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January Newsletter – Ahimsa on the Radio!

We are completely excited to announce that our radio show on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM starts next week! We also have other great January happenings, so please read on.

1. Best of Seattle

We may not have actually shared this news yet, so… Thanks to your votes last fall, Ahimsa Dog Training was second place in the Best of Western Washington contest–first among the training facilities in the Seattle area. So thank you!! Continue reading January Newsletter – Ahimsa on the Radio!

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More News!

We just got some great feedback on a service we started in last spring, Puppy Day Camp. In our Puppy Day Camp, we do the training and socialization homework for our students, so they can live their lives. This format has allowed us to work some minor miracles. I thought I’d share this feedback so you see what I mean!

When we first came to Ahimsa we had just adopted a 9-week-old puppy that was terrified of the world, snarling at everything and everyone in it (even other puppies). We are not inexperienced dog owners, but this was far beyond what we had bargained for. After 2 nonfunctional (for us/him) Puppy Kindergarten sessions where our pup snarled at anyone coming close, the trainers suggested that he would be a good candidate for intensive training in their Puppy Day Camp program.

Within the first 2 weeks there was tremendous improvement in our puppy, he learned lots of words, was less afraid of things, had much improved manners and the unpleasant snarling reduced dramatically. It has now been 6 weeks of Ahimsa Puppy Day Camp and we have and entirely different, confident and well-mannered tweener dog. He now has fabulous manners (a convenient output of Puppy Day Camp) and most importantly he has become a popular playmate with other puppies, people and children – and he LOVES it! Instead of snarling, he, looks forward to going outside and shakes off anything super scary. There was no way we could have helped him improve so rapidly on our own, regardless of our experience and kindness. There just was no substitute for the 16 hours a week of focused intensive training (& puppy emotional therapy) that the expert staff at Ahimsa Puppy Camp provided for our pup. We are now confident that our puppy has the skills to make and build good decisions that will help him grow further into a very loved and easy to live with furry family member.

And now we’re looking forward to joining a normal Puppy Junior High class!

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Note: in our camp, the idea is to keep things calm and fun the whole time. If we are not able to set up an environment where a puppy will be comfortable (i.e., not snarly or scared) then we would recommend private training, instead. We take the well-being of all of our campers very seriously!

We also have a video of this dog at the Furry 5K, an event by the Seattle Animal Shelter that Ahimsa sponsored this June. I’ll post that soon!

Click here for more info on the puppy camp.

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Positive Dog Training Flash Mob in Seattle

We had a great time at the positive dog training flash mob at Westlake center on Sunday. The surprise dance routine (I use the word dance loosely, here) was meant to bring attention to the fact that January is “Train Your Dog Month” and promote positive training, including the Puget Sound Positive Dog Trainers group. Trainers Mary McNeight and Amanda Brothers spearheaded the effort. Peanut and I were happy to join in the fun! I’m in the light blue shirt and Peanut is in the gray Thundershirt (which helped him deal with the noises of traffic in downtown Seattle). It wasn’t the most polished group dance, but considering that these dogs never practiced as a group, it was amazing! Watch out for the next one… Read on to see some video clips!

Continue reading Positive Dog Training Flash Mob in Seattle

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One Easy Step to Help Dog-Friendly Training

We're Competing badge

Please vote for us in the Best of Western Washington contest! It’s really important for us at Ahimsa and it’s great way to promote positive training.

Use the button above to vote and after you do, please use Twitter, Facebook, and plain old email to spread the word! (And check your email to make sure your vote went through.)

p.s. I know a lot of local trainers read my blog (you may be one of them). If we get to the end of the contest and it’s either a truly positive trainer (like us) or a place that uses prong collars along with their treats, can you switch your vote? I will!

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Watch us live on King 5 TV!

Ahimsa Dog Training is on King 5’s New Day Northwest tomorrow along with some of our great PUPPIES!

You are invited to be in the studio audience for the show. I’ll be talking about puppy socialization and dog aggression – the dogs are there to be cute and get socialized!!

They say the whole show will be great. Dave from Dave’s Killer Breads is on to debut his new bread and to bring armfuls of deliciousness for the audience! Seats are FREE! Audience in at 9:30am, done by 11:30.

UPDATE: Click here to see the puppy socialization video clip. Note that any puppy socialization needs to be upbeat and positive!

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Watch for Ahimsa puppies on King 5’s new morning show!

On Monday, March 29th, I’ll be interviewed live with Margaret Larson on a brand new morning show called New Day Northwest, which runs 10-11 on weekdays. At least 3 trainers will be at their studio in Seattle and we’ll have several Ahimsa Dog Training client puppies with us. We look forward to helping greater Seattle learn more about dog-friendly training. I’ll give you more details if I figure out when exactly we’ll be on during that hour!

Hopefully I will have access to a video that I can post here in the blog.

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Dream List Radio Interview

Dreamlist Radio is an excellent website that helps people find the career of their dreams. Melissa Borghorst of Dreamlist Radio interviewed me for the Teen section of the website, and the questions focused on what teens can do to become a dog trainer. The answers, you’ll find, will work for people of any age who are considering becoming dog trainers.

Click to Play Interview

If you have a teen or pre-teen in your home, or are thinking of changing careers, I highly recommend Dreamlist’s main website!

Related Post: How to Become a Dog Trainer in Seattle

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Welcome to the White House, B’Obama!

Bo Obama, the Portuguese Water Dog, seems to be enjoying his new home in the White House.  The Obama puppy’s big debut is Tuesday (tomorrow) but the press has already leaked his story.

And who wouldn’t enjoy being the First Dog, with two kids to love on you and great parents? When we were there for the inauguration, Jill and I checked out the size of that yard. Any dog in the DC area (heck, even a dog in Seattle) would be happy to have such a big space!

Continue reading Welcome to the White House, B’Obama!

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Puppy Mill expose on Nightline March 27

The Seattle area has had their share of puppy mill busts, including the recent one in Snohomish County that is inundating Seattle with little rescue dogs and some big ones, too.

Tomorrow (March 27) ABC’s Nightline is doing a big expose on puppy mills. I haven’t seen it, but I imagine it’s terrible and gruesome and will make you wonder why animals have put up with us for so long.
Continue reading Puppy Mill expose on Nightline March 27

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New Research from Vets – Dog Whispering Likely to Cause Aggression

The University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Science has released a pilot study that found that 1/4 of dogs trained with punishment/pinning/growling were likely to respond with aggression, versus almost no aggressive behavior that resulted from methods like the ones we use at Ahimsa.

Yes, you read that correctly. Methods that have the goal of dominating the aggressive dog with force were likely to cause aggression toward the owner and other people or dogs, rather than preventing it.
Continue reading New Research from Vets – Dog Whispering Likely to Cause Aggression

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American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior Speaks out Against the Dominance Model

The American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior would like to let you know that Dominance – the idea that we need to overcome our dogs by force, lest they try to take over our homes, is outdated and leads to inhumane training.

Here’s some info from their Position Statement on Dominance issued in December, 2008:

AVSAB is concerned with the recent re-emergence of dominance theory and forcing dogs and other animals into submission as a means of preventing and correcting behavior problems. For decades, some traditional animal training has relied on dominance theory and has assumed that animals misbehave primarily because they are striving for higher rank. This idea often leads trainers to believe that force or coercion must be used to modify these undesirable behaviors.”
Continue reading American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior Speaks out Against the Dominance Model

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Motion 2008-0347, Prohibiting Dog Chaining in King County

Imagine being chained to a tree year after year. You watch the door, hoping someone will come out to play. No one ever does. You long to run, but you can only pace. You shiver in winter and pant in summer. Loose dogs come to beat you up, and you can’t run away. Children taunt you and, again, you can’t run away.

King County Council (Washington State) is looking into the feasibility of implementing legislation to prohibit chaining dogs. Deliberations about whether they should look into it end October 20th, so please contact the council asap.

Continue reading Motion 2008-0347, Prohibiting Dog Chaining in King County

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Beverly Hills Chihuahua Movie

Beverly Hills Chihuahua opened in movie theaters this weekend. Chihuahua lovers everywhere have flocked to see it. People in the dog business have mixed feelings when we see dog movies. The dog-lover part of our personality is glad to see an oh-so-cute dog movie. The part of us that cares about the dogs cringes, because we know that the next thing that will happen is that people will be getting Chihuahuas, Dalmations, etc. for their children and then promptly returning them to the shelter when they turn out to be less fun than the movie actors. Yes, those dogs are actors! Even Chihuahuas can act!

Continue reading Beverly Hills Chihuahua Movie

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KOMO 4 TV Interview – Service Dog Racism

My wife’s dog, Sagan, was featured in an interview of Ellen Taft, a woman who wants to ban pit bulls and many other breeds as service dogs. My wife’s dog has a big head and looks like a pit bull, though she’s actually a Boxer mix, possibly with Greyhound. Ellen Taft definitely has it out for pit bull type dogs, but also mentioned that, among other breeds, Greyhounds shouldn’t be service dogs because, and I quote, “A Greyhound is a very, very stupid dog. It was trained for one purpose, it was trained to run.”

Continue reading KOMO 4 TV Interview – Service Dog Racism

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Q13 News & Seattle Metropolitan Magazine – “Best of the Best!”

Seattle Metropolitan Magazine has an annual Best of the City issue. As the founder of Ahimsa Dog Training, I was featured as the “Trailblazer” in Seattle Met. Fox chose three of the Trailblazers to feature on their morning show and interviewed me with my dogs at the training center in Seattle. (The dogs are Sagan – Boxer mix, Peanut – border collie / whippet, & Spoon – border collie / hound). Click here to see the Fox “Best of the Best” Interview. The video is sometimes broken, and refreshing the Fox website seems to help.

There’s a big 3D picture in the Seattle Metropolitan magazine (page 96). Thanks again to the puppy class students for putting up with the photo shoot!

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Dog Whisperer Training Techniques Inhumane

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. Continue reading Dog Whisperer Training Techniques Inhumane

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Voted Best in Seattle – again!

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: Continue reading Voted Best in Seattle – again!

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Woman breeds, chains dogs, who escape & kill others

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.

Continue reading Woman breeds, chains dogs, who escape & kill others

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Find Your Dog a Friend in Seattle

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.

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King 5 News Interview – June 07

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. Continue reading King 5 News Interview – June 07

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Seattle PI Article June 07

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!