Our Approach


To simply summarize my style of handling dogs would be limiting my approach and curtail my ongoing growth and learning with dogs. Styles of training and dog handling are as varied as opinions. I do what I feel works best for me and the dog and the owners together, however the dogs come first. I don’t think there is a magical formula or hidden secret to working with animals. A healthy balance of experience and education, as well as common sense goes a long way in reaching your desired goals.

Lessons from the Animal KingdomAfrican Wild Dog

Firstly, we need to remember we are working with the animal kingdom. We can draw some similarities with humans, although the differences are what separate us from animals. The dog is a domesticated wild animal that has been bred for hundreds of years. This doesn’t change the fact that dogs are animals – predatory pack animals that have definite needs and require structure to maintain a healthy balanced way of living in the man-made world we have subjected them to. From Teacup Yorkies to Great Danes, the lineage of Canidae runs throughout and it is up to us to help show them how to live in our society.

Finding Balance

Having spent many years working with animals it is very clear to me that there are no grey areas when it comes to dealing with them. It’s black and white. Rank and structure are threads that keep nature in balance, from bees to elephants. When I am working with dogs, the tools I use include corrections, distractions and rewards. I will not beg, bribe or plead with a dog solely for a treat as this can create confusion and confusion creates imbalance. I too will not bully a dog into submission so that the dog is fearful and shuts down; this, too, doesn’t work.

Establishing Respect


It is fundamental to see the dog’s essence, and understand the temperament we are dealing with. Some dogs just need a strong verbal correction for the message to get through. Others, like my nine year old Jack Russell Terrier, need a remote training collar (on setting 5) before she will respect my command. The tools we use range from verbal and physical touch, water spray bottles, and a range of collars from pinch collars to remote training collars. The best tool I find is yourself, but again it’s important to understand the essence of the dog and use what works best for them.

Most dogs that I work with don’t come to us because they are lacking sufficient love from the guardian, it is because the dog doesn’t respect them.

Its hard to swallow, but it is true. The biggest mistakes I make are with my own dogs because I am too close to them and I need an outside balanced educated perspective to show me the subtle mistakes I am making. We are training our dogs whenever we are with them for the rest of their lives. A pack animal that doesn’t respect you thinks that its rank is higher than yours and thus wont pay attention to you when needed. This can have dire consequences, such as elevating a non-dominant dog to a dominant position. This creates tremendous problems for dogs ill-equipped to deal with such a role. This is also the root of many simple problems such as a dog not listening to you as it runs across the street, with the possibility of getting hit by a car. A dog need not know why we ask it to do such things, it just needs to follow instructions.

Consider this, a dog doesn’t know why it wears jingly rabies tags or a collar around its neck – it just learns to live with them. A dog doesn’t know why it goes to a place that’s smells of lots of dogs gets placed on a table and gets stung by a needle during a vaccination administration. We don’t ask, “Would you like to go to the vet today?” We take them for their overall health and well-being. The same applies to handling a dog with proper structure, boundaries and direction. Having said that, we need to make sure the dog understands 100% what we want from it.

Building the Foundation

We work with dogs in distracting, social, real life situations and not sterile manicured parks. Our pack walk service addresses the need for exercise and pack migration by allowing the dogs to run and socialize in a balanced pack healthy rank and structure.. They burn off a ton of energy, and they love it!

In my opinion, the best trainer for a dog is another balanced dog.

We work to the core issues. For instance, when a dog is pulling on a leash we don’t use gentle leaders (although this can be used for people that don’t want fix the problem or have health issues). The gentle leader just handicaps the dog and doesn’t get to the core problem. Once the core issue is corrected you can walk a 150 pound dog on a simple cord. We go to the deeper issue and work our way from the foundation upwards.

I truly believe that once we enter the animal kingdom and more specifically, the Canidae family, we can tap into a truer, deeper relationship of give and take, student and teacher on a level seldom experienced. And we can help each other on our ways through life.


Comments are closed.


(707) 391-2387



Serving Mendocino County

Ukiah, California and surrounding areas

Visit Us On FacebookVisit Us On YoutubeCheck Our Feed