Cross-Country Dog Training

Cross-Country Dog Training

Hello to all my Golden touristsfriends, clients and blog followers out there. Thanks for checking in with me. I have had some really exciting times in the last few weeks. Most notably was a trip with a client to Southern California. She needed me to handle her two Golden Retriever puppies as she traveled to visit an ailing family member. This is not something I usually do, but she has become more than a client and I was glad to help her make the trip. The pups were awesome and the trip went very well. Even though I lived in Southern California for 4 years, I got to see parts of Los Angeles that I had never been to. Here are some pictures of our trip and
of the “kids” playing in one of the most beautiful backyards I have ever been in.

Golden Retriever

Raffles poses in the garden

Golden Beach, FL Golden retrievers

Raffles and Tallyho

Train Your Dog Everyday, the Easy Way

Train Your Dog Everyday, the Easy Way

Pembroke Pines Puppy class

Vida loves to train

There is no such thing as no time to train.  Actually, you’re already training your dog all this time.  Because whether you know it or not, your dog is learning from every interaction with you.  You just have to make sure your dog is learning what you want it to learn not just the bad behaviors it learns because you’re nor paying attention.   Good thing you have a very powerful training tool at your disposal that you should be using every day: food.  All dogs will work for food. It’s a survival instinct. Your dog is always thinking, “What do I need to do to make sure I get fed?”  Your dog will do whatever works best.  So it’s is up to you whether that means tipping over the garbage, making “puppy eyes” at your sandwich, or sitting politely until given permission to eat. To a dog, the leader of the pack is the one who controls access to things it wants.  And that includes food. They love the person who feeds them. You can use your control of food to enhance your dog training efforts — every day.

Following these suggestions will help you establish your role as benefactor, reinforce your dog’s compliance and enhance your relationship overall.

Be consistent

Dogs learn things they practice every day the best.  You feed your dog every day so why not use that daily ritual to create a consistent training schedule? It’s the perfect time to train.  Most people do it already.  But don’t make the mistake of doing the exact same routine every meal. Change it up. Be sure to raise your standards as your dog becomes reliable at each skill level. A ten-second sit could soon become a thirty minute down-stay or a chain of a dozen behaviors in a row before you finally give your dog permission to eat.

It’s not a buffet

Don’t free-feed your dog. Your dog’s meals shouldn’t be an all-you can eat buffet, where food is available around the clock.  This is actually a pretty common feeding program in many homes because it’s convenient. So why not do this?  One reason is food loses value as a reward if it is always there. You want the dog to see that its primary necessity in life comes from you. Free-feeding just means one less thing your dog needs you for if its food is just sitting out.  Believe me, a dog is not grateful for the constant presence of food if it means less time with you.  Free-feeding could also lead to an obese dog who doesn’t listen to your commands, respect your leadership position or play by your rules.

Mealtime is Doggie and Me Time

Let your dog know wonderful things happen at mealtime. You get the opportunity to have your dog perform for his meal.  Your dog gets more quality time with you. Win-win.  It’s just another dog training opportunity for you.  If your dog is jumping, yipping, and pawing at you for food, you can teach her to be calm at mealtime using these steps.  While holding the food bowl in your hand, say a command once and wait for your dog to offer the behavior. When your dog complies, you can place the food dish on the floor. Then you can give the dog a release word that gives him permission to get the food. But if your dog starts to get up, put the dish right back on the counter. Repeat this the moment your dog tries to get up, every time as you lower the food dish.  If your dog stays put then start raising your standards and changing the commands.


Training doesn’t have to be a chore.  Pick up the dog dish and make meals an interactive and bonding experience. Take advantage of your dog’s dinner to make time to work with your dog everyday.  Throw in a little training with meals.  Be creative and challenging. It’s the effortless way to train.


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.