Phone: 312-307-6481
E-Mail: mary@happyhounduniversity.com

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In Home Dog Training serving Elk Grove Village, Arlington Heights, Schaumburg, Palatine, Buffalo Grove, Itasca, Des Plaines, Mt. Prospect, Roselle, Wooddale, Bensenville, Hoffman Estates, Park Ridge, Niles, Prospect Heights, Wheeling,  and more.
Group classes in Des Plaines.