We believe that each dog is different just as each human being is different.

Different methods of training can prove more or less effective depending on the dog. That is why we have educated ourselves on all established methods and integrate this knowledge when appropriate based on your dog. Our own unique method of training at The Dog Wizard DCV| is what we have found to be most effective in various circumstances and settings. For instance – the goal is not just to teach your dog the “come” command, but to ensure your dog understands that it must be listening for your voice or watching for your command in any calm or anxiety producing environment. So part of training will be to practice commands in all types of triggering environments. Training will instill confidence and a sense of accomplishment in your dog as you step up to become the leader you were meant to be for your dog and they succeed in their training.

Raising Your Puppy

It is very frustrating dealing with behavior problems that try your patience and cost you money!

It is so important that we do right by our puppies in the most influential period of their lives!

If you are thinking about making a furry family member the next new addition to your family but dreading the stress it will put on your family going through the puppy stages? Questioning if you get a puppy how do you know it is the right one for your family? Have you owned a dog previously that required a lot of management and want to ensure you have a happy, healthy and sociable dog this time around?

You are not alone!!! You are not the only person, couple or family considering all these questions. We are here to help!

It can be stressful, messy and sometimes painful when going through those early puppy growing stages! With our help, we can stop bad behavior before it’s a problem. Habits like chewing, digging, and anxiety can be prevented during the early stages of life.  We can prevent so many behavioral problems that we see in older dogs. Did you know that most adult dogs that experience significant problems have had some kind of bad experience or lack of experience early on in life? Experiences from the time they are born until 16 weeks will last a lifetime and it is important that we get it right! Prevention and ensuring a positive upbringing is key and we are here to do just that!

Let us teach you and your puppy to socialize and interact with other dogs, while engaging in activities that will cover safety, health, obedience, commands, and games in our Puppy Programs!

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Problem Solving

All dogs are designed to be productive and task oriented

It is very frustrating dealing with behavior problems that try your patience and/or cost you more and more money all the time! Whether your dog is destroying your belongings (chewing on rugs, furniture, drywall), doesn’t come when called, is struggling with fear aggression, or is a rescue new to your family trying to understand their way in the world, we are here to help!

Problem-solving for owners is a behavioral modification for dogs. If your dog is doing something you don’t like, such as chewing, barking, digging, jumping to name a few, there is generally a reason. Let us help you uncover why, teach your dog the path to good things and show you how to turn that bad behavior into a positive one.

Here at The Dog Wizard DC, we understand the issues that people deal with when their dog exhibits behavioral problems. The emotional cost, can add up when your canine is acting up. All dogs are designed to be productive and task oriented, or, in other words, they need a “job” in order to feel balanced. By engaging our dogs mentally and teaching them to process information, perform desired behaviors, and use some impulse control, we are able to give them an incredibly valuable outlet to channel their energy into being productive

Our problem-solving approach combines teaching obedience behaviors such as sit, come and place but also creating a calm state of mind and teaching your dog how to relax! When your dog understands how to make better choices and how to listen to us instead of their impulses we create a bond of trust and communication. When both parties know what to do, the results can be amazing!

To improve your relationship, your dog needs structure. This doesn’t mean we need to dull their personality or force them into a military-style regimen. Quite the opposite, actually: a dog who is easily commanded gets more freedom because you can trust them in more situations. All of this contributes to more freedom, happiness, mental stimulation, and opportunities to release energy – for you and your pet! You get a more relaxed dog at home and have more versatility when you do go out.

The whole family wins.

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Socialization

Socialization is the key component to having a balanced dog

Socialization is the key component to having a balanced dog.

Our dogs by nature have social desires that need to be met but all socialization is not always good socialization. Whether it is proper socialization at a young age, or your dog needing to learn appropriate social skills to be in a pack, or teaching coping skills for a dog with social anxieties or fear of other dogs we are here to help!

Socialization is a fundamental part of what we do to help you and your dog on the way to a balanced life. Dogs need plenty of physical exercise as well as mental exercise in order to feel balanced and productive. It is so crucial for young dogs to learn the skills to understand that not every dog wants them all in their face. Learning how to have good manners with ALL kinds of temperaments may save your dog from harm in the real world.

Our “recipe for success” includes combining meeting social needs and understanding that all dogs are designed to be productive and task oriented. In other words, they need a “job” in order to feel balanced.  By engaging our dogs mentally and teaching them to process information, perform desired behaviors, and use some impulse control, and teach proper and successful social interaction we are able to build a relaxed, well behaved dog that is a positive part of your life.

You will be amazed at how much happier your dogs will be when they are using their brains and their needs are being met!

Owners, in turn, feel happier when they have a reliable dog who is fun to be around.  Who wouldn’t rather include their dog in their lives instead of having to leave them home or locked away because they are unmanageable?  We can help you have the dog you have always wanted who is polite to your guests, can be calm in a hectic environment, and knows that with obedience comes more freedom!

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Rescue Rehab

We work with every type of dog coming from every background imaginable, and this certainly includes rescue dogs!

It is always rewarding to rescue a dog and see their development with the rehabilitation process. According to the Humane Society, 1.2 million dogs are euthanized a year. Luckily, dogs are some of the most resilient creatures on earth so we see many successful rescues where dogs go from being neglected and sheltered to happily swimming off-leash in the lake.

Many rescue dogs are not properly socialized, have been neglected, or abused. Under socialized dogs are often scared of most everything. These dogs need proper socializing in order to become manageable for their owners and to live more relaxing lives. In this type of situation we would make sure to place a strong emphasis on socialization during training.

Abused Dogs

Rescue dogs who have been abused need to learn how to trust humans again. Whether the abuse was physical or mental (resulting from neglect and under-socialization), these dogs are typically afraid of the world and everything in it. It can be very difficult to even get these dogs out just to walk them for exercise because their fear issues make it impossible. Once a bond with their new owners is established, it may become so strong that these dogs cannot cope with being alone. Their entire sense of well-being becomes hinged on their proximity to their new “people”, making it difficult to leave them alone for even short periods of time. Once these types of dogs begin to gain some confidence through a structured obedience program, they can start to see the world as an exciting and interesting place. We get a lot of joy out of restoring these neglected or abused dogs to the trusting and faithful creatures they were intended to be.

Bouncing of The Wall Dogs

A poorly socialized dog can also be hyperactive. These dogs sometimes come from multiple different owners and have developed bad habits such as jumping, leash pulling, bolting and chewing because they have never been shown the proper way to act or to get attention. This type of dog usually gets little freedom because the owner is afraid what may happen if they give it. This cycle only feeds the problem.

Our training programs are specifically designed to help these common types of rescues and others re-learn how to act so they can regain their freedom and confidence.

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Aggression Rehab

In all cases of aggression, we begin by assessing “why” your dog is behaving aggressively.

Aggression does not come naturally for a dog. So, it is a behavior that can be corrected. This is another issue we love working through because dogs are so much happier once they are free from this burden. Our initial assessment will include understanding “why” your dog is reacting aggressively. There are several types of aggressive behavior (see chart below), and most aggression is correctable, however the owners play a big role by following our guidelines and instructions. Some aggressive behavior, such as “predatory aggression” you cannot “solve” because it is directly related to instincts, but you can be very successful managing it by showing your dog when it is and isn’t appropriate to use their prey drive.

Types of Aggression in Dogs

The most common types of aggression we work through are Fear Aggression, Predatory Aggression, Dog Aggression, and Children Aggression (which is pretty much Fear aggression). A lot of times aggression is misdiagnosed, or someone has put an inappropriate label on it like, “my dog hates other dogs” or “my dog hates people with hats on”. Dogs can’t “hate” or at least that is not why they react. Reasons a dog might react could be possessiveness, fearful, territorial, and some dogs even have a false sense of entitlement. They react simply because they can.  This is usually a result of lack of leadership in the dog’s life, so he has assigned himself as the decision maker. Honestly VERY few dogs are comfortable doing this, they would much rather be the follower.

Type Symptoms Cause Common
Fear Reacts when backed into a corner, reacts when people do something unpredictable, does not like it when people move fast or are loud, likes to sneak behind people to bite Poor socialization, lack of socialization Very common
Prey Fixates on animals (usually small), becomes very still when fixating, may drool when fixating Instincts, lack of mental stimulation Common
Territorial Possessive of areas where they spend a lot of time Instincts, long periods of time in one area, lack of mental stimulation Common
Dog Acts aggressively toward dogs that seem to pose zero threat Poor socialization, lack of socialization Very common
Children Acts aggressively toward smaller individuals Poor socialization, lack of socialization Common
Human Acts aggressively toward strangers Poor socialization, lack of socialization Common
Possessive Reacts unpredictably toward certain people or dogs that approach a specific owner Improper sense of entitlement, lack of leadership, lack of mental stimulation Common
Food or Toy Dog becomes very still and stiff when someone or another dog approaches with certain objects Instincts, history with food, lack of leadership Less common
Maternal Mother dog will become aggressive toward anyone or anything approaching her babies Instincts Very common
Pain Dog may bite when faced with pain, dog may act aggressive as a result of bad thyroid or bladder infection Medical issue Very common
Punishment Acts aggressively when expecting punishment Improper punishment from human Less common

Dog Aggression Is Common

Dog aggression is very common in today’s society.  A lot of dogs will react toward a dog that has posed zero threat.  This does not necessarily mean your dog is “dog aggressive”. In most cases the dog does not have social skills, which is a lot easier to work through than a true dog to dog aggression. Since aggression is NOT a natural state of mind for a dog, nor are dogs born aggressive something has shaped this behavior.  Nine times out of ten it is related to either lack of socialization or poor socialization which resulted in a dog making a “generalization” or an “overall negative association” with something due to one or two bad experiences.

An example of this type of aggression would be a puppy that was attacked by an adult dog at an early age (say 12 weeks) and this just happened to be the 3rd dog it had met. Because of this “scary attack” the owners started “sheltering the puppy” keeping it away from other dogs for fear that he would be attacked again. So, what happened was the puppy had only met three dogs in his life and one attacked him.  The puppy grows up thinking: “there is a very good chance when I meet another dog I could be attacked”. This puppy has a very high probability of being dog aggressive when he is older, but this will not show until he is about a year and half old. What the owner should have done is gone overboard finding as many friendly dogs as possible to introduce to their puppy to “outweigh” that one negative experience with the dog that attacked. If this puppy met 125 friendly dogs after that one bad experience chances are he will have forgotten about that negative one long ago and not develop an “anxiety” around other dogs.

Many dog owners don’t realize that social skills are something most dogs need to continue practicing throughout their life.  You really can never stop socializing you dog in order to keep their skills fully fresh. We hear a lot of owners say their dog used to get along great with other dogs, and for some reason they hate other dogs now, this is usually a case of a dog whose social skills have not stayed “current” or “fresh”.  For some dogs, social skills have to be practiced very frequently in order to be good with other dogs. Keep in mind too, social skills are required to communicate with “strange” dogs, not dogs they know or see all the time. If you are getting your dog around the same dogs all the time, that is not practicing social skills.

Because of lack of or poor social skills, most aggression is fear based (even though it can look the exact opposite). Even if your dog is the “initiator”, chances are he is still reacting out of fear or feeling uncomfortable. A great deal of aggressive dogs go on offense before they have to be on defense, and because it works for them, they continue reacting this way to solve the problem of “feeling uncomfortable”. What we have to do is find a different way to solve your dog’s problem and make them more comfortable in the situation from the start. Aggression is NOT a natural state of mind for a dog.  No dog wants to feel this way – they are looking for a way out – and we can help them.

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Separation Anxiety

One of the most common issues we see in dogs and it is one that will rarely solve itself.

Separation anxiety is one of the most common issues we see in dogs and it is one that will rarely solve itself. As pack animals by nature, when a member of the pack goes “missing” a dog feels extreme anxiety. In order to cope with this anxiety, a dog turns to often destructive or high-stress habits. At The Dog Wizard DC, we have the skills and knowledge to help your dog gain the self-confidence to be alone and feel secure.

Typical Signs of Separation Anxiety in Dogs

  • Paces or pants constantly while you are out of sight
  • Destroys things when you’re gone
  • Whines or barks when left alone
  • Escapes or attempts to escape when left alone sometimes resulting in bodily harm
  • Urinates or defecates in the house while you’re away
  • Follows you from room to room when you are home

Typical Causes of Separation Anxiety in Dogs

  • Left alone for very long periods of time consistently
  • Taken away from the mother too soon (less than 7 weeks)
  • Mother died at birth and puppy was raised by humans
  • Very abrupt schedule changes in the owner’s life
  • Dog has spent a lot of time alone in his life then becomes rescued and it gets consistent attention from owners that it is not used to
  • Over held as a puppy so it never learned independence
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