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Our 1st Guest Blog Post is from Kim, owner and trainer of Dog Sense By Kim.  I first met Kim a few years back when I was looking for a way to help my dog, Sally Pant’s. You see, Sally Pants is dog aggressive. She was once attacked by another and now shows aggression to dogs that invade her bubble.

So Sally Pants and I attended Kim’s Manner class.  During these classes Sally Pants learned a lot, including but not limited to how to behavior when other dogs are near her.

Because of Kim’s patience, knowledge, and dedication with dogs, I wanted to give her the Spot Light and introduce you to her Dog Training Business, Dog Sense by Kim.

Please introduce yourself to our readers?

 My name is Kim Robertson. I was a Registered Veterinary Technician for 27 years until I retired in October 2016. It was a very rewarding profession. I live in Owen Sound with my husband, 2 dogs, and our rabbit, Cinnamon Bun-ny. I am also a dog trainer.

How did you get into dog training?

I heard about Puppy Classes at Centralia College, while taking the Veterinary Technician course. I thought that sounded like the best job ever. I started puppy classes and enjoyed my little world of dog training. But once the puppies finished class, their owners asked if their was a follow-up class? At that time there wasn’t…

I wanted to learn more about dog training so I took a course through the Karen Pryor Academy. This was an 8 month course by internet and 6 trips to Ottawa for workshops. While in Ottawa we had to demonstrate with our own dog that we had learned and taught our dog the lessons provided. It was an intensive course and taught me how to understand dog training and behaviour issues.  By the end of the course, I was ready to introduce another dog class to pet owners.

I started in 2010, but became more involved after the Karen Pryor Academy certification in 2012.

What does Dog Sense offer?

I offer Kinderpuppy Classes and Manner Classes for dogs. I run my Kinder Puppy classes on Monday evenings. We have a lot of fun in these classes and anyone is welcome to come and watch the puppies play and learn. The Kinderpuppy class runs for 3 weeks.  We focus on proper puppy socialization and how to deal with puppy behaviours like potty training, crying the crate, nipping and bothing other pets.

Manner class teaches dogs to behave and become a valued friend. This is a 6 week class that is run on Thursday evenings. We teach stay, come, don’t jump up, how to meet people, settle down, and go to a mat. All my training is done with positive reinforcement. That means lots of fun and lots of treats! Dogs pull their owners into the classroom. That is the way it should be!

I also offer private lessons and behaviour consultations. All dogs have problems and I am here to help solve these issues. Don’t just get angry, get help. I do private lessons in your home, or in the classroom setting at the Owen Sound Veterinary Clinic.

What sort of things do you teach?

We start with basic communication with your dog (which is not what most trainers will do). With positive reinforcement, I teach you to communicate to your dog when he has done the right behaviour. I teach owners how to do this.

Dogs want to please. So, if a dog is not punished for making a mistake, he will try a new behaviour until he gets it right. And then he is rewarded when the right behavior is achieved. If we always tell dogs NO! they haven’t learned what they can do. If you reward a dog for doing a good behavior, you can bet he will repeat that behaviour. Think about what you would like your dog to do, and reward it.

What type of dogs come to Dog Sense?

All dogs are welcome to training at Dog Sense. Any age, size and temperament of dog can learn.

Dogs are the most variable sized creature. I have trained every size from Chihuahua and Yorkie to Great Dane, Bullmastiff, and Newfoundland. Every breed of dog is capable of learning.

I have had reactive dogs in my classes, barking dogs, quiet dogs, shy dogs, hungry dogs, dogs without food motivation (opposite of a hungry dog). Dogs can learn at any age.

If you have a young dog, he hasn’t practiced the wrong “stuff.” If you have an older dog, he has practiced for years. The older dog can still be trained, however. It just might take longer to get passed the behaviour he has been used to doing (e.g. pulling on a leash).

My 14 year old Belgian Shepherd is still learning new tricks with her German Shepard friend.

I do accept all dogs, however, all dogs must be up to date on their vaccines.

In addition to training dogs, I have also trained other animals. In Karen Pryor Academy we had to also teach another animal, other than a dog. So my animal was a Chinchilla. A very old Chinchilla. He just passed away at 20 years of age. I have also taught cats, and chickens, but I must admit my goldfish was too much of a challenge.

How do you handle aggressive dogs?

95% of aggressive dogs are scared dogs. Most often, people have not properly communicated with them, and they are afraid. They may be afraid of people, or other dogs, or the environment. Socializing is also very important for puppies.

If we have a dog who is reactive, barks or lunges at other dogs, we make allowances for that dog and ask other students to keep their distance from the dog. We have not had an issue yet. I had one class in which all the dogs were very reactive. To give dogs space, we numbered everyone and then went out the door in order, one at a time. They came back in the same order. We never had a problem.

Do you have a story for our readers?

I taught my German Shepherd dog to go to a mat and stay there. Lexie will go to the mat from any distance now. This means I can take my mat to a friend’s house for coffee and ask Lexie to go to the mat to lie down and stay. She is happy to do this.

The mat is a little large to carry, so I asked Lexie to go to a placemat with the same cue ‘go to a mat’. She did this readily and now I only have to take a placemat when I go to my friends house. After carrying around a placemat, I asked myself ‘could I reduce the size further?’ So I tried a 4 inch coaster. I put it on the floor and asked Lexie to go to the mat. She looked at the coaster, then looked at me and planted her chest on the coaster. She was on her mat, and she stayed. Great! I have a coaster in my purse for when I need it.

Do you have anything else you would like to add?

I would like to stress the importance of leaving their new puppy with the litter until the puppy is 8 weeks old. The puppy will have fewer social problems, aggression problems, and behaviour issues if you just let mother nature look after the puppy until is is at least 8 weeks of age. Then as soon as the puppy has had his 1st vaccine in the series he can come to Kinderpuppy class.

How can our readers contact you?

My website has contact information that goes directly to my email. www.dogsensebykim.ca, or call 519-371-5336

My website has contact information that goes directly to my email. www.dogsensebykim.ca, or call 519-371-5336