Owner Misconceptions - I apologize for the occasional sarcasm
"I don't know why my dog is so hyper, I walk him twice a day and when he comes home, he's more excited than when I left the house!"
Your dog might need some serious exercise like playing with dogs at the park, running, retrieving etc...which is more than what a walk can ever provide. You can liken it to a limited walk or two as a source of exercise for a youth who should be cycling, playing sports etc... Some dogs were bred for their high energy and walking around the block holding a leash in one hand and tweeting with the other will not be enough. There's a reason dog walkers in this city are a busy bunch.
" I had always put my hand in my dog's dish so he could trust me when he was eating, yet the other day he growled at me when I tried to take is bone away"
Your dog is protecting something he deems more valuable than his regular food. Over my 15 years as a trainer, this was the most common aggression I came across. While it's important to de-sensitize a dog around its food, something a dog deems more tasty (human food, pig's ears, rawhide etc.) could cause the dog to react. This could be a dominance related behavior and should be dealt with before it escalates. It is possible to teach a dog to drop what he has in its mouth and walk away so you can retrieve food or any other item safely without risking injury.
I was thinking of getting a second dog to keep the other one company
If you're getting a second dog to keep your first dog company, you're likely getting out of guilt because of your busy schedule and feel you're not meeting your dog's needs. It's also not just about getting a second dog, as it's also important the dogs are compatible. Either way you slice it, even if you have 5 dogs, it will always be about what you bring in their lives and a second dog is never a substitute for its owner.
I know my dog doesn't listen, but he's just a puppy
While it's true a young dog's attention span and ability to retain information is limited, I'm always surprised how old people think a dog has to be responsive for training. While it would be nice to have a mature focused dog to work with, the reality is your dog should start training at an early age to ensure you're not only educating your dog, but also preventing your dog from falling into behavior patterns you eventually regret.
Private training is ok for older dogs, but puppies need puppy socialization classes
Your dog can socialize at a dog park at the many dog parks in the NCR. Only in the case of aggressive dogs do I believe it should be in an obedience class, and if you do, ensure you have a training school that can handle your dog and takes the safety of the other clients in consideration. Obedience classes should respect a small amount of clients to be able to cater to their needs.
"I don't want the training to break my dog's spirit"
To me that's like saying "I don't want my children to learn, because I'm afraid they'll become...too smart?? And if someone is insinuating that training equals abuse, they have it all wrong. All parents at some point have trained their children. They trained (taught...same thing) them how to use utensils, establish certain behavior at restaurants, respect for other people, set curfews, enforce homework habits and the list goes on. That doesn't break a child and training will not break your dog, A way to break a dog is through neglect, abuse and deprive it of companionship and love. Proper training allows you to establish a bond of trust and a necessary pecking order through training, which is what a dog craves so he can instinctively make sense of the world we've forced him to live in.
He didn't try to bite me, he only nipped me
I put this one in red for a reason. There's a difference between a dog reacting in the moment to an accidental step on their tail as opposed to an intent to bite/warn/nip. Not all dogs strike with precision and it happens so quickly that most times owners aren't in a position to properly assess whether their dog truly meant to bite. Dog owners often want to believe their dog is not capable of biting someone, but that's simply not true. With a dog it's more about the varying degrees of risk, and some dogs have a higher bite inhibition than others. Either way, it's important it be dealt with both on a training level and an awareness level for the owner. Think of it this way, if your partner reacted in the heat of the moment by hitting you, is it more acceptable to be hit with an open hand instead of a fist?
"I could never get rid of him because I love him too much"
When people reach a boiling point and are truly frustrated with the dog, I often tell them if they don't make necessary changes, they could easily get to the point where they'll want to get rid of their dog. Of course they get defensive. Yet all those who've been married and have professed "till death do us part" at their wedding, didn't stop some from eventually kicking their partners to the curb did it? If you're having issues, don't assume "you've tried everything" before you abandon your pet. There are tons of rescues out there so take your dog in so please don't euthanize your dog.
"We believe a dog should live outside"
I guess my question to you is, why have a dog? I've always imagined what it's like for a dog, who craves companionship and lives to belong to a pack, what it must feel like when he's relegated to sitting in solitude while you're going on with your life. Even if you exercise the dog, the most important thing to a pack animal is reinforcing his pack instinct, which is supposed to be replaced by we humans in the form of companionship. If you don't want a dog among your family or in your home, might I suggest you volunteer with the SPCA. By the way, if your dog lives such a life, I don't want your business. if it's not good enough to live in your home with your family, get lost.
"A dog needs a yard to exercise"
Nope. A yard (unless you have a huge amount of land) doesn't stimulate a dog and if I were you I'd look at is as one big doggy toilet. I've had tons of clients who had one, sometimes two dogs in a small apartment, but the catch is there was a dog park close by for the dogs to get proper exercise. And if your rational is that you have a dog that entertains itself by running in circles in the yard on its own, it's likely because your dog is losing its marbles since it is trying to amuse itself and burn off some steam and running with nowhere to go is how he deals with it.
A dog can amuse itself from time to time, but he doesn't know how to do it efficiently and effectively. Unlike you, who on a slow day can browse your Ipad, drink a glass of wine while chatting on the phone or watch a movie during your workout on a treadmill, your dog relies on you for exercise and yes, even Apple hasn't figured out an app for that.
"I read this really good dog training book"
Books often have useful information, but most times there are many variables that requires an exchange between an trainer and the client. The reason I don't post a link to an email on my site is because I have so many questions that an email becomes a long drawn out exchange of information. Sorry, score this one for old school.
"My dog doesn't listen and I tried everything"
You tried everything within your spectrum of knowledge.
"Pinch collars are bad!!"
Uhmm, no. Simply put: If one collar could do the trick everyone would be using it.
If only one training technique worked, we'd all be doing it.
A pinch collar in combination with the right technique is IMO the best training collar on the market. It is however also the most dangerous looking which has many people discriminating against it.
Two reasons to use the collar:
1) your dog is physically insensitive; potential for injuring your dog with a regular collar is high since he doesn't feel anything until the damage is done (trachea damage)
2) Your dog is stronger than you are
So why not use a haltie or a harness?
Training collars should not be confused with "restraining devices" like halties or harnesses. A training collar should do two things; correct the dog and/or get the dog's attention in a high distraction environment. When pulled, a pinch collar pinches the surface of the dog's skin the same way two human fingers would pinch skin. Important to remember the intensity of the pinch is determined by the owner.
I get some people turn away from the pinch due to its appearance since it gives the impression the prongs penetrate directly in the dog’s skin which is untrue. And if a dog is injured with the pinch it’s due to improper use. Also, don’t assume a psychologically sensitive dog means he/she will be physically sensitive. One has nothing to do with the other.