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Wow I just finished watching Marley and Me.  I believe the message of unconditional love that our dogs gives us is something to always remember.  The heart is always a place to come from in any situation.

As a dog trainer there are many things I did not agree with that the owner did, however, the most important thing in any relationship with humans and dogs is to come from the heart.  We never know everything and may or may not always know the best choices to make.   If you come from the heart there is no wrong.

I believe it was ironic how the owners loved Marley so much and the trainer they took their dog did not come from a place of love at all.  As a trainer, I believe it is important to come from a place of compassion and understanding.  A good trainer acknowledges the owner and listens.

Just a few things from the movie I would like to clarify:

First and foremost research your dog breed and research dog training BEFORE you get your dog.

When you get a puppy make sure you puppy proof the house.  Whatever a puppy gets in the habit of chewing on carries into adulthood.

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Never go to your puppy if he whines at night.  If you return to your whining puppy, you are rewarding the whining and encouraging him to do it more.  It is best to crate your puppy and have him stay in the crate during the night.  Also keep him in the crate when you cannot supervise him.

Do not use choke chains.  Head collars and front hook harnesses are more humane and more effective to train leash walking.

Never chase after you dog/puppy when he has a forbidden object.  Show your dog a treat and allow him to drop the object instead.  Now he will come to you in these instances rather than run away.

If your dog is afraid of thunderstorms read this great book The Big Bang by Claudeen E Mc Auliffe, M.Ed.

Saying “no” to your dog doesn’t train him what to do instead.  He may stop what he is doing and then he will do it again in the future.  Training an alternate behavior is so much more effective.

Teach your dog to walk on a loose leash when he is puppy.  He learns so much faster at this age!

Also if your dog jumps on you turn your back and ignore him.  Then pet him when he sits.  Kneeing him could injure your dog or cause your dog to become fearful/aggressive.

If you want to hire a pet sitter please have the pet sitter come BEFORE the day you are leaving.  A good pet sitter does an evaluation with you and your dog in advance.

Teach your children how to play appropriately with your dog.  Chase teaches dogs to interact with children as if they are dogs (jump and bite them).

The main message in Marley and Me  is beautiful.  When you get a dog LOVE him always.  Know that you are his companion for life and he is your responsibility.

Remember your dog doesn’t hate you and isn’t anger when he misbehaves.  He just isn’t trained what is wanted from him.  Train your dog from the beginning and you will avoid much hassle later on!

I love training puppies!!!!  I have an awesome Puppy Kindergarten Group Course.  Create a great dog by starting training as young as 9 weeks with Four Legged Scholars.

Happy Training and May You Feel the Love Message From This Amazing and Heart Felt Movie!

Johanna Teresi, Professional Owner and Trainer of Four Legged Scholars LLC

Johanna Teresi performing dog training with Seiki.

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