One of the absolute best training tools is the ‘Look at That’ method (or LAT as it’s known in the world of dog trainers) and it has many implications. What better way to get your dog used to a calm reaction to a stimulus than to give them a reward as they calmly watch the stimulus go by? This technique is extremely helpful in reactive and fearful dogs. You can stage a training session with a friend if your dog is reactive to people, or another pet that is under a friend’s control if your dog is reactive towards other pets. You can even practice this with wildlife if you are able to stay outside the threshold and move away if the stimulus moves in your direction. If by yourself, a park is a good place to start, just choose where you post up wisely. For this example, I will explain for a dog that is reactive towards other dogs. To start, simply ask your dog to sit (or lay down, although not all dogs like to stay in a down position when there are things happening around them) in an area where there are no current distractions with high quality treats to reward them. Choose a spot that is far enough away from any stimulus that might elicit a response, a spot that it is just barely outside the threshold of your dog’s likeliness of reacting. Make sure this spot will remain just outside that threshold so for the duration of the training. If your dog reacts at any point, move farther away, you are too close! Once you have your dog in a sit or down, wait for any dog nearby that you are looking to practice with. As a dog approaches, have your body in between your dog and the dog nearby and slowly allow your dog to look at this other dog. As your dog sees the other dog, say ‘good’ and reward with a treat. The idea is that your dog won’t have time to react to this other dog and will instead focus on a yummy treat that it has been rewarded for not reacting and staying calm. If your dog seems to be too fixated and starts to elicit a reaction, move in front of his/her view and continue to talk calmly and reward as long as no reaction occurs. Once you are able to repeat this exercise for a few sessions with at least a handful of stimuli walking by each time, you can practice a little bit closer to the stimulus. Eventually, the threshold for your dog’s reactivity will be closer and closer until you can practice walking by other dogs (or people or wildlife). Such a simple yet effective technique!
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