So you got a dog huh? Whether you're a new owner or seasoned vet, here's my top 8 of things-you-should-know as your dog's designated human. We talk doggy communication, nutrition, and learn about the ways in which our dogs view the world- all valuable insights and know-how's for navigating the chaotic journey that is dog ownership.
You know the drill, grab yourself a drink and enjoy.
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Hello and welcome back to the Everyday Trainer podcast. My name is Meg and I am a dog trainer. So on today's episode I'm talking eight things I think every new owner should know. So, whether you're bringing home a puppy or you just adopted a dog or you got an older dog, if you're a new owner, here are all eight things that I think you should know moving forward into dog ownership. So you know the drill. Grab yourself a tasty drink and meet me back here. Alright? So we've been kind of having some longer, heavier episodes recently, having a lot of conversations with people, so I wanted to do kind of like a short and sweet, kind of like let's hit our bullet points episode. For any new owners out there or anybody new who is listening or you're just, you know, getting into the world of researching dog training, let's just say you know you've got a dog and you're like, oh my gosh, I don't know what I'm doing. You know this is a good episode to kind of start with and bring some attention to maybe some things that you can look a little deeper into. So before we get started, I want to talk a little bit about what's going on. So we have our store is back up and we have leashes in stock. This is so exciting. Last week was our official opening and so many of you purchased leashes and shirts and our little dogs are drugs flag from us and it's just. It's such a blessing. Honestly, like I'm so incredibly grateful. I wake up and I'm like a little bit shocked every single day at I don't know just the support from all of you and what all of this has turned into. So now we have a fulfillment center who is fulfilling our orders. Prior it was us. We were basically a leash factory not factory, but fulfillment center for the past year and it's quite literally a full time job, like it's. It's genuinely a full time job. And not just that, but the entire like e-commerce side of things is. I'm just a lowly dog trainer, you know, so figuring out all of that stuff has been quite the mission, but I feel so good about it. Now we have, you know, an awesome partnership with the fulfillment place that we're using. She's actually one of my clients, so it's really awesome. I have this awesome close relationship with her and she's helping us grow online, which is amazing, and it definitely doesn't happen without all of you and your support. So thanks, I'm like incredibly grateful. I can't even begin to explain and it just it feels so surreal. So, yeah, we've got that going on. We've got store our stores up. Our leashes are back in stock. So if you want to leash, we got all the colors. My favorite is yellow. I actually didn't go. I didn't get any leashes sent to my house, so I actually have to go to the fulfillment center and get some leashes for us, because I am the type of person that I give away all of our leashes. I give away all of my e-callers and prom callers and I've given away all of our leashes. I don't have any more leashes in the house, so I actually have to go and grab a handful of leashes for us to use for all the dogs at the house, which is just so funny to me. Anyways, we've been doing a lot of training here in Orlando. It has been such a busy month for us and also for that I'm incredibly grateful. You know, I think a lot of us here in the dog world right like we're listening to a dog trainer podcast, we're on dog trainer social media, we're doing all of these things. But if you were a little unaware, there is a very real world aspect to my business and we train lots of dogs in person. So that is really what consumes about 95, 98% of my mental energy, and every little bit that I have left goes into the online stuff. So we've been super, super busy this past month with a ton of dogs, a ton of owners. But I am very grateful for that, because sometimes, when I take a break from the in-person stuff, I get a little bit detached by what's going on in the real world, because it's very easy to sit in this little bubble of people who know all the things. Right, you're listening to a dog trainer podcast. You know all the dog trainer things. You know a lot more than you think you do, whereas when you're running an in-person business, the people that you're helping are people that don't know anything about dog training or even sometimes about ownership, and so there can be this bit of detachment between the social media world and the in-person training business, and, as I've had new trainers come in, I think that has been the biggest barrier for most people is all we know if you're a dog person is social media and all of the stuff that we see online, and very few people have that hands-on real world experience because the stuff online and the stuff in-person is so, so, very, very different. Because online we can get into arguments over semantics and all of that kind of stuff, but as far as the in-person training goes, a lot of these people that come to us and go to dog trainers are in a place where they're really struggling and they don't know what to do. They feel hopeless, and it's our job to help them out in a way that we're educating them and the things that we, kind of you know, just take for granted for knowing, let's say, you know. Just an example is like not to go to dog parks. That's like a completely foreign concept to a majority of the owners that I talk to. So the very basic stuff can be so helpful for a majority of people. But there is this there is this gap between what we know online and what the average owner knows. So a lot of the stuff that I'm gonna touch on today is, you know, basic stuff, but it's stuff that I find myself sharing with owners honestly, on a daily basis, and I am also very hands-on in my business. I'm still, you know, answering the phones and I still do lessons and you know I'm the one communicating with owners. So a lot of the things that I share online come from that. They come from you know, the phone conversations that I have day in and day out. I'm saying a lot of the same things, I'm seeing a lot of the same things. So that's kind of where I've gathered, gathered this list from, is stuff that I'm sharing with. You. Know, just the average owner, the you know average person who gets a dog, and they're like oh shoot, what am I doing? I have to figure out how to do something. So let's go ahead and dive into the first one. Your dog doesn't speak English. You have to teach them. So one thing I am always finding myself saying is dogs don't predominantly communicate verbally, right? They're not walking around talking to each other, so we have to find a way to communicate with our dogs in a way that they understand. So how do our dogs predominantly communicate? Well, first, they lead through the world with their noses, and we'll touch on this a little bit more later. But there's a whole world going on just through smell that you are pretty unaware of, that is consuming your dog's senses, right? So our dogs lead through the world with their noses. There's a whole world going on. So a lot of owners will say well, my dog does great, you know, inside the house he listens to me, but as soon as we go outside, like there's too many distractions, and he doesn't listen to me anymore. A lot of this is because you know your dog is taking in the world through their nose and they're not necessarily listening to you recalling them right, because their ears aren't always attuned to. You know humans communicating with them, so that's something that has to be taught. A lot of times owners will speak to their dogs like they're humans and they'll use full sentences and the dog will just stare at them very, very confused. One of the main things in our training is we teach a communication system. I'm really big on clear communication. A lot of times we're frustrated with our dogs because we don't have a way to clearly communicate our expectations to them. So it's a little bit unfair to get frustrated. So I always tell my owners if you ever find yourself getting frustrated, add in more guidance. What is more guidance? Guidance for a dog could be body language, right? So let's say, you tell your dog to go to place. They don't go to place. We can use our body to walk over to place to show our dog hey, this is what I want you to do. So in that moment when our dogs didn't understand what to do, we're using our body language as guidance. In that moment we can also use our leash. But we basically want to create a system of communication to be able to, you know, effectively communicate our expectations to our dog, so that we can teach them what we want them to do in any given scenario. The clearer your communication is, the faster you'll be able to train your dog. People get stuck on this communication part and they're not necessarily doing it correctly. So one of the things that we really emphasize is marker training. We're real big into using markers, so marker words are words that we can use to mark a behavior, to essentially take a snapshot of that behavior whenever we say the word and say, hey, I like this or hey, I didn't like this. So, for example, our marker words are yes, good, no and uh-uh. So yes, is that was perfect, come back to me, get your food reward. So if I'm asking a dog to go to place, I say place. The dog goes to place. All four paws all four paws touch place. Yes, I mark that with a yes. The dog runs back to me and grabs the food. So yes is also kind of like a release word. It's considered a terminal marker. We're marking the end of a behavior. It means that was perfect. You did it. Come back to me to get your reward. Now our duration marker word is good. So good means that was good. I want you to stay there and keep doing it. So our marker words not only mark the behavior and whether we like it or not, but it can also indicate what we want our dogs to do next. So timeliness is really important whenever we're using our marker words. For example, we tell our dog to go to place. As soon as all four paws get to place, I can mark that with either a yes or a good. So that yes will indicate to the dog that they can bounce off of place and come back to me. If I mark that with a good, the dog will naturally go into a down and lay down on place because they know that they are meant to stay there. Because that good means that's good, stay there. So it's an implied stay. We actually don't use the stay command in our training. We use that marker word good. However, if you send your dog to place and you don't mark in a timely manner, your dog's not gonna know what to do and they'll most likely continue doing something else. So if we don't mark with a yes or a good, the dog might wander off of place and not come back to us for our reward, or they'll just pop right off of it instead of laying into a down like we would like if we were marking with a good. So clear communication is everything to our dogs and we wanna keep it nice and simple, which is why I really like these marker words. Anytime we say a full sentence to our dogs, our dog is really only picking up on that last word. So you might as well keep it simple for yourself. Keep your commands to one word and keep your marker words to one word. Essentially, we're just pairing a sound with a movement, or we're pairing a sound with either a reward or a punisher. So our other words are no and ah-ah, so no is followed by a punishment. Now, anytime we say punishment, I get ah, oh, my gosh right, like it's this big, horrible thing. But hear me out, I would love to drive 150 miles down the highway. That sounds so much fun for me, like I would love to do that. However, there is a cost associated with that, so there's a punishment. So if I drive 150 miles per hour down the highway, I'm probably going to get a pretty fat ticket. So I'm not going to do that. I'm not going to speed, because I don't want that punishment. Punishment is valuable in every aspect of life, our dogs included. Now, when I'm saying punishment, we're talking fair punishment. It could simply be a pop on the leash. It could quite simply be your word no. Some dogs are sensitive to verbal no's and if I say no with a mean voice, the dog will be like oh my gosh, okay, not every dog is like that and I would say most dogs aren't. So what I see a lot of is owners will say no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no the dog. It doesn't mean anything to the dog. It's literally just a sound, because it hasn't really been paired with anything. So no, in our case, I like to start teaching no at the crate door. So when the dog goes to rush out of the crate, I say no and I close the crate door. That's one of the first points that I work on with. You know, new dogs that have come to us for training is don't rush out of the crate door, because it's an opportunity for me to add some value to my no there as well, which means no, do not come out. I'm going to apply pressure. The pressure in this case is just the door. Now, once you've taught your dog what the leash means, we can pair no with a pop on the leash. A pop on the leash is just a quick little tug, kind of like an elbow nudge. If your friend was about ready to get into a bar fight and you're like, hmm, I should probably disrupt this behavior, you might elbow them and be like, hey, maybe not right. If they're like fixating on getting ready to fight somebody, same thing with your dog right, we can give them a little pop on the leash to be like, hey, let's not do that. So the whole goal of that is to really mimic like a correction, right? So if a dog were being a jerk with another dog, that dog might correct your dog. So same sort of thing. We need to be able to communicate what we want our dogs to do and also what we don't want them to do. Both are equally as important. So Our dogs don't predominantly speak English. We have to add value to our words, which is why we do that training with our marker words, and we have a clear differentiation between a yes marker word and a good marker word, or a yes marker word and a no marker word. That clear communication is going to allow you to mark the behaviors that you want to see more of and mark the behaviors that you would like to see less of, and that's going to create a really clear image to your dog of what you expect them to do in any given scenario. All right, let's hit number two Love your dog by leading them. Dogs crave leadership. A lot of first time owners really like I'm gonna. I'm gonna paint a picture here we have like a young couple. They don't have any kids yet they have a dog together. This dog is their entire world. This dog does whatever it wants whenever it wants. It has a basket of toys, that's strona cloths across the entire house. It sleeps on the couch. It or it sleeps in bed with the owners. It, you know, scratches at the door to get out. It pulls on the walk. The dog does whatever it wants whenever it wants. We come in and we train the dog. The dog loves us. Why is that? The owners have given the dog everything. They've given it toys, they've given it treats, they've given it a cozy bed. They've provided everything for this dog. But the dogs love us. The dogs love the trainers and it's because we love them. By leading them, we are giving them structure, we are giving them guidance, we are giving a job the dogs a job and they love it. It is what they crave. Animals crave leadership. Humans even crave leadership. Think about somebody that you've met that you know was just bold. They were a leader. You wanted to listen to every word that they said. You know they just embodied this leader. That's what we want to be for our dogs. Our dogs don't want this like passive pushover person that just baby talks them all day long. They like being given a job and, very simply, a job could be, you know, hanging out on place or walking at heel on the walk, or staying in a down stay at a cafe, like all of these little moments with our dogs where we can put them in a down and practice a down stay or have them focus on us on a walk. Those are all opportunities to like. I want to say, tell our dogs what to do, but that sounds a little bit negative, but they really do love being told what to do. So long as you're a confident leader, that's what our dogs crave. Our dogs don't crave pub cups, I'm sorry. Our dogs crave leadership. They crave being told what to do and having a job and feeling important. And it's your job, as your dog's owner and designated human, to make them feel important and make them feel relevant in your life. Give them something to do. Give them some sense of purpose. Number three nutrition matters. Now I am a real I'm a fiend as far as it relates to nutrition for my dogs. I have gone through that rabbit hole. I research dog food so much I do the same thing for myself. I sometimes take it a little bit too far where I'm like I don't want to eat anything if it's not healthy and then I'll go through phases where I'll eat like gas station food for like six months. But when it comes to my dogs, I care very much about the food that I put in them and that's because I see I'm seeing dogs age and I'm seeing how important nutrition is in our dogs overall health and longevity. We all want our dogs to live better lives and food matters. So I urge you to just read the label of your dog's food. Now, keep in mind our dogs are predominantly carnivores, like, yes, they do eat fruits and veggies, but their diet is mostly made up of meat and meaty, bones and organ meats and just you know, whole prey, right? So I urge you to read your dog's food label and let me know if that aligns with what I'm telling you right now and that your dog should predominantly be eating meat. A lot of the big brands out there Royal Canaan, purina, pro Plan the first three ingredients are like corn and chicken byproduct, and I don't even think that's in the first three ingredients in Royal Canaan. So be mindful of that. Look out for dog food companies separating ingredients, so you'll see this a lot where they'll say corn gluten, corn flour, corn meal. Well, they do that so that those ingredients are listed later on, so it doesn't look like that's what the food predominantly is, right, but when you put all of that together it's like 90% corn. So read your dog food bag. There's a lot of really good options out there. Now I've found that a lot of people are, you know, really starting to question these systems, like the feeding kibble and stuff like that, like it just makes sense that we should be feeding our dogs fresh food or raw. There's just so many better options out there than the Royal Canaan's, the IMS, the Purina's, the science diet, just one. Follow the money, follow the advertising there. Who's, you know, paying for our vets? And I won't get too deep into that. But yeah, just read the food label of your dogs food and you'll be like, oh well, I don't think that they should be eating this much. Corn, basically is probably what you'll get from that. So I had Autumn on one of my recent episodes. She is amazing. She posts a ton of information about dog nutrition. I've also recently spoke with the owner of Viva Raw Super, super nice guy. It's a couple. They're really they're young, they're young and they're killing it, but they have a really awesome pre-made raw food brand. Oh, also a little plug I can get you a discount. I can get you a 20% discount now If you use code TET. I'll definitely put that in the show notes. I was not even planning on plugging this, but I've just plugged myself so nicely. So I will be feeding my dogs Viva Raw here very soon and, yeah, I have a code now. So if you guys want to get started with raw Viva Raw. I don't recommend things very willy-nilly. If you've been with me for a while, you know that I do my research. I used to prep my own raw. I would source all of my ingredients from a local farm and Viva Raw is the company that has mimicked that the closest I've found out. So I really like them. Use code TET for 20% off your first order. Anyways, nutrition matters, so look into raw food, home cooked, any sort of fresh foods that you can add to your dog's diet, like you know blueberries. Or blend up some greens and put those on your dog's food. Any time we can get our dog's whole food products, the better. So even if you're not able to feed fully raw or fully fresh, you can always add on raw meat or some fruits and veggies to get those you know micronutrients in there. All right, we're going to number four. Dog parks and date and doggy daycares are not your friend. Jokingly, dog parks and doggy daycares literally keep me in business. It only takes one bad encounter for your dog to have a negative experience at one of these places and become reactive or aggressive and have behavioral issues. And when we get into it, dog parks are a very unnatural thing. I can't even imagine if, at any of the zoos that we worked at, we put like that many like predators in a fenced in area together, because at the end of the day, like we have to be real about what our dogs are, they are predators and even if they're not, you know, like wolves, dogfights do happen. They happen all the time. I train outside of dog parks all the time and I sit there and I can count the dogfights that happen and it just takes one of those instances for your dog to be extremely fearful or reactive or aggressive or just develop behavioral issues because of one bad experience. So I definitely do not recommend dog parks. Of course there are really good dog parks out there. I used to live in Kentucky and they had a lot of really awesome dog parks. But while you're in the dog park, you know, have control over your dog, be able to recall them as needed. Maybe, you know, keep a little bit of a distance between your dogs and other dogs. I know a lot of people live in urban areas and that's really the only time that they can let their dogs off leash and if that's the case, that's fine. But do be sure that you're advocating for your dog and you're not letting any sort of situations or, you know, pushy greetings with other dogs because that may affect your dog. And then the other thing is doggy daycares. Again, it's not all doggy daycares, but a lot of them are kind of on the system of let's just let the dogs out in a giant room together and I can't even begin to explain how dangerous that is and you can talk to anybody who's ever worked at a doggy daycare and they're like it's literally fight club, like it's just so unnatural. It's really really stressful for the dogs Anytime we do any sort of socialization here at the house, we're very selective about the dogs that we let interact with each other. We're very selective about what happens when the dogs go from being in a big space to a smaller space. So we have to think of space as pressure. So when I have a group of, let's say, 10 dogs going from outside my house to inside, am I going to let just 10 dogs push through the door going from outside, where there's a ton of resource, to inside, where there's less space, less resources? That could be an issue of conflict. So it's little things like that that dog trainers think about, that are not really considered at places like doggy daycares. Right, because they're not doing behavioral modification, they're not doing training, they're simply supervising the dogs, which isn't the end of the world. But dogs don't predominantly communicate verbally, so you have to be very attuned to their body language and their micro expressions and, you know, be mindful of situations that could arise because they are dogs and they're not humans, so they can't just, you know, go from outside to inside without conflict, sometimes All right. Number five excitement doesn't always equal happy. This is a big thing that I get with a lot of owners is they'll be like but my dog is so excited, like his tail is wagging, he's so happy to see me all the time, or he's so happy to see other dogs on the walk, he just wants to say hi. Excitement doesn't always equal happy. I've actually found that there's this very fine line between an excited dog and a reactive, anxious dog. It teeters very, very easily and a lot of times the reactive dogs that I work with start off as just excited dogs. They're just excited to see another dog. So they learn oh, I can pull up to this other dog, my owner lets me pull up and say hi to this other dog and then if I don't, there's an issue, if I don't, I'm frustrated, I bark, I'm reactive, right. So sometimes excitement can lead to more behavioral issues like reactivity. And A big issue that I'm seeing in dog ownership is that our dogs really never get an off switch. We're not giving them any sort of designated downtime for them to just relax and shut off their little doggie brains. But that's what a lot of dogs really need. And the thing is most dogs aren't going to self-regulate. We have to be the ones to designate downtime for them. And a lot of times our dogs are like little fussy toddlers that like need to take a nap but like refuse to nap. They're like no, I don't want to. So we think, oh well, my dog doesn't want to lay down or stay on place, but we know as the human that they need it. They're pacing around the house, especially working breed dogs like Aussies or German Shepherds or Malinois. They're not going to naturally relax on their own. They're not really bred for that. They're meant to work long, long hours and so if we don't designate that downtime for them, it can really make neurotic dogs that struggle to do nothing. And trust me, I am no better than a dog. Things have been slowing down here at the doghouse like in a good way, and I'm no better than Lucy. I literally cannot sit still Like I'm losing my mind. And it's because I've taught myself to operate on such a high like workload that when I'm not working at like this caliber of fucking warp speed that I've been operating at for the past six months, when I'm not in that state like I literally don't know how to function. And it's the same thing for our dog. So I've had to be very intentional about like okay, it's okay to do nothing, you're not going to lose your mind Like my mind races at a million miles a minute when things are slow for me and it's the same thing for our dogs. Our dogs are the same way and it makes sense because we're rushing around and we're anxious. So our dogs are just little emotional sponges and they're just soaking up all of our emotions and acting how we're acting. So being mindful of designating that downtime for our dogs is going to be honestly what they need. They need that designated downtime because, you know, excitement all the time doesn't equal a happy dog. It's all about balance for our dogs. All right, number six dogs communicate through body language over verbal communication. So I touched on this. On the first one, you know they don't predominantly speak English or our language. They're not just walking around talking to each other. They mostly communicate through body language. This is one of the most difficult things that I wait, this is one of the most words. Words are so hard. This thing is pretty difficult. Body language is pretty difficult to teach. A lot of owners that was a horrible way to say that, but I've been working with exclusively dogs recently so I've lost all verbal communication. But dogs communicate through body language. When I'm training dogs, I really am not speaking. There is nothing that drives me nuttier than dog trainers that verbalize everything. They're like look, look, look, look, touch, touch, touch, touch, like everything. Is this like amped up verbal command? And I hate it so much because, at the end of the day, my goal is to communicate with the dogs and create a lifestyle for the dogs that is the most natural lifestyle possible, right? So if dogs aren't predominantly communicating verbally, then I'm not going to predominantly communicate verbally with my dogs. If it's just me and my dogs, no words will be spoken. I'm not even kidding Like I am not a talker with the dogs at all, when I first start working with dogs, I really don't say anything. The name of the game for me is pay attention to where I'm at visually. Because dogs are body language experts and if I can get a dog to start tuning into me visually, they're going to start reading my body language and from there I can start giving them clear guidance and direction. Right, but if I have a dog that I have to verbally tell to look at me like what I just, I just don't think that that's it, like that's just not it. So one of the exercises says is that I do is walking drills with dogs. I talk about this all the time. It's what I start every single dog with, and at first, you know, I'm not really walking in any sort of direction. I'm just kind of like standing outside with the dog at the end of the leash and what happens is they hit the end of the leash and then I will move backwards and then when the dog starts giving into that, they'll typically hit the other side. So we're just kind of like pinging back and forth in like this weird circle, until eventually the dog learns hey, there's something holding me back from going in whatever direction I want, and it's actually that person right there. So something clicks in the dog and they're like why aren't you letting me pull in whatever direction I want? And I'm like, hey, we're just going to stand here. And then they start to look to me and they're like, hey, lady, what do you want from me? And then I'm like, perfect, you're paying attention to me. Now I'm going to guide you on what I want from you. And then I'll start doing those more structured walking drills where I walk and then the dog hits the end of the leash and then we, you know, turn on that line, those 180s, that sort of stuff. But the whole point of that is to just get the dogs to pay attention to me verbally or visually instead of verbally, because that is how dogs learn and that is how dogs communicate. So I want the dog to be able to learn in the way that it naturally learns. So teaching the dog to communicate with me through body language is extremely important. Now, as far as training your dog goes, one of my rules is you should never be standing still. You should never just be standing there like a post. You should be moving with your dog when you're training them, regardless of if your dog knows their verbal commands like the back of their hand, right. I still want to use my body language when guiding a dog to place recalling a dog towards me. So you know, pulling the dog towards me. If I'm recalling a dog, I'm not going to walk into them, because our body language is pressure, so that's going to apply pressure. I'm actually going to push them away. So being mindful of how we can use our body and communicating our expectations to our dogs is very helpful in the training process and just in your day to day communication. Number seven there's a world of smells your dog is taking in that you don't know about. There's a reason our dogs can be trained to sniff out cancer and high blood sugar and gluten. They have phenomenal noses and we cannot smell half the things that they can smell. So when you take your dog outside and you say they just don't want to listen to me anymore, it's because they're taking on a world through their nose and you just cannot see that world because you don't have the same nose that they do. So that's really what's going on and we want to be able to provide our dogs with an outlet to use our nose, use our nose to use their nose a thousand percent. I get a lot of hate for doing structured walks with dogs, so I talk about no stopping, no sniffing, no lunging, no pulling on the walk. And the reason because it's just a really good place to practice impulse control. It's kind of like a little walking meditation for the dogs. I designate the time for them to stop and sniff and explore. We still want to meet our dogs needs, even when we are doing structured walks, but we, you know, we can practice that impulse control and also give our dogs an outlet to use their nose. So let's say, you have a field that you can go to, you can give your dog the break command. They break from heel, they can go sniff, do whatever they need to do, engage with the world through their nose. I will say, though, your dog doesn't have to drop their nose on the walk, like they don't have to glue their nose to the concrete. They can smell things. They can smell things very well, so they're still smelling. It's not like we're taking away their nose whenever we're doing these structured walks, but it's more of a focused exercise where I want the dog to focus on you know, just visually paying attention to me, instead of locking their nose to the ground. Well, sometimes compare it to like mindlessly scrolling, if you have your phone right up at your face and you're just kind of scrolling. That's what can kind of happen. When our dogs drop their nose to the ground and they're just sniffing, sniffing, sniffing, basically tracking when we're on the walk. It can lead to a lot of overstimulation and that's mostly due to the fact that we're walking our dogs in heavily populated areas. It's not necessarily that natural for us to be walking, you know, downtown and our dogs to take in that many smells. So that's another kind of bonus of a structured walk is that we're limiting that kind of overstimulation that can come from walking our dogs and allowing them to sniff absolutely everything in an urban area. Now I live in, I live in like the suburbs, so there's not a lot of smells, there's not a lot going on. I don't really have to worry about that. But when I would train dogs downtown I found that they are huge, like nose to the ground sniffers, and they would get really, really overstimulated as the walk would continue. They would just get more and more, you know, aroused essentially, and a lot of what I do is calming dogs down and slowing them down. So a big part of that training for us is teaching that structured walk. So there's a world of smells your dog is taking in. Be mindful of that. Let them use their nose. You can toss kibble in the grass. Let them run around and find it and sniff it and use their nose. Let them sniff, take them hiking, take them out in nature. Let them use their nose in that sense. But do be mindful that if your dog is not listening to you, they're most likely just, you know, in that little world, in the nose world, in the doggy nose world. All right, last thing, number eight enjoy the chaos. Dog ownership is chaotic and especially now I get a lot of owners that want to do everything perfectly and they want me to come in and tell them A to Z. Here's how to get a perfect dog. And that is not who I am, it is not how I train dogs, and it's what makes me such a good dog trainer is the controlled chaos that I bring. There's a bit of confidence building that comes with that as well. Right, I'm not laying out oh, if you do X, y and Z, you're going to have a successful dog, because at the end of the day, that's not really what dog ownership is. The goal is just we practice a little bit every single day. We get a little bit better, our dogs get a little bit better. We feel accomplished, our dogs feel accomplished. They get to live happy, healthy lives. That's kind of the goal, right? That's why dog trainers exist is so that we can help you live that calm, confident life with your dog. So don't get too hung up on the perfectionism of it all. As I have become more experienced in this career, my dogs have gotten crazier, because I appreciate the chaos and I embrace the chaos because it's fun. Honestly, my dogs are wild. Do they listen to me? Yes. Do they be good? For the most part, yes, but do I let them be dogs A thousand percent? I let them roll in mud. I let them, you know, sleep in bed with me. I let them play in the kiddie pool. We go hiking Like we are living our best lives, but it's pretty chaotic because at the end of the day they're animals and I let them act on their animal instincts and run through fields and get, you know, birds stuck to their fur and just be dogs and have fun. So don't forget to enjoy the chaos of dog ownership. Don't ruin it for yourself. Don't set these crazy high expectations to the point where you're making yourself miserable. Right, life is too short. Life with your dog is too short, I'm telling you. It goes by so freaking fast. Zoe is 11 years old and I have no idea how this happened. Lucy is six years old Again. I have no idea how this happened, but here we are and I'm very grateful that I have, you know, spent as much time with them as I have, and in the beginning, with Lucy, I would say I was pretty strict with her. I, you know, wasn't the fun parent at all, but as we've grown, and as I've grown as a trainer, I've really learned to embrace the chaos of our dogs, and that's something that I hope to share with my owners as well, because you know sometimes they'll get so frustrated with their dogs or be like I can't stand it. He jumps up on people and you know I'm like it's okay, like I'm literally the least strict dog trainer that you'll probably ever meet. But at the end of the day, I just want our dogs to be dogs and I want my owners to be happy and embracing the chaos is definitely the balance that a lot of people need. We can do all the training and we can do all the structure, but please let your dogs be dogs. Let them have fun. Life is just too short, not too. But that wraps up my list. We got eight. I had to pick an even number and this is just. This is just what we came up with. I had notes this week. Look at me being productive and organized. Go me. So next week, next week, let me tell you about next week we are having a very special guest on Mike Jones. I'm going to try really hard to not embarrass myself, but I have to say I'm a bit of a fan girl. Mike Jones is the reason why I got Minka. I started watching his videos on YouTube and I was part or I still am part of his like online university. I've watched a ton of his videos and he's really inspired me as a dog trainer. I have a list of goal podcast guests like my dream guests that I want to have on my podcast, and Mike Jones is one of those people. So this is a very special episode for me. We're actually recording it Friday. I'm going to say tomorrow we're recording this episode, so I haven't recorded it yet, but it will come out next week. So if you're listening to this episode on Friday, we're actually recording it today and yeah, so Mike has an event coming up that he's going to talk a little bit more about in that episode. But yeah, I'm super excited. Next week's episode is going to be so great and we have a few more announcements coming up. So I'm going to plug my leashes one more time, if you'd like our leashes. They're up on the website. I also have t-shirts. They're so soft, I love them. We also have flags that say dogs are drugs. So much fun. We have one in the living room right now. I have one in my van. They're everywhere, so check out the store. Shoptheeverydaytrainercom. I will also include that in the show notes. Also, viva Raw. If you want to get started on your raw dog food journey, I definitely recommend Viva Raw. Use code TET at checkout to get 20% off your order, and I think that wraps it up for this week. So, as always, thank you so so much, so much for being here. It truly means the world to me that you want to sit and listen to me talk about dog stuff for this long. So I really appreciate it and we will see you back here next week.