Here is the first installment of a new feature we call the “Trainer’s Spotlight”. We hope to regularly post these interview style entries with talented trainers and leaders in the dog industry.
Q: Can you provide a brief overview of yourself and your business and services?
A: Jt Clough, owner of K9 Coach, Inc in San Diego, CA. While I spent many years creating classes like “Urban Outing Adventures”, I now focus most of my time on private coaching sessions with owners and dogs as well as exclusive dog camps with an emphasis on exercise and fitness as the successful bridge to obedience. In the last year I wrote the 5K Training Guide: Running with Your Dog and coach people online to running with their dog for both fitness and the way to a well trained dog. As an athlete and advocate of health and fitness this program has been near and dear to my heart and I’m finding the joy of coaching many who have wanted to get fit but were missing the motivation factor. Training your dog as your workout partner has the advantage of training partner that is always encouraging and ready to go despite the weather, time of day, or what you are wearing.
Q: What advice can you give a potential dog owner who is looking to adopt from a dog/puppy from a shelter?
A: Though many dogs at shelters are mixed breeds, do a little research and find out what breed(s) best fits your lifestyle. Many people think that a small dog is going to be easier than a large dog, when in fact a small dog can have high energy and require exercise or mental stimulation as if it were in a big energetic dog suit.
Q: From your experience and in your opinion, what are some of the most common mistakes dog owners make?
A: I have people on a weekly basis come to me and ask how they can get their dog to quit destroying and/or peeing in their house. My first question is “when is your dog displaying the destructive behaviors?” Typical answer: “When I’m at work.” Yikes. Just like babies or toddlers unattended there is a good chance they will get into trouble, do something they shouldn’t or something that is simply unsafe when left to roam the house unattended. Without the ability to logic dogs need to have guidance, especially a dog new to the home who is not aware of the rules or appropriate training over time. Leaving a dog unattended free to roam the house is not “being nice” like most people try to logic, but asking for unwarranted anger at a dog when mistakes happen that could have been avoided by providing a safe den or room of his/her own in a crate while you are away at work.
Q: What is the most remarkable thing you have seen a dog do?
A: Wow. Many, many things from alerting the owner to a seizure well before it was going to happen to warning that an approaching person is dangerous. One of the most incredible things I’ve scene a dog do is provide companionship that becomes unconditional even in our greatest solitude over time.
Q: In your opinion, what is the single most important command you can teach a dog and why?
A: Recall or come. The ability to call your dog away from anything is the most rewarding and safety conscious things you can do with your dog. The scenarios go from wanting to jump up on someone, running in the street, racing after a rabbit, running out an open door, chasing after another dog or cat, to coming away from a rattlesnake sunning itself in the middle of an urban trail. If I was only allowed to teach a dog one thing, it would be to come here now!
Q: Can you provide any useful information, advice, or tips for dog owners who frequent off leash dog parks?
A: I believe going to a dog park should require any dog owner to have a strong recall with their dog. For the reasons above it provides the ability to call your dog away from a situation where other dogs may be getting too rambunctious or running out an open gate and into the street. People also need to be aware of over reacting to other dogs behavior at a dog park as well. Too many times I have scene people start yelling, screaming and causing reason for fight of flight in dogs when remaining calm and instructing dogs to come away is the solution to a tiff over a ball or a new dog entering the scene.
Q: What skills/concepts do you find dog owners have the most trouble with, and what advice do you give them?
A: Many people are irritated by their dog pulling on the leash, yet they are encouraging the behavior by giving their dog the entire leash and letting the dog lead them around. My advice is to give the entire leash when your dog needs the space to go to the bathroom but rein it in and keep your dog beside you while you are walking or running.
Q: Do you have a product, event, video, organization, or something else to promote that you feel our readers can benefit from?
A: Fitness and health should be on the immediate radar of every person. Dogs are part of the family and should be fit and healthy as well. A well exercised dog is a happy dog and that goes for people too. A training program to support getting out to move is key to the success of those who are just starting out. The 5K Training Guide: Running With Your Dog provides inspiration, a running program for you and dog training tips for your dog. Get out an move and have more fun with your dog.
Coming May 2, 2010 FitForDogs.com The site is dedicated to exercise with your dog and founded my Liz Devitt, DVM specializing in Canine Sports Medicine, and Jt Clough Professional Dog Trainer and owner of K9 Coach, Inc.
I would like to extend a big thank you to Jt Clough for taking the time to share her thoughts with us, to learn more about Jt and K9 Coach, be sure to stop by the K9 Coach website.
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