the Garrett Stevens Method of dog behavior rehab and canine linguistics


The Garrett Stevens Method of dog behavior rehab and training is unique within the dog training and behavior modification industry.  This is why.

  1.  We begin by ASKING tough questions about dog training in general and the behavior industry and by thoughtfully considering many tactics and methods we can then streamline efficiency and get better results.  Here are some of the terrific questions that one could/should ask when looking for a professional dog trainer or behaviorist or when examining ANY dog training method in the world.  Do the methods used line up with what we know about how dogs naturally raise their young?  Does the method take into account the dog’s point of view and how all dog’s think and respond within their environment?  Are the methods of training CALMING because calmness is a very valuable and desirable quality in today’s modern house dogs just as it is within all of nature?  (That last question often disqualifies a host of training methods)  Do the methods line up with what we know as good, basic parenting (either among dogs or people) and common sense or are the methods unnatural and overly fixated on external motivation (positive or aversive reinforcement)?  Is there a backup contingency when/if one part of the method fails?  Is the training method bringing both dog and owner to a place of curiosity, thoughtfulness, and more physical activity?  Would the method work for other domesticated animals?  Is the training method FREE from limiting items (ex: food, shock collars, etc, – Will it work without these items)?  Is there evidence of the philosophy and method found easily within nature and within the universe?             The Garrett Stevens Method can answer YES to all of these questions!!!  The overwhelming majority of dog training and behavior modification methods available to most people though – tragically cannot answer the above questions in the affirmative!  Please pause to consider that.
  2. We put first things first in the Garrett Stevens Method.  It is wise to put the horse before the cart and not the other way round.  Yet, this is NOT often the case within the dog training industry.  Obedience and tricks and “work” for a dog should be of secondary importance (yes, even amongst pro trainers) when compared in relation to the dog – human bond, to the fundamental order of the animal’s senses, and to how the dog experiences the world around him/her.  This is why we teach all our clients the 4 Pillars of dog language.  Learning and applying those is a more simplified and highly efficient way to jump into understanding dogs and their culture and behavior and, in that way, the client will then be able to express themselves back to their dogs.  We must look to nature and to our own dogs to discover what must be of primary importance (even above looking to the sterile science lab) and then we must put those things of primary importance first if we desire success.  That is key to relational and behavioral excellence.
  3. We educate clients much more than we ever train dogs.  While some obedience training is necessary here and there – within all the cases we handle, believe it or not, the human client is the one where all our “dog training” either fails or succeeds because dogs are relational and any and all results must be Maintained BY THE OWNER!  The dog’s capacity for sociability must be stretched to the limits of that capacity (like working out and strengthening a muscle) so that real growth can occur!  When owners are taught to take responsibility and action (by employing the 4 Pillars) the changes that happen during our training sessions together can not only take route but genuinely grow into something wonderful.
  4. In the Garrett Stevens Method we put an emphasis on physical action and touch.  We do this because it lines up perfectly with what all DOGS care about and how all DOGS on the planet express themselves back and forth to each other and to us within the confines of their specific language.  Touch is a pup’s first sense.  All puppies are born blind and deaf.  Touch is also the first of the 4 Pillars of dog language.  Touch reveals everything to a person once they learn to use our unique method!  Taking action (by way of touch, space, and movement) is the name of the game when initially communicating with a dog – knowing when to calmly address your dog (gaining respect) and when to smoothly ignore your dog (giving trust) is key.  Being sensitive to touch and the space around our bodies and the dogs’ bodies is critical for healthy relationship and good behavior.
  5. Frankly, My Dear, we don’t give a d*mn when it comes to what training method is popular at the time or to what any doggy organization has to say when we employ the Garrett Stevens Method.  In fact, we don’t care at all what other experts may or may not have to say.  Does this mean we are closed minded?  Hardly!  In truth, it means the opposite because what we care about are Real Results for the dogs and for our wonderful clients.  We care more about what nature is teaching us and less about what new fangled “certification” comes out within the money-guzzling dog training industry.  Those utilizing the Garrett Stevens Method care more about what dogs care about and less about what people’s concept of dog training is or should be – because we’ve found that the more we align with nature and the balanced mother and father dog, the greater the relationship and the greater the behavioral success between human and canine.  The more we distance ourselves from the status quo industry methods the greater the outcome!  And we’ve discovered that that excellent relationship and great results we get often has little or nothing to do with certifications and group think and the selling of billions of dollars worth in treats or sweaters for dogs (or in selling largely unnecessary training equipment).  Results alone are and should be King!
  6. The Garrett Stevens Method does NOT require harsh handling or food treats!  Yes, it’s true – you heard me correctly.  We are the anti-trainers and we are the dreamers of dreams, we are the movers and shakers, of the world forever it seems.  As mentioned probably thousands of times on this blog – BOTH positive reinforcement and punitive reinforcement are externally based (fleeting) motivators and not the best choice in most circumstances.  Internal motivations (things like healthy relationship, freedom of choice, autonomy, curiosity, instinctual play drive, etc) are much, much better motivators than external positive or punitive reinforcement.  Internal motivation is one of the starting points in the Garrett Stevens Method but once that is rolling we begin teaching authentic maturity to both client and dog (as seen in mother nature) and that is one huge reason that sets this special method apart.  We are pioneering the way into the FUTURE of dog ownership (don’t believe me – read my books and discover why I say that).  Dogs are smarter than most training methods and therefore, they can and often do manipulate the heck out of it!  Training is secondary to a wonderful relationship particularly if the dog is NOT a professional working dog.  Don’t treat your dog like a dolphin doing flips for tourists in Hawaii – don’t stuff it’s face with food and don’t rely on weak external motivators that fade quickly – instead learn our method and truly communicate with your intelligent companion.  Once that happens freedom for both parties is just around the corner!
  7. When we use the Garrett Stevens Method we don’t need to make excuses.  Over the years we hear the stories first hand (over and over) from clients that have used other dog training philosophies and methods, prior to experiencing ours.  We hear about how the professional behaviorist, or dog trainer, whisperer, or animal communicator loaded the client up with many lame excuses once their method failed.  We’ve heard everything from “Your dog just shouldn’t be around other dogs or people.” (Yes, a professional trainer that someone was paying gave them that sage advice after their great “training” didn’t work – It’s ridiculous, asinine, and totally unrealistic!) to “Your dog is your dog and maybe it shouldn’t be touched by anyone else.”  (What a life for one of the world’s most social species – that brilliant advice, which came direct from a K9 trainer, is unbelievably stupid, and a cop out used to cover poor methods!) to one of the best lame excuses, in my personal opinion, we’ve ever heard.  It went something like, “Your dog wishes she wasn’t ever born.”  (This gem came to a client from a gen-u-ine “animal communicator” with psychic powers and all.  I guess that explains why her dog was barking too much whenever she was in the client’s vehicle…the poor dog just didn’t want to be born.  Excellent.  And this woman was paid for that “reading!”)  The Garrett Stevens Method is so DIFFERENT from all that because if something isn’t working, which is very rare, it usually means the client wasn’t emulating it precisely and that precision is EVERYTHING IN Dog LANGUAGE.  In proper language I cannot say, “I love the smell of that colon” and leave the sentence that way – can I?  I MISSPELLED the word “cologne” and instead stated that I love to smell a part of the human intestine!  That’s nasty and, furthermore, the communication is off kilter.  DETAILS MATTER!  The fine details matter to every dog that exists because they are the details of their language.  What does NOT matter, when interacting with our socially brilliant and highly communicative dogs, is whether you or I enjoy the absolute FACT that the details do matter!  It’s THEIR language so…I highly suggest learning it and learning to speak it back to them through our natural method because that, Friends, just may be the closest thing you’re going to get to calm, natural touch, space, and movement.  That is how you can learn to influence energy and really speak dog language and that will, in turn, influence your relationship and your dog’s behavior.  IF you truly love your dog – as so many claim to – put your money where your mouth is and learn their language.  Learn the Garrett Stevens Method.

Good luck on your quest.  For those legitimately interested I’d begin the journey by reading Dog Myths: What you Believe about dogs can come back to Bite You! because there’s a huge chance that what you believe about dogs and their language is way off base.  Then I’d move on to So Long Separation Anxiety (this little book is packed with plenty of other dog behavioral excellence far beyond separation anxiety alone) and then I’d pick up a copy or two of my upcoming third book about the dog’s 5 incredible Senses and the 4 PILLARS of Dog Language!  This book is going to reveal much more of the Garrett Stevens Method of behavioral rehab and canine linguistics!

Happy Learning!


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4 thoughts on “the Garrett Stevens Method of dog behavior rehab and canine linguistics

  1. ljcraw

    Here’s the latest from the training folks. I continue to believe in the philosophy and concede I’m more responsible for her “slow learning” than she is. I also continue to believe she is feistier and more willful than most puppies I’ve seen. I think part of my lackluster progress has to do with my altered abilities, e.g. agility, stamina, walking. I couldn’t love her any more than I do but I need to up my game. I’m guessing I’ll essentially what’s in the post above but I’ll send them my difficulties with her and see what they have to say. I’ll keep you posted.

    • Keep working at it, Lori! Remember, most dogs, if the owners did a decent job planting behavioral seeds of success during the first year of life, will noticeably get calmer and enter into more relaxed maturity come 12-14 months old. So keep working with her.
      Let us know when/if you want or need a follow up session. Keep socializing for success!

  2. ljcraw


    I hope you and yours are weathering the pandemic well.

    I brought my very young puppy, Lucy, to the Puppy Perfect program in late January of this year. She’s 7 months old now and much to my chagrin, we aren’t developing the bond or relationship I hoped for. I couldn’t love her anymore and she certainly wants to be with me and looks to me to play with her, when she’s afraid, etc. but she doesn’t respect me. For example, when I sit down to eat she tries to jump up on me the entire time. I put her in the pocket, I turn my back, I get up and walk toward her and nothing seems to stop the behavior. I end up either eating standing up or putting her in the large pen I have set up in the house. When I attempt to hook her leash to her collar and/or put her harness on (which I know you don’t approve of), she wiggles so much it’s nearly impossible to get it on and all the while she’s mouthing my arms and hands. I generally use the “massage” technique you showed me to put it on as well as to dry her and I’m ultimately able to do it, but then we go through the same ritual the next time. She’s quite a willful dog and I’ve put her in the pocket repeated times and she still continues with the undesirable behavior, e.g. digging, jumping up on the counters. When Jesse was at the house, he put her in the pocket 4 times for digging and I’m not certain she wouldn’t have gone back to digging a 5th time but she got distracted by something else.

    I am a firm believer in your philosophy of training and I attempt to utilize the 4 pillars (touch, space, movement and energy) but I don’t feel like I’m being very effective at it. I suspect my physical limitations (e.g. agility and balance issues) as well as old pet habits, e.g.talking to my pets often, may contribute to some of my effectiveness.

    My budget doesn’t support additional spending at this time but is there anything you can suggest to help me with these challenges? I am curious whether you offer refresher classes when I’m in a better position financially? Also, I’m unclear about escalation. I was told to be more forceful if the pocket doesn’t work the first time but I’m not very clear what that entails. I’ve pulled her collar more forcefully, said “don’t” more forcefully but by #7 I’m sure my energy comes into play (negatively). Clearly, something I’m doing or not doing has essentially made the pocket less than effective so any insights on that would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks for your consideration and any help/insights you can provide.

    BTW – I’ve purchased both of your books and look forward to the third one!

    Lori Craw

    • Hi, Lori. Thanks for your comments/questions. Certain personalities among a litter of puppies are born to lead just as certain others are born to follow. Domestication, with all its excellent work towards docility, still has not changed the personality factor among pups. Some people will never understand your plight unless or until they themselves finally get a dog or pup that really wants to control everything around them! It is possible for people to go through their entire life raising and rescuing numerous dogs and still never get a dog that ranks as a level 1 personality (If we were going off of the Volhard 49th day temperament testing for puppies). In any case, of course we would be happy to help with a follow up session or two whenever you are ready. Just give us a quick call!
      Physical limitations definitely do have something to do with your struggles though because natural dog language has a lot to do with physical touch, space, and movement within the environment. That being said we could potentially look into other options of behavior modification that align more with standard motivational training (ex: a “place” or “stay” or “bed” command while you are eating your dinner – even though this is regular training and entails immature micromanagement your pup should take to it pretty well so that is one possible option. Another would be placing her in the crate prior to sitting down to eat but I would use that sparingly because it is avoiding the heart of the issue.)
      The pocket can take people months to get it right. Keep working at it but remember, no dog or pup that wants control will listen IF undying persistence is not present within the individual utilizing the pocket maneuver that we teach. Also the long term goal of the pocket is to fade over time keep that in the back of your mind.
      As to escalation – all creatures move up and down the energy scale throughout their day with many differing stimuli affecting that energy output. We always, always, always suggest cutting off rude or unsocial or hyper behavior at the earliest possible moment. Most folks, I’ve discovered, are typically very late when it comes to intercepting a dog or pup’s energy. As to firmness – occasionally that does mean being a bit more physically active or maintaining a firmer grip on the leash or collar but usually it means be quicker to take action in order to be clearer to demonstrate precisely what you want or do not want from the dog. There are Never mixed messages when dogs talk to each other. They mean what they say. If you want better respect (which leads to better trust) be firmer faster and that will let you go into calmness quicker. Key takeaway…Look to influence the book ends of behavior and look to have a healthy control over your own body, your personal space, your dog’s body and space, and control over your environment. This control will then allow for much more Freedom and relaxation for you and your young dog.
      Thanks for purchasing the books. I hope you enjoy them! If you get anything out of them please leave us a quick review on Amazon or Apple or Barnes and Noble!

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