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Fun Training Clips

Building engagement with 7 other dogs in the yard:

Practicing threshold manners:

Building engagement and instilling leadership via the "wait" and "break" commands

Building engagement and teaching impulse control via flirt pole work:

Don't mind us, geese:

My Training Philosophy:

Cultivating Zen Dogs

I have always been good with dogs. Teaching them, getting them to cooperate with me, to look up to me, that has been natural to me. But it hasn't been until recent years that research has come around to back me up. My training methods are based on modern canine learning theory. 

Prior to the past decade or so researchers simply studied wolves and for whatever reason, just assumed dogs were the same. Intuitively most of us can clearly see they're not.


It came as a relief (and a no duh moment!) to most dog lovers, when modern research began to demonstrate time and time again, all over the world, that the terms "dominance," "submissive." and "alpha" seen in wolf populations, simply do not apply to dogs!


In fact, in packs of wild dogs, like dingos, or packs of street dogs, the leader is always the dog with the most friends! The most dominant dog may even be ostracized or in extreme cases shunned. 


Research has also similarly shown that in their co-evolution with their human partners over the past 40,000 years or so, dogs have developed cognitive processes more similar to a 2 year old child than their fellow canine, the wolf!

But, there's an important distinction between dogs and children. Ideally our children are going to grow up to have some sort of role in society where they have to make decisions and think for themselves.

The vast majority of our companion animals do not grow up to perform jobs where independent thinking is beneficial (though some, like Ponga, many police or military dogs, or specialized breeds like the Turkish Kangal or Chesapeake Bay Retriever do have those roles).


Overall, independent thinking was not helpful in almost all of the roles that our companion dogs were originally bred to perform, and therefore it is simply not in their DNA to be comfortable making decisions for themselves.

The result is then, when we unwittingly force our companion dogs to think for themselves, they become anxious and confused. In most cases this anxiety results in undesirable behavior, most commonly leash reactivity and destructive behavior. 

And in fact, in the few dogs I have met that could make decisions without becoming anxious, around 18 months old, they still lost any desire to do so. Dogs are terrible decision makers, therefore we must be calm and consistent leaders that they can look up to for information on how to respond!


Leadership has absolutely nothing to do with the old school notion of "dominating our dog," but everything to do with "loving our dog!"


I can't tell you how many people tell me they can't consistently enforce rules, boundaries and expectations because they're a pushover.

But the fact is, to our dog, the SINGLE most loving, nurturing, comforting thing we can is to put that consistent, loving structure in place. All the snuggles, treats and unstructured play in the world, won't keep your dog emotionally thriving if that leadership isn't there.

Relationship has to be first on our mind in Every. Single. Interaction. we have with our fur babies. As one of my mentors always says, "Lead your dogs, because you LOVE your dogs. Because [to them] leadership IS love."


As you practice this more and more, you'll start to see the weight of the world come off your dog's shoulders. And you'll realize that you had the perfect canine companion you always dreamed of under your nose all along. 

At 16 Paws, our goal is to set our dogs up for success by not only communicating what we don't want, but more importantly, communicating with them what we DO want from them and rewarding them for it! This is commonly referred to as Zen dog training, unlimited dog training or balanced training.

My goal in our training sessions, is to impart you with the tools, tricks and body language to help you develop that relationship with your dog. Here's to our journey together! I can't wait to work with you and help you cultivate your own Zen dog!

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I am always working on continuing my education. Currently in addition to having completed or working on several certifications, I am proud to be a Will Atherton approved trainer. 

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