Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.

~ Roger Caras


Gabrielle Urbani

My Great Pyrenees, Walker, led me to my life’s path – force free, science based positive reinforcement dog training. When I adopted Walker I had already been working in doggie daycares and boarding facilities for several years though I was very naive about dog training. It was not until Walker was violently attacked while we were out on a leashed walk that I realized how naïve I was. Between Walker getting attacked by off leash dogs and a week later another violent dog fight at my previous job, I was shook. Shook to my core. At that point I had worked with dogs for years and I was terrified to walk my own dog. Walker had also become reactive to other dogs while on leash, which just skyrocketed my fear. Clearly, this was no way to live for either of us.

Enter a fellow trainer, now colleague, to whom I reached out for help. I needed to get my confidence back. I needed to learn how to work with the emotions that my dog was feeling. Learning about training with Walker was incredibly beneficial for both of us. My confidence came back while Walker’s re-activeness decreased in intensity. This led to my studying at and graduating from Whole Dog Academy in Portland in their comprehensive and exhaustive dog training program, studying everything from ethology to learning theory and much more. Walker passed away two months after I received my CPDT-KA certification – he was my guide to my life’s purpose, and I am forever grateful for that.

My goals for you:
• Strengthening your relationship with your dog through positive reinforcement
• To build a communication with your dog
• To understand your dog’s body language
• To see how training can positively impact and be immersed into your daily life
• Having fun through training with games

Cornerstones of Communication

Learning to speak your pooch’s language:

While it would be amazing if your pooch could speak to you verbally it’s just not how they speak. However, they are communicating with you all the time with their body. As their guardian(s) and advocate(s) it’s important that you learn what they are saying in every circumstance. Learning to understand their language will help you to bridge the verbal communication gap leading to a deeper understanding of your canine family as well as a blossoming relationship with them.

Find your moments of yes!

As a species, humans are very good at telling people and animals what we don’t want – “No! Stop! UGH!” – without offering any alternative of what we do want. This leaves the person and/or animal feeling stuck – “What should I do?” – and leaves them feeling bad and confused. That does not set the learner up for success and leads to a whole bunch of negative emotions. Let’s trade out this negativity with positivity, and instead let your pooch know what you do want them to do. We will let your pooch know when they are doing behaviors that we want to see continue with reinforcement as well as teaching them alternate behaviors to do when they offer undesirable behaviors. This positive way of teaching and learning leads to a relationship based on trust and respect as well as feelings of happiness and success!

Build a communication between you and your pooch

We will start with hand cues when first learning new behaviors and then introduce verbal cues once there is proficiency with the hand cue. Being able to have a set of cues that both you and your pooch know will enhance the relationship that you have in so many ways!

Have fun

When your dog is having fun and learning at the same time with you, you’ll see their confidence grow, your relationship with them grow in the best ways possible, and you’ll be moving through your life together as a team

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