When it comes to walking your dog, how do you know what tools will work best? With all of the different options out there, it can be tricky figuring out how to keep you and your dog safe and happy on walks around town. Many dogs pull and lunge at the end of their leash whether it be towards a squirrel, another dog, or something that smells delicious in the grass. In most cases, aversive tools like choke collars and pinch collars will increase the fear of or aggression towards whatever your dog is pulling towards (or away from in some instances). This can also lead to increased anxiety towards you if after pulling, your dog feels pain or discomfort and then attributes it to you being at the other end of that leash! Even more important is the health concerns of using such collars. Both pinch and choke collars can cause damage to the trachea or neck. So how can you stop your dog from pulling and lunging? There are many positive tools to use in order to maintain a healthy and happy relationship with your dog while maintaining control. My personal favorite is the front clip harness. It puts no pressure on the neck and controls the momentum of your dog in a way that simply turns them back towards you when they pull forward. My favorite is the Sense-Ation by Softouch Concepts (http://www.softouchconcepts.com/index.php/product-53/sense-ation-harness), but there are other good options out there. Another tool that is still better than aversive techniques if is the Gentle Leader by PetSafe. I rarely recommend the use of these simply because they can easily be misused and can also cause neck damage if the dog continues to pull with it on, or if you pull them. In addition they take a lot of desensitization for most dogs who are not used to having something over their muzzle. The most important and effective tool for walk etiquette is training! Distract your dog with treats and try to stay as far away as necessary from the things that trigger your dog to pull or lunge. Start at whatever threshold they can handle and ask for a sit with a nice juicy treat in their face (and your body in between your dog and the distraction to block any reaction) until whatever distractions goes away (or until you walk away from it if necessary). Then slowly move closer and closer to distractions until your dog can handle them close up!
We LOVE Marni. We have a very independent dog that has conflict aggression, he is reactive to body handling and resource guarding among other things. Marni has been instrumental in helping us understand his body language and communication, in giving us tools to shape his behavior and especially in educating us about the positive reinforcement thought process. She loves what she does and is great at it! Thanks for teaching US how to teach Kubo.
Katie Lapins Trujillo
Marni has been fantastic and I can’t recommend her highly enough! We adopted two dogs, both about 60 pounds, who were a “bonded pair” and didn’t realize until after having them for a month that one of them was reactive, likely due to abuse he experienced as a puppy. I was afraid we might have to return them because the behavior seemed insurmountable for us. We saw results after our first session and continued to see them with each session. Marni taught my husband & I how to set the dogs up for success. This included learning to read the dogs’ body language so we could address the situation before it became too stressful for a successful outcome. Our other dog is bundle of joy & energy which means she jumps on people she’s excited to see. Marni has taught us tips to help with this issue and as long as we stick with it, we have seen great results.
I was first referred to Marni by my veterinarian, who gave her a glowing review. As a new, first time dog parent, I knew nothing about managing a young pup. She demystified and explained my dog to me in a way that was Instantly helpful and usable. I signed on for a six lesson initial training session and immediately added a second because we made such good progress. Her instructional method proved to be practical and easy for me to replicate on my own, she showed a quick, intuitive understanding of my dog’s individual personality and taught me how to work with the dog I have. Additionally, she was very responsive to texts and calls, and I found it very easy to schedule appointments. In summary, I found Marnie and her philosophy to be a gold standard. I recommend her without reservation.
Marni was a very professional and skilled dog trainer. We recently adopted a 3 year old Boxer named Abita. Abita is a rescue dog through and through, very sweet very loyal but also comes from a past that does not lend itself to easy training. We believe that she was in a dog breeding mill and never was trained in any aspect. Marni connected to Abita right away, she had Abita sitting and staying in minutes (we couldn’t do it in 3 weeks). Her patience and teaching skills were very helpful in teaching us how to connect with our new family member and I would recommend Marni’s service to anyone.
Marni is an amazing trainer! She has been an instrumental part of Cooper becoming a well behaved dog. She doesn’t just train the dog, she trains you! Which is a must! She is kind and gentle with the dogs but with a solid training technique. We are so thankful for her training! It has made a huge difference and has made our lives much easier and happier!
I purchased Kitsy, a Blue Heeler/Sheherd mix puppy for my family and knew that I would be second fiddle in my own home without immediate help. Marni was great! She came to our house and provided valuable guidance in teaching Kit the basics: sit, down, heel, place, stay, roll over, paw, in addition to leash control and many other tips on how to integrate her into our family. You can go the Petsmart route, but one on one, in home training for your entire family is really the best way to go. I recommend Marni for anyone getting started with a puppy or dealing with an unruly dog