Thursday, December 20, 2012

Wishing You the Best Holiday Season Ever!

Smart Dogs Canine Training would like to wish everyone a happy, healthy and safe Holiday Season.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!! All the best in 2013!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Obedience vs Intelligence? Dog Training in Milton & Burlington

The smartest dogs are not necessarily the ones that are willing to do everything that you ask. Though every dog is unique and intelligent (there are no stupid dogs), they are not all created equal.

There are breeds, mixes and individuals who excel in obedience and tasks created by us humans, who are driven to work for us and and happy doing our biddinig. Then there are breeds, mixes and individuals that excel at thinking on their feet and using their own minds to accomplish the task at hand (what ever they think it might be), sometimes saying screw the owner, I'm going to do what I feel is right.

Often times these latter types are labled as less bright than the foregoing group, which is very far from the truth.  I have found that the dogs who push the limits, who cause frustration, who are "more difficult to train" and who have a mind of their own are amoungst some of the smartest canines. Again, not all dogs are created equal, and not all dogs are ready to follow us around, hanging on our every word.

If you have that type, rest assured that the intelligence is present and alive with in your companion, you just need to learn how to bring it to the surface in the best, most effective way.

Which brings us to the next issue. If you are dead set in your ways of training, have one single method with rigid boudaries, you may end up at a road block when training these types of dogs. Willingness to use what works for each individual will get you much further. All dogs are different and no one method will work the same on every dog. Variences in motivations, drives, temperament and breed will all have an affect on training and learning rates as will variences in owner confidence, patience and consistency.

If you are at a road black with your dog, feel free to contact us and we can help you break through that road block - and visit the website for training details

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Dog Training - Obedience Classes - Agility Classes in Milton and Burlington

New class schedule below! Check the website for details on the classes and feel free to contact us with any questions or if you would like to sign up.
We are conveniently located on First Line between Milton and Burlington.
Get your dog behaving for the Holiday Season!!!


Smart Puppy

Friday Evenings Dec. 21st Start
7:00-8:00pm Milton/Burlington (Indoor)

Smart Dog Basic Classes

Sunday Morning Dec. 23rd Start
10:00am-11:00pm Milton/Burlington (Indoor)

Wednesday Evenings Dec. 19th Start
7:00-8:00pm Milton/Burlington (Indoor)

Smart Dogs Refresher

Saturday Mornings TBA 10:00-11:00am Milton/Burlington (Indoor)

Smart Dogs Agility

Saturday Mornings Dec. 22nd Start
11:30am-12:30 pm Milton/Burlington (Indoor)

To get a hold of us quickly - email us to sign up!

or give us a call

Thursday, November 29, 2012

New Classes, New Location!! Dog trainer in Milton and Burlington

I couldn't wait to announce the new classes starting up! We're at a brand new location in a great spot between Milton and Burlington. First line, just before Lower Base Line. Great indoor location for the winter. Lots of new classes starting, and now is always a great time to start training your dog.

We will be offering our Smart Dogs Basic Class, along side Smart Puppy  for those younger than 20 weeks, Fun Agility, Smart Dogs Refresher, Smart Dogs Advanced, Bootcamp in the Spring, Doggy Style Fitness, Seminars and more!

Keep an eye on the site for start times, dates and address and feel free to contact us with any questions or if you are interested in signing up Remember, a trained dog is a happy dog and has a happy owner.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Dog Play - Dog Training in Milton Ontario

Just sharing some images of dog play. Some times play is misunderstood as aggression because of the noise and actions that come with it. Although play can get over the top if not monitored, most play is just that ... play, even with all the noise and drama that comes with it. Body language is the key to reading play, and even though some actions might look aggressive, most of the time, they are not.

There are times, however, when one dog may become frustrated, especially if an older dog is bothered by toothy puppy advances, a rude adolescent or over overly excitable playmate. It is best to step in at this point and end the play so that nothing escalates beyond two dogs having a good time.

The Jack Russell is the senior of the pair below, and in fact is playing, but prefers to control the game with younger, excitable dogs. Her play looks and sounds aggressive, but I assure you, it is not. This is her having a good time, and the pup with her comes back for more.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Take it ... and hold?

Just for fun, I like to torture Brandy with odd things to do. It's a challenge and she, like any other living and breathing dog, loves a challenge. This one was a strawberry challenge. See if I could get her to take and hold the berry without swallowing it hole. She passes most challenges with flying colours, and this was no exception. If you have some time, an object, and a dog, teach your dog to "take" and "hold" something. Start with a favorite toy and work from there. Your dog will appreciate the challenge.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Rest in Peace Angel's Mack Truck

Today we lost a dog who taught us more than any other dog could have taught us about solving behavioural issues. A friend, a teacher, a protector, and a dog who excelled with our son. RIP Mack, you will be missed.

Friday, September 7, 2012

How Not To Greet A Dog - Dog training in Milton, ON

I have found, for the most part, a good number of children will ask before petting a dog. I credit the parents for this and give them a gold star. Not all dogs are friendly, and not all dogs want to be mauled and handled by strangers and every parent should warn their child of this. Even the most friendly of dogs will not feel comfortable when over whelmed by a "friendly" child, so it is best to ask for permission before introduction.

Once past the permission step is where I see a lot people fail in their attempt at making friends with a dog, and I'm not just talking about children. For what ever reason, adults and children alike, feel the need to get "into the face" of a dog, especially smaller dogs because of the cute factor. This is absolutely the most dangerous position you can put yourself in when greeting a strange dog. The face houses the mouth, and a dogs mouth holds, well, a mouth full of teeth, if the dog is uncomfortable, those teeth can be used to let someone know how the dog is feeling.

Face to face greetings are rude, not only in the dog world, but in the human world as well. Think about how uncomfortable you feel when someone invades your personal space. Then imagine someone you don't know, running up to you, sticking their nose right against yours without your permission, out in public, telling you how adorable you are and not to worry, they are good with people. My guess is that your first reaction would be a bit of a startle reflex and then possibly some hostility. Remember, this is a stranger whom you've never met that's invading your personal space. At the least, you'll feel uncomfortable, at the most, you'll lash out. And this is exactly how dogs feel when their space is invaded, but their lash out won't be a fist, rather a bite.

Hugs and kisses are also dangeous things when it comes to strange dogs, as is overwhleming rough housing, over stimulating petting, chasing and picking up. All of these things can cause the dog to become anxious, which can trigger a bite.

The best way to approach a dog is to first ask the owner for permission, I don't care if you are an adult or a child, ask if the dog is friendly, and then relax, don't invade space, let them come to you if they want to greet. A sniff of the hand, a small strach on the chest, and if they are little, get down on their level so as not to be intimidating or overwhelming. Don't force it, and never chase a dog who doesn't want to be petted. Keep an eye out for a dog stiffening up, or otherwise showing body language that means they are anxious. Keep the greeting short, calm and non-threatening, then move along.

So think before you pet, and don't invade personal space if the dog is uncomfortable, even if the owner says they are friendly. And NEVER EVER put your face into the face of a strange dog.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Dog Training Classes in Milton & Kitchener

There is a few spots left in our upcoming classes:

Smart Dogs Basic - Friday September 7th 7-8pm - 1 Spot left

Smart Dogs Basic - Sunday September 9th 10-11am - 4 Spots left

Next Bootcamp Session September TBA - 5 Spots left

We also have 3 spots left in our upcoming Fun Agility Class in Kitchener (Breslau) at Beast Master Farms. A great intro to the sport - get connected with your dog and have fun!! Introduction to agility in a positive environment with safety first. Learn basic handling skills, equipment and how to connect with your dog. Only 45 minutes from Milton!

Contact us if you are interested in signing up at

State of (an owners) Mind. Dog Training in Milton Ontario

State of mind plays a large role in the behaviours of our house-hold canine companions. It can be said that dogs are a mirror to our inner emotions, and this is something that needs to be kept in mind when dealing with behavioural issues.

A nervous and apprehensive dog will have a much harder time changing his or her behaviour, even with training, if the owner is also nervous and apprehensive when handling the dog. Emotion and state of mind travel down the leash causing certain inappropriate or unwanted behaviours to escalate.

For example, if a dog is leash reactive and the owner is nervous or tense handling the dog on leash around what ever the dog is reactive to (ie. other dogs, kids etc.), the dog is likely to keep reacting negatively, regardless of training involved, unless the owner is willing to change or work on their own state of mind.

Easier said than done, right? Yes, it is. It often times means changing the whole demenour of an owner when they are handling and interacting with their dog. Using a positive, "I know I can" state of mind when dealing with behavioural issues is the best course of action to take by the owner. But to erase all those thoughts of "but when she sees fluffy white dogs, she'll go crazy", or the anticipation of the negative reaction is not easy. However, if it can be accomplished, along side proper training, it will garner a positive change and result for both owner and dog.

Can trainers read minds? No, but we can certainly read how you feel when you're holding the other end of your dogs leash.

If you have any questions about how to go about dealing with behaviour issues, and possibly changing the way you interact with your dog, feel free to email us at

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Vote for Us!! Smart Dogs Canine Training

We've been nominated again! Thanks to all of our clients, family and friends who support us.
Vote for Smart Dogs Canine Training as your favorite dog trainer in the Reader's Choice Awards from the link below.

Thanks for your support Milton!!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Dog Obedience Classes in Milton Ontario

We have the following group classes starting in Aug/Sept 2012 in Milton:

Smart Dogs Basics Sunday Morning - ages 5 months plus
teach your dog to sit, down, stand, stay, come and walk nice on leash - learn in the real world that makes training relevant to you and your dog

10:00am-11:00pm Milton

Starting September 2nd - Cost - $180.00

Smart Dogs Basics Friday Evenings - ages 5 months plus
teach your dog to sit, down, stand, stay, come and walk nice on leash - learn in the real world that makes training relevant to you and your dog

7:00-8:00pm Milton

Starting August 31st - Cost - $180.00

Smart Dogs Bootcamp Saturday Mornings - ages 7 months plus

enhance your dogs obedience under heavier distraction and gain more control, some "off leash" work by the end of class (must have a minimum of sit, down, stay and come - this is our next level after Basics). Emphasis on recalls, attention, stays and walking. Different location each week.

10:00-11:00am Milton (Outdoor)

Starting September 1st - Cost - $180.00

Please note, our classes do run on a per interest basis. If you are interested in signing up, please feel free to contact us any time at

As always, we offer private training that can start any time and fits your schedule. Puppy classes are now only offered in private sessions in order to benefit your pup the most. We occasionally have open puppy group seminars for socialization with people and dogs, as well as gaining pertinent information on how to raise/train your new pup.

Check out the website for full details on all of our classes and private training:

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Why Balanced Dog Training? Dog Trainer in Milton and Burlington

There are many different methods from many different dog trainers in this world and many conflicting ideas of what is best for our canine companions when it comes to training. Everything from purely positive to complusion only training, and the mix left inbetween.

As a general rule, dogs will respond differently to different people, to different objects, to different training methods, in different situations. Dogs are not robots, dogs are not pre-programed and dogs are not idiots.

It is best not to be close minded about training our dogs, as it reduces training to a "this or nothing" type of approach that, in training, and life in general, is not ideal.

Balanced training offers the best of both worlds - positive motivation paired with corrective training, that usually garners the most reliable results.

I've included a few links below for those interested in looking deeper into the world of balanced training, why it works, and why we shouldn't be close minded to our dogs intellectual needs.

Plan B - Kill the Dog - by Roger Hild

Calm and Assertive Clicker Training - by Terrierman - Patrick Burns

A Silent Killer - by Tyler Muto

Real Training vs Operant Conditioning - by Roger Hild

Most people live real lives, with jobs, children, households and other activities to take care of. They don't have the time to spend 40 hours a week conterconditioning their dog to garner the results of postive only training, nor do they want to punish their dogs into oblivian with complusion only training. A balance is needed in order to get results that are more reliable and speedier than either of the above mentioned methods.

Life carries with it both positive and negative consequences. Consequences teach us rights and wrongs, we learn from consequences daily and they will drive us to change our behaviour the next time around. Shouldn't we allow our dogs to learn at their full potential, in a natural way that has been working for millions of years?

Monday, July 16, 2012

Motivators and Training - Dog Trainer in Burlington and Milton

There are a number of different motivators that we can use when training our dogs. Motivators are the driving force that makes the dog want to work for us. In sport dog training, a dog with high drive for food, play or prey, makes treats, toys and tugs excellent motivators for performance. These motivators tend to keep these dogs "in drive" meaning that you are going to get a quick, intense, upbeat, flashy performance utilizing these tools. Corrections, voice, touch, play and social interaction are also motivators, but on a bit of a different level. Pairing different motivators together is what gives us reliable results both in the performance arena, at home, or where ever you and your dog may be.

Sometimes though, the motivator is too much for the dog to handle, and you're left with a sloppy, excited mess at the end of the leash. And it is not just the use of food that entices this intense behaviour. There are many dogs who are extremely motivated by touch and social interaction, that fall apart completely when their owners give them a rousing "good boy!!! oh such a good boy!!!". Timing and self control also become an issue when the motivator is so highly coveted that the dog becomes giddy thinking about it.

The key to utilizing the motivator is feel out the intensity used by the owner to deliver that reward, be it treats, praise, tugs etc. It is also our job as trainers to determine what works best for each individual dog. If you have a dog that is nuts for balls, but will work for a treat reward or praise, use the treat or voice instead of the ball to tone down the energy level until the dog has built up enough self control to work for the toy that drives them to the edge.

Self control is a whole topic unto it's own, but it is something that is extremely important for dogs to learn, and until your dog learns self control, don't use over-the-top rewards or techniques that cause the dog to "loose their mind". If you get to that point with your dog, he or she is no longer learning because they are so ensconced with the reward that nothing else really matters.

There is also another side to the motivators that causes dogs to lack drive, lack interest and lack the joy of wanting to work for their owners. Usually this comes with the sole use of punishment based training, the incorrect use of voice/petting for reward when training (too much or too little) or the incorrect steps to wean the dog off of the food/toy lure. All of these can reduce the performance in your dog and create unreliable, lackluster results.

Do we really need motivators that put the dog in "drive" for pet dog training? The average dog owner doesn't need a flashy, high energy performance when asking their dog for a down stay on the front lawn. They don't need the dog "in drive" to perform basic obedience commands at home. They don't need to have a dog that displays controlled insanity when asked to sit. They don't want to have to try and control the energy level that comes with certain motivators. Most owners just want reliability, without the intense energy level that can be brought on by certain motivators. This is where we need to take another look at the motivator currently being used and adjust strategies accordingly if your dogs drive for the reward it too high.

Pairing motivators such as treats, voice and corrections together, once the dog understands what is beinig asked, tends to offer a very reliable result, with just enough drive to get quick response, but not enough drive to bring the dog over the edge. Pairing motivators in this way allows trainers to fade the food reward and replace it with voice/praise/petting, so food no loner is relied upon for commands.  As well, pairing guiding corrections can help tone down any incorrect or high intensity responses, let the dog know that he or she needs to comply and give the dog a clearer picture of what is being asked, creating a calmer thought process for the dog.  (There are steps to be taken when utilizing the corrections for obedience training, and the dog needs to understand what we are asking of them before corrections are added in order to be fair to the dog during the learning process.)

Experient with your dog - find out what works by testing different motivators in non-distracting settings to see how your dog responds. If you want to advance your dogs training, are interested in sport training or just want a reliable response from your pet, feel free to contact Smart Dogs Canine Training to help guide you along the way

Another Great Review! Dog training in Milton, Ontario

Just wanted to share a great review we received from one of our fantastic clients:

"What an experience! Being young with 2 kids we thought a nice puppy would make our family unit complete…But what a handful! Boss, our chocolate lab puppy chewed through baseboards, wall units, and any toy he could get his teeth around. He walked us most of the time, pulling and dragging us wherever he would go. He would bark when people came to the door, jump up on anyone and everyone, and played mostly with his teeth – nipping and biting whoever touched him. Everything very normal for a puppy – but out of control! Thank God for Julie and Smart Dogs Canine Training. We arranged to have Julie come over, assess Boss, and determined that Private training sessions were a must to gain control back, and have the puppy we had longed for. After just one, one hour session we began to see results. We never knew that training could tire a dog out! With the smallest tips from Julie, like prong collar for walks, correction for teeth on skin, and basic commands our lives were remarkably easier. 8 private sessions later Boss is a new dog – we take him everywhere we go, without the worry that he will be “that” dog that no one can handle. He can follow basic commands, walk a distance away from us without running off, and play games with the kids without getting too excited and biting. Julie really knows what she is doing – and does an amazing job!! Thank you so much Julie for all of your help and dedication to our family, and our new pup. What an experience!" - Alison & Kevin - Milton, ON

If you are looking for a dog trainer in Milton, Burlington, Oakville, Mississauga or the surrounding areas, that gets results, check us out at or feel free to email for more information.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Back to Basics ... Dog Trainer in Burlington Ontario

Back to Basics - what does it mean?

Well, typically, when someone says back to basics, there is a flaw in whatever process they were using, and they need to take themselves back to step one and start over in order to fix the issue causing the flaw.

When we encounter issues with our dogs, usually a back to basics approach will give us the leverage to deal with those issues. Often times, issues can be resolved by taking your dog back to step one, meaning re-approach the training process as if the dog were a new pup all over again.

It is usually obvious that control from the owner, and self control on the part of the dog is lacking when we see common behavioural issues such a jumping, mouthing, excessive barking, etc. Teaching your dog self control through obedience is a very important process that all owners should take seriously. Proper obedience training allows owners to gain back control, gives dogs an opportunity to offer a correct behaviour rather than a destructive one, and enforces self control in the dog.

Going back to basics with your dog to resolve issues requires owners and trainers to seriously reconsider the previous approach to training and decipher what when wrong. Sometimes it was moving on with a command too quickly before the dog actually understood what was being asked, sometimes it involved a lack of proofing around real life distractions, other times it was the method itself that was lacking. Taking an honest and serious approach to retraining is needed in order to garner better results the 2nd time around.

So, if you are experiencing issues with your dog, rethink the original training process and be honest with yourself about what went wrong. There is no shame in going back to the drawing board and both you and your dog will be better off for it.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

No Gentle Leaders please ... Dog Training in Milton

The Gentle Leaders and Halties have never been a choice of mine for dog training (and yes, I have used them correctly in the past with my own dogs so I am speaking from personal experience). I find them fairly useless in regards to actual training and in certain cases, down right cruel. The pressure being applied to the nose and the potential damage that can be caused to the neck if a dog suddenly bolts are enough reason for me never to recommend using them. As well, for many dogs, the constant rubbing at the ground or pawing at them to try and relieve themselves of the device is very disconcerning as a good majority of dogs who wear them, never actually get used to their presense.

It is my personal choice to steer clear of them both for my own dogs and my clients dogs.

Please see the below article from a fellow trainer for a more in-depth look at Gentle Leader and why is is not so gentle:

Thursday, June 14, 2012

We're Walking Again!! Dog Walker in Milton Ontario

Yes it's true, we are offering our walking services once again to clients in Milton. Private walks, potty breaks, training walks and in-home boarding. Your dog is in good, knowledgable hands with us.

Smart Dogs Canine Training is insured and criminal record checked to provide the following services in addition to our Training Programs.

Potty Breaks:

$15.00 for 15-20 minutes - Includes letting your pup/dog out for a bathroom break, one-on-one time, treats and water bowl top up if need be.

Private Dog Walking:

$20.00 for 1/2 hour (1 dog) - minimum requirement of 2 walks per week
$28.00 for 1/2 hour (2 dogs from the same household)
We only offer private walks at this time with the exception of multiple dogs from the same household. This ensures the safety of your dog, allows the dog more one on one time, and gives you peace of mind that full attention is on your dog during his or her walk. During thunder storms we will still come and give your dog a potty break and some play time in the house.

Private Solo Training Walk/Session:

$35.00 for 30-45 minutes (1 dog) - minimum requirement of 2 training walks per week for 1 month
A private, half hour session that includes basic or advanced dog obedience (sit, down, stay, heel, & recall building duration and distraction) with a professional trainer. A great option for those who do not have time for group obedience or private training. Weather permitting. Report cards given on training progress at the end of the month as well as a free 15-20 minute session with owner and dog to go over what the dog has been taught and how to handle him or her. Proper training equipment is required (6 foot leash and training collar) - we will advise what will work best for your dog.

In-Home Boarding:

$45.00 a day for up to 14 days
Leave your dog with us while you vacation! We offer in-home boarding on a limited basis for our clients. Peace of mind knowing your dog isn't locked in a kennel all day. A great, dog friendly home, with plenty of exercise and attention, as well as socialization with our own dogs. And what makes us different from the others? We offer your dog training time!! We work with your dog on the basics of obedience to keep their minds sharp and keep them entertained throughout the day.
Bring your dogs own bed and crate to make them feel at home, or they are welcome to use ours. We will feed, walk, play with, groom and administer simple medication at no additional costs. To board with us, your dog must be house broken, crate trained, 100% good with other dogs and children, and must be fully vaccinated. At this time we are only accepting dogs up to 30 lbs. We only take ONE dog at a time, so please book well in advance.

Friday, June 8, 2012

But My Dog Still Won't Sit ... Dog Training in Milton Ontario

You've searched out a trainer, you've taken the classes, but your dog still doesn't listen. What's going on?

You need to take a step back and ask yourself, did I really put in an honest effort? Practicing for one hour, once a week will not make a trained dog. Owners need to follow through at home, at the park, on a walk, or where ever they take their dog. If you don't do the homework, don't expect your dog to heed what you're asking.

As the old saying goes, practice makes perfect, and it's no different in dog training. This does not mean that you have to drill your dog for hours on end, each and every day (that gets tedious and boring). It means that if you take 20 - 30 minutes out of your day, every day (say, during commercial breaks, or when it's doggy dinner time), spread it out, and practice in short bursts, keeping it quick, fast paced and fun, you will see much better results than if you rely soley on the once a week classes.

It's unfair to expect your dog to take you seriously when you put in little to no effort.

There is, possibley, another reason that your dog might not be listening, and if you've put in the effort and the time, but are still not seeing results, it's time to revisit the method thats being used. Sometimes a shift in the techniques you are using is required. Not all dogs respond the same to each method. If you think this might be the case, talk to your trainer and explain your worries, that is of course, only if you can truly say you've done your homework, and no, the dog didn't eat it.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Puppy Class in Milton - Dog Training in Milton Ontario

We've got two spots left in our upcoming Puppy Class starting June 17th.

Class will run for 5 weeks from 10-10:45am Sunday mornings. Cost is $160.00.

Smart Puppy Basics will help teach you how to start to gain control of your canine companion. We help you to teach your new puppy some of the basics in a fun, positive environment. We will work on socialization games, go to your mat and discuss house breaking, crate training and other puppy "issues".

10-20 weeks of age.

Visit the website to sign up or contact us

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

I Said STAY! - Milton Ontario Dog Training

Stay is one of the most important commands a dog can learn, and also one of the hardest for many owners to perfect with their dogs.

Here's a few tips that we've found useful over the years to obtain a better, more reliable stay:

  • Make sure your dog knows what's required, that means practice makes perfect - start in low distraction areas and from there start to build up on duration and distance
  • Once your dog is getting good in low distration, proof your stay in all sorts of locations, different durations and distances (a long line helps with this)
  • Don't try and hold your dog in place with your eyes - that direct stare is very inviting
  • Don't call your dog out of a stay too many times - return more times then recalling from a stay and you won't get that anticipation
  • If you're dog isn't looking at you, who cares, as long as he's holding his position - don't use his name to get his attention back on you, he's most likely going to think you want him to come back to you
  • Once your dog knows what is being asked of him, make sure there is a consequence for breaking the position - a correction and a replacement back to where he was usually suffices
  • Make sure you're using a release command such as "ok" so your dog knows when to move - no release means he can move whenever he feels like it
  • Don't reward half way through the stay and expect your dog to keep holding it - "what's the point", they think, "I already got the reward" - reward after the release

A stay can mean the difference between life or death in certain situations, so having a rock solid stay is extremely important. If you need help training your dog, please feel free to contact us to set up an appointment at and visit the website to see the classes and private training that we offer

Saturday, May 19, 2012

New training style impacts obedience | Home | Toronto Sun

Interesting article from a professional trainer with over 20 years of experience dealing with every kind of issue dogs can throw at you.

New training style impacts obedience | Home | Toronto Sun

This is not rocket science, but just common sense. Reward and corrections play a critical role in training your dog to be a well behaved member of your family.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Brandy Takes a Break - Dog training in Milton

Brandy takes a break on one of our walks to do her favorite thing in the entire world - spend time with a ball.

New Dog Obedience Classes Starting Soon in Milton & Burlington

Does your dog need training? Are you frustrated with your dogs lack of control?

We're here to help!

Smart Dogs Canine Training is expanding to Burlington. We will be offering our group classes out of our new location at Canine Cabana Pet Services Ltd. on Advance Road.

Smart Puppy Classes

Wednesday Evenings 7:15-8:00pm Milton (Indoor)

Friday Evenings 7:15-8:00pm Burlington (Indoor)
Sunday Afternoons 1:00-2:00pm Burlington (Indoor)

Smart Dog Basic Classes

Saturday Afternoons 11:30-12:30pm Milton (Outdoor)

Sunday Mornings 10:00-11:00am & 11:30am-12:30pm Burlington (Indoor)

Smart Dogs Bootcamp

Saturday Mornings 10:00-11:00am Milton (Outdoor)
Saturday Afternoons 2:30-3:30pm Burlington (Outdoor)

We also offer private, in home training and problem solving. We take the approach that no two dogs are alike and tailor our private sessions to your needs.

Our balanced approach to training gives your dog the whole picture, not just half. We are not a click and treat school. We rely on reward to teach, but our goal is to have your dog listen to you and respect you without the constant use of cookies.

Visit our website to sign up for class or inquire about private lessons and don't forget to like us on facebook

Monday, May 14, 2012

Amazing!!! Yes the little dogs can do the work too!!

Check out this super little chi working protection from PicardDK on YouTube!! Gotta love it!

Doesn't matter the size, all dogs love to learn and love to have something to do to stimulate their minds.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Doggy Bootcamp - Get Your Dog Under Control - Dog Training in Milton

Doggy Bootcamp Training


Run your dog through all the paces, learn to maintain control, leadership and obedience in real life situations. We will be emphasizing control on leash, in stays and distance recalls. Dress appropriately for the weather and be prepared to be active because we'll put you through your paces too!

Starting late May - Saturday mornings 11:30-12:30 in Milton - different location each week.

$180.00 for 8 weeks

Check us out on the web for more information or to sign up or contact us at

Friday, May 4, 2012

Milton Mutt Strutt

The annual Milton Mutt Strutt is taking place Sunday May 26th 12pm-4pm at the Milton Fairgrounds.

If you are looking for a way to support our local Oakville and Milton Humane Society (and get some excerise for you and your pooch at the same time), why not grab a sign up sheet and start raising pledges today! Proceeds go towards helping, neglected, homeless and abused animals of Milton.

There will be demo's, a vendor market place, silent auction, stuff for the kids and more!!!

Check out the OMHS webpage for more information on the event

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

New Location! Dog Training in Burlington Ontario

Smart Dogs Canine Training is happy to announce that we will now be offering training classes in Burlington, Ontario, as well as keeping up with our current class running in Milton.

We will be working out of Canine Cabana Pet Services Ltd., a fantastic, brand new doggy day care facility.

We will be offering our Smart Puppy Class and our Smart Dogs Basic class to start.

For more information please feel free to contact us at or visit the website

Monday, April 30, 2012

Foster Families Wanted - Jack Russell Rescue of Ontario

Have you ever been interested in helping out some of the less fortunate dogs in our society? The Jack Russell Rescue of Ontario is currently in need of foster homes for the many abandoned Jack Russells that come through their doors.

Please visit their website for more information on how you can help. Once you've shared your home with a Jack Russell, I can almost guarantee you will always have one in your life.

They are also urgently looking for a foster home for a little tri-coloured boy who has been given up once again. His name Pierre - a five year old, smooth coated, active male, who is friendly, house trained, has basic commands but needs to go in a foster home without other dogs. If you think that you can help foster Pierre, please contact me at for more information on this lovely boy. I will be helping anyone who fosters this boy with an issues that arise so that we can get him adopted in a permant home.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Puppy Class in Milton!

Starting Sunday April 29th, 11:50-12:35pm. Runs for 5 weeks, cost is $160.00.

For pups 10 weeks to 20 weeks of age.

Get started on the right foot and learn how to teach your puppy the basics (sit, down, stay, recall), socialization, and discussions on crate training, house training, and other common puppy "issues" all while in a positive, fun environment.

Visit the website to sign up, or contact us at 2 SPOTS LEFT.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Happy Easter, but watch the pooches and the chocolate

Remember, this time of year can be deadly for dogs. With all the goodies hidden around by the Easter Bunny, you need to be extra vigilent that your dog doesn't ingest any chocolate over the holiday weekend. Click the link below to read more about the dangers of chocolate and dogs:

Chocolate and Dogs

Monday, April 2, 2012

Start 'Em Young - Dog Training Milton Ontario

The best time to start training your dog is right from the beginning. There is no need to wait a certain amount of time before you introduce your new dog/pup to obedience training. Of course, with puppies, because of short attention spans, it's best to keep training simple, quick and fun. Adult dogs are able to work longer, but when starting with a new adult dog it is best to do the same as the above.

We start off teaching commands by luring and with positive reinforcement Sometimes we also utilize placement techniques for those dogs who are not interested in the lure.

Below is a video of a pup in the initial stages of training.

So have some fun training your new dog/pup - and remember to keep it fun!

New Group Dog Obedience Classes Starting!

Our next group session of Smart Dogs Basic in Milton will be starting on April 18th from 7:15-8:15pm. Session runs for 7 weeks and cost is $180.00. ONLY THREE SPOTS LEFT!

We help you train your dog in all of the basics; sit, down, stand, stay, recall, walk nice, leave it.

The best thing that you can do for your dog is train him/her. It builds a bond with dog and owner, and allows you, the owner, to gain and maintain control, which is extremely important for a happy relationship with your dog.

Contact us today to sign up or visit the website for details

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Drives ... and what to do with them - Dog Training in Milton Ontario

Most dogs have them, a few lack them, but you might as well take advantage of them.

We're not talking Sunday morning outtings in the car with the family, rather, the drives that motivates your dog to work.

Play drive, prey drive, pack drive, food drive etc. are all extremely useful tools to help you train your dog. Some dogs have higher, more intense drives than others, that can be, for the average owner, a bit difficult to control. Your dogs drives are what you can utilize to help them in their training.

If you have a dog that's "nuts for balls or toys", then you might want to think about utilizing that as a reward for a job well done, rather than a cookie or a pat. That being said, it is key first to work on gaining control of these drives before entering them into your training routine, especially for those dogs with intense toy/prey drives (see pictures in post for examples of intense toy drives).

Tug toys are an excellent tool for training dogs with prey/toy/play drives. First thing is first, if you are utilizing a toy as a reward, you need to first teach a "give" or an "out" so that you can maintain control during the reward and training.

The easiest way to teach an "out/give" is to trade up. As you say the command, trade the dog for something else that's really high value. If you work through this properly, you'll end up with a dog that enjoys giving you things, rather than thinks your taking the fun away.

Once you've got the "give" down pat, you can add in a tug as a reward for a job well done. Tugs are great because you maintain a hold on them, that way the dog never takes off to go play (ie. when using a ball or another such toss/fetch toy), rather he stays with you to play the game, offering you more control.

If you've got a highly food motivated dog, take advantage of that by utilizing treat rewards when teaching. In the beginning stages of training (while teaching), dogs should be rewarded fairly frequently. Once you see your dog start to understand what you are asking, you can start to remove the reward for every single instance of obedience and only reward the really good performances. Keep 'em guessing though. It's great to intermitently reward because it builds up the drives even more, and keeps the dog on his toes because he never knows when that reward is coming.

If you have one of those dogs that just enjoys being with you and having attention paid to him (pack drive), you can utilize this in training by rewarding with praise and affection. Not all dogs are motivated by treats and toys, and you need to learn what works for them in order to help the dog learn. 

So, experiment with your dog to find out what motivates him or her and take advantage of that while training.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Give Your Dog the Whole Picture - Dog Trainer in Milton

We, at Smart Dogs Canine Training, take the balanced approach to training. For us, meaning that we don't utilize positive only or correction only training, rather a combination of the two.

And there is a reason for this. Dogs learn, as do people, from both positive and negative consequences. If you are only providing feedback from one of the above, you are not providing the student, in this case, the dog, with the full picture.

Of course, we take steps to teach the dogs in a positive manner before corrections are added, but at the point when we are sure the dog understands what we are asking, corrections are added for not responding properly to a command. This ensures that you have a dog that knows you mean what you say. Dogs know when you don't mean it - and they will work that to their advantage.

Remember when training your own dog to give them the full picture, rather than a partial snap shot, and you will end up with a more reliable, well behaved companion.

For more in depth detail on how we train, why not check out one of our classes and see the results for yourself.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Start Off Small - Dog Training in Milton Ontario

Baby steps for lazy bullies, but this one is a natural retirever. Natural retirevers make lovely dogs to train, but we don't want to over-do it with a young pup. First step, basic obedeince, next step, let's see what she can do (fingers crossed for agility, but she's a pretty heavy girl), for now, baby steps for puppies.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Got the Agility Bug? Dog Training in Milton

Agility is an awesome dog sport! It's a fantastic way to strengthen the bond with your dog, release excess energy and gain more control. It's a beautiful thing to see handler and dog working in perfect harmony on a difficult run. Even if you are not interested in competing, it's a wonderful hobby to take up.

We are now offering some equipment for sale for those who would like to practice at home. Affordable agility equipment to suit small spaces and backyards. Please see the link below to check out what we have to offer our clients:

Of course, we also offer our Smart Dogs Fun Agility Class, so that you and your canine pal can learn and become confortable with the sport of dog agility. It's a course for beginners - for fun and for those looking more seriously into the sport. New courses starting soon!!

If you are interested in purchasing equipment or want to sign up for our next Fun Agility Session, please contact or visit the website for more details

Thursday, March 15, 2012

How to Fit a Prong Collar - Dog Training in Milton

I will start off by saying that a prong collar is an excellent training tool if used and fitted correctly. Any tool, no matter what the type, can be harmful to your dog if not utilized correctly. If you are unsure how to use a training tool, please seek the advice of a professional before "experimenting" on your dog.

Prong collars are an often misunderstood training tool, but are one of the best out there to help gain control back on your dog, especially on walks. Over all, they are a safer and more effective alternative to choke chains, head halters and no-pull harnesses when used correctly. Prong collars are training collars ONLY and are NEVER to be left on a dog unattended.

Prong collars DO NOT slip over your dogs head like a martingale collar. Slipping a prong over your dogs head can severly damage an eye if the dog decides to buck while you manuver the collar. Slipping a prong collar over your dogs head also means the collar is not fitted correctly.

A prong collar should not be worn like a necklace. In other words, the prong collar should not be hanging around your dogs shoulder while in use. This is liable to cause damage to your dog wearing it this way and it will not work the way it is meant to. The prong should fit snuggly at the top of the neck, just below the jaw of your dog. You will find that some dogs aren't quite built to have the collar riding right up under the jaw, and my recommendation is, if you have to struggle to put the collar on and you feel it's too tight, add an extra prong. This may be the case in dogs with a lot of extra skin or a lot of extra fur. Just ensure that it isn't too loose and flopping around or riding down on the neck. It should stay in place when fit correctly, even if you have to add an extra prong for an inbetween size dog.

Prong collars have removeable pieces (prongs). In order to put on and remove the collar, the prongs are squeezed at the top (the bend in the prongs) and compressed so that they slip out from the loops in the prong to which they are attached. Once appart, you simply place the collar around the dogs neck, and reattached the prongs together (once again, squeeze where the bend is, and insert the prong into the other on the collar). Adding and removing links is done in the same way.

Don't get a collar that is too large for your dog. Prongs come in small, medium and large with removeable links. It's always better to err on the side of small for your dog, rather than going with one that is too big and cumbersome. You can always buy extra links if the length is not the correct size.

The below article from the Leerburg Website, is an excellent illustrative piece on how to fit and properly use the prong collar.

If you have any questions about this, or any other tool, please feel free to contact us and we would be happy to speak to you about training tools for your dog -

Monday, March 12, 2012

Smart Dogs Bootcamp Training - Dog Trainer in Milton Ontario


This is a class for all levels that will run rain or shine, snow or humidity, outdoors, in a real life environment. This class is for all dogs, especially those who are experiencing any issues or those who want to gain more control - we take your problem dogs! This class is for all owners, especially those who like to bring their dogs with them every where they go.

Run your dog through all the paces, learn to maintain control, leadership and obedience in real life situations. We will be emphasizing control on leash, in stays and distance recalls. Dress appropriately for the weather and be prepared to be active because we'll put you through your paces too!

Equipment required: 15-20 foot long line (can be purchased through any of the pet stores in town), 6 foot leash and a training collar - no flats or harnesses. Bags, treats and some patience.

All experience levels welcome!

On going throughout the year at different locations each week. To secure a spot and save some money, please sign up in advance. Ask us for location when dropping in. Drop in rate is $25.00 - you must pay that day before taking the class. New Sessions starting in April 2012!!!

1 session once a week for 8 weeks. $180.00

 10:00am - 11:00am
 Week Night
 7:00pm - 8:00pm

Please note, if we deem your dog too aggressive, you will be asked to muzzle him or her for others safety.

If you have any questions about our classes please do not hesitate to contact us at

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Start your dog off on the right foot with Smart Dogs Canine Training!

Our Smart Dogs Basic obedience class will be starting March 25th, and runs for 7 weeks. Sunday mornings from 10:30-11:30am.

Your dog will learn all of the basics - sit, down, stand, stay, recall, walk nice, leave it.

All ages welcome. Please see our website for more details or if you would like to sign up

And please don't hesitate to contact us if you have any questions. We also offer private training, problem solving, agility, fitness and bootcamp classes.

And don't forget to like us on facebook

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Consistency Pays Off - Dog Trainer in Milton

Just as the title says, consistency does pay off and is a key element in training your dog correctly, regardless of the method that you use.

Dogs, just as children, need consistency in their life in order to learn which behaviours are acceptable and which are not. Allowing jumping up on people one day, then punishing it the next, teaches a dog nothing but the fact that you are not being fair in the requirements of your dogs behaviour.

Consistency in training allows good behaviour to catch on more quickly, and helps to eliminate inappropriate behaviours in a much speedier manner than being wishy-washy with your dog.

Consistency garners success in training your dog, and who doesn't want to be successful?

So remember, when teaching your dog, be it basic obedience, or extinguishing inappropriate behaviours, you will have the best results by being consistent in what you are asking of your dog.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

They Don't All Down for Treats - Common Sense Dog Training

Though we utilize the approach of positive reinforcement and luring for our initial training, we often times run into dogs we will not willingly settle into the down position, even with food motivation. Since we are not married to one single method (because we believe that all dogs are different and no two learn and retain information exactly the same) we are able to offer different options for our clients who run into walls in their training. One of these methods is placing a dog into position. It's actually a very beneficial method to use as it allows you to socialize your dog to touch and physical manipulation.

This is for those who have or are running into a road block in teaching their dogs the down. A fellow trainer has allowed me to post his video to give you a better understanding of how this particular method works for the down. If done correctly and consistently, you will garner the same results as if you taught with a treat.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Natural Aversives - Dog training in Milton Ontario

There is no need for owners to beat themselves up over the fact that their dogs survive aversives on a daily basis, both accidental and intentional. Both dogs and humans learn from aversives - touch a hot stove, get burned, you're less likely to touch it next time. Dog gets under foot, dog get's stepped on, dog is less likely to get into the same area next time.

Aversives are often used in training in the form of corrections to decrease the likelyhood of a behaviour. The opposite is true of rewards - they are used to increase the likelyhood of a behaviour.

A good read if you're up for the challenge. Check out Terrierman's intro then follow the link he provides to a great, in-depth article on aversives in dog training and dog's lives in general.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Dogs Don't Have to Like Everyone They Meet - Dog Training in Milton

Dogs are very similar to us in many ways, more similar than most think (and that scares some people). 

Dogs, like us, have likes, and dislikes, preferences, favorite activities, favorite foods and so on.

Dogs also don't like every dog that they meet, and nor should they be expected to, just as we aren't fans of every person that we meet. Certain personalities just don't jive.

People have a tendency to think that dogs should like each other all the time, in every situation, I mean their dogs right, they're suppose to be friendly? Wrong. Some dogs dislike the company of others, and should never be forced into a situation where they are bombarded by those of the same species. Some tolerate housemates, but are not interested in meeting new friends. Some dogs are biddable enough, but hate rude gestures and greetings. Yet, owners continue to push their dogs upon other dogs, insisting that they need friends.

Yes, with training, dogs should be able to maintain composure in any situation, however, when another dog insists upon a rude greeting (for example charging up face to face, standing very erect, staring etc.) and you can not control the situation due to the other being off leash,  you can't expect that every dog will turn a blind eye. The rude greeter, according to your dog, needs to be told he's being rude, and the only way dogs now how is with sound (growing) and action (a retaliation) *This is completely different from leash aggression and should not be treated as such.

Personal space is very important to dogs, just as it is to us. No one likes it when they're in a line up, and the guy behind decides to stand right on your heels, breathing down your neck. It's rude, invading personal space, and you feel like retaliating (I know I do). The same goes for your dog and the rude greeter. Their space is invaded and they become very uncomfortable.

It is not necessary for your dog to love and socialize with other dogs, unless they desire it. It does not take away from their quality of life if they don't have or desire other doggy friends. As long as they are getting the exercise, training and attention from their owners, there is no need.

Even if your dog is not a fan of other dogs, he or she should still be able to maintain composure while on a walk and in public, and that can be achieved with proper training. But please keep in mind, that if your dog doesn't seem to want friends, don't force it on them.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

New Year's Classes! Dog Training in Milton Ontario

Well, the New Year has arrived, and what better resolution than to get your dog trained!

We are offering an array of courses starting this month from basic obedience to into agility.

Our Smart Dogs Basic Group Class will begin at the end of January and run for 7 weeks every Sunday at 10:00am-11:00am.

Our Smart Dogs Fun Agility will begin at the end of January as well, and run for 6 weeks every Sunday from 11:30am-12:30pm.

The above two classes will be taking place at the Madjam Fitness Studio on Bronte Street. Classes are kept small for optimum training and results. Contact us today if you are interested in signing up. Only 2 spaces left in the agility class, and 3 in the basic class.

Our Doggy-Style Fitness Class begins in February - but sorry, this session is full! If you are interested in signing up for our next session, please contact us Class runs 8 weeks every Saturday morning at Madjam Fitness Studio on Bronte Street.

We will also be starting our Smart Dogs Bootcamp. This class will run continuously throughout the year, outdoors, rain or shine. It is for all skill levels, and is excellent for both beginners and vetrans. This class will get your dog in shape both mentally and physically, and you'll move a little too. This class will get results and will go over all the basics, in all conditions under all distractions. If you want a well behaved, reliable dog in all environments, this class is for you!! Starting in March 2012.

To sign up for any of our classes please contact or visit the official website for more details. And don't forget to like us on facebook

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Bulldog Agility - Milton Ontario Agility Training

The table ... an often overlooked, and under-trained obsticle. Get's a lot of the novice competitors.

We like to make sure our dogs understand it, and have the self control to perform it.

Here's Cambull's Jinx learning the ropes ... uh, I mean table.

Interested in trying out the sport of dog agility? We are offering our Smart Dogs Fun Agility Class - a perfect way to get a taste of the sport. You will learn ground handling skills, intro to equipment and trick training. Agility is an awesome sport, and a great way to build a better bond with your dog and have some fun! Check out our website for details.