A Cow on the streets of NYC!

Off leash in the middle of New York City
by MontrealDogTrainer on March 11, 2016 in General
I love that I can trust my dog off leash.  It gives me peace of mind and allows her and I a lot of freedom in where we go and what we do.

We really love to include our dog in our travels and try to include her in our travels as much as possible.  As much as we just love her company – as a dog trainer it is beneficial in providing me with different environments and work on her training.
A Cow off leash in NYC’s financial district
My dog is a country bumpkin & so am I.  We live in Saint Lazare, Qc and love it here – but I also understand the need to proof my dog around major distractions in order to make sure she is reliable when i need her to be.  So what do we do when in NYC – we hit the streets!
A well trained Cow off leash in the middle of New York City
Cow has been working on a new command I call get in line – which means to get in between my feet.
We can use this both as a recall command as well as a form of heeling. I taught her this command a fw days prior to our trip and she had only done it in our home so far.
So now we are out in distracting environments and working the command and she is doing great.
She also knows something I call “put em up” which means stand with your front paws on whatever I point to – so we took advantage of the NYPD van for a photo op.

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Distraction training - can your dog obey around distractions?

Is your dog’s training distraction proof?
by MontrealDogTrainer on September 30, 2016 in General

Marlo staying on his place despite an other dog’s efforts to get him to run and play. Can your dog focus under distraction?

Teaching a dog to work even when distracted is a huge part of my training programs.
If you aren’t training your dog to focus on you and be reliable under distraction – your dog is not going to be able to listen to you when you need it most.
Fully off leash trained
Here we see a young puppy – Marlo – who is an  11 month old Husky showing how well he functions under distraction – by staying on his place while another dog does her best to get him to come and play with her.  This is Marlo’s 5th lesson and he is doing great. His owner Elie is very pleased as you can see by the grin on his face as looks on his dog with pride.  The gentleman in the ball cap with the female asked if they can approach us and of course we obliged since it was a great test for Marlo.



A well trained dog is a thing of beauty
There is a lady walking her 2 small dogs  by in the background as well who has stopped to admire Marlo and was even taking pictures of him.  Marlo’s owner tells me he regularly has people stop and ask about his dog and comment on how well behaved he is.

Can you whisper to your dog?

Are you a dog whisperer?

by MontrealDogTrainer on July 29, 2016 in General

Do you have your dog’s attention?

I hate to use the buzz word but it does prove a point doesn’t it?  If your dog is truly focused -you should be able to whisper commands and your dog will attentively respond.  No different than if you are engaged in a conversation with someone and are truly with them in the moment – extra volume is unnecessary.
There is a local trainer who bills himself as ‘Montreal’s Dog Whisperer” however, after having retrained many of his clients dogs it is clear that there was no “whispering” going on.  If you have to speak loudly, raise your voice or yell at a dog – you have missed out on real communication and teamwork.

If you whisper - will your dog listen?

In this video I am whisopering to both Angel and Jarvis - and they are both responding perfectly! Proof that we do not need to rasie our voices and that dogs very accute hearing works in our favor when we train properly.
Off leash obedience
These two dogs have gone through an intensive training program and are at the midway point.  By now they know all of their commands and can be trusted off leash.
Dog training is all about communication – not domination
Both dogs are happy and willing to go to work.  We don’t only work on their skills each day but also teach them that training is a fun  and rewarding time.

Should you play Tug of War with your dog?

dog training tips

Cow enjoying a game of tug @ home

“Tug of War will make your dog aggressive”

Is a common myth I still hear from people.

I have proven to my clients for over 20 years that this is untrue - and they have learned how to play properly with their dogs and enjoyed the game very much.

Dogs love to bite and pull and thrash. Giving them an outlet for this is constructive and a proactive approach to living with a dog. Expecting them to not want to explore this side of their character is asking for trouble.By encouraging them to bite and focus on the toy - it allows them to have a release and helps prevent problem behaviour. It is also a very bonding experience because you are now sharing a favorite activity with your dog. Quality time.

Will it make my dog dominant or think he’s the boss?

I have never seen a case of playing tug of war with a dog create any dominance issues or create relationship issues between dog and human. If anything - like mentioned earlier it is a bonding and fun experience.If you have concerns that your dog may have doninant traits or your dog challenges you and especially if you have a possesive dog than I would suggest not playing tug with your particular dog.

Should I let my Dog win?

Sure - why not? I let mine win from time to time - and as long as your are in control of the toy and the game - there is no harm in letting your dog win. You can see in the videos below that the dogs win and would rather play with their person than keep the tpy on it’s own.
Havanese puppy training
Playing tug is not just for big dogs.
Monty a 5 month old Havanese puppy enjoys playing tug as well.

Tug of war as a reward in training

Here is a video of Barbara learning how to play tug with Ikie - a young German Shepherd.Ike is a strong dog with lots of character from working lines and playing tug is a hugely rewarding event for him in training.As you can see when Barbara switches him into a heel command Ike is happy to go to work becasue fun things happen when working.

Using tug of war as an advanced training tool

Here is an old video of Roxy - a PitBull who stayed with me for training years ago accompanied by my old Dutch Shepherd hyper. Roxy loved to play tug and I used this opportunity to condition her to work around Hyper and have to control herself both on and off of the toy - not only outing on command but also waiting to be told when she would be allowed to take the toy again. This is especially challenging becasue each dog now feels competitive witht he other one and wants to grab it prematurely to try and control the toy for themselves.
If you pay attention you will see how each dog is respectful of the other dog’s space and are careful to grab the toy at a distance fromt the other dog.
Hyper and Roxy are not buddies and really have not spent any time together before this video was filmed - it was a spur of the moment thing that came to me while working with Roxy and filming her towards the end of her course.
This video makes a HUGE point about tug not making dogs aggressive and about dog training and pitbulls as well.

The above advice is given in a general sense and not intended to be used without professional supervision and/or guidance. Family K9 and Nick Zevgolis assume zero liability in any and all actions arising from utilizing any information found on this website. The dog’s owner assumes all risk and liability fromt heir own dog’s actions. It is recommended that you seek out preofessional advice with regards to any and all training for your dog.

Teach your dog to go to the bathroom anywhere and at anytime

Bulldog playing
Clara’s stomping grounds

Housetraining your puppy or older dog can be an exhausting excercise in frustration or it can be reltively simple and worry free.

The difference?Have a plan and execute that plan.We all know that having a schedule and supervising and using a crate are necessary steps. But what about getting your dog to go on command? What about a dog who has a habit of only going to the bathroom under specific conditions i.e. on the snow (winter puppy owners - you know what I mean!), or only going when off leash or in a specific spot.

Teach your dog to go to the bathroom on command

You aren’t actually teaching your dog to go to the bathroom. They are born with the ability to do this.You are teaching them to associate going on command.So - use the words you’d like them to associate i.e. “hurry up” “do your business” etc … when you see them starting to go. Do this over and over for as long as it takes - until you can successfully get your dog to go on command just like Cow does in the video below. (I use Hurry Up with my dog Cow and you’ll notive in the video when I tell her to Hurry Up - she goes right away)

Teach your dog to go to the bathroom anywhere On Command

Many dogs have bathroom habits - some like to go in the busjhes - some have a favorite place - or need a complete preamble of circling and sniffing relesntlessly. Sometimes we want them to just hurry up and go where we are right now so we can move on with our day.If you have a spot you would like your dog to go to the bathroom - bring your dog to that spot repeadtedly - maybe you will get lucky nad that is all it will take.In most cases it is exactly that simple.What you can do is bring your dog to the spot and give your dog a minute or two and keep them moving in the general area. If they dont go to the bathroom - bring them back inside. Either supervise or crate your dog for a little while - 15-30 minutes if you feel your dog actually had a need to go before - dont push too hard - we dont want to stress the dog - just give them a little bit of a stronger urge to go to the bathroom. Of course this is only for dogs who do not have housebreaking issues - since we dont want to invite accidents. If your dog is not fully housebroken - do not attempt this.

Potty train your dog
A 10 minute walk to get to this spot just wasn’t cutting it

Bring your dog back out to the same spot. Remember to keep your dog moving around.Repeat as needed until your dog is going to the bathroom where you’d like.It really is that simple.The video below is quite frankly gross - but it makes a point. My dog Clara Hughes a.k.a. Cow is a country dog. She lives on several acres and runs off leash at home. She rings her bells to go outside and has complete freedom.The video was shot in NYC and I taught her to go to the bathroom @ the curb in one afternoon - and was done becasue the nearest greenspot (see picture above) was a couple of blocks away. Cow’s pfront paws turn inwatrds and walking for extended periods on pavement cause her to have torn paw pads. It also isnt very convenient to have to walk for 10 minutes before the dog can relieve itself first thing in the morning.So I used the above approach and taught her to go on the street near our hotel.This isnt just a case of teaching a dog to go somewhere it isnt used to - i.e. replacing grass with street - but also changing a multitude of other conditions: • Grass Vs Street • Leash Vs No Leash • Quiet countryside Vs Urban Jungle

Like any other aspect of dog training - patience and persistence are key. The end result is a dog that can go to the bathroom anytime and anywhere - which is great and makes travelling as well as daily living for both owner and dog much more convenient.