DIY Tips for Dog Improvements: Leash Walking

DIY Tips for Dog Improvements: Leash Walking

Here are 6 dog walking tips to try today:

dog walking in park

Lexie practicing leash walking in Plantation FL


  1. When your dog stops to sniff or look for a place to potty, don’t wait behind them. Continue to walk past them as far as the leash allows without pulling them. It causes your dog to have to catch up with you instead of pulling to let you know they are ready to walk again.
  2. Avoid retractable leashes because they encourage your dog to pull. Even if you usually keep this leash locked. If your dog has ever reached the end of a retractable leash, they will try to get that far again. This trains your dog to pull continuously.
  3. Don’t start your walk on the wrong foot by letting your dog charge out the door. It rewards over-excited behavior and sets the tone for the rest of the walk.
  4. Treat your walks with your dog like a training session; bring your treats or toy and clicker and practice the basics or whatever new skills you learned in class. If you walk your dog every day, your dog could be trained in no time. And even if you don’t have to walk your dog every day, you really should.
  5. Make your walks together not just about allowing the dog to eliminate. These trips outside should be about you and your dog. Be sure to pay attention to your companion. It’s a great time to praise every bit of eye contact from your dog.
  6. Practice close to home. Don’t feel silly walking back and forth in front of your house. You are trying teach your dog something that can be difficult amidst distractions. Reward your dog frequently in the familiar environment close to home before you take the show on the road.

Group classes or private training can help you reach your polite dog walking goals. Contact 954.507.7524 for details about classes or in-home training or day training for your dog.

Pokemon Go: A Dog Fitness Craze?

Pokemon Go: A Dog Fitness Craze?

dog sees a pokemonEveryone has seen the meme’s of the tired dog laying in the middle of the room exhausted after their Pokemon Go walk with their pet parent.

I say embrace it.

Not only is it great exercise for both of you, but it can be very fun and a great opportunity for training.  Teach your pet pal to sit while you work to get that Pikachu in the ball.  Have them stay while you work your Pokemon out in the Pokemon Gym.  Work on “loose leash” walking so you can react to that sneaky Charizard when it appears.

Bottom line: an exercised dog is a happy dog and Pokemon Go is a great excuse to get out at a local park and work on some of your training goals.  Sammy and I are up to 3 miles a day on our morning Pokemon Go walk!

Does Your Dog Have a Weight Problem? Probably.

Does Your Dog Have a Weight Problem? Probably.

Canine Obesity- How it is Affecting Your Dog and How to Fix It

Let’s just cut to the chase- your dog might be fat. You wouldn’t be reading this if you weren’t concerned about your pet’s weight. And you are not alone- roughly 53% of the domesticated dogs in our country are anywhere from slightly overweight to extremely obese. Arthritis, diabetes, and heart problems are just some of the issues your pet may endure if he or she is overweight. According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, it may even decrease their life expectancy by up to 2.5 years. So if being overweight is so terrible for our pet’s health, why are we letting it happen? Or more importantly, what are we going to do to fix it?

Step 1- Diet
Now that you’ve come to terms with the fact that your dog has a weight problem, the first step in weight-loss is taking a trip to your veterinarian for a weight assessment. This is important, because your veterinarian can tell you how overweight your dog is, the best type of food to feed for optimum weight loss, how many calories and how much dog food per day your dog should be eating. More importantly, they can also determine if the weight gain is purely from too much food and not enough exercise, or if it’s actually from an underlying health condition such as a low thyroid or a hormonal imbalance. If there is an underlying medical condition, it is best to find that out now before you frustrate yourself by cutting out all snacks, serving prescription diet food, or resorting to a diet medication.

Once you have ruled out any medical issues, have had a weight assessment, and figured out how much food your dog should be eating, it’s time to work on you. Yes, you read right- one of the most common causes of weight gain in dogs, after medical issues, is overindulging with treats and table scraps. Take one day, and every time you give your dog a treat write down what you gave. At the end of the day, take a look at how much you’re giving.

We don’t expect you to completely eliminate treats altogether- a no treat policy will only result in other family members sneaking a treat here and there because they feel bad for your dog. And since those hidden treats aren’t being monitored, it’s likely your dog  will lose very little weight. Instead of your run of the mill dog treats, choose healthy alternatives such as veggies (carrots, green beans, and apple slices are great options).

Also, decide how many treats your dog is allowed in a day, put it in a bowl and when they’re gone, that’s it. This includes training treats- although most training treats do not have a lot of calories, you still want to include them in your dog’s daily treat allowance. Alternatively, you can use your dog’s kibble as training treats. The best way to do this is after you feed your dog their morning meal, measure out their food for their evening meal and either put it in a bowl on the counter, or (if your dog is prone to counter surfing for snacks), in a plastic bag in a cabinet. When training times comes around, grab a handful of your dog’s food from the bag. By doing it this way, you can ensure that you are not over feeding your dog.

Step 2- Exercise
It doesn’t matter how big, small, young, or old your dog is, they need daily exercise too. Without activity, your dog will become bored, frustrated and unhealthy. If your dog is an extreme couch potato, or is older and you have any concerns about what type and how much exercise your dog can handle, you should discuss your concerns your veterinarian during your weight assessment. You don’t want to pressure your dog into doing things that are too strenuous or you could end up with bigger problems. If your dog has not been accustomed to being physically active it is best to start slow- even a 15 minute walk may be too much if your dog has lived a sedentary lifestyle. As your dog gets used to the exercise, you can add additional activities or lengthen the time of your daily walk. Your dog should be happily tired, not exhausted, when you are done exercising her for the day.

It is important to remember that exercise is an activity you need to do daily, not just reserve it for the weekends. If, during the week you only have enough time for a 30 minute walk, that’s OK! It’s still exercise, and that’s what is important. If you and your dog can handle it, on the weekend you can go for longer walks, play fetch at the park, or even sign up for agility classes, trick training or doggy fitness classes to get an extra workout in for your dog.

No matter how you decide to deal with your dog’s weight, remember to start simple, without putting pressure on yourself or your dog. You will find that you are both looking forward to the time  you spend exercising together.



Evolutionary Dog Training offers classes and private training that promote dog fitness and a healthy lifestyle.  Email or call 954-507-7524 to learn more about healthy training for your dog.

I’m now at Barkers Pet Center in Fort Lauderdale!

I’m now at Barkers Pet Center in Fort Lauderdale!

IMG_1757evolutionary dog training logoI have partnered with Barkers Pet Center to offer group classes, day training and two-week board and train programs. So I can be your one-stop dog behavior solution center!  I am offering Level one Beginner classes on Wednesday nights starting November 5 at 6pm.  I am also starting a Trick Dog training class on Thursday November 6 at 6pm.  As a Certified Trick Dog Instructor (CTDI,)I can help you get a trick title for your dog.

I will be at Barkers weekdays Monday-Friday from 2pm-6pm to answer training questions and help you select the appropriate dog training class for you.  Call 954-888-2274 to sign up or scheduling information or 954-507-7524 for other questions.

Looking forward to seeing you here at Barkers.

Sign up before November 5th and save 10%!

Trick training class

Trick training class