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Training Your Dog... And Yourself

It's truly a collaboration between dog and master.

Talk to any dog owner and they will likely tell you that they consider their dog to be a part of their family. Dogs can be loyal, playful, and protective. So, it's only natural that people tend to become attached to their dogs because of the companionship they provide, as well as giving their owner a sense of safety.

And that's despite the occasional stain on the carpet or shoes that get tossed in the garbage because they've been chewed to pieces. Indeed, along with the love and affection dog owners receive from their pets, there can also be some collateral damage.

But what if you could enjoy all the warm fuzzies of owning a dog and minimize the behaviors that might make some people question their decision to bring a dog into the family, even if the doubt is only temporary? According to Kelsey Reinertsen, owner of Pho Paws and a Master Certified Mentor Dog Trainer, it's a question that almost every dog owner ponders.

“One of the most common questions I get among dog owners, especially those with young children, is ‘How in the world do I get my dog to stop playing so rough with my children?’” she says. “Especially with certain breeds that like to herd sheep and they treat kids like little sheep. They don't know how to manage the energy of their dog and the energy of their kids, especially at the end of a workday.”

In reality, training a dog is as much about training the owner as it is about training the dog.

“I think one of the biggest reasons why we have behavior issues with our pets is that we give them too much freedom too soon, before they've earned it,” she said. “For example, giving them free rein of the house before they've stopped chewing on household items that they shouldn't.”

One mistake she said many dog owners make is feeling that keeping them in a crate for long periods of time is mean or inhumane.

“They're den animals. If you look at wolves, who dogs descend from, you realize that they dig. They're in small dens, very small dens, and it's normal. It's instinctual, it's primal for them to dive toward a bathtub or dive under the couch or under the bed when there's a thunderstorm because it's safety for them.”

For more information about Pho Paws and to download a free guide titled “10 Keys to Creating a Happy and Healthy Relationship with Your Dog,” visit or call 386-956-4908.

For Craig Fizer of Dog Training Elite, they offer a wide range of programs, including specializing in training service animals.

“We train a lot of service dogs,” he says. “It's a big part of the business that we love doing. We're working with a lot of PTSD psychiatric service dogs, training dogs to help kids with autism. We've worked with hearing dogs. We're currently working with a seizure alert dog.”

The main reason dogs make such great service animals is that they are incredibly intelligent.

“Dogs are very smart. They know every little manipulation cue. They figure out pretty quickly who the weak link is in the room. And they really have to be. When we work with a service animal, the first thing we do is put them through our advanced obedience training because they have to be really disciplined. If they're out in public and a kid walks by with an ice cream cone, they need to know they can't have it even if it's within reach.”

From there, the next step is to teach the dog all the important tasks, depending on what the client needs.

“Our program is a hundred percent customized based on the tasks they need to know and whatever condition they're working with,” he says. “With the seizure alert dog we're working with, it's for a boy who has seizures in his sleep. We'll simulate that seizure in his bedroom and teach the dog to interrupt with barking. We also train him to go find somebody if needed."

To learn more about the services provided by dog training elite and to request a demonstration, visit their website at

  • Kelsey Reinertsen, owner of Pho Paws