Dog trainer in Queens Village NY

Dogs are not kids... But my dog training principles can be used with both

I know this might make some people feel strange. Especially since there are two different types of people. First off you have those who dress their dog up like making their labrador retreiver wear a firefighter outfit including the hat. I see them all the time and its cute but annoying. They have a hard time viewing their dog as an animal and not as a child. Then there is those on the other end. Those that punish their dog in a way that is inappropiate. For instance, there was a client who had taken me up on my free consultation (who doesn’t its free) and he wanted to stop his 11 week old puppy from barking. He knew that I had did e collar work and that I was a fan of the ecollar. He made a suggestion I would never make and thats to use the ecollar to stop the barking. I was disturbed. For 1 the puppy is to young and 2 the puppy does not understand what we are asking. I don’t teach with the ecollar I just reinforce already known behaviors.

It is clear that dogs and kids are not the same, but my way of training is not about whether it is a dog or child rather about how you love them. I don’t have a child but I can say I loved every dog I had with all my heart and I wanted to see them reach their full potential. A lot of things I learned through protection sports about building a confident dog( not to be confused with aggressive at everything that walks by). These are a few ideas that I keep in mind when I am training a dog.

Being fair

I always believe in being fair to the dog. This includes making sure the dog understands what I am asking before I assume he understands and gve the dog a correction. I see this so much with dog owners. They phrase “ he knew what he was doing” is one i hear a lot. But the question is how can we be sure if the dog understands. Most people assume and believe because they understand what they are asking quite easily then their dog should too. Potty training is an excellent example. The old put your dog’s nose in its crap and hit their nose with a newspaper after. This is old school training that some people still put to use. The idea is that the dog knew not to use the bathroom in the house but still did it. This is the exact moment when i start to ask the dog owners questions. How old is the puppy? Has he/she ever used the bathroom outside? What is the puppy’s schedule like? I will prowl until it comes out that its actually not the puppy’s fault. He was never taught how to be potty trained. Yes dog’s do have innate traits, but a lot of stuff has to be taught to the by their owner. Dogs who aren’t taught but are scolded will learn to sneak and poop somewhere and walk around with their head down, leaving you to know that they pooped somewhere in the house but you have to find it. I prefer to keep my dog honest.

The equviolent to this is a kid who is beatened or shamed for using the bathroom in their diaper instead of telling their parents they had to go. Usually the reason they dont tell their parents is because they scolded and shamed the child in the first place. Another example is when little boys are scared of the dark. Now I will talk about how i feel you should work through this later, but for now lets talk about the not being fair part. This is no knock to moms but I notice this with moms who try to make their sons tougher. The boy is screaming and crying and runs to mommy. The mom tells the son “ stop crying big boys dont cry”. What she probably meant was grown men don’t cry, which is probably sterotypically true. But that is a boy and not a man. It is unfair to place those expectations on him.

Reward and Punishment

This is the way you let a dog know that their choices matter and has consequences. If the dog does something good then you reward the dog with a treat ( play time, or the chance to bite a tug can also be a reward for some dogs). If a dog voluntarily does something I don’t like then a punishment is added as a consequence. This makes sense when you think about it. You wouldn’t do the opposite of rewarding bad behavior, but it happens. Neglect is also know as extinction. This means that if you ignore a behavior it will go away. This sounds simple and easy with dogs, but with humans it is different. That screaming baby that you have to ignore if they are doing for attention becomes so unbearable that you give in and give the child whatever they want. Or how about that little girl who wants to please daddy, but everytime he comes home from work he ignores her. This can make her less likely to continue this behavior and give up. The moral of the story is that kids, like dogs need to know that their choices matter. That 35 year old drunk who wrecks his parents car for the 15th millionth time never learned that his choices matter. He was probably reward( giving the car) for his bad behavior(drinking and driving).

Working through something to make the dog or child more confident

As I mentioned earlier I learned a lot of this stuff through protection work. In protection work you want a confident dog that is not afraid of anything yet has impulse control. So how would I handle the little boy who is afraid of the dark? If he starts screaming and crying I would work through it with him. I will be his coach. I will go back in the room with him and sit there until he falls asleep. I will build his confidence and tell him he has nothing to fear. How about the child who pooped in their diaper? I would explain to them to let me know when they have to go. I would not shame them or scold them as best as I could ( none of us are perfect). How would I be fair to a kid and a dog? SImple I will explain the rules and teach them the rules. If you break the rules their are consequences, but I will also reward good behavior like getting a 100 on a test or standing up to a bully. And if the kid is afraid I will WORK THROUGH IT WITH THEM!!!!

Choose the road less traveled: The lifestyle of a boxer and dog trainer

Many of you may not know but I am a student of the sweet science. I went to several boxing gyms before I found my home at eastern queens boxing gym. I trained hard and ended up with 2 amateur fights. Most people don't know the struggle.

The 2.5 hour workouts for 5 days a week( which is nothing crazy in the boxing world). This included the ab work. Punching until my arms were numb and then keep punching. Focusing on technique and strategy. Eating the blandest food known to man. Going to restaurants sucked because everything had salt or something else I cut out of my diet. I ran every morning.( I hate running!!! But then again what decent human being doesn’t). I would spar a bunch of rounds at least twice a week. I would also do mitt work too. It's like a part time job along with working another job and going to school. No going out drinking with friends( barely). Trying to sleep early because I had to get up the next day to train. But I loved it so I did it.

Dog training is similar in a way. It's very time consuming. It takes a lot of patience and techniques. I love the science behind both. I spend a lot of time working dogs and learning about them. I’ve spent countless hours reading books, watching what other trainers do, and even hiring a dog trainer to see what he would do in a given scenario. When it comes to working with dogs I do many short sessions (5 min max) and I do it frequently(6-8 times a day).

I’ve recently was introduced to the protection dog world after attending MIchael Ellis school in California. I have since came back to New York and have linked up with a guy who has championed a dog and been doing this for a long time. He is teaching me to become a certified decoy in French Ring. As soon as I put on the bulky suit I realized that I wasn’t in shape for this. It like the difference between being in shape and being in fight shape in the boxing world. I had to learn to get accustomed to running, jumping, and pivoting while the dog was coming at me from 25 feet away and being weighed down in the suit. I will add that it is pretty scary the first time a dog is running at you at full speed with full intent to bite you with all of their might. Even if you have the suit on you can still feel the bite. Its like someone took pliers and squeezed them on your leg with as much pressure as they could.

Some people even ask me why I do it because it seems painful. Others tell me I should go back to school and forget this dog training stuff. Some even say that I should go for something with a guaranteed paycheck. I even hear that I’m getting old. (HAHA). I don’t listen to none of it. I choose the road less traveled. I am determine to make my legacy. I challenge you to push past your comfort zone with me. To actually enjoy what you do. To dream and live how you want to live. This is why I do it.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said:

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”

Why you need a dog trainer

Today I was at EQBC boxing gym and I just finished working on some kinks in my defense when a question came up about dog training. Now I am a dog trainer so I had to ponder this question. The question was “Why do I need a dog trainer”? . I was stumped at first so I had to think about it. I went home, ate a salad(Im trying to get back in shape), and thought. As I reminscien a few thoughts came to my head. There are some main statements that I hear dog owners say that I want to address

Statement #1: I read books on dog training and I watch Cesar Milan theory on dominance on his show so I can train dogs myself.

First off, did you also watch Cesar Milan get bit by a dog. Before you think it can't happen to use remember he is a professional. I have watched his show on tv. In the beginning of the show it is in writing: Warning This is for entertainment purposes only. I mean when I was a kid I used to watch kung fu movies and practice the moves , but I never thought i was a fighter. It was just fun. This stuff is serious business.

Most owners want a puppy so they can raise it to grow with them. The issue is that nobody is perfect. Sooner or later most dog owners tend to slack off after a while and the dog ends up picking up bad habits. You have to constantly stay on top of the dog. They are like a child that never grows up. The training never stops. Most people think that after they go to a 6 week dog obedience class that the dog is trained for life. Not true! They are always learning and its your job to teach them the right things.

Think about this for a moment. Do you work? If so, for how long? Most people work 9-5 or some variation. You might work even more if you have your own business. You also have to count travel time. How long does it take you to get back and forth to work? Also, do you have a strengthous job or a desk job? If you are tired its going to be even harder. Do you have kids? That is also time consuming. All of these things take up your time and even more important it takes up your energy. After a long day most people want to relax.

If you do have all this time ( you don’t work, or you are not in school, etc) then you really don’t need me and you should become a dog trainer yourself.

Another reason is that there are many details to dog training. This is especially true when it comes to a phobia, fear, or aggression. These issues are not so cut and dry or black and white. Its like being a psychologist.

Imagine you went to see a psychologist who read a few books and watched a few dvds. Would you trust them to solve your problems? Or would you go to a professional who studied hard for years and understood psychological problems and how to solve them like the back of her hand.

WHat I have also found is that most owners are part of the reason why their dog behaves this way. They contribute to this behavior yet they dont understand why the dogs act out.

This is simply a communication problem. You have to learn the language fluently if you want to have a full blown conversation, or you hire a translator. I have learned a few words in spanish, but put me with a native speaker who only speak spanish and we would both be totally lost.

When I first started dog training I made a lot of mistakes. I read a lot of books obsessively, but what I learned was that every situation was different. You need someone with a plan to give you piece of mind and assurance. Sort of like a personal .You can read a few books to get in better shape. But then you will get “ i only read a few books results”. Or if you are serious you can hire someone who takes it serious. If you dont know something hire someone who does. I know a lot more now but I am still learning more and growing.

Statement #2: I had dogs all my life and know how to train them.

In my experience these people do know something about dog training and it worked for their dog. That doesn’t mean it can work for their next dog.

Genetics play a huge factor in dogs behavior. Sometimes an owner takes credit for training their dog when the dog just had an easy going personality and a willingness to please. The problem is that even if a dog starts out like this things can change. Environmental factors can cause the dog to display traits outside of its genetic disposition. It's this love affair between nature and nurture.

Now what happens when a dog owner adopts a dog from the shelter and don’t know where the dog came from. The dog starts to exhibit bad behaviors only in certain environments.

What do you do? Do you avoid that environment altogether? But what if you need to go there and it stresses you out because you can’t bring the dog because you know she would freak out. Most people avoid the problem simply because they dont know how to deal with it. This is why a lot of rescue dogs get adopted and then sent back to the shelter. It is a lot of work helping some of these dogs.

Some dog owners received their puppy from a breeder. These days anybody can say they are having a puppy litter. These backyard breeders are the reason why a lot of dogs are in shelters. You should make sure your breeder knows the breed standard for the particular breed of dog you are buying. Find out if they breed dogs seriously or if they are trying to make a quick buck. I am so against the latter type of breeders. They do a disservice to the dogs and the world due to their greed.

I have had clients that say that their current dog is stupid because he doesn’t listen like their last dog. I do my best to explain to them that every dog is different. Just like humans learn differently. Im a hands on guy. A friend of mine is more auditory. This is why he did good in lecture class while we were in school. Some people are visual learners. Dogs don’t quite learn like that but every dog is different. Some dogs you need more patience with. It can be frustrating as an owner to deal with everything else in life and have to figure this dog training stuff out too. If you want piece of mind, hire a dog trainer. It can be fun and open a new world for you.