City Dog 101
Does your dog....
Act like you don't exist the moment you step outside
Take forever to calm down once they're fired up
Have a hard time settling down outside
Jump-scare at everything
Experience anxiety outside
They can know every trick in the book, but it doesn't matter if they're too fired up or distracted to even hear you!
It's tough for humans to do their best in busy or stressful settings, even more-so for our pups! Teach your dog to manage their energy levels and pay attention so they can actually notice when you say something to them!
Self-Regulation and Focus
Two Commonly Overlooked Skills
Cities weren't built with dogs' amazing senses in mind, so they can be overwhelming for our furry friends. This is tough for pawrents, who work so hard on training inside just to watch it all fall apart outside - where they really need it!
That said, these programs are particularly powerful with puppies, easily excited dogs, newcomers to the city, mildly nervous/anxious/fearful dogs, and those that will need to frequent high-energy spaces like airports, sports trials, and restaurants.
Staying In Control
"Relax, take a breath, calm yourself." Humans learn to do this in emotional times to cope with anxiety, stress, frustration, and excitement (think of poker) so they can keep their composure. It's also something we can teach our dogs!
Arousal Management skills teach the dog how to move between being "really high" and relaxed, an important skill when there's no shortage of new things to pop around corners! If your dog stays on edge for the rest of your walk after hearing a loud bang or seeing a friend/foe at the park, this is for you! The goal is not a specific behavior, but physiological flexibility and awareness.
If the dog's arousal level is reasonable, next up is getting their attention! Even a relaxed dog can find plenty of reasons not to look at their human.
To do this, we don't teach a word that means "Look At Me" - if your dog is distracted, they'll miss the word anyways! Instead, we teach them that "reporting" exciting things happening nearby pays off much more than anything else through the use of pattern games. This process is great for both gauging and developing the dog's ability to focus in various situations, and pairs perfectly with taking cues you've practiced inside to the great outdoors.
Whether it's recall, polite greetings, jumping, or just moving from Point A to Point B, I often see people struggling to work on obedience behaviors while their dog is either too distracted to care about or notice what they're saying. Learn how to assess your dog and the situation while they are taught that looking to you for guidance is safe and pays off!
If your dog is highly sensitive, every walk outside turns into barking or fleeing to run back inside, and/or they are unable to get quality R&R at home, consult with your veterinarian about if medication is appropriate for your dog. There are a lot of big feelings around giving dogs medication, but your vet is the most qualified person to have that conversation with.
If the human is not able or willing to move out of the city in the near future, medication may be the only option for some dogs to make progress towards a better quality of life and avoid more serious health issues that prolonged stress/anxiety may cause.
There are two versions of the City Dog 101 Program that are very similar. Both include
How to settle/calm down more easily (both human and dog!)
A default behavior when your dog wants something
Lessons on the accessibility of dogs, people, space in public
Auto-checkins from the dog
How to reduce big responses
How to "have a conversation" with your dog
Training reference binder
Email and Text Support
The longer program was made for dogs that are anxious, frightened, or overstimulated by the city and need a more gradual introduction of concepts into daily life. These lessons are built so your dog will trust your relationship; rushing into situations before the dog is ready can cause major setbacks. We will discuss which is more appropriate for your dog during the initial assessment.
City Dog Program
Five (5) 60-Minute Private Consults developing skills
One (1) 60-Minute Follow-Up a month after the final consult to address concerns
Big Feelings Program
Seven (7) 60-Minute Private Consults developing skills
One (1) 60-Minute Follow Up, one month after the final consult to address concerns
Once you and your dog have a solid foundation to build from, we can directly train for scenarios that are particularly problematic. These usually involve more specific and complicated setups that would be impossible to otherwise control (usually due to other people and/or dogs) for effective training. You may decide to convert your follow-up session into a CE lesson if there are no other concerns about anything up to that point.