What do you think about when you hear the words “dog training?” Come, sit, down, place, heel, and off? What do all of those words have in common? They are all commands. They are commands that we use to communicate what we need our dogs to do. That’s usually the extent of what people think when they hear the words “dog training.” But, oh man, does it entail so much more than just commands. ⠀

We can’t expect our dogs to do something if they a) are not motivated to do so b) don’t have an effective communication line with owner or c) don’t feel good. Well, I’m going to tackle the topic of letter C. ⠀

The first layer of dog training is the dog’s overall health. If the dog has bad hips, I can’t expect it to sit repetitively. If the dog is overweight, I can’t expect it to last for a 20 min training session in warm weather. If the dog has mattes all over its body, I can’t expect him to enjoy or want to do any of the commands with the fur pulling at his skin. HEALTH. IS. SO. IMPORTANT. Health doesn’t necessarily mean that your dog is up to date on every single vaccine. In fact, when we think of health, the first things that come to mind are, diet, weight, and grooming. ⠀


We have dogs come in for training, eating some of the worst food out there. This isn’t necessarily the owner’s fault. It’s just a lack of knowledge. There are so many dog foods out there, that it can be overwhelming when picking out your dog’s food. A dog that is on a low meat content, high starch content diet isn’t going to be getting the proper nutrition it needs. Therefore, it’s not able to perform or learn to the best of its ability. Starches break down into sugars. This causes the dog to have sugar spikes left and right. It also causes the dog to poop a lot and drink a lot. We can see how uncomfortable the dog is in their own skin when they come in for training on a poor diet. They struggle calming down on their own. Sometimes they physically cannot chill out because of their diet! It’s basically like us eating McDonalds every day. It may taste good right then and there, (and it doesn’t put a hole in your wallet), but you never feel good later. You can’t run a few miles, you aren’t motivated to learn new things, and you definitely don’t have an overflowing amount of energy. You feel like crap. DIET MATTERS! It matters a lot. Do your research. Make sure your dog’s diet is species appropriate and isn’t filled with things they don’t need! ⠀


Typically dogs on poor diets, tend to be obese. You know what our #1 pet peeve is? FAT dogs. There is no reason a dog should be obese unless it’s a medical issue. You control what your dog eats. If you feed your dog crappy food, or table scraps, or puppachinos every day, you are decreasing your dog’s lifespan. You are slowly killing your dog. (Sorry if this is harsh. I told you it’s my pet peeve.) Again, we have dogs come in for training that get tired within 5 mins of working. Do you know how hard that is on the dog and the TRAINER? How can we teach anything if the dog doesn’t care about food because it’s obese, tanks out shortly because it’s obese, or its joints can’t handle the physicality’s that it takes to train a dog? The dog is suffering. It is unfair to treat an overweight dog as if it were at an ideal weight. If you think your dog is cute, a little chunky or “fluffy,” that is poor dog ownership and care. If you know your dog is overweight, and you choose to do nothing about it, that is neglect. You are in control of what your dog eats. At the end of the day, it’s your fault if your dog is overweight. WEIGHT MATTERS!


Both diet and weight lead me to the topic of grooming. Again, we have dogs come in for training, matted so badly that we have to take them to get groomed or groom them ourselves before we can even attempt to start any training. If your dog has skin issues, or a dull coat, or constant ear infections, it’s usually a result of a poor diet. See how these are all directly related… Anyway, we can’t expect a dog to learn and comply if it hurts to move because of the mattes under its arm pits. Or if the dog’s ears are so infected and matted that the e-collar stimulation irritates the ears even more. Or the dog’s nails are so long that we can see how it’s affecting their gait, causing their body to compensate, throwing their entire alignment off. Or the dog gets a hotspot from the e-collar or even a leash because of all the dead hair that needs to come out, or because of their sensitive skin. Long haired, short haired, wirehaired, double coated, poodle coated. All dogs have grooming requirements. Grooming is a big portion of a dog’s overall health and I feel like it is often overlooked. GROOMING MATTERS!

Taking a wholistic approach is key to training a dog successfully. If we don’t address the first layer of health and basic care, then the dog and the owner will not reach their highest potential. A dog’s diet, weight, and grooming are the absolute first things we assess when a dog comes in for training. When sending your dog to training, please ask the trainer ahead of time what would help your dog be most successful during the training program. I’m sure they would be more than happy to talk to you ahead of time to get you started on the right track! While this post was somewhat harsh, please do not be embarrassed to ask us questions! We have just about seen it all, and we love informing the public on these crucial and important components of dog ownership and dog training!