The dog training industry is unregulated in many countries. Literally, anyone can call themselves a dog behaviorist or a dog trainer. When looking for a trainer, ask for certifications*, especially if you don’t know much about that trainer.
*At the end of this blog post, you’ll find a list of the recommended certifications (the US and some international).
If you have a local trainer you like a lot, great! But if you don’t–or prefer remote meetings–many trainers work online. During the pandemic, it was often the only way to “see a trainer.” Many behaviors can be successfully addressed with cameras during online training sessions or group classes. Some trainers work exclusively online and offer training packages and programs.
In some cases, online sessions are more beneficial than in-person sessions. For example:
Easily distracted pups
SF Puppy Prep is a reputable dayschool for young puppies in San Francisco, CA. At...
Meet Michelle: Michelle is a sought-after dog trainer and mom to a 4-year-old girl, two dogs, and one cat.
Meet her fur babies: Her dog Izzy is friendly with all people BUT nervous with younger kids and barks if young kids come too close. Frankie is neutral with kids but nervous of adult strangers if they rush her. She will bark if strangers are looming, staring, and trying to pet or touch her.
I asked Michelle to share her story and what she did to overcome the obstacles that come with introducing a baby to your pet-friendly home, as I know it could help many parents who are nervous about that transition.
will give you many ideas
will help you to have realistic expectations about your baby and your dogs
will give you HOPE!
Disclaimer: If your dog has displayed aggressive behaviors toward children, reach out to a certified dog trainer or veterinary behaviorist.
I started prep work in the second trimester and focused on ...
“My son can’t stop trying to pull the dog’s hair and tail, even if I repeat a thousand times that he’s hurting the dog. I feel like I’m constantly correcting one or both of them.”
“I have a 2.5-year-old who will not leave my English lab alone - grabs her face, tries to touch her eyes, grabs her fur really tight. All of these are uncomfortable for the dog.”
“My toddler is extremely rough with our dog. We don't let them alone together. We never let him rough handle her. But even when we are right there, he is super quick to grab her paw or jump on her when she is sitting. I am concerned that she'll snap at some point, or it's negatively affecting her.”
I asked Caley Kukla, M.Ed., for her advice, as a behavior specialist and parent coach who integrates brain science and empathy into discipline practices. Caley is also a mom to two young children and a dog. Here’s what she has to say:
Did you decide to get a dog as a couple before having a child, or did you and your pup come as a “package deal”?
Or, are you a single parent or a couple with young children looking to add a dog to your family but not sure when and how?
I’ll walk you through different scenarios to help you prepare your dog for future kids or help you choose the best moment for your family to get your dream dog.
Many couples get a dog before they decide to have children. It's a good way to learn responsibility and selflessness. Dogs teach us better planning skills and to be more flexible. And, if you get your dog as a puppy, you’ll also get a taste of the inevitable sleep deprivation that comes with a baby.
If you plan on kids entering the picture at some point -no matter how far down the line- getting your dog comfortable around children is important.
When socializing a dog with unfamiliar or familiar children, it is extremely important...
Does your dog steal your baby’s toys, diapers, pacifiers, or clothes? Sometimes you get lucky and your dog magically KNOWS not to touch the baby's toys. But, if you’re like most, you need a strategy for keeping your baby's stuff out of your dog's mouth, and your dog out of harm's way.
Babies bring A LOT of new and organic smells that are exciting to your dog. Dogs are natural scavengers. Scavenging is a survival mechanism and an instinct that’s strong in most dogs. Introducing a baby to your house can potentially trigger your dog’s scavenger tendencies in new ways.
Many baby items can be stimulating for your dog, or even mistaken for food. Here’s a list of common baby items that can be uncontrollably enticing for your dog:
If your dog gets, consumes, or destroys one of these things, don’t...
If I had to name the number one behavior people ask me questions about, it would be LICKING. Some of you don’t mind it at all, and some of you can’t stand it.
The chances are, your dog doesn’t just lick the baby. Oftentimes, dogs have been licking their family members for years, it is not new behavior.
With consistency, training, and management, your dog can learn it is okay to lick you and not the baby. However, it is important to understand that if this behavior has been allowed and rewarded (even unintentionally), a negative reaction from you when they try to lick the baby, may be confusing to your dog at first.
It could be rewarding to your dog.
One of the best ways to keep your dog entertained while you are figuring out life with a baby is puzzle toys for dogs. These toys have a variety of functions and there are different toys depending on your dog’s size and personality. Read below to learn how to pick out the perfect puzzle toys for your dogs and some of my (and Lola’s) personal favorites! Plus, here is a reel that shows how I prepare puzzle toys for dogs with my kids.
There are some things you should keep in mind when choosing puzzle toys for dogs:
Many pregnant and new moms (and dads) may be thinking “I resent my dog,” and don’t want to talk about it… But this is something that definitely needs to be discussed. It is normal to feel frustration, guilt, grief, and resentment towards your furry friend when this big change happens in your family.
Along with pregnancy or becoming a new mom, you are experiencing a lot of changes. This resentment may show up in different forms. For example, you might
But no matter how you are feeling, it can be tough to navigate these new...
With a new baby on the way, you’re probably thinking about what to add to your baby registry… But have you considered adding items that can be equally beneficial for both you and your dog? There are tons of items that can bring you less stress and guilt and more quality time with your baby and dog! Here are 6 dog mom must-haves that will make your life (and your dog’s) so much easier!
You may already be used to the dog hair, but just wait until your little one starts crawling around… You won’t believe how much they can pick up! On their clothes, in their mouths, and everywhere else!
I highly recommend getting a robotic vacuum to do the work for you. It’s one less thing you need to stress about every week. Or, you can opt for a cordless vacuum that is easy to use and doesn’t have a long cord that your baby would play with.
Some other dog mom must-haves are puzzle toys for...
The arrival of a new baby is a huge transition for your dog, and it’s something is recommended to prepare for! Here are some simple ways to prepare during each trimester to make the transition easier.
During your first trimester, I think it’s best to just relax! Yes, it’s important to prepare your dog for baby, but both you and your partner are going through some huge changes. You probably aren’t feeling the best and you’re just trying to survive with this big news. So just focus on yourself, let your partner focus on helping you, and relax! The time to train and prepare your dog for baby will come soon enough.
Ideally, this is the time when you start to think about training. If your dog is already well-behaved, you could wait until around 20-24 weeks to start training. However, you will want to start sooner if your dog has more serious behavioral issues as those take longer to address.
If you are able to start your...
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