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Moving Through the Obstacles of Life to Create Training Success

As a Salt Lake City dog trainer, I have experienced clients that have gotten injured.  I have also experience clients that have been overwhelmed with work.  Some clients are emotionally exhausted.  However, many of these clients still create successful training with their dogs.  How do they create success with so many obstacles?

These past few months I have been experiencing much anger and overwhelm.  I have had many unexpected obstacles coming toward me.  I thought it would be good to share with you the tools that I am learning to overcome obstacles.  I want you to have success in dog training. Salt Lake City is full of successful training stories. Let’s help you and your dog become one of them!

1.) Stay committed.  If you are committed to creating obedience training results with your dog, the only thing that will stop you is your lack of commitment.  The results you see in your life are a result of commitment toward what you want or are a result of being committed toward what you do not want.

2.) Recommit when you get off track.  Part of staying committed is noticing when you are not committed to moving forward.  Many of my Salt Lake City dog training clients, express obstacles.  They had to work overtime. A huge family emergency occurred. As a result, they spent less time training their dog this week.  So what?  Some weeks will be like that. That is okay.  The bigger picture or bigger question is did they recommit or did they stay uncommitted the following days, weeks and months? Recommitment is your answer to success.

3.) Take care of yourself.   Meditating, exercising, socializing etc. are important to your emotional well-being.  You will be more successful in obedience training your dog if your needs are met.

4.) Get support.  If you are finding that you just don’t have time to train your dog at all, delegate some tasks.  How can you lighten your load?  Can you hire a housecleaner?  Can your family support you in giving you some cooked meals?  Can someone else pick up some of your workload at work so that I you can get home a bit earlier? How can you do a bit less so that you can do a bit more with dog training?  Salt Lake City is full of people who want to give support and help you.

5.) What’s really important?  Think about how you want to spend your time.  Are you wasting time doing things that you really don’t need to do or don’t want to do? Do you really enjoy the TV show you are watching at the end of the day?  Are you spending extra time on Facebook?  Are you texting or talking on the phone more than you actually want?  If you remind yourself that these actions are not how you want to spend your time, then you can have more time to obedience train your dog.

6.) Be kind to yourself.  Remember you are doing the best you know how with the current mindset you are have in this moment.  Remind yourself that you are amazing.  Focus and celebrate your progress instead of constantly reminding yourself that you aren’t doing good enough right now.

7.) Keep it simple.  Just 2-5 minutes of training your dog a day can make a big difference for obedience training.  If your dog has aggressive or fear issues you may need to spend 20 min or more a day.

8.) Set goals and deadlines.  Write down what you need to do and give clear-cut off dates for tasks that you need to complete. If you have a huge to do list of mundane tasks around the house or in your life, setting goals and deadlines can free some time.  Now you have extra time at the end of the day to obedience train your dog.

9.) Focus on the solution not the problem.  If you had a bad training day, evaluate the situation and make a different choice next time.  How can it work better next time?  I wonder how I can be more successful next time?

I love watching successful dog training.  Salt Lake City if full of my clients that have followed the above principles to reach their training goals!

Your Turn!  Please comment below. We want to hear from you!

When you are training on a day to day basis what obstacles are you running into?  What above solutions will you apply to get back to training success?


Johanna Teresi, Professional Trainer and Owner of Four Legged Scholars LLC Dog Training, Salt Lake City

Blog Archives

Britnie Sorensen
Britnie Sorensen
18:11 06 Apr 24
This is our second round of training with Johanna! Our Bullmastiff Abbi is different from our previous dogs, and we knew Johanna would be able to help us. We reached out and were in excellent hands! Johanna was able to redirect our training efforts, majority of sessions were held virtually and supported with videos of us training Abbi. We will keep using Johanna no matter where life takes us. Her love and compassion for our puppy, and us, come through in every interaction. We are in a much better place and understanding of Abbi after working with Johanna!
Roberta Bonnell
Roberta Bonnell
01:37 24 Mar 24
My Australian Shepard had moderate separation anxiety and Johanna was able to help me get him to a point where I can see him being able to be home alone before the end of the year! Very grateful for all of her training expertise.
Karen Mara
Karen Mara
21:19 21 Jan 24
I recently met with Johanna for help with my rambunctious teenager, Roger. We worked on coming when called, leash walking, and staying calm around other dogs when on leash. After two sessions, Roger made huge improvements, and he continues to improve as we practice on our own. Johanna really understands dogs and is very good at communicating with people. She knows how to make dog training fun. I've worked with other trainers, and Johanna is by far the best.
Wendy Nighswonger
Wendy Nighswonger
18:47 08 Jul 23
I have known Johanna for 13 years. She has helped me with several dogs, but she recently helped me train my new black lab puppy, Raven. I have moved to another state so all of my training with Raven was done online via Zoom. I believe that the one-on-one training I received through Zoom was more personalized and thorough, especially with the way Johanna placed every ounce of training and recommendation on a board through an app that I can refer back when I need. Johanna is very intuitive and knew when stress was on overload for me, therefore tailoring my training for that day around making Raven feel good while simultaneously taking my stress load down. Johanna has years of experience and while her knowledge is a gold mine, it is her gentle patience and love for her clients that make this training so perfect. I would hire her again and again. She is a true canine whisperer. Thank you Four Legged Scholars and thank you Johanna!Wendy N. ~ Oregon
Christina Richards
Christina Richards
18:13 10 Feb 23
Johanna at Four Legged Scholars is great. She tailored my program to fit my needs and was easy to work with. My puppy responded very well to what she taught us together over Zoom. She's patient and understanding. We're still utilizing the things we learned and he's a well-behaved puppy. Thank you!
Karyl Bennion
Karyl Bennion
19:49 05 Feb 23
I adopted Frida as a companion that I could travel, walk and hike with. She loves to hike and walk but pulled on the leash and jumped at distractions. I learned how to be calm and talk in a non threatening way to her. She responds to this much better than yelling at her. The click and treat method that I learned works so well in getting her attention as well as the "target" training. Frida has improved greatly with these methods. I will continue the knowledge I have learned with her. I did the live on-line training and it was very successful. I am so happy we signed up.
Rachel Giddings
Rachel Giddings
02:57 12 Dec 22
My dog was abused in his previous home and has always been afraid of strangers. I wanted to train him and help him to be more confident, but I didn't know how to do that if he was afraid of his trainer.Doing online training with Joanna was perfect for both of us! Joanna helped me learn how to read my dog and understand his triggers. We then worked together on BAT training, which taught him self-soothing behaviors and showed him how to confidently and safely handle difficult situations. I never thought I would have fun doing homework with my dog, but he and I benefited from it tremendously. Working with Joanna via Zoom was perfect for my dog and me.
Shawn McMillen
Shawn McMillen
02:09 24 Oct 22
My 2 year old doodle was struggling with people walking by the house, barking incessantly, tugging on walks, improving recall when off leash and , for me, how to be a better more engaging human for my buddy. The personalized, online sessions exceeded all my expectations. The review of video homework sessions was awesome. We saw improvement in each of the priority areas and I developed real, tangible, lasting skills/tools to be a better pet person. Thanks Johanna!
Courtney Daniels
Courtney Daniels
19:59 12 Sep 22
12 years ago I got a puppy and quickly realized I was in over my head. I wanted to have a good, well trained dog, but I was overwhelmed by methods and my puppies behavior.I joined the four legged scholars puppy training with my little 4 month old puppy Bowie, and saw immediate understanding with the clicker work. It gave us this incredibly ability to communicate and she excelled.We went on to take several courses that established general obedience, helped me turn a STRONG leash puller into a loose leash master (I took that course twice because it was a huge issue for us and I NEEDED help and reassurance from Johanna that I could do it) as well as skill class, that helped solidify a beautiful relationship between us. Learning clicker shaping allowed me to confidently teach complex and unique commands on my own as well, like waving hello and closing kitchen cabinets.My Bowie has climbed to the top of mountains for me staying right by my side never pulling on her leash. I've targeted her off trails to protect her from startling a mama moose and her baby. She's loved on my kids without jumping on them and knocking them over. She's allowed the neighbor girl who has always had a fear of dogs to walk her without pulling at whatever pace she was comfortable with. She shows off with all her fun little tricks Johanna gave me the tools to train my dog into an amazing companion.I feel so lucky to have found your training program and to have the relationship I do with my Bowie girl. These courses have a profound and lasting impact on the lives of families and their pups, thank you for that gift.
Megan Pond-Maxwell
Megan Pond-Maxwell
16:02 18 May 22
I am so grateful to have found Johanna. She was with us every step of the way as we tackled separation anxiety training and reactivity training with Daisy, my Mini Australian Shepherd. As a first time dog owner, I felt at a loss about how to manage my very vocal, scared, stressed, yet loveable dog. She had all of the typical puppy behavior, such as jumping, nipping/biting, leash pulling, as well as barking. On top of that, she was also not able to be alone without feeling terrified, as well as vocally and behaviorally reactive to other dogs, adults, and kids. I felt completely overwhelmed and Johanna created programs that felt manageable and doable. Each training session, I felt understood and empowered working with Johanna. Over the course of our programs, I felt that we accomplished the steps of the training process, strengthened the dog-human relationship, and increased my own awareness of my dog's emotional cues so that I could better work with her. My dog can now be on her own feeling relaxed and playful, her problematic puppy behaviors have significantly improved, she can walk on her leash loosely, listen to commands, and she can better tolerate other adults, dogs, and children as compared to where we first started. Our online experience was very positive. I look forward to continually implementing the tools and skills we have learned along the way to move forward in a positive direction that strengthens our human-animal bond and reduces distressing behaviors and emotional stress and overwhelm. Thank you Four Legged Scholars! I highly, highly recommend working with Johanna.
Emily Harward
Emily Harward
03:36 24 Apr 22
Our rescue dog is sweet and playful with us, but her behavior around other dogs and people could be unpredictable. She would act aggressively around adults (lunging and barking), and would sometimes be aggressive toward other dogs. We chose to do online training with Johanna. I was skeptical that online training would work, but it ended up being very effective. Johanna taught me the skills I needed to train my dog, and provided resources that I could use throughout the week as I worked on the assigned tasks. I was also able to send her videos of me working with my dog, so she could provide feedback and help me improve. Johanna personalized the program and made changes as needed to ensure that I could meet my goals. Since working with Four Legged Scholars, neighbors have commented on how much better behaved my dog is, and I don't have to worry about her lunging and barking at people or other dogs when we are out for a walk anymore. We still have a lot of work to do with our dog, and I feel like doing the personalized online sessions with Johanna has given me the knowledge, and resources to continue training my dog.
Angel Lanoy
Angel Lanoy
15:22 16 Jun 21
We have a large family, including three big dogs. So when our biggest dog Obi, the Rottweiler, started showing aggression we panicked. The vet suggested we put him down after an experience in the office. He then said we could also try training and gave us Johanna's business card. Just a phone call with her made us feel like there was hope. We signed up to do the online sessions with FourLeggedScholars. The process from the first contact to the last was well oiled and very helpful. Obi gets to stay with our family now and we feel like meting with her has given us the guidance and knowledge we need to keep our family, friends and him safe. I was a tad worried about doing the training online, but it really worked out great and we were able to fit such a big task into our busy schedules. I feel like she set us up for success from the very beginning. Thank you.
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  1. ling wong

    Thanks for sharing these tips. I think they also apply to many other areas in life!

  2. kathiegregory

    Hi Johanna, I love this post. We do tend to focus on just what our dogs have achieved, rather than look at the how and why. Teaching takes time, and we cannot beat ourselves up if we have other commitments. Your points about being aware of yourself, and solutions for freeing up some time are really good, and will help many people assess where they are and how to move forwards. Best wishes kathie

    • fourleggedscholars

      Thank you Kathie! I am grateful for your support and kind words! I really do hope this helps out many people!