Teaching manners to the dogs and helping their people learn “how to speak dog” …
I passionately believe that all dogs should – and can! – have good manners and be well behaved. Not only are they happier knowing what’s wanted and expected of them, but their family and everyone who comes in contact with them is happier as well. What a joy to have a dog who walks calmly and well on a loose leash by your side; greets guests to your home calmly and reasonably and then goes and lies down on his mat when you ask him to; knows to stay laying down calmly while you are eating instead of begging or stealing; is completely and reliably housebroken; comes every time you call him, happily and with tail wagging; can be taken anywhere dogs are allowed because he’s so easy to control, responds to your commands, and isn’t at all aggressive or over-interested in other people or other dogs. What a pleasure! That’s what having a dog should be about – and having that happy, attentive dog is absolutely possible. And, heavy-handed methods aren’t necessary to get there. Training should be fun, upbeat, humane, and done with loving firmness. My training is positive and uses a ton of motivation, producing a dog who clearly understands what you are asking, is happy to do it for you, and actually enjoys training.
My main job, on every single lesson and in every single class, is to teach people to better communicate with their dogs. Often people are struggling to get their dog to do something (or stop doing something) and getting more and more frustrated because it’s not happening. Once the lines of communication are opened in a way the dog can understand, it’s amazing how fast they pick up what’s being taught. Teaching people how to “talk dog” is a huge part of my work.
As for me, I’ve been a dog trainer for more years than I can count (well okay – more than 25 now) and trained housemanners and obedience for a lot of those years, followed by some years of training assistance dogs for physically disabled individuals. I took a bit of time off shortly after I moved to Rockland and had my son and then returned to training teaching manners, obedience, CGC (Canine Good Citizen) and C.L.A.S.S. (Canine Life and Social Skills) preparation and testing, nose work, and trick training. I’m a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA); member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT); am certified by the AKC to be an evaluator for CGC, S.T.A.R. Puppy, Community Canine, and Urban Canine; am a Certified Trick Dog Instructor (CTDI); and am certified by the APDT to both teach C.L.A.S.S. (Canine Life and Social Skills) classes, as well as give the C.L.A.S.S. evaluation. (There are very few of us in NY who are certified to do both, so I’m terribly honored!). I’m quite proud to have been asked to work in cooperation with the Clarkstown Community Learning Center, offering puppy raising courses and group dog training courses for all residents of Rockland (and other counties). My group classes are offered there throughout the year and I offer in-home private lessons in Rockland and Bergen counties as well.
My main passion lies in helping dogs (and their humans!) by teaching their people how best to communicate with them. And of course, creating as many paws with manners as possible in the process. 🙂