It’s National Train Your Dog Month!

dog training Miami

National Train Your Dog Month

Training isn’t some luxury only wealthy pet owners get the privilege of receiving, it’s a necessity every dog owner should factor into when they purchase a pet. A well-trained dog leads to a well-balanced, healthy lifestyle.  At Equipaws Pet Services, we understand that the hustle and bustle of everyday life can get in the way of consistent dog training in Miami, but we encourage you to take this new year to become the best dog owner you can be! January is National Train Your Dog Month, so what better time than the present to get your dog the training they deserve?

What training is the best training?

No two dogs are the same. Training for one dog may not be right for another, so it is important to ask yourself what expectations you have for your dog and what is your dog capable of? For example, if you want a hunting dog they will require much more intense and more frequent training than a house dog and a French Bulldog will have greater limits than an active and limber Catahoula. For reasons like these, it is important to shop around and find a trainer that meshes with you, gets along with your dog, and takes care of both your needs.

Is it important to continue training?

While the initial training sessions are extremely important, the follow up is even more vital. Keeping up with dog training helps keep their skills fresh and gives you an opportunity to work closely with one another. As a pet owner it isn’t just your responsibility to keep your dog physically fit, but mentally fit as well. Training reaches all their senses. It requires them to listen to the things being asked of them, to think about the things they have been taught, smell and taste treats given to positively reinforce desired behaviors, and feel the pride when they make the correct choices.  

What is the best way to continue training?

The best way to ensure training continues is to set aside time throughout the week specifically for training. These training sessions can be broken up throughout the day or completed all at once, and they can be completed during walks or in the comfort of your home. The goal is to create a variety of training sessions and to keep things exciting. Also, training with distractions, such as at a dog park or the outdoor mall, helps teach the dog how to focus on what’s being asked.

So, this January, get the dog you dreamed about. Find a trainer that suits you both, find the best training strategy that keeps your dog’s mind fresh, and find the best way to keep your dog training throughout the new year!

Resources for local dog training in Miami:

 

Equipaws Goes to Catch Canine Training Academy

 

Equipaws Goes to Catch Canine Training Academy

Our social media specialist and dog walker Kristen Cortese just completed the Catch Canine Trainers Academy taught by Dee Hoult, CEO of  Applause Your Paws Dog Training and one of only 250 Certified Dog Behavior Consultants in the world. We sponsored Kristen for this week-long intensive dog training as part of our overall mission to improve the quality of our clients’ dogs’ lives. We spend a lot of time one-on-one with your pups- our walks are a perfect opportunity to reinforce their training. Kristen just completed training with the best so she can in turn work with our own dog walkers on maintaining great behaviors and walking habits for your pups!

Anatomy of Dog Training

The week-long, hands-on training happened from January 23-37, eight hours a day at Miami-Dade Animal Services. The group learning alongside Kristen was small, which gave them even more time with Dee to learn tools on how to teach dogs basic behaviors such as heel, sit, lie down, go to their place etc., and some tools on how to break a dog of certain behaviors such as leash pulling. The workshop included a lot of work with adult dogs, whom they taught how to sit, stay, heel, lie down, and to go to their place.

The training also covered how to get a dog’s focus back when you’re training, as dogs can get very distracted. Dog training is a very interesting calling that is a lot more difficult and time-intensive than it looks. A few things a trainer must do include:

  • Clicking and rewarding at the proper time, establishing a system of marking the behavior and rewarding. transition from first luring a dog into doing something,
  • To taking away the lure,
  • then moving to using a hand signal…

basically eliminating things until dog understands a verbal cue. We have a renewed respect for dog trainers!

 

Watch Kristen in Action at Catch Canine Training Academy!

Major Lessons in Dog Training:

One of the main takeaways Kristen shared with us is how easy it is to reinforce bad behavior inadvertently. Dee taught the group the psychology of how we actually reinforce bad behavior without realizing it. “I’m really cognizant of it this past week with our walks. If I let this dog pull me to sniff, I’m rewarding negative behavior.”

“A walk is a walk. And when a dog performs and does what it’s supposed to do, then you allow them to sniff. You’re using these fun things like sniffing and playing as rewards. If you don’t use them to use as reward for positive behavior, you’re missing out. Another example: why would you leave food in dishes for dogs to graze at their own pace? Feedings are a perfect opportunity to reinforce behaviors that you’ve taught!” says Kristen.

Every interaction with our pets is an opportunity to continue to reinforce positive behavior in them. As dog walkers, we know we’re not just walking dogs; there are so many other things going on. We can support whatever training the dog has completed given that we spend so much time with our clients’ pups. Some quick takeaways:

  • There’s a time for play, but you also want to continue to reinforce the behaviors you’ve spent time instilling in your dog.
  • You can undo them with silly things like walking in the house too excited, squealing and over-exciting them, and then they end up jumping.  
  • Every move you make is important, something you have to be mindful of if you want to reinforce good behavior.

That’s why it’s important for the whole family to be on board with reinforcing good behavior, or else training will be a waste of time and money.

Kristen learned that, not surprisingly, a lot of dog psychology is totally relatable to how we raise our children. “This is exactly what’s going on with my daughter. I couldn’t believe the parallel between training kids and training daughter. Every day we can either reinforce positive behaviors or negative behavior as walkers, thus missing opportunities.”

We are all very satisfied with what Kristen learned. Kristen says, “Dee is amazing. We worked heavily with the shelter dogs which was challenging and fulfilling. If you can work with them you can work with any dog! We also worked with trained dogs and did a lot of exercises alongside other trainers, who we watched and learned from.”

Trainers Helping Homeless Animals at Miami-Dade Animal Services

We also love that the training took place at Miami-Dade Animal Services, because the larger dogs have a harder time getting adopted than small dogs do. This workshop directly benefited and changed many doggie lives, because a trained dog is much easier to handle and adopt.

Kristen agrees: “It was nice to go to Miami-Dade Animal Services. They have a beautiful facility and it was so rewarding to volunteer there. We each took out three different dogs daily, all big shelter dogs. It was really cool to work with them because we don’t know what they know or what they’ve been trained in. There’s a very broad description of their personality when you see their sheet.”

Kristen really enjoyed the training, and we can’t wait for her to share her knowledge with our dog walkers. “I loved being able to work with dogs that are unwanted. You gain a sense of respect for these trainers. It’s a hard job but the rewards are high because these dogs are so smart. You take away the most that you are implementing something and it’s this communication that goes on between you and the dog- it’s like seeing a kid learn. When they realize you’re teaching them to sit and they get it consistently, what you set out to do you’ve accomplished. That’s the best feeling.”

 

Tips on introducing new dogs to one another

Trainer's Tipswith Applause Your Paws (1)

 

Tips on introducing new dogs to one another.

This month’s Trainer’s Corner spotlights introducing new dogs to one another. This is perfect for a few of you who have adopted new pups into a family already consisting of canine companions.

Many of you already know of Dee Hoult, Miami’s Doggy Deeva and owner of Applause Your Paws, one of the premiere dog training companies in South Florida. We refer many of our clients to her capable trainers and also take care of some of their special dogs. It’s with great pleasure that we share an exclusive Applause Your Paws Trainer’s Corner in our monthly newsletter and blog posts for Equipaws Pet Services clients.

Q. How should I introduce my new dog to my family’s current dog without causing problems?

A. When trying to have two new dogs meet for the first time it’s best to do it on neutral ground. Many dogs will be inclined to be territorial towards a new dog coming into their space. Choose a nice open location where the dogs won’t feel cornered, like a park. Have both on leash and if unsure how the meeting will go start by walking them together but with enough distance that they won’t be able to interact. After they have gotten some energy out, try the greeting. Always keeping in mind that part of a proper and polite dog greeting is when they sniff each others rear ends.

If you are ever uncomfortable with having two dogs meet then have a certified trainer help you introduce the dogs. It’s always better to delay a meeting to make sure it’s done correctly than to have the dog’s create a bad first impression of each other. Remember you never get a second chance to make a good first impression and neither will your dog!

Follow these tips whenever you’re thinking of adopting a new pet into your family. Many thanks to Dee again for her insight!