Ahimsa Dog Training, Seattle

Ahimsa Dog Training, Seattle - Dog Articles and Ahimsa News

Please see my list of dog training and behavior articles in the column to the right, or read my most recent blog posts below. Thanks for stopping by! If you are on Twitter, Facebook, or do some other social networking, please pass on our articles!

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What to Do When a Dog Refuses to Walk

April 8th, 2008

Is your dog a stubborn Donkey Dog? A lot of dogs pull forward on leash, but some dogs and many puppies pull *backward* or refuse to walk. This happens to French Bulldogs and English Bulldogs all the time! Pulling harder or luring with a treat only makes the problem worse, so what should you do to help your dog or puppy get moving?!

Read the rest of this entry »

Is My Dog Fat? How to Tell Your Dog is Overweight

March 6th, 2008

From StopCanineObesity.com: “The numbers are startling. Recent studies show that while veterinarians estimate 47% of their canine clients are overweight, only 17% of dog owners believe their dogs fit that description.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Kathy Sdao Dog Trainer Workshop in Seattle 2008

February 21st, 2008

I’m very happy to announce that the details have finally been hammered out and Ahimsa is going to host a dog trainer workshop by Kathy Sdao in Seattle this summer. The I-Cue seminar is open to professional dog trainers and regular dog owners who have interest in taking their training a big step further. Click for seminar info & registration.

Read the rest of this entry »

Clicker Training – Reliability in Action

February 20th, 2008

I just made a quick video of my dog, Peanut, at Magnuson Off Leash Park in Seattle. I have him do the same chain of ten behaviors twice in a row: wait, spin, jump, heel, left turn, right turn, wait, come, sit, and carwash. There are a few dogs that Peanut just met at the dog park, for distraction.

Read the rest of this entry »

Dog Fences: Invisible vs. Visible

February 10th, 2008

I’ve been asked by dog training clients several times about my opinion on the Invisible Fence. The short answer is that I really, really don’t like shock fencing; I think it’s inhumane. Watch the video below, which shows several humans wearing a shock collar, for an indication of what it might be like for a dog to wear a shock collar. Read the rest of this entry »

West Seattle Dog Poisoning

February 6th, 2008

There have been news reports of dogs in West Seattle that may have been poisoned with rat poison on dog treats, bones, etc, strewn about Westcrest and Fauntleroy parks where dogs run off leash (though possibly, they shouldn’t anyway, as I think they aren’t off leash parks).
Read the rest of this entry »

Puppy class and play time changes

January 29th, 2008

The Saturday puppy classes are changing times somewhat. The good news is that we now have a play time for bigger dogs – under 30 pounds instead of just 20 and for tiny dogs under 15 pounds. Read the rest of this entry »

Chocolate, Raisins and Other Foods Toxic to Dogs

January 17th, 2008

Everybody knows that chocolate is bad for dogs, but do you know how much is too much? That 7 raisins could kill your dog? Or that onions are bad for dogs? Or that garlic is also toxic for dogs? Read the rest of this entry »

Dog Training for Busy People

January 7th, 2008

Have you ever taken a dog training class and then not done the homework? I have. I’ve also done months of PT and struggled to get through the homework. I just never had time, and the dog training ended up being at the end of the to-do list. The cure? Read the rest of this entry »

Sagan and the Blanket – Thinking Inside the Box

January 1st, 2008

Fixing dog behavior problems isn’t just about training the dog. Many times, a “management” solution, where you change the environment instead of changing the dog, is the best way to go. Read the rest of this entry »

Comfort Trainer head halter – fitting

December 20th, 2007

If you have tried a harness and that’s not enough to safely walk your dog, the Comfort Trainer head collar is a great way to reclaim your walk from your pulling dog. The collar portion of the Comfort Trainer head collar should fit fairly snugly, but not as tight as you might fit for the Gentle Leader. You want the collar on tight enough that if the nose portion does come off, the collar itself stays on. Read the rest of this entry »

Breeding Dogs for Temperament

December 19th, 2007

Why do breeders continue to breed dogs that are not of sound temperament? The dogs meet the AKC beauty standards, but dogs can be dangerous, and living with an aggressive dog has a huge effect on our lives and the life of the dog. We should be breeding for calm, happy golden retrievers, labs, pit bulls, pomeranians, chihuahuas, etc. Temperament needs to be placed over beauty. Can’t we make a law? Read the rest of this entry »

Dog Whisperer Training Techniques Inhumane

December 13th, 2007

It’s official. The “Dog Whisperer” TV show uses outdated, inhumane dog training methods. I’m so happy to have found out that it’s not just me, or the many, many dog trainers that I know – in Seattle and around the world – that think the Dog Whisperer show has done more harm than good.
Everyone has been so afraid to say anything possibly libelous, but it’s just the truth, and we need to stop hurting these dogs.The American Humane Association, founded in 1887, officially announced late last summer that they found the techniques on the “Dog Whisperer” inhumane, and stated that the National Geographic Channel should take Cesar Millan’s show off of the air as soon as possible. Read the rest of this entry »

Rules for Playing Tug with Your Dog

December 10th, 2007

Tug-of-war is good game for teaching the dog to switch between Crazy Dog mode and Thinking Dog mode (Limbic and Cerebral). Contrary to popular myths, tug does not cause aggression in dogs. Read the rest of this entry »

Dogs on the Bus in Seattle (King County)

November 20th, 2007

Seattle is a very dog-friendly city. Dogs can even ride the bus in Seattle, you just may have to pay for it. If you have a puppy, the bus is a lovely way to socialize your dog will lots of different people. Bringing a dog on the bus changes the dynamic – even the “normal” people on the bus will talk to you if you have a puppy!

Read the rest of this entry »

How to Teach Perfect, Fast Dog Behaviors

November 13th, 2007

The quick answer? Pay only for better than average behavior. The three aspects of fluency are precision, latency, and speed. The following training plans are designed to increase the fluency for three Rally Obedience exercises: slow pace heel, fast pace heel, and right turn while heeling.
Read the rest of this entry »

Crate Training for Dogs Using Targeting

November 13th, 2007

I wrote a different article about Crate Training Puppies and Dogs last week. Take a look at it before you read this one, if you haven’t done so already.

Many dogs can be crate trained faster by using targeting. With targeting, you first teach the dog to touch a target and then eventually put that target into the crate. Then you can put “getting into the crate” on cue. Read the rest of this entry »

Private Dog Training

November 13th, 2007

We’re excited to begin offering private behavior consultations with world-famous dog expert Kathy Sdao, MA, CAAB at Ahimsa. Sessions take place at our facility in Ballard. Topics include aggression, fear, separation anxiety, and most other dog behavior problems. For more information, visit the private training page.

November News

November 12th, 2007

* Workshops this week: Coming When Called, Fraidy Dog, Baby-Proofing Your Dog
* Online dog training forum is up and running!
* Featured product at the store.
* Free Training Practice class moving to Mondays.
* TIP: Teaching your dog to fetch.
Read the rest of this entry »

How to Teach Your Dog or Puppy To Fetch

November 7th, 2007

Does your puppy grab a toy and run off with it instead of bringing it back to you? You should be able to play catch *with your dog* and having your dog fetch the ball instead of playing “catch the dog” and having to fetch her. Fetch should be exercise for the dog, not for you!:) Read the rest of this entry »

“Good Dog!” NOT “Good Sit”

November 7th, 2007

You hear it all the time. “Sit, Fido.” (Fido sits). “Good sit!” It’s in my old training, too, but it’s a habit I’m mostly over. It’s not helpful for dogs when you use the cue (like “sit”) in the praise. It’s probably actually making your dog learn more slowly Read the rest of this entry »

The future of Agility at Ahimsa

November 6th, 2007

We have offered agility classes at Ahimsa for several years. Our core focus is to improve the relationship of dogs with their humans, and while agility does serve that goal, the training center is so busy these days that I had to decide between continuing to offer agilty classes and offering more manners classes, Read the rest of this entry »

How to Get Your Dog Comfortable in a Head Collar

October 19th, 2007

There are many different brands of head collars for dogs these days. Popular dog head halter brands are Gentle Leader, Halti, NewTrix, and the ones that we carry on our website, the Comfort Trainer and the K9 Bridle. Head collars give you a lot of control, but dog’s can take several weeks to get used to them. This post gives instructions desensitize your dog to a head collar.  I also have a blog post with fitting instructions for the Comfort Trainer. Read the rest of this entry »

Dog Training Advice & Community Forum

October 11th, 2007

We did it! The dog training forum is ready for people to visit. Complaints about off leash dogs in Seattle? Need help with coming when called? Or weaning off of treats? This is the place to post your questions, rants, and raves. Visit the forum at http://doggiezen.com/forum.

Voted Best in Seattle – again!

October 10th, 2007

CityDog Magazine had it’s annual readership poll for TopDog in various categories. In 2006, we were voted TopDog in the Dog Trainer/Behaviorist category. In 2007, CityDog wrote that we were a “close second” to a facility in Woodinville. When I asked my clients for suggestions for what to say about Ahimsa getting the most votes of any dog training facility in Seattle proper, here’s what one of them wrote: Read the rest of this entry »

I have other dogs. Does my puppy still need Puppy class?

October 10th, 2007


I get this question a fair amount. I’d rather get this question than have people simply skip puppy class, believing that their other dog(s) will socialize the new puppy. It helps to have dogs at home, but it’s not enough, and it may convince you to not be as diligent in socializing your new puppy.

Why it’s important to still take your puppy to a training & socialization class: Read the rest of this entry »

How to Click Your Dog’s Cute Behavior Into a Trick

October 6th, 2007

Your dog does a million cute things every day, if you look closely. Yoga stretches, head tilts, lip smacking, barking, you name it. Let’s turn one of them into a trick using clicker training! Here’s how: Read the rest of this entry »

October News – Puppy Jr. High, Rally is back, more!

October 4th, 2007

In this Newsletter:

  • New class: Intermediate Puppy, a.k.a. Puppy Jr. High
  • Baby-Proofing Your Dog workshop – this Saturday
  • Rally Obedience starts on Oct 18.
  • Wallflower Shy Dog class starts Nov 17.
  • More Agility Classes on the Schedule
  • CityDog’s TopDog votes are in!

Read the rest of this entry »

My Dog is Afraid of the Clicker!

October 4th, 2007


Some dogs are nervous about the clicker. It does happen from time to time, and almost all dogs will get over their fears, given the chance. So you have one of those dogs? Here’s what to do. Read the rest of this entry »

Recalled Dog Treats – Smokehouse

September 19th, 2007

It’s not an official recall yet, but Petsmart is pulling the following Smokehouse dog treats from their shelves, because of some dogs becoming ill after eating these treats. Read the rest of this entry »

Upcoming classes, call for volunteers, free training

September 8th, 2007

In this post:

* Free Training Sessions moving to Thursday
* Volunteers needed for Growly Dog class
* Ahimsa won a “very close second” in the CityDog Magazine Top Dog awards (and the first place center isn’t in Seattle!)
* Upcoming classes
* Dog Training Conference Read the rest of this entry »

Woman breeds, chains dogs, who escape & kill others

August 22nd, 2007

I could have used the headline that others used, “Pit Bulls maul sleeping woman…” but I think the more important detail here is how this happened. It’s not the breed, it’s the fool who chained them up outside. Yes, some pit bulls are dog aggressive. And yes, they are powerful. But I have seen dogs of all breeds that are aggressive to dogs and to people. And “Pit Bull” isn’t even a breed, it’s a description of several breeds of dog. When a pit bull gets into trouble, “Pit Bull” is in the headline. When it’s a labrador retriever, like the mauling of that woman in France who got face surgery, they don’t usually even bother stating the breed.

Read the rest of this entry »

Hiccup Cure!

August 20th, 2007

The cure below is for curing human hiccups, but do dogs get hiccups? (hiccoughs?) Yes. Puppies are more prone to hiccups than adult dogs. My dog had hiccups every single day when she was a puppy, and has since grown out of that. But I wanted to write this blog entry because I got hiccups last night and was so frustrated that I couldn’t get rid of them that my wife finally began searching the internet for a hiccup cure. Read the rest of this entry »

Shy Dog class, Agility, Free Practice Class, more!

July 31st, 2007

Once again, I have a boatload of news for you…

In this newsletter:

  • CityDog TopDog voting ends today! (maybe tomorrow)
  • Free Practice Class for past and current students
  • Join the Humane Society’s fight to end Dog-Fighting!
  • New Round of Dog Agility
  • Wallflower Shy Dog class returns!
  • Baby-Proofing Your Dog – workshop
  • Burien classes: Terrier & Puppy

Read the rest of this entry »

Baby/Dog workshop, new dog training classes

July 26th, 2007

We have new classes!

The Baby-Proofing Your Dog workshop for expecting parents is completely new, and the Wallflower Shy Dog Class is a returning favorite.

I’ve also added a ton of new classes to the schedule: Agility, Basic Manners, Terrier classes in Burien, and a new Saturday puppy class in Burien.

Click here to see the schedule.

Seatbelts or Crates in the Car

July 19th, 2007

When I was growing up, the concept of having a dog in a seatbelt was never even considered. Even having a baby in a strapped-in secure, safety-tested car seat was a pretty new idea. But now that they are available, would you take your newborn home from the hospital just sitting on the car seat next to you? Or on your lap when you drive? Read the rest of this entry »

Household Poisons & Toxic Plants (Dogs and Cats)

July 19th, 2007

People often ask what things around the house – and what plants – are dangerous for their dog. The ASPCA has a list of poisonous items. Some of them “just” cause vomiting, others are things that some dogs are allergic to and others aren’t, and some will kill any dog.

The ASPCA Poison Control Hotline is (888) 426-4435. It costs $55. I have also called the regular human poison number. Read the rest of this entry »

Recalled Dog Foods – Up-to-date list

July 19th, 2007

I can’t seem to keep up with all of the different foods that have been contaminated with Melamine. I think what this crisis has shown us, more than anything else, is that most dog food manufacturers are relatively the same and treat our dogs as not being worthy of truly good nutrition. Makes you want to cook your own food. At the very least, find a place that is made in the U.S. that offers a balanced diet.

Read the rest of this entry »

Collar Warnings, Foxtails

July 12th, 2007

I have some awful news. A dog that took puppy class with me this spring passed away last week. Her harness caught on the exercise pen that she was kept in when her owners were gone for a bit, and she strangled.

The family emailed me because they wanted to prevent other dogs from danger. They asked me to be sure to tell people that it was a Shih Tzu – not the kind of dog one might expect to leap acrobatically into the air and get stuck on something high up.

I had heard rumors of this problem, and put my dogs into breakaway collars, but having never actually known a dog that had this happen, I thought it was very rare and got rid of the collars.

Looking into it, it seems it’s common enough to warrant warning you: 91% of vets say they have had 1-5 dogs in their practice who have strangled in the last year. I have just ordered several KeepSafe breakaway collars, which bust open if the dogs tangle in something but can be clipped to work like a regular collar when on leash. You can get them at the training center starting next week, or you can order them on our online dog store.

If you do get a breakaway collar, or have your dog go collarless in the home, it’s *especially* important to microchip your dog.

Love them every day, and don’t sweat the small stuff. Life is too short for dogs, even if we do everything right.

FOXTAILS – Danger!

Foxtails are a plant seed that land on your dog’s fur and then keep burrowing in, given the chance. I’ve had clients whose dogs and cats have had them in eyeballs, paws, and skin. They are known to go deeper, too, into the animal’s body, winding up in hearts and lungs. The dog parks are full of them and they are traveling now due to the hot weather drying up the plants. I spent yesterday removing as many as I could from the front of the training center.
Read the rest of this entry »

Your Dog is Watching! Modelling Behavior in Dogs

July 5th, 2007

Who knew that dogs could actually copy each other? Scientists have always said that dogs can’t learn by “modelling.” That is, they thought dogs couldn’t see other dogs doing something and then copy that behavior. Turns out they do that, and they do it in context! If they watch another dog going after a treat with his paw (rather than the mouth), they only copy that behavior if it looked like the dog had a reason they couldn’t see. If the dog had a ball in his mouth, they wouldn’t copy, maybe thinking, “well, he would’ve used his mouth, but it was full.” But if the dog had no ball in his mouth, they seemed to be thinking, “hmmm…Fido did it with his paw – must be a good idea!” They would paw at the food rather than following their instinct to go for it with the mouth. Now, we have no idea what they’re actually thinking, but this selective modelling is pretty amazing stuff. More info is in this Washington Post article from June. Amazing! So be careful about digging in the garden around Fido…

Find Your Dog a Friend in Seattle

July 2nd, 2007

The Seattle Dog Play Classifieds have made news twice lately. They were featured in Seattle Metropolitan Magazine’s “Best of the City” issue, July 2007) and in the Seattle Times (“It’s a Dog Meet Dog World,” August 2006)

In the Seattle Dog Play Classifieds, you just list your dog or search for friends, based on play style, age, location, etc. The service is completely free and is used by dogs, puppies, and their humans throughout the Puget Sound. It’s open to the public, not just students of Ahimsa Dog Training.

I originally created this service as a way to find play friends for my own dog, and it worked! I’m glad to have a chance to help other dogs find friends, too!

Click here to visit the Seattle Dog Play Classifieds.

Newsletter July 2007

June 27th, 2007

I have quite a few new bits of info for everybody and finally decided to make an online version of the newsletter. Here we go…. 🙂

  • Please Give Feedback
    • We now have an online class evaluation form.  Please take a moment to give us feedback on the quality of your experience at Ahimsa.
  • Advanced Puppy is a Success!
    • We’ve had several Advanced Puppy classes and I continue to be amazed at how well they go.  They’re almost entirely off leash.  Depending on the class and the time of day, we’ll either work indoors or fence off the nearby parking lot and use that as a training space.  At the end of my last class, we had the students all lined up in sit-stays about 4 feet apart, while another student dog weaved in and out of them in heel position.  That last part was on leash, but wow! Click here for more info on this off-leash adolescent manners class. I’ve justed switched the Monday night one starting next week to All Sizes, so there’s room available in this popular class.
  • Read the rest of this entry »

King 5 News Interview – June 07

June 15th, 2007

A visit with friends turned tragic when a child approached a family dog with a bone. You hear about this sort of thing all of the time, but too often, people “correct” the dog by telling it not to growl, rather than changing the emotionally charge of the situation. Now the dog is still angry or fearful, but it’s been told not to growl at people any more. Then we get the Silent Biter – the dog who shows no warning before biting. Read the rest of this entry »

Seattle PI Article June 07

June 1st, 2007

I was interviewed by Susan Paynter at the Seattle PI about what’s new and interesting in the dog world. Click here to read the article. Wilson is now taking classes at Ahimsa.

This was one of the few times that I felt well-represented by a news article, probably because I was interviewed for a good amount of time and Susan had a chance to see what we do in person. Still, it’s rare, and I’m grateful!



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