June 12, 2012
HELLO, I’d like to fill you in to how I’ve been making a living these last few years. Yes, I train dogs, but I offer a unique program unlike any other dog trainer (I know of). People hire me to stay at their home and teach their dog(s) as many things as I can, plus stop as many behavioral issues as I can. It’s all done while the owners are on Holiday! It’s a program I like to call: “Doggy Behavior Makeover, Holiday Edition”. Sometimes you can add “Extreme” in front of “Doggy” <g>. It makes sense that the training is conducted in and around the dog’s own environment where the problems are occurring; plus it’s much easier for me to change the bad behaviors to good ones. After all, a blind person doesn’t teach their own seeing eye dog.
Since I’ve moved to Australia I’ve had heaps of bookings for this program. California twice, Melbourne, Brisbane, Byron Bay and many other places close to my area. Recently I was staying in Banora Point, NSW working with an 8-month old Chocolate Lab. While on the job, Sometimes I’ll film me and the dogs with the goal of making lots of tutorials. Everything from, how to stop behavioral issues to teaching your dog how to walk on a treadmill or put all their toys back in their basket. I’ve posted a few already on my YouTube channel, but have many, many more I’ll be working on. Stay tuned.
Follow me on Facebook to see up-dates of the dogs (in-training) progress and much more. (Feel free to browse through my doggy photo album). FACEBOOK
To learn a lot more about the Doggy Behavior Makeover Program and other programs I offer, including my fee’s, visit my Services Page
Appreciate the comments, video and Facebook LIKES
February 22, 2012
If you don’t follow or agree with my suggestions it doesn’t mean I wouldn’t speak to you or take you as a client. I know there are exceptions to every rule. I am expressing my professional opinion backed by many years of experience. I only want to help you avoid situations that could be detrimental to you and your pet.
Don’t Get A Dog…
… If you’re going to adopt a dog (small or large breed) and you’re pregnant! Most young adult to adult dogs- especially small dogs, probably won’t like babies/children, poking, pulling, jumping (falling) on them, etc. especially if they haven’t been raised with them. Not all of these dogs will bite kids, but lots of kids do get bitten. WAIT! Have your baby, raise them for several years, then adopt and raise your dog properly.
…From (most) pet shops. Most reputable breeders don’t usually sell their puppies to pet shops. Why? Because breeders care where the puppies are placed (homed). Breeders also want to make sure you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into, they don’t want their dogs or their dogs offspring to end up being abandoned, or given to a shelter or worst? I’ve read up to 90% of Pet shops in the U.S. get their puppies from puppy mill type operations. AND It’s big corporations that are backing these puppy mills. Many new regulations have made it more difficult for pet shops to buy puppies from puppy mills, and I’m sure if you have the time to do the research, you can find pet shops that are legitimate. I’ve heard from a pet shop owner here in Australia, who gets her puppies from a reputable breeder, Unfortunately though, this is not a Country-wide practice.
…as a gift for someone. I shouldn’t need to explain why this is a bad idea, but this kind of thing happens more often than you might think. There’s a big difference between overhearing someone say; they want a dog, and them having to care for one day in and day out. Or a child saying they want a puppy, when they have no clue about the amount of care needed to owning a pet; heck, you have to remind them to brush their teeth everyday. Unlike a tie, or glass vase, this is one gift that if you have to return it, it could be the end of a life.
…unless you plan on taking the dog and you through puppy kindy, basic and advanced obedience courses. So many dogs are abandoned or returned to shelters only 3-6 months after adopting them because of behavior/control issues. Those issues could have been taken care of with a few lessons from a dog friendly trainer/behaviorist, and not much more time per day than you already spend with them. When I trained animal actors we would rescue dogs from shelters and turn them into working actors. It’s not the dog, it’s just the owners lack of knowledge.
… unless you’re going to fully socialize them before the age of 4 months. All dogs should be properly socialized and exposed to lots of strange children/adults who pet them, hug them, sleep (near) them, play and hand feed them. Doing this as early as possible, especially with knows aggressive breeds will greatly reduce aggressive behavior towards people. The benefits of early exposure outweigh the very small risk of a young puppy actually catching something from another dog.
…If the puppy your getting is under 7 weeks old. The period of 4-8 weeks is a crucial socialization period with the mother and other litter mates. It’s the best time to teach the puppy a few ground rules i.e. how to interact with other siblings, how to respect elders, how to read mother and siblings body language, not to wonder off, how to have a soft mouth (bite), learn the “Den” concept and a few other lessons. Puppies that are adopted under 6 weeks old are more likely to display aggressive behavior with their owner and have poor social skills with other dogs.
…If you have small children and the breed you’re getting has known aggressive tendencies or is an older dog. The danger is with any breed that wasn’t properly exposed to children under 4 months but even more so with known aggressive breeds. Watch for warning signs and hiring a professional behaviorist can help greatly reduce/cure aggressive behavior towards people. The number of dogs bites in the U.S., especially towards children is staggering.
…if the second dog is a puppy and your first dog is too old. A puppy can put an extra boost in a older dogs life, but if your first dog is too old, the new puppy just ends up being too much for the older dog’s frail body. Your older dog can’t defend himself and will have trouble communicating to the puppy to back off! The best time to add a new puppy is when your first dog is between 1 and 5-years old (large breeds) 1 and 9 years old (small breeds).
…I should say, don’t get 2 dogs at the same time, especially if they’re siblings. Yes they will keep each other company, but it’s also double trouble. In most cases you will barely have time to raise and train one of them properly, let alone both. In a dog-owner relationship you want your dog focused on you more than things around them. Getting 2 puppies at once, they will focus more on each other. It’s best to wait until your first dog is at least year and well trained before getting a second dog. A good idea is to adopt and train an older dog, then get your new puppy. That way they can keep each other company, plus you’ve saved a life.
… Based on looks alone. You have to realize what your getting yourself into. Some dogs are gorgeous, but can be a huge burden on you, your family and home. It’s difficult for me to recommend a breed, because all dogs require time and patience to do it right. I did post the top ten smartest breeds, thats a good place to start looking for a dog. Some breeds aren’t bred to be in certain living conditions and some owners shouldn’t be owning certain breeds. Unless you know exactly what your getting into and can provide whatever is needed, these are the breeds I would avoid owning. http://www.malibudogtraining.com/2009/08/12/10-breeds-to-avoid/
…If you have small children. When raising a child and dog together, one of them isn’t going to get the attention needed. It’ s best to wait until your child is at least 7 years old before getting a new puppy. A cat would be a better solution, but any animal will take away from the precious time you need for your child. Obviously there are exceptions to the rule but to do it right, you should wait.
…If you work long hours. A lonely bored dog will develop behavioral issues that usually leads to trouble! Luckily there are options for people with long working hours, dog walkers and doggy day care, however these exercise outlets don’t replace what you provide with companionship. If you get a new puppy, be prepared to take a few weeks off. I wouldn’t get any animal if I worked long hours. A dog sitting in the backyard is only learning things that will keep them there.
… Just because you have a backyard! ok, maybe having one- makes it nice when you don’t have time to walk them, but it shouldn’t be the main reason to get a dog or not. It’s not how big a home or backyard is, it’s what you do that makes you the perfect dog owner. When left alone a dog isn’t running laps in the backyard trying to make up his daily requirement of exercise. A lonely or bored dog will just develop bad habits like barking, digging, chewing, fence fighting and escaping etc. Getting a second dog may not be the answer either; sometimes it can help but usually just leads to double trouble. Whether you have a big backyard or a big dog in a small place it doesn’t matter, as long as you spend time with them exercising and educating.
April 24, 2011
At present there is no specific laws that require a dog to be restrained while riding inside a vehicle, however if there is an accident and the dog is injured because it wasn’t restrained, you could be subjected to a fine under the Prevention of cruelty to Animals act. At least, that’s how it reads here in Australia.
There are rules about keeping a dog in the back of a truck, like here in Australia, if you transport an animal in the back of an open vehicle, that animal must be restrained. In the state of New South Wales a fine of $5,500.00 or 6-months imprisonment can be imposed on the driver if this rule is not followed. In Queensland the same rule is in effect and it carries a fine of $22,500.00 or 1-year imprisonment. It should be noted that working dogs such as those used to drive a herd are exempt from these rules.
My research didn’t turn up fines in other Countries. But I’m sure there are laws regarding restraining a dog in the back of a vehicle, if not, doing so should be common sense.
The prevention of cruelty to animals organizations all have a position on the matter, which includes protecting the animal from becoming injured, The RSPCA and I’m sure other organizations around the world highly recommends that you restrain your pet while travelling inside your vehicle.
I did read where several countries or jurisdictions are planning to introduce bills, which will make it an offence to carry animals in a moving car un-restrained. In the meantime, there are plenty of devices on the market that are easy to use and connect with your vehicle’s seatbelt system.
For now the decision is up to the pet owner.
Happy and safe travels
March 11, 2011
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April 15, 2010
This Site went live June 24th, 2009.
Shortly after moving from Malibu California to the Gold Coast of Australia in the beginning of 2009 – I decided to start this blog-site. Having educated dogs and trained people for the last 30 years, I wanted to share my experiences and give a little expert advice- so people can have a much better understanding and better relationship with their K-9 companions.
Occasionally, I’ll be posting a variety of information on dog behavior, training, opinions or topics about dogs and cats, stories, videos or articles-I think you’ll enjoy> Even some how-to videos showing step by step instruction on obedience, tricks or solving a dogs behavioral issues. (Soon to be only viewed by members).
I want to focus attention on my readers and their needs as dog owners. If you have a comment or requests, I read and respond to everyone. Please feel free to fill out the comment form or send me an email. By subscribing with just your email, you will be notified when I post something new. Subscribe
Look for the “Wait, there’s more” button at the bottom of the left hand column. It will keep taking you to the next page of training and behavioral tips.
Right now I’m working on several video projects. The big promotional video is finished and now just waiting for Dog Star Daily to post it.
Thanks for visiting.
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January 7, 2010
From an early age we are conditioned to look at, talk to or pet dogs. Our Dads and Moms while pushing us in our strollers, would alert us to every dog walking nearby, saying “there’s a doggie”, “look at the doggie”, what a nice doggie”, “wanna pet the doggie?” These are just some of the things I hear parents say while I’m out training the dogs. Parents want to teach children what things are, and dogs are the perfect thing for parents to point out, because humans love animals. So it’s understandable that as adults, many of us are programmed to greet dogs on the street or at least say something to them like: “Oh what a nice doggie” or “Hi, little puppy”, “What an adorable dog”, etc..
In my many years observing people and their reaction when they see a dog, there is never a time when someone would just pet a dog without uttering a sound. When dogs greet other dogs, they don’t use an excited tone or words to greet each other, it’s all non-verbal but very communicative body signals. Dogs can read our body signals, but when we pet and talk to them excitedly, we’re going to elicit a reaction from them and if it’s a young dog or a dog the owner already has trouble controlling, they may start to nip or jump on you. The owner then gets embarrassed and of course you tell them “oh, it’s okay- I don’t mind” but the owner is thinking, uh, I do mind!
Think “Dog Whispering”
Every once in a while, especially if you have a very excitable dog or puppy, try to pet them without making a sound. You’ll find it difficult at first; remember you’ve been conditioned as a baby to greet them excitedly. But still try it. When you pet a dog in a calm manner and without making a sound, you’ll notice a more bonding connection; they will respond to your touch in a much calmer way, usually with their eyes rolling in ecstasy in the back of their head. Plus you’ll be helping the owners -out there- from feeling embarrassed, and the dog because the owner will take them out a lot more.
Personally when I get a massage, I don’t like when the masseur is chatting away, if they “Don’t speak” I can focus on the reward I so well deserve.
Feel free to comment below.
December 24, 2009
On June 24th of this year (my birthday), I started this blog site. So far I’ve published 51 blogs or posts and every month more people are visiting the site, so I must be doing something right. I’ve also had many people (maybe you?) make comments about the stories I write, over 100 comments so far. I’m not really sure if that’s good or bad, but to me any comment is great! I’m glad and hope people are learning things from this site, because I need people to read what I write, then translate it to their pets. Together we can make their lives easier and in turn ours.
I feel like the flight attendant when they say “Thank you for flying with us, I know you have many other choices of airlines”. But really “Thanks” for reading what I spend time writing. I have many more stories and training tips in me, plus I have some exciting things happening early next year and I hope you’ll stick around. Give your pet a hug for me..
Happy Holidays to you and your loved one’s.
December 14, 2009
Nobody wants to face reality or they’re being too politically correct. Quite often I hear people making excuses as to “Why” their child (I mean dog) doesn’t behave or listen to them like they should. I hear things like: They’re too tired, too distracted, not in the mood, I didn’t exercise them enough, etc. When the real reason is, a) They never took the time to teach them b) They don’t know exactly how to teach them or how dogs learn c) They keep doing the wrong things without seeking professional help d) They treat them like a human baby e) They’re afraid of scaring them emotionally by challenging them and their intelligence.
Excuses I hear from dog owners:
They only listen when I have a treat.
They’re a rescue dog; they’ve had a tough life.
They didn’t get their exercise today.
I guess they don’t feel like it.
They must smell something
My dog is too young or too old (set in their ways)
He’s mad at me?
He’s trying to be Pack Leader or dominating me? This is my favorite, from the perspective of an animal behaviorist, this is equivalent to: Say you’re helping your child study for a test and you ask your child a question and they don’t know the answer; they must be dominating you.
Do I hear more excuses down here in Australia vs. in the States? Well, I’ve only been here a year and I do hear excuses but in the States is where I’ve heard most of them. This blog was kind of directed at the people of Australia because almost all dogs in this area are being walked on harnesses and of course pulling the owners everywhere. I believe the owners don’t realize the true potential or intelligence of dogs and just make yet another excuse that dog’s pull on leash because they’re dogs. To me, it’s a waste of a dogs mind, talent and well-being.
December 3, 2009
I posted a blog on the TOP TEN SMARTEST BREEDS and if you think I’m giving you a green light to own one of the breeds, you’d be wrong. Just because they were tested by professionals and shown they have higher train-ability IQ’s than other breeds, doesn’t automatically make them a good family pet. As a mater of fact, some of these so called “smart breeds” can be far from the perfect pet, for the unprepared owner.
The dog in the # 5 spot: Labrador retriever is the breed that goes through my training course the most. People complain they’re like clown’s in a dog’s suit; stealing food, mouthing body parts, really hyper, jumping and banging into kids, chewing and grabbing at everything, jumping on strangers and other dogs. The breed frustrates them when they don’t listen or behave around people.
The dog in the # 9 spot Rottweiler: Has the strongest jaw pressure of any breed and are very vocal dogs that occasionally growl at their owners. People are intimidated by them so they tend to get what they want. The Rottweiler is in the working breed group and because of it’s mastiff line, can be a good, maybe too good guard dog, intimidating people & dogs.
The dog in the # 3 spot the German shepherd: Is responsible for more bites to humans than any other breed. The breed is a very protective and can make a good guard dog or a bad one when biting friends and family. It’s a hard working dog in the Herding group, so many complaints are about how their dog likes to chase moving things: kids, cars, small dogs etc… Many small dogs are bitten my German Shepherds.
The dog in the # 2 spot, the poodle: Owners complain the small poodles are difficult to housebreak and they have excessive barking problems and won’t shut up! (Their words, not mine) The standard size poodle owners complain about pulling and lunging on leash at anybody or for no apparent reason.
The dog in the #10 spot Australian Cattle dog: Is in the herding group, so you guest it, likes to heard, chase jump and nip at family members.. They get bored very easily and require lots of room and a job, if they don’t have one, they take it out on anything that isn’t nailed down.
With that said, it’s not the breed’s fault owners are having trouble! First, they probably got the dog for the wrong reasons? i.e. train-ability, looks, a friend has one, they grew up with one, or they have a backyard > DON\’T GET A DOG. Or they probably don’t know how dogs think or learn, or the importance of early socialization and education. Regardless of what we know about the intelligence of the different breeds, all dogs are still predatory animals that come “Hard wired” with traits the unsuspecting owner won’t like. And when this happens, the dog get’s the worst of it.
If your dog has a specific breed trait or behavioral issue you’d like to change, please use the comment form below
November 25, 2009
Many years ago, I was contacted by a company to test a new correction collar that didn’t involve a shock but used citronella spray as a correction. I was sent both a bark spray collar and a remote spray collar. I quickly realized these were much better than the shock collars that were being used at that time. People bought shock collars because they thought it was a “quick fix” solution to behavioral and obedience problems, and for many reasons they were more trouble than they were worth. You can read more of my thoughts about shock collars here>: SHOCK COLLARS
Back to my story. I tested the spray collars and thought they were great! The spray doesn’t just directly affect one of a dog’s senses (like the shock does) but four of them, which is why they are more effective than the shock collars. When sprayed, they can see it (it’s a mist) the can feel it (under the chin) they can hear it (pssst!) and they can smell it (citronella). The remote collar set-up worked great for stopping the more difficult behaviors, like digging, chewing, jumping on the other side of the door (to name a few).
There are 3 buttons on the hand-held remote, and when you press the first button, it emits a double beep sound on the collar. The second button emits a short duration of spray (1 second). The third button emits a longer duration of spray (2 seconds).
I thought this is great; you can vary your correction or re-direction by warning them first with the beep sound and because many dogs are sensitive to sound, the beep was the correction, so you didn’t need to spray. If the dog didn’t respond to the beep, the short and longer spray could be used. Those dogs quickly learn the beep was a warning to the more startling spray correction, then after a few beep and spray experiences, the “beep” became the correction. The collars are only part of the behavior modification process, I also incorporated a re-direction reward after the beep or spray marker. I also made sure the dogs had plenty of time to be dogs and get exercised and understand at least five obedience commands, because a tired dog is less likely to display behavioral problems and a smart dog learns not only what to do, but what they’re not supposed to do.
After my evaluation input, the company (Premier Pet Products) wrote in the instruction book to use the beep as a positive sound, letting the dog know that when they hear the beep it’s a good thing. There was also no mention of the redirection follow through reward, which to me is the most important part. When I read that in the instruction manual, I knew the testing from other trainers who gave input was not done properly nor did they read or take my input seriously. Too bad, because many dogs get sprayed when there is no need, and what a waste of the proper use for the beep sound. I haven’t read their instruction booklet in several years, I wonder if changes were made?
Today, I rarely use these collars but it’s nice to have them on hand when I run into the more difficult cases. I can see however, where a few people can benefit from using them, as long as they understand the right way and take all the other steps needed. If you ever purchase a remote spray collar, I don’t recommend using the beep as a reward marker as per instructions. That’s what a “Clicker” or the word “Good” is for.
November 10, 2009
I’ve posted over 1800 tweets on twitter and have over 5000 followers. The 10 tweets listed below are ones that other people have either responded to or re-tweeted to their followers.
1. NEVER use laser pointers as a chase game for dogs! It may be entertaining 2 U, but it literally drives dogs crazy! Really!..Warning About Laser Pointers
2. If you’re wondering if you should get a dog or not? I say, Don’t Get A Dog ….(DON\’T GET A DOG)
3. You’re saying “goodbye, be a good doggy”, they hear nah nah I’m leaving you all alone, all by… (NO EMOTIONAL HELLO’S)
4. Pointing only gets them to look at your finger, it’s not until they’re trained do they know what your pointing at.
5. Around 5 MILLION dogs and cats (in U.S.) are euthanized each year. Leave breeding 2 professionals. Spay /neuter your pet!
6. Dogs are unaware of the dangers and social expectations within the human world. It’s your job to educate them
7. It’s just a tennis ball to us, to them it’s NIRVANA!
8. Your dog’s mind is a terrible thing to waste, educate, don’t dominate
9. For many years I’ve questioned the veterinarian immunization schedule for dogs because I believe immunizations can…(SHORTNING A DOGS LIFE)
10. Why the pack leader mentality 4 training and living with your dog is out of date and inappropriate. The dog training…(Old vs. New)
A few of my favorites:
Little dogs don’t know they’re little but owners keep trying to convince them they are.
A dogs “G” spot is behind the ears, the chest or tummy and right b 4 the tail on their back.
A dog living in the backyard will only learn things that will keep them there.
Follow me @ MalibuDogTrainr
October 7, 2009
September 24, 2009
Dogs can’t verbally tell you what’s wrong with them, so taking their temperature can tell you a lot about how they’re feeling. That’s the first thing you would do with a child and it’s the first thing a vet does with your dog. A dog’s normal temperature fluctuates close to the 102.7F or 39C. It’s very simple to do, very similar to taking a babies temperature. Be sure to use the proper type of thermometer (rectal).
Another good indication on how your dog is feeling is their eating habits. A dog can survive 4-5 days without eating, but we obviously wouldn’t wait that long to be concerned. Missing more than a meal or 2 should alert you that something might be wrong.
I know there are many over the counter medications for humans that also work on our canine friends. Of course the doses are based on the weight of our dogs, so you must be very careful. Talk to your veterinarian about the use of human medication for your pet. I’m not a vet but I have many years of experience in caring for dogs and I know I don’t need to rush my dog to the vet every time they sneeze. It’s always better to be on the side of caution by learning more about your dog’s health.
Please subscribe to my blog with just your email and you will be notified when I post new things. TNX
September 22, 2009
Yep, they’re here! and I would love to do the research but I found this video that, I think, is funny and will tell you all you need to know about Flush-able Poop Bags YouTube
But before you go off into YouTube land, Please for the planet, use either flushable or biodegradable poop bags. You can also save money by ordering on-line. Below is a direct link to the right kind of poop bags
September 10, 2009
This is a continuation to Boarding your dog, part 1
Part 2: As the manager of a Pet Hotel for several years I have some insight and tips to help you save money and find a good safe place for your pet to stay.
There is an airborne virus called Canine cough but many people refer to it as Kennel cough, because dogs can catch it while staying at a kennel. However, dogs can catch it anywhere, even in a vet office. Just like us catching a cold from a co-worker or a child catching something from a classmate, dogs can catch things from other dogs. In my opinion, the less your dog is around other dogs, the more susceptible they are to getting sick, that’s because their immunity is not as strong as the dogs that get out and around other dogs, but it also can depend on the individual dog and the strength of their immune system. This is why kennel operators require the Bordetella Vaccination. It’s best your dog gets it several days before boarding but be aware that having the shot doesn’t always protect them against every strain of the virus. If your pet was exposed to the virus, it could take a few days for them to show the symptoms. I’m not telling you not to seek attention from your vet if they start making a gagging or coughing sound, I’m just saying if your dog is eating and playing (on their own) somewhat normally, I wouldn’t rush them to the vet. If however, they weren’t eating, showing a temperature and frequently gagging and coughing, then by all means seek medical attention. The antibiotics the vets gives don’t cure the dog from what they’ve caught but help avoid any secondary infections. Just like a child with a cold/flu, rest, lots of fluids (low or no temperature) the virus will run it’s course. FYI- Symptoms usually run their course in 3 – 7 days but can last as long as 14 days. (Use common sense, so when in doubt, seek medical attention.)
note: if your dog gets sick, in most cases, it’s not the kennel or managers fault, just like it’s not the Principles fault if your child catches a cold from another student. It is part of being a dog owner.
Boarding dogs can get very expensive, if you have more than one dog or you are a frequent boarder ask for a discount. You never know unless you ask. I would give discounts to military, seniors, students or people who were going to causes I thought were worthy of a discount.
Ask what dog food they feed, or ask if you can bring a special diet and do they charge extra for that? Buying a good dog food in bulk can get very expensive, so don’t expect the best quality food at the kennel, although kennels are now paying attention to what the costumer wants.
With some dogs, switching dog food abruptly can cause intestinal problems. In our facility we had a great track record with No bloating problems and only a small percentage of dogs having loose stools because of the food change. If your dog has been on the same food all it’s life, you probably want to bring your own food. If your dog is accustom to a variety of foods, or a variety of high quality food, they probably wont have a reaction. My perceptions is, going from a low quality food to a high one usually causes the loose stools, I don’t find it happening as much the other way.
Do they do anything to help calm dogs nerves like having a T.V. on during the day (not animal planet). Air fans or a ticking clock during the day or night which helps drown out other dog or outside noises.
Does the kennel accept Titer verifications: You can get a blood test instead of giving a shot. The blood test is called “titer”. I believe over-immunizing can shorten your dog’s life. Read my blog “shortening a dog’s life” http://bit.ly/1lcfPT
A few other questions you might ask is what Vet do they use, is someone there at night and do they have an evacuation plan?
If you have any questions or comments for me, please fill out the comment form.