Dog training by Peni Fitzpatrick

Every dog, no matter how well-behaved, could use an occasional refresher/training session. For the past few months, I’ve been working with Peni Fitzpatrick, a dog trainer in Canada. She travels all over CAN & USA teaching people the basics of canine behavior, calm submissive dogs and calm assertive owners. She has done wonders with our *formerly* dog-aggressive Dalmatian. I have seen her reform the most fearful of dogs. I recommend her so highly, I even helped plan her recent workshop in San Diego. She will be back in the spring, so I’ll post more details soon. From time to time, I will share her tips with you, such as this one:

Building a bond of trust & respect is what it is all about.

Most learning takes place unintentionally, but some is planned.

Broadly, learning falls into two categories:

KNOWLEDGE – What to do

KNOW-HOW – How to do it

Remember… I once mentioned the Japanese have a saying “ I hear I forget, I see, I remember I do I understand.”

Let’s look at what you need to be a good teacher & your dogs needs to be a good student.

You need to learn The four “R’s”……. knowing & using  these FOURelements will contribute to good teaching & learning skills:


RESOURCEFULNESS, Knowing where to turn when you don’t know what to Do !

REFLECTION,  Stop and take Stock

REPETITION Expecting the same proper behaviour from you both every time and doing something about it.

Being inter active & keeping the focus, means you need to keep him interested in YOU! Your dog learns quickly that safety is being with you Keep in mind the leash is always on so you can stop him and refocus his energy onto you and what you want. That means you are upbeat, happy and are worthy of being looked up to and followed. If you just hold him back at the end of your leash & say NO….your not getting the message to him in the right way. “You always want to be the game”. Never go to the park or on a walk  then turn your dog loose to play with someone else or other dogs & your left out. When you do that you give up all your power & leadership. How can your dog look up to you when you do that.   Just saying or screaming your dogs name…goes no where as you know.  You want: your dog to listen ,obey, trust & respect you., so you have a great buddy to do cool stuff with.    Dogs need: YOU TO BE always  calm & assertive mean what you say & say what you mean & to know & use the four R’s be fair and show them just what it is you want them to learn. example Recall:  get my attention, “Bernard” ! give me a job, “Here to me” AS HE TURNS OR EVEN LOOKS IN YOUR DIRECTION lots of appropriate verbal praise (no food) “that’s it  right here, good boy ! BRAVO!”  he gets to you lots of hands on loving up….must wait for you to “release” him. Obedience should be interactive &  fun, done everywhere and anywhere you go! Obedience is part of the walk in the park on the trail or downtown street. You wan to be able to take your dog everywhere you go, to the bank, sitting having coffee with friends in an outside cafe etc. This way you do not ever teach your dog  to think there is any situation that they don’t  listen & obey.   When Bernard gets “focused” on a squirrel you need to turn away from the distraction have the frisbee or ball and regain his focus on you! ….show him your more fun than chasing “Killing” the squirrel. When your at any park…your dog still drags his leash…that is how you can teach him not to play keep away or catch me if you can & how to come when he is called.   Your dog can play & socialize with other dogs while still remembering your still leader of him and it is all about what you want by you being interactive being out there & giving him things to do with you. Sure have a bit of a chat with others but don’t let your focus (eyes & mind) leave the reason your there (YOUR DOG). Get out there & mix it up with the dogs, your dog will be less likely to look at you as his property too.  Learning how to call him “out of play” with other dogs & getting the game focused on you.  Teaching your dog a solid “down”  using it appropriately ( never making him down when it is not safe around dogs who are not trustworthy(aggressive etc) if you do that he can not trust you to make safe choices. As you saw yesterday I always am part of the games….I can step in anytime and call my dogs off or to me. I never let “other peoples dog issues” interfere with the on going well trained behaviour of my own dogs.  There are no excuses for bad dog behaviours just owners who don’t or won’t do anything about it…which really makes it their issues.   The dog community is very well informed group and I have learned over the past 50 years…that people live vicariously through their dogs bad behaviours.   Last but not least….choose people who have to same goals & mind set as you. those are the dog people you want to hang out with.   woof…Peni  “Hana” “Switch” &”Betty” ^..^~!


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