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Is Positive Reinforcement Training Just “Tricks for Treats”?

Is Positive Reinforcement Training Just "Tricks for Treats"? | Sweet Paw Dog TrainingI had a client recently that I had to part ways with due to so many things, but at the top of the list was the fact that she was stoned or passed out while I was at her apartment trying to train her dog.It was a very sad situation as the dog actually made wonderful progress with me the first week, but I never was able to show that to his owner. I had to end things before she got to see the training in action as it was just a very bad environment. (more…)

National Train Your Dog Month: What is the Best Breed for Me?

National Train Your Dog Month: What is the Best Breed for Me?

Choosing to add a dog to your family is such an important decision and can be very exciting. But it can also be ill-advised if your lifestyle is not consistent with meeting the needs of your new pet.

As a trainer here in Wilmington, Delaware, I’m often asked by friends and others what breed of dog would be best for their family. There’re so many things to consider and the decision can be tough. But there’re a few basic questions you can ask yourself before heading off to the shelter or breeder. (more…)

National Train Your Dog Month: Is it Okay to Punish Your Dog?

National Train Your Dog Month: Is it Okay to Punish Your Dog?

In honor of National Train Your Dog Month this January, I thought I’d tackle a topic that I’m asked about by almost every client–Is it okay to punish your dog? Well, that depends on your definition of “punish.” In our punitive, hierarchical society, punishment is doled out carelessly all the time. It feeds our need to dominate other groups of people and makes us feel more powerful and more in control. Sadly, people don’t realize how detrimental punishment, when used incorrectly, can be to a person or animal. (more…)

Is Your Dog Okay to be Boarded When You Go Away for the Holidays? Read this Before You Make Your Reservations

Is Your Dog Okay to be Boarded When You Go Away for the Holidays? Read this Before You Make Your Reservations

We’re lucky here in my hometown of Wilmington, Delaware, in that we have a lot of choices available to us when it comes to where the family dog will stay when we go on vacation. But just because we have all these options doesn’t mean that every dog is “boarding” material. Yes, boarding a dog is easy … gather up her bed, a few toys, and bag of food and you can drop your dog off at one of many boarding facilities and be reasonably assured that she’ll be well taken care of. But not all dogs adjust very well to being away from home. And you’re going to want to figure this out before you split for a week or more. I learned this the hard way. I dropped my two dogs off at my vet hospital in Wilmington that I have been going to for years. They have a huge boarding program that is well priced and well staffed. I loved them there and while I knew my dogs didn’t like the idea of being away from home based on weekends that they had boarded, I never realized just how hard two weeks would be on them.  (more…)

Can You Give Your Dog a Time Out? This Dog Trainer Says Yes!

Can You Give Your Dog a Time Out? This Dog Trainer Says Yes!

I’m one of the few people in the world who never gave my child a “Time-Out.” But I can remember my niece and nephew often being sent to the stairs or a special chair for a few minutes to chill out. It’s not that I didn’t agree with them, my daughter just never did anything that warranted punishment … when she was little. But with my dogs, a very mellow Pit Bull and a very precocious Boston Terrier, things are a little different. A time-out is a very powerful tool when training. It’s not exactly the same as the time-out you put your child in, but it can certainly diffuse a situation and give the trouble maker time to rethink what she’s doing. (more…)

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Dog Parks

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Dog Parks

My favorite dog park here in Wilmington, Delaware, where I live is Talley Day Bark Park off Foulk Road. For most people in North Wilmington, this seems to be the hot spot, especially on the weekends. But as a dog trainer, I may view dog parks a little differently than the average park visitor. And I don’t think I’m alone. When researching this post on dog parks, I found countless opinion pieces from other trainers on this very topic. So, suffice it to say, I’m going to add in my opinion to the mix. (more…)