Transformational Testimonial

If you’re on the fence wondering about how working with a professional who is aligned with your values can have a tremendous impact on your life, take a look at how one of my clients shared her experience. Her journey didn’t go as expected or perfectly, but she showed up and took each moment to understand herself, so she can show up for her dogs in an authentic way.

“I initially met with Katherine regarding a foster dog in my care. I wanted to address some basic training needs, but also because I had observed her having aggression toward other dogs.

“I experienced a great deal in working with Katherine. It was supportive and reflective. She challenged me to explore many creative ways to work with my dogs in a loving and supportive way to meet their needs. She also challenged me personally to explore my inner feelings, observations and reactions to the challenges I was facing. She built up my confidence and acknowledged the progress I was making in being a supportive caretaker for my dogs. She also provided knowledge and education into the language of dogs and how to work with them from their perspective. Overall, Katherine provided tools to add to my tool box to enhance the skills and understanding of not only my dogs but myself as well. It was an invaluable experience that I am very grateful for.

The biggest takeaway I received from working with Katherine was that my energy is a direct pathway to working with the dogs. Understanding my reactions and then working toward building the connection to communicate with the dogs for the behavior I desire.

I valued the most the way Katherine was so genuine and her insight into building awareness and connections. I appreciated the feedback during session and after each session she would recap that in a very detailed email. That was incredible.

I am just thankful for Katherine and her insight and guidance. It has been such an amazing experience for me in a personal way. It really is so much more than “dog training”. I really appreciate the holistic approach. I felt like Katherine spoke my language and I loved how she could reflect back what she was picking up on and could expand about what she saw. It was great. She would also provide resources and any relevant information. It was also very nice to have check ins so no matter where you were in the process it was very accessible to get support about challenges, but also simple questions that could be responded to in a very timely manner. Thank you, Katherine!” A.S.

If you’re curious about how you can transform your life with your dogs, let’s chat!


Feeling Your Way into Empathy

It’s not enough to think your way to being empathetic or compassionate.

It’s not top down.

It’s bottom up.

The emotional experience of pain, grief, rage, frustration and even love, pleasure, play all start from what the body feels first and informs the mind how to act.

The body has a physiological response to a situation and then sends the information up to the brain for the person to take action.

What’s interesting, dogs also have similar emotional systems and have a physiological response to a situation where they are motivated to respond because of how they feel.

Understanding this related ability to our companions gives us the choice to empathize with our dogs suffering and celebrate in their joy because we know how we feel when we experience those real feelings. https://www.apa.org/monitor/2021/11/feature-cultivating-empathy

When we feel empathetic to another, we can then show them kindness and love by providing them comfort when they are struggling physically or emotionally because we can relate to the feeling.

A pet parent shared with me that when she observed another trainer teach a leash walking skill to a fellow student, the student was confused because the lessen being taught was complicated.

She shared, “if I’m confused, my dog will be confused too.”


Not only does this pet parent understand how she feels when observing a situation and knowing herself well enough in how she learns and takes in new information, she also possesses the emotional understanding of how this experience would be on her dog too.

If she’s not clear with the information she’s receiving, she would not be able to effectively teach her dog the steps of what to do too.

She knows that feeling confused can feel paralyzing.

Not only is this pet parent motivated by the desire to have clarity in learning which will travel down the leash and through her relationship with her dog, she’s also motivated to have her dog feel differently about the learning experience.

She desires her dog to enjoy learning.

That’s the name of the game. When we experience the feeling of joy and freedom that comes with having fun, we want the feeling to last and we want more of this!

So do our dogs.

Be curious about what you’re body is telling you because this can open your heart to what your dog is emotionally expressing too.

Curious about how you can deepen your awareness of yourself through your relationship with your dog?

Register for the Virtual Puppy Parenting Retreat for an introduction:

Sign up today


Do No Harm Dog Training Manual

Are you asking yourself, how does friendly, dog training work?

Do you want to help your dog learn how to make choices you would like your dog to make every day?

Are you a new pet parent and aren’t sure where to start?

The Do No Harm Dog Training Manual is your go to guide.

You will be grounded in the basics of setting up your environment to learning how to prevent emotional issues like resource guarding all through this guide.

Learn simple ways of teaching alternate behaviors which support the dog’s social and emotional needs.

You’ll also learn quick ways of adding enrichment into your dog’s routine which will help reduce your dog’s excite-ability or anxiousness.

Starting off the right paw is important, so bad habits don’t get practiced and you can learn how an ounce of prevention goes a long way.


Growling? Oh No!

Dogs don’t have a say in the training methods you use.

Dogs do have feelings and are emotional beings.

Dogs do feel pain and aggression exhibited through growling, lunging and biting can become the go to response depending on the methods used. This can lead to very serious concerns for the dog and the family.

Dogs also can also learn to suppress behaviors like growling if they are punished for doing so.


A dog with a suppressed communication like a growl will result in your dog going straight to a bite.

Zero warning.

I understand if you have small children in the home and you hear your dog growling and your child is nearby, you’re scared.

You’re really worried about the safety of your child and your go to response is yelling and punishing your dog.

Please stop.

Meeting a dog’s displeasure of the experience in the environment with your “mean voice” or scary body language or even physical force will make the problem worse, it will also impact your relationship with your dog which will degrade over time. It can also lead to more growling or worse like snapping and biting towards your child.

What will you do then?

Teaching children about how they impact and influence their dog’s behavior is utterly important.

Not only is this for the immediate, but learning for both the child and animal is life long.

Empowering children to understand how they can impact the world around them is also confidence building, encourages compassion and empathy.

Teaching children how to safely interact with dogs, encourages your dog to seek out your child for all things.

Together, your dog and child can build a strong bond which is mutually rewarding.

In order to get here, teaching both appropriate ways of having fun and building a relationship is necessary and taking small steps.

Learning is never linear and it for sure requires repetition and everyone in the home caring for the dog and child have to be on the same page.

Not sure where to start?

Get your school aged kids enrolled into the G2G: Kids Virtual Game Series!

Graduates of the G2G Kids Program 🙂



Tranquil Dogs and Kids

Whoops, your dog runs off with your daughter’s favorite toy!

Oh no! Your dog just ran after and starting nipping at your son’s legs when he was swinging on the swing set!

Your dog LOVES chasing after the soccer ball your daughter is kicking around and now he’s growling at her when she puts her foot near it!

Communication can become lost or muddled when dogs are interacting with your kids at home.

This is troubling for you.

You want your kids to know how to interact with your furry family member.

You also want your dog to know what’s his and how to be with the family without all the nipping, chasing, showing teeth, growling or even barking at your kids.

You’re not sure how to encourage your kids what to do, because you feel like you’re unsure yourself.

You know you want to teach your dog what you do want and expect, but its so challenging when you and your dog don’t speak the same language.

You don’t need to figure out all the answers on your own. There is so much out there it for sure gets confusing.

The kids who participated in the G2G: Kids Virtual Game Series in January gained confidence in how to communicate with their dog in a dog friendly manner; they strengthened their cooperation with their siblings; they took a more active role in caring for their dog; they gain a deep understanding of their dog’s feelings, behaviors and even how to motivate their dog to seek THEM out for affection, help, guidance and interaction.

Your kids can gain the same level of confidence and be empowered to form a life long relationship with their dog!

Sign Up Here: https://fourpawsandyoudogtraining.as.me/G2GKidsProgram

Class begins on 8 March 2021!!


Pet Dog Ambassador Program

What is the Pet Dog Ambassador Program?
The Pet Dog Ambassador (PDA) is a program for dog guardians to test their knowledge, skills and ability to manage their canine companion in real life settings. Its aim is to acknowledge the hard work and commitment that guardians and their dogs undertake to make their shared lives enjoyable and recognizes these efforts from a puppy’s very early training. The program aims to encourage guardians to continue training and developing new skills, abilities and knowledge.

All dog Guardians who have reached the legal age of accountability in their country (usually 18 or 21 years) are encouraged to become actively involved in the Pet Dog Ambassador Program. The program is suitable for all, including Guardians and/or dogs with a disability or special needs.

Junior candidates
Junior candidates are those who have not yet reached the age of legal accountability. Junior candidates may, with written permission from a parent or Guardian, enter the PDA Program with a dog considered suitable by a PDA instructor or assessor. The assessor has the choice of whether or not to assess junior candidates. The assessor can also stipulate from what age they will assess junior candidates.

Canine candidates
These are dogs of any breed or mixed breed aged from four months. Dogs with special needs can also be assessed with exercises being adapted if necessary. It is mandatory that dogs have a veterinary health check before taking part in the assessment.

Tangible evidence of success
As well as the pride in the hard work that they do, successful dog and guardian teams are awarded certificates and medallions at every level.

How to become involved
For further details about the Program go to the website http://www.petdogambassador.com/ or ask us how you can become involved in this wonderfully rewarding program for you and your dog.
Contact details for trainer/assessor etc

Name: Katherine Porter
Email: Katherine.porter09@gmail.com


Tail Waggin’ Fun!

Have you heard this before, “his tail is wagging, he’s happy to see us!”

That statement is not 💯 true.

Not all tail wags are happy wags.

When you or child approach a dog with a low wagging or a high, vibrating tail, this can add more stress to the dog that is already unsure or unhappy.

What happens next may be a snap, growl or a bite.

For children, they are the most at risk. They have a 50% chance of being bitten.

Teaching children the right way of handling and interacting with a dog along with guiding them in being able to interpret body language is a life skill which can save their life.

Becoming a dog detective and observing the dog’s whole body can give insight into how the dog is interpreting a situation and how he feels about what is going on.

Not sure how to get started?

The Kids Comprehensive Guide to Speaking Dog for sure can be a great place.

You will gain a better understanding of what your dog is expressing and what you and your kids can do to de escalate a misunderstanding while also finding all the ways which keeps your dog happy and relaxed.


Finding the Rhythm in Life with Your Dog

Zoe and I became friends after several months of me actively earning her trust. Zoe’s pet parent, Michelle showed up every day for Zoe regardless of the challenges helping a former street dog become a family member.

Get into a rhythm.

Find simple ways of adding into your daily routine ways of training new skills and maintaining the ones you’re dog already learned.

Be adaptable and creative in continuing the learning with your dog.

Be accountable in teaching your dog what is most desireable.

The relationship starts with you. The learning continues when you show up each day and meet your dog where your dogs needs are, biologically, emotionally, socially all met with force free methods and enrichment.

Take ownership of your own learning and how you can grow in deepening the connection with your dog.

It’s not just about doing the work, but it is all about you showing up every day.

Your dog needs you.

I know it can be hard some days.

Your dog’s energy level is at a 10, but your’s is not even registering on the meter.

Still, show up!

Your schedule may be packed with working long hours, errands and you have little time left for yourself.

Still, show up!

Your dog struggles with leash walking, barking at anything and everything and you’ve had it.

Still, show up!

You are your dog’s best advocate, friend, guardian and caregiver.

Don’t suffer in silence or get lost in feeling and thinking you’re alone. This leads to you feeling overwhelmed and at a loss what to do!

Reach out and schedule a free Discovery Call with me.



Full Steam Ahead!

Imagine yourself minding your own business and taking a nice walk with your children or going for a run down the street?

Up ahead, you see a family playing with their two large breed dogs, and you smile. The fun and excitement touches your heart.

All of a sudden, you hear barking. The family starts calling out a name which isn’t yours!

You see in the periphery of your vision that same dog who was happily playing with his people is now running full steam ahead at you!

Barking all the way!

The next steps are crucial.

You know this already.

You’re not scared, because you learned how to be safe.

You plant your legs.

You stand tall, holding your arms down by your side with your fingers laced in front of you.

You give a slight head turn away.

You are calm.

The dog jumps up from the momentum of coming forward and then returns with all four paws on the ground.

The dog stops barking and his people catch up to him.

Your actions just prevented the behavior of the dog from escalating.

You kept yourself safe and prevented a bite from occurring.

How do I know?

I just had a little practice with this the other day.

Living in a pet friendly hotel lends itself to some surprising situations. This was for sure one of them.

The action of Standing Like A Tree is the best thing you or your children can do when a dog whether it is a familiar or unfamiliar dog is running towards them.

Yes, its scary.

But, the more empowered you or your children are in being able to respond rather than react with freezing, fleeing or fighting (stress responses), this can become an automatic response and a huge life skill to have and share with others.

Time is running out to enroll in the G2G: Kids Virtual Game Series.

This is the last week to get your school aged children signed up for a fun and interactive 4 week session.

They will not only learn how to stay safe, but have fun with their dog with kid and dog friendly play sessions.



Kids Interactive Game Series

Only 3 spots left AND the enrollment period hasn’t opened yet!

Parents are wanting this and are acting quickly, they don’t want to miss out.

🐶 🐶 🐶 🐶 🐶 🐶 🐶 🐶 🐶 🐶 🐶 🐶 🐶 🐶

Do your kids know how to speak dog?

What does this mean to you?

Teaching kids about canine body language is a life skill.

Kids who grow up having a health respect for dogs and animals will help them stay safe and understand other’s boundaries.

Sometimes kids are so excited about an approaching dog, they along with their parents don’t recognize those apparent distance increasing behaviors.

Distance increasing behaviors are the obvious barking, lunging,

Do you know or more importantly do your kids know the ever so subtle distance increasing behaviors like freezing, lifting a paw or a hard stare.

The obvious and not so obvious distance increasing behaviors is your or an unfamiliar dog’s way of saying “I don’t like what’s happening”.

These signals sometimes get lost or missed.

When this happens, the dog’s signals become more apparent and can actually frighten your child.

Even worse, when you are not watching and your dog’s boundaries get pushed, this could result in your child getting scratched or worse.

Your kids will become doggie detectives and learn about dog body language and how to safely interact with dogs and still have loads of fun building a bond.

Your kids can develop health boundaries with their dog and you can feel more confident your kids will be safe.

Teaching life skills can also be a life saving measure for both your kids and your dog!

Get your kids signed up for this fun and interactive virtual G2G Kids Game Series!

Your family will also receive a free copy of the Doggone Safe’s, A Kids’ Comprehensive Guide to Speaking Dog!

Reserve your spot!

👉 👉 👉 👉 👉 👉 https://pocketsuite.io/book/fourpawsandyoudt


Relationship Reset! Start Training Today

Today is the day!

The Growl to Grow Online Dog Training Program is available!

It will only be offered at my introductory rate for this week only. Sign up and get started!

This program is designed for frustrated dog owners who are struggling with your dog’s barking and lunging at all things! I wish I had something like this when I was figuring out Jack’s reactivity.

The frustration you feel now, doesn’t have to stay this way if you don’t want it to.

You can make the choice of taking the next step and teach your dog to do something different with no force, no fear and no pain.

This is a 5 week, self paced program. It’s flexible to fit your schedule and you can work in training on your own time. The program also offers you to schedule Trainer Time with me. You will have 2 one hour in person or virtual appointment which can also be scheduled on your own time. This is designed, so you can ask questions when we meet and I can fine tune the skills you’re practicing.

You will gain an understanding of why your dog is barking and lunging, how to encourage your dog to do something else with the end result of you having a calmer and more relaxed dog.

Let’s face it, when you have a more relaxed dog, you will feel more interested in starting walks back up, going into restaurants with your best friend, traveling and meeting up with friends. When your dog is relaxed, you will also feel more confident in tackling situations like a move back stateside or to a new duty station.

One client signed up because her family is coming to visit and she wants her dog to have better house manners. Barking and lunging at guests when they come into your home can be a scary situation not only for your dog, but your friends and family.

Reset your relationship with your dog with the Growl to Grow Online Reactive Dog Training program.

Sign up here 👇 👇 👇 👇


Once you do, you will be on your way!


What’s In A Name

Your name means something. For many, the name you have in adulthood was given when you are born.

Names are the start of your identity. Nicknames, stories and memories come from the mouths of friends, family, peers, employers and employees with your name attached to them.

For others, new names are adopted due to changing identities, family structures or even because you did not like the name you were born into.

Names are apart of your being and they help create who you are past, present and future.

What about dogs? The same holds true for them too. Names are given to our best friends out of love. You may even try and capture the essence of your dog through his name or many times, his nicknames clarifies different parts of your dog’s self.

A client this past week, said something so profound which made me pause. She described how her dog responded to her name differently in different circumstances and explained her understanding of the situation.

At the start of each session with clients, I ask what’s going well, what challenges are happening and how can we move forward.

These three questions help people jog their memory, set both the client and dog up for success, acknowledge learning never happens in a straight line (there are good days and not so good ones) and setting a plan for practice for the week ahead with new homework to work on.

Sharee adopted a beautiful German Shepherd, whose name is Ellie. Ellie is a bit timid, but has a whole lotta love to give. Ellie is still learning the ropes of being in her new home, so the family is working out setting up a routine, boundaries and consistent rules for the home which will keep Ellie, Bella and Moon safe.

For Ellie, moving into a new home, having a new-to-her family and having a different way of life can be confusing. It can lead to things like barking, or cat chasing or getting into things that the family doesn’t want her to get into.

Plain and simple, Ellie is smart. Sometimes, this can lead to her family’s frustration.

Sharee practicing with Ellie. This is their first time with Dr. Karen Overall’s Relaxation Protocol.

In our first session, we practiced with helping Ellie learn to love her name. All good things happen when someone says Ellie’s name. This is one of the foundation behaviors you’ll learn when you become a client.

It goes like this, say your dog’s name, your dog will offer a head turn towards you or come over to you, praise and reward. Simple.

You need your dog to love coming when his name is called. All requests for behaviors start with your dog’s name. Your job is making sure your dog loves when you call his name. Happy, high pitched voice is the way to go.

Now going back to my conversation with Sharee. She made the connection that when her family said Ellie’s name with a happy voice, Ellie was eager and willing to come over and say hello. On the flip side, when there is frustration in saying Ellie, Ellie was more reluctant and unsure about coming over.

Makes total sense. Not only does the tone and pitch change when we are happy vs frustrated, but your body language does too.

Now, if Sharee and her family did not make this connection with how they say Ellie’s name, this definitely would lead to a breakdown in their relationship and increase Sharee’s frustration with Ellie’s behavior.

What would start to happen, Sharee would start to see Ellie doing the wrong thing more frequently, say Ellie’s name with frustration which would give Ellie attention when she isn’t doing the right thing. This will reinforce Ellie’s behavior of cat chasing, getting into things she should not and barking. Plus it would lead Ellie to avoid family members and she would most likely make the choice not to come to Sharee when she calls Ellie’s name.

Then the cycle begins. Behavior the family does not want is reinforced. Everyone is frustrated and at wits end.

The choice is simple. Make all interactions with your dogs happy and enjoyable and you will get the behaviors you want, you will reinforce them and your dog will always love coming to you.


Announcing Growl to Grow Reactive Dog Training Program

Dog Training for your reactive dog!

Do you have a do that barks and lunges at passerby’s regardless if its a person or another furry friend?

Does your dog barking and lunging interfere with your calm and peaceful walks you planned with your dog?

Did you stop going out on walks all together?

Are you ready right now to take action?

Well, I’m here to tell you, you can help your dog do something different.

Together, we can help your dog move from growl to grow.

The Growl to Grow training program is designed with the frustrated and embarrassed reactive dog owners in mind (I know, I was one of them).

The goal for Growl to Grow is to help frustrated reactive dog owners discover how to enjoy life with their dogs with holistic, rewards-based training.

This is a limited time offer with limited space!

Want to find out more, schedule a Discovery Call with me!

Discover Call with Katherine at Four Paws & You Dog Training


Skipper’s Success Story

I love when clients share their wins!

Sometimes the wins happen swiftly while other times, it takes lots of practice and set ups for succes.

But man, when that 💡 goes off it shines brilliantly!

Kaymie reached out to Four Paws & You Dog Training when she was in the process of adopting Skipper (the little guy). She was proactive of getting started with making sure it was a smooth transition with her resident dog, young child and their busy lifestyle.

We discussed all things 🐶! From positive reinforcement training to dog body language to establishing a holistic plan for success!

You see, Gretchen was a bit unsure of Skipper in the beginning. She was over-the-top excited 😆 for food where she was a little (ahem) pushy 😅. Gretchen was also a bit tense around Skipper, so we had to find ways of helping Gretchen accept Skipper as a new member of the family!

Together with Kaymie, I developed a workable plan of action that was easy to put into practice 😉

✅ Built the plan into their work and family schedule

✅ Provide insight into what Gretchen was communicating when she was communicating it (prevention of any escalating tension)

✅ Answered questions in between sessions, so Kaymie had the affirmation she was on the right track.

Now, what you see is Gretchen is waiting PATIENTLY for her turn while Skipper is practicing his cues. WHAT??

How cool is that?!

What’s also exciting for me to see, is Kaymie’s relaxed enjoyment while spending time with Skipper and Gretchen.

Kaymie works hard as healthcare professional in our community. Even more so now, the goal for her downtime is unwinding from the stress of the day and long hours she spends caring for others. #thankyoutoallhealthcareworkers

I’m so happy she is basking in the success of Skipper’s transition into her family and the time spent with Gretchen and Skipper is rewarding for them as a family 💕💕💕💕.

If any of these fit how you’re feeling when your dog is acting out of control:
😤 🤬😞 😢 🥴🤯😩. Know it doesn’t have to stay that way 🤗🤗🤗🤗.

Let’s chat!



Beware of Thunderstorms No More!

Summer is upon us and we are going to focus on helping our dogs feel more comfortable when thunderstorms happen. Does your dog hide, bark, shake or show body language signs like tail tucked, head down, ears back or pursed mouth when thunderstorms happen? Then your dog is feeling distressed and scared. Since Mother Nature does her own thing when she wants, therefore we must set up the environment for practice before the main event happens! Now is the time to get started.

Step 1: Find storm sounds you can play from your computer, tablet or phone. YouTube has some great options which allow for a variety of experiences. One suggestion is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gVKEM4K8J8A. Once you find a few you think are good for you, you’re ready to get started.

Step 2: Get prepared with something super high value. Many dogs love food. Food is necessary for survival and one that our dog’s inherently understand. A long lasting chew is great and there are many varieties. One I know is a cut above the rest are Himalayan chews https://www.himalayan.pet/. These are great since they are long lasting and help with keeping your dog’s teeth cleaned. You can also use a kong stuffed with food works well, freezing it is even better!

Step 3: When ready with your high value reward, play the storm sounds and a low level and pair the sounds with the long lasting chew or Kong. When your dog continues snacking, you know he is comfortable with the sounds. Do this for 5 days. Varying the time you’re playing the sounds, but keeping the volume the same.

**If your dog is extremely sensitive to thunderstorms or suffers from panic attacks, consult a positive reinforcement trainer or behaviorist**

Step 4: Move to this step only if your dog was comfortable and relaxed while you played the storm sounds at the low level. This step moves to increasing the volume little bits at a time and repeating the above steps. You always want your dog to be relaxed when the storm sounds are on. Move between increasing and decreasing the volume of the storm sounds (never just increase the sound alone-this can be too overwhelming). Repeat this for 5 days. If at any point, the volume was increased too quickly or the sound was too startling, stop the session and try again later-repeat step 3 at the lowest volume or move the device into another room.

Step 5: Once you’ve played the storms on a variety of volume levels, move to increasing the length of time of the sounds from lower volume to higher volume. Follow Step 3 and step 4, but you’re focusing on the length of time the sound is going on for during each session. Increase time slowly with each volume change and if you’re dog stops snacking or shows distress, stop the session and progress more slowly the next time.

The key is practicing often and consistently, so our dogs become accustomed to the sounds and feel more relaxed during storms. Follow our dogs lead when progressing. Your dog will tell you when to keep moving along.


Puppyhood: Do’s and Don’ts

I met the cutest Chow/Husky mix named Maple. When I met her, she was this reddish/orangish puff ball excited about life and her humans wanted the best for her. Better than what their respective dogs had growing up. They looked for a different approach in training all things puppies. They chose a positive reinforcement/reward based trainer and they were open minded and ready to implement Maple’s training plan. YES!

Meet Maple

In considering all the aspects of raising a puppy, there are more do’s than don’ts. Yes, consideration needs to be paid for ensuring a puppy doesn’t contract any diseases such as PARVO and Distemper since they are not fully vaccinated by the ideal time of going to their furever home at 8 weeks of age. On the other hand, this can be mitigated by keeping a careful and structured socialization plan. The humans taking in a puppy for the first time may need a little guidance and education for effective puppy upbringing.

Here’s our approach.

The Do’s of Puppy Training

  • Do find a reliable positive reinforcement/reward based trainer-if this is not in your budget look for reputable sites like Dunbar Academy. They offer well developed content which some is free!
  • Do prioritize getting your puppy around 100 different places, people (of all ages and sizes), environments, experiences (sounds, ground textures) within the first 100 days of bringing your puppy home. *8-14 weeks of age is the ideal time to do this! This will make your puppy grow into a well adjusted adult dog.
  • Do have puppy parties at your home. Invite others to come by (leaving shoes at the door) and allow for everyone to touch on and all over your puppy. Most dog bites happen because dogs weren’t socialized to have their collars grabbed, their paws played with, their tailed touched. Most dogs hate hugs, but a puppy who learns this is ok at an early age will have a better chance of accepting this from people, in particular from children.
  • Do get your puppy vaccinated at the earliest intervals recommended by your veterinarian.
  • Do include basic obedience training early-especially integrating real life rewards quickly after your puppy learned what words like “sit, stay, down, leave it, take it, focus” means. Food is a tool like a collar and leash are and integrating other things like doors opening and pets from you will become the things your puppy desires from you.
  • Do set up a success station(s), especially if you have children. The success station will be an area where you puppy can have down time in a confined space near you that is not a kennel or closed off room or backyard. Think of it like a Pack ‘N Play for a dog.

  • Do kennel train your dog. If nothing else, kennels may be needed in an emergency situation. Remember the reports of the fires in Australia? There were countless pictures of dogs both muzzled and kenneled while they were evacuated with their families. Emergencies like wildfires are unpredictable and raises the stress level of any person or animal for that matter. Also, for those who are part of a military family, having a kennel trained dog will serve you and your puppy well during frequent moves, temporary lodging and travel.

The Don’ts of Puppy Training

  • Don’t be afraid of getting your puppy out there even if getting out there means bringing people into your home. Vaccinations are necessary, but not having them doesn’t mean your puppy has to forgo necessary and early socialization.
  • Don’t miss out on early socialization. Waiting too long will only make possible problems like reactivity, biting, fearfulness to be the mainstay of your dog’s behavior repertoire. Let me tell you, an ounce in prevention in early socialization will save you a pound of behavior modification later in life. The latter is more challenging, time consuming and sometimes frustrating. Why put yourself and your puppy through this when early puppy socialization is fun and enjoyable!
  • Don’t use harsh training methods on a puppy or ever! There are other means of helping a dog learn which is least invasive and minimally aversive. Rubbing your dog’s nose in its urine or poop only teaches your dog to be afraid of you. Why would you want a dog who is afraid of you when your goal was having a companion animal brought into your family?
  • Don’t forget to take pictures and videos! Puppies grow very quickly, having those pictures and videos may be good reminders of how cute and cuddly your puppy is when they chew on something they should not have when they were accidentally left unsupervised.

If you’re looking for guidance with any of this, reach out for Four Paws and You Dog Training-we can set up a virtual training appointment.


Rise Up

Is March over yet? This seems like an ever ending month with so many changes happening effecting our entire world. We, as a global community are pushed to altering our social lifestyles, our work environments and how we conduct our daily routine. Our children’s school classrooms became virtual meeting spaces with one on one check-ins with their teachers. Even my husband is teleworking and let me tell you, both of us working at home at the same time is both exciting since its a new adventure, but another routine to establish on the fly. One thing is for sure, being a military spouse making these adjustments have become second nature. I’ve become accustomed to the rapid changes of PCS moves, TDY timelines shifts and most of all employment and job changes.

The pull of this season of adjustment continues through my commitment in guiding and coaching clients in working with their dogs. As a dog trainer, I’ve built my business with direct one on one relationships with those who are seeking understanding and answers for things like nuisance barking, lunging on walks with passerby’s, resource guarding or any other number of questions and concerns. Before March happened, I met with clients in person and spent hours walking with them on their journey of deepening their relationship with their dogs. I listened intently to their concerns while encouraging an open heart in understanding their dog’s behavior. At the same time, I gathered pertinent environmental and behavioral conditions as contributing factors and responses. These two pieces are paramount in providing a holistic approach in preparing an action plan for clients.

Where to go from here where social distancing prevails and restrictions in movements are necessary for the greater good? Just because face to face meetings are a no go, I quickly learned the same quality of service delivery is possible. A quick rethink of how to conduct business while finding resources in websites like the Modern Dog Trainer, guided my repositioning. Now, I’m exploring a new venue-a virtual meeting space-where I can maintain the personal touch of working with a client one-on-one while integrating new modes of service delivery through tailored training videos. This is uncharted territory for me, but one where I’m exploring other creative outlets and expanding my reach in meeting my clients’ training needs. I found I’m rising up in these uncertain times.

As I write this, I’m inspired by U2 (my favorite band btw), their song Rise Up. Its a call to love in the midst of uncertainty. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KC_J1CDlQuI This is very much as appropriate song for today as it was intended back in the 80’s when it was produced. I encourage you to continue finding ways to rise up and keep moving forward. We are #inittogether

Check out my biz page for a virtual Q and A I conducted last week if you haven’t already. Interested in virtual options, send me a message. https://www.facebook.com/FourPawsandYouDogTraining/videos/210940559997088/

The Way Forward is Heart Centered and Empathetic

Sean-C (left) and Dustin (right) having a blast with one another.

Prioritizing the emotional connection of their dogs allows everyone in the household to have safe and kind interactions with their dogs.

Catharine is the mom of 4 kids (toddlers to teens) and 2 adolescent dogs!

A busy and sometimes chaotic house, but one that’s filled with lots of love and compassion.

Witnessing them through some ups and downs and seeing how they are heart centered and prioritize their relationships over everything else not only melted my heart, but continued to reaffirm for me, being empathetic and understanding what’s going on “underneath” the surface of how not only their 2 legged, but their 4 legged kids are expressing their feelings is the embodiment of a benevolent leader.

Catharine modeled this relationship style, by guiding her middle child into learning about what their youngest dog, Dustin was feeling too in a non judgmental and curious way.

This extends further as Catharine and her family took their time in bringing their dogs together. They recognized what each dog needed (sometimes different than the other) and did greetings and short periods of time together.

They took time to observe body language, arousal levels and what each one was communicating (they shared that they experienced a brief moment of resource guarding and immediately took action to trade up, lovingly redirect, remove the item and allow for resume of interaction).

Catharine also shared her toddlers, Remi and Logan may not have seen eye to eye with Dustin, but with Catharine’s gentle parenting, she provides her dogs and kids options.

Both Logan and Remy were empowered to make the choice to go into the x pen on their own when they wanted a break from Sean-C and Dustin’s play time antics.

Remy (left) and Logan (right)

What clever kids and for them to feel they can take action to feel more comfortable when things became more raucous with the dogs.

This family integrated the learning they did through their program with me while making it their own.

Focusing on how everyone feels and guiding all the family members into feeling, safe and loved because they all trust their mom to be the kind, gentle and loving parent to all of them all at once.

If you are desiring emotional connection over “who is the boss” dog coaching, set up your Discovery Call with me.

Support: Are You Willing to Receive?

This past year, I’ve set an intention for myself to ask for support when I need it and for things that I feel confused or frustrated by or want guidance to do things differently.

Asking for support doesn’t come easily to me.

I’ve learned at a very young age that asking for help or just asking a question was like walking into a minefield.

I learned to be attuned to how one of parent’s answered my pre question of “can I ask you something?” Depending on her response and the way she answered, gave me information of to stay away or to ask.

I was also a shy kid and felt vulnerable and exposed when I would even think of raising my hand in class in elementary school that followed me almost through my graduate program.

I prided myself on being fiercely independent and doing things myself.

Instead, I was avoiding feeling the pain of vulnerability and by avoiding the felt experience, I continued to feel the weight of the burden like they were a bag of boulders I was carrying around for decades.

Not asking for support was detrimental to me.

It inhibited trust I have for myself.

As I’ve been intentionally asking for support over the past year, the experience hasn’t been easy.

It’s felt awkward, I felt embarrassed, my questions were muddled because I wasn’t grounded in my body, but rather disconnected from myself and the shame of feeling vulnerable of asking the question rattled me.

Last week, was eye opening.

I stayed open to what the entirety of the experience was like when I had a chance to ask for support.

I initially felt resistance. My gremlins showed up and was like “nope, don’t do this, you don’t want this, it feels strange and DANGER!”

I still pushed.

When I asked my question(s), I felt my face get hot, my voice changed, my question was incoherent (from my perspective-which only fueled the judgment for myself).

When I made the choice to observe myself without judgement, I received insight that shame was keeping me from pushing through to the other side of this.

When I spoke to the shame and acknowledged it, I felt another layer of my limiting belief I had for myself get released.

The bag of boulders I was carrying around, were dropped to the side and my body felt lighter and more settled.

Even more so, sharing my experience and having open conversation about my shame gremlins surrounding asking for support, I see I’m not alone.

I’ve shared my experience with fellow coaches and even my husband.

Being able to acknowledge how shame kept me from expanding my world when I didn’t ask a question, my husband shared similar stories too.


The power of connection and sharing vulnerability with someone(s) I trust, deepened my confidence in myself, highlighted my courage and also opened the door for others to do the same.

Now, with having this real and frank conversation with my husband about what asking for support means, we can be more aware of what stories are showing up for each of us and it allows for us to show more compassion to what the other’s experience is in the moment.

Sharing my vulnerability with others, creates a safe place for others to do the same. The healing ripples of acknowledging the shame and using the energy into something positively productive is transformational!

Good by bag of boulders! Hello spaciousness, creativity, freedom and peace!

Here are some ways support is available to you! It’s up to you to take the next step.

Community Connections Monthly Membership Group

Phenix Advocacy Center for Members (We open 3 April), you can follow the Phenix Advocacy Center before then.

Coaching Support

Stress As A Motivator for Change-Your Choice

A previous client reached out to me for some guidance on how to help her dog have a successful greeting with a visiting family member.

She acknowledged her dog, Flaco has a harder time meeting men than women and the family member visiting is her dad.

This certainly created stress for Sandra. This was her comfort zone talking.

Sandra remained focused on being proactive and motivated to use the stress she felt about this new situation to set herself and Flaco up for success right from the start.

We discussed a game plan.

Sandra put the pieces together of how to have slow introductions, giving Flaco some space and of course how to bridge the divide of making her dad the best thing in Flaco’s eyes.

We also discussed roadblocks.

Roadblocks like what if the greeting takes longer than necessary? What if Flaco struggles with her dad staying with them?

Even though roadblocks and what other options you have available aren’t ideal, they do give the mind some relief when the gremlins come knocking.

The gremlins are there saying, “this won’t work”, “you won’t be successful” ect. By talking about roadblocks, this gives the mind some relief about what may go wrong, it also opens up space for the person to take action in the direction where they want to go.

Sandra’s action plan for Flaco was a success!

According to what Sandra shared about her game plan, she “made sure he was walked earlier in the day so well regulated (got his potty time in) and also fed him.

Her dog walker (who is well versed in force free approaches) came to take Sandra’s other dog for a walk. Sandra is well aware of how Hollyn becomes excited in new situations, so giving Flaco more of an opportunity to have a calmer greeting.

Sandra asked her dad (so lovely he followed her instructions), to stand still and sideways when Flaco came out. Flaco had an easy time meeting her dad and seemed to like him too.”

They hit a roadblock when Hollyn was reintroduced. Flaco became unsure about her dad.

Her dog walker swung into action and played Engage/Disengage in the kitchen with Flaco until he was more comfortable.”

Using the stress of doing something new by creating an action plan gives you an opportunity to grow and move through your comfort zone.

As you can see, there was a hiccup. The game plan accounted for a roadblock like this and they used their knowledge of the skills they practiced and put it to work when a less than ideal situation occurred.

Sure enough, Flaco and Sandra’s dad are buds!

Receiving support can help you achieve your goals. Set up your Discovery Call with me!

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