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Dog Sense Podcast
By Kathy Santo

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Kathy: Welcome to Kathy Santo’s Dog Sense, I’m your host Kathy Santo and I’m here to teach you everything I’ve learned in my over three decades of training dogs, their families, competing in dog sports, writing about dogs, and being a guest on radio and TV shows. And I am with one of my trainers, Sarah out in Colorado and we are doing an episode on traveling, because I don’t know about you Sarah, but I’ve traveled a ton with my dogs. 

Sarah: Yeah. So specifically, we’ll be talking about if you were to go on a long road trip with your dog. We’ll touch on a little bit of if you are traveling on an airplane with your dog, but mainly we’ll go over our tried and true tips. I mean I’ve traveled halfway across the country with my three dogs multiple times, and I’m sure you’ve done a ton of traveling with your dogs as well.

Kathy: I have. And back in the day when I was competing a lot, there were a lot of airline flights as well. So yeah, a lot to say about that. And I think that this topic came up because we hear it really two times of the year. One is over the holidays. Everybody wants to travel with their dog on the holidays, but another popular time is during the summer. You guys get that vacation. And the first thing I always say to people is, “How much traveling has your dog done?” 

Sarah: Exactly!

Kathy: So you get the dog who maybe comes to class once a week or he goes to the vet once a year and now they want to go on a road trip. And I’m like, “No, you have to teach your dog to get used to traveling!” Because it’s a lot. And I’m like, “Are there some dogs that’ll roll with it?” Yeah, absolutely. But it’s an experience they have to get used to.” People have dogs who are fearful of cars, they get that. But people who haven’t had that experience don’t understand that a dog who loves a trip down the block or to the dog school may not be comfortable with something that is that long in one space. So you’ve got to get them used to it.

Sarah: Yeah, and they don’t think about all of the safety, kind of, like, the preparations that you need to take. Not only just safety, but also, if it’s a really long road trip, all the prep that goes into, like, their food, the water, making sure you have proper identification, emergency vet contact information. We’re going to go over all of that. But there is so much prep for safety as well when traveling with your dog that’s really, really important. People just think they can throw their dog in the car and go. And some dogs might be okay with that, but most of them need a little bit more prep than that.

Kathy: Yeah. And if you think you’re going to do that and you do, you find out pretty quickly that you made a big error in judgment. Alright! So the first thing I think we would both agree on is that if you’re going to take a road trip of any great length, and for me, I think anything over two hours is going to be something that a lot of dogs need to get used to. So I’m not saying go on two hour trips, but I am saying go beyond the comfort zone. If your dog only goes to pick up your kids at school, you know, you got to get some longer trips going. So that would be my first thing. Prepare your dog with the length of travel and, also, prepare them for the different environments. You know, if you’re going to a hotel and they have slippery floors, or your dog’s going to be in an elevator. Like these are the things that you need to get the dog comfortable with before you decide to take them out and about.

Sarah: And also just being in the car, too. So of course, we’re going to touch on this as well, but safety, whether they’re in a crate or in a crash proof harness. Also, so I don’t know if you’ve noticed this, but my dogs, when they’re in their crates in the car, they go into kind of like a trance. Like, they just go to sleep. Even if in the rare case they are in the backseat of the car and not in their crates, they lay right down and they go right to sleep because that’s kind of what I’ve taught them to do in the car. So, if you have a dog who is not used these longer road trips, a lot of times what you’ll see is a lot of heavy panting, there’ll be a lot of drooling. Like, they’ll have those anxiety responses to it because they’re not used to it.

Kathy: When I was a kid, we had a great Pyrenees, Teddy, and we used to go down the shore, and this is before seat belts. Sort of before any car safety. She’s in the back of the station wagon, panting the entire two and a half hours down the shore, panting and drooling. And did I mention it was the summer? And it was, she’s a great Pyrenees and the hair and her breath, windows were down, she gets carsick, she vomited at least three times before we were out of our town.

Sarah: Having the supplies to clean up the vomit too. Because sometimes, like what my senior dog Jakey does, when we’re on a winding roads, is he will vomit right where the seat belt attachment is and he’ll vomit just right in that hole. So it goes to the bottom of the car and we got to pull to the side of the road, rip the car seats out to get all that vomit out. Lots of fun. Better to be prepared for those kinds of things than be surprised by them.

Kathy: Yeah, and I was always the vomit cleaner upper.  It’d be like, “You wanted the dog. It’s your dog.”

Sarah: Yeah. So I’m always the one cleaning up the vomit or the diarrhea.

Kathy: Our dogs like their crates, because at home they like their crates. It’s a safe spot. It’s a cozy spot. And they’re used to traveling in a crate in the car.  And some dogs like their crates at home, but you put in the car they’re like, “What the hell?” So there’s that acclimation period where you start putting a crate in the car and feed them and going for trips. It’s like, I’m a crate proponent, and if you don’t do a crate, you do a seat belt. But I feel like, you have to keep your dog safe and you safe in the event of a crash so that they don’t catapult into you or your passengers.

Sarah: Yeah, and the way that you can prep for that is, you know you have the road trip coming up even, and I understand, you know, it’s a pain in the butt to have the crates in the car all the time and in the trunk or in the backseat, whatever it is. But the week before, maybe two weeks before, put the crate in the car and every time you need to go somewhere with your dog, whether it’s class at the school, the vet, the whatever, you’re going out for a hike. For that week or two beforehand, practice being in the crate when traveling so that the crate doesn’t have to be in there all the time. I understand it can be a pain, but at least set your dog up for success and have him practice it a week or two before you need to go on that long road trip.

Kathy: Especially if your dog is used to getting in a car and going to the vet or someplace they don’t like to go. So do some road trips where it winds up being a field, or going for a swim in the lake, or just getting out and having steak or a hamburger. Like, go to the drive-through, because I want the dog to say, “There is a very good chance that this is going to end in something awesome!” Versus what they think now, which is, “This is going to end something terrible.” Also, when I’m using a crate, I cover it with a sheet. Obviously there’s airflow and it’s not summer and there’s still getting AC. But I just like to take away their sight of things because I had a border collie he made himself carsick because he’d watch the cars go by and he’d whip his head around, and he’d be, like, “Waah!” All right, so there’s so many things to talk about. Let’s talk about what’s in your wallet. Remember that commercial, “What’s in your wallet?” What’s in my wallet is a recent photo of my dog, a copy of his health certificate. I don’t get them in sooner than 10 days, so I have that. I also have the emergency 24/7 vet that’s going to be in the area that I’m visiting.

Sarah: Yep. Super important.

Kathy: Prep that ahead. And I, well it’s not in my wallet. It’s in the glove box in an envelope or it’s zip tied to the crate in a clear plastic, sheet. You know those binder sheets for kids at school? And that’s the emergency contact info. And that is something that everybody should get in the lesson sheet library.

Sarah: Yup. We have it in there. If you guys can’t find it, let us know. We’ll send you it. But that has all that information on both the front on my crates. It has a dog’s name, four different emergency contact people, any medications, any behavioral issues that if a first responder needs to know if your dog is really fearful, you know, if they should be left in the crate if possible. And it also goes into saying, “Please don’t bring my dog to a shelter or a pound, please bring them to the nearest boarding facility. I will pay all fees…whatever,” has their normal vet’s information. So that, if there is an injury, they can call your vet and get all the information they need. I think that’s all.

Kathy: And about a zillion people that he can call.

Sarah: Yeah! There’s like four or five, I think there’s four different spots for contact people on there. I would make sure that you have people in your home area and then people where you’re going as well, depending on where you are in the road trip, where you might need help for your dog.

Kathy: And I do crates too. I mean, I do seat belts as well, so it’s on the front of the crate. If your dog is gonna seat belt, it goes in the glove box, it goes in there and it’s in an envelope marked Dog Emergency Info, because first responders will look in your purse and your wallet and your glove box for information on you. I also crate my dogs with their leash on. They’re in a crate with a leash on, they’re in the seat belt with leash on,  because, again, in the event of an emergency, I know that the first responders are not going to be able to find the leash and put it on my dog’s collar. I want the dog ready to go and get out of there as fast as possible. This all came really clear to me when I was down in Florida. I would say it was 1990 I had a student and she had two cattle dogs. They were amazing, and her favorite was Wanda. And Wanda sat in the front seat with her and then her other dog, it was a puppy, the naughty puppy, he was in a crate. And she was in a very bad car accident. So bad, as a matter of fact, that they had to airlift her to a trauma center, but they couldn’t, because her dog was guarding her. And the dog that was in the front seat, not in a seat belt, not in a crate. And so what they had to do was they had to noose the dog. They had to wait for animal control, it was about a half an hour, it’s on I95, it’s crazy traffic, and they can’t help her because this dog is trying to get to them. So they have to wait for animal control to noose the dog and take the dog out, and then get her.

Sarah: Not only to delay her getting medical care. But think of how terrifying that experience was for the dog who was stuck in the front seat. All these strangers in, like, fire suits are trying to like touch her owner. The dog was guarding the owner. I mean that could have been resolved with the crate. The puppy in the crate in the back was fine. If that dog had been a crate, yeah, it would’ve still been really scary experience, but it would not have been THAT traumatizing.

Kathy: Yeah. It was terrible. And having gone to a lot of dog shows, because when I competed, it was in obedience, and I’ve seen the rollovers, I’ve seen that crap. I mean, basically you’re in the car, there’s some degree of risk. I wear a seat belt, my kids wear a seat belt and so my dog is going to wear something to keep them safe as well. And I’m just, I’m really strong about it. And I have a lot of students who are in law enforcement and they always say, “I wish every single person who traveled with a dog understood this and followed this protocol because it would make our jobs so much easier.” Because, honestly, if the police officer or the EMT wants to go in the car and your dog is growling, like, they’re going to have to choose themselves. Because what are they going to do? Get bitten?

Sarah: Yup. And with that goes the ID tags and if your dog is micro-chipped, making sure that information is up to date before you start traveling. Because a lot of times, you can do, like, the yearly update on the microchips each year. But call them and double check, because if for some reason the dog’s collar breaks, the leash comes off, whatever, in an accident and they don’t have the tags on them, the only way a local vet or shelter is going to be able to ID them is with that microchip.

Kathy: Exactly. And make sure the collar says “Reward” and has the cell number on it. And I was talking about that in another podcast. I don’t want somebody to know my dog’s name, because my dogs are really well trained, and they’re super cool. I think. Yeah, like, if somebody was like, “Hey, I think I want a dog and look, this is so convenient!” 

Sarah: No one would want my dogs.

Kathy: Well then, you just put their real names

Sarah: I’ll put their real names.

Kathy: One number off.

Sarah: Sure. If you can pick up the leash, you can have them. Good luck!

Kathy: It’s the Jack challenge. I love that! Hashtag (#jackchallenge)! So we put “Reward” because I feel like it motivates people to call you and give the dog back. And, again, a microchip, if you have one in…the guy who gets your dog doesn’t have a microchip wand, so I want somebody to call me in real time and not wait until a vet office opens the next morning, or on Monday if it’s a weekend. And the reason I have a picture in my wallet is because you think you’re going to have it on your phone, but if you lost your phone, or the phone is dead, right? You’ve got to have something physical or I’m sure you could get somebody’s computer and go on Facebook and get a picture of your dog, but how much time are you losing? And that’s I think another show that we should do, Sarah, on how to recover a lost dog. It’s a good topic. Write that down as one of the next ones we do. I think that’s going to be great.

Sarah: Absolutely. All right, so the next one is something that you can maybe talk from experience on if you’ve ever done this, but, so the bag etiquette. So traveling with your dog, if they are, I know you did a lot of work with, if the dog was in like a small carry on bag, like a traveling bag. What is the etiquette for that?

Kathy: My dogs have traveled both ways. The majority of my competition dogs we’re flying under the plane. And travel back in the 80s, a little bit different. I mean it wasn’t, there was no TSA. It was, like, you could bring a chicken or two or five. Nobody really cared, you could do whatever you want. But there were rules that I followed for myself about my dogs, and so the first thing was I made sure that they didn’t have breakfast on a morning flight. I also chose a flight because I was in Florida that was the coolest part of the day. So, making sure it was a cool part of the day where I arrived. So a lot of times I was going out to the West Coast or there was a national in Vegas, I picked a night flight out of West Palm, so I would get into that area at night. It wasn’t so much your destination temperature as where you were going to take them. The dog would be on the tarmac, and you didn’t want them to overheat. Plus, there are regulations about how hot or how cool it can be in order to fly dog. On top of the crate I would put a FedEx clear pouch and I put a note in it that said, “My name is Cookie,” and I taped cookies on top. And the reason I did it, because none of my dogs were ever named Cookie, but the word cookie to them was really interesting. And I didn’t want to have their name because it would be like, “Rover, Rover, Rover, Rover,” and it might be negative, right? So my dogs got treats, everybody’s saying cookie, and that they loved it. I didn’t put water in a bowl, it was like water, liquid water. I would freeze these little plastic things that they had in the crates if I had a dog who wouldn’t eat it and I pop that in right before they took the dog. I would not board the plane until I saw the crate loaded. And a lot of times I would get into it with the desk agents, or at the gate agents, they’d be like, “You need to get on the plane.” And I’m like, “Not until I see my dog.” And they’re like, “Oh, it’s going to leave without you.” I’m like,”Well then you’d be leaving without my dog.” And then I show him a picture of my dog and they’re like, “Oh!” Then my next stop, once I got on the plane was a hard left and go to see the captain because again, back then, you could basically try to fly the plane. They were, like, “Yeah, go for it. Sit in the cockpit, take a picture!” It was crazy. And I’d say, “Hey, my dog is on board and here’s a picture.” And they would be, like, “Oh, my God! I have a dog, too!” And they’d make sure that the dog was down there and the temperature was right. So your dog is the last thing to get loaded and the first thing to come off. So I’d make sure my seat was an aisle, so I could, you know, whip up some tears and get them to let me out first “That’s my dog! I’m so worried!” So that’s how you fly when your dog is going underneath. It’s completely stressful and it never gets better. And if you have a dog who’s bomb proof, they can go. Oh! Also I would put cotton in their ears because you see the guys up on the tarmac, they have those heads cause it’s really loud for your dog. So you pop those in and get them a little bit of relief. I also did a really big blanket, so they can hide their head under it. And my dogs flew like pros. They loved it. They were, they came out with like “Eh, it was a great flight, didn’t get any in-service stuff. I’m okay.” Some dogs are not suited for that. So then, if I’m going to fly a dog, like on book tour, I took a dog named Danny with me, and I had a Sherpa bag for him, and that is a brand name, and I really like that brand, very sturdy. And a week before a book tour, which meant that I had to fly to a different city for two weeks and I took him, he was seven months old. It was crazy. He was just perfect, but I was crazy for taking someone’s dog. 

Sarah: Barely potty trained!

Kathy: And then I just had him at his house with his owners. He would jump in and out of that bag and great things would happen. So he’s acclimated to it. I had them carry him around the house and then he gets used to it. Being carried in it.

Sarah: That sensation of being carried in it, yeah.

Kathy: If they just go in a stationary, that’s one thing. But when it’s over your shoulder and they’re jostling around, that’s a whole different thing. So you’ve got to make sure that you get them to that as well. 

Sarah: Yep.

Kathy: Alright. So that is what you have for ID. That is how you get them in a Sherpa bag. Let’s talk about barking. Because I’ve been on a flight where dogs were in bags barking. We’re not even going to cover the service dogs. 

Sarah: Yeah, let’s not go there. They’re not on this episode.

Kathy: Not on this episode, but we will. If your dog is going to be on a plane and in a bag, and I know it’s not a service dog, it’s just traveling in the cabin, your responsibility is to make sure your dog is a good traveler. Barking the whole four hour flight ,or six hour flight is not okay!

Sarah: It’s awful 

Kathy: And if it’s barking that long, it’s not happy. So do your homework and get better at doing homework and maybe make the decision that your dog doesn’t have to travel with you. I’m like, unless you’re moving. Maybe they stay home and you have your vacation and then they’re much happier that way. So that’s how I feel about that. I just got a Gunner Kennel.

Sarah: You did?! Oh, we didn’t talk about that, 

Kathy: I know you’re someone who appreciates that.

Sarah: Oh God, it’s okay. One day, one day. Right now what I’ve got is all right. So basically what I have for my two dogs are Ruff Tuff Kennels or Ruff Land Kennels. Another really great brand for if you’re looking for a crash proof crate is a Gunner Kennel, like Kathy just mentioned. There’s also Impact Cates. There are a bunch of options.

Kathy: Vario Cages

Sarah: Vario Cages. Yep, that’s another one. 

Kathy: Orion. 

Sarah: Orion’s are good. Do your research. Don’t just get a plain wire or a plain plastic crate. They’ll just crush with your dog in it. So make sure that if you are looking for a crash proof crate, you do your research and you make sure that you find a kennel that can withstand a crash, basically.

Kathy: Now let’s talk about sticker shock. Yeah. You’re probably in your mind saying, “Well, the Midwest Wire crate was like a hundred bucks,” and the plastic Vari kennel, not Verio, Vari Kennel. That two piece looks like a clam and you put together little screws that was like $89, like, “Oh, maybe we can invest in this.” And then you go and you find out that your a medium G1 Gunner Crate is going to be $579. Now, once you pick yourself up off the floor, I want you to be realistic and understand that if you’re in a crash and your dog is injured, you are walking in the door to an emergency vet clinic with $1,000 on the table. And it just goes from there. Like, I am telling you, we’re not making this shit up. Like, it’s expensive to have a dog with an injury! Plus, forget the finances. This is the beloved pet for you and your family, and your responsibility is to keep it safe. So, no pressure. But yeah, when you get something it should be… like, I see people all the time with wire crates in the back of their car and those, those fabric tent crates, they…don’t even pretend!

Sarah: It’s not the safest thing. Insider tip! So if you are going to get the Ruff Land Kennels, they’re probably the most cost effective version of all the crash proof ones. L.L. Bean puts them on sale for like 20% off every once in a while. So if you scroll about their website, get an email notification for when they go on sale, you can get them for 20% off. Another great place is Facebook marketplace. Or, you know, eBay, Craigslist, you can find used ones as well if you are looking for them. But it is like Kathy said, it is so worth the investment not only because, like, I love my dogs so much and I don’t ever want them to get hurt in an accident, but also, like she said, like when you walk into the vet’s office, if you did have them in a wire crate or a plastic Vari Kennel that just crushed them inside of it in the accident, your expenses are going to be beyond what it costs to get the crash proof kennel.

Kathy: Easily.

Sarah: Easily. If you’re smart and have pet insurance. Even with that.

Kathy: There is a Facebook group that you should all join. It’s called Dog Sport Vehicle Ideas and Setups. Dog Sport Vehicle Ideas and Setups. It’s amazing. And they talk about this stuff they talk about how to set it up. They even have, by car model, files where you could see what people did in their cars to put in the crates and still have room for people in the car.

Sarah: Yeah. Facebook is a huge resource for that kind of thing. So we’ve gone over, alright, so you’ll say you got the crash proof. Great. Or you’ve got the same thing with the seat belts. Just do your research, make sure that they’re safe. So let’s go into it when we go into car trips now, what to do on the road?

Kathy: Yeah, let’s go into car trips. Hopefully you’ve taught your dog to potty on leash. The bane of my existence is people with yards who’ve never taught their dogs to potty on leash. And then they go on a trip and the dog won’t go to the bathroom and they’re at the, you know, the side of the road, pull over and use the bathrooms. And then there’s a field for your dog to go and their holding the leash and the dog won’t go. And the dog, he’s like, “You need to move over there for me to go.” And we talked about this in the puppy potty training podcast, too. Boy, that’s hard to say. Where we talk about the first nine months of your puppy’s life, most of his potty experiences should be on a leash. So he gets used to going six feet away from you.

Sarah: Water intake.

Kathy: Yes. Let’s talk about what type of water. Like, if I’m traveling, every dog show I went to, I got bottled water, distilled water, because I know that some dogs are sensitive to what water they drink and you don’t want to go, especially if you’re on holiday. Right? So your going to your aunt’s or your cousin’s house, and they’re all so happy to see the dog. And then your dog has diarrhea for four days. And it’s because of the water change. So I always get distilled water.

Sarah: Yeah. It’s not something a pet owner would necessarily think of. Oh, you know, the water’s making their stomach hurt, not something you necessarily think of. Definitely bring some bottles of water, like you said. Don’t rely on, like, using your mother’s dog’s food for your dog. An abrupt switch in the dog’s food like that. You will have stomach or GI issues without it. It’s a very rare that a dog can switch food like that quickly like that. So absolutely bring your dogs food with you. So depending on what you feed them, whether it’s kibble or raw, kibble, obviously, is an easy way, is an easy thing to bring. If you do bring raw, what I like to do is I bring a specific cooler just for their raw food. A lot of times I’ll shove it all into Kongs or any kind of food toy where you can freeze the food in there so that when we are traveling, if we’re doing multi-day trips, it gives them something to do in a crate and kind of earn their food and makes them work for it. So having those frozen in just a cooler in the car is a really easy way to keep your dog busy. What other food tips do you have?

Kathy: You know, if you wanted to bring enough food for the trip on the first day and you had previously scouted out where you can get this food. Or maybe you have somebody you’re going to get the food for you. You could also ship food. So if it’s dry, so you can have a bag of it. I feel like the raw thing, it’s so mainstream now, or almost mainstream that you could look at the brand that you use online and find out where there’s a dealer near the person you’re going to be with. I’d also get your vet recommendation on things you should bring in case of that emergency. Like, diarrhea or vomiting or whatever, because there’s gotta be a first aid emergency kit with you in the car and you should also move that into when you’re at somebody’s house.

Sarah: Yup. Okay. So let’s say if you were staying in a hotel room, what are some things that you had to, I think that you’ve, you’ve told me a pretty good story about making sure to check under the beds when you go into hotel rooms.

Kathy: Yes. This I learned from my dog show time, because it was every weekend we were at a different sleazy hotel. My favorite one, remember there was a chain called Ramada? 

Sarah: Yeah. 

Kathy: Is there still a chain called Ramada? 

Sarah: Might be. I don’t know.

Kathy: Ramada Inn. Anyway, apparently this, this particular one went under and the owner just unplugged a few of the letters of the sign. And so it was the “Rama” Inn. 

Sarah: Oh, my God.

Kathy: That’s what I pulled up to at night. I like the, “Oh, this is gonna be bad.” So one of the things I would do is, before I take my dogs into the room, I would have them in the car with whoever it was traveling with me and I would go up in the room and I had a flashlight because we didn’t have cell phones with lights on them…or cell phones at all. And I would get on my hands and knees and I would flashlight the entire room. Not just the ceiling lights but the flashlight. Because you would be surprised how many pieces of medication I would find in hotel rooms. I’d find them at the nightstand next to the bed. I’d find them in the bathroom, under the bed. I’d find rat poisoning. I’d find insect traps. Like, so much crap you cannot believe, because housekeeping, I mean unless you’re at the four seasons, is probably not up to the standards of keeping your dog safe. 

Sarah: Yep. 

Kathy: Also, when I was in the room, if I had to take a shower, my dog would be crated. I’m just not going to risk it. And that goes for somebody’s house, too, because, you know, you go to visit your sister and maybe she had a friend over. Maybe they take Xanax or Prozac or whatever the heck they take to get through these kinds of visits. And so they’re going to drop stuff, too. Blood pressure medication. I have a friend who’s an emergency room nurse and she’s hard to talk to because she’s seen everything kill something. Like, “Oh, see that paper clip? Somebody choked on that!” I’m like, “Stop talking to me!” But I am that… I’m the equivalent of that in dog world, because I’ve seen it all. And even though it’s a fluke, one is too many. So do your due diligence, whether it’s a hotel room, whether it’s your family’s house, you’ve got to be alert for this stuff because it happens. And I’ve seen it happen. I told you we’re going to start a show. There’s a show called Adam Ruins Everything and he blows up myths. I’m going to make one, Kathy Ruins Everything.

Sarah: Everything About Dog Ownership That Could Go Wrong, Kathy’s Seen It.

Kathy: Yeah. Yeah. Kathy Ruins Trips With Your Dog.

Sarah: Here are all of the things that could go wrong when on a trip with your dog. But I mean, I’d rather, I’d rather know from like, you’ve been in this for 30 years. Like, I’d rather know from someone, all the things that could go wrong so that when I go to travel with my dog, I’m doing everything I can to keep them safe. Yes, there could still be like some crazy unicorn thing that happens, but at least I know that I checked under the bed for that, you know, leftover medication or whatever, and my dog didn’t find it and get sick.

Kathy: Okay. Wait, how about this? Bring multiple leashes.

Sarah: Yeah. What if they chew their leash? Or what if it breaks or you know, there could be 10 million things that could happen. Alight, you and I, we’re about to go down a rabbit hole. You and I could go over all the things that could go wrong. You know, you’ve seen my training bag. I have extras of everything.

Kathy: Yeah. I’ve seen people take belts off their body and put it through a dog’s collar. I saw a guy with a shoelace!

Sarah: Yeah. We’re not even, yeah. We’re not even going over like how you should be training your dog while traveling with them. We’re just going over basic, basic, like, safety stuff just to make sure you and your dog make it through the trip successfully.

Kathy: Everything to keep your dog safe. We have so many topics out. We’re just going to sit there one day and do a 12 hour recording session.

Sarah: Yeah. I’m coming up again first week of December. So maybe we’ll bang out like six or seven of them.

Kathy: Yeah. And it’ll be great because it’ll be in the same room. Yeah. And then our audio, will only be one file. 

Sarah: Yeah, exactly.

Kathy: You get ideas, I get ideas from this and you’re writing them down, I know. But we want to hear ideas from people who are listening to, so we want to know if you’d like this format. What your suggestions are, what your topics are, what do you want to hear about? And we’ll talk about it. Because, I always like to say my brain, as far as dog stuff, it’s like this giant library and I don’t always go down all the aisles, but the books are still there. And if you remind me, I’ll remember and I’ll go down there and all this stuff will pop up more than you thought was possible. 

Sarah: Exactly. 

Kathy: Alright, so we’re good?

Sarah: Yeah. 

Kathy: As always, if you like what you hear, jump over to whatever subscription service you downloaded from and like, rate, subscribe, tell a friend, and share this episode somewhere to help spread the word so we can continue to create an awesome community of dog lovers and learners. Happy training, everyone!

Kathy: Welcome to Kathy Santo’s Dog Sense. I’m your host Kathy Santo, and I’m here to teach you everything I’ve learned in my over three decades of training dogs, their families, competing in dog sports, writing about dogs and being a guest on radio and TV shows. And I’m here with one of my trainers staff in Colorado. And wait, did you guys get snow? 

Sarah: Oh my God, we got like two feet of snow right now. It’s awesome.

Kathy: Oh my gosh, I’m glad you said “Aw”, I was thinking “ful”, she said awesome. I’m like, that’s why she should be in Colorado and I should be here in Jersey where it was like 52 today.

Sarah: I know you guys have some nice weather. I got some of the pictures from the teams today. It looked really nice there.

Kathy: Yeah, it’s, it’s really great. And the dogs are loving it because if it feels like spring and, you know how we have a few dogs who definitely don’t like the cold weather, so we’re planning some extra indoor activities at daycare for them. Fun, warm activity. What else did we do today? Oh, we did our last day of Thanksgiving photo shoots.

Sarah: Yeah, those have been coming out amazing.

Kathy: Aren’t they great? Wait ‘til see the holiday winter one. Oh my gosh. I’ll send you pictures.

Sarah: I can’t wait for that. 

Kathy: It’s a big surprise. All right. So anyway, today we are tasked with talking about potty training.

Sarah: Not only is potty training but realistic expectations for potty training. So of course, like, we go over what the kind of general process is, but real life training your puppy potty training is a little bit different.

Kathy: It is. And I think I really feel like people have unrealistic expectations. My personal feeling is that it takes until the puppy is six months old to be, like, done with it. Now that said, I’ve had puppies much younger, be perfect. As I a matter of fact, I’ve never had a puppy take that long. But I’m a trainer, you know, and that’s our, it’s my jam. Like, I’m watching the, I know what to do. So, but I think a realistic expectation for someone who’s not a trainer would be by six months you are done, and there’s a lot of things that you could do to make that work easier and there is a lot of things that you could do to make it take much, much longer..

Sarah: Exactly.

Kathy: All right, so let’s start back at the breeder. All right. So my breeder, one of my breeders, she has a litter of golden puppies and, I think, they are now seven, eight days old and she’s, maybe there are two weeks old…Anyway, I think they’re two weeks old, and she’s introducing the concept of potty-ing in a certain area right now. So they had wee pads down and they’re learning to look for that to go. And then from there there’ll be moved to, in a couple of weeks, they’ll be moved to a different surface and then learn to go there. And that’s one thing she really values is sending a puppy home from the litter box who already has the idea started. 

Sarah: That is incredible. I didn’t realize that they were doing it that young. 

Kathy: Yeah, it’s amazing. And that’s where I got Indy from and he, I didn’t have to do any housebreaking he gave into my life an 8 week old puppy, he’s like, “Hey, I go outside, this is the door?” I’m like, “Oh yeah, sure dude, like, let’s go outside.” When I also did was I took the same materials she used to housebreak them and I got a bag of it. So I had an area in my yard and that’s where he went. So that’s, you know, your best shot is you’re having a breeder who is working on that for you. Now the worst case scenario is you have a dog who’s already learned, whether it’s a puppy or a shelter dog, rescue dog, learn to go anywhere. 

Sarah: Yup. 

Kathy: Pet store dogs. It’s terrible because they’re in a cage, they have to go and that’s where they go. And then we want you to housebreak your dog and use crate training, and the dog is like, “Oh cool. The indoor potty”. So that tends to be a challenge too. So those are the best case and the worst case scenario, but we can get it done no matter what’s going on. Let me tell you an interesting story before we get into what you would do for it, a more typical dog. So I had a client come to me and the dog was peeing and pooping in the crate, it was complete reverse housebreaking they take it out, they’d monitor it, it wouldn’t go. The minute that dog went into crate, and they did all the things correctly. They tried a plastic crate, they tried a wire crate, they tried a smaller crate, like, they did everything right, and this dog, this dog could be against a wall in a crate and go to the bathroom. So we use the hay trick. Now I learned about the hay trick back in the eighties, I didn’t invent it. I can’t remember who did. We’ll give credit when I remember. Do you remember who it was I told you about the other day? No? Anyway, so basically I got some straw, it was around Halloween so it was great. Broke down a hay bale, put it in the crate up to like hip level of this dog and I put him in there. And because the hay was around him, sort of like hugging him like a nest, he stopped going to the bathroom in the crate. And I made it a bigger space so I get more hay in it and the dog didn’t go. So it’s hard to get people to get on board with that because, obviously, when you take the puppy out, hay is going to come out the front. But I prepped it. I put down like a big trash bag and a sheet and then I put the crate over that, and then after four or five, six days of perfect, no potty-ing in the crate, then I started taking the hay out by the handfuls. Morning I take some out, at night I take some out, until we were just down to a crate with a few pieces of hay in the bottom and it was done. That was it. 

Sarah: That’s incredible. 

Kathy: You can also use it for anxiety, for dogs who freak out in the crate. 

Sarah: Yeah.

Kathy: Alright! So now you have a good example and a bad example and what to do in an extreme example. Let’s start more with your typical puppy. 

Sarah: Yep. 

Kathy: So I believe in crate training and I know you do too. So when I’m not home, when I’m sleeping, when I can have my eye on my puppy, it is in a crate. 

Sarah: Yep. 

Kathy: It’s appropriately sized. I am monitoring to make sure that I have met all my puppy’s needs. Like he is potty before I put him in, and  know how long I can keep them in.

Sarah: Do you want to touch on the size of the crate really quick?

Kathy: Yes. So I would like something that the dog can stand up and turn it around in comfortably, but I don’t want them to be able to use one end as the bathroom and the other end as the TV room. 

Sarah: Got it.

Kathy: That’d be just one area. And again, I’m counting on the fact that your dog is uncomfortable being next to his waste. Some puppies come from what we call a dirty litter. And the mom wasn’t cleaning them because you know, the mom has to clean them for the first two weeks. She licks them to stimulate them to go to the bathroom. They don’t have the reflexes to do it on their own. And so some moms weren’t great at that and when the puppies actually went, she wasn’t cleaning up after them either and they would just got used to laying in it. So if you have a puppy like that, it’s a little more challenging. And then I would try the hay trick. Of course, making sure your dog doesn’t want to eat the hay. 

Sarah: Yeah, exactly.

Kathy: So it’s a nice small area. And I also feed my dogs in their crates. So if they’re going to have a meal in a crate, it’s going to be there and traditionally dogs won’t defecate or urinate where they eat. So you kind of have that on your side as well. So yeah, it’s a nice tight space. 

Sarah: And then I think a really important thing too is when you are going into potty training your puppy is just think proactively. So think about how much food he’s getting. Think about what time of day he’s getting it, how much water and then you want to take the puppy out before they need to go as well. So that’s why the schedule is really important. So what do you do for a puppy potty training schedule?

Kathy: So I, you know, my life is the way it is. It’s semi erratic. 

Sarah: A little busy.

Kathy: A little busy. Yeah. And so I’m going all the time and I really value a puppy who’s not locked into a routine, like, not having to eat at this time a day and not at me to potty at this time of day, but yet I will tell my students to give some sort of loose routine to their dogs or their puppies for housebreaking. So I kind of look at the day that’s ahead of me and I say, “Alright, well I’m up at five and I’m going to let the puppy to potty right away. I’m going to carry it, I’m not going to walk it, and carry it to the potty area, which we’ll talk about later, and then I’ll bring the puppy in, a little playing, a little training with food, probably another visit outside and then back in the crate. Now my rule of thumb is, one hour for every month of age plus one as the amount of time my puppy can spend in a crate. I don’t take that through month six so that’s silly, right? Your six month old puppy probably shouldn’t be in there for seven hours. Could be, but it shouldn’t be, and that’s during the day. At night your dog goes into nocturnal mode so they can sleep a little bit longer without having to go out. But I’m guaranteeing you with a puppy that is really young, like eight to 12 weeks, you’re probably still getting up at least once a night. I put my puppies to bed at like 11 that’s their last walk. I don’t want to stay up till 11 but I do, cause I don’t want to really be up at two and if I get up at 11 I’m probably stretching that to like four, but I’m also not tanking my puppy very frequently. I will take their dinner meal, take a little bit of it and put it into lunch and breakfast because those are times where I’m awake and then I’m putting less in the belly at night. I do cut off food and water for young puppies at five. That’s pretty much my only, schedule that I always hold to that 5, 5:30 mark, because I feel that’s enough time for the dog to get it out of their system and give him and me a very nice night’s sleep.

Sarah: Yeah, exactly. So, stopping the food and water at about five o’clock and then, so, and then you have about the hours in between. And you said by about six months, they should be pretty well potty trained.

Kathy: Yeah, absolutely. One of the things, too, I talked to people about is measure your food. Have you ever asked one of your clients how much they feed their dog and they can’t give you an accurate answer. They’re like, “You know, like this much.”

Sarah: Yeah, like a handful.

Kathy: They show you their hand! You’re like, “What is that?” They’re like, “Like, a cup.” And then you say the magic question, “What kind of a cup?” They rarely say measuring cup. They’re like, “Oh you know, the cup you get, someone gave me.”

Sarah: The scoop.

Kathy: Oh the scoop. The scoop is deadly. Cause that’s like, yeah. So you have to measure your food. You have to know what you’re putting into that dog so you know what to expect to come out of the dog. And if you’re training, hopefully you’re using the food. If you have people in your house giving the dog treats or you have company over and it changes how much is going in, you’ve got to adjust your schedule for all of those possibilities.

Sarah: And another thing for realistic expectations is also to understand that your puppy, like as they’re growing and changing, they’re going, it’s not going to be like a linear path to potty training. They may have some accidents here or there. So what, what would you say is the best way? Like, let’s say you just missed it and the puppy peed on the couch or something like that. What would be your steps to kind of helping make sure that that doesn’t derail the rest of their potty training?

Kathy: Well, the first thing you do is you pick up the puppy and you walk to the bathroom and you look in the mirror and you say, “Why did I let my puppy dog out? I suck because I didn’t listen to anything Kathy and Sarah said.” I would pick the puppy up. I would snap a leash on it, take it outside of the potty area, put it down and say, “Hurry up.” I firmly believe that if a puppy is mid pee and you scoop it up, it will stop peeing, probably not pooping, but peeing. I know that if people were on the potty and somebody lifted them up midstream, they would probably stop. I want to try and have the puppy finish outside. And so I can accomplish that, awesome. Then I put the puppy in the crate and I cleaned it up. And some people say, “Oh, don’t let the dog see you clean up their accident ‘cause they’ll think that they’re in charge.” I’m like, “Hello?” 

Sarah: The most important part of cleaning up an accident is making sure that you actually cleaned it all up and got the smell out. 

Kathy: It’s not about letting the puppy see you. The puppy doesn’t think, “Oh, you’re my housekeeper.” Like, that’s just ridiculous.

Sarah: Well again, that’s adding human emotions to training another species. Like, this is a dog, this is not a child. 

Kathy: We should do a podcast on weird things that people have told you. Like I heard somebody said, “Oh, you know how you teach your dog that you’re in charge, you spit in their food before you give it to them again.” What?!

Sarah: Again, that’s like a weird human thing. No.

Kathy: Yeah, no. There’s others we can’t talk about them now. I’m thinking of all of them now. Okay, anyway…So yeah, and you clean it up completely. Now this doesn’t mean with water. Please don’t use ammonia, because a component in urine is ammonia. So all your Pine Saul, pine scented ammonia things are just going to draw the dog back. I would use something that gets rid of the odor and breaks it down completely. And we use Fizzion. And I always tell people, “If the dog school uses a product, you better get on it.”

Sarah:  Yeah, we use it for a reason.

Kathy: Yeah! We see all these dogs, we know what works. Fizzion works. There’s others that really don’t work. We don’t want to say a name, but they’re not really the miracles that they say they are.

Sarah: That they claim to be. 

Kathy: There you go. 

Sarah: No, tried and true. We use Fizzion.

Kathy: And then some of them are like, “Oh my dog keeps going back to this rug to pee on.” Okay, supervise better and keep him away from the rug, or get rid of the rug. 

Sarah: Yeah. Yeah. The biggest thing is don’t let them go back to there and potty again. 

Kathy: Right, right. And again, it comes down to supervision. Like, I think the biggest thing to tell people is, “You’ve got to supervise your puppy.” Supervise it like it’s a nine month old baby walking around pulling crap down off the counter on their head with the chords, and sticking their fingers in sockets. Like, you understand that. That you have to supervise that. And yet people after like a day or two of no accents they’re like, “Oh, my puppy is trained.” And the hardest puppies to train are the small grade ones, because the big breeds in real time, like, your shepherd takes a crap behind the couch. Like, you know it. You walk around, you’re like, “What is that?” Your Pomeranian does it, you don’t find it in real time. You find it like when you go to put up the tree, six months later, you pull the couch out, you’re like, “Oh my God, what’s that?” And see that’s why the dog isn’t housebroken because he’s pottied in so many places that you don’t even know it. And that’s rewarding, because relief is really rewarding. And you can’t come back and show them the fossilized poop and fuss at them. As a matter of fact, you can never fuss at them for accidents cause it’s all your fault. 

Sarah: Exactly.

Kathy: I had a student, and I know I’ve told you this story, who I went to her house and she had a 10 week old puppy and I walked in and the housekeeper was there and I had to wait for the owner to come. And while I’m there, the housekeeper’s bragging that the 10 week old puppies perfectly housebroken and I totally don’t believe it. And then the owner comes. I’m like, “So tell me about the housebreaking.” She’s like, “Oh, we don’t need to worry about it. He’s perfectly housebroken. He just doesn’t come when I call him.” I’m like, “Oh, really?” 

Sarah: 10 weeks old?

Kathy: 10 weeks old. It was a little multi-poo. 

Sarah: Yeah.

Kathy: So the housekeeper opens the gate to leave the kitchen. And what the owner said was, “The only thing he doesn’t do is he doesn’t come when he’s called. And if he runs out of this room, he’ll never come back.” I’m like, “Okay.” So, of course, the housekeeper opens the gate to leave. And what happens? Dog runs out and they’re like, “Oh, my God! He’s loose!” And they’re running through this, you know like 32 room house and I’m just by the front door and thinking, “This is going awesomely.” So while I’m there, I turned to the right and I see the dining room, which is right off the kitchen and what I’m struck by is the fact that the dining room has snow white carpet. And I look a little harder and I’m like, ‘Wait a minute.” And I squat down and I see like 500 silver dollar size pee stains. The dog had been peeing in the dining room, and I’m sure he pushed out that gate, got out, and got back in without anybody knowing. And I’m like, “I am going to have to tell this woman and she’s…her head is going to blow off her body.” I’m like, 

Sarah: How’d the housekeeper not find it though?

Kathy: Apparently she wasn’t doing her job either! It was the formal dining room. So they come back down, they had them, they’re like, “Oh my gosh! He didn’t do anything.” And I’m like, “You know what? I kind of have bad news about the house. Frankly, he’s peeing in your dining room.” And she was really, like, “He key is not!” And I’m like, “No, he is.” And she’s like, “Oh, I don’t believe it.” I’m like, “Well..” I had to help her to the ground to crawl into the dining room. Now we’re both on our hands and knees and she’s so mad. She smacking the ground, “I can’t believe it.” Yeah, the housekeeper magically disappeared. And so then we had to talk about better gates and better management and yeah, it was…but then it took twice as long, right? Because the dog said, “Why can’t I get to my indoor potty area?” Everything had to change. Supervision had to go through the roof. 

Sarah: Yeah! Inadvertently you had house-trained your puppy, just on your white rug in the formal dining room. 

Kathy: Had she had a Great Dane puppy. He would’ve had one accident and they would have seen it. There’s a river coming from the dining room. Because he weighed three pounds, he got away with it. Oh my gosh. It was awful. It was terrible.

Sarah: Yeah. Supervision is, and management is a huge piece of the potty training.

Kathy: It is. It is. And, and realistic expectations. Like you should know and if you don’t, now you do, that a 10 week old puppy is probably not really housebroken. 

Sarah: Nope. 

Kathy: Something is amiss.

Sarah: Any other, like from working with clients with potty training and like that, that time period before six months, like any other things that have happened that where you fixed it or where it was like as like a kind of specific issue?

Kathy: Yeah, I, when I have people who we lovingly call “noncompliance,” and they’re non-compliant for a lot of reasons, their life is crazy. I mean they shouldn’t go, the dog may didn’t want a dog. Maybe they’ve decided the kids are going to be in charge and it goes badly. So if they’re non-compliant or non able to be compliant, we find that we give them these guidelines. If your eyeballs can’t be on the puppy, they’re crated. If you can 100% supervise, they’re gated in a small room with a leash on and if you can supervise pretty much but not 100% they can be X-penned or tethered in a room with you. In addition, if you want really high level security you can tether them. I told a student today at the home. So it was a perfect example at the lesson I was at today. The puppy moved away from us and peed and it was right about the time he should have, and he had just drank water. But if he had been tethered to her body she would have felt him pulling away like a fish on a line trying to get away.

Sarah: Yeah. That’s a really, that brings up a good one. So what are some of your like tried and true cues that a puppy will give you that they have to potty? Cause a lot of times new owners, they don’t know what to look for. They don’t know that if the puppy tries to, like, leave you and create distance from you, they probably need to go to the bathroom. So what are some other kind of physical cues that a puppy will give you that they have to go potty?

Kathy: They’re sniffing and circling is the big one. Definitely becoming disinterested in your play or training or snack or belly rub session. You feel like you’re playing and you’re playing and dog’s into it and then suddenly they walk away. Like, “What do I smell?” And then they go, right? 

Sarah: Yep, yep. 

Kathy: If they’re really engaged in something and suddenly disconnect that, that’s your cue. And they all have different ways of telling you. Right? So, my Border Collie, both of them actually, would run to me, run to the door, run to me, run to the door. And I’m like, “I guess you have to go.” My golden barks, you’ve heard, “Oh, gotta go.” My doberman would just stare at me. Like, I’d be on the computer and I feel this. I’d be like, “What is going on?”

Sarah: Yeah. They’re tethered to you, you’ll learn it that much more quickly because like you’ll, you’ll be a pattern. You’ll notice after maybe one or two times you’ll see one of those indicators and take them out and then you’ll know their cue. If they weren’t tethered to you and they were just loose in the house, you missed it.

Kathy: Exactly. And you know, it’s interesting when they hit a certain age, they don’t give you cues anymore because they’re housebroken, and you’re taking them out a sufficient amount of time. I can’t remember the last time one of my dogs asked me to go out because I think I just take them out.

Sarah: Yeah. You get into a routine with your dogs and once they get older, they know when they’re going to be able to go.

Kathy: Yeah. And you just manage what goes in, what comes out. 

Sarah: Yeah.

Kathy: I think we should talk about the DPA: Designated Potty Area, and this is a huge thing and this is, we did a Facebook live on it, on chicken rock.

Sarah: We have the video for chicken rock.

Kathy: Chicken rock is…it was very popular. So, basically I want my dogs to be able to go out the back sliding door, obviously if you’re an apartment, this is not valid, and run to the back of the property and pee and poop in the area that I want them to so they’re not on the grass. And the way I accomplices is I put out an X pen and I leave it unattached, so there’s an opening in it. That X pen, I choose to put wood stove pellets because I want the difference in the texture between grass, mulch, and where I want them to go. Although, side-note, I teach my dogs once the potty training is going well, I make the multi-surface pottiers. They go on pavement, they go on grass, they go on stone, they go everywhere because I don’t want them to say, “Wait, where’s my wood pellets?” What do wood pellets do for you? They’re stove pellets. They’re made out of wood. You could use anything you want. If I went somewhere with a potty that was different than my yard, like a friend’s house, I could take a baggie of those, maybe even a baggie of used ones and then dump them in a place in her yard. So anyway, in addition to the wood stove pellets, I put a bowl in the back of the crate, so in the pen. So you would have to walk all the way into it and continue going to that to the side of it and that bowl  is upside down ,and on that bowl I put a piece of chicken, you can use anything you want that the dog never gets. Hence the name chicken rock and when I was doing it with values to rock. So it looks like this. I know that puppy has to potty. I get up in the morning, I go into the refrigerator, get a piece of chicken, put it on that rock. Yes, I have to make two trips, go back in the house, get the puppy out of the crate, clip on a leash, walk outside all the way to the potty area. I put the puppy down in the potty area. They go to the back, they eat the chicken and they say, “While I’m here, might as well go.”

Sarah: Big key to that is you carry that  is, in the beginning you carry the puppy out to the rock so that they’re not able to go on the way out. That’s a big part of it.

Kathy: Huge. Huge. Because they’re puppies, their bladder is the size of a moment, so they’re going to go at some point on the way to that. Then as they get older and the months go by, and I hopefully can still carry them for a little bit, I put them down farther and farther away, and I’m adding from day one, “Hurry up,” and down they get the chicken and then I say, “Hurry up, hurry up,” and then what happens next depends on the puppy. A lot of owners make the mistake of bringing the dog right back in the house. Now it’s important to note that when I’m holding that, when I’m in that X pen, I’m holding the leash. My puppy is not loose, because the first nine months that I have a puppy, they are potty-ing on a leash. People that are lazy, and let the dog out, and then when they have to take the puppy somewhere and they can’t let them loose and they’re on the lease, the puppy looks at them like, “Can you give me some privacy and space?” Because you taught them to go 50 feet away from you. Now, people who live in the city don’t have that issue, but it’s a suburban. Once my puppy has gone, I can either take them in the house or I can put on a long leash and then we can play in the yard because I’m so boring in that X pen. I don’t give them any fun. And a lot of times people make the mistake of taking the dogs on a walk and then when the dog goes, take them inside. And what the dog knows is that, “If I poop or pee, I’m going back in the house and I love being outside so I’m going to hold it.” But some puppies are outside they’re like, “I gotta go in the house,” and then those are the puppies that you do take in right away. But the puppies are more outward bound, adventurous, energetic, pop on a light line and let them run in the yard for awhile. Give them that as a reward. 

Sarah: Yup. 

Kathy: Speaking of the reward, I do reward at night for emptying themselves, Like, they get chicken from being there, but I will start adding the food reward. Not every time, but when they are squatting and pooping, I will give them food in that moment. I don’t give it to them when they run out of the pen because they’re, like, “Oh I should run out of the pen to get them food.” And we have great housebreaking sheets. I think we have a couple. We have one with the challenging housebreaking.

Sarah: Yeah, we have those. So those are all in the lesson sheet library for you guys. If you need them, just drop a comment when we post this. We can direct you right to them. 

Kathy: Let’s talk about the puppy who suddenly is peeing all the time. I’m thinking about the girl puppies. 

Sarah: Yeah. 

Kathy: Normally it’s a UTI and they just show up. They don’t catch them. They just get them. No. And so then what your vet wants is a urine sample. So let’s talk about how to get a urine sample. YAY! You get a short, not high sided, Rubbermaid… I want to say Rubbermaid, it’s like saying Jello. You don’t say “gelatin,” you say Jello, right? A container, a plastic container. Boiling water goes in, up and out or dry all day. Then I go outside and I hide it. Not going to be flashing it in front of my dog’s face and think it’s food or get interested in it. So it’s behind my back. As soon as the dog squads, I sled that sucker in, get a sample and then take it out. Go in the house, pour it in my sterilized pill bottle or vitamin jar as my sample. Masking tape. Pre-do this right? Put masking tape around the bottle with your last name on it and the dog’s first name, then you don’t have to do it when you are full. Now my daughter, who’s pre-vet, and has worked at a vet for years, confirms what I always knew when they want a urine sample, they don’t want a cup of urine. Okay? When they ask for a stool sample, they don’t want a bag, a poop. They just need a little, little bit. So don’t go crazy with that. And then you either refrigerate it until you get it to the vet that day or you take it right over to the vet. And I would call ahead and say, “Hey, I’m bringing a urine sample. Can you test it?” Some vets will test it and then give you Clavamox, or whatever they’re going to give you for that, or some bets that, you know, “Bring the dog in. I need to see.“ So it just depends on the relationship and the type of vet that you have. But that’s how you get a urine sample with very little dramatics. I mean, and people are like, “Should I use gloves?” Yeah. You know what? Knock yourself out, wear gloves. I don’t, but you can. Yeah.

Sarah: Yeah. Then the indications for that, so usually it is the female dog, like you said. If they’re peeing, like, excessively. You know, like,  way more than what’s normal, then that would be when you could take them to the vet to get that checked out.

Kathy: Although sometimes there are other factors. Aww! Hey, Jack and Nev!

Sarah: That was Jake.

Kathy: There are other factor-that was Jakey?

​Sarah: Yeah. He was just saying, “Hello.”

Kathy: Hey, Jakey! One of Sarah’s dogs. So I had a student and it was, like, July and she’s like, “My puppy is not a puppy, she’s 10 months old. She was housebroken and now she’s peeing throughout the house”. And of course the first thing you think is a UTI. 

Sarah: Right.

Kathy: And like, all right, it sounds like UTI. However, let me ask you, are there any new sources of water that she’s getting into? Is she drinking out of the toilet? Like is there a water cooler that’s liking? She’s like, “No, no, there’s nothing. There’s nothing”. I’m like, “Are you sure?” She’s like, “Yeah, no.” She said, “I, you know, we opened our pool last week.” I was like, “ Wonderful! Hello! Big dog water bowl right out in your yard.” And she’s like, “Oh, you’re right.” The dog is drinking from the pool when she’s swimming!” I’m like, “Yeah, I know I’m right”

Sarah: Jesus.

Kathy: Yup. And some people have decorative fountains. Like that’s what I mean by other sources of water outside the box.

Sarah: Yeah. I always ask too, like, you know, “Is the husband or the kids sneaking the dog water when you’re not looking?” Something like that. Or, “Are they giving the dog water when you don’t know about it? So you don’t know that they need to go again?” Looking for those saboteurs.

Kathy: I had a student, Oh my gosh, she had this refrigerator brand new and it was gigantic ones and it was leaking and so she called the repair people and they came out and they said it was leaking. And, like, three or four times! And she finally called the company, got the head of the company’s phone number wrote this nasty email, like, RIP customer service. She wanted the company to take it back. She was going ham on them and she was so mad, and this is actually why she wound up calling me. She said one morning she went downstairs, it was off, her schedule was early, and she’s in a robe and she hears (whirring noise) 

Sarah: Oh, God.

Kathy: And she’s like, “Now I’m going to see what’s wrong with this thing?” Oh no. It was her lab, who learn to jump up and push the button, and drink from the stinking refrigerator. 

Sarah: Oh, my God

Kathy: She said, “Should I call and apologize to the people I ripped?”  I’m like, “You just do what you need to do.” 

Sarah: Send a holiday gift basket.

Kathy: God, yeah. And that’s what we had to work on and you know, we did unplugged the water. Unrewarded behavior extinguishes itself. 

Sarah: Yep. 

Kathy: We plugged it back in, and start on the ice cubes. 

Sarah: The refrigerator’s going batty.

Kathy: Yeah, that’s great. When again, dogs are invested they discover themselves and people get all twisted that the dog isn’t learning Down or Place. I’m like, “If you did it the right way, they’d learn it really fast because they are problem solvers and they are brilliant.” 

Sarah: Yep. All right.

Kathy: Let’s see. We covered crate. Oh, I know puppies who pee in their crate! Sometimes, you know this, clients want to leave a blanket or a towel in there and the puppy just bunches it up and pees on it and pushes it back. So I like them, if you have that issue, I like them to have a naked crate. That way. If they pee in it, there’s a consequence in a lot of times I had to do that and they also will pee on stuff. Toys, don’t do that.

Sarah: Yeah, anything that can absorb the urine, they’ll use it.

Kathy: I had a student whose dog, see, this is like story time with Kathy and Sarah, but we never, we never say names. So we like the idea that you cover a crate because we feel like it takes the visual interest away from the dog or the puppy, and they settle down better. And I had a student who has, she’s struggling with housebreaking. As soon as we took the towels out, the dog was perfect. Until one night, it pulled the blanket through the crate bars that was covering the crate and then peed on them. So like, yup. 

Sarah: Yeah. We always try to get the caveat like make sure that the sheet or the blanket is thick enough that they can’t pull it into the crate. 


Kathy: And my doberman, when they used to pull it in, it didn’t matter. It could be like a mattress and they’d pull that sucker in. The thing was, I put boxes on top of his crate, and then I put the sheet on it and I pulled it out like a tent, and I secured it. Ask Eric, he remembers this. I had books and an end table, and he’s like, “Catherine, what is happening?” I’m like, “NO!”

Sarah: He can’t pull the sheet in!

Kathy: Oh man, poor Eric. That should be our hashtag, “poor Eric”. Yup.

Sarah: Well it worked didn’t it? He wasn’t able to pull the sheet in.

Kathy: Damn right it worked. It was great. I felt victorious. I may have even snuck out at two in the morning to see if it worked. I’m not going to lose another blanket. So let’s see. Got diet, got the time of the night out, we have the schedule, you have the signals, crate size, potty area outside has to be on leash, when you go somewhere new, you can take, if they’re using that method of having a different surface, you can take it with you, and at some point, you want to teach the dog to be variable. Become a variable surface peer.

Sarah: Yeah, it’s not linear, right? It’s going to be a roller coaster when potty training your puppy. He has an accident, deal with it. Like you said, go in the bathroom, ask yourself what you did wrong and then go back out there and just next day start over

Kathy: And realistically say, “At six months it’ll be perfect if I do everything right. And so I’m not going to delude myself into thinking of typical puppy with an acorn bladder is able to hold that at all.”

Sarah: Yeah, exactly. 

Kathy: Oh! Can we talk about one thing. When you say, “I told my wife when I was going out to watch the puppy,” “I told my husband to watch the puppy,” “I told my kids to watch the puppy,” nobody’s going to watch the puppy like you are going to watch the puppy. So if you can’t trust the people that you need, you’re better off crating the dog so you don’t set yourself back. Cause that’s the worst part. And holidays, cause we’re recording this the day before Thanksgiving, holidays are the worst because you get distracted and you get busy and you have company over and somebody’s like, “Oh my God, there’s poo in the living room!” 

Sarah: Or someone steps on it on your carpet.

Kathy: And they don’t know it and then they track it. 

Sarah: Or barefoot! In the middle of the night, you get up on Christmas morning and you step in dog poop on your barefoot. That’s happened to me way too many times.

Kathy: Yes. Yes. So that’s why you should have people over for the holidays. No, just kidding. 

Sarah: Puppy goes in the crate.

Kathy: We have really good examples of managing and monitoring your dog on the holidays and that would be in the Thanksgiving podcast as well.

Sarah: Yeah. Alright, so we think that we’ve covered pretty much everything. Any other questions let us know and we’ll be happy to answer them.

Kathy: Yeah, we’ll put our answers to your questions in the comments. Is there a comments? There should be. If not, we’ll just record another one

Sarah: Yeah. I’ll post the link of this in all the groups and then they can comment underneath any questions they have.

Kathy: All right, awesome. Great. Thanks for hanging out with me. 

Sarah: Absolutely. 

Kathy: Always fun. All right, I’ll talk to you later. Bye, guys! 

Sarah: Happy potty training everyone. 

Kathy: As always, if you like what you hear, jump over to whatever subscription service you downloaded from and like, rate, subscribe, tell a friend, and share this episode somewhere to help spread the word so we can continue to create an awesome community of dog lovers and learners. Happy training everyone!

Kathy: Welcome to Kathy Santo’s Dog Sense “Episode Five: How Many Heels Do You Need?” And I’m here with my trainer and good friend, Sarah, who is out in Colorado. How’s the weather out there?

Sarah: The weather is absolutely beautiful. How are you guys doing in Jersey?

Kathy: I think it’s the first official day of Fall.

Sarah: It’s getting there.

Kathy: Yeah, I’m not, I’m not ready for the cold weather, which I know you love. 

Sarah: Yes, I do.

Kathy: But anyway, so in classes lately I’ve been realizing that my students have lovely formal Heels. They have not-so-lovely when they’re not on a formal command. And I kind of wanted to sort of flesh this out and talk about the difference between formal heel and informal heel and everything in between. So, when you tell your dog to heel, when I tell my dog to Heel, there’s a message conveyed and that means, “Stand next to me, pay attention whether it’s peripherally or with your head up and change pace with me, change direction with me. Basically you and I are in sync.” And to some degree or another. I mean there’s competition heeling that we do that’s really high level, and then there’s the sort of pet student who has that, but maybe it’s a little bit looser. But either way, the dog has a very strong understanding of paying attention to your body language. But I’ve noticed that when the dogs aren’t on a formal Heel, pandemonium breaks out, riots occur and the dog doesn’t look anything like a trained dog. And I think that’s a problem.

Sarah: Absolutely. So what we had talked about briefly before is that, so when you put your dog on a leash and you start walking, what is the dog’s expectation and understanding of how they should be behaving in that specific scenario when no verbal command is given. Because, like you said, we have the formal Heel where, you know, the dog sits next to us beautifully walking, heeling, looking up at us, all that. But what you’re going to go into further, I think is something that most owners don’t even think of, or they just think that the dogs should automatically know it and they don’t. So while we’re not connecting a verbal command to it, it’s something that still has to be taught.

Kathy: I feel like the leash should be the cue. 

Sarah: Yeah.

Kathy: Right? I clip it on you, we are now conjoined and there’s an expectation I have, but it’s not fair to have that expectation if you’ve not taught it to the dog. And so the dog is like, “Well you didn’t say Heel, so that’s why I’m pulling towards that tree.” And so I think there’s a middle ground. I think it’s not formal and it’s not, “Sniff, be a dog, and go potty.” I think there’s something in between. And what I’ve been telling my students to call it, I mean I don’t care what they call it, but we were saying, “Here we go.” And “Here we go,” to me, is a moving version of what I called, “Standby.” Now, when I was teaching seminars, I would have my dog out for demos as seminar people do. And there’s a point where, you know, you do this demo, people ask questions and you’re going to do another one, and you don’t necessarily want to put the dog on Place or in the crate. You want the dog near you, but you don’t want the dog disconnecting and just going off into the raspberry bushes. So, I taught my dog “Standby” and basically what that means is, “You’re off duty, but we’re going to do something again soon. So sort of stay connected with me.” And then when I wanted the dog to do something, then it would be a request. So I feel like this Heel that we’re talking about is the moving version of “Standby.” Do you know what I mean?

Sarah: Yeah, absolutely. And that sounds perfect because you’d be walking with them, it would be a loose leash Heel around the neighborhood, but they would not be able to pull you to the tree to pee on it or pull you to a person walking by to go say, “Hello.” The dog would understand that because they’re on the leash, they still need to be kind of paying attention to you. They don’t have to be looking at you, they don’t have to be totally in-tune to you, but they still need to be aware of you. And I think that’s so important.

Kathy: Right. So let’s do a couple examples. If I had a dog who was on no command, it was, “Okay, go play,” and I walked up to you. Quite likely, my dog would go up to you, maybe try to get a scritch, maybe sniff your feet, you know, just be a dog. And I could decide whether that was appropriate or not. If I asked my dog for formal Heeling and I walked up to you, I’d walk up to and my dog would be looking at me and when I stopped, my dog would be sitting next to me and my dog would remain in that position until I gave him a release command or another cue to do something else like, “Lie down” and go to Place. So the middle ground in that is, I say to my dog, “Here we go,” or whatever you want to call it, and we walk towards you and I stop and my dog is not expected to sit. He could actually come across the front of me. He could hang out around me, he could be at the end of his leash without tension, but he couldn’t interact with you, he couldn’t grab crap off the ground. He’s just sorta, like, hanging out. And the importance of that, I feel, is if you’re walking with the dog and they’re just, sort of, in this mode and somebody walks by you with a stroller with a kid in it, or a bag of groceries, or even, like, a really cool leather coat. Like, I don’t want my dog licking you or, like, sniffing you. Right? And they do that and you know it wouldn’t be cool if you had a kid who did that, right? Reached out and grabbed somebody’s bag. So it’s kind of like that. So what you’re saying is, “I’m not going to make you maintain position, but I’m going to make you maintain some general rules of society. Don’t lick people.”

Sarah: So when you’re teaching this to students, you are putting a verbal command on it. It’s not implied with just the leash?

Kathy: No, I’m clipping on the leash and say, “Here we go,” and my hope is that, eventually, that will be the cue. Although, it’s not going to be really important to me, because if I don’t give you a cue then you’re on an, “Okay, go play.” You know what I mean? So those are my three different ways I walk, Now here’s how we’re teaching it. I have the students completely changing up their hand position. Because, normally, they have the leash in the left hand or the right hand and it’s on their hip. For this, I have both hands set on my body. 

Sarah: Okay.

Kathy: So the picture looks different. So their expectation of what we’re doing, if they notice you, is going to be something other than Heeling. And I have them say, “Here we go,” and we start walking super slowly. Like, “La-la-la,” like looking around. I’m not locked in on the dog, my body isn’t oriented that way. I don’t have that, I guess that intensity that comes with we are Heeling now. You know what I mean? Because it’s not about big control. It’s just about, “I want you to show me what you understand.” And what I’m finding is the dogs are like, “Wow, what’s this?” They’re interested because you’re totally different. 

Sarah: And also because you’re not giving them any cues or anything. They are kind of looking at you a little bit more frequently being like, “All right, well, what’s next?” Like, “What do I do?” 

Kathy: Right. And it’s really, sort of, soft body movements. It’s not like sharp turns. You’re just sort of moving with your dog. And I’m finding the dogs are getting more in tune with the people because there’s not as much direction. Because once I say, “Here we go,” I’m not repeating it. And if you go off into a direction I’m not, I’m going to gently take you by the collar and guide you into my, kind of my hula hoop area. I’m not guiding you to my leg again cause that’s Heeling, right? 

Sarah: Right. 

Kathy: Guiding you into the space around me. And they’re figuring this out pretty darn quickly, which is exciting. And it doesn’t matter how much training you have personally or your dog has, they’re getting this. And I think because it’s an easy concept. Don’t put tension on the leash, when you do, I’m going to bring you back, and when you have a loose leash, the world is your oyster to some degree. 

Sarah: Yeah. Yep. So then the reward for the dog. So we talked about…So if they do apply tension on the leash, collar grab, back them up into your little bubble, your hula hoop. And then when the dog, maybe after a couple of reps, then learns, “All right, if I stay in this kind of general vicinity, I have a little bit more freedom.” You’re marking, rewarding it with just some food or…

Kathy: You know, you could do food. It depends on how much your dog lights up about food. You know, because I don’t want to create that crazy, like, “Whoa. Yay!” And then my dog is, like, at the end of the leash again. So in the beginning I’m just being very soothing,“Good boy.” Because that’s going to be my whole countenance. It’s very low key. It’s very “West Coast.” I’m never “West Coast,” so it makes my dog go, “what is happening?” And so you just get that super chill vibe. Now we’re practicing it in a controlled area. We’re not going out into, you know, the farmer’s market, or a busy street, or a parking lot where there’s cars and people. I’m literally taking this step by step in my house in a hallway or in the training building where we have nobody else in a room. It’s gotta be low key. Then we started to set up distractions. So what I did with my classes this week, was after they had the concept and they were familiar with it and they were doing really well, I gave them the option of approaching objects. So I had…objects are really interesting because you think, “Oh, we’re going to put down a bowl with food in it.” But that’s really not what you encounter on walks. Right? So handful of leaves. I had a Stacey sweatshirt  there on the floor, a bag, somebody’s bag, somebody’s Dunkin Donuts cup, right? Food on a chair. So we’re walking through this minefield and basically asking the dog, “What do you understand about when we’re on, ‘Here we go?’ Do you think you can go there? Do you understand the, ‘stay with me?’” And they’re like, “I could go over there. That’s a cool Dunkin donuts cup.” We’re like, “Oh yeah, I think so too. But no, you can’t do that.” 

Sarah: Are you doing this with the Beginner classes or more Intermediate or Advanced? 

Kathy: I’m not doing this with Beginners yet. 

Sarah: Okay. 

Kathy: I think with some of the Beginners, we’re still working on, “How do you hold the leash.” 

Sarah: Right. Right. 

Kathy: You know, markers, reward, verbal thing. 

Sarah: Right. And the Beginner dogs may not have the impulse control to be able to work through some of those challenges too. 

Kathy: And they don’t have a background history in Collar Grab either. 

Sarah: Right. Right. 

Kathy: So if they start reaching for the collar and they haven’t built reinforcement and value for it, the dogs, you’d be like, “Yeah, now I’m gonna run farther from you.” Somebody asked if they can put the leash around their waist. I’m not a fan of it. I guess you could, but I just feel like in the beginning stages I’d want you to have both hands on the leash just in case something heinous occurs. 

Sarah: Yup. Okay, so what were some of the distractions you guys are working through? 

Kathy: People. So then we had a lineup of people and I had everybody against the wall with their dog in a Sit or a Down/Stay. And then one person was the working person and they would walk up to a person and they would decide how many feet away worked for their dog. And so I think three and four feet were pretty much great. Now again, remember that the dogs with these people are trained. So I’m not just walking up to somebody with a dog who’s wild, it’s on a Sit/Stay. So they walk up, they say, “Hey, how are you?” And the dog’s, like, “I don’t know what I should do. Like, should I sit? Maybe I’ll just stand here”. And then they would say, “Here we go, go to the next person.” So that was a big deal would amp that with the people who they were talking to me, like, “Oh, my God! What a cute dog!” You know? Then seeing if the dog was going to fall for that, and then adding on, they had food in their hand and then they were playing with their dog excitedly, so there’s a dog distraction so you can really level it up. Also, location changes are important. So it’s in the school, it’s in the front of the school, it’s at their house. It’s everywhere. “Can your dog do this no matter what?” And I was thinking that those people who had an issue with their dog being too crazy when people come to the house that they would love this. 

Sarah: Yeah. 

Kathy: Right? Because what’s your biggest problem? Your dog runs up to people. So snap them on a leash, take them to the foyer, open the door, and the dog is like, “Hey, you know, I can’t go see you, but I understand that this is my space.” And I think the reward for the dog at some point becomes intrinsic because it’s less structured. They can do more, right? They can move a little more, they can see a little more, but it’s not that formal, “At my left side thing.”

Sarah: Yeah. It also provides a looser walk for the dog where they can experience the environment a little bit more fully than if they were on a formal or a little bit more focused Heel. So some dogs who may be reactive or they’re just, they’re too amped by their environment, you want to start them on those other ones. But then when you want to start to challenge the dog, you move back to this kind of heel, you’re then able to let them experience the environment a little bit more and see if they’re able to have those good decision making skills to make the right choice.

Kathy: Exactly. And I think it gives the owner a better experience, too, because once you have this nailed down, you know you’re not doing as much work and you’re actually having a conversation with people and you look normal. You’re not going to get your finger up going, “Right here. Sit.” Right. We’re having new conversations and relationships with people. They’re like, “Wow. You, you do have eyes. It’s cool.” 

Sarah: Yeah.

Kathy: So I think we’re gonna run with that a lot more in classes. Again, Puppy and Beginners, they’re not going to do it, but I think Beginner II, Intermediate, Advanced, we’re just going to throw that at them and everybody’s responding to it really well. The students are thrilled. The dogs, I think, are thrilled and it’s a quick win when you’re at that level. So everybody feels good about the process.

Sarah: Yeah, absolutely. 

Kathy: Alright. Anything else? 

Sarah: Nope, I think we’re good.

Kathy: All right, cool. So that is it for this episode of Kathy Santo’s Dog Sense. Thank you so much for spending some time with us and I hope you guys will join us again soon. If you have any comments or show ideas, please reach out to us through our website at and as always, if you like what you hear, jump over to whichever subscription service you downloaded from and like rate, subscribe, tell a friend and share this episode somewhere to help spread the word so we can continue to create an awesome community of dog lovers and learners. Happy training, everyone!

Kamal: Hi everybody in Facebook world. I’m here with my good friend Kathy Santo and I thought this, I’m in The States at the moment and I am in the middle of doing filming as I showed you earlier for my upcoming coming online training, which is going to be hopefully launched imminently. So, we’ve been working really hard about that and I thought it’d be good to have this conversation with Kathy about adolescent dogs. And it’s been a bit of a conversation of late because of Kathy’s young dog, Valor, Val, her border collie puppy who is now seven months.

Kathy: He’ll be eight months on Sunday.

Kamal: Oh, okay, eight months. So, and, the things that he’s going through as present, which I thought would be insightful to share with you guys and, again, invite you to questions. So, those of you that haven’t met Kathy and me did the live last year. What was that on our comment? Was it, do you know what? I can’t remember now. Was it?

Kathy: We did a couple of them.

Kamal Yeah. We’ve done a couple of them.

Kathy: One was PTSD.

Kamal: That’s right. Yeah, yeah, yeah. That was a really good one.

Kathy: It was.

Kamal: Yeah. And we’ve got lots of great feedback. So, this, sorry I’m gonna jump around, but we… 

Kathy: We can jump around. It’s your Live.

Kamal: Yeah, yeah, yeah. So we did it last year on PTSD and dog training and talked about those people that have had dogs that have been challenging and how, you know, how ingraining that can be post when you get another dog. So the backstory to that is Kathy has now got a puppy and the, we talked about the experience of the transition period between, you know, having PTSD with the previous dog and all that goes with that. And now val, who’s a totally, totally different kettle of fish, and the challenges that often happens because every single dog you’ve ever own, the new things that you encounter. So, just a little bit of background about yourself. What you do, those that haven’t met Kathy.

Kathy: Well, I’ve been training dogs professionally for over 30 years, and I was competing in obedience. I won a tournaments until 2001 and then I stayed home to raise the kids, but I still was training, we’re training dogs and I had a school, right. And we see a couple hundred dogs a week at the school and it’s just dogs are my life.

Kamal: And so adolescent dogs is your bread and butter of basically

Kathy: Exactly, like, yeah, they all come in and they say the same thing, and it’s well and good when it’s somebody else’s job and you know, write everything, but then, you know, when it’s your dog and you’re a competitive person because that’s what this whole journey is. And then, you know, it gets a little different. And we were talking about the other day, I don’t remember my other competition dogs going through this like, I’m sure they did, but I don’t know that we actually acknowledged it back then

Kamal: Right.

Kathy: Back then, meaning, like, a long time ago, because I’m pretty old. I just think we pushed through it. You know, it’s funny.

Kamal: So, the, I thought this would a really interesting discussion to have with Kathy for several reasons. One of which is to talk through adolescence in general from a point of view of both you know, professional capacities that Kathy and I deal with a lot of dogs. And if you were statistically to look at rescues across the world, you will find that the highest ratio of dogs that are currently in can also we look to age groups. It would be adolescent dogs, because, generally speaking, that’s when you have most of your problems start to occur. S,o if it is behavioral problems, that’s when you’re going to most likely have them. And also long-term behavioral problems that can exist with dogs are normally started or established in adolescence because it’s a challenging time. You know, it’s a bit like human beings, you have hormones kicking around, you have that little bit more testing than challenging in their behavior. A lot of it’s to do with physiological changes within them, and as a result of that, you see really, really peculiar behavior. So, just to give you an example, I was training actually Val, Kathy’s puppy val, I should say. I’ve trained him a couple of times since I’ve been over here. I was out in the garden, and Kathy’s husband works at home and he had a client , he’s a chiropractor. They came out to their vehicle and, there’s a sort of trees obscuring the view, and all Val could see was his head bobbing around and that’s through the trees, which he clearly thought it was very unusual, which is correct. And he just had a little spooked bark. I was in the middle of training, so I just walked up and let them investigate, get it out of his system. And within seconds he was over it and really very much like, “Not quite sure what that was all about.” But, again, if you could very much tell it was just an innate instinctive reaction, you know, whether it was hormones, whether it was, he’s got an amazing temperament. So I would say with him, specifically, anything like that is going to be some sort of hormonal challenge because he’s not by nature an apprehensive or nervous dog. Is he?

Kathy: No. And you told me about it, and my first question was, “How was the recovery?”

Kamal: Yeah.

Kathy: I think that’s what you’re really interested in at this stage. You know, it’s going to happen. So it’s not about whether or not your dog is going to spoken something. Like, he did that to a bird on the lawn yesterday. It’s was, like, okay, weirdo. But it’s that how quick they recover from it and what you do.

Kamal: Absolutely. And I mean, in sort of the situation with Val, all I did was walked up and, like, slack on the lead, let him to get out of your system. I knew there was no safety issues. It was behind a fence, et Cetera, et cetera. And he also did it and another session I did with him when he heard a vehicle pull up and it was a school bus, and he had the decompressing of the,you know, whatever. And he had a little spook again, just drop the lead, let them investigate, get it out of his system and he’s straight away was back on. Again, It’s the recovery. So, things like that could easily be made into a bigger, much bigger issue.

Kathy: Sure. And we see that in a school, you know, people have corrected their dog for doing that and now the dog is just terrified and confused and really doesn’t know which way is up. And you break that really important relationship.

Kamal: Absolutely. And you, you can potentially damage or punish a dog for what the dog help, but do. So, just to go back a little bit, adolescence generally will occur between the ages, depending on the breed of dog, between anything from six months to say 14 to 16 months. Your dog will start adolescents, if you’re fortunate, depending or how you look at it, it might be, you might get a little bit more of the nice “honeymoon period” when they’re younger and they think you’re wonderful and everything you do is fantastic and they’re super into you. But most dogs will start to show or display little telltale signs of adolescents from about six, seven months, generally speaking. And, it will, the first thing I generally notice in my dogs is the recall will disappear. So, I would say my dogs all, by that point, will have a relatively good recall, but it will disappear. They’ll just go, “No, I’m no longer, my name is now, what’s the word I’m looking for is a choice thing.” Uh, and they, generally speaking, just ignore the name. And that’s one of the telltale signs that my dog is starting to enter adolescence. Anything else that you see consistently? Name response is one that normally goes out the window, isn’t it?

Kathy: Right. And also caring that you exist, at all.

Kamal: Yeah. Yeah. 

Kathy: Like, hello, who are you? Nice to meet you! Now I’m leaving.

Kamal: Yeah, exactly.

Kathy: And so you feel, I think especially for the pet people, because they’re not expecting this or they didn’t think it would be as bad or just like their children, they thought they wouldn’t go through it. They feel betrayed, you know, because they’ve fed this dog, they’ve raised their dog, they’ve done everything well for the dog and then the dog is just like, “Screw you, I’m doing something else.” And they’re like, “What?!” And it’s just, it’s a thing they go through. I mean, all adolescents of all species I’m sure do this. You know, we have kids well my kids never went through it and I’m sure you are not, we never went through it for our parents.

Kamal: Yeah, we were angels.

Kathy: Other people’s children will do it.

Kamal: Normal people probably went through it.

Kathy: My daughter will never do it.

Kamal: Yeah. So, yeah, definitely. I think it’s a natural process and most people, tend to overreact to it and the big thing is not expecting it to happen, or assuming naively, misinformed, whatever the case may be, that your dog is not going to go through adolescence. It’s a perfectly normal process. And most dogs, I think, in my career I’ve had dogs that have, it’s been a relatively minimal experience and I’ve had dogs that genuinely, it was like a very, very brief little bit of adolescence kicked in. As soon as he arrived it disappeared. And that was it. Others, especially my male dogs have stronger breeds. So my Malinois and boxers and, that’s been really, really, really challenging because adolescents. What I’ve also got with them was you know, I discussed this in my book, “Pathway To Positivity.” Shameless plug.

Kathy: Oh my gosh. That’s amazing! You did such a good job! When’s the next one coming out?

Kamal: Well who knows. 

Kathy: We’ll talk later.

Kamal: Yeah. But I’m in the, I discussed about Punch who was my box, so he’s now six years old and he was really challenging when it, when adolescents hit. And that he was, you know, I lost, my recall was I would say in comparison to all the other issues he had was a nothing, but he lost his recall. He definitely got more challenging with other dogs. His temperament was challenging at that period in his time, his life. And it was, I was at that point where I wanted to commit myself to using…

Kathy: An institution?

Kamal: Yeah, exactly. An institution was a plan B, but reinforcement based dog training was plan A. So it was really, really challenging with him specifically. And things that happened was, is that he’d lost his recall. He definitely become very right strong with other dogs, shall I say. And it was about a lot of management, a lot of training and a lot of, I don’t drink by did consider it at that time. So, but how about dogs that you have in your school. Is there things that, I mean obviously you deal with a lot of behavioral issues. Would you say, again, it’s to do with adolescence or, what should we consider?

Kathy: I definitely, it’s adolescence. And, like, it’s the expectations too, because I think that people think, unlike humans, that when I teach a dog something and the dog has it, they’re going to have a forever. They’re never going to challenge it. But you know, if, if you’re not working on it, it’s not going to stay there. And so it’s like sitting at the door or you know, waiting to get the leash on. All those little things break down on a pet level and they’re like, “No, I taught them this.” And they either say, “Well, maybe training doesn’t work,” which is not true at all. Or they say, “Oh my God, I need to have a private session with you!” And it may explain adolescence, which is just, you know, everybody goes through it.

Kamal: Yeah. I think it’s very, again, another typical thing that you see in adolescence, certainly from a training point of view, is people that tend to take life skills classes, they make the sweeping assumption, but that they do that puppy class and that it, the dog’s trained and then they’re real problems occur when their dogs hit adolescence. And that’s when it becomes really challenging and against the misunderstanding that you’ve done your puppy class and that’s it. Job Done. Again, training occurs throughout the whole of your dog’s life, but more importantly, adolescence, that’s when you’re going to need the most support. So if you’re watching this and you are a person that as an adolescent, a dog.

Kathy: We’re sorry.

Kamal: Yeah. We’re sorry. First off, you will get better. But also to, you know, be vigilant, look for help and don’t be afraid to seek help from professionals if need be. So the things to, I would say, other than the recall that goes, then you might see your dog either be the recipient of aggressive behavior or displaying aggressive behavior. That’s classic adolescents. And that’s both male and female. Male dogs tend to do it with more intensity. Basically they’re going to get in a school yard fight or they’re going to get beaten up one or other. Often what can happen is there’s long lasting form with the owner or the caregiver, which then can manifest itself into anxiety slash reactivity behavior. So I’m just…

Kathy: And their concentration is crap.

Kamal: Yeah.

Kathy: Right. They used to be able to focus and you’re like, “I’ve had these lovely long training sessions and now they’re about seven seconds long,” which, I think, really leads me to think it’s a really great thing to have another dog.

Kamal: Yeah. Have that plan B dog

Kathy: When your adolescent can only train for a 7.2 seconds, it’s great to have like a new puppy or an older dog. I don’t tell this to my pet clients though, but I feel like what you said in puppy class, my job is to prepare them that this is going to happen. So it doesn’t get them by surprise. Also, I feel like it’s, I tell them it’s like the gym, you know, you’d go and you look good, but if you don’t, you look like you’re used to. And so when they stopped training their dogs as puppies, then it goes back to the way it was, which is, you know, undomesticated.

Kamal: Yeah, absolutely, So I always think, you know, when they’re puppies, they tend to absorb all the information and everything, you know, they lap it up, then we’ll have

Kathy: They think your amazing.

Kamal: Absolutely. Then adolescent kicks in, you almost need to revert back to, like, them being much more, managing the behavior, restricting their options so that they can’t make those poor choices. So, when my dogs enter adolescence, one of the big things I do, and I do this with any dog that I have for training is, I would hand feed them. So I’ve used the training that food as training, treats, et cetera. And I start to look holistically at reinforcement. So reinforcement has to go now beyond the tree or the ball or et cetera. It has to be the opportunity to say, you know, go off with my other dogs. It has to be the opportunity to investigate that really nice smell, et Cetera, et cetera. All of that becomes things that I can use as reinforcement for appropriate behavior. How about yourself? What would you recommend or what do you do with your…

Kathy: I start logging in every single thing I did because I like to look at the log from a week ago and say, “Look, there was a good moment!” I feel that I’m making progressions and I also like to chart what I’m doing. Like I don’t have a plan and you know that, but it gets even more serious when it’s adolescence because you want to have plan A through R, probably because planning may not go as well as your plan, but if you have something quick you can pull out. Like we were talking about like moving off of the commands and the serious stuff and going back to lighter stuff like body awareness and things like that.

Kamal: Yeah. So you’ve got, for example, so for sports dogs and this is something that you guys that do sports needs to be aware of, is often what can happen with adolescence is your dogs are going to go through physiological changes and that is they’re gonna have growth spurts, their body’s going to be doing weird and wonderful things, they’re going to lack coordination. At that time it’s not really, in my opinion, the best time to progress any sports specific skill. And the reason that is is because the dog isn’t going to be able to do it. Like their brain is telling them one thing and their their bodies not being able to compute. So, at that moment, my advice is to back off anything that requires real dexterity and complexity, and focus on things like focusing on engagement and recall and say tug drive, et Cetera, et cetera. Rather than working on something and really winning my new and detailed. Because, again, their body might not be coordinated and correlating with what they’re a bright is doing. So I tend to, and that is a really, you’ve got to learn to feel your way through it so that you could have a day when your dog’s absolutely on and the next day, within 24 hours, they’ve lost it. So recently, say, for example, you know, my good friend Val who, a puppy I train of hers who’s now similar age to Val, he’s a bit younger. Oh no, same age as Val.

Kathy: Your friend Val.

Kamal: Yeah, my friend Val

Kathy: Not my dog, Val.

Kamal: No, no ,no, my friend Val.

Kathy: Sorry, Val.

Kamal: And yeah, and he’s same age, similar age to Val. Your Val, Valor. And he lost the ability to down, so he would down and his front end would drop like a stone and his back end, he’s quite big. He’s a big, huge buffalo back side would be up in the air. And he genuinely, he’s, every bit of his demeanor would say he thought he nailed it. And you very much the whole of this huge back side in the air going, “No, you really haven’t sweetheart.” But so it was a case of do you know what, just let it go. It’s like, it’s not worth even making an issue of it. You know, I think I patterned it, broke him off, gave him treats and just scrap the, even asked him the question. Within 24 hours, bang, it was back. And, again, it was just a growth thing. So another good thing to do is saying about logging your training is I periodically like to take photos of my dog stacked. And the easiest way to do that is on two wobble cushions or two platforms. Front feet on one set or one platform like feet, another, which allows you to look at the dog shape and outline. And you can very obviously see if the dog’s backend is high and the dogs back end tied, you know, they’re having the gross but leave the complex stuff to, for the back burner. So, like I, again, talking about Kathy’s Val, there was, I would say he’s very much, very back end his back in is very, very much big and powerful. And he’s front end isn’t quite caught up. And he’s like, he’s, he had to, he’s got beautiful shape. But again, what happens is they lose their neck a little bit different parts of their body, you know, grow at different rates. Some puppies just grow it seems to be like they’re just always little adult dogs, but others it’s a little bit disjointed with those type of dogs during something as complex as say he’ll work or I’m a tiny, intricate move them and is counterproductive for the dog being able to absorb the information.

Kathy: And they used to be able to do it younger, like at 10, 12 weeks, you know, or like nailing it. And so you don’t understand why is it, why is it gone? But it’s just, it’s hormonal, it’s shape, it’s all of it. 

Kamal: Yeah. So, from your experience and say for example, working with your puppy now, what are the things that you’ve been doing to try and regain some focus from the environment and the, you know, the butterfly distraction or the robin that’s going to clearly be an ax murderer. 

Kathy: The first thing that comes to mind is a long line. You know, because when he wanted to take off and you know, just change his name on the fly as like the witness protection program, at least I had something to step on. Shorter sessions, you know, changing the focus from things like from healing, or this head being up. It’s just impossible. It’s lost isn’t it? And so, we’re moving away from that and maybe some standing work and body work is always fun for him. New things that don’t matter to me, like, the retrieving of something dumb, like, what we did the other night with like a vitamin bottle. Cause that you can’t get bent about that are stressed about it because you’re never going to go in the ring and have to retrieve vitamins. Maybe next year AKC, who knows? But currently, no. And so stuff like that is, makes me lighter and it doesn’t feel so serious.

Kamal: You’ve got to constantly balance between, you know, your long-term goal and the fact that your dog was being challenging and it seems to make all the, possibility. You, you know, it can be challenging. Adolescence is challenging, is emotive, you know, you invested into your dogs. It can be hard work and you feel like, “I’m never going to fix it,” the dogs and just take a deep breath. It will be fine. It’s a natural process. In my experience, I’ve found that females tend to be less problematic than males in terms of, excuse me behavior that would be deemed problematic. So, that’s not to say that the girls look perfect, but I would say it’s less volatile. So, I would definitely say with my mouth dogs, they’ve definitely had spades of, you know, like being aggressive to be called a spade a spade, challenging, you know, et Cetera, et cetera. I’ve got an squabbles, you know, handbags a door, nine times out of 10. But they definitely, definitely male dogs tend to be more challenging in that sense. Female dogs tend to, sometimes with hormones kicking in there could be fearful, apprehensive, nervous is more classic behavioral traits for adolescent females.


Kathy: And witchy too.

Kamal: And it can be a bit snarky with other dogs,


Kathy: But you know, you’re describing it people here, too. Right. Can anybody ever imagined, like they’ll say, “Well, my kid will never be a jerk,” “My adolescent boy will always do what I tell them.” It’s, like, not going to happen. So why throw that on your dogs?

Kamal: Yeah. Yeah. And it’s about, again, and at that time it’s about management. Yes. So avoiding, so my male dogs, when they hit adolescence, I void one in the without other male dogs, male adolescents I should say. And the reason being is that, you know, one like shoulder barge, one little brief interruption, once a point where they sniff on the same smell. Next thing you know, a world war three erupts and it’s, and that could be really impactful on that dog and that person. So, personally I avoid them running with adolescent male dogs. I run them with my dogs. I run the big dogs I know very, very well. Older dogs, older females, female dogs, et Cetera. I avoid dogs of the same type and energy until my dog is largely through that. Management’s a huge one. If you could avoid them rehearsing and appropriate responses there’s less chance of that’s going to become ingrained in the dog’s behavior.

Kathy: And that’s all on us.

Kamal: Yeah, absolutely.

Kathy: Just the planning, pre-planning, pre-thinking of it all and making sure it goes well.

Kamal: Yep. Yep. Also, making sure that when you go out to train or in an environment, you make sure you have really, really ridiculous high value reinforcement. So, you know, that’s, those are the times when you’re going to use the environment as a reinforcement and you’re going to turn up to your gunfight armed with an inappropriate, a weapon of choice, so to speak. They’re not going to turn up over the park, waiving your, you know, your dry kibble or your whatever, to try and counteract the environment or the challenges that might present. You want to make sure that you provide reinforcement that sends a fleeting possibility of contending with their enforcement. Alternatively, use the environment as reinforcement. That’s a real favorite of mine. The opportunity to go play, go run. So again, another example, recently, great. The youngest collie I have, obviously she grew up with her. She lives with her mom and her sister and she likes to chase them. Brilliant vehicle, 100% up until about five, six months. And then she went, “I no longer know my name again.” She went into witness protection. So it was a really easy fix and that I just stopped the others running. So I stopped the others running because they, I have some control over them. I went and got her and the college, we’re back to foot called again. She went, “No, I’m still in witness protection.” I pulled her back forefoot. She gave me a fleeting glance. I said, “Brilliant, well done,” and I allowed her to run with the other dogs again. So now she understands the game is, the quickest way to keep having the opportunity to run with them is to get back to dad as quickly as I possibly can. One example of how to use the environment or the thing the dog wants as reinforcement for behavior that I would like. Again, another thing that she did is she definitely went a bit spooky with other dogs. And she, just, snarky, spooked or there’s a dog there. The fact the dog was there for 10 minutes prior didn’t really come into it, but oh my God, the dog’s now suddenly a period, and it must be exterminated at all costs. All very dramatic, all very, you know, out of character. All very unusual, just typical hormonal female dog stuff. Again, what did I do? Ignored it, got her away, traded distance, and with that particular dog that I’m thinking about, I took her for a walk with the aid. It’s one of my students dogs. I asked for, if we could walk them together the next day we did some parallel walking. And then once they were both comfortable, we let them, within minutes, they were running around. They were both similar ages. They are both hurdling around each other and having a great game. So, it allowed me to work through that process. Obviously are not going to have that opportunity with every dog that you meet. My advice is avoid, distract and deter.

Kathy: And avoid is a big one. Like today we had a film crew here, we were doing some filming most of the day, which is why I’m clutching my cup of tea and they were like, “Oh, can we have your collie out for this segment?” And I’m like, “Oh no, because you have lights outside and a fuzzy microphone and these big things that bounce off the light.” and that’s all I needed was to blow up my day with having to fix that later. I was like, “No thank you. His agent says he’s not available today. Maybe next time.”

Kamal: And again, you know, in six months time, 18 months time, that’s going to be a no brainer, no problem. Come Out, do, bang, and that’s it. But if in that situation, and it’s things like that that you go, “In reality, you could have probably trained that stuff.” And if this was a dog that was doing regular film work, you would absolutely go, “Right, let’s get you around that.” So, become secondary to the dog. That dog was oblivious to it. But for a dog that hasn’t experienced that situation there would be no point of trying to deal with that this time.

Kathy: Who’s is, currently, in his eight month brain.

Kamal: Exactly.

Kathy: Yeah. It’s not worth it.

Kamal: No. So, it’s an, it’s an, and then that’s something to be mindful of competition dogs. Don’t expose them to anything that, if you can, obviously, any new, startling experiences within that sensitive period in time. So, if you can get it in beforehand, get them into those environments, you know, expose them to anything that they’re going to face in their life or their career. But at that time I’d say back off it and just stick to the same, regular places so that you don’t expose them to anything that they aren’t used to and could potentially become an issue.

Kathy: Right. Like he’s been going to my training buildings and since I got him. My friend Betsy, she has a building and he goes there and it’s beautiful and he’s very at home. But at this point we’re not going to go to new buildings or new events just for awhile. Until he settles in.

Kamal: Yeah. Yeah. So, again, familiarity is a good one. Go to the places that you know so that you don’t, that way you can, mainly the reason being is that you can predict, you can, within reason, predict what’s going to happen in those locations. You know, there’s not going to be something a ceiling fan go on or you know, that if there is, the dog may have experienced that in the earlier part of his life and become a matter. So, it’s not now a new thing, you know, you’ll know that there’s not going to be some, a dog that you don’t know. Obviously, if you attend the same locations, there’s a chance that it’s going to be the same dogs, et Cetera. So, just thinking I’m planning your training beforehand or your dog’s experiences can help you avoid the dog having any long lasting damage or impact to their character and their temperament. You know, there’s a distinction between, for example, we take it, bring it back to Val. Val has an amazing temperament. He’s, like, the friendliest, sweetest dog on God’s good earth. So, long-term, you know, this is just teenage crap that comes with having teenage dogs. You know that if you play your cards right and he doesn’t have anything untoward happening to him and, largely, doesn’t make a big deal out of it. Six to eight months time he’s going to revert back to what he was as a puppy, which was Mr like, chill, not bothered soup, nothing phased him, etc. This spooky stuff is just part of his hormonal changes.

Kathy: Right? And you’re always, even if you’re going somewhere, like, if I get a Betsey’s building or my school, I’m prepared for the, hopefully, not going to happen moment where a dog breaks loose and runs up to your dog or a car backfires. I mean, you’re always armed with the things that you know are going to be super, super high value they never get. So you never, you never expect it to be perfect. You always expect something that’s going to happen.

Kamal: I think this is really, the other takeaway, I think, to add is there’s a difference between those of us that know largely our dogs genetic influences. So, I know we say put the dogs I have, I know where they come from, I know they’re breeding, I know that genes. So I can go, “I can trust that this dog has a baseline, good temperament.” So, if I avoid any untoward issues at this pivotal point in their life, I should be able to create a dog that’s got really super temperament. However, if you have a dog that, if you take on a dog of this time and you, and it has this stuff, my advice is to assume that the dog has weaknesses in his temperament and treat accordingly. So, again, be cautious. Don’t just assume, “Oh, it’s just the adolescent thing.” The dog will grab it, because if you have just taken this dog on, you really don’t know. So, you got, my advice is, error on the side of caution. Avoid any experiences where the dog is going to have any long lasting damage. Build his confidence up, et Cetera, et cetera. So, again, coming back to your recall is going to disappear, so I would strongly advise you to invest throughout your dog’s life with a recall. And if you can take it to situations in an environment where they’re unlikely to be overly distracted.

Kathy: And also, I think, stop listening to your friends. Like, we don’t get advice like this because we’re clearly trainers. So nobody says to me, “Oh, you shouldn’t do that.” Well, no, that’s not true… relatives. But anyway, they’ll say, “Let the dog do this, let the dog do that.” But I think the pet people and, probably, your competition students feel it more and sometimes it’s from your family and sometimes it’s from your family.

Kamal: With well meaning.

Kathy: It is, it is. But they’re like, “Oh, don’t be so fussy. Don’t be so,” and you’re like, “No, I know my dogs.” You have to trust your gut and you will be just hating yourself if you do something, you know you shouldn’t for the sake of whatever, being polite and then it winds up being bad on your dog because you have to live with that forever.

KamalYeah. absolutely. The other thing to think about is, you know, I’m not here to comment about neutering and castration per se. I would say I’m very non judgmental. That’s my professional opinions. I’m very not judgmental about it, and I know there’s a lot of support, pro keeping dogs entire and females entire, et cetera. In my professional, and my personal opinion is that, and there’s a distinct scenario that I could give you where I had clients that had German Shepherds from working lines, I can’t remember who I discussed this before, that were really, really intense. And they hit adolescence and they were very, very challenging. And they were really, really frustrated by the fact that the dogs had suddenly gone from really sweet, viable, incredibly intelligent, really willing, et Cetera, et cetera. All the good stuff that comes with that type of dog, to these raging hormonal teenagers with major, major problems. And we discussed all their options and, you know, they were thinking they would seriously at the point of thinking, “we’re not sure we’re going to be able to keep this dog if this is the dog’s behavior.” And we discussed all their options and I suggested, “Look, let’s have the dog chemically castrated and then we will evaluate and discuss if this is your last chance.” They had it done within 24 hours. The dog’s behavior had reverted back to what it was. And the long term, they decided to has an castrated and they messaged me recently and said how, like, it’s phenomenal and how the dog’s brilliant and et Cetera, et cetera. Now, the argument would be all, you know, the downside of having castration. My response to that be, this dog probably wouldn’t have made it to that ledge anyway

Kathy: Exactly. It was right for that family.

Kamal: Exactly. he probably would have been re-homed or worse still. Who knows, you know, and or somebody else’s dog would have been the result of his inappropriate behavior. Again, you’ve got to look at it case by case. I’m very non-judgmental about it. I think you’ve got to look at the individual dog. Yes, if you have the skillset to circumvent that period in your dog’s life, great. If you don’t, be open to all options, is my take.

Kathy: It’s a topic that comes up in a pet market, too. I mean, they’re under the mistaken impression that if they do that, their dog will stop jumping and pulling on leash and sit stay better. I’m like, “It’s not a lobotomy.” It’s, like, they just can’t reproduce. And the hormonal thing, it’ll be a little bit less, but it doesn’t teach them anything. They don’t like you more.

Kamal: Yeah. You still have to do the homework.

Kathy: Yeah. You have to do the work.

Kamal: So any, yeah. Pointers, tips, et Cetera, for people with adolescent dogs. Five perhaps. And I’ll give five.

Kathy: Let’s see. Know that it’s normal, because I think when you think it’s abnormal you start acting crazy. Focus on things that aren’t specific to your sport, more fun things. Maybe you have a second dog you can train. No, I’m really serious. Let’s see, keep a schedule. Keep a log of what you’re doing and commiserate with people will understand like, poor Kamal. My current commiseration person. You were talking to me about Gray when she was going through it, but it’s, like, we have the same conversation. Like, what he says to me, I would say to him, but it still helps to have somebody. Yeah.

Kamal: Yeah. Somebody to bounce off of. So I would say, management is gonna be a huge Part of your journey, avoiding any drama would, is the best case of course, of action so that your dog doesn’t develop any behavioral issues that you then have to fix later on. If you can train and use reinforcement beyond a treat in a toy environmental reinforcements and a huge one, your dog’s opportunity to say, “Hello,” to the other dogs and to go and have a smell that nice smell or et cetera, et Cetera, can all be used to create focus for you, which is essentially what we’re concerned with. Across the board, I like to put “Please And Thank You” behaviors on my dogs when they become more challenging. So for example, if they want to come out of the crate, they have to offer me behavior. They want to go out the back door offer me behavior, just to tighten up their focus for me. That is not to say that my dogs don’t have downtime. Now,let me be really clear on that. They’ve got to be dogs and they’ve got to have an outlet where they can hurl around and blast off energy. And that’s another thing, adolescent dogs, they need to have an outlet for all that hyperactive energy, you know,

Kathy: Especially if you’re managing higher.

Kamal: Yep. So, management, use external reinforcement. Allowed them downtime so they can just hurl around. Obviously think safety and allow them to, you know, have that outlet. Do regular, what I call relationship building excursions or walks, et cetera. That means, you’re in the dog safe environment, nothing going on, no distractions, and you can then reconnect with that dog and find the fact that you actually do like the dog and there is a redeeming feature about it when it’s really, really challenging. And, final one is, it is part of the process and I know this is corny, is what it sounds. Everybody will go through this with the dog at some point in their career if they have more than one dog. It is normal, you will get through it. We’ve all been there and, again, consider all your options in terms of the dog’s health, et Cetera, et cetera. And, you know, do what’s right for you and the dog without judgment.

Kathy: It’s really good when you have students to talk to them, right? Because I’m in class, I’m like, “Look, I have a puppy, same age as you. He is being an adolescent idiot. He doesn’t know I’m Kathy Santo and he is pulling the same crap your dog is.” And so, it kind of tightens that everybody feels better. They feel way better cause they know I’m living this and it’s, it allows me to help them better too.

Kamal: Yeah. Okay. So if you have any questions for Kathy and I feel free to ask. I’m just going to scroll through really quickly just to make sure I know when you can see Brit, if there’s any, I think just how close. If you do want to ask us any questions,I think I’m going to be getting lots of puppies back. Apparently all my puppies are coming back to the breeder, so I’m going to have a plethora dog waiting for me and when I land in Heathrow.

Kathy: Because he’s fine with it. You can see he’s cool with it. He thinks it’s great! Adolescence is a normal thing.

Kamal: Yeah, no “Return To Sender.” No, there’s a clause in the contract! No they don’t. I’ve moved house. I’m not giving you my address. I don’t want them back. I love you all. Okay. All right. So, if you do have any questions, post them in the comments. Kathy and I will have a look at them. So, for now, we’re going to wrap up. Thank you Cathy. Cathy Santo dog training. And we allowed to tell them about your…?

Kathy: Yeah, I launched a course, Kathy Santo’s Online Dog School For Exceptionally Naughty Dogs and it is Is that what it is, Brit? We’ll throw it in the comments and it is pet training. It’s all the basics for puppies and dogs.

Kamal: So again, great talk. Wealth of experience and knowledge check Kathy stuff out. Loads of free giveaways that they do. Their team are amazing. They’ve been helping me with my online project. So hopefully this has been helpful

Kathy: And buy your book. Don’t forget your book!

Kamal: Oh yes, my book. So, but yeah, so if you, adolescence is normal. I hope this conversation has given you a little bit of guidance and help about how to move forward with your adolescent dogs.

Kathy: Stop crying, it’s normal, drink heavily and you’ll all get through it.

Kamal: Yep. All right guys. Have a nice soft evening in the UK and afternoon the US. See you later.

Both: Bye!

Kathy: Welcome to Kathy Santo’s Dog Sense, “Episode Three: My Top 10 Ways To Improve Your Dog’s Training Right Now.” I’m your host Kathy Santo, and I’m here to teach you everything I’ve learned in my over three decades of training dogs, their families, competing in dog sports, writing about dogs, and being a guest on radio and TV shows. I am so glad you joined us today,and I’m also joined by one of my trainers, Sarah, who is currently training dogs in Fort Collins, Colorado. Hey, Sarah!

Sarah: Hey, everyone!

Kathy: So today I’m so excited to talk about the top 10 ways to improve your dog’s behavior right now. And I know that you implement all of these ways with your students out there in Colorado as well.

Sarah: Yes, absolutely.

Kathy: And so the first one is…I’m going to let you do it. I’ll make a little drum roll.

Sarah: Perfect! So the first one’s going to be your “Release Cue.”

Kathy: And maybe people don’t know what that is. The release cue is the recess bell. It tells your dog when they’re done. And I see, and I know you do as well, so many people like ask their dog to do something. For example, sit, and the dog sits and they’re, like, “Good dog!” And the dog just walks away like that.

Sarah: Yeah. Exactly.

Kathy: That can’t happen. You have to tell the dog when I start and then you have to tell the dog when it’s over. Alright, what’s number two?

Sarah: Another thing just from the release cue is also to make sure that you’re consistent with what words you’re using when releasing your dog, and that goes across the board with the whole family as well. You got to pick one word and that’s your release cue.

Kathy: Yeah, because it can’t be, “Okay!” And the other one’s, like, “You’re done dude.” And then the other one is, “Break!” Like, it can’t. If you have people in your life training your dog with you, you need to have a meeting, you need to post something on the fridge and it says, “These are the words we’re using.” Stop confusing your puppies and dogs by using every word in the dictionary instead of just one consistent word.

Sarah: Yup! Alright, so next up we have “Working In Different Environments.”

Kathy: Yes, because just because your dog can sit when you’re in the kitchen facing north, holding a cheese stick does not mean they’re going to sit outside. And yet, we hear this all the time, people are, like, “Ah! There was a squirrel and it was running in the yard and I told him to sit and he didn’t and he knows better and he’s just blowing me off!” No, your dog is reflection of you as a trainer and that’s not to make you feel guilty or start heavily drinking. It’s just to explain to you that your dog only knows what you’ve taught them.

Sarah: Right.

Kathy: So if you were teaching this in a quiet environment, there’s no transfer initially. Dogs don’t generalize like you want them to, or like people do. You can’t sit them down on a rock and say, “Dude, look. Whenever I say sit, no matter what else is going on, you have to do it right.” I mean, like, I wish I could. We’re working on that. We’re working on that.

Sarah: You’re working on an app for that right?

Kathy: I am! There’s going to be an app for that, but for right now, you got to dig in and do old fashion work. You’ve got to put the dog in multiple situations and teach them that the sit in the kitchen means the same thing as I sit in the yard with the squirrel and beyond.

Sarah: Exactly. So one way to get that is to then, so the next thing we have, is leverage what they want into training.

Kathy: Ooh, you do that one. This reminds me of episode two when we talked about “No Bowl Month”. Remember that?

Sarah: Yes. Okay.

Kathy: I think we just lost…

Sarah: I was distracted by one of my dogs.

Kathy: Oh, no!

Sarah: Yeah! So all the time. What? I mean all the time I used my dog’s food, their breakfast or dinner or, if you have a cup of their lunch as well, to train them. Use that and use it in your training to help build your relationship as well, which we talked about in that episode.

Kathy: Right. Then when they see you as the person who owns everything and they have a working relationship with you, like, “Hey, what if I do this?” And you’re, like, “Hey, and then I’ll give you this.” And, and people get inky about this Sarah and you know, from your students, they’re, like, “I don’t want to have to train with food forever!”

Sarah: Exactly.

Kathy: And you won’t, I promise.

Sarah: We hear it all the time.

Kathy: Yeah, exactly. But for the time being in the beginning or when you’re trying to get past an issue, this is what you need to do.

Sarah: Exactly. We can fade out the food later on, at the later date. But right now you need you to have to be able to pay them.

Kathy: Exactly. Alright. Now number four, “Be Consistent With Commands,” which we talked about and “Expectations.” So I feel that people, they watered down the training because the situation is chaotic. So, for example, if somebody comes in your house, your dog knows how to sit and you say sit and instead of saying they lay down and you’re just like, oh, it’s fine. Here’s a cookie. You did something right.

Sarah: Yup.

Kathy: Yeah. We need to make sure that it means the same thing. And your criteria or expectation is the same every single time.

Sarah: Yup. And also, for another big one that we see a lot is for the place command. The place command means all four paws are on whatever you pointed to. Whether it’s a place bed, a towel, a rock when you’re out hiking, a bench at the park place means all four paws stay on your place bed that if one part comes off that’s not place. And a lot of times that’s the one that I see a lot that gets watered down.

Kathy: Right! People are like, “Oh, they still have three on.” Yeah, but tomorrow to be two.

Sarah: Right.

Kathy: And then it will be just one. Then they’ll just be near it and you’re, like, “I don’t know…they used to know this now that just blow me off.”

Sarah: Exactly. So yeah, if you yeah, if the expectations aren’t clear the entire time the dog was going to get confused and at that point it’s not their fault. It’s the, it’s the trainer or the handler/owner’s fault.

Kathy: If we had a nest cam on people all the time, we’d cry about, but we would be able to point out these situations and explain to them better how to fix it. Alright, next. Ooh, I love this one! Plan and set the stage for your training session. So many people get inspired to train and they’re, like, “Yes, I’m going to train the dog.” And they get the leash and the dog and the food and they’re, like, “Wait, okay, where’s my other leash? Okay, wait, oh, I need a toy. Oh, what am I going to do today?” And they waste, like, 20-30 minutes trying to figure out what they’re gonna do. And now the dog is tired, and bored, and it just falls apart. So for me, I have a plan. And the reason I have a plan is because I write down every single thing that I do in training sessions. And no, it doesn’t take me a long time. Brevity is a gift. It takes me, like, a minute to write down, “sit: terrible, work on it more. Down: Awesome. Next step is ready.” So it’s like my little shorthand. So I pull out my notebook before my dog is with me. He’s crated, he’s gated, he’s somewhere, but not with me. I say, “Ooh, today I’m going to work on doorway protocol and I’m going to do it in 10 minutes when I know the kid across the street walks his annoying dog on the front line, uh, and my dog’s thinks that’s really interesting.” So it’s my distraction. And then I get my food, I get my dog, I make sure that the dog is really outside across the street. And then I start my session, and I also time it. I time sessions because I would train for hours.

Sarah: Exactly.

Kathy: I had cut myself off, but I like my students to set a timer, because I want them to train the five minutes or the 10 minutes that we decided to do, so that they don’t cheat and cut corners.

Sarah: Right. And your training session doesn’t need to be an hour long.

Kathy: No. I mean, I wish it was.

Sarah: We would love to train for hours on end. Then it comes to a point where they’re not learning anymore.

Kathy: Right. And you just sort of digging away at the progress you made. But that’s why we have multiple dogs, Sarah, because we love to train and so we just go from one dog to the next dog. So we’re dog trainers. Oh, wait! And also setting the stage. I like to train in the bathroom with young puppies and dogs that are really distracted. Um, I have many videos of me sitting in a bathroom where the toilet papers off the role, the shower curtain is pulled, the mats off the floor and the window shade is pulled down. And by default, I am the most interesting thing in that room and I get a lot more engagement that way. And that’s how I spent a lot of the early days with all of my new dogs and some clients dogs to just building that relationship.

Sarah: Yeah. That can be for puppies, or dogs, who are brand new to you, or do you, or if you’re working on engagement and attention. That’s a great, that’s a great stage to do it in.

Kathy: Because you set them up for success

Sarah: Yeah.

Kathy: And you set yourself up to be the best thing ever. Ooh, I’m looking at number six, Sarah, and it’s about “How Long Should The Training Sessions Be?” And we just talked about that.


Kathy: Five minutes. We love it.

Sarah: Yeah, so up next we have, so also, and this queues into exactly what we were just talking about, is “Know Your Dog.”

Kathy: Correct. Train the dog you have! Not the dog you wish you had, not the dog you used to have. Do you have a dog with a lot of endurance? A lot of engagement? Is he bored? Could he care less about, you know, the food that you have? I mean, you’ve got to stack the deck in your favor and you come into this with a hungry, lonely, and bored dog or puppy, and understand the needs of that dog to maximize every single second that you have with them. I also want to point out, though, that those sessions, if we say a 10 minute session, probably five of those minutes are are playing, you know it’s like I do a of things, three or four reps and then “Woo!” tug toy and then we do a few more reps or something else and then I run away and say their name. So this is not just, like, sitting in math class, or whatever class you didn’t like, where the teacher is just sort of drilling you. This is fun stuff, because in addition to learning commands, our dogs are learning to build the relationship with u. And as I always say, “The leash is not the relationship. The cookie is not the relationship.” What’s going to save you when the dog gets out the house, or the yard, and he’s booking for the road. The only thing that saves you in that moment isn’t the chicken mcnugget that you give him for training, it is how he feels about your relationship and what you have taught him is acceptable and where your criteria is for that come command. That’s it. That’s all you have. Just you.

Sarah: Yup.

Kathy: All right. So next “Control the Environment.” That’s kind of our bathroom tip, right?

Sarah: Yeah, it really is. Yeah.

Kathy: Like, I’m not going to go train my dog in the middle of the living room when I have guests over or kids, you know, playing or outside in the yard when my neighbor’s lawn people are there, I’m just not going to do it. I’m going to make sure that whatever level my dog is, he gets the environment he needs to succeed and grow. Not just stay at the level he’s at, but go into the next level and advance.

Sarah: Yup.

Kathy: Alright, next we have “Training The People”. Oh, that takes longer

Sarah: When you get questions all the time. Like, you know, “Is this class, can we have this class with our kids, too?” Or, “Can our husbands come to this class?”

Kathy: Yeah. And we say that’s a much longer class. Much, much longer. It’s funny though, whenever I meet a new client and they bring their kids, I can always tell how well a dog training is going to go after spending an hour with them. Uh, yeah. So, yeah, you had to train the people in your life too. It’s, if you’re the only one training the dog and you’re being consistent, yes, the dog will listen to you, but you could have saboteurs intentionally or accidentally retraining all the good stuff you’re doing. So make sure everybody’s on the same page. I will accept the answer of, “Well, I’m just not going to ask the dog to do anything from the people who live with you.” And that’s fine by me. They don’t want to participate. That’s fine, but they can’t use any of your commands that your training.

Sarah: Yeah. And also, I thought about what the, the game you used to play with your kids when they were little in the dog training.

Kathy: Yes. When they get there little baggies of food.

Sarah: Yes.

Kathy: Yeah. So when my kids were little, they come home from school and each of them got a little baggie and I called them “The Keys.” So if you had a key, meaning a piece of cookie, uh, dog cookie that is, you are allowed to say the dog’s name. And so when they said the dog’s name and the dog paid attention to them, they would throw them a cookie. And if they ran out of keys, they could just say, “puppy puppy.” And what that did was it maintained the dog’s intention or understanding of their name being something amazing that they got a lot of rewards for. And my kids were participating in the training and not undoing it. I train kids, too. Alright.

Sarah: I always use that trick. I love it. Okay, so the final thing we have is “Understanding Body Language.”

Kathy: Yes, because it’s the native language of your dog. Imagine if you went to a different country and you didn’t understand one little thing that everybody was saying. Well the problem is there’s no communication now, right? So people are talking to dogs and they’re, like, “Stop it. What are you doing? Blah, blah, blah.”, and the dogs are, like, “I don’t get your language.” And they’re telling you things like, “stay away,” or, “I’m afraid,” or “I’m unsure.” And you don’t know their language either, so you’re sort of blowing it, blowing by it and offending them and they’re offending you, and it’s just a hot mess. So what we want you to do is have a better understanding of what your dog is trying to tell you with their body, which is the native language of dogs. To do this, I created, well at the school, if you were in Jersey and you were in our classes, you would be able to come to a free body language seminar every single month. We do live dog demos, we do videos, we freeze videos, and we say, “Look at that, look at this. What do you think is going to happen next?” And most people are surprised when we freeze the video and they’d say what’s going to happen next when we play the video, and something totally opposite happened. And so we feel that this education prevents fights and bites and also make your relationship stronger because who doesn’t want to hang out with somebody who understands them? Right?

Sarah: Exactly. So huge. It’s such like a big point that we have to get across to students is that they have to understand what their dog is telling them. Their dogs don’t speak English, but they speak with their bodies. Like, they were always communicating with us. It’s whether or not we understand them.

Kathy: Yeah. People are saying, people say to me, “Oh my dog’s not doing anything,” and I’m like, “Oh, he is!”

Sarah: They are misinterpreting what they’re saying. So you know that, they think it’s funny when the dog is growling over them over a cookie on the ground or something and we’re like, “Listen, this is going to progress to so much more than that.” They’re, they’re misinterpreting it too.

Kathy: It’s like when people send us the Christmas cards and it’s the kids and the dogs, or them and the dog and they’re hugging or we just like, “Oh my God!” And so we wind up using them as instruction, like, “See this dog? Having a bad time, kids having a good time. Dog is having a bad time.”

Sarah: Yeah

Kathy: But to help you guys understand that what I’ve done is, I’ve taken that body language seminar that I give live and I’d made a Webinar. Now what I want to say, Sarah, and you know what I’m going to say, when I recorded this Webinar, I just did it for my students who know me and my level of sarcasm and snark…so…surprise! We’re going to give it to you guys, but I want you to keep that in mind. I’m speaking to people who, we have a very familiar relationship with, so a little sassy just, you know, roll in it.

Sarah: Everyone needs to watch this, nevermind, your awesome commentary. It’s just, it’s so, it’s so beneficial for everyone to be, to be learning this and then sharing it with your, if you have dogs in your family, share to every single family member, share to your neighbor, share it to everyone you know, so that they are also able to understand what, what they’re seeing when they’re looking at a dog.

Kathy: Absolutely. It’s, it’s really invaluable for everybody and we want everybody to learn from it, so we’re making it available. All right, Sarah. Well, this I think was one of my favorite podcasts. I think this was, this is going to help a lot of people pretty quickly. And…

Sarah: We covered so much stuff!

Kathy: We did! And even if you just take one or two of these things and make that change to your life with your dog, uh, you’re going to see a huge improvement. Alright, so that’s it for this episode of Kathy Santo’s Dog Sense. Thank you, Sarah, for hanging out with me again. I’m reminding you guys to check out my “Canine Body Language Webinar,” and the link to that will be posted along with the podcast. Thank you so much for spending time with us, and I hope you’ll join us again soon. If you do have any comments or show ideas, we’d love to hear them. So reach out to us through our website at, And as always, if you like what you hear, jump on over to whatever subscription service you use to download this podcast from and like rate, subscribe, tell a friend, and share this episode somewhere to help spread the word so we can continue to create an awesome community of dog lovers and learners. Happy training everyone!

Kathy: Welcome to Kathy Santo’s Dog Sense “Episode Two: Ditch The Bowl Challenge.” I’m your host Kathy Santo and I’m here to teach you everything I’ve learned in my over three decades of training dogs, their families, competing in dog sports, writing about dogs, and being a guest on radio and TV shows. I’m so glad you joined us today and I’m also so glad that I’m here with one of my favorite people, my trainer, Sarah, who used to work up with us and our dog training facility in New Jersey, but now is out in Fort Collins, Colorado doing a smaller, at the moment, version of the school we have up here and we have big plans for you, Sarah. I’m really excited about putting a facility down there sometime soon.

Sarah: Yes, absolutely. Hey everyone! Alright, so today’s episode we are going to address one of our absolute favorite things to do with our students. We do it throughout the year, and it’s our Monthly Bowl Free Challenge.

Kathy: Which is different than a Free Bowl Challenge, which is what one of my students in Puppy Class, she’s like, “Wait, what? We get, you’re giving us a free bowl?”

Sarah: Yeah.

Kathy: I’m like, “No, no, no…let me say it again. It’s a Bowl Free Challenge.” But they still didn’t know what the hell that means.

Sarah: No, they, and it’s something that, that they don’t even, it doesn’t even cross their mind to do this. A lot of the times, like, when we tell students, like, use your dog’s food to train, that’s a perfect opportunity, to, for your dog to be learning how to earn everything in their lives and they don’t even think about it. They think that they have to use, like, hot dogs or cheese to train their dogs anything.

Kathy: Right! So here’s what I tell them. Number one, when we train new dogs, puppies, a lot of the times we’re using food and it’s because there’s not a relationship yet with the owner and the dog. And two, food, to dogs, is currency. It’s like paychecks. Although, occasionally, I get somebody who says, “Why can’t I just train with praise?” And I’m like, “Well you can, but it’s not as interesting to the dogs, because they hear you talking all the time. You probably praised them for just breathing all the time,” and, “How would you like it if your workplace decided, ‘you know what we’re doing with paychecks, we’re just going to give you lots of compliments’? ”

Sarah: We’re going to hug you every time you do a great job.

Kathy: Right!

Sarah: Kisses on the cheek for exceptional work.

Kathy: Exactly. No, that’s why I work for myself.

Sarah: I would be, I would quit. I’d be out of there in three seconds.

Kathy: That’s right! And, you know what, there’s a lot of dogs who don’t like that physical touching stuff!

Sarah: Exactly!

Kathy: So, yeah, way to turn your dog off. Alright, so, basically what I explained to my students is, your dog and you have a list of things you want to teach them. Manners, commands, just basic stuff, basic dog husbandry, that you need to have them understand so that you can live a happy life together, which is the reason you got your dog in the first place.

Sarah: Yup.

Kathy: And if you have all these things that you need to teach and every day you give them a free bowl twice a day, or three of you have a puppy, of exactly what they want for doing nothing, you are throwing away the biggest training tool that you have, and that is, leveraging their meal for training. I mean, and when you say to people, they’re like, “Oh yeah, you’re right!” The thing of it is it improves your relationship because you have something the dog wants. The dog is like, “Hey, I…I really want that!” And you’re like, “Hey, that’s awesome. Let’s do something together!” The dog is like, “Absolutely, I will totally engage with you!” Versus what you get most of the day if you’re not training with us and you don’t have the system in place, which is you walk by your dog, you’re like, “Hey, you want to train?” Dogs chewing a bone, he’s like, “Nope, I’m good. Full from breakfast.” I mean that sucks so much.

Sarah: And think about the dogs. Like, most of the time if you ask an owner like, “When is your dog like the happiest, when was he happiest?” Most of the time they’re going to say, “When I’m making his food.”

Kathy: Right! They get so excited! Imagine if your dog was that into you, the way they are into their bowl. Like…

Sarah: Exactly!

Kathy: Like, you could teach him to do anything. You could teach them to drive your car.

Sarah: We’re getting there.

Kathy: But, right now, they’re excited to see the bowl and not you, but we’re going to flip that. So let’s go over a few things that people don’t, the reason they resist. So one of the reasons they resist is because they say, “This is so much food! Like, my puppy or my dog gets two cups of food a day!” Are you kidding me? I can get rid of two cups of food in 15 minutes. Then I hear, “Oh, I don’t have extra time to train my dog!”

Sarah: Yeah.

Kathy: Okay, dude. Feeding your dog probably takes you five minutes top to bottom, but training will take you 10 or 15, so, get up a little earlier, like, stay off of freaking Facebook.

Sarah: Exactly! Yeah!

Kathy: Like, just, devote the time in the beginning of this training journey and you get what you want. I promise you’ll have all that Facebook time later. You’ll have time to watch whenever that you watch on Netflix, you will. But this is so critical. When you start out training, whether it’s an eight week old puppy or an eight year old dog, you still got to put in this foundation stuff, and this is really important. I also hear, that, “I feed raw.” So they were like, “I feed raw food. I’m not touching that.”

Sarah: If you didn’t touch on this one, I was gonna say the same thing.

Kathy: Exactly. Alright, so get a glove. Get a glove or a spoon!

Sarah: I use a spoon. My dogs eat raw every single meal we train, and I use a spoon.

Kathy: Yeah. And, so easy. If you’re really fussy and picky, you can even get, um, I don’t know how to explain it. They’re like tubes. Just go on Amazon, they have all this crap, and you can put stuff in the tube. The, the bottom of it is open. It’s like a toothpaste tube.

Sarah: Yup.

Kathy: Put it in, roll it down. There’s a little clip you put on it, then you can squeeze it out like toothpaste. So if you just don’t want to touch that stuff, I get it. Not really, but I say I do, and put it into like that. Then you don’t have to have actual contact with the raw. My son, when he feeds his dog, he puts on gloves and gets all the stuff he needs into the bowl. So, you could get gloves, too. Whatever you want to do, just make it happen. Oh, another reason to feed with the bowl, you don’t want this 700 pound dog!

Sarah: Yeah.

Kathy: So if you’re doing training with food, at some point your dog is bigger than he should be. We like to call it fluffy. The vet’s going to hate it, and your dog isn’t going to thrive because of it. So I want you to make sure that the food is a big part of it. Uh, what other objections? Oh, “My dog doesn’t like his food.” Okay.

Sarah: Ugh.

Kathy: Alright. So if he didn’t like his food, and it’s a really healthy food. It’s like the kids, you know, my kids didn’t want to eat broccoli, they’d rather have cookies. Yeah, but at some point you gotta be like, “You know, I know what I’m doing. You can’t have the cookies until you eat the Broccoli.”

Sarah: Exactly.

Kathy: So in that case, you can dress up the food. So you can get a hunk of, like, the rind of parm and you could get a piece of bacon, put it in a Ziploc bag with the kibble, shake it like Shake’n’Bake throw it in the fridge when you’re going to have a training session the next day, your meal training session, take it out and use it. Now it’s scented kibble.

Sarah: Yup.

Kathy: But, but I also think that some dogs don’t like their food because they get so much other crap during the day. Like, they get snacks and all this stuff and so they don’t have a food drive, then, you know, it’s kind of lost on them. Alright! So I want you to give some examples, because I know your students ask you this too, of what things you can train with your dog during the Bowl Free Month. Like, how to get rid of this food. And at the end of the day have a full puppy, and a dog, or a puppy who’s learned more than they knew before the meal.


Sarah: Okay. I could go into this topic, we can look at your podcast for three hours on this topic. Giving everyone examples of what they could do with their food. But some of my top ones, alright, so for puppies, your impulse control games. Work them in the kitchen or the dining room where you, the situation, you were most likely going to need it. So in the dining room, you know your kids drop a plate, you’re in the kitchen, something falls over, work your impulse control games in those environments. Next one, name recognition games, especially with a puppy, they need to learn their name and they need to know how awesome it is. Every time they hear their name, they get food.

Kathy: Wait, stop.

Sarah: Yup.

Kathy: Do you, some people think that their dog knows their name or their puppy knows her name and they don’t?

Sarah: Oh yeah. So I test it in class and I, you know the dog, the dog’s distracted. They’re looking at other puppies in class and you say the dog’s name and he completely ignores you?

Kathy: Right? And they, you know what, sometimes they you hear, you know this, they say, “Oh, but he’s distracted.” I’m like, “Hello?”

Sarah: Yeah.

Kathy: He needs their attention. When they’re looking a squirrel and booking it across the road, do you need their attention when they’re looking at the squirrel? So, yes, something you need to do. Tons of name recognition games.

Sarah: You could use your entire bowl of food, and literally it’s just your dog’s looking away from you. They’re distracted by air molecules. Maybe it’s a squirrel outside the window or something, and you will, you say their name you feed him a handful, whether it’s raw or cable, whatever it is.

Kathy: I just thought about something. This the criteria of when we say you should train your puppy or dog, which is when they’re hungry, lonely and bored.

Sarah: Exactly.

Kathy: So they’ve been sleeping all night, they’ve been in their crate or they’re confined and, so they’re bored, and they’re hungry, and they’re lonely. And so the same thing at dinner time. And if you want, before you do your dinner meal or your lunchtime meal, I would put them somewhere away from you for at least a half an hour. So that when you showed up, your dog is bored, and he’s like, “Oh my God, so good to see you. Let’s do something fun!” And you’re like, “Hey, how about food?” And the dog is really into it. Alright, what else?

Sarah: So touching on what you just said, also, so let’s say if you were someone who may be living in an apartment or you don’t have a fenced in yard and you take your dog for walks in the morning for their potty. Take their kibble, put it in a little baggie with you, put it in your pocket and train on your walk. That’s another huge one that you can use. And, also, for people who say they don’t have time to train. What, if you have to walk your dog, either way, they need to go potty, take the food with you. That’s another huge one that people can do.

Kathy: I find it surprising how many people don’t think to take the dogs food with them.

Sarah: I know they don’t. And a lot of times I hear, you know, it’s, it’s frustrating for them to bring food with them, blah, blah blah. But it’s like, that’s your paycheck. That’s how you’re going to teach your dog all of these things. And if you want your dog to learn heel position, you’re taking them on walks either way. Why not be training?

Kathy: t’s much more frustrating to get dragged down the street…

Sarah: Right!

Kathy: By your dog tugging and lunging. And, wait, oh, we have to touch on this even though it’s kind of not about this, but look. I go crazy when people are handing food to other people and saying, “Well, you feed my dog.” Why the hell are…

Sarah: That’s a big one!

Kathy: …you teaching your puppy, or dog, that all those people out there have food, and that they’re going to give it to him? Because what you’re creating is a dog who wants everything but you. Now people are going to go, “Oh, well you should socialize!” yeah, you know what’s socializing is? Somebody interacts with my puppy and I feed them, or my dog, and I feed them. I’m not letting them think that the world is full of vending machines, because you get zero engagement that way. Dog goes on the walk specifically to seek out food that other people have, and what they really should be doing is trying to earn the food that you brought. That’s the way it works. It doesn’t, and, and people are like, “Oh the whole life of the dog? Fourteen years?” No! Maybe six, nine, 12 months till you’re done with this. But you got to put it in and you don’t forget. And if you did forget, you trudge back up the driveway, you go in and you grab your food. It has to happen.

Sarah: Yup.

Kathy: Alright, what else?

Sarah: Alright, let’s see. Okay, so for puppies, body handling games. Huge, huge, huge thing to do with puppies, and it’s so easy. You have your bowl of food, you pick up a paw, you feed some kibble. Next one, next paw, the belly, the tail, the ears, the neck, the collar grab game. That’s another huge one we teach students! It’s to make sure that they always associate you touching or reaching for their collar with that positive and appetitive response, so they’re not shying away from it. Um, and other thing, so I mean all of your, your basic puppy command, your sit, down stays, you could do the beginning of place. People who say that they want to get rid of like a lot of food quickly, place. Greatest thing ever! You can throw a whole, you can have half a bowl of food on there for the dog getting onto their place command.

Kathy: Exactly. Yeah.

Sarah: Um, and then another, my last one for puppies is going to be puppy fitness. So our whole entire team is certified canine athlete specialists, so we’re super, super into making sure that from the beginning of the dog’s life until the end that they’re getting the physical exercise in the fitness that they need to live a long and healthy life. So we start with puppies and we have to teach them to be at the beginning of it. So paws up and pivoting or two of my favorite things to teach puppies.

Kathy: And you know we talked about this in the barking episode, which was episode one, but the physical combined with the brain work creates a nice tired dog. So that people who don’t buy into the idea of probably fitness or even begin a dog fitness, I’m like, “Look dude, if you do this dog will be better behaved and tired!” And they’re, like, “Ahh, sold!”

Sarah: Yeah, exactly. We’ll give them, the, yeah, we’ll sell them the tired card.

Kathy: Yup. Yup. All right. Now for the beginner dogs, we have doorway protocol, which is just the way that we teach our dogs to go through the door, which is they have to sit before we open it. They have to go through when we release them, and then they have to sit at the other side of it. And so there’s a really great game we do where we straddle the doorway and we show them a cookie and we released him through the door. “Okay. Sit!” and we’d get them back in. “Okay. Sit!” So basically they’re ping ponging back and forth. Yes! There’s the leash on the dog. Yes! I’m standing on it because I don’t feel like chasing an untrained dog down the street.

Sarah: Right.

Kathy: That is an awesome way to get rid of food. Recalls in the yard or in a field. Teaching them to look at you, sit down, stay place, more advanced stuff like that. Again, body handling games and beginner fitness, just like you were talking about with the pivoting. Um, the listening for intermediate/advanced, dogs is really a great way to test it. Doing set up versus side, sit versus down, place versus paws up. Uh, long waits, really long sit stays. When we say, wait, we mean sit  stay, and putting them in place while you make your dinner or you just do something fun. Uh, and they have to stay there and be calm and the reward for that is you’re feeding them. And I also thought the, the example is making dinner, but then I’m like, oh, when you’re on the computer too.

Sarah: Yeah. Like you were talking about you want to be able to sit and Netflix, you know, sit at your laptop watching Netflix, your dog has to, it can’t be constantly bothering you because they weren’t, you know, they weren’t truly tired.

Kathy: Exactly. Alright. Well I think if you are not motivated to try The Ditch The Bowl Challenge, you need to listen to this again.

Sarah: Exactly. You could do so much with it and it’s really, it’s building your relationship with your dog. That’s one of the most important parts to get out of this.

Kathy: Yeah. The leash guys, the leash and the cookie isn’t the relationship.

Sarah: Yup.

Kathy: It’s you and the dog and the way that you feel about each other. The way your dog looks at you, the way he views you as the person who owns all the fun stuff and shares it with him when he behaves in a certain way that you like. So we hope that you’re going to try this and I’d love to hear your feedback. So that’s it for this episode of Kathy Santo’s Dog Sense. When you try this at home with your dogs do tag us with hashtag: Ditch The Bowl Challenge. (#ditchthebowlchallenge) Thank you so much for spending time with us. I hope you’ll join us again soon. And if you have comments or show ideas do you can reach us through our website at As always, if you like what you heard jump over to whatever subscription service you downloaded this from and like rate, subscribe, tell a friend, and share these episodes somewhere to help spread the word so we continue to create an awesome community of dog lovers and learners. Happy training everyone!

Kathy: Welcome to Kathy Santo’s Dog Sense: “Episode One: Barking; The Whys, The Woes, And How To Finally Ditch The Earplugs.” I’m your host Kathy Santo, and I’m here to teach you everything I’ve learned in my over three decades of training dogs, their families, competing in dog sports, writing about dogs, and being a guest on radio and TV shows. I’m so glad you joined us today and I’m also so glad that one of my favorite people is here, too. And today my guest is Sarah. Now Sarah is one of my trainers and she started when she was with our facility in New Jersey and she has since moved, about a year ago, to Colorado and she’s opening a branch of what we do up here with the dog training and the daycare out in Fort Collins, Colorado. Hey, Sarah!

Sarah: Hey everyone!

Kathy: So is it about a year that you’ve been gone?

Sarah: Yeah, it’ll be a year midway through January.

Kathy: It feels like dog years.

Sarah: Exactly!

Kathy: You couldn’t have moved to like freaking Connecticut where you could have just come and visit. You had to go all the way across the country.

Sarah: Hey, we got a lot of dogs out here that need training as well!

Kathy: This is true and you know, this is a funny story. She moved to Colorado and, like, three weeks later one of my students from here said, “Oh, I’m moving.” I said, “I’m so sad. We’re going to miss you. Where are you moving?” She’s like, “Fort Collins, Colorado.” I’m like, “No way!” So she got out there, right? Lilo and then she started training with you. So we got to get more of those happening.

Sarah: Exactly, yes.

Kathy: Alright, so what are we talking about today?

Sarah: Alright, so today’s episode, we’re going to address a topic we get asked about every single day, whether it’s in classes or private lessons at the school, or when we also got these questions from the online dog training program, as well as comments and messages on our social media pages.

Kathy: I think it’s probably one of the biggest. I’d say it’s probably one of the top three questions we get asked about and, like I said in the Intro, I’ve been training dogs for over 30 years and I hear this every day. Now, we teach seven days a week at our school, so we’re pretty guaranteed this topic is going to come up, but there is such mystery and frustration surrounding the topic that, I thought that this would be a really good one to start off with to help people fix their barking issues, or not let them happen in the first place. So, if you’re listening to this and you’re like, “Ah, my dog doesn’t bark,” keep listening because you may one day do the wrong thing and then you have a barker on your hands, which you definitely don’t want to have. Right?

Sarah: Exactly.

Kathy: So before we have to tell you the solution, we need you to understand why the dog is barking and that’s pretty much how we attack all the training. People are like, “Oh my dog runs away!” And were like, “Well, here’s why it’s happening, and then here’s the solution,” because I believe if you don’t understand the why, you can’t effectively use the solutions we’re telling you. So here’s some insight into what might be the reason your dog is barking. So, first, there’s no single reason they bark and it can change day to day, so there’s really no quick fix guaranteed cookie cutter method to stop barking. You kind of feel your way through it, and it’s frustrating to live with a dog who bugs you or even next door to, or if you’re an apartment, over or under a dog that barks, because once the dog is an Olympic barker it gets much, much harder to fix. And, so, if we know the motivation behind it, then we can better address the problem with a solution. So, we know that obviously dogs bark, a dog barks because it works and they’re scaring somebody away, their self soothing and they’re getting attention or they’re releasing frustration, but the most typical reasons for that are, you know what, Sarah, I’m going to let you do a couple. Go for it. What would be number one?

 Sarah: Right. So some of the common reasons for barking is definitely “Boredom.” So it’s a way that they’re going to self soothe, it sounds repetitive, or if the dog is under stimulated.

Kathy: Exactly. It’s like, I know people like this. Oh, I just had an epiphany! Have you met people who just like the sound of their voice, and they just keep talking? Yeah.

Sarah: Yes.

Kathy: So, yeah, hopefully they don’t have a dog like that, or maybe, hopefully, they do have a dog like that so they know what it feels like to others but, okay, carry on. What’s number two?

Sarah: Alright, so the next one, It’s gotta be that the dog is either attention or it’s demand barking. So, what that means is that. So the dog, it’s either, they want something from you or they’re hoping that the barking, and they’re hoping that the bark and will get it from you.

Kathy: And you know what? A lot of people go, “Oh no, I don’t do that. My dog barks at me to throw the ball and I won’t throw the ball. And I tell him, ‘Stop it, I’m not throwing that ball’ ” And I’m, like, “That’s it. There it is right there. There’s the interaction!”

Sarah: Exactly.

Kathy: You think they’re only asking for positive interaction, but you’re annoyed interaction is attention anyway, which is kind of just like kids, right? They don’t care if they’re getting negative attention or positive attention. Sometimes, they just want you to interact with them and so that’s definitely, what’s happening with that, number two, when people are fussing at their dogs. It’s still attention.

Sarah: Right! They think that they’re, they think that they’re helping to deter the barking. But, in reality it’s still perpetuating it.

Kathy: Exactly.

Sarah: Alright. So next one is going to be “Excitement.” So you’re prepping their meals, you come from home from work, you grab your car keys, you pick up their leash, any of those things, and the dogs are crazy barking, exciting. And a lot of people unfortunately they take it as, “Oh my dog is so excited to see me,” you know, they’re just excited, whatever. But it’s still, that’s going to then translate to other situations.

Kathy: Exactly. And the thing about that is the dog gets what they want because most of the time the dogs barking and the people are making their dinner or their breakfast, the dog’s meal, and they do it faster because they want the dog to shut up. And, so, the dog goes, “Hey, when I back harder and louder and faster, she makes my food faster. So that’s awesome!” Or, if you grab your car keys and the dog’s jumping around like a kangaroo barking because he knows you’re going to take him somewhere, and you do, the dog goes, “This barking stuff. It really works!” Right?

Sarah: Exactly.

Kathy: Number four.

Sarah: Alright, so this one, it’s got to be, this might be my second top one that we hear most often. So an “Alarm Bark.” So, something that startles them. So the doorbell rings, the mailman comes up the front, you know, they hear the car, the mail truck pull up. That kind of thing.

Kathy: Right. And so, there’s a lot we can do that with that one and we’re gonna talk about later. But my big thing with that is I don’t want, when I go somewhere, I don’t like to leave my dogs in a dead quiet house or if you’re an apartment, I like to have white noise to sort of buffer this stuff because, imagine if you were in a very quiet house and all of a sudden you heard a noise and, see the other thing is I hear the UPS truck and I’m, like, “Yes, Amazon! It’s here!” The dogs, they don’t know you ordered something. They’re, like, “Oh my God, intruders!” And some dogs, which you may or may not have one of, are more easily startled or pushed into a reaction from noise than others. I mean, my puppy he hears  the doorbell, he’s like, “Huh?” But other dogs hear it and there, boom, on alert, barking, acting.

Sarah: Exactly.

Kathy: Whatever they act like and, and by the way, if you have multiple dogs and you bring one into the house who is a barker, you can actually change, teach all of them to bark. It will pass on. It’s like the flu. They will all catch it. So you want to stop that ASAP. Oh, number five. That’s my favorite one. Go ahead you can say it.

Sarah: I was just going to say that too!. Every time we go down this list, I’m like, oh wait, no THAT one’s my favorite.. “Window TVs” at the front of your house where the dog has easy access to, whether it’s on the back of the couch or they could just put their front paws up on it and look out of it, but that that huge window at the front of the house.

Kathy: Wait, people are hearing this and going, “What the hell is a window TV?” Some people want to order one now. Some people are like, “I don’t get it.” Okay.

Sarah: It’s TV for your dog!

Kathy: Yes. We refer to open windows, meaning, not open-wide open, like, ones without curtains. Anything your dog can see out of. We call that a window TV, and the dog gets to watch the best TV show on earth, which is your neighborhood show and then they’ll find things to bark at and we’re going to explain why that’s a problem, but it’s a pretty easy fix.

Sarah: Yeah, and then the other one, which can relate to all of these is that the reason that they bark is “Because It Works.” Whatever they’re barking, whatever the reason is for barking, it works.

Kathy: Exactly. And it, we know it does because they keep doing it. If it didn’t, they’d stop. They’re very black and white about that stuff. Alright, so let’s keep these few things in mind when we’re working on this. Number one, “Don’t Yell At Your Dog To Be Quiet,” because it sounds like you’re barking and you know they like to be in packs!

Sarah: They have confirmation now.

Kathy: Right? It’s, oh my gosh. I hear this all the time, right in front of me in class, “Stop it! Be quiet. Cut it out. Cut it out!”  And the dogs, bark and louder to get over the person. It’s futile. Also, “Stay Consistent.” Everybody in your family has to do the same thing. So if you’re ignoring your dog when he barks, but your husband looks at him and slides him a piece of pizza crust, you never going to get it any better. It’s going to be bad. And, and you’ll be, you’ll be able to out the culprit pretty easily with stuff like that. Whoever the dog is looking at when they’re barking, that’s your weak link. And the last one is, “Don’t Make Eye Contact Or Interact With Your Dog While He’s Barking.” I like to say that when my dog barks, I become invisible and I walk away and he’s like, “Where the hell is she going?” But, it’s really the barking and that drives me out. Alright, so, let’s get to solutions. First one is “Remove The Reward.” And you and I, we both agree that when a dog barks, he’s getting some sort of reward, which we spoke about a little bit earlier. So let’s talk about the dog who barks and somebody walks past your house. Easy peasy, right?

Sarah: Yup.

Kathy: Block the access to the window. Close the shades, put up a gate. I have said to people, alright, so this is also storytime. Anytime we do these podcasts, it just jumps into a story. Of course.

Sarah: I was gonna say. Are you gonna tell the story about the woman who had the garbage bags up?

Kathy: Yes.

Sarah: This is so good!

Kathy: So I had a student with three little Maltese. They were triplets, meaning they were all from the same litter. Don’t ask me why she kept all three, but she did. And they lived, their house was facing a street that people turned into, like, it was the first house on the corner, and so at night when a car would turn the headlights would momentarily go through the front glass door and then carry on. And the dogs would lose their mind whenever that happened. So she would try to bust up, keep them away from it with crate, um, try to barricade them. Uh, she would, when she saw the lights, she would be, like, “Oh! Oh no, don’t bark, don’t bark,” and get up from her TV show. And she was watching some series that was annoying for her. She even tried putting them upstairs in the room with her and watching Netflix on her laptop. But for whatever reason they still could tell and it was just, it was crazy. The lengths that she was going to adapt her life to have this not happen.

Sarah: Instead of fixing it. It was futile.

Kathy: Yeah. And it was such a pattern. Did it happen during the day? No, it did not, cause there were no headlights. Oh, PS, this is probably important backstory. She taught them to chase a laser pointer!

Sarah: Oh my! Well that’s where it starts!

Kathy: Don’t do that! Especially with dogs who have quirks who like to chase little things like that. So, this was like the biggest laser pointer ever. Anyway, I went over there and I’m like, “Dude, the gates aren’t working. They don’t care. We’re just going to block their access.” So we got trash bags, black trash bags, and we duct taped them to the doorframe from the top all the way down to the bottom. It was beautiful. And all of a sudden there were no headlights and the behavior stopped. Now, that’s not the end solution, because she didn’t like the way that looked. So what we did was we would roll it up an inch every couple of weeks. And they’d see a little light and we got better and better and better. And pretty soon it was no big deal. What we also added into that was when the lights would come by, when we started rolling it up an inch, she had a handful of treats and when the dogs would see the light, she’d say “Headlights,” and throw a handful of treats, which was, I don’t know, I wouldn’t have chosen that word, but it is what it is. And so to this day if you say to the dog, “Headlights,” they look at the ground like, “Where’s the food?”

Sarah: Right.

Kathy: So, we reconditioned them to, when you do this something good happen. So, and now it’s a couple of years later and it’s done. So that was a really quick fix for her. Although, the dramatics beforehand were pretty intense. We talked about this, “Don’t Reinforce Barking With Attention.” So, if their demand barking don’t look, don’t touch, nada, nothing. And when he’s quiet, then you give them attention. But, Sarah, I find that people don’t leave enough of a bumper between the barking, the silence, and the reinforcer. Do you?

Sarah: No, because if you don’t leave enough time, or you’re not consistent, which we talked about earlier, then it’s not going to be fixed.

Kathy: Exactly, and to this point, when I have a new dog in the house, and I do right now, I have a puppy who’s five months old, and when I start meal prep and he’s bouncing around, it’s not barking, but he’s bouncing and spinning and all the other dogs are there too, I stop the process, put the ball on the counter and go sit down at the kitchen table and all the other dogs are like, “Crap, the new guy!”

Sarah: “The new guy!”

Kathy: “It’s gonna be hours before we eat!” And, so, what they know and what he’s learning is that that kind of behavior, it makes everything stopped. It doesn’t make it go faster. It makes it stop.

Sarah: Right! And each time you do that, so someone’s doing this at home. The first time can be five minutes, then the next, if you then go back and you start to make the bowl and they start doing the same thing, then the next time you go sit down, it’s 10 minutes.

Kathy: Right? I think that’s the key. The unexpected outcome, like, “Hey, I used to do this and I would get faster service, but now they closed the restaurant. That sucks.” And I think people need to keep in mind how long this behavior has been going on…

Sarah: Yup.

Kathy: …As a good expectation for how long it’s gonna take to fix it. If they’ve been barking five years. It’s not gonna take five years to fix it, but it’s gonna take a little bit of time. It’s the toothbrush thing, right? So if every day you go to your bathroom, the toothbrush is on the left. You reach for it, put toothpaste on, brush your teeth. If I take your toothbrush, move it to the right side of the sink, every morning, for awhile, you’re going to reach for the left. You’re going to say, “Dammit, it’s on the right!” Right? It’s, like, when you lose power to your house, how many times, you know, the power’s off and try to turn on the damn lights.

Sarah: Yup.

Kathy: So it’s a pattern behavior. It’s reflexive. They’re almost not even thinking of it. So be patient when you make changes. I don’t want to hear you say, “I did it for a week and it didn’t work. Kathy Santo, you suck.” Don’t say that! It takes a while. I know this stuff! I see it every day and it will work! And a lot of it depends on you. Let’s talk about keeping them occupied, for the boredom barkers.

Sarah: Yup. So some of the top things we suggest for students. Because also, so if they are barking from boredom, that’s what you’ve determined it to be, you now want to be proactive. You want them to not be bored. So then the bargaining isn’t happening. So, a lot of things we like to use our food dispensing puzzle toys, we love a good antler, stuffed Kongs, which are the, and these are all gonna provide stimulation and an activity for your dogs that they could focus on that instead of the barking.

Kathy: Right. And that Antler, I want to make a point. Sorry I left you hanging before I was taking a drink. I put the antler in warm, or hot, chicken broth for like 20 minutes. It’s sort of reconstitutes it, you can do straight warm water to. And then let it cool off and then dry it and give it to your dog and sometimes people get antlers and they’re, like, “Oh it was great initially and then my dog was, like, ‘I don’t care about it,’” but, you can do things to make them more interesting and you know, it’s chicken broth now, it’s beef brother later. You can even put them in the freezer for a bit, especially for those teething puppies. But those are things you’d give the dog before they’re barking. Can we just talk about the fact that sometimes dogs bark and people give them things to chew on?

Sarah: Oh my God. Yeah.

Kathy: So, that’s exactly what we’re talking about earlier.

Sarah: But, if your dog’s barking and then you give them something, they are learning, “When I bark, I get this!”

Kathy: Right! That’s like your kid yelling at you, “Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom,” and you give them 20 bucks and they’re like, “Oh, now I know how to get 20 bucks.” Yeah, we’re not doing that. Alright, let’s hop over to, “Make Sure Your Dog Is Getting Enough Mental And Physical Exercise.” So…

Sarah: Yep.

Kathy: You and I created the Canine Gym Program. Why don’t you speak to that about the physical exercise?

Sarah: Okay. So what we like to do with all of our dogs is not just the mental and it’s not just the physical. We like to combine both of it so that both parts of the dog are getting the stimulation, the exercise, everything that they need in order to truly tire them out. If you just take your dog for a long walk in the morning and then you put them back inside and you go to work, they’re not truly tired. Sure, that walk was great. They got to potty, they got to do some sniffs. But, unless you’re adding in the mental side of things, you’re working their obedience, you’re working their impulse control while you’re on that walk, they’re not going to be truly tired. And then when they get home and you leave for work they’re going to look for other things to do to entertain themselves. I.E. barking.

Kathy: Exactly. Now, I had a student whose puppy would bark when she put it in a crate at night, and I really felt bad because, she came to me with this idea and thought it was, like, genius. She was, like, “I have the solution!” I’m, like, “Okay, great. What is it?” She’s, like, “Every night before I put him in his crate, I go for a walk around the block four times and I get home and I put them in the crate and he’s out.” Now, major problem with this, although I paused a moment to see, to think about how I was going to deliver the bad news so that she didn’t cry or start, start drinking. Um, so, a couple of days ago I went to something called Cycle Bar and it’s like a cycle bike place. And the first day it kicked my butt, the second day kicked my butt, but not as much. By the third day I could do faster and I could turn the knob up to give more resistance to it.

Sarah: Right.

Kathy: And, so, the more I go to Cycle Bar, the more training I’m going to get. So, think about this with the dog. He’s, like, 12 weeks old, he gets four times around the block and he’s tired. What happens when is endurance increases? It’s going to be eight times around the block.

Sarah: Exactly!

Kathy: She’s going to be walking and jogging for hours before the dog goes to bed.

Sarah: By the time he’s a year old, we’re going to be doing marathons!

Kathy: Now, if that’s the goal, you go, girl! You’re going to hit it. But if it’s not considered doing two blocks and adding and training or some physical fitness where he’s getting his paws up or, or just like train him to do physical things and wear at his brain, his body at the same time. And then you’ll get the solution that you’re hoping for.

Sarah: And also what you teach in classes all the time, nose work games. Those are exhausting for a dog.

Kathy: Exactly. Yep. And, and people, I don’t think they think that, because there’s not a lot of motion. They associate exercise with exhaustion.

Sarah: Right.

Kathy: But, I’m telling you I could go to the gym and workout and come home and be like ready for the day, and I could sit in front of my computer and work on my book, or whatever, and be exhausted after a couple of hours, because it’s brainwork. Imagine though…ooh, great idea! What if at Cycle Bar I could have my laptop with me…

Sarah: I knew you were gonna say that.

Kathy: And I can be peddling!

Sarah: Thinking, “What can I do, and work?”

Kathy: Oh, my God. That would be amazing. All right, so let’s get to the last thing. The last thing is, and I’m sure nobody does it, is “Reward Your Dog When They’re Quiet.” Much like a baby being quiet, or a toddler when they’re playing, you don’t want to disturb it because you don’t want them to focus on you. But, I really feel strongly that if you walk by the crate, your dog is quiet, or he’s hanging out in the house, I would just throw a cookie and praise them, “Good. Quiet.” So that you’d get more of that.

Sarah: And that’s something that people never think about! They never think that they need to teach their dog those kinds of things like rewarding the quiet behavior, or, you know, praising them when they’re just hanging out and not reacting to whatever’s going on around them. And it’s so important.

Kathy: It is, it’s just, it’s everything, because people get really good at telling their dogs what they don’t want them to do, but they kind of suck at telling them good job because they’re just relieved and if they notice more of the good stuff, it’s like that Beyonce song, right? If you like it put a ring on it. If you like it, put a cookie in it, or put some praise on it. You’re going to get more of that. So, alright, this was awesome. Yay, for the first episode! We have been talking about doing this podcast forever and, finally, I’m glad that we finally got around to doing it. So, anyway, that’s it for this, our very first episode of Kathy Santo’s Dog Sense. Thank you so much for spending time with us and I hope you’ll join us again soon. If you have comments or show ideas, you can reach us through our website at As always, if you like what you hear, jump over to whatever subscription service you downloaded from and like rate, subscribe, tell a friend and share this episode somewhere to help spread the word so we can continue to create an awesome community of dog lovers and learners. Happy training everyone!