Tag Archives: Dog professionals

Annyong chill in the car

Clicker Training for Dog Reactivity

How I got Annyong past charging at dogs in the car.

It used to be people too. I got past the people & then it was just dogs he would react to. Now it’s just cats & we are making huge strides. I mean mind-blowing speed huge strides, not just the “we’re working on it” lip service I often hear. I’ve been using a clicker. Yes, you heard it right, a clicker. I know people say verbal markers work as good & you always have your voice (I used to say this too). But I feel the clarity & consistency of the clicker sound to be so unique, that that is why it is so much more effective.

First you need to give the sound meaning. “Load the clicker” they say. So for a complete meal, say dog’s NAME, get eye contact, “click” the moment you get it as you calmly say good & give a kibble. Do this for at least one meal.
Next I was click/feeding him just in the car for no reason. Just to keep building on the association. He needed to be chill, not freaking on anyone. I would just randomly click & feed. This alone kind of settled him a bit too. He was less pacy in the car & more at ease.
Then when I saw a person I would use the food as a distraction. I would NAME/click/feed ahead of the trigger, waving my hand at first if I had to to control his attention. I did this a lot & then started the process the moment he saw a person. NAME/click/feed. Then as we made progress with that, I would give him the chance to see a person, count a second in my head & then NAME/click/feed. Now I’m just clicking/feeding after he ignores a trigger.
I drive him to & from work each day so it is the only time he is getting fed right now. He’s got to be in the car, ignoring a trigger. I actively seek triggers to challenge him. When I was trying to get past people, I would stop at Cumby’s on my way to work & click/feed him with all the people going past us. It was more challenging there, but it helped speed this along.
Then today I found some people walking their dogs together in my quiet neighborhood & I sort of stalked them. At a distance where my dog would start to light up, I would put in park & click/feed until he could handle seeing them without freaking. Then I would drive around & get a little closer & do the same. Each time trying to get a little closer. He started to just watch & not obsess/freak.
I did that with neighborhood outdoor cats this week too. I saw him start to freak when he saw one. Did the NAME/click/feed & it was awesome because the cats were less apt to run, so his reaction wasn’t as intense. They didn’t feel much danger since he was in a car. So again, I put it in park & tried to get him to focus on me for click/feed & then got it so he could look at a cat without freaking out.
I will continue to feed him only in the car until this is a thing of the past. I already feel close to that goal. And I’m just floored at how easy it was once I started the clicker. I may be a new convert. Before you try this, please read through my last article, Who Feeds You? for some better background & understanding of our Work4Food program.

If you are not in the New England area & are in need of a professional trainer, please visit the IACP International Association of Canine Professionals. Remember not all dog trainers are the same, so if you have not gotten the results you want, please do not give up on your dog. Find a competent, qualified trainer near you. And be sure to tell them Laurie Wagner sent you! 🙂

May I Pet Your Dog? Let’s Ask The Dog!

I get this all the time, as I’m sure you do too. “Can I pet your dog? Is your dog friendly?”

Today as my daughter played on the playground with her friends one of them ran up to me, not even going to ask me if she could touch my dog. I stopped her & told her he wasn’t friendly. This stopped her dead in her tracks- mission accomplished. She turned and went back to the slide. I said to her a few minutes later she could say hi to him, that I was only trying to make her think before running up to a dog that he may not be friendly. I gave her a bit of advice I give to all my new employees “think of every dog here as going to bite you”. I told her I didn’t want her to be afraid of dogs, just more cautious.

Then I told her to stand still, take a deep breath & hold her hand out for my dog to sniff her. He didn’t. He was too interested in looking at everything else. So I told her to wait a minute to see if he’d sniff her hand. He finally noticed her & sniffed her hand. I then instructed her to touch him with one hand only. I said to never use two hands, as it can be too confining to a dog. He was fine with her touching him & she ran off on her merry way, hopefully a bit wiser, but I doubt it. She is, after all, only 7.

This brings to mind a question I ask in my weekend classes. What are the 2 main reasons a dog bites? Answer: offense & defense. Which dogs bite more? Answer: defense. Why? Because most people are smart enough not to reach their hand out to a snarling dog!

Meanwhile, if a dog looks scared or shy like this, we feel bad & think they need to be comforted. Not the case!

Apprehensive Look

Timid Wide Eyes










We want the dog to WANT to be touched too! If you went up to a person to say hi & they backed up- they are saying they want to be left alone, right? Well these looks are saying the same message in dog language! The dog is saying “I’m unsure of you & want to be left alone”. The best way to make friends with a dog like this? LISTEN TO HIM! Respect him! Give him space & by all means don’t reach your hands out to invade his personal space. If you love dogs, you must think of their needs & wishes & you should want to keep their record clean! Don’t give a dog a bite history that didn’t have one. Did you know that 85% of dog bites are from human error? -I’m making this number up, but it’s probably in that ball park 😛

Here is my flow chart for whether or not a dog wants to be touched:

Flow Chart

Dog moves in for more










If you are not in the New England area & are in need of a professional trainer, please visit the IACP International Association of Canine Professionals. Remember not all dog trainers are the same, so if you have not gotten the results you want, please do not give up on your dog. Find a competent, qualified trainer near you. And be sure to tell them Laurie Wagner sent you! 🙂

Does Your Dog Bark At People In Your Car? Mine Does!

So Annyong has been with us 4 months this weekend. He’s doing SO GOOD! Except…he still FREAKS out when we’re in the car & he sees someone too close to the car, especially if he sees a dog. He’s a lot better I’ve noticed, even in the last week. He’s not as reactive & he doesn’t react to “every” person.

It wasn’t long ago Ziva (who was another owner surrender 7 years ago this week!) was the same. She would bark like crazy at anything in the car. She used to have to be cross-tied to drive anywhere, as she would run around the car barking. God, I don’t miss those days.

Anyway, today I had Annyong on the day care floor for about 5 hours, where he played & got out a lot of energy. I then took him to a walk at Nelson Park in Plymouth, one of my favorite places to take dogs. There is always a good amount of distraction there between adults, kids at the playground & always dogs- LEASHED dogs. It’s imperative that you avoid what you can’t control (off leash dogs charging you) & train for what you can control. I walked him around the park & saw plenty of dogs & people. He handled it better than expected. He looked really good from the start, so when he did see a trigger (another dog), he was easily distracted & controlled.  He looked like this at the START of the walk (important not to go anywhere until your dog is under control):

Annyong at Nelson Park, looking good!

So when we actually saw a dog this his how easy it was to control him:

Soooooo…. now that he was good & tired & in a good frame of mind, I thought I would try to work him at a gas station. Well, I needed gas, so instead of putting it off, I went for it. With my trusty sidekick, Isabella, we did it! She kept him focused on her with food while we got gas. He did light up a little as you can see, however this is NOTHING compared to how uncontrollable he was. It was beyond embarrassing! So if we do this often, a few times a week, sit in a busy parking lot & feed him his meals, we can desensitize him toward the people passing by. Stay tuned!

If you are not in the New England area & are in need of a professional trainer, please visit the IACP International Association of Canine Professionals. Remember not all dog trainers are the same, so if you have not gotten the results you want, please do not give up on your dog. Find a competent, qualified trainer near you. And be sure to tell them Laurie Wagner sent you! 🙂


Annyong in crate during superbowl

Dealing with Company and your dog during the Super Bowl

People ask me all the time what to do when company comes over. That seems to be a big challenge for most dog owners. Either their dog wants to charge to jump, lick & pester or, to see what they taste like! My new dog Annyong is more toward the latter. He probably would have been fine, but since I didn’t have the time or attention to focus on him 100%, I kept him in the crate for safety reasons. This is what I would recommend unless you are able to focus on his behavior. Why risk it?

So what I did was (video below):

Started with a dog comfortable in his crate, in a relaxed mood.

Next, as company comes in to watch The Superbowl, I drop his supper-kibble by kibble- into his crate to give him something else to think about. By using his meal I can give him hundreds of “rewards” or distractions without worrying about him overeating. I also don’t have to worry about him not being hungry & more interested in focusing on “intruders!”.

My sister, also a dog trainer assists me by giving some kibble to get him thinking about that rather than all the commotion. As time goes by, his outburst get fewer & fewer. Each time I give him some more of his meal, sprinkled in with some treats for good measure. If I was able to do this on a weekly basis he would be much more settled with company. My girl, Ziva barked a little when the family arrived but quieted down almost immediately.


Remote collar giving my dog freedom

Annyong is learning to stay close to me, and not trip up my daughter riding her bike. By keeping the distance short I’m now working on getting his attention with a distraction-his kid! He’s doing amazing! Low level e-collar (8/100) is usually not even felt by people. I can’t feel until an 8 & some people can’t feel until a 12. And when you do feel it, it feels like a tickle “I think I felt something”. Hardly shocking. Yes, they go up high, but I don’t use them that way.
You can & should have a dog to be proud of.
Would you like to have a Dream Dog?

Annyong is able to run along loose with his little girl

Noelle- groomer for Doggie Fun & Fitness

Meet the Staff- Noelle- groomer for Doggie Fun & Fitness

1.  How long have you worked here? 9 months

2. Why did I choose to work here? I chose to work here because one of my dogs had gone through training and daycare, and I was impressed with the operation. Plus Laurie offered me a job.

3.  What did you expect it to be like? I knew it would be different than any other place I had worked. There was going to more to it than just grooming.

4. What has surprised you most? I don’t think I was truly prepared for HOW different it would be. Everything I thought I knew about dogs, only scratched the surface of what could still be learned. I also was surprised at just how AWESOME the daycare floor staff is. The patience, love and guidance shown to each dog is amazing. Keeping so many dogs happy at once is not always easy, but they are pros. As a groomer, not much surprises me. But again, as much as I thought I knew about grooming, I am constantly learning different methods to make the grooming experience more enjoyable for our 4 legged friends.

Noelle doing Big Boy's nails

Noelle doing Big Boy’s nails

5. What do you like best? Being around animals has alway made me happy. Coming in to work and knowing that I get to spend the day with some amazing pups puts a smile on my face. I love seeing the transformations of dogs in training! Especially ones that come in with no self confidence. Our staff works so hard to build these dogs up and help to make them happy and self assured.

6. What do you like least?When dogs come to DFF and go through training, it’s a commitment. A commitment by our staff and the dog parents. It breaks my heart to see a dog come so far, only to regress because the family isn’t following through. Same with grooming. I try to educate people about caring for their dog in between grooming. It’s completely frustrating when a dog comes in matted because they aren’t being brushed/maintained at home.

Quiet Dog Daycare Workshop Announces Jacksonville Florida Workshop January 2017

Date:  December 28, 2016


International Association of Canine Professionals Advanced Certified Dog Trainer & Professional Dog Trainer Instructor, Laurie Wagner Leads Workshop for Dog Care Professionals at Happy Hounds Dog Resort

KINGSTON, MA-Professional dog trainer and founder of the Quiet Dog Daycare Workshop, Laurie Wagner, will lead a two-day workshop on Saturday January 14th and Sunday January 15th, from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM each day at Happy Hounds Dog Resorts, 4603 Shirley Ave, in Jacksonville, Florida. The Quiet Dog Daycare workshop teaches dog professionals calming techniques that help hyperactive dogs to soften, and nervous dogs to relax among other dogs.

Laurie Wagner, owner of Doggie Fun & Fitness in Kingston Massachusetts and member of the International Association of Canine Professionals has been training dogs for over 16 years using calm techniques. “Dog daycares don’t need to be loud. Loud noises make dogs more tense,” declares Wagner. “They make dogs bark, jump, hump other dogs, and mark territory. They’re not happy.” In just two days the Quiet Dog Daycare Workshop teaches the art of socialization, to help dog daycares help more dogs. Doggie Daycares have a reputation for being loud, and the Quiet Dog Daycare Workshop’s goal is to help daycares transform into quiet and happy places by helping dogs relax and soften. A promotional video describing this techniques is on YouTube at: https://youtu.be/5eBV07CX6XE

For more information on the workshop in Jacksonville call Jack at Happy Hounds Dog Resort at (904) 800-8800. **A Liability Waiver Must Be Signed and Sent to Quiet Dog Daycare Workshop office, and can be downloaded online at https://youtu.be/5eBV07CX6XE. To find out more about Laurie Wagner and additional upcoming workshops in Boston and Australia (Perth & Melbourne), go online www.QuietDogDaycareWorkshop.com, follow the Quiet Dog Daycare Workshop page on Facebook.

Media Contact

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Tonia Calway Fleming