Life Skills

I have cultivated a new way of living with your companion dog, rooted in dog-driven wellness and sound principles. My goal here is to teach you how best to help your dog reach his/her full potential. It never has been nor will be to teach you how to have a dog that looks and acts like a statue. That has never appealed to me or quite honestly made any sense. Rigid training creates rigid dogs and often times ones with broken spirits. The reason we adore dogs is because they are fun and silly! Let’s keep that and teach manners.

I’m sure you welcomed a dog into your life for companionship. Make the most of that responsibility and look at the world through your dog’s eyes; it will help facilitate making this shift in teaching.  It’s critical that you teach your dog things that are relevant and useful.

In other words – it needs to be practical. The bottom line here is that dogs need us to get real. They need us to help them navigate in the world that we domesticated them into and moreover the confines that we impose on them.

It’s imperative for dogs nowadays to be taught things that are useful, not just canned, antiquated irrelevant words but rather practical skills that will allow them to be immersed in common activities. What good is a “obedient” dog in a training ring if they aren’t at home?

Reaching full potential can only be achieved by slowly introducing and integrating a variety of working skills that are age appropriate and within an individual dog’s threshold.  I’ve seen time and time again that conventional dog training simply does not work. 

Dogs don’t learn well with unrealistic expectations and suppression. The latter shuts them down and creates anxiety and fear – period.

People are teaching dogs rudimentary things that cause undo-stress, and anxiety and quite frankly are useless. While words such as “down, stay” and others are good to teach, they are not equipping a dog with a skill set that they will need in order to live with you, be able to go more places with you, and be happy as well! Examples of life skills would be to teach my top three cues – come, drop it, watch me coupled with real life things that dogs will undoubtedly by exposed to – cars, car rides, vet visits, grooming and nail clipping, ground surfaces, children, men, people of all color, fashion and personality. Different types of sounds like landscape equipment, trucks, machinery, sirens. Variety of sights like other dogs, cats, horses and lawn decoration. Whatever your dog will be around!

How do you go about teaching life skills, you ask? Pragmatic teaching methods forged from how dogs interact and learn.

Real, raw, organic methods that resonate with a dog and keep them engaged because they want to learn. As opposed to learning by escaping a reprimand. It’s about applying proven techniques and coupling them with common sense.

When people hire me for in-home private consultations, two of the biggest mistakes are: They don’t realize that a bond and trusted relationship are at the root of training before they begin teaching and secondly, they have unrealistic expectations for themselves and their dog. Life skills and socialization – have a dual purpose and payoff. Not only will you be helping your dog learn how to navigate, behave and enjoy themselves in these situations, but you are putting yourself out there and socializing as well! 

Tip – the slower you work the better and the more patience you exercise the more your dog will develop. Learning never ends; it evolves based on the individual dog, age, health, etc. Listen to your dog. They are your best gauge as to how to proceed and by far your greatest teacher.

Be mindful of what you say, do, and act as well as what you don’t say do or act. Your dog is ALWAYS watching and taking notes!