An example of why and how of structure and freedom with a dog

I've noticed something with a recent client and their dog. Not only was the dog hyper and unruly, he also did not like it when you told him what to do.

For instance, if the dog jumped on me biting my hand and I told him “no” he would jump even more ferociously. He would have his calm moments after a while but for the most part this was his normal behavior.

Now I am a firm believer in punishing biting by the dog. Some are against this and say that the dog will grow out of it. Some dogs do while others don't. I am not in the business of leaving things to chance.

So that is what I did first. I punished the biting at a correction suitable enough to make the dog not want to bite but not enough to cause the dog pain. It is a tricky balance.

The next thing I did was get the dog to stop taking advantage of the owner, who was a sweet woman. She didn't realize that she was giving the dog way too much freedom. He was allowed access to the whole house and whole yard. One thing always sticks out to me is that dogs with too much freedom can never sit still. They are like kids with adhd. These dogs need duration exercises to teach the dog how to calm down and relax in one place. I had the owner and her family sit still and not engage with the dog. The dog looked lost. He had to be in the grass sniffing, in the garbage sniffing, bothering the owner by biting on her shoes, etc. This dog needed something to do and told what to do. The best way to control is to keep a leash on the dog even in the house. Now it is time to give the dog something to do.

When we are in the house I want the dog to lay quietly on their bed. I will usually put the bed next to the couch where the owners watch tv. This makes it easier and no big deal or effort considering the owner is not doing anything they wouldn't do anyways(watching tv). The dog at first kept trying to get up. This is why the leash is handy. You can keep watching tv and feel if the dog is moving away from their bed by holding the leash.

Structure and limited freedom is the key to get your dog to listen to you without doing obedience.

The above example shows one way to live with your dog in the house. By keeping your dog on its bed for a duration of time, they learn to relax in place.

Another way to add limited freedom is to cut off certain areas to your dog. Areas that are off limits might include the living room, the bathroom, a special room. How do I stop the dogs from entering these areas?

I put up little baby gates that you can get from target the store. If you don't put anything across the doorway and rely on your voice then you'll be screaming a lot of “get out” to the dog. Also the dog is faster than you, so they will be in the room before you can get a word in. If you put up a baby gate the dog will respect the barrier and eventually stop without the barrier there.

A structured walk is also important. On a structured walk the dog is not allowed to sniff, pull, or stare at any dog or person intently. The dog can sniff the ground only when I give the okay command.

It is important that you realize that you don't need obedience if you just want to live peacefully with your dog. Rules and respect make a relationship thrive in the dog world.

Some places to adopt a dog in NYC

Bobbi and the strays

2 Rider place Freeport NY 11520


Animal care and control

2336 Linden Blvd Brooklyn NY



424 E92nd ST


Mighty mutts and ollie's place

Southwest corner of Union Square Park (14th Street and Union Square West) and in the Petco - Union Square (860 Broadway, New York, NY 10003)



200 Centre St NY NY


Mayor's alliance for NYC animals

244 Fifth Ave Suite R290 NY NY 10001-7604





Why I quit PetSmart And decided to start my own company?

Many dog owners go to PetSmart for the money deal. They have 6 week classes for $129. That sounds like a bargain right? Not really because its a lot of filler and making sure the classes are stretched out. I'm not saying that the training is all bad, it;s just low grade compared to what you could be getting from an actual trainer.

Since they are a corporation they are about money. I'm not complaining about that. They promise that clients get a money back guarenteed if they are not satisfied with the class. What I am complaining about is that that money comes out of my paycheck if a client does want a refund. Its not my fault a client wants a refund. They taught me the methods to use and I had to use their methods.

It was bad enough that they weren't paying enough, but this was over the top. Now business is business. I'm sure they were not in the business to lose money. Therefore I agree with those methods to market, but as an employee who loves dog training all around I was upset by the limiting tools and methods I could use.

I remember I had to train a boxer who wasn't aggressive, but he was hyper. The owner had an issue with the dog jumping up on people. I did the petsmart  way but the owner was very impatient. I let him know that it does take patience and consistency. Unfortunately, as a petsmart employee I was not allowed to go to a client's home to offer training. So I couldn't be certain what they were doing at home.

When a dog has behavior issues most of the time it has to do with how you live with your dog. Your dog can know all the obedience commands in the world, but not perform it if you live poorly with your dog.

What I mean by living poorly in simple terms is your dog not respecting what you say because your dog doesn't understand and you haven't explained the rules  the best you can or because you lack consistency.

The dog spent most of their time home and around the neighborhood so that's where I wanted to do my work. Another reason I quit and went rogue was because I hate working in retail. I don't know about how you feel, but to me it sucks. The hours cutting, the short lunch break, the constant standing on your feet looking aimlessly for something to do, the constant need to be pleasant to people who are beyond rude and look down on you. I think I'll pass.

I feel much happier now that I have the freedom to help my clients connect more with their dog in a deeper way. I don't have to smile at every person that walks by like a crazy clown. I can be truthful, authentic, and creative. I love it and my clients love it and do great also. I can't wait to see what the future holds. Some big plans coming soon.