Friday, September 20, 2013

Dog Poop and Walking Paths

I'm not typically an internet ranter, and I apologize to those who loath reading internet rants, but here goes:

Why is it that there are still dog owners out there that don't feel the slightest responsibility to clean up after their pets? This is a HUGE pet peeve of mine, as this is one of the many responsibilities and obligations of dog ownership. My feelings might be a bit harsh, but if you don't feel the need to handle your obligations as a dog owner, and clean up after your canine companion, don't get a dog!

It amazes me the amount of ignorant people who let their dogs leave bombs along the walking paths (especially the paths around the ponds in this town), with no regard for the many other people that use those paths on their daily outings; be it other dog owners, parents and children, kids coming home from school, couples taking a relaxing evening stroll etc. It is absolutely disgusting to have to avoid 10 piles of steaming turds on a 50 foot path, like some sort of excriment slolum, while trying take a leisurely stroll out in the fresh air.

Worst of all, is the fact that young children use those paths to walk or bike on. The last thing I want to see is a child falling into or stepping on a dung heap left by some ignorant dog owner who feels he/she is above the job of clean up. If I can clean up after multiple dogs EVERY single time, with a three year old and a wagon in tow, then everyone should be able to clean up after their single or multiple dogs with no exceptions.

So if you own a dog, it is YOUR responsibility to clean up after that animal, not to mention that there are by-laws in place requiring your to do your duty. So man (or woman) up, and pick up!!!

Rant done.

This has become a rather disgusting problem in my area and over the winter months will only get worse, hence the rant.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Dog Training Classes in Milton Ontario

We've got a few classes coming up in October, two of which will be indoor, the other will be outside braving the fall elements. If you are interested in joining us for one of our group sessions, please feel free to contact us at We keep our classes small (4-6 max), so spaces fill quickly. Below is our October schedule:

Smart Dogs Bootcamp - Outdoors! Saturdays starting October 19th - 1:00-2:00pm, rain or shine. This is our next step after our Smart Dogs Basic Class. We travel to different locations each week, preparing your dog to respond in high distraction of the REAL WORLD. Class runs 6 weeks, cost is $180.00 plus HST. We prefer that you have taken our Smart Dogs Basic Class, but will consider those who have taken basic training at another facility. For puppies and dogs 7 months and up.

Smart Dogs Basic Class - We are now Indoors until the Spring! Saturdays starting October 26th - 10:00-11:00am. This is a MUST HAVE class. Learn all the basics and teach your dog how to work and behave around other dogs and people. Class runs 7 weeks with an 8th week test, cost is $200 plus HST. This is a class for those who have had no previous group experience or those who have taken puppy class. For puppies and dogs 5 months and up.

A Thursday evening Smart Dogs Basic class will be added soon as well.

Smart Dogs Fun Agility INTRO - Indoors! Saturdays starting October 26th - 11:30am-12:30pm. A great introduction to simple equipment, handling skills and focus. Agility is a great way to strengthen the bond with your dog, increase confidence and engagement. We do require that dogs have Basic Obedience skills to join (sit, down, stay and recall). Class runs 6 weeks, cost is $180 plus HST. For puppies and dogs 8-9 months and up.

Join us for one of our classes, and check out our website for more details:

Thursday, September 12, 2013

It's not always the dog - Dog Training in Milton Ontario

This is a good post and definitely worth the read, especially if you've ever encountered a "problem dog" in your life. It's not always the human half to blame. So much of behaviour relies on genetics and heredity that we can not always blame the other end of the leash. But not all trainers are willing to admit this.

This isn't to excuse people who are not willing to put the time and effort into training their canine companions, far from it, but it does allow those, who've put the effort in, and blamed themselves, to take a step back and realize that it might not be all them to blame when their dog has severe behavioural issues (especially fear and aggression).

Got a doggy problem? We can help. Check out the website for details:

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Walk - Socialization at it's Best - Dog Training Milton

Dogs need to be socialized in order to become stable, well rounded companions. However, I believe there is a big misconception on how we socialize our dogs, particularly not taking into account the temperament of the dogs in question. Yes, it is very important that puppies are able to meet as many different people (adults, children, men, women, different races, different sizes etc.) and get out to as many different places as possible in their early months in order to accustom them to our ever changing, busy world, but, no one seems to mention that if a dog is inherently fearful, or inherently shy, you can throw 30,000 people at them in there first optimal socialization days, but you may still end up with the dog who is nervous around strangers or skittish at new surroundings.

It also seems that many people think of the dog park as a great place to have their pooch socialize and learn how to behave around other dogs, but this really isn't in the best interest of your dog as there are too many things that can "go wrong" at the dog park. The concept is nice, but the fact that they are not "policed" and the fact that owners bring dogs who shouldn't be there, or decided they don't need to pay attention to their dogs once in the fence, makes the "go wrong" inevitable. Dogs who lack confidence, are fearful or aggressive are sure to experience negative situations at the dog park that can exacerbate their already delicate temperaments.

One of the best forms of socialization that we have found is simply taking your dog on a walk, be that walk with another canine buddy, another human buddy or just by yourself with your best friend. The walk is a fantastic time to practice obedience, and also is a great opportunity to get dogs out into the world without putting direct social pressure on them that may be overwhelming to some.

To clarify, the walk should be a walk only, and not a parade of greeting all other dogs outside, as this can have negative consequences down the road. It is more important to have your dog pay attention and listen to you, rather than learn that the walk means playing with other dogs. It is important for your dog to learn to coexist with other dogs passing by, but that you are more important than those other dogs. If not, you can end up with the screaming roaring mess at the end of the leash, that demands to greet every canine it encounters, which in turn can lead to leash aggression.

Teaching proper human greeting skills is essential and can be practiced on the walk as well. Sit nice for petting and a friendly stranger may offer a treat - this doubles up on both the positive experience with other people, and the reinforcement of good behaviour around newcomers.

Keep in mind, when socializing and working with your dog on a walk, that many others will not have the same control over their own dogs (or children for that matter), and it is best, at the point of passing, to move off so that your dog does not experience the negative behaviour of the other, on-coming dog. Keep the social experience positive, and keep that positive directed towards yourself so that you become the best thing in the world to your dog, and their confidence in you grows.

A great way to introduce dogs to each other is going for a walk together. I've had many dogs become "friends" this way as the dogs got the opportunity to learn about the other using their noses, ears and eyes, without the sometimes overwhelming, direct contact/pressure. Of course, this means keeping your dog under control, and preferably in the heel position while you are walking, as the idea of this is not a leash tangling, free-for-all. Even my anti-social Jack Russell has accepted and even made friends with dogs in this way. The dog has the opportunity to feel comfortable first and that is extremely important.

So use the walk as both an opportunity to introduce your dog to the world, as a reduced social pressure environment and always use it as a training opportunity when ever possible.