Tag Archives: behaviour training

Greeting people may make your dog scared or uncomfortable. It’s all about your dog, its not about you and what you think, your dog needs or should be able to handle.

Greeting people may make your dog scared or uncomfortable.  It’s all about your dog, its not about you and what you think, your dog needs or should be able to handle.

New dog owners and seasoned dog owners, are all too often, not well-informed, when it comes to socialising their dog with people and children. I see it time and time again, the look on the dogs face, its body language saying “Hey I am not happy” while the owners are oblivious to what their dog is trying to tell them. It really makes me, want to pull my hair out sometimes.

In my opinion, the number one cause of many issues we have today with dogs in regards to, dog bites/attacks is “Human Complacency“. While some may not agree with me or maybe even be offended. The reality is, many people today, not all, feel too secure and too comfortable when in the company of dogs and either don’t see or are unaware, of the potential dangers. After all, many of us share our lives and homes, with an animal that is quicker than us, in every way, has teeth that can do a lot of damage and depending on the size, is stronger. If I were talking about another animal, say a Tiger for instance, would people still be so complacent?

As dog owners, its our job to keep our dogs safe and to educate and keep safe, anyone who comes into contact with our dogs. And yes, if someone chooses not to listen to you and thinks they know better, dog owners its ok to say No! don’t think by saying NO, you may offend someone, if that person is offended, its their problem, not yours.

If someone, be it a child or adult wants to come and say Hi and pat your dog. Do you let them rush up and pat your dog on the head? No you don’t, and if they try to, stop them. As a dog owner its your job to protect your dog and educate, the not so well informed.

They have to ask you first, in a calm and quiet manner. Dogs don’t like to be crowded or stared at,  (all have personal space, same as humans) whether it be one person or ten, ask the child or adult to stand side on with their arms by their side, a safe distance away, (the bigger your dog the more space), then your dog has the option to choose, whether to approach or not.

The same applies, in your home or when you are out and about, if you can’t be watching your dog and what is going on around you, 100% of the time, when other people or children are around, remove your dog from the situation. Don’t put your dog in a situation that it can’t handle just because you think, its what it needs. How well do you supervise your dog when around kids and other people?

Dog owners, need to get educated, so they in turn can educate others, on how to act and behave when in the company of dogs. If your dog is scared or uncomfortable, you should know, don’t let complacency rule the day.     Please read: 5 Easy ways to get bitten by a dog

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Posted by on August 22, 2015 in About


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Dear “normal dog” owners…

This is a very well written post, that many dog owners can relate to, especially if you have a reactive dog,  it is about off leash dogs in on leash areas.

Pit Bulls Make The World Go 'Round

An event last night prompted this.  Not a huge, catastrophic event.  Just something small and annoying that is happening more frequently.  Inara and I were out for a walk with some friends and their dogs.  We were getting ready for our final lap around the park when a woman with two German Shepherds unhooked their leashes and started throwing a ball for them.  Hardly a crisis, the dogs seemed very well-mannered and focused on their ball.  The problem was that this was in an on-leash only park.  Inara started barking because, though she’s come so very far, two large sprinting dogs is still too much for her.  So we had to cut our walk short.  As I dragged Inara back to my car, I called across the park to remind the woman that leashes are required.  I found out later from my walking buddies that after I left, she told…

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Posted by on July 26, 2015 in About


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Socialising your dog, Its all about your dog, its not about you and what you think, your dog needs or should be able to handle.

Socialising your dog, Its all about your dog, its not about you and what you think, your dog needs or should be able to handle.

New dog owners and not so new dog owners are all too often not well-informed, when it comes to dog socialization. socializing your dog isn’t just about socializing your dog with other dogs, it’s about getting your dog out and about, visiting new places, meeting new people, experiencing new sights and sounds because the world isn’t a quiet place. Even if you live rural, it’s a good idea to take your dog out and about.

You often hear by (not all) well-meaning experts, “You must socialize your dog” “if you want a well socialized dog, your dog should meet as many dogs as possible. or you may have problems later on”.

Unfortunately, all too often they neglect to say the dogs you introduce your dog to, should be friendly, non aggressive/non dominant dogs. Reality is, your dog should only socialize with dogs you personally know, who are friendly, non aggressive and non dominant.

Even puppy and obedience classes can contribute to behaviour problems in dogs, if not run correctly.

A bad experience especially at a young age with an unfamiliar dog, situation or person may cause behaviour problems, such as aggression or timidness.

For example: a dog rushes up to your dog and stares at it in the face, barks or jumps at it, or on it,  your dog may feel intimated or frightened. If your dog is attacked by another dog, your dog , may become dog aggressive. The same can happen with children, if they have had a bad experience early on in life, it can stay with them and influence their behaviour, later on in life.

The same can be said when you introduce your dog to unfamiliar people, places or situations, Don’t force your dog into any situation that clearly makes him uncomfortable or stressed. Take things slowly, so your dog has good associations. It’s all about your dog, it’s not about you and what you think your dog needs or should be able to handle.

If you encounter a situation where your dog becomes apprehensive or a bit scared/aggressive DO NOT pat your dog and say “Its OK” by doing that you have just praised your dog for being scared/aggressive. Instead, gently tell him “No”, get your dog to focus on you, so you can help him  behave more naturally, do some obedience, canine parkour, or whatever else your dog enjoys and sometimes if that means removing your dog from the situation, to a place where your dog feels more comfortable, that’s ok.

Click on the links below to read more about socializing your dog.

Socializing your dog the right way.    Dog Owners, its ok to say NO!   Dogs off Leash but not under control


Posted by on July 17, 2015 in About


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Stop the 77% by The Family Dog, another must see video for all, whether you are a dog owner or not. 77% of dog bites come from the family dog or a friends dog.

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Posted by on May 19, 2015 in About


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Dog Safety and the need to be aware, there is no room for multi-tasking here!

Dog Safety and the need to be aware, there is no room for multi-tasking here!

Lately, I have noticed a lot more dog bite prevention information finding its way on to Facebook and the like, and it got me thinking, I wonder how many people, actually stop and read any of this information, or have many, become immune and don’t even give it a second glance.

Whenever a reported dog attack/bite incident hits the news, it creates a feeding frenzy, unfortunately in many cases, we the public don’t get to hear the full story and yet for many it fuels a lively debate, on what should be done, what isn’t being done but one thing that always seems to come up, somewhere along the way, is the need for more education.

There are many good education programs and resources out there already both online and offline. So what is going on here, I know funding can be an issue for some, even here in New Zealand but are we doing enough?

Is complacency to blame, do we see dogs too much as part of the family and forget that they are dogs.  All too often they are put in situations, (whether it be at home or away), we would not put ourselves in, if the roles were reversed, and yet we expect them to behave and be good dogs.

As a dog trainer, I personally talk to and hand out information sheets to all my clients on dog safety and dog bite prevention. I also tell them they have to become teachers/educators and teach and show anyone who comes into contact with their dog, how to act and behave. Which I know can be hard because many worry they may offend someone, by telling them what to do.

I wonder how many dog trainers, behaviorist, dog training clubs, Veterinary practices (who frequently run puppy classes) pet shops, rescues, dog breeders etc do the same.

I think Molly Summer (Kindred Companions LLC) hit the nail on the head  in a recent article she wrote.

Titled: “You’ll think twice about taking your dog’s photo after reading this…”  (to read the full article click on the link)

“Dog trainers and behavioral consultants see it and we warn the public. We tell owners that “dogs don’t like hugs and kisses”. We explain dog body language and try to open a channel of communication. And finally we try to set healthy boundaries for families and pets. But for some reason all of this education and warning fall on deaf ears. This phenomenon is a relatively new thing. Sure dogs have been family pets for hundreds of years. But the requirement that a dog be tolerant of anything done to it, especially from a child “that doesn’t know better” is new. Most parents wouldn’t leave their toddler alone with a horse, a parrot, or even a cat, but for some reason, a dog is no longer an animal. Instead it is everything but an animal.

Perhaps Facebook, Instagram, and other social media platforms are partially to blame. Dogs are no longer the family pet. They are the decoration in family photos. The dog is supposed to be the child’s “best friends” but did anyone ask the dog? And even if they are, the meaning of “best friend” is to care about that friend’s needs and concerns. Forcing them to interact while expressing discomfort is not treating them like “best friends.” And before an owner says that they “didn’t see the signs”, ignorance is no excuse. If your best friend spoke a different language you’d do your best to try to understand it. Yet for some reason, dog language rarely becomes part of the conversation. ….”



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Posted by on April 16, 2015 in About


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Introduction to Canine Parkour (Urban Agility) Class Starts Sunday 29th March @ 11am in Ashhurst, Class will run for 90 minutes.

Introduction to Canine Parkour (Urban Agility) Class Starts Sunday 29th March @ 11am in Ashhurst, Class will run for 90 minutes.

Urban Dog Agility also known as canine parkour is a great way for you and your dog to exercise and have lots of fun by using natures obstacles and everyday objects you come across, while out on your daily walk.

Some basic obedience knowledge is required but there are no barriers, with a little adaptation and imagination, all breeds and ages can do this.
You will be surprised what you and your dog can achieve. Combined with obedience training, it will strengthen your communication and training skills. Both you and your dog will become more confident, in everyday situations. Even nervy and reactive dogs can benefit by participating in Urban Agility because your dog will be focused on you and what you are asking it to do.
This is a introductory class and will run for 90 minutes, Cost $30, if you would like to attend, please fill out the form below or message me on Facebook.
This is not an obedience class all dogs must have some basic level of obedience.
If your dog is dog aggressive/reactive: I will need to meet you both before joining the class. To determine whether or not a class situation is suitable at that time, for you and your dog. Prior, one on one private training with one of my training dogs, maybe necessary before joining a class.
I will be holding a class for reactive dogs later on if there is enough interest.
To read more click on Canine Parkour

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Posted by on March 18, 2015 in About


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Interesting article about raising awareness of mental illness in dogs

Interesting article about raising awareness of mental illness in dogs

I was browsing the web the other day and came across this article from Dogster on mental illness in dogs. David Rodger is the founder of MBJungle Foundation (facebook link) his aim is to raise awareness of pet mental illness and pet defects and how pets can have an impact on people, struggling with mental illness and physical disabilities. David Rodger also has a website MBJungle Foundation

A very Interesting article and worth the read, as I, myself seem to be meeting many more stressed out dogs, these day.

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Posted by on March 1, 2015 in About


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Dog Bites another at a Timaru Dog Park

Dog Bites another at a Timaru Dog Park


Again, here is another aspect of dog safety that sadly gets overlooked by many. Growling dog bitten by bigger dog

Just because its a dog park it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have control of your dog, The Dog Control Act still applies, owners need to have their “Eyes Wide Open” be aware of what is going on around them, then they can stop something bad happening, before it starts.

Dogs do speak to us and each other, if we choose to listen and observe. Dogs communicate via body language and vocal tonation, dog owners need to understand this.

Many people today are just too complacent. If you are taking your dog to a dog park, there are Basic Dog Park Etiquette  rules that should and need to be followed because lets face it, you need to stand up and protect your dog.

I personally believe, dog parks should have designated gated areas set aside, one for small dogs and one for big dogs. By doing this, it would reduce the risk of these kind incidents happening.

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Posted by on January 19, 2015 in About


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Do you know what your dog is trying to tell you?

Dogs communicate in 4 ways, via body language, scent, touch and vocal tonation. In fact dogs read body language better than we do. Your dog more often than not, communicates with you on a daily basis. I bet you talk to your dog all the time, I know I do but how many of you, know what your dog is actually saying to you. Quite often what you say to your dog verbally or what you think they understand, isn’t what your body language is telling them, except for a few words you may have trained your dog to understand, they don’t know what you are saying to them.

The most common thing I hear from dog owners is “My dog knows when its done the wrong thing” In fact your dog doesn’t know, its reading your body language, feeding off your emotions and listening to your voice. If you are angry, your body posture looks more threatening/domineering and your voice may sound more harsh or high pitched.

Here is a very good article on dog body language and titled What is My Dog Trying to Tell Me well worth the read if you want to understand what your dog is trying to tell you.


Posted by on January 11, 2015 in About


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Is your dog a fussy eater?

I personally like my dogs eat anything I put in front of them, I am not big on fussy eaters, unless they are sick or have allergies to certain foods. For example, my boy Zues (above)  loves chicken but chicken doesn’t love him, chicken brings him out in a rash.

I feed my dogs twice a day and chicken isn’t on the menu for any of them, they all get the same food and yes, just like humans they do like a change, so I vary what I feed them. I have never really had a fussy eater but as with anything, dogs love routine, so to make everyone’s life easier, including my own, I started out and still do, feed twice a day, if the food isn’t eaten within 15 minutes, I pick it up and they don’t get fed again, until its time for the next meal.

Don’t make the mistake of leaving food down for your dog all day, this just encourages your dog to graze. it also means you can’t gauge how much your dog is really eating. It can also make house training harder, especially in young dogs and can cause excessive weight gain.

Always leave water out for your dog and dogs who eat mainly dry food, do consume more water than dogs who are fed completely wet or a mix of wet and dry food. Remember, it is your dogs choice whether he/she chooses to eat or not, unless your dog is ill.

Teaching Your Dog To Eat  by Sue Ailsby  is an interesting article and worth a read, if you have a fussy eater or you don’t want a fussy eater.




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Posted by on January 8, 2015 in About


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