Greensboro, NC -- Marcia Martin from Marcia's Best Dogs is a dog trainer and sometimes a human trainer too! She brought Daisy with her to 2WTK.
"Sometimes I don't know why people call us dog trainers. To train the dog is the easy part, to make the owners be consistent, that is not so easy."
The main thing owners need to keep in mind, is they are in control, not the dog. Marcia recommends the use of the gentle leader. It's an extra to the leash. The gentle leader fits behind the ears and over the snout of the dog. It allows the walker to have better control of the dog.
If you're not a dog person, but you find yourself unable to cross the street of a dog being walked, how do you stay out of the way?
"The main thing is to keep calm, don't run, don't make eye contact with the dog. The big take away is stay still, let the dog pass. At this point it should be the owner's dog responsibility to control their dogs."
Marcia makes the point that even if a dog appears friendly, kids should always ask the dog owner for permission before they pet a dog. Kids too, should avoid eye contact.
"I think that is one of the primary reason kids get bitten, they are at the same eye level with the dog." Marcia says, go to pet the dog with an open face hand and slow!
Marcia's dog, Daisy, is timid. So, to help socialize your timid dog, Marcia suggests carrying treats.
"Before I let anyone pet her, I hand the treats to the other person, use a high pitch voice and ask them to feed her. With kids, I ask them to be gentle and give her a treat too."
How do you keep your dog from bowling over someone when they come to the front door?
"I have a couple of tricks. First, I need to teach the dog how much I'm in charge inside the house, then I can use a spray bottle or a metal bowl. " The spray bottle is an easy and harmless way to get the dog to re-direct. The sound of a metal bowl on the ground will alert the dog to your command.
"To me you can have a wonderful relationship with your dog, if you understand their temperament. Dog training is way beyond lay down, sit, stay. It is a relationship that you nurture every day."