Top Posts From 2017

Top Posts From 2017

2017 has come to an end, but we covered some pretty interesting topics this past year. Let’s take a quick look back at some of the most popular articles in 2017 to review and help us prepare for 2018.


1. Guest Post: A Passion for Primitive Dogs

It’s safe to say that primitive dogs have a passionate following. This article was our most popular article of the year. It spread like wildfire across social media and brought attention to the unique needs of primitive dogs. In this article, Molly Sumner shares some of her experiences living with and training several kinds of primitive dogs. This is a must-read for anyone that works directly with or intends to work with primitive dog breeds.


2. Top 7 High-Value Training Treats

One of the must-have skills of a talented professional dog trainer that utilizes positive methods is to truly understand what motivates a dog. Each dog is different and is motivated by different rewards. In this particular post, our contributor Liz Wyant identified seven popular high-value treats that professionals or dog owners can use to motivate and train the dogs they are working with.


3. How To Socialize Puppies Before Getting Them Fully Vaccinated

It’s clear that raising a puppy correctly helps prevent many behavior problems in the first place which helps to explain why this post is ever popular. Getting your or your client’s puppy out for socialziation during the critical early socialization periods is very important, but it can be challenging to do it without putting the puppy in health compromising situations. In this post, contributor Jorge Melara shares some professional tips for puppy socialization.


4. Top 10 Dog Training Conferences for 2017

At the end of each year Kat Camplin, our long-time contributor and podcast co-host, rounds up a list of highly anticipated conferences for the upcoming year. It’s no surprise that this post is still one of the most popular posts of the year. Looking into 2018 conferences? Check out our Top Animal Behavior Conferences of 2018 post.


5. 5 Great Games To Play In Your Obedience Class

Professional dog trainers are always looking to improve their lessons and classes. One of the best ways to get students to utilize their newly learned skills is to have them play games with their dogs. In this post, Monica Callahan lists out several games professional dog trainers can use in their obedience classes to improve their student’s mechanical training skills.


6. Review Of The Perfect Fit Harness

Professional dog trainers are always on the look out for the best and latest equipment that might help them better manage a dog. Setting a dog up to make the right choices is critical in making lasting behavior changes. In this post, contributor Lisa White shared her thoughts about the Perfect Fit Harness.


7. Mental Stimulation Ideas For Dogs

Another trick professional dog trainers often use to improve behavior, increase confidence, and reduce boredom is to utilize toys and games to increase mental stimulation. In this post, Laurie Schlossnagle shares some of her favorite ways to mentally challenge dogs.


8. How To Choose A Dog Training Business Name

One of the first thoughts that goes through a new dog trainer’s mind when they decide to start their own business is, “what should I call my business?!” It’s an important decision because it cannot be easily changed so in this post Kat shares some critical things to consider before deciding on a business name.


9. Top 5 Favorite Dog Harnesses For Training

Every trainer has their favorite harness. In this post, Lisa takes a look at several force-free harness options that allow better control over the dog without sacrificing the dog’s comfort.


10. Three Ways To Teach Relaxation

Until I got deep into the science of dog training and animal learning theory, the thought that I could teach an animal to relax never crossed my mind. Since I’ve learned how to train this skill, it’s one of my go-to strategies when working with high-anxiety, impulsive, and reactive dogs. In this article, Monica shares three different strategies you can use to teach your dogs or your clients’ dogs to relax at home or in class.


Ep 19 – Alex Andes on Partnering with Animal Shelters as a Dog Trainer

Ep 19 – Alex Andes on Partnering with Animal Shelters as a Dog Trainer

On this episode we had Alex Andes on the show to discuss the positives and negatives of partnering with animal shelters as a dog trainer. Alex has extensive experience working with shelters and has experience with many different aspects of partnering with organizations like this. Listen in as we discuss the many aspects of working with an animal shelter and how to create a mutually beneficial relationship between trainer and shelter.

Peach on a Leash owner and head trainer, Alex Andes, has been training dogs and studying dog behavior for nearly a decade. She attended the University of Georgia, where she began honing her training skills while helping improve the behavior of local shelter dogs to reduce euthanasia rates. She graduated with honors in 2012 and worked as both a pet adoption counselor and an assistant dog trainer before being offered a job with celebrity dog trainer Victoria Stilwell of Animal Planet’s “It’s Me or the Dog.”

Alex traveled the world with Victoria and had the opportunity to learn from her in all facets of training and behavior for over four years before deciding to pursue her dream of launching Peach on a Leash. Their work together allowed Alex the opportunity to work hands-on with both pet dogs and working dogs, including police dogs and accelerant detection dogs. Alex is currently furthering her studies through the prestigious Jean Donaldson Academy for Dog Trainers. She currently offers private training, group classes, board & train, and other training programs to clients in the northern suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia.

As the Official Training Partner of Furkids Animal Rescue and Shelters, Alex is responsible for overseeing the training and enrichment of over 80 shelter dogs. She is also active in the rescue community, working with Atlanta Boxer Rescue, Angels Among Us Pet Rescue, and others.

She shares her home with her husband Will, who is a police K-9 officer, and their beloved dogs.

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Show Notes

You can find Alex here:

A Day In The Life Of A Dog Trainer: Busy & Happy

A Day In The Life Of A Dog Trainer: Busy & Happy

Our next guest in this series is Claire Brown. Claire has a busy scheduled packed full of training and classes. She is booked six weeks out and typically runs lessons six to seven days a week while also doing guest training sessions for other dog trainers and starting a new business training trainers. Getting to this point was tough, but it was absolutely worth it to her and she loves her life as a professional dog trainer.

Here’s what a day in her life as a professional dog trainer typically looks like.


  • 6:45am Woken up by Mavis kicking the door in to go outside because she NEEDS a wee
  • 7:00am Tea, minimum of 2 cups to become functional, 3 the further down the week we get, the dogs eat breakfast from puzzle toys and play, they know about morning mummy and leave me alone
  • 8am Walk with my guys, quite possibly still trying to wake up
  • 9am Back home, tidy round, change into my uniform for work, I’m known for my love of purple, my wardrobe is rows of purple polo shirts and hoodies
  • 10-6pm One to one training, I have a mix of dogs every day, I train sport dogs and companion dogs, and do behavioral work so every day is different I could be teaching competitive obedience or dealing with a resource guarding cockerpoo, I love them all equally, even the ones that want to bite me
  • 6-9pm Depending on the day this will be either puppy party (8-12 wk old fuzzy bundles) classes or one to ones
  • 9:30pm Evening walk with my guys, we will of course have done several sessions of training and walking during the day between jobs, this is wind down time and also gives time for dinner to cook whilst we are out
  • 10:30-11pm Bed!

I have an admin day on Tuesday when I do all my course info and respond to non urgent inquiries, anything urgent I do daily. I’m super busy, and super happy I absolutely love what I do and wouldn’t change it for anything.

About Claire Brown

Claire North is the Lead Trainer at North K9.

She has been dog training since 2002 and holds a First Grade Honours Instructors Certificate from the British Institute of Professional Dog Trainers (BIPDT). She’s also a registered member working toward accreditation from the Kennel Club Accredited Instructor (KCAI) scheme, and is a Licensed Instructor for Wag It Games. Claire also runs the Northern Institute for Canine Professionals.

Claire is currently working with her Belgian Malinois Havoc in obedience, IPO, and agility. Lurcher puppy Mavis is still finding her feet!

(All photos were provided and authorized for use by Claire Brown.)

Learning From Dog Training Legends: Debbie Martin

Learning From Dog Training Legends: Debbie Martin

Our next guest in this “Learning from Legends” series is Debbie Martin. (You can read the previous interview with Dr. Susan Friedman here.) Debbie Martin is a Veterinary Technician Specialist in Behavior. Her and her husband, Dr. Kenneth Martin, co-authored the book “Puppy Start Right” which many dog trainers and dog owners turn to for raising their puppies.

Debbie received a Bachelor of Science degree in human ecology from The Ohio State University and an associate of applied science degree in veterinary technology from Columbus State Community College. She has been a full-time registered/licensed veterinary technician since 1996 and worked in private practice for over 14 years. Since 2005 Debbie has been the animal behavior technician for Veterinary Behavior Consultations, LLC. She assists Kenneth Martin, DVM, DACVB during behavior consultations.

Debbie is the co-owner of TEAM Education in Animal Behavior, LLC, a business focused on providing education on humane training and behavior modification and fostering collaboration between various animal behavior professions.

She is a contributing author and co-editor of the textbook, Canine and Feline Behavior for Veterinary Technicians and Nurses by Wiley-Blackwell. In 2009, Debbie and Dr. Martin wrote a book on normal development and training in dogs; Puppy Start Right: Foundation Training for the Companion Dog. In August of 2012 through Karen Pryor Academy, Debbie and Ken Martin launched the Puppy Start Right Instructors Course. The course provides not only the thorough knowledge necessary to provide puppy socialization classes, but also a complete curriculum with supplemental materials.

Her combined experience in general practice and behavior specialty has fueled her passion for preventive behavior medicine and the Fear Free℠ initiative. Debbie is honored to be representing veterinary technicians on the Fear Free executive council.

In her free time, she loves spending time with her dogs, 3 Belgian Malinois, Jazmin, Iliana, and Polo and her one-eyed Beagle-Jack Russell mix, Iris. Although her current dogs are retired, she has enjoyed competing in Rally Obedience and Agility. A few years ago, Debbie took up motorcycle and dirt bike riding, so when weather and time permits, she and her husband can be found exploring the beautiful terrain of the Hill Country in central Texas on either a street bike or dirt bike.

Let’s dive into the interview.

My first question is, how did you first get involved in the dog (animal?) training world?

I think it was really two things. First, prior to going back to college to become a veterinary technician, I was a certified preschool teacher. When I graduated from veterinary technology school, I was intrigued by animal behavior and development and how we may be able to influence behavior. My studies in undergrad with human development sparked this interest. Consequently, I started my venture into animal training with learning about and teaching puppy socialization classes in the late 90’s. The second factor that influenced my involvement in animal training was my dog, Snickers. Snickers was a shepherd mix I adopted from the Humane Society in my early 20’s. He was a wonderful companion but he did have his quirks, such as a fear of children and unfamiliar people and later in life, thunderstorm anxiety and separation anxiety. I learned a lot from Snickers and he sparked my interest in intervention versus preventive veterinary behavior medicine.

I noticed that you are one of only 14 veterinary technicians to have achieved the status of a Veterinary Technician Specialist in Behavior. Can you tell us more about what that is and what it entails?

Becoming a veterinary technician specialist in behavior is similar to a veterinarian becoming board certified in a specialty field but it is for veterinary technicians. There are currently 15 veterinary technician specialties (for a complete list click here). Achieving certification first involves submitting and having an application approved for examination. There are criteria for continuing education, prevention and intervention hours, case reports, case log, and the completion of a skills assessment. Once an application is approved, the candidate partakes in a full day examination which includes written and practical evaluation of the candidate’s knowledge and skills. For more information:

In your experience, what do dog trainers struggle with the most when it comes to severe dog behavior cases?

As a licensed veterinary technician, I am required to work under the direct supervision of a licensed veterinarian or I could lose my license for practicing veterinary medicine without a license. All cases involving behavior disorders such as aggression, anxiety, extreme fears or phobias, would first be evaluated by a veterinarian and a treatment plan would be prescribed by the veterinarian which includes environmental management, behavior modification, training, and on occasion behavioral medications. I then coach pet owners on how to implement the prescribed treatment plan and assist them with questions or concerns they encounter while implementing the treatment plan. The biggest challenge as with all aspects of veterinary medicine (and animal training) is often owner compliance. I get it, they perhaps did not sign up for the challenges they are facing with their animal companion. Thus, I try to make the implementation as easy as possible in their daily routine. If they are unable to work towards more advanced training and behavior modification exercises, avoidance and management can always be an option, as long as the welfare of the pet is not compromised.

At what point should a dog trainer consider getting a Veterinary Behaviorist, such as Dr. Ken Martin, involved with a case?

I may be biased on this as I am working within the veterinary medical model and thus, anything that is considered to be behavioral intervention instead of preventive care, would warrant a veterinary referral. As defined in Canine and Feline Behavior for Veterinary Technicians and Nurses, a behavior ‘problem’ is defined as, “The animal’s behavior is a problem for the owner. The issues could be a lack of training, a conditioned unwanted behavior, a behavioral disorder or a combination of issues.” Whereas a behavior disorder refers to, “Psychological or behavioral patterns outside behavioral “norms” that usually have an affective component.” Intervention care refers to measures taken to improve or alter an existing behavioral disorder. Intervention requires a veterinarian’s diagnosis and treatment plan. Common times when an animal trainer should consider a referral to a board-certified veterinary behaviorist include:

  • Multiple behavior issues or suspected behavior disorders
  • Multiple stimuli/triggers or unidentifiable triggers
  • Anxiety-based issues
  • Risk of injury to the pet, people, or other animals
  • Bite history with a lack of bite inhibition
  • Any acute change in behavior
  • Geriatric onset
  • Explosive or out of context behavior
  • Little or no progress is being made with a training plan

How do dog aggression and dog reactivity differ? Do you treat them differently? (Meaning dogs that are aggressive to other unfamiliar dogs while on leash.)

Reactivity is a nondescript term that could have a variety of motivations from excitement to fear. Aggression is defined as any threatening gesture to increase the distance between the animal and the stimuli.  When a dog is being ‘reactive’ he might be displaying behaviors such as lunging and barking to increase space between him and the stimuli. This technically would be defined as aggression. Dr. Martin would treat them very similarly; avoid the practicing of the behavior as much as possible through environmental management, start off reinforcing any offered attention to the handler (uncued) and noticing of stimuli (ie ears perked and oriented but not reacting) and from there adding in more advanced exercises pending the response and owners interest. Depending on the size of the dog and risk of possible injury to people or other animals, he would recommend appropriate safety gear, such as basket muzzles, a two leash method, and possibly a deterrent for loose dogs should they approach the dog. If a non-stressful starting point cannot be identified, pharmaceutical intervention might be incorporated into the plan to help facilitate the learning process. If you are stressed out or extreme anxious at the first sight of another dog, it is nearly impossible to learn something.

What are the keys to success when working with dog aggression? (Meaning dogs that are aggressive to other unfamiliar dogs while on leash.)

Arranging the antecedents to prevent the continued practicing of the behavior. Giving the dog a ‘stress holiday’ can be the first step. Continued activation of the sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight response) day in and day out, primes the body to be ready to react, had deleterious effects on the body, and inhibits the ability to learn to overcome the fear and anxiety associated with the situation. The other component that’s really key is owners focusing on rewarding desired behaviors. We coach owners to mark and reinforce anytime the dog checks in with them when outside on a walk. So offered attention to the owner becomes more likely to occur. We also ask them to mark and reinforce noticing stimuli. Catch them when they first notice and reinforce the non-reactive behavior. Alice Tong, KPA CTP has a really great handout on this technique. She calls it the Engage-Disengage Game.

How can dog trainers better prepare themselves before they begin taking on clients? (With relation to their education, with their handouts or written materials for their clients, or anything else they should consider before getting started.)

There are a lot of great positive reinforcement based programs out there. I am most familiar with the Karen Pryor Academy because I was an instructor for them for 8 years. I prefer to not list others because I do not have first hand knowledge of their programs and I also don’t want to leave out any great programs that I might not be aware of. Understanding and developing the foundation skills for training are the key to being a good trainer with animals. Being able to communicate that information to clients in a non-blaming and compassionate manner is even more important. There are great books and DVD’s available on,, and Go to as much continuing education as you can! I joke that I feel like a part time job of mine is watching webinars and going to veterinary and animal training conferences or seminars.

Do you have any role models or people you look up to in the animal training industry? (Who and why?)

Everyone I talk to about training whether they be a professional animal trainer, veterinary behaviorist, groomer, or pet owner, I learn from them and with them. All the people out there making a positive difference in the lives of their own pets or clients pets are my role models.

How do you hope the dog training industry will evolve in the future? What do you want it to look like?

Because veterinary professionals and animal trainers have the common goal of improving the human-animal relationship and improving the welfare of animals, I would like to see these two fields start to work closer together. This is a topic I have talked about at Clicker Expo in the past and it is one of the reasons I am involved with the Fear Free movement. Fear Free recognizes the value the modern professional positive reinforcement animal trainer can bring to the veterinary community. There can be challenges in communication and role delineation when two professional fields are working closely together but have perhaps slightly different perspectives.

Where will people be able to see you speak in the coming year?

Fetch Veterinary Conference in San Diego in December 2017. In 2018- Clicker Expo in California and St. Louis. The Western Veterinary Conference, 7 of the Fear Free Symposia (Dallas, TX, Kansas City, MO, Jersey City, NJ, Minneapolis, MN, Boston, MA, Nashville, TN and Atlanta, GA), IAABC conference in April, Castlegar, BC in May, and Southwest Veterinary Symposium in San Antonio, TX in September.  You can check out our speaking schedule here. Although many of these are not yet listed because they do not have an active registration site yet. Check back for updates or sign up to receive updates by registering here.

Learning From Dog Training Legends: Susan G. Friedman, Ph. D.

Learning From Dog Training Legends: Susan G. Friedman, Ph. D.

While seminars and webinars are a fabulous way to learn from the dog training industry’s well-known experts, it is not often we’re able to pull them aside and ask off-the-cuff questions. With this series, I’m asking some questions that are a bit different to get to know these dog training legends on a deeper level.

First up is Susan G. Friedman, Ph. D. She runs an exceptional online course called “Living and Learning with Animals for Professionals.” I participated in this course back in 2011 and it was truly eye opening. I consider it a must-take for all up and coming dog trainers and list it in my article, “6 Places to Get a (Fairly) Formal Education In Dog Training.”

Susan G. Friedman, Ph.D. is a professor emeritus in the Department of Psychology at Utah State University. She has helped pioneer the cross-species application of behavior analysis to animals, using the same humane philosophy and scientifically sound teaching technology that has been so effective with human learners. Susan has co-authored chapters on behavior change in four veterinary texts, and her popular articles have been translated into 14 languages. She gives seminars on animal learning at conferences and consults with zoos around the world. Susan is a member of Karen Pryor’s Clicker Expo faculty and teaches yearly hands-on animal training workshops with Steve Martin ( Susan was appointed to the F&WS Condor Recovery Team from 2002 – 2010, after which time the team was retired due to the success of the birds in the wild. She is the Chairperson of the Scientific Advisory Committee of American Humane Association (AHA) Film and TV Unit, and a member in good standing of ABAI, ABMA, IAABC and IAATE. Last year she was included on the Vet Tech College’s list of “15 Animal Professors to Know.” Susan’s acclaimed online course, Living and Learning with Animals for behavior professionals, has provided even wider dissemination of effective, humane behavior change practices to students in over 35 countries ( And she shares fun videos with a science twist at

Here’s what she had to say about how she got started and where she’d like to see the dog training industry go.

Thank you again for taking the time to share your thoughts and experiences with me and the readers of The Modern Dog Trainer!

My first question is, how did you first get involved in the dog (animal?) training world?

My professional work with animal learning started with one little parrot, twenty years ago! I read all the popular literature on companion parrots at the time and could hardly believe the extent to which punishment strategies were recommended. The experts of the day were stuck in the cultural fog. Thankfully that is changing now and there are many voices singing a different, more effective tune based on positive reinforcement of desired behavior, which benefits all learners.

What made you decide to teach the Living & Learning with Animals course online?

I realized that education about the science of behavior change, called behavior analysis, was key to changing people’s understanding of how behavior works. Punishment works, but there are side effects that are not only detrimental but also unnecessary. Positive reinforcement generally produces not only fast learning but enthusiasm for learning as well. It may surprise your readers that I assert that positive reinforcement produces fast learning outcomes. I think that positive reinforcement only appears to be slower because as a generation, we are relatively new to teaching with positive reinforcement. The next generation, who will grow up with positive reinforcement as a life style, will blow our minds with their skilled, effective, and humane practices.

Who benefits the most from taking your online course?

Anyone interested in behavior and learning will find the information life changing – so my past students say! Behavior, like any other natural phenomena on the planet is lawful. Of course, we don’t know all the laws and variations … what science is ever complete? But, we certainly know enough to improve quality of life for all learners in our care. This information is empowering and applicable to all aspects of our lives. My co-instructors and I are very happy messengers and students of our students too, sometimes!

In your experience, what do dog trainers struggle with the most when it comes to Applied Behavior Analysis?

I think we all struggle a bit with our own learning histories. For example, even the most experienced positive reinforcement trainers sometimes revert to a command tone of voice or eye rolling when an animal behaves unexpectedly. We have to be open to reminding each other that the learner is never wrong. When an animal doesn’t do what we expect, it’s the program. And, the solution is to change what we, the trainers, do. To change behavior, change conditions. The animal changes himself/herself.

What are the keys to success in Applied Behavior Analysis?

Great teachers of any species meet their learners where they are, not where we wish them to be. The main key is the knowledge that all behavior is influenced, at least some degree, by conditions. The environment influences all systems including gene expression and brain function. Since we control most of the conditions in which our learners behave (or “misbehave”), there are always way to successfully change behavior.

Can you describe a particularly difficult client who used ABA process successfully?

Honestly, I don’t think of clients in terms of difficulty. But, the most difficult ABA plans to implement are those that require unavailable resources like more space, more enrichment, and more time. I guess what I’m describing is a recent insight for me that learners always bring natural flexibility and resilience to the table; but if we can’t significantly change the conditions that support the problem behavior, success remains out of reach. I’m quick to remind clients that if they can’t change either the antecedent environment and/or the consequences that follow the behavior problem, there can’t be a learning solution. That usually results in some increased openness to change.

How can dog trainers better prepare themselves before they begin taking on clients? (With relation to their education, with their handouts or written materials for their clients, or anything else they should consider before getting started.)

Trainers will be better prepared by reading a basic science of behavior and learning textbook or two (e.g., Chance), and (this may seem out in left field) a special education, applied behavior analysis text book (e.g., Miltenberger). The former will provide the fundamental science information required for understanding the big picture of behavior and learning on planet earth, and the latter will provide the best application information. Connecting the dots across species is the easy part.

Do you have any role models or people you look up to in the animal training industry? (Who and why?)

Finding role models is my special talent! I have been privileged to learn from so many teachers, trainers, and scientists that I truly believe I’m the luckiest teacher on earth! I actually drove B.F. Skinner home from the residential treatment center where I worked (he was on the Board of Directors) when I was 20 years old! Now there’s a brush with fame I’ll never forget. Talk about influence!

How do you hope the dog training industry will evolve in the future? What do you want it to look like?

I hope that the dog training profession will continue to include more from the science of behavior and learning. I know that working across professions, as we routinely do nowadays, we will continue to raise the ceiling and provide even more humane, effective help to greater numbers, sooner.

Where will people be able to see you speak in the coming year? Where can people learn more about your online course?

I invite your readers to download anything helpful from my website, There are dozens of articles (including translations in 14 different languages) and fun graphics for T-shirts or print material. My speaking engagements are listed on the website too. With my wild travel schedule, I’m bound to cross paths with your readers. I hope they will introduce themselves and share a hug. Together we are changing the world!

Looking into becoming a dog trainer?

Grab our free eBook, “10 Common Mistakes New Dog Trainers Make With Their Businesses.”

If you’re thinking about starting your own dog training business, take advantage of this free eBook to avoid some detrimental mistakes that many dog trainers make.

Are you spending your time on the right tasks to grow your business? Are you worried about making continuous income throughout the year? Will your business be sustainable for years to come? Prepare yourself with the help of this eBook!

A Day In The Life Of A Dog Trainer: Balancing Training Sessions & Sleep

A Day In The Life Of A Dog Trainer: Balancing Training Sessions & Sleep

Welcome to our new series! Each month we’ll be featuring a guest dog trainer and sharing what a day in their busy, but fulfilling life looks like. When you’re starting out on a new career path, there’s usually a difference between what you think it’ll be like and what it actually turns out to be like. With this series, I hope to help up and coming dog trainers get an inside peek into what they can expect if they decide to pursue dog training as a career path.

Our first guest is Marcella Ward, whom I’ve had the pleasure to meet in person. She is a fabulous, dedicated dog trainer that goes above and beyond for both her two legged and four legged clients.

Here’s what a day in her life as a professional dog trainer typically looks like.


  • 10:00am Wake up and take the dogs out. Feed the dogs breakfast and take a shower.
  • 11:00am Check e-mails and phone calls. Call or e-mail potential clients.
  • 12:00pm Update social media and schedule next round of classes.
  • 1:00pm Take some time to relax and eat lunch.
  • 3:00pm Take personal dogs for a walk and do some training.
  • 5:00pm Head to client’s house for private session. Initial consults are 90 minutes while follow up sessions are 60 minutes.
  • 7:00pm Feed dinner to dogs and grab dinner myself.
  • 9:00pm Take time to decompress and prepare for the following day.
On week days I generally do my private sessions in the evening. I prefer to sleep in and know that others also have day jobs that may not allow for training during the day. This gives me time to prepare myself and to do training when I’m at my best productive self which falls in the evening for me. I try to limit myself to a certain number of sessions a week to give my clients a fair amount of attention and to take time for myself. If I’m not 100% then I can’t help people in my best capacity.


(You didn’t think dog trainers took weekends off did you?)

  • 11:00am Wake up and take care of the dogs.
  • 11:30am Shower and have breakfast.
  • 12:00pm Run personal errands.
  • 3:00pm Prepare treats and items needed for class.
  • 4:00pm Teach puppy class.
  • 5:00pm Take a 30 minute break.
  • 5:30pm Teach basic obedience class.
  • 6:45pm Grab dinner and head home to feed dogs.
  • 8:00pm Check e-mails, phone and social media and touch base with clients.
Weekends are quite flexible and sometimes I’ll do a private lesson in the morning or during the day before my classes. If I don’t, then my personal errands get taken care of during this time and any class preparation I may need to make. This includes putting together welcome to class packets, printing out flyers, making graduation gifts, course planning and purchasing treats. On occasion this may also include going to the store where I teach and doing meet the trainer sessions.

About Marcella Ward

Marcella Ward uses positive reinforcement methods to help you more effectively communicate with your dog. She wants dogs and clients to enjoy working with each other and strives to increase the understanding between owner and dog. She is dedicated to continuous learning because the methods in which we teach our dogs are ever changing. There are new discoveries being made regularly and she strives to keep up with and use those methods to create a positive, happy learning environment for you and your dog. Dogs Speak Dog Training is located in the Houston, Texas area. Find more information at

(All photos were provided and authorized for use by Marcella Ward.)

Looking into becoming a dog trainer?

Grab our free eBook, “10 Common Mistakes New Dog Trainers Make With Their Businesses.”

If you’re thinking about starting your own dog training business, take advantage of this free eBook to avoid some detrimental mistakes that many dog trainers make.

Are you spending your time on the right tasks to grow your business? Are you worried about making continuous income throughout the year? Will your business be sustainable for years to come? Prepare yourself with the help of this eBook!

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