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Dog Dancing: What is Canine Freestyle?

One of my all time favorite dog sports to watch is canine freestyle.

It combines all of my favorite things - music, trick training, and story telling.

To get a taste of how amazing it is, watch my all time favorite canine freestyle routine below:

Isn't that incredible?

The sportsmanship and level of training is just so high, and all of the handlers in this sport seem to have a blast performing.

So what exactly is musical freestyle?

Musical freestyle is a sport where anything safe goes.

It's essentially a combination of several tricks performed to music to tell a story.

The dog should be the focus of the routine, not the handler, but the handler plays an important role in the storyline and supports the dog through the routine.

Tricks and moves can be performed in any position, and any dog and handler can compete at any speed.

What is judged in the sport of musical freestyle?

In musical freestyle competitions, the handler and dog teams are judged on more creative requirements...

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Top Five Ways to Help Your Reactive Dog

Reactivity is so tough to live with.

It feels isolating and overwhelming, and sometimes it feels like it will never get better.

Both of my dogs have dealt with reactivity, and I know how tough it can be.

The good news is that there are lots of LOW ENERGY ways to help calm reactivity and make it easier for you to train your pup!

That's what I want to share with you today.

Sometimes training is overwhelming, and you just don't have it in you. 

And on those days, you can follow these instead!

1. Quality Sleep

Dogs need at least 16 hours of sleep per day, uninterrupted.

When dogs are sleep deprived, they can show an increase in reactivity and an inability to regulate themselves back down after a reaction.

If your dog only seems to sleep at night, and isn't getting the sleep they need, this should be a top priority for you!

If you need help getting better sleep with your dog, read my blog post from last month by clicking here.

2. Trigger-Free Exercise

Just like us, dogs need...

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Reactive Dogs & Why Pattern Games Are So Effective

Have you heard of pattern games for dog training?

If you're in the positive reinforcement training community, you likely have!

They are very simple and have been used unknowingly by many trainers, but the one trainer who brought large scale attention to them recently is Leslie McDevitt, creator of the Control Unleashed program.

She built an entire program for sport dogs based around pattern games to calm arousal and more.

As the methods grew in popularity, she learned that the pattern games were hugely effective for reactive dogs as well - not just overexcited sport dogs.

What exactly is reactivity?

Reactivity is a response to distractions usually characterized by barking, lunging on leash, pulling on leash, jumping, whining, growling, and more, especially in response to other dogs or people.

A very common example of reactivity is a dog who barks at visitors to the door or outside the window.

Reactivity can have many root causes including excitement or anxiety.

With excitement...

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Six Easy Steps to Loose Leash Walking

My dog pulls like a freight train!

What do I do?!

This is a common complaint I hear from almost everyone first beginning their training journey with me. 

Loose leash walking is the biggest skill my clients seem to want and struggle to get.

It seems elusive and confusing.

While it may be daunting and overwhelming at first glance, when you break it down, loose leash walking is easy and can be trained through simple, fun games!

Here are the six key things I teach all my clients for a great loose leash walk and some games to play for each!

1. Name Recognition

Most dogs have a conflicting view on their name. We usually use our dogs name for both good things and bad things, like a bath or scolding for chewing the couch.

In order to work well on leash, we want our dogs to know their name as something super positive and exciting. That way, you can get their attention at any time in order to call them to heel to pass a dog or leave the nasty chicken bone alone.

Teaching...

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Understanding Your Dog: Top Five Books on My Reading List

books dog training dogs Apr 05, 2022

So you want to understand your dog?

Why they bark at the mailman...

Why they can be fine one moment and the next hyper and wild, zooming around the room at top speed...

Why they are ALWAYS sniffing...

I could never tell you everything you need to know about your dog in one blog post, but what I can do is tell you the top five books I've read as a professional dog trainer that have helped me understand my dogs.

And in turn, have helped me view them with compassion and empathy.

Each book will have a brief synopsis of what I enjoyed and which aspects of your dog you will learn about as well as a link to purchase them online.

*I may receive a small commission if you purchase using these links. Thank you for supporting my content!*

And now, let's get started with number one!

1. Meet Your Dog by Kim Brophey

This book is at the top of my list because it is the book that I wish everyone would read before purchasing or adopting a dog. Even if it's not their first!

This book walks through...

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