Personal Responsibility among dog owners


It’s quite apparent to anyone who’s lived a few decades and observed the state of society that personal responsibility is at an all time low. Tragically, many dog owners fall into this category. In this article we will examine this problem and then go after it directly just like we do in our dog training and unique behavior mod. methods. (Please understand I care about you all…at least somewhat ūüėČ This article will give you an insider glimpse at what it’s like from the other end of the phone call and what it’s like receiving a buttload (yes, it’s a real measurement) of people’s emergencies (often self contrived emergencies) on a daily basis.

Masses of well meaning dog owners call us with THEIR issues and problems. Many call us frantically with THEIR emergencies! They need help and need it right away. Frankly, many have waited until it’s way too late and they have now come to a critical decision point where the dog may need to be re-homed (as if that’s a walk in the park to do…”Hey neighbor would you like my dog? He’s a fantastic dog – he just bites people at any opportunity.” or “Hi there, would you like to take our family dog we’ve raised her from a pup – she’s a really good dog – she just cannot be around any other single member of her own species or she’ll attempt to kill them straightaway and most likely drag you down onto the pavement during her berserking and lunging? She’s a great dog though.”

These sorts of cases are what we deal with on a daily basis! The other options for the dog owner that has gotten themselves and their beloved pet embroiled in an almost irreversible plight is to look for pro behavior training or finally to put the dog down. And so, we get the call and we are usually very happy to receive said calls but I want to make clear (especially for our excellent team and for my family) that we are here to HELP you, to SERVE, and to TRY OUR BEST to resolve YOUR (and I’ll say that once more) to resolve YOUR Problems and Emergencies (the majority of which You have created). And fyi, if you are one of those instant gratification brats that call us seeking OUR Help for the massive issues you could have/should have handled as an adult and most likely could have prevented in the first place you just might want to apply some Patience and realize that YOUR Emergency does NOT automatically become OUR Emergency just because you could not reach us whenever your heart desires to on the phone! We are very busy for a reason…we are helping other clients that have called and scheduled BEFORE you! (Patience is a wonderous thing to practice because that’s the only way to acquire it)

The very reasons that you may not be able to reach us on the phone anytime you frantically call are precisely the reasons we do such great behavioral work with our clients and their dogs! We are busy in the field actually doing the work! We are a small family owned and family operated business! And so, in our desire to serve current clients properly and to raise our kids properly we are not instantly available on the phone. Instead we call people that left us a voicemail (like instructed) within a day or two and get them scheduled for a few weeks out. Let me say this once to everyone out there – IF you truly desire Success in your relationship with your dog – or success in ANY Endeavor – you Must up YOUR own level of PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY!

Many of these issues are highly preventable in BOTH the classic cases – the ones where owners have bought their new pup’s from decent breeders (and received their pup’s around 8 weeks of age) AND in the cases we see where those bleeding-hearted people adopt some random yet good looking dog at a shelter/rescue. Both kinds of clients are seeking to unload the serious yet preventable problems their dogs have into our capable hands. And, please do not get me wrong, we are very thankful for this extreme popularity because it is my livelihood and keeps food on the table for our growing family of six. BUT let us never forget that many of these issues (human aggression, dog-dog aggression, rude behaviors, separation anxiety, et cetera) occur due to lack of personal responsibility on the part of the dog owner.

For those looking to get on our schedule or talk with me or one of our awesome team members about your dog’s problems I’d highly recommend that BEFORE calling perhaps you read or at least sample some chapters in my groundbreaking books on dog and human behavior. Dog Myths will help anyone with an open mind and open eyes to observe their dog. So Long Separation Anxiety is super practical (and short) and I even suggest it for healthy, sound new puppies in order to PREVENT future problems.

It’s the Holiday Season once again…consider gifting one of the books to a dog lover in your life!

Thanks for hearing me out. -G

Superman knows! What an endorsement! ūüėČ

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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The many problems of treat training and “positive reinforcement”


“When the tiger bit at Horn’s sleeve, Lawrence made a move to intervene, tempting him with raw meat. ¬†The trainer grabbed Mantecore’s leash and the tiger managed to knock both men down.” ¬†USA TODAY

“A grizzly bear that appeared in a recent Will Ferrell film killed a 39-year old trainer with a bite to his neck…Randy Miller has 25 years experience training animals and his facility has had a perfect safety record, according to the website.” ¬†INDEPENDENT ¬†

“Swedish wolves kill zookeeper who raised them…Even after discovering the zookeeper’s body officials had trouble removing her remains.” ¬†TIME

“Tilikum grabbed Brancheau by the ponytail and pulled her into the pool, then began violently swinging her around…died from a combination of blunt force trauma to the head, neck, and torso, plus drowning. ¬†The attack happened during a performance. ¬†It wasn’t the first time Tilikum killed someone either. ¬†In 1991 he was one of the three whales responsible for the death of trainer Keltie Lee Byrne.” ¬†GRUNGE

“Tyke entered the ring…kicking around what looked to audience members like a dummy. ‘We thought it was part of the show,’ one witness told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. ¬†They soon realized the supposed dummy was a severely injured (elephant) groomer. ¬†Panicked, audience members fled for the exits. ¬†Tyke went on to fatally crush her trainer – who was trying to intervene – before fleeing the arena herself….Honolulu police eventually shot her 87 times before she succumbed to nerve damage and brain hemorrhages.” ¬†HUFFPOST

“Utterback’s girlfriend heard something fall, police said. ¬†She got up to see what the noise was and found Utterback on the floor with the dog biting his neck…by the time EMS arrived Utterback was dead. ¬†Utterback’s girlfriend told officers the dog was their pet for a decade and was Utterback’s ‘best friend.'” ¬†DOGSBITE

“Ashton McGhee, 1 year old, was mauled to death by a family pitbull-mix. ¬†The child had ‘deep abrasions to the head, chest, and neck.’ ¬†The child’s grandmother and great grandmother suffered injuries while trying to pull the dog off the toddler. ¬†The baby had been playing with a ball on the floor when the dog came in from the outdoors. ¬†The dog attacked the baby, causing deep lacerations to the head and chest and a broken jaw.” ¬†WHOP

“66-year-old dog trainer found dead in her backyard with multiple dog bites on her face and arms. ¬†Elaine Richman was discovered dead with multiple dog bites…Richman had not been seen at her dog training classes for two days. ¬†Police found Richman dead in her backyard with dog bites on her face, arms, and hands. ¬†Two doberman pinschers were located inside the home. ¬†The victims brother…said she had trained and showed dobermans for decades.” ¬†MEAWW and DOGSBITE

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Friends, when you or any other person – be they “professional” or not – reinforce a dog (or a wild animal) with FOOD in order to get them to perform obedience or tricks we must all realize that this in NO way means that genuine RESPECT is present in the relationship! ¬†

Friends, if you lack real Respect then you must NOT give TRUST to the animal no matter how fancy the obedience, behavior modification, tricks, or alleged “training!” ¬†

What everyone in the world labels as “dog obedience,” and “dog training,” “work,” and “canine behavior modification” in truth often has little or nothing to do with canine social skills and dog language! ¬†¬†

If people truly grasped dog language and The Four Pillars (and they clearly do not) horrific tragedies like some of those listed above would be preventable.

This is part one in a series I’m going to do for you. ¬†In the second installment we will get to the heart of the issue. ¬†Stay tuned!

(Also, don’t fret because I’ll do one on the many problems of correcting a dog and harsh handling)



Are you playing the wrong way?


edit 23I know it’s a wild question.¬† We figure that play is just a “free for all” helluva’ good time with our dogs and pups, right?¬† WRONG!

Let’s pause for a brief moment and try and think back to any of the educational nature programming you’ve watched on predators (in particular mammals).¬† Can you recall ever hearing how the wolf pups, or lion cubs, or cheetah cubs (etc) were playing to learn, to reinforce social bonds and positioning within the family group, and playing to practice critical hunting skills they’ll need when they are older?¬† If you cannot.¬† I certainly can.¬† In almost every one of those Nature, Discovery, or Nat Geo programs those lines would be mentioned when considering how the young predators played.¬† Play, as I’ve mentioned before in this fine blog, is critically important to intelligent creatures.¬† Let’s take a deeper look and see what we can apply to our dogs to enhance our relationship and their obedience.

Play is structured.¬† It is NOT a “free for all” where anything goes.¬† If it even begins to become out of control there will most assuredly be a “foul” called or a “flag” thrown in order to pause the game.¬† It is the same in wild or domesticated predators!¬† Your dog is a domesticated predator and not just a furry human toddler.¬† Dogs are predators even if you earnestly want to believe and buy into the fairy tale of the “fur baby”- it is simply NOT true.¬† (For healthy relationships honesty is a major key!¬† Let’s get real please.)

Continuing… Play reinforces social connection, provides exercise, energy escalation and de-escalation, mental stimulation, and can be a huge indicator of just where the relationship is at (I’m talking about the relationship between you and your dog/puppy now).

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Did you know that many dogs and puppies manipulate the heck out of their owners during a simple play session?¬† It’s true and I observe it everyday in my work with owners and their dogs.¬† I’ve detailed many dog manipulations that contribute to behavioral problems and that can be prevented or reversed in my HOT Listed book on dog training, language and behavior,¬†DOG MYTHS: What you Believe about dogs can come back to BITE You!¬† (please click on the link, buy it, read it, be shocked by it, be motivated and equipped by it, love it, and then review it so others can find it too!¬† The reviews have begun to come in about Dog Myths and people are Raving btw!)

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For great play which can help build a great relationship between you and your puppy or dog ……………

  1. Never Chase the dog!¬† – “But he loves it” you’ll say.¬† So what?¬† Drug addicts love their drugs, does that mean they have excellent and successful relationships with those around them?¬† Does that mean you want them living in your home?¬† Does that mean you become a drug dealer?¬† If you chase your puppy or dog ask yourself just what is being reinforced over time?¬† The average dog can run 32 miles per hour!¬† And some breeds get up near 40 miles per hour!¬† Greyhounds can reach 45mph!¬† I don’t know about you but I don’t want to begin my relationship with a puppy or new rescue dog or any dog teaching them that they can go high speed away from me, away from my space!¬† I don’t need them in on the fact that they can easily outpace me because rudeness could develop from there.¬† I say “could” to be gentle on you, Dear Reader, in truth it often does.¬† I’m guessing that you don’t want to find yourself in a place where you have to catch your dog or pup or have to lunge after them while they showcase their speed and agility in a masterfully manipulative social one-up?¬† Don’t chase them.

If you’ve read some of my stuff you’ll know that the most important things to our dogs when we are discussing language and communication and relationship are touch and space.¬† If we chase our dogs and they run and easily take their space away from us it paves the way to more behavioral issues.

2. Always play backwards or run from the dog!¬†¬†-I have devoted a whole chapter in Dog Myths¬†about playing backwards and drawing the dog or pup to you and to your space because it is vitally important in the relationship.¬† Our dogs are domesticated predators but they are NOT wild predators.¬† That means one should never have to catch their dog.¬† Catching or trapping is what one does with a wild creature and not a domesticated animal that lives in your stinkin’ home, correct?¬† There must be more respect and trust and clear communication than that.¬† If you do, in fact, have to catch your pup that is a clear sign that respect and or communication is missing (in most cases it is tragically both!).

Playing backwards helps draw the dog in to your space and it makes it look (physically) like you are the leader.¬† This is good.¬† Ask yourself would the mother or father dog have to use high pitched talking to call their pups to their space?¬† Would the parent dogs have to use a treat to bribe their young to come to them?¬† Or…would they use reverse psychology and naturally move away from their pups causing the pups to respond by following?¬† Life can be better than most people believe living with a dog.¬† Sadly, the majority don’t even know what they are missing.

We’ve gone over some of the spatial parts of play and that’s important but I’m going to continue this article for ya and get another one out probably within a couple weeks.¬† In that Part 2 we will look at how to touch while playing and when to call a foul or throw a flag as we explore dun-Dun-DUHHHHH…the intricate language of play in the domesticated dog!

To Be Continued…

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Once the honeymoon is over you may be in for serious trouble…


Hello. ¬†First off, congrats on your honeymoon. ¬†Really, a full and hearty felicidades from me to you. ¬†BUT…and it’s a big but (think Sir Mix-a-lot) are you ready to move on from the honeymoon and into this new phase of your real life? ¬†Are you ready to get on with your day-to-day? ¬†Are you prepared to get real? ¬†I hate to break this to you but once the honeymoon is over you may be in for trouble…

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I’m writing very specifically about what I call “the honeymoon period” -whenever a new puppy, or a new dog, or rescue dog enters a new home. ¬†So let’s take a quick look at exactly just what transpires between dog and new owner during and after the honeymoon. ¬†Let’s get real. ¬†Let’s be honest.

The honeymoon period is often a fantastic time (or seemingly so) between a dog owner and their new puppy or rescue dog. ¬†The first week or three the dog is basically just feeling things out and exploring the terrain. ¬†Most new dog or puppy owners are so thrilled with their new pets they are showering them with so much human affection and attention that they are blind to what is actually going on with the psyche of the new pup or dog in their family’s home. ¬† So what exactly is going on as the new creature explores new relationships and new home environs?

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I would caption this pic, “Humans are insane” ¬† This poor dog is probably just begging for a little bit of dignity

Many people are under the impression the first couple weeks that the new dog in the house is just going to work out great because everything is going swimmingly on the “honeymoon.” ¬†The dog or pup is following them around. ¬†Often times the dog is still unsure of where it stands and who is leading who, so, it will seem to the unwitting new owner as if it’s the sweetest and dearest creature on the planet.

As the days pass though the dog or puppy starts to (at least in the dog world and in the canine way of communicating) lead by controlling touch and manipulating the space around their own furry body and the space around their human’s body. ¬†They soon can control and manipulate the space and items in and around the home. ¬†(Ask yourself how do dogs naturally build relationships. ¬†Think on that for a bit.)

People will often think their dog is a “real lover” because the animal is establishing a domineering form of over-touching. ¬† Only a human would believe (in our incredible imagination) that our dog’s consistent touching of us is some form of dog love or affection…in reality it is simply a canine way to lead through social grooming.¬† A large portion of mammals establish relationships and leadership techniques through touching and social grooming rituals.

Do dogs make out with their mouths like people do? ¬†Do dogs kiss? ¬†NO- they don’t. ¬†So please don’t fall victim to the “kiss” myth your own new dog or puppy may be attempting to sell you on! ¬†When a new dog or pup is constantly licking or mouthing you this is most usually a canine way to one-up you and gain control. ¬†Never let your dog or pup consistently lick you. ¬†If left unchecked this will, of course, lead to the animal assuming too much command in most areas of it’s life (even though it should Not be in command of your personal space while living under your roof) and this will then lead to an onslaught of behavioral issues.

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Over the top much?

*Hint* ¬†Be very aware of the honeymoon period and be sure to set clear boundaries about your own personal space and body and your new dog or pup’s body.

*Bigger Hint* ¬†Do NOT let your dog or puppy constantly lick you. ¬†Do NOT let them demand petting or touching. ¬†Do NOT let them always invade or be in your personal space. ¬†There is absolutely Zero reasons for a dog to consistently lick it’s owner unless the dog is seeking to gain social control by controlling touch. ¬†And if you’ve got a fearful dog or pup this applies DOUBLE!!! ¬†Do NOT let the dog live in your spatial bubble!!!

Most folks, while very well meaning, are doing almost Everything completely backwards when compared to how the mother, father, uncle, or aunt dog would behave and treat a new or younger pup in their environment. ¬†Most people are showering the dog with over-attention during the honeymoon period and then wonder why weeks or months or years later they can’t relax because the dog has become an attention hound!

The honeymoon period presents a giant opportunity for the astute observer of nature and her glorious and calming ways.  Please take action during the honeymoon period so that when it comes time to get real it is an easy transition.  Lay the ground rules.  Set a firm but calm foundation.

Let your dog or pup EARN your attention and affection little by little. ¬†You – the human, the one paying the mortgage, the one holding the keys to the house, the person who drives the car, the guy or gal who feeds the dog…YOU need to guide your dog or pup and have the relationship begin with Respect and then let the dog or pup EARN your valuable trust.

If your dog and you are already beyond the honeymoon period and you need help or for more info go to  and #getgarrett

How to avoid the plague


There is a plague spreading!  This atrocious affliction is assailing families across the country at a truly alarming rate.  If, and only if, you can identify the symptoms you may have a chance for survival.

Thankfully the symptoms of this torment are fairly easy to recognize. ¬†They are listed below in story form…

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Alice Jones arrives home after an uneventful day of work. ¬† Alice has developed a strong and recent loathing for her boss but that’s a story for a different time. ¬†She walks through the door and is greeted by Jethro. ¬†Jethro jumps up on her and wags his tail; a happy tan furball in the lamplight. ¬†After tossing her work outfit in the hamper and replacing it with a pink sweat suit Miss Jones trots down the stairs and heads towards the bench near the door. ¬†Under the bench her shoe pile awaits. ¬†Jethro is beside himself; the ritual of the evening constitutional almost more than he can bear. ¬†Alice plops down on the bench. ¬†She grabs her favorite jogging sneakers. ¬†The stitching in them just beginning to open up in places. ¬†The sneakers will need to be replaced within a few short weeks. ¬†Jethro, a large brown beast, snorts his excitement and continues his dancing. ¬†Alice grabs the treat pouch affixing it to her sweatpants. ¬†Jethro is finally able to sit after being told six or seven times as she puts the leash on him. ¬†They go out the door and into the cool evening air.

Alice and her dog keep a brisk pace as they pass the first block. ¬†They pause to look both ways before crossing. ¬†Alice’s eyes darting here and there scanning the lonely intersection before continuing onward. ¬†Jethro strains – keeping the leash taut and panting all the while. ¬†Alice increases her speed to attempt to match her four-footed friend’s.

Then it happens. ¬†Alice inadvertently tenses. ¬†It was a bark. ¬†Turning quickly to her left she hears the bark again before she sees the rushing dog’s form through the fencing. ¬†Jethro goes buck wild.

Jethro is dog aggressive. ¬†Alice spits out a curse attempting to restrain seventy pounds of muscle, teeth, and fur. ¬†What was it the behaviorist had taught her? ¬†She reaches into her treat pouch and grasps for the food. ¬†Rifling through the little bag at her hip, she is just able to pull out a small treat. ¬†As Alice struggles to maintain her footing in the dark night, keep her shoulder in it’s socket, and keep Jethro from climbing the neighbor’s fence and biting the barking dog she wonders why her dog has made so little progress. ¬†So little progress even after hiring a professional behaviorist? ¬†Anger, frustration and desperation all begin fighting for the throne of her emotions.

Jethro lunges again and again, straining at the leash; fighting for leverage. ¬†His brown eyes like laser beams of concentrated fury. ¬†The dog’s energy rises with each passing second. ¬†Alice speedily shoves the treat almost into one of his nostril’s and as instructed yells, “Watch me!” ¬†She brings the treat back up toward her own face. ¬†No change. ¬†Zip. ¬†Zilch. ¬†Zero. ¬†Jethro has now almost reached the fence several times and has almost spilled Alice onto the sidewalk below them. ¬†This exasperating spectacle continues on for another minute. ¬†Alice finally resorts to straining her damnedest and eventually is able to yank Jethro past the end of the neighbor’s fencing. ¬†They escape the barking dog and continue into the night.

Later Alice and Jethro arrive home.  The dog Рwagging happily from the walk.  The person Рdefeated and vexed from the battle.

This phenomenon is happening now and occurs all over the world. ¬†The plague we forewarned you about, good reader, was not the dog-dog aggression. The terrible epidemic we are specifically talking about is the weak and inefficient method commonly used to fix the aggression. ¬† This is the same bad method used in countless situations across the globe. ¬†The same method that brings about little to no change and IS the bane of unsuspecting dog owners…and it is so sinister because it is consistently sold as the cure! ¬†The method described in the story above is constantly sold as the solution! ¬†And caring dog owners buy it hook, line, and sinker. ¬†And what a “sinker” it is.

It causes hope to sink.  It causes confidence to sink.  It causes human emotion to sink down into the mire and muck until the poor dog owner is so beaten down by the continual losses, so very distressed and afflicted by this plague they soon give up.  They give up because they have already tried dog training and it did little to no good.  Maybe they already paid top dollar for a dog behaviorist and the method may have worked on their dog at a far distance from another dog, or it may have worked just slightly when the dog was less distracted, or in a controlled setting, but not in the real world and certainly not for lasting results the owner was anticipating!

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“Bring out your dead!”


Folks, this goes far beyond obedience training for dogs. ¬†This sad and pathetic yet all-too-common story is a perfect illustration showcasing the piss-poor methodology of a humongous majority of dog behaviorists and dog trainers. ¬†Attempting to perform a “watch me” command or a “look” command using a food bribe while a dog is beginning to freak out on another dog (or person, or cat, or squirrel, or mail carrier, etc) is the scourge that we fight daily. ¬†This is a Plague!


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You would probably not believe how often I hear my new clients recount (like Alice’s dreadful tale) their similar poor experiences with professional dog behaviorists and dog trainers. ¬†My question…When, When, When will we realize that bribing anyone at any time INSTANTLY makes for a less healthy relationship. ¬†

Any and all close relationships have several ingredients included in order to be successful and close. ¬†Respect would be the glaring one in a case like Alice’s. ¬†Jethro had zero respect for her and he showed it in dog speak. ¬†He showed how important he viewed their relationship as he practically abandoned it in an instant to give direct attention to something else. ¬†This was terribly rude to Alice. ¬†And totally unacceptable behavior if Jethro was a human being. ¬†This behavior however is tolerated many times in our relationships with our dogs.

Imagine the human equivalent of the Alice/Jethro relationship with me for a moment.

Let’s say you are having a conversation with someone and you are in mid-sentence and out of nowhere they just totally start ignoring you. ¬†Not only that but they start jumping around, staring at something, and begin screaming out their over-excitement. ¬†Puzzled you turn around to see what they are going on about and see your neighbor casually mowing his lawn. ¬†The person you were just talking to is going bonkers now…dropping F-bombs, needing to be physically restrained while they bodily threaten the neighbor; all the while screaming their head off. ¬†The troubling thing is that this is extremely common because your neighbor is out there typically every couple weeks to trim up his lawn.

Now, as a concerned individual, you ask them to stop.  You are totally ignored; blown off as if you did not even exist.  The sort of extreme ignoring that would impress even the most snobbish of royalty the world over.  The person you used to be talking to, maintaining directed intense eye-contact and the continued onslaught of monstrous insults at the hapless neighbor is becoming quickly uncontrollable.  You take it a step further and decide to step in front of them.  This individual, like a professional athlete, slips left and continues the disgusting yet powerful display of raw energy and physicality-curse words flowing toward the neighbor.  What is a caring person to do with this Tyrannosaurus-type-terror?  Bribe them?  Beat them?  WHAT???

Let’s pause for a moment and then honestly ask ourselves would bribing them at this point be prudent? ¬†Would bribing them at any point over the years of your relationship be prudent? ¬†And does the bribe, if it indeed works, guarantee no future outbreaks of alarmingly aggressive behavior? ¬†(Just to let you know Beating them is NOT the solution either!)¬†

Should they always look to us for reinforcement?  Should our friends, coworkers, or children (or dog for that matter) as intelligent creatures ALWAYS look to us for reinforcement?

This last question is a critical question because it is where my beliefs on dogs and their training and behavior differ from almost all other dog trainers and dog behaviorists I’ve ever met, read of, seen on TV, or even heard of!

I believe we should NOT always be the answer for our dogs.  Just as our human children grow we should NOT always be the answer for them.  ALL GOOD LEADERSHIP IS ABOUT DUPLICATION, DELEGATION, and DECISION MAKING.  As a father of three great kids one day I may not be there when they have a tough decision to make.  I may not be there when they are pressured to try drugs.  I may not be able to be there holding their hand as they apply for their first job.  But I do my best to be the best leader I can be and equip them as much as possible so that when I am not there they can make an intelligent decision on their own.  

Good leadership is the key on the parent’s part. ¬†Maturity is the goal for the growing child’s part. ¬†For a healthy relationship we need both respect and trust. ¬†How can we trust the child if they don’t respect us? ¬†How can the child trust us if we don’t respect them? ¬†It is a two-way street.

^^^^^^                      It is the same two-way street with dogs.           ^^^^^^

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I find it fascinating that Bribery is a crime in our society but yet highly, highly encouraged by dog behaviorists and trainers when it comes to our close relationship with dogs.


Bribery is actually a CRIME in our society!!! ¬†Why is it sold to us as the most “positive” way? ¬†This is amazingly bizarre. ¬†And this is foolish! ¬† Bribery needs to stop if we want calmer, healthier, more social interactions from our dogs and pups.



PS. ¬†Please keep an eye out for the exciting conclusion to this post as we will examine what happens if the food treat/bribe does actually work and the effects on our relations with dun, dun, duuuuu….(exciting musical crescendo here)…..our dogs!




Fathom the insanity of a human being who teaches you that you can never disagree with your dog!


People are nuts. ¬†We are. ¬†If you can’t agree with me that people are nuts please stop reading Now.

For those that can recognize that as humans we are a bit crazy I want to direct your thoughts towards this current crazy time in history. ¬†This interesting time in our lives where we find we have several thousands of professional dog trainers and professional behaviorists that actual teach and want to keep teaching you (as the owner of your dog) that you shouldn’t ever disagree with your dog or pup! ¬†Think about that for a second.

What have we come to? ¬†How has it come to this babying, this coddling, this ridiculously imbalanced and greatly disconnected, poor-excuse for a relationship with our dogs? ¬†How and why do so many pet pros talk dogmatically with 100% absolutism (and quite ferociously toward anyone who might disagree until they are shouted down) about the evil of corrections and that you should never “force” your dog to do anything? ¬†I encourage you to take those questions ponder them honestly and then consider and ask why we also currently have a terrible dog bite record (dogs attacking humans and attacking other dogs) and it’s been steadily increasing for the worse! ¬†I know the two are deeply connected!


Don’t just go with the majorities opinion on this topic of disagreeing with your dog vs positive-only and force-free methods. ¬†Please THINK for Yourself and come to your own conclusions. ¬†Examine history, examine the stats, examine the methods of different pro trainers and behaviorists (and especially note and examine their results) and most of all… examine your own dog and the history of dogs and how dogs think and how they experience the world and how dogs communicate and behave.

Then ask yourselves…would the mother dog or father dog constantly bribe their pups with food treats? ¬†Would they constantly attempt to condition them or would they seek to build a healthy relationship based on the dog language and respect and trust and manners (not frivolous tricks and obedience commands)? ¬†Would the parent dogs ever disagree with their young? ¬†Have you as a parent ever had to disagree with your own children? ¬†Was it beneficial in any way? ¬†Did you overdo it or under-do it?


What is lacking in our current culture is the balanced approach to disagreeing and so the pathetic “positive-only” dogmatists (who aren’t really that positive in their own lives) scream and shout about how any correction, any disagreement, or forcing your dog or pup to do anything is totally wrong! ¬†Let me tell you outright…this is hogwash and they are wrong! ¬†It’s only wrong to correct or disagree if you are performing it wrong.

Dogs speak through movement, energy, smells, and touching. Most people I meet (and I do this non-stop) are woefully, dreadfully unaware of the intricate and marvelous language of our dogs.  They are woefully unaware because MOST pro behaviorist and trainers are horribly unaware!  The common pro trainer/behaviorist whole premise and approach to training is not beneficial and does NOT prevent behavioral issues from developing!!!

But let’s cut them some slack for a moment. ¬†I don’t want to be too hasty. ¬†Maybe these “professional dog trainers” and “scientific professional behaviorists” haven’t ever see older dogs and how they talk to and deal with younger dogs? ¬†Maybe they haven’t seen the older, balanced dog correct and address the younger imbalanced one? ¬†Maybe these so called “pros” haven’t ever visited a local dog park and observed the dog language? ¬†Maybe they’ve been too long in the library reading about dogs or too long in the laboratory or in the classroom? ¬†Maybe they haven’t had kids of their own or cultivated healthy relationships in their own personal lives? ¬†I don’t know. ¬†What I do know is that anyone who proclaims the “positive-only” approach or acts as a behaviorist and over-charges their clients because they used to work with dolphins is NOT keyed into the amazingly close and wonderfully easy and direct relationship available to us with our domesticated dogs and pups!

They say “Never force a dog to do anything.” ¬†This is horribly bad advice! ¬†I force dogs to do things all the time (and I do it incredibly gently and smoothly) and they end up thanking me for it! ¬†And the owners are also able to soon witness their once terribly behaved aggressive or fearful dogs actually make good decisions. ¬†They see it happen before their very eyes!

One example: I force the nervous dog into social situations and then ask it (in dogspeak) to behave itself (not just do frivolous tricks).  This is the only thing that will change the nervous dog into being social and normal and balanced.

I am a professional because I equip the owners and the dog and get them social extremely quickly all while expanding the dog’s capacity for more and more social situations and all without harsh corrections and without foolishly stuffing food treats down the dog’s throat non-stop and calling it science! ¬†Yes, positive reinforcement is science…it’s OLD science and based on the external motivation of the dog and none of it’s internal drives and motivations! ¬†I’m not even going to bring up the fact that bribing with food is also highly exciting and that over-excitement is the cause of every single behavioral issue any dog faces. ¬†Food treats is not the natural way of parenting. ¬†Bribing with food is how most trainers train WILD animals and that’s fine…but for our domesticated dogs…it’s crap!

Let’s all recognize that many humans are insane and let’s take measured steps to respect their beliefs and opinions, however crazy, but understand it is more than ok to adamantly disagree with their foolishness and to think for ourselves. ¬†Your dogs and pups will thank you!

Seek out the natural ways. ¬†You Can reward your dogs and pups but you Can also disagree with them too and sometimes “force” them into areas of their lives that their fears or aggression would never have taken them before your help! ¬†Stretching the capacity and enlarging the relaxation is the name of the game! ¬†Remember both rewards and corrections should not be the focus…A HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP IS THE FOCUS!!!

Questions? ¬†Call us! ¬†And keep an eye out for my coming book…it’s gonna’ be epic! ¬†And balanced with natural techniques and they will, of course, get you the best results you could imagine! ¬†Forget positive or negative reinforcement and focus on being a dog parent.



Garrett Stevens’ Four, FREE, Fantastic Tips to get your dog or puppy to “COME!”


If your puppy or dog isn’t coming when called you may eventually discover that they won’t do other things you ask! ¬†A dog who does not come is in need of what I call, “respect work.”

If your pup won’t come that means that he is already leading the relationship in his mind. ¬†I hate to break this to you (who am I kidding…I love teaching) ¬†but your dog’s disobedience of the “come” or “here” command is actually a much bigger deal than you originally thought!

And what with the accelerated growth rate of our pups you will probably discover (if you look into it) many accelerated manipulations of the personal space around your pup.  Once a pup has control over his own body and his own personal space there is nothing to stop him from expanding his territory to other things in his environment.

Example from the mind of your puppy: ¬†“Since my owner lets me claim my paws and my tail maaaaaaaaaybe I’ll just start (little by little) to claim my whole back half and not let them pet me there. ¬†And after that maybe I’ll begin to (ever so slightly) manipulate, claim, and control my own toys and how I play with my owners. ¬†I will play only on my terms. ¬†While I manipulate these things to my advantage I will actively be testing and attempting to out-touch, out-mouth, and outmaneuver my owners to see how good they are at communicating in my language (to see if they mean what they say and where the boundary lines are)!”

Do you see where this can lead? (Dominance, Hyperactivity, Fearfulness, Aggression, etc) ¬†For those of you who don’t believe in “dominance” you can feel free to put whatever foolish human word you would prefer using to describe a dog that is out of control, wants to take over, doesn’t want to obey, and is basically rude and running the show! ¬†Let’s continue…

The real answers lie in first identifying all the subtle manipulations that our pups get away with and then knowing how to calmly stop them.  This is where I can help dramatically.  Order my Hot Listed book on dog and human behaviors, DOG MYTHS: What you Believe about dogs can come back to BITE You!

I’ll put a link to my shocking and yet inspiring training book at the bottom of this article.¬† I don’t have time in this short blog post to go into every subtle puppy manipulation that could be happening in your case because it would be like trying to learn an entire language from a simple blog article. ¬†It cannot be done. ¬†However, if you follow my four ways to strengthen your puppies recall this can greatly help stop your loving pup from acting like such a brat and prevent him from growing that bratty behavior into serious future behavioral issues.


  1. ¬†Never call an unreliable dog. ¬† ¬† ¬†¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†This means avoid the temptation to say, “Come” or, “Here” to your dog or pup! ¬†Don’t do it. ¬†Keep your mouth closed! ¬†[Please read our post entitled Shut your mouth if you want to talk with Mother Nature] ¬†This is an extremely hard rule to follow for us as humans! ¬†Be aware you probably will fail at this from time to time. ¬†That’s OK if it’s only happening a few times…it is totally unacceptable and foolhardy if it becomes a practice. ¬†Sadly, it usually is practiced and it gives our pups the ability to simply, defiantly give us the doggy middle finger by clearly disagreeing with our recall command!

2. ¬†Use the leash. ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†The leash should be your best friend if you’ve got a puppy or dog who will not come. ¬†Have them wear it much more often. ¬†Have them drag it around the house for hours at a time. ¬†The leash will slow them down a bit (both mentally and physically). ¬†If your pup is on leash and you want to say, “Come” or give a recall command by all means go ahead because now (on leash) you can easily disagree when he disagrees with you by not coming.

If your pup won’t come after you’ve given the command and he is on leash -Give a quick or short tug and then gesture into the recall position. ¬†Remember, dogs prefer body language to verbal language. ¬†He will begin to come toward you. ¬†As soon as he starts towards you verbally praise a little and upon his finishing a clean “Come” command (meaning the pup’s head is almost touching your knees and he is directly in front of you) verbally praise more and be sure to pet and touch your pup. ¬†You should be raising your energy and the tone of your voice…we are adding excitement and making coming to us worth it in the mind of the pup. ¬†(This is rare because most other commands and just how we live our lives in general we always strive to lower the energy and we are typically looking for the animal to remain stationary -sit, down, stay or just calm depending on whether we are actively training or passively whispering).

3. ¬†Use a toy and develop the pup’s prey drive

Using a toy should be when the dog is at his highest level of energy! ¬†We want the pup really engaged and snapping at the tug or rope! ¬†If you develop your pup’s natural prey drive you can quickly work a very reliable recall and you can get several repetitions in!

Imagine you have a dog who loves to play fetch and chase the ball or stick. ¬†Now imagine how easy it could be if every time your dog (who loves to play fetch) learns that the second half of that game is the same exact body movement as performing the “come” or “here” command. ¬†It can be extremely easy if we don’t allow all the social manipulations to creep in.

My dog Rambo jumps up high to catch the Frisbee. This is good prey drive on display!

The problem is most people aren’t even aware of what they are. ¬†Do you know why? ¬†Because most behaviorists and trainers can’t identify the manipulations either!!! ¬†Shocking, I know, but it is the sad truth. ¬†(Don’t worry though, I’ve got a book coming out that will help identify and prevent or reverse each and every manipulation that your dog or puppy may attempt!)

4.  Use a food treat.

Make sure you don’t bribe your puppy. ¬†Reward. ¬†Never bribe. ¬†There is a difference! ¬†And don’t overdo the treats. ¬†Like the name implies they should be supplemental and occasional. ¬†I always ask my clients, “When’s the last time you had cheesecake?” ¬†Get the point?! ¬†It’s a treat not a constant.


PS. ¬†If your pup can’t fetch or doesn’t bring it back because he’s attempting to manipulate control of the game and his personal space then take my advice and start playing a close game of tug of war. ¬†It will give you a chance to actually be a player in the game and it will keep the pup close and in your space. ¬†And then you can teach the dog many other things like how to calm down and energy control, the “drop it” or “give” command and other vital spacial communication.

Me with my dogs Rambo and Bosley.


Dog Myths: What you Believe about dogs can come back to BITE You!

There’s the link above so click it and reserve your copy of the book today!

My newest book is now available to order!  So Long Separation Anxiety  This book will greatly aid you in taking a fresh look, a spatial, language-based look, at separation anxiety in dogs and pups!


Questions?  Comments?  Testimonials?  YES, Please do respond we love your feedback.     -G


To correct or not to correct, that is the question?


In today’s world filled with every conceivable type of information speeding to us from any and every source imaginable it is often hard to decipher which methods of dog training are beneficial to our dogs and their behavior. ¬†We have all been inundated with info. ¬†We have fat heads.¬† Our brains are overweight and in desperate need of an information diet.

Help!!! Information Overload………………………….


We need clean, wholesome, healthy information.¬† That means we must beware overeating any foolish bit of dog training info that is out there. ¬†Remember, if a common dog training method is largely accepted and you are tempted to gulp it down please consider the many people stuffing their faces with fast food because it’s convenient, cheap, abundant, and also largely accepted!


Just because the majority believes in something doesn’t mean it is true or the best way. ¬†Always seek the natural answer when dealing with an animal.

One hot button topic many would even consider taboo is whether or not we should “correct” our dogs or pups. ¬†In this article I will give you a few good reasons to correct your dogs or pups. ¬†Reasons that line up 100% with what the dogs teach us. ¬†Reasons that line up with what any astute person can readily observe within a dog park, dog daycare, or group of three or more dogs. ¬†Reasons that come straight from the dogs! ¬†I will show you that corrections, if performed correctly, are extremely BENEFICIAL to your dog or pup!

First let’s cut through some of the crazy extremeness that exists in the dog training and behavioral community at large.¬† When one is in search of dog training companies or behaviorists or even vets please beware any extreme dogmatism where training is concerned! ¬†Make sure the methods are based very specifically on domesticated dogs (not other random wild animals) and based on mother nature’s calming methods. And, above all, make sure the trainer or behaviorist gets tremendous results!

There should be no crazed high-pitched excitable human talk, constant giving of treats, or other foolish bribery in the dog or puppy training methods. ¬†If you (or your trainer) act that way¬† – ask yourself, Isn’t that how a puppy acts? ¬†And if a pup acts all hyper and high-pitched and over-excited then, Who is going to take the role of leader in your relationship?

I hate to break it to you but…Dogs correct other dogs constantly. ¬†Mother and Father dog correct their young constantly. ¬†If more people just looked at the dogs honestly they’d see correcting isn’t this horrible, debilitating and negative ordeal but is instead a great tool the older, social canine uses to instruct the younger ones, teach healthy boundaries, and help calm them. ¬†This calming corrective beneficial behavior I’m mentioning can be observed anywhere!

In correcting there should be no expensive shock collars you need to purchase. ¬†There should be no unnatural things you have to throw at your dog. ¬†There should be no spraying them with anything, no tethering them to anything, no hitting them with anything, no yelling. ¬†It’s time we get away from all that human foolishness. Calmness mixed with firmness and proper spatial technique is plenty.

Dogs are NOT wild animals and should not be treated like a bear learning a trick on a movie set, or like a dolphin doing a flip to earn a fish from a tourist in Hawaii.  Beware of trainers who only teach bribery and excitement or who fixate on one rigid method only (external motivation) as that is the opposite of how the mother and father dog would raise their young.  Mother Nature always teaches energy control and the older socially normal canines always keep a relaxed watch over their pups.  The mother and father dog (and any balanced, older canine for that matter) are not equipped with treat bags on their hips and do not use high pitched, lavish praise, when instructing their pups.  They are usually monitoring the energy (like a referee) in order to keep the peace and the lead dogs always attempt to use as little energy of their own as possible.

Dogs are not Dolphins and should not be treated as such. The bond is much, much deeper between man’s best friend and mankind than some slippery, flippery wild animal could ever dream

Corrections, if done correctly, are very beneficial to puppies and dogs just as they can be beneficial to growing children. ¬†If you want to raise a healthy, well adjusted dog (or child) please don’t be an extremist that only trains with excitement and bribery and treats and don’t, on the opposite end of the spectrum, just dominate with harshness and constant physical “corrections.” Corrections should be calming to the individual being corrected!¬†¬†Seek out a balance. It’s OK to reward but never to bribe. ¬†It’s OK to correct but never to hurt. ¬†

Here’s a wild concept: Why don’t we look to the dogs for methods on how we should deal with our dogs? ¬†If we honestly observe them we start to see that a correction isn’t so bad when it is performed the way a balanced, older dog would perform it. ¬†In fact, it’s fantastic! ¬†I’ve discovered there is a whole art to it! ¬†It is an art form based in movement, body language, space, and energy control. ¬†A proper dog correction is the art of calmness!¬† It is the art of proper body movement between you and your dog. ¬†And, shockingly, most times it doesn’t even involve a physical touch but is more outmaneuvering the wayward dog or puppy and then readjusting their body language until the animal is presenting a calm body position (NOT belly up) which then helps them calm their own energy and will always benefit the bond between owner and dog.


Learning to correct can be simple and is incredibly effective in fixing any and all aggression, fear, dominance, hyperactivity, and many other behavioral dilemmas. ¬†The reason that proper corrections should be learned and adopted by more trainers and behaviorists is because it lines up with exactly what dogs do to each other as standard, regular daily behavior. ¬†When an older dog is surrounded by other dogs they are communicating often through pattern interrupts/corrections in order to keep the peace for the benefit of the group and in order to instruct their young. ¬†It is nature’s way and it is actual phenomenal energy conservation. ¬†Another huge reason correcting (when done properly – which I’ve discovered unfortunately it seldom is) is fantastic due to the fact that it actually works and saves times and energy. ¬†The mother dog uses ignoring or extreme focused attention and then right back to ignoring when correcting her young. ¬†She is a remarkable energy saver.

Notice how the mom is walking away and all the pups are following and watching her…NOT the other way round! She walks away first. She ignores and they follow. She leads the way.

The ideal correction is a beautiful thing to behold because it keeps the peace, calms the energy, and seconds later, lets the game or activity continue on almost as if nothing ever happened. ¬†It is never overboard or emotional and yet there is an intense focus to it when applied the right way. ¬†It is always followed by calmness. ¬†I sometimes equate it to getting a foul in basketball. ¬†If you are a b-ball player and you receive a foul you don’t take it and let it get you down, you don’t play the rest of the game on pins and needles out of fear. ¬†Hopefully, you learn from it and quickly move on and get your head back in the game. ¬†You don’t totally ignore the foul either because you are aware that if you get 5 fouls you are out of the game and of no use to your team/pack.¬† So when a foul is called – You stop playing the ball game for a second, think it over, and then resume play. ¬†It is exactly the same with a good, calming correction that is perfectly timed.

Do you see what I’m getting at? ¬†Giving a dog or pup a “correction” isn’t done to intimidate the dog or belittle it or prove you are a macho “Alpha,” ¬†it is done to help guide the pup into a healthier relationship with you and/or its surroundings.¬† A correction is not abusive – it is good parenting.¬† (BTW never hang the dog, or roll it, or beat it, etc.¬† Most folks apply their corrections dead wrong!)¬† A proper correction should always be done to improve the animal’s spirit. ¬†It makes for a better dog.¬† Like a sculptor chipping away at unnecessary pieces of marble you can chip away at mis-behaviors and unsocial habits in your dog or pup to reveal the true spirit and energy of a socially brilliant and beautiful animal.¬†

Use spatial pressure and tension so that you can then release it and give the dog access to a self soothing calming signal. ¬†If you aren’t correcting the right way your relationship is imbalanced in the respect or trust category and behavioral issues will be the result. ¬†The guitar needs the right tension on the guitar strings to keep it in tune…too much tension is horrible, it pops the strings. ¬†Not enough tension and you can’t make any music! ¬†Learn to correct and you’ll have real resonance with your dog.

Our dogs desperately need the right corrections filled with just enough tension and pressure and then the right timing to release the tension so it will resonate and -just like a guitar- make wondrous music!

Remember a correction should never create fear or aggression. We don’t want a pathetic, super-submissive dog. ¬†Does this mean we stop controlling an out of control dog? ¬†No – we must seize control as a calm, wonderful leader always does in an out of control situation but our goal should always be better relationship and calmness because we also don’t want a dominant, hyper brat for a dog. ¬†The correction should get the dog’s attention. ¬†I seldom need to correct a dog with a leash. ¬†I often correct a dog by getting in his/her way spatially and backing them up a bit. ¬†When correcting you are attempting to cut off any misbehavior at the earliest identifiable outset. ¬†This makes it much gentler and easier on everyone. ¬†And if you can match their energy level you can communicate what you want or what you don’t want much clearer and more effectively. ¬†If you do not match the dog’s energy initially their energy will keep escalating into higher and higher unsocial levels. ¬†Learning the art of calming/correcting/claiming takes time. ¬†Mastering it takes proper observation of nature, dogs, people and years of experience. ¬†But rest assured, Dear Reader, it will come with practice, persistence, and patience.

If I  could sit you down and teach you the language of Dog (like French or Italian) the word for correct would be the same exact word for calm and the same exact word for claim.  Correct = Calm.  Correct = Claim.  Claim = Calm.

Your dog will always tell you honestly what it needs. ¬†Let’s build a relationship with our dogs based on respect and trust instead of bribes or brutality. ¬†Let’s seek out maturity instead of just motivation. ¬†Let’s make music!

Need help?

Give me a call but do so only after reading my book on dog and human behavior, Dog Myths: What you Believe about dogs can come back to BITE You!  (available wherever books are sold! Check out the stellar reviews on Amazon!)