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.

Springtime equals distraction training

Cow Clara Hughes Dog Training
My dog Cow a.k.a. Clara Hughes doing her “Put Em Up’ Command on a NYPD van in the middle of the financial distratict in Manhattan, NYC. You need a high level of trust in your dog’s abilities to obey and focus to remove a leash and know they’ll perform under such circumstances.

It looks like we are enjoying an early spring or at least a preview of what is to come.With springtime come distractions that were dormant durting our long sleepy winters. More poeople and dogs are out. Squirrels. More scents to explore.Many people find thir dogs coming to life this time of year and it is a great opportunity to work on your dog’s distraction training.Here are some ideas for you to help you improve your dog’s ability to focus under distraction:

Dog Training with Distractions - Pro Tip:

Find a location that allows you to work with your dog at a distance from a distraction. It could be a dog park or an area where people walk their dogs - you know your dog best - whatever is a distracting environment for your dog will work for our purposes.Pick an excercise that your dog knows well - it could be as simple as a sit stay or heel - it doesnt even matter what the excercise is - but make sure t is simthing your dog is familiar with so that she is comfrtable in her work - becasue distractions add pressure to thew work.Ask your dog to perform and encourage with praise and treats or play. Release - and rewards your dog.Repeat the excercise.

How to make distraction training easier for your dog

If your dog is having a hard time - work further away from the distractions and gradually increase the proximity when your dog is performing with ease. Think of the proximity to distractions like a volume dial - the closer you get to them - they louder they are to your dog.One last tip - don’t rush this training. if I see one very common mistake - it is the lack of time taken to develop a skill before trying to rush the dog to perform at what the owner feels should be the dog’s level of difficulty. It is better to prgress slowly and inside the dog;s comfort zone - building skills and confidence as well as trust in the training and the handler. One hand washes the other with this aproach and it not only builds obedience but also helps build trust and confidnce.

Cow off leash demonstrating great focus in Manhattan NYC practicing her “Get in Line” with tons of traffic and lots of people walking around.

Rehabilitating dogs with aggression issues

Rehabilitating dogs with aggresion issues

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Ozzie’s owners opted to send him to me for his intensive training after we had an intial lesson at home and Ozzie true to form began attacking me out on a walk.
Dogs have different reasons for behaving aggressively - and just as the reasons for the aggression differ so does the need for our aproach to resolving the issues.

K9 Boot camp - teaching a dog to trust and to follow

Teamwork and togetherness is the root of good training

Here is Ozzie in day 1 of his training camp.
The day before when out walking Ozzie and trying to teach him to follow at his home - he bit me 5-6 times. Serious enough bites that my hands are marked up and sore a day and a half later. Tore my winter jacket too.
Here he is at the beginning of his boot camp and already he is being cooperative. Of course he is muzzled but at the same time - he is being affectionae and loose. Coming in for petting and rubbing and happy to take a treat from my hand in his muzzle.

Dog training pro tip:

If a dog is willing to eat - his stress levels are low. it is always a gopd measuring stick.

Training a dog to follow - the foundation of leadership and earning respect

This video shows Ozzie after a little bit of follow the leader training.
He opted to come and stand in between my legs and I thought we’d play around a little - so I encouraged him to move both forwards and backwards with me a few times. His willingness and focus are apparent and if you would have seen him less than 24 hours earlier - you’d know exactly how relevant this little clip is. I only wish that there was video of him coming after me from the day before - the direction he is taking is nothing short of wonderful compared to the biting from a day earlier.

As much as I dont like being licked on the face - I am glad Ozzie feels safe enough and friendly enough to share some affection.
The only dog I allwo to lick my face is my Bulldog Clara Hughes - since she is not capable of licking her own behind:-)


As much as I dont like being licked on the face - I am glad Ozzie feels safe enough and friendly enough to share some affection.
The only dog I allwo to lick my face is my Bulldog Clara Hughes - since she is not capable of licking her own behind:-)


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Is your dog's training distraction proof?

reposted from

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.
Montreal Dog Trainer, Nick Zevgolis is the owner of Family K9 Dog Training. Nick has been training dogs professionally for over 20 years and has helped thousands of owners train their dogs in all sorts of endeavours but especially to be well trained and well loved companions.

Family K9 Dog Training
Legal mumbo jumbo:
This blog is for entertainment purposes only. Dog training is a highly specialized and risky endeavour. No information contained here is meant to be attempted on your own, ever. Neither Nick Zevgolis nor Family K9 can be held liable for any and/or all incidents or consequences arising from your dog's behaviour, or the consequences of your or your dogès actions.

Entraineur Canin Montréal , Nick Zevgolis est le propriétaire de L'école de dressage Family K9. Nick est un entraineur de chiens professionnel depuis plus de 20 ans. Nick a aidé des milliers de propriétaires de former leurs chiens dans toutes sortes d' efforts , mais surtout pour être compagnons bien formés et bien aimé. École de dressage Family K9

Legalities: Ce blog est uniquement à des fins de divertissement . La formation de chiens est une activité qui implique des risques pour le proprietere, le chien dn les autres personnes, chiens and meubles autour. Aucune information contenue ici est destiné à être tenté sur votre propre , jamais. Ni Nick Zevgolis ni L'école de dressage family K9 peuvent être tenus responsables de tout et / ou tous les incidents ou les conséquences découlant du comportement de votre chien , ou les conséquences de votre ou votre chien.


Some pics and vids from a fun day of dog training all over Montreal: Some pics and vids from a fun day of dog training all over Montreal: Pictures and videos of dogs in training

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Beach Fun

A Cow on the beaches of Maine


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Can you trust your dog off leash in Downtown Montreal?

Here is a video clip from Shabnam showing off her dog;s training.
Vito - a Cane corso who is 5 months old in this clip is heeling off leash with his owner. Clearly Vito is under controla dn focused on his owner despite all the distractions around them.
I trained Vito for his family this past summer and I love to see my work being put to good use.


Do you feed your dog "people food"?

My dog’s favortie treat!


Once in a while I like to treat my dog to something special.
Not a new leash or collar or new bowls - those are for us.
What does a dog love?

So I thought I would pick up lunch for the two of us.
For those who aren’t familiar with me or my dogs - My Bulldog Clara actually has 2 names:

Cow - a name chosen by her breederm which has grown on me and Clara Hughes named after the Canadian Olympic medal winning cyclist and speed skater. It would have felt wrong to refer to her as Cow in this instance:-)


Working like a dog - with the dogs!

A day of dog training for me typically involves training dogs at the kennel and visiting clients and their dogs in their homes and local parks as well. It is without a doubnt the greatest job in the world. I get to commincate, share, interact and learn from canines and humans alike, enjoy the outdoors, have a constantkly changing and stimulating environment and get to help people and their dogs acheive their goals and make their lives together more fullfilling.

Vaudreuil/St Lazare Dog Training In Kennel Training - K9 bootcamp

Here are a couple fo the dogs at the kennel in for training:

Leo - a German Shepherd mix who is a large, powerful and very excitable! In 1 1/2 weeks he has had a complete turn around and is now easy to manage and already trained to heel, come when called, leave it, place, sit & stay - all on and off leash - around some pretty huge distractions like when out playing with is buddies.

Dog Training St Lazare, vaudreuil, Family K9 com, Nick Zevgolis

Up next is Sauske
A Shiba Inu - whose owners called me becasue they were afraid for his safety since he is was constantly escaping from them when the door is open - and he would run off and make a game out of it - wanting the family to chase him around the neighbourhpd.
In the one week he has been with me he is has kearbned to not run through doors and to come whenever he is called. Sauske is a very independant, strong willed and sweet dog - true to his breeds characteristics.

Shiba Inu, Nick Zevgolis, Montreal Dog Training

Leo and Sauske having some playtime during training.

Puppy training in Westmount

Golden Retriever, Westmount Dog Training
Mosby Learning to leave the Leave it command

Mosby - Golden Retriever enrolled in Puppy Pre School
Mosby is a Golden Retriever pup - who not only needed training like all pupsdo - but also had a tendancy to be aggressive when possesing objects in and out of the home.
His owner ran into someone in the street who told her to google Family K9 and she contacted me for training. They are off to a great start - here is part of an email from his owner after our first lesson:

“Hi Nick,
I just wanted to say Thank You for today and the tools you gave me to help our family and Mosby. We had a really successful afternoon and evening and saw a big difference in his behaviour tonight. I know it's day one but I have high hopes his name will be downgraded soon to something more polite.
I look forward to next week.

Dog aggression Downtown Montreal K9 bootcamp

Montreal Dog Training, K9 bootcamp , dog aggression

Grover - Mix breed and HUGE owner signed him for in home intensive training. Dog aggression is a common problem many owners face and is no joke when the dog is any size - let alone over 100 lbs and powerful! In 2 weeks Grover will have completed his course and his owner can enjoy taking him out enjoying the ability to control her dog.

In Home Dog Training - Hampstead

Hampstead Dog Training, Nick Zevgolis, Family K9Frankie Labrodor Retriever/Pitbull Mix - Frankie’s owners had previously trained with another trainer and not acheived the results they were hoping for. After several different people recommended Family K9’s servcies - they contacted me and I have to say Frankie was a delight to train. Here he is @ the end of his course - completely on and off leash trained.
Here is a link to his video:
Frankie in action!
Frankie;s owners wasted no time putting everything they learned into ation - here is an email from the VERY FIRST DAY they began working with Frankie right at the end of their course.
I trained Frankie each day @ their home for two weeks and in that time he learned all of his obedience both on and off leash.
We had one lesson together at the end of the course and here is how they are doing right from day one of dealing with Frankie on their own.

Hi Nick, 

Thanks. He sat on place the entire dinner. Just came in from working with him, he's doing great.
We are thrilled so far!



He was fantastic again at dinner. One of my kids spilled there food as they were bringing their plate to the sink when they were done. He didn't move until I released him to let him eat it. 



Puppy Training in Brossard

Brossard Dog Training, Dressage de chiens brossard
Monty - Havanese - link to Finn - Link to Puma - Link to Board and Train - Link to Puppy class
Monty’s ownber found Family K9 through the facebook page
They have started Monty in in home puppy training and have plans to have Monty complete the Board and Train in kennel dog training program when he is old enough. Here is Monty learning to leave it working with his owner Niki.

Back home in St Lazare with my own Family K9 - see everyone tomorrow!

bulldog, montreal, st lazare, dog trainer

What is your dog's behaviour worth to you?

Montreal dog trainer
A client said something very interesting to me today:
She said that she ammortized or broke down the cost of our training together over the lifetime of her dog - she said that she found it to be a bargain!

I walked away wondering what the actual number was and grabbed my iPhone’s calculator and calculated it to be pennies a day if he only lived to 12 yrs old (Angus I hope you live to be a VERY old man!).

I mentioned this to anohter client while we were chatting at the end of our lesson later that day and his words to me were “there is a huge difference between price and cost”.

Some of the smartest dogs and people in Montreal!

I am very fortunate to work with many bringht and interesting peiple and their dogs and feel that over the years I have learned many valuable life lessons from many clients - some of whom maybe didnt even realize how their wise words were contributing to the shaping of my perceptions of many different aspects of business and and life in general.

Dog training like any service is not all the same - there are different trainers with different specialities and varying degrees of ability. In other words when comparing services and prices we are not necessarily comparing apples to apples. To allow yourself to belive any different is setting yourself up for disspaointment.

Price Vs. Cost
Some people have told me they wanted to use my services but found another trainer that charges less.
That’s ok with me - and of course they are free to spend their hard earned money hwever they feel it is best used.
Not all but many have later come back to train with me becasue they didnt get the results they were hoping for.
In every single one of those instances they have all said that they wished they had done things “right” the first time instead of trying to save some money. In the end they ended spending more to get things done they way they had hoped it would be the first time - having to “spend twice rather than doing things right the first time.

“Do it once and do it right”
I apply this to all apspects of my life and it is something I have tried to teach our daughter as she is maturing and will soon be making bigger decisions in her life.
If something is important enough to you - don’t try and cut corners - even if it means working a little harder than you thought you’d have to or spending a little more than you thought would be necessary at the time. We have to live with our big decisions for years to come so I think in terms of “Big PIcture” in moments like those. Living with a dog is a commitment that lasts many years - I think this line of thinking definnitely aplies here.

To be clear I dont only work with well off people and their dogs - I work with people from all walks of life from studfents to seniors and people in penthouses to people who had to make sacrifices to pay for their dog’s training. The common denominator is that they want the very best training for their dog.
It reminds me of when I was a broke musician in college - I had a couple of pairs of old beat up jeans and no pocket money at all but my guitars anbd amps were top shelf. I was driven then to pursue a carreer in music and my priorities were to invest in the things I needed to try and make that a reality.
Every dime I made from teaching guitar and gigging or working odd jobs went into my gear becasue that was my value system.
I didnt become a big rock star and moved onto my other passion fo training dogs and transferred my passion and work ethic to building up my reputation for quality training of dogs and helping people better understadn their pets over the years.

Looking back ahead - a career of training Montreal dogs and helping their owners

Over 20 years later I am proud of what I have built and happy to reflect on all the wonderful people and dogs I have had the pleasure of working with.
As I continue on my path - I remind myself to keep my eyes and ears open - so I don’t miss out on the lessons they ar eteaching me too.

Taken from Family K9’s Google Plus page.
" rel="self">Some reviews from Family K9’s Google plus page - see Family K9’s Google plus page here

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See video of Baylor the Bernese Mountain Dog working off leash in Downtown Montreal and in Montreal dog parks with Nick Here

See video of Baylor the Bernese Mountain Dog and Alycia working together for the first time - off leash in Downtown Montreal!

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See Video of MAeby a wonderful Beagle mix working with Nick
See her and her ownerJonathan in action - the same day she came home from training here.