Durango Telegraph: “Hope for the ‘midnight dog walkers’”


Local dog trainer Annie Phenix stands with her border collies, Echo and Radar, at her house near Ignacio. Phenix specializes in reactive and aggressive dogs, most of whom act out because of fear./Photo by Jennaye Derge.

Hope for the ‘midnight dog walkers’

Trainer and author Annie Phenix helps troubled dogs and their handlers

by Jen Reeder

When Judy Kolz was living in Grand Junction, she used to drive several miles out of town and into the desert to walk her dog, Gracie. But they didn’t make the daily trips for the scenery – the little border terrier would turn into a barking and lunging “whirling dervish” whenever she saw another dog approaching. So Kolz had to walk her where they had less chance of encountering other dogs. Classes with a trainer who suggested jerking on Gracie’s leash when she acted out only made matters worse.

“It was heartbreaking,” Kolz recalled. “I was just about ready to give up.”

[Read the rest on the Durango Herald … ]

Durango Telegraph: “Hope for the ‘midnight dog walkers’”


Local dog trainer Annie Phenix stands with her border collies, Echo and Radar, at her house near Ignacio. Phenix specializes in reactive and aggressive dogs, most of whom act out because of fear./Photo by Jennaye Derge.

Hope for the ‘midnight dog walkers’

Trainer and author Annie Phenix helps troubled dogs and their handlers

by Jen Reeder

When Judy Kolz was living in Grand Junction, she used to drive several miles out of town and into the desert to walk her dog, Gracie. But they didn’t make the daily trips for the scenery – the little border terrier would turn into a barking and lunging “whirling dervish” whenever she saw another dog approaching. So Kolz had to walk her where they had less chance of encountering other dogs. Classes with a trainer who suggested jerking on Gracie’s leash when she acted out only made matters worse.

“It was heartbreaking,” Kolz recalled. “I was just about ready to give up.”

[Read the rest on the Durango Herald … ]

How I Used Body Language to Teach a Jumping Dog to Sit and Stay

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Jelly loved to jump up and say hello. By watching her body language during training, I was able to figure out how to keep her paws on the ground.

It never ceases to amaze me how often, how quickly, and sometimes how subtly dogs communicate with us. During just about every consultation, I see the dog screaming in canine body language to have his needs and wants attended to, including asking for help to relieve the strong emotion of fear. Owners confound trainers when they report that “the dog bit all of the sudden and out of nowhere.”

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Here’s a photo of my dad and step mom’s Dachshund Bitsy, who is showing subtle signs of discomfort with my pointing a camera at her. Do you see the signs? She has a “whale eye” and a front paw lifted, and she is looking to her owner for support and guidance. (Photo by Annie Phenix)

Nowhere? Really? He didn’t give any of the many “I am uncomfortable” canine signals? These signs can include:

[ Read the entire article on Dogster.com … ]

You Can Train Your Own Dog — Here’s How!

It can be a challenge to find the right trainer. Start helping your dog by training him yourself with these simple steps.

I encourage pet parents to think of employing a dog trainer in the same way that they would a nutritionist. We all know how to eat healthily, correct? Sometimes, however, we have special dietary restrictions or conditions that require the trained assistance of a nutritionist. There is no shame in seeking a professional’s help. The same is true when it comes to issues you may be having with your best friend, except — and this is a huge exception — there is no regulation of the dog training industry.

It is truly a buyer-beware situation when you employ a dog trainer. You could get … [ Read the complete story on Dogster.com. ]

You Can Train Your Own Dog — Here’s How!

It can be a challenge to find the right trainer. Start helping your dog by training him yourself with these simple steps.

I encourage pet parents to think of employing a dog trainer in the same way that they would a nutritionist. We all know how to eat healthily, correct? Sometimes, however, we have special dietary restrictions or conditions that require the trained assistance of a nutritionist. There is no shame in seeking a professional’s help. The same is true when it comes to issues you may be having with your best friend, except — and this is a huge exception — there is no regulation of the dog training industry.

It is truly a buyer-beware situation when you employ a dog trainer. You could get … [ Read the complete story on Dogster.com. ]

How to Train Your Dog to Walk Nicely On Leash

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These essential tips will have both you and your dog enjoying walks in no time.

One of the biggest challenges pet parents face is teaching their dogs to walk nicely on leash. Dogs don’t come to us knowing that we don’t like to run on our daily walks, nor do we like to be pulled around the neighborhood. It’s up to us to teach them how to walk politely. It’s well worth the investment of time to do this properly. Here are three tips to get you started on training loose-leash walking.

1. Make a connection

If we had just met and you wanted to take a walk with me, how comfortable would we be together at first? We most likely would be a bit guarded with one another until we knew each other better. The same is true for a relationship between a dog and their human.

[ Read the entire article on Lucky Puppy … ]

How I Helped a Labrador Puppy Overcome His Fear of Human Touch

A rough start in life had one Lab puppy lashing out at his brother and cringing from human touch. Here’s how I helped.

I often feel sorry for dogs, even those living in the lap of luxury. One reason I do is because dogs are masters of human communication, both in how we communicate with each other and how we communicate with them. Human beings, for the most part, have very little clue what dogs are saying with their unique body language.

Canine communication can be extremely subtle and fast. It’s only been in the past decade or so that behaviorists and researchers have been actively studying it. Because dogs are the magnificent creatures that they are, many of us forget that they are, in fact, a separate species with completely different communication styles. Dogs have all but mastered us, but humans lag far behind in understanding them and they suffer for it.

Read the entire article on Dogster.com … ]

4 Tips for Engaging Your New Rescue Dog in Play

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Play is a vital part of your dog’s well-being, but not all rescue dogs arrive ready to engage.

Play is vital for so many animals, and dogs are no exception. What happens, however, if your new rescue dog feels shut down or anxious in his new home, perhaps due to neglect during the important puppy development stages or other reasons? How can we get a shy or shut-down dog interested in play?

Here are some tips that I’ve developed not only in my decade as a trainer but also as the owner of two Border Collies who were nearly feral from lack of proper puppy socialization when I rescued them:

[ Read the rest on LuckyPuppy … ]

You Can — and Must — Speak Up for Your Dog

Before I was a force-free trainer, I took my own dog out of a bad training situation. There is no reason to let any trainer harm your dog.

I wasn’t born a dog trainer. No one is. I have, like many of you, a deep compassion and love of animals — and of dogs in particular. And, like some of you, my childhood was not a rosy one but instead full of neglect, so I looked for love and companionship from dogs. They always delivered both.

Perhaps as a consequence (of the good kind) from that rough childhood, I am sensitive to the needs to animals. I am also an outspoken advocate of humane training protocols for dogs, in part because I know how awful I felt when I was mistreated by the adults who were supposed to be looking out for my welfare.

I am sharing this with you, dear readers, because I want more of you to feel empowered to speak up on behalf of your dogs. I’d like to tell you the story of how I, as a young dog owner, found my voice on behalf of my dog.

[ Read the full article on Dogster.com … ]

You Can — and Must — Speak Up for Your Dog

Before I was a force-free trainer, I took my own dog out of a bad training situation. There is no reason to let any trainer harm your dog.

I wasn’t born a dog trainer. No one is. I have, like many of you, a deep compassion and love of animals — and of dogs in particular. And, like some of you, my childhood was not a rosy one but instead full of neglect, so I looked for love and companionship from dogs. They always delivered both.

Perhaps as a consequence (of the good kind) from that rough childhood, I am sensitive to the needs to animals. I am also an outspoken advocate of humane training protocols for dogs, in part because I know how awful I felt when I was mistreated by the adults who were supposed to be looking out for my welfare.

I am sharing this with you, dear readers, because I want more of you to feel empowered to speak up on behalf of your dogs. I’d like to tell you the story of how I, as a young dog owner, found my voice on behalf of my dog.

[ Read the full article on Dogster.com … ]