The multi-billion-dollar pet industry has no shortage of gadgets, toys, and educational resources dedicated to dog training and activities. Read below or click here to check out my petguide.com article listing some of my top picks, ranging from $2 to over $200!
Dog trainers, behavior consultants, vet behaviorists, oh my! When your puppy needs training or your dog has developed a behavior issue, it can be confusing to know which kind of dog trainer you should contact. To complicate matters, dog training is currently an unregulated field, meaning that anyone can call him or herself a trainer or behavior expert of some sort with no substance to back it up.
When looking for a dog trainer or behavior specialist, I believe qualifications count. While there may be excellent dog trainers out there without any certifications or formal education, I always feel more comfortable knowing that a professional has made the effort to earn certain credentials. Let's break down the different kinds of trainers and behavior specialists, so you can find the right professional for your needs.
Who's a good dog? These dogs are! This good lookin' bunch of pups just completed the four-week BKLN Manners(TM) class at Brooklyn Dog Training Center. Congrats to (L to R) Mowgli the Coonhound mix, Jones the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, Rosy the itty bitty Pitty, Clara the Toy Poodle, Hudson the Yellow Lab, Bea Arthur the shih tzu mix, and (not pictured) Wilbur the Cockapoo! Now they've got the tools to deal with doorbell drama, sidewalk snacking, jumping on people, and more.
Interested in the BKLN Manners(TM) class? Click here to learn more!
Bored with the same old walk around the block? Turn your surroundings into a doggie playground! Parkour is a fun way to to burn your dog’s energy and teach polite leash walking skills. Read my full article here at petguide.com to learn what Dog Parkour is all about and how to get started.
Dog Parkour is a sport I've just started to dabble in with my two Chihuahua-ish mixes, Batman and Beans. For me, the appeal of Parkour is its flexibility. While other sports require a large open space and/or specific equipment (for instance, Agility jumps and tunnels), Parkour can be done anywhere, even in your living room, and the equipment consists of the "environmental features" that naturally occur there. The two Dog Parkour titling organizations allow you to earn titles by submitting videos of your dog performing certain exercises with these environmental features, such as putting two paws on a tree stump or jumping inside a cardboard box. That means no traveling to trials, plus as many do-overs as you want until you get just the right take. The organization All Dogs Parkour has very flexible requirements for earning titles, so even a 14-year-old tiny tyrant like Batman can find enough exercises that fit his abilities. The other, more established (meaning, created in 2014) organization is International Dog Parkour Association, which has stricter criteria for titling submissions.
Below are two videos. The first is Batman's Level 1 submission for All Dogs Parkour. You can see how easy it is. (Please don't judge too harshly... this was the first time we'd tried these exercises!) The second video is a Level 5 Grand Champion submission by trainer Kristine Hammar and her fantastic dog Tessa. You'll see that, even at the highest levels, Dog Parkour is all about interacting with the environment safely.
Kate Naito, CPDT-KA, MS, is an accomplished author and dog trainer with Doggie Academy in Brooklyn, NY. Her books, articles, and videos cover everything from house-training to leash aggression.