My Reactive Husky Now Has Friends – Success Story

My Reactive Husky Now Has Friends – Success Story

On this episode we are joined by Mo Asgari to talk about her successful training she has had with her previous reactive dog Layla. Mo is an artist, jewellery maker as well as photographer. She’s a 4th generation jeweller who works in a family run business and custom designs her pieces using CAD software. She is mom to adorable husky named Layla, who just recently turned 11 years old

Mo provides some great tips that have worked well for them in Layla’s transformation.

“I was so afraid to let anyone come and say hello to Layla for fear that she would nip or bite them”



You can find Mo & Layla online.

Website –

Instagram – @Designs_by_Mo & @Everafterdb

Reactive Dog Success Story – Power of Positive Reinforcemnet

Reactive Dog Success Story – Power of Positive Reinforcemnet

On this episode of The Bark Show we are joined by Alaya, Prince the eskipoo’s mom where we discuss the transformation they both have made.

Prince lives in a high rise condo and was reactive to every little noise that made even leaving the condo to go outside for potty a difficult task.

Listen in to their story on how they overcame reactivity to having other furfriends.

Follow Prince on Instagram @prince_eskipoo & mom Alaya @justalaya

You Don’t Need To Be Punishing The Dog To Get What You Want

You Don’t Need To Be Punishing The Dog To Get What You Want

The Bark Show is a podcast where we discuss all things dogs, co-hosted by Pam Curry and Suzana Curcija, brought to you by Toronto Dog Walking and I Speak Dog. Today’s guest is Juliana Willems of Dog Latin Dog Training. She is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer – Knowledge Assessed (CPDT-KA) and a Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner (KPA CTP). Her company Dog Latin provides in-home private training for the Washington, DC area and focuses on everything from puppy training to reactivity and aggression. Her methods are rooted in the science of learning, with a heavy emphasis on positive reinforcement.      

Find us at

Instagram – @torontodogwalking & @ispeakdog

Podcast Episode Summary

  • Juliana worked in Humane Society as an event planner, then started fostering dogs, now full time dog trainer for 3 years
  • Great thing about positive reinforcement training with dogs is the bond between human and dog that grows
  • Dog training is an unregulated industry but Karen Pryor Academy has a prestigious reputation so that’s why Juliana completed their program and learned about positive reinforcement there
  • Flexibility and thinking on your feet is key when training dogs
  • Dr. Susan Friedman’s humane hierarchy says: When you’re looking at an animal or a learner’s needs, look at their nutrition, environment, then you go to positive reinforcement, then the negative punishment/reinforcement. There is a hierarchy of steps to take. Don’t skip all the steps and go to the heavier tools, use the least invasive method of behaviour intervention.
  • Most of Dog Latin Dog Training clients referred to by their vet
  • Juliana’s specialty is reactivity in dogs, and figuring out where that behaviour is coming from
  • Good to keep the rate of reinforcement high, dog is getting many wins so that they stay engaged. It can be faded out slowly
  • The more the fun when training, the better success
  • Every behaviour has a function, instead of eliminating a bad behavior, think to replace
  • What are the benefits of positive reinforcement? Building a positive relationship with your dog.
  • Aversive training is taking a risk, it’s a quick but non-guaranteed solution. It’s not a magic trick, risk of fallout is not worth it.


“There is a hierarchy of steps to take. Don’t skip all the steps and go to the heavier tools because every learner deserves to be looked at as an individual. What is the least invasive method of intervention we can do here?”

“Dogs are living beings and it’s a complete myth that they want to work with us just because they are intrinsically designed to want to please us. That is not the case for pretty much any dog.”

“You don’t need to be punishing the dog to get what you want.”

“You only gamble what you can afford to lose, and when it comes to your dog I don’t think you can afford to gamble.”

Recommended Resources


  • @dog_latin_dog_training on Instagram



How to Select a Good Dog Trainer

How to Select a Good Dog Trainer

Part of being a responsible dog owner is training your pet, whether by yourself at home or with the help of a professional.  However, finding a good dog trainer can be a difficult task, especially because the industry is largely unregulated.  Unfortunately, anyone can call him or herself a dog trainer, regardless of experience or certification.  Here, tips for selecting a good dog trainer are discussed.

Seek Recommendations

First and foremost it is necessary to seek recommendations from dog-owning friends and canine professionals, such as groomers, dog walkers, animal shelter staff, veterinarians, and pet store employees.  If these people are unable to provide you with options, they can certainly tell you who to avoid.  Be sure to seek out dog owners who have similar training views as your own.  If you are not okay with aversive methods such as prong collars, choke chains, or electronic collars be honest when asking for a recommendation.

Read Reviews

Next, search online for reviews regarding the particular dog trainer or facility.  Immediate red flags include any review claiming neglect, use of force, or potentially risky behavior, such allowing an untrained dog off-leash.  Dog trainers that base their training on terms such as “dominance,” “pack leader,” or “alpha rolls” should also be avoided.  It is important that the dog be looked at as an individual, and not as part of an ideology.

Ask about Certifications

Once you have narrowed your search, set up a phone call or in-person interview.  One of your first questions should regard the potential dog trainer’s certifications.  Avoid any trainer who simply cites experience with dogs.  Types of certifications include:


A CCPDT certified dog trainer is one who is certified by the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers.  To receive this certification, dog trainers must pass rigorous exams that demonstrate mastery of humane and science-based training protocols.  Two certifications through this council include CPDT-KA (Certified Professional Dog Trainer – Knowledge Assessed) and CPDT-KSA (Certified Professional Dog trainer-Knowledge and Skills Assessed.  Both require a minimum of 300 hours of experience with dogs, as well as passing a 250 question multiple-choice test.


Another certification is Victoria Stillwell Positively Dog Training (VSPDT).  Victoria Stillwell is a leading authority on positive dog training techniques.  A VSPDT dog trainer is one who is committed to positive-based dog training and has undergone a rigorous evaluation process including a written exam, background check, follow-up of client and professional references, and an in-person training evaluation.


A Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner (KPA CTP) is a dog trainer who has graduated from the Karen Pryor Dog Trainer Professional program.  Karen Pryor, like Victoria Stillwell, promotes force-free positive-based training.  A KPA CTP is skilled in positive training techniques and is educated in science and behavior-based training methods.  He or she is dedicated to making training fun for both dog and human.  


An ABC dog trainer is one who has graduated from the Animal Behavior College. This comprehensive program includes an 11-stage curriculum with hands-on training and mentorship.

Vet Behaviourist

A board-certified vet behaviourist is a veterinarian who has specialized in veterinary behaviour medicine. This trainer will be able to determine whether your dog has a medical component that is causing its behavioral problem.  A vet behaviourist will have studied topics such as sociobiology, psychology of learning, psychopharmacology, behavioural endocrinology, ethology, behavioural genetics, and behavioural physiology.  A vet behaviourist has an ACVB title from the American Board of Veterinary Specialists.

Above all, however, it is important to remember that the existence of letters behind a trainer’s name does not necessarily imply competence.


Tour the Facility

If you will be attending a facility for dog training, schedule a tour or more importantly turn up announced.  Look to make sure that areas are clean, gates are always properly latched, yards have adequate fencing, and that staff is personable. See how the dogs who are at the facility are acting and how there behaviour seems.

Sit in on a Class

Next, ask to sit in on a class, regardless of whether you plan to use one-on-one services or a class-based system.  Observe how the dog trainer interacts with both people and dogs.  Does each dog receive the same amount of attention?  How does the trainer respond to dogs that are stubborn or slow learners?  How does the trainer respond to humans that are stubborn or slow learners?  Is the root of the problem addressed, or does the trainer look for a “quick fix”?  Most importantly, look to ensure that the trainer enables dog owners to provide the majority of the training, while being available for guidance and troubleshooting.

Check References

No matter how good a trainer sounds online or appears to be in person, always follow up with references.  This point is especially true for new dog trainers and ones without stand-alone facilities.

Avoid “Board and Train”

If you are looking for a comprehensive training program for your dog, avoid services such as “board and train.”  While the concept sounds good in theory – your dog is left with the trainer for a period of time to work one-on-one and extensively learn obedience or overcome specific problems – in reality it isn’t the best solution.  Besides uncertainty towards your dog’s wellbeing, there is no guarantee that the trainer is the person actually working with your dog, or the methods that are being used are humane.  Additionally, this set-up leaves out the most important factor:  you.  Your dog will be returned to you trained to heed the commands of someone else and you will have to spend time learning how to communicate with your pet, which will require more time and resources.

We had the opportunity to speak to a local force free Toronto based Dog Trainer on her thoughts on what tools are most important for dog training

Whenever people ask me how long will positive training take and why can’t we use something else to speed the process of training I say….positive reinforcement motivates dogs to learn fast, positive reinforcement is the best way to teach your fur companions to be confident,  builds trust without scaring your fur companions and most of all, is the fastest way to learn using what they are motivated by.
Please note I don’t discredit other training methods however I caution you about using the tools that can seriously injure your dogs and to be safe when using aversive methods. There are many animals that end up physically and emotionally  injured. If you chose to go down that way, please be trained on how to use it. Believe me it won’t be effective and it will seriously cause harm if you don’t know how to use it properly.

Suzana, I SpeakDog .ca

Ultimately, when choosing a dog trainer the most critical points to look for are recommendations, references, certifications, and a good demeanor with both humans and dogs.  Avoid trainers that don’t care about your dog’s history and simply chalk everything up to dominance and the need for the dog owner to assert him or herself as “alpha.”  Overall, always trust your gut instinct when choosing anyone who will be working closely with your pets.

The Importance of Teaching your Puppy Impulse Control

The Importance of Teaching your Puppy Impulse Control

Your new puppy has a lot to learn after you bring her home. Besides understanding her name, getting the hang of potty training, learning the house boundaries, and bonding with her new family members, teaching your puppy impulse control is also important.

What is Impulse Control?

Impulse control involves teaching your dog that she will not be rewarded for bad behavior. While some dog trainers might teach impulse control by correcting bad behaviors, the better (and more humane) approach is to only give your dog attention when good behaviors are displayed. You can also teach impulse control by training your puppy to obey certain commands that demand your dog to divert her attention from distractions, such as “leave it,” “watch me,” and “wait.” Ultimately, impulse control is a skill that must be practiced over time. Your puppy will learn to reconsider improper actions – such as jumping on her owner for attention or going after a spilled bag of chocolate chips – when certain commands are given.

Benefits of Teaching Impulse Control

The benefits of teaching impulse control are vast. First and foremost, teaching a dog to control her impulses will result in a calmer and more relaxed dog. For instance, a common impulse is to rush out the door in order to get outside. Not only is this dangerous for the human that is standing in the doorway, but it can also be dangerous for the dog if the door is near a busy road way. To control the impulse to run out the door, the puppy can be taught that it first must sit and wait for a command, such as “okay,” before crossing the threshold.

How to Teach Impulse Control

Teaching impulse control is easy, especially if you start when your puppy is young. One command that teaches your puppy to control her impulses is “leave it.”
This command is important whenever there is an object on the ground or outside that you do not want your dog to interact with. This object could be a spilled item in the kitchen or feces from another animal outside. To teach this command, first arm yourself with an extremely high-value reward in one hand, and a “boring” treat (like kibble) in the other. Show your dog the boring treat, and then close your hand around the treat, making a fist. Your dog will likely try to lick, paw, and nibble at your hand in order to get the treat. Once your dog gives up, give her a reward from the high-value hand. Never reward with the “boring” treats, as this might confuse your dog.

Once your puppy gets the hang of this drill, overlay the word “leave it.” After your dog becomes proficient at “leave it” with boring treats, increase the difficulty. Next, place the boring treat on the floor and tell your dog “leave it.” If she goes for the treat, quickly place your hand over the treat and do not reward your dog until she has diverted her attention. Over time, you may even find that your puppy looks to you for permission before going after anything on the ground!

Prong Collars | The Myth That There Is A Proper Way To Use One

Prong Collars | The Myth That There Is A Proper Way To Use One

Proper Use of a Prong Collar?

If you watch the television programs based on the lives of celebrity dog trainers, you might be led to believe that the use of a prong collar, electronic collar, or choke chain is a good idea.  After all, if a large, aggressive, and otherwise un-trainable dog can be rehabilitated via a prong collar, why shouldn’t you use one on your pet?  The reasons why a prong collar is a bad idea are described here.

What is a Prong Collar?

A prong collar (sometimes called a spike or pinch collar) is a metal training tool that encircles your dog’s neck, like a collar.  It is worn high on the dog’s neck, behind the ears, and is comprised of multiple metal prongs that will pinch the dog when pressure is applied to the leash.

Should You Use a Prong Collar?

Prong collars are most commonly used to keep a dog from pulling on the leash or to keep aggression (commonly the result of fear or lack of socialization) at bay.  Dog trainers who advocate the use of prong collars tout this solution as natural, because in a dog pack the more dominant dog will issue a “correction” (often a nip near the neck or face) when a subordinate animal behaves inappropriately.  

However, there is a vast difference in the pain experienced during a canine correction and during a painful prong collar correction.  The “punishment” issued by a dog is more of a threat than an infliction of pain, while a prong collar is used by humans specifically because it inflicts pain.

Disadvantages of using a Prong Collar

There are numerous disadvantages to using a prong collar when disciplining your dog, and only a few are described here.


First and foremost, prong collars inflict pain on your dog, and not in a trivial way.  Dogs frequently yelp in agony in response to a prong collar correction.


The skin on a dog’s neck is very thin and sensitive.  Every year, dogs are treated for puncture wounds and abrasions related to improper prong collar use.  More serious injuries, such as esophageal collapse, can also occur.


A common use of the prong collar is to correct a dog whenever signs of dominance or aggression are observed.  However, when dogs experience pain, especially when they are already in a heightened state of arousal, they are more likely to lash out at another animal or human thanks to an associative pain response.  Inflicting pain on an already provoked dog could result in disaster.

Collar Conditioning

Collar conditioning occurs when your dog only behaves well in the presence of an aversive technique.  This phenomenon often occurs with the use of electronic and prong collars, begging the question is the dog trained or conditioned?

Fear vs. Good Decisions

A dog that is trained using aversive methods is frequently in a state of high alert, because it is never certain when a correction will be administered. This causes stress for the dog, and he or she will behave out of fear.  On the other hand, when positive reinforcement is used the dog will make good decisions in order to earn a reward; not because it is afraid of experiencing pain.