Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Well-behaved dogs & a great dog trainer

There is nothing like well-behaved dogs. When we first moved to SF, our dogs didn't take to the transition very well. They barked, they peed in the house, they were whining all the time and running up and down the stairs. It was not a good situation and my girlfriend was very upset. At one point it got so bad I almost had to put her up for adoption. I put an ad on craigslist, saying:
"This is my girlfriend. We have had almost three fabulous years together, and now I'd like to give her to a good family. She's somewhat housebroken. She's crate-trained. She's had all her shots and she loves kids. She just needs more love than I can give her, due to the fact that I work long hours. And a bigger yard would be nice, too." Seriously, I almost had to give my pooches away, which would break my heart, so instead we hired a dog whisperer. The first thing I told him was, "Speak up! Why are you always whispering, dude?" The end result is that the dogs are great now. We always have to stay on top of them, but they have improved tremendously since we hired the dog trainer. They stopped barking all the time, and they don't pull us around on walks anymore. They're also just calmer and have better attitudes. My staffie, (the one that looks like Petey from the Lil Rascals) is even learning Italian. They don't poo and pee all over the place anymore, which is excellent. I tried to explain to them that it wasn't that kind of party, that they could do that kind of stuff when they were out in the woods with their pack, but I couldn't get through to them. Our trainer (John Van Olden is his name) got them to understand that and a lot more. The process was pretty simple. I found John on craigs list (where else?) and he came by and evaluated our dogs, Shelly and Kaido (we have another mutt named Ratdog, a little, ugly but extremely endearing deaf dog who John said we didn't need to include in the training. Kind of like getting out of Phys. Ed in junior high because you brought a note from your doctor.) He took on the job and has changed our lives because now we have a calmer and happier household. It took a few lessons and a lot of follow-up on our part. Essentially, he was training us along with the animals. He even hit me with a rolled-up newspaper one time when I asked him a dumb question.
My girlfriend has since been watching the other "Dog Whisperer", Cesar -- the one with the TV show and now she has really taken to doggy discipline in a big way. She's tougher than me and we play good cop bad cop with the dogs, but hey, somebody has to be like that. If it was still up to me they'd be eating people food and sleeping on the bed with us and watching Animal Planet 24/7. This is a better situation all the way around, however. I highly recommend John Van Olden as a dog trainer. If you want to call him, he's in Alameda and his phone number is: (800) 649-7297. He's the best in our book and we are grateful he helped us get our mutts under control. It's amazing how attached you get to your pets, isn't it? They're like our kids, except they don't talk back or play video games or get bad grades or listen to their iPOD's all the time or spend eight straight hours on myspace.
To find out more about John Van Olden, visit his web site at:

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