Harlow’s owners came to FluentDog dreaming of having a dog they could allow to run offleash on the beach when they went on vacation. They wanted their Cockapoo, a stunning blonde appropriately named Harlow, to stop barking so much and learn to come when when called. However, I saw these as symptoms of Harlow’s true problem– her unchecked power.
This is incredibly common with owners who love their dogs and do not want them to be overly stressed. One thing leads to another, and all of a sudden the owners find the dog has trained them! Harlow needed to learn that humans set the rules, not her. Instead, Harlow was ruling the household like the diva she was.
She had full run of their spacious home in Potomac, Maryland, and was starting to display some disturbing behaviors, even biting one of the daughters in the family. When I visited for an initial lesson, Harlow barked excessively at me, clearly communicating that this was HER house, and what right did I have to intrude? Her owners adored Harlow, and even catered to her odd preferences, like drinking out of a red Solo cup. Her leash manners were nonexistent, and even though she was small, she was strong. Harlow had even caused her owner to slip and break her hand when she lunged hard on the leash one day. And she couldn’t be crated, or else she howled and screamed.
However, I saw a glimmer of hope when we introduced the transitional leash. Harlow picked up the concept incredibly quickly. This was a dog who was actually quite responsive to clear communication and boundaries, as most dogs are.
She spent the weekend with me for a hard reset–from the princess to the pauper, quite literally.
We used the “straw method” in an escape-proof crate because I knew her crate issues were severe. And they were. But for a dog like this, crating is absolutely essential so the owner can re-establish boundaries and prevent unwanted behaviors during the training process. By the end of the weekend, Harlow was able to nestle into her bed of straw quite comfortably. And she even drank out of a normal dog bowl.
Structure and being more patient than the dog is stubborn can do wonders for behavior.
Harlow’s owners were very committed to her, they just didn’t know what to do to help her behave. That’s why FluentDog’s programs involve unlimited lessons until the owner feels confident their goals have been reached.
Now, Harlow’s owners can walk her easily and she sits automatically when they stop. They have her on a schedule that allows them to have quality time with her behaving, rather than quantity time of misbehaving.
Here’s what they told me: “Since [training] Harlow has been great!!! Harlow has reacted very positively to [your] methods and is progressing very well!!”
Are you ready to enjoy your dog more, with less bad behavior? Book a time to tell us about your dog!
Annie’s owners reached out to FluentDog for dog training help because they wanted to address some concerning problem behaviors with their one-year-old German Shepherd. They were experienced German Shepherd owners, but Annie was proving to be quite challenging!
“We got our German Shepherd puppy, Annie, about the time Covid restrictions began which limited our options for participating in formal puppy training classes. At 15 months of age she was becoming strong willed & difficult to walk. She started showing aggression towards other dogs and had the bad habit of nipping ankles & jumping up on folks to get attention. Her world was beginning to get smaller as we tried to avoid situations that brought about poor interactions. It was time to seek professional help!”
After some research & knowing we wanted a program that included positive reinforcement & someone who would incorporate Annie into their home life, we found Carla & her FluentDog training!”
Their primary concern was that Annie had broken out of her invisible fence and bitten a small dog. They wanted to make sure to nip that in the bud! Annie also pulled hard on the leash, and often nipped at her owner’s ankles for attention. Her owners were very responsible and kept her on a leash or fenced in, but they felt like Annie’s world was getting smaller and smaller. They could hardly walk her in their busy Potomac, MD neighborhood and they were afraid she would break out of the invisible fence again. Bottom line, Annie needed to learn impulse control and to respect people’s personal space.
Though we often think of them as “police dogs”, German Shepherds are just that–shepherds. They are herding dogs originally bred to round up and protect livestock. Not all German Shepherds are aggressive toward other dogs, but most tend to have a high prey drive, meaning they are highly motivated to chase moving objects, whether it’s a toy, a cat or a small dog. We can use this trait to our advantage when training because they find playing with toys highly motivating!
When Annie’s owners arrived for their board-and-train at FluentDog, she was barking nonstop and pulling her owner around. Her EZ-Walk harness was not working to make her walks easier at all! By her third day with us, Annie could successfully walk around the neighborhood.
“Miraculous changes are how I would describe what we see in our Annie. Obviously she needed your help as her world & ours was frustrating since we were not effectively communicating with her. Miss her like crazy but know this training will enrich all our lives.”
Just a few days after that, we ventured out for a hike on the C&O Canal. Annie’s owners could not have imagined being able to take her out in public, but teaching effective communication between humans and dogs is what FluentDog Training is all about!
Check out Annie’s videos to see her full progressioan from day 1 to day 14. All board-and-train clients receive videos of their dog’s progress during their stay. We strive to be transparent with our training process so owners know exactly how their dog has been trained, and so they can always refer back to the training videos customized to their dog.
“We dropped Annie off for a two week session & watched Carla work miracles overnight. Wow! The daily YouTube videos of her work with Annie kept us plugged in to the techniques she was using & the progress Annie was making. We looked forward to these daily briefings & were blown away at the success Annie was having. Annie has been back home with us for a week now & we can not stress how much we appreciate Carla, her training methods & the tools she has given us to live in harmony with our sweet Annie.”
If you are struggling with your dog nipping, pulling on the leash, or not respecting boundaries, book a free call! We would love to help you.