Does your dog jump on guests? Does he chew shoes when left home alone? Does he drive your neighbors crazy with his barking? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions or have other behavioral issues with your beloved dog, Clare Reece-Glor of YAY Dog might just have the answers.
Q.How long have you been a professional dog trainer?
A. I’ve been training dogs for more than nine years now. I have always worked with dogs and even horses, but started my business a little less than a decade ago.
Q.What did you do before you gave into the lure of working with pets and their parents?
A.For many years I worked as a corporate trainer in management and supervision, but I always wanted to work with animals. In 2008, I started working part-time at a veterinary clinic. When I would put families, who brought in new puppies in a room, I’d offer them tips on housetraining or I’d answer other questions they had.
Not long after that, the veterinarians started asking me, specifically, to go in and talk with people about their dog’s behavior. The lightbulb clicked on and I knew what I wanted to do! I studied, went to a national conference on training and walked dogs for a local shelter. After six months of study, I took on my first clients.
Q.How does it work when you’re training a dog? Do you work with groups or individuals?
A.I typically do individual training. I call myself a coach for people and their dogs. The reason for this is that it’s so important to me that I teach the pet parents and empower the people; it’s not just about training the dog myself and sending him home to his family.
Q.Do you have a particular method or philosophy by which you train dogs?
A. I use a variety of methods for training. What I really love is when I teach the pet owner how to read their dogs’ behavior. I show them how to reward the behavior they approve of. I don’t just try to fix unwanted behavior. I also show people how to tire dogs out mentally, not just physically.
Mental exercise, for a dog, can include games, impulse control work and puzzles or games in the environment. A tired dog is often a well-behaved and happy dog.
Q.How important is it for the dog owner to understand what you’re doing and to be involved?
A.First, I like to teach people about canine behavior, in general, so they can learn to recognize how and why their dog is reacting to a particular situation. As an example, a dog yawning or licking his lip (the tongue flick) may be stress and the owner may think their dog is tired or that it’s a “cute” behavior. I teach the pet parent how to interpret their dog’s behavior better.
Secondly, sometimes dogs are so subtle about their behavior and they are so attuned to our behavior and our moods that I think we are being rude owners if we don’t step up and learn to understand them better.
I love the phrase, “Catch your dog doing something right.” If your crazy, bouncy Labrador puppy—who has been a whirlwind and a pest—goes and lies down, you need to immediately say, “Good dog.” With some dogs, you need to say it quietly and calmly, so you don’t start up their whirlwind of activity again.
In many cases, when a dog is unruly it’s because he hasn’t been properly trained. This puts the onus on the pet parent to assure his or her dog is a good canine citizen; one who doesn’t chew shoes, bark incessantly or jump on visitors.
Many pet owners consider their pets to be more than a pet—they are family. Consider that your puppy or dog is a toddler and you can see the importance of training so you can live happily together.
Robbi Hess, award-winning author, is multi-petual: She shares her home with two Devon Rex kittens, three adult rescue cats, a mini poodle, a Goldendoodle, three lizards and two ferrets. When not caring for her pets, she is an editor, speaker, time management and productivity guru, content creator, social media manager and blogger. She writes at All Words Matter, My Divas Dish, and is the story editor and chief cat herder at Positively Woof.