CATCH Canine Trainers Academy Blog

Getting to Know a New Dog

Quick Hands-On Evaluations

As a trainer, when you work with a dog for the first time, there are some key pieces of information that you want to get “directly from the dog”. It’s like an interview where you’re “asking” the dog questions, but it’s not literally asking, it’s keenly observing the dog’s responses during your interaction.

For example: What motivates this dog? How focused is he? What gets his attention? Does he respond to his name? How social is he? Any fears? Any software already installed (basic obedience behaviors)?

Join David Muriello, CATCH School Director, as he meets a local shelter dog, Hunter, for the first time. David will tell you the key observations he makes about Hunter’s behavior as he “auditions” food, toys, and obedience cues to gauge Hunter’s response. Doing a quick hands-on evaluation like this will give you valuable insight on where to start and how to set proper expectations whenever you begin training a new student.

Check back often for more great CATCH Training Tips!

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Learn more about dog behavior and training!  If you’re as fascinated by animals as we are, CATCH courses will fulfill your desire to immerse yourself in dogs and study professional training techniques. We go into basic obedience and beyond: interpreting and communicating canine behavior, solving behavior problems, and more. Our students turn their passion for dogs into newfound skills and dream careers. Get in touch to learn more!

Don’t Judge a Dog by its Looks

Adopt Smarter

When looking to adopt a dog, it’s important not to “judge a book by its cover”. Don’t let a dog’s looks or breed stereotypes influence your decision. Adopt smarter by getting to know the dog’s personality first.

Meet Basic, a 90-pound German Shepherd, who based on looks, you might assume is a big puller on leash and a challenging dog to have in the house. Join our School Director, David Muriello, as you get a chance to meet the “real” Basic – a very relaxed and sweet dog you definitely wouldn’t want to miss out on!

Check back often for more great CATCH Training Tips!

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Learn more about dog behavior and training!  If you’re as fascinated by animals as we are, CATCH courses will fulfill your desire to immerse yourself in dogs and study professional training techniques. We go into basic obedience and beyond: interpreting and communicating canine behavior, solving behavior problems, and more. Our students turn their passion for dogs into newfound skills and dream careers. Get in touch to learn more!

Take Great (but Quick) Notes on Your Training Sessions

Pro Tips For Pro Trainers

CATCH School Director, David Muriello, shares a smart tip for new and established trainers:

Whether you’re working on a team (ex., in a shelter) or as an individual with clients, the more dogs and people you work with – the more important it is to take good notes.  A little time with this will go a long way towards your efficiency and effectiveness.

It’s best practice to record a training session as soon as you are done working with a dog. For example:

  • What behaviors did you work on?
  • How far did you get?
  • What step did you finish on?
  • Were any of the 3 D’s applied yet (Distance, Duration, Distraction)?

Remember to be concise but specific. Record not only what you worked on, but your goals for next time as well.  This is one of those little things that makes a big difference.  Take note!

Check back often for more great CATCH Training Tips!

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Learn more about dog behavior and training!  If you’re as fascinated by animals as we are, CATCH courses will fulfill your desire to immerse yourself in dogs and study professional training techniques. We go into basic obedience and beyond: interpreting and communicating canine behavior, solving behavior problems, and more. Our students turn their passion for dogs into newfound skills and dream careers. Get in touch to learn more!

Petting Dogs the Right Way

No Granny Hair Ruffle!

Believe it or not, there IS a wrong way to pet dogs – especially during training sessions. As dog lovers, we are known for exuding enthusiasm when we interact with our four-legged friends. But, often in our excitement we end up petting the dog on their face and we miss the signals they give that show they actually don’t like it. If you watch a dog’s response, when you pet them in a way that they don’t like they will often duck their head away, or even walk away completely. And this is more common than you may be realizing.

Have you ever had an affectionate grandparent ruffle your hair or grab your cheek? In their mind they were showing how much they loved you – but did you like it? Most people would say no. And most dogs will say the same thing about you touching or grabbing their face! This is particularly true if you are working a dog in a training session. Imagine a dog does a great recall and comes running to you from across a field, or picture a dog who has just completed an obedience routine, responding to your every cue. They are in a focused mode, excited about following your direction and then getting a reward. Do you think they want you to pet them all over the face for all that work? Probably not! When dogs are working they are typically looking to earn a high-value food reward or a rousing game of tug. Petting can definitely be an effective part of your overall rewards package. BUT, if you’re going to make petting part of the reward – make sure it’s the kind that the dog likes!
Petting and scratches on the chest or the belly are tried and true proven winners. Watch for the dog’s response. When they move in closer you know you’re doing something right. Don’t do the granny hair ruffle! That can actually be an unintended punishment and ruin the work you and the dog are putting in.

Check back often for more great CATCH Training Tips!

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Are you a fanatic for learning more about behavior and training?  CATCH courses and workshops go beyond basic obedience to help students work with dogs that have behavioral issues. We find the problem-solving process to be fascinating: from basic issues like jumping, pulling, barking, and house training to learning about the more advanced challenges like fear and aggression cases. Many of our students turn their passion for dogs into newfound skills and use them to work with dogs that otherwise would not have the easiest time finding a forever home. Get in touch with us to learn more!

Get Training Results in Every Setting

Do You Have the Priority Motivators?

In this video, CATCH School Director, David Muriello, shows you the key to getting training results in difficult settings. It’s a common mistake to bring a dog into a distracting situation and then “fight the competing motivators” to try and get the dog’s attention. At best, this is a very inefficient way to train. At worst, you’re completely wasting time and frustrating yourself and the dog! (These interactions are bad for the relationship; which means bad for training results.)

Learn about what we call a priority motivator and how to ensure you are the one in control of it. The key is to set the dog up for success. Winning (earning rewards) can become addicting to the dog, and by smartly choosing the right environment you can move step-by-step to the point where you become the dog’s focus – even in a distracting setting. Watch to learn more!

Check back often for more great CATCH Training Tips!

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Are you a fanatic for learning more about behavior and training?  CATCH courses and workshops go beyond basic obedience to help students work with dogs that have behavioral issues. We find the problem-solving process to be fascinating: from basic issues like jumping, pulling, barking, and house training to learning about the more advanced challenges like fear and aggression cases. Many of our students turn their passion for dogs into newfound skills and use them to work with dogs that otherwise would not have the easiest time finding a forever home. Get in touch with us to learn more!

Teaching Puppies Not to Bite

Patient Pups Become Great Dogs!

One thing we all know is that young pups are naturally very mouthy. This is because they are teething, but also because they use their mouths like young children use their hands – to explore and manipulate the objects in their world.

It’s all a part of the learning and growing process for puppies, but if you don’t teach them to use their mouth in a controlled and gentle way, they will grow into bad habits, not out of them. Many trainers will get phone calls from dog owners who realize this when their pup becomes an adolescent around 6-9 months. It’s common to see those dogs mouthing too hard during play, taking treats with too much force, or snatching things right out of your hands before being invited to do so.

In our latest video, join School Director, David Muriello, and 10-week old puppy, Piston, as they demonstrate a great way to teach puppies that waiting and taking things gently is much more rewarding than grabbing and biting. If you practice these exercises with a young pup, they will go a long way towards helping you raise a polite and gentle dog.

Check back often for more great CATCH Training Tips!

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Are you a fanatic for learning more about behavior and training?  CATCH courses and workshops go beyond basic obedience to help students work with dogs that have behavioral issues. We find the problem-solving process to be fascinating: from basic issues like jumping, pulling, barking, and house training to learning about the more advanced challenges like fear and aggression cases. Many of our students turn their passion for dogs into newfound skills and use them to work with dogs that otherwise would not have the easiest time finding a forever home. Get in touch with us to learn more!

Recall Games to Start Up Your Pups – Come When Called!

Puppy Connection – Make it Fun – Spark the Recall!

Recall games are a really smart way to teach impressionable puppies that following you and checking in with you are rewarding.  If you build these behavior patterns in young dogs, they can last a lifetime with benefits of connection, freedom, and safety.

In our latest Trainer’s Tips Video, join School Director, David Muriello, and 10-week old puppy, Piston, as they demonstrate how some of the simplest techniques can be the most effective.  This is Piston’s first time meeting David, and he is a shy pup, so this is also a very important socialization exercise.  Learning to trust and enjoy the company of a “new guy” in his life will have big social benefits as Piston continues to gain exposure to the busy human world.  Notice how Piston is a little cautious at the beginning of the exercise, but by the end he is cuddling right into David.  Thumbs up, tail wags!

Check back often for more great CATCH Training Tips!

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Are you a fanatic for learning more about behavior and training?  CATCH courses and workshops go beyond basic obedience to help students work with dogs that have behavioral issues. We find the problem-solving process to be fascinating: from basic issues like jumping, pulling, barking, and house training to learning about the more advanced challenges like fear and aggression cases. Many of our students turn their passion for dogs into newfound skills and use them to work with dogs that otherwise would not have the easiest time finding a forever home. Get in touch with us to learn more!

Save the Dog’s Neck! Make an Instant Harness

Use a Slip Lead Safely and Effectively with Dogs That Pull

In this Trainer’s Take, check out expert tips from CATCH School Director, David Muriello, on quickly converting a slip lead into a harness for dogs that pull.

Check back often for more great CATCH Training Tips!

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Are you a fanatic for learning more about behavior and training?  CATCH courses and workshops go beyond basic obedience to help students work with dogs that have behavioral issues. We find the problem-solving process to be fascinating: from basic issues like jumping, pulling, barking, and house training to learning about the more advanced challenges like fear and aggression cases. Many of our students turn their passion for dogs into newfound skills and use them to work with dogs that otherwise would not have the easiest time finding a forever home. Get in touch with us to learn more!

Don’t Forget to Prep Your Pup for Grooming

Grooming Tips From a Trainer’s Perspective

by Hillary Alpert

There are 3 professionals many dogs encounter in their lives: their veterinarian, their dog trainer and… their groomer!
Most veterinarians say the groomer is the most important person in the dog’s life-after the family, of course. The groomer has their hands all over the dog and sees them regularly so they often notice health ailments easier than most. So, it’s really helpful for your dog, groomer, and you to all be comfortable with the experience of getting trimmed and cleaned. Even if your dog doesn’t go to a groomer for a “haircut”, everything you read here can be applied to a bather, or other care professionals that may handle your dog “up close and personal”.

Let’s look at it from a behavioral perspective to start: why are dogs often so afraid of the groomer?

Going to the groomer can be an overwhelming experience. There are loud noises, sharp objects, barking from all of the dogs that may be in the salon, and the hustle and bustle of dogs going in and out. Add on top of that, owners often exude anxiety that increases the dog’s unease. The best thing we can do is introduce our puppies and dogs to the experience slowly and make it a positive outcome. This training can start at home.

First, meet your groomers! Before bringing Fido in for a trim, go say hello and make friends. As we discuss in our program (beginning in the very first phase of study), socialization is key to a growing pup’s life. Go on in to your groom shop (whether private or corporate) and say hello. Shake hands and let your dog meet the groomer (make sure to bring lots of tasty treats to make it even better and more memorable experience).

Now it’s time to go home and get your dog prepped for the experience. Start when it’s quiet and your dog is relaxed. Touch him everywhere. Give him treats. Don’t be afraid to pick up his feet, touch his nails, ears, face, and tail. If he fusses or struggles, don’t increase your pressure or force it, but don’t stop completely – take it light and slow and let him know this is great! (Remember to share those treats!) Start with short sessions and practice every day, multiple times if you can. Hold up his ears or hold on gently to the chin hair. Hold his feet and tail. Hold up his belly and reward him greatly!

Slowly, start to introduce the brush and comb to your arsenal of touches. First, let your dog investigate and sniff (not chew!) and slowly start to run the brush/comb over the dog. If he gets huffy and goes after it, distract him with something else like a treat or toy. Keep these sessions quick and slowly add on more time.

Work on holding paws up and touching the nails. At first, it is great to use a metal spoon and run it over the dog – especially on the feet and around the face (these are sensitive are

as but are also the most common places that will get scissored during a grooming session). Again, don’t get frustrated if the dog gets upset. Use distractions and rewards to keep him engaged in the game aspect of this. For example, pick one body part then touch and treat, touch and treat, touch and treat. You will find that if you are gentle and quick enough, soon the dog may be offering to lift that paw for you, or move closer for you to lift her ear up!

Visit your groomer and show in your body language and attitude that you’re comfortable with dropping him off. Your dog will feed off of you, so don’t over-coddle, but be reassuring by being yourself. Many pet owners believe their dog won’t be okay without you: take it from a groomer, they usually are. Don’t be afraid to leave treats with your groomer and then go! . Some groomers will tell an owner it can take several hours, and that’s normal. They want to get the process done safely and if your dog needs breaks, good groomers will give them.

Once the dog is all set, you can pick up your pooch and get a great report card! If a dog is on a schedule to be groomed regularly, it becomes a part of life as opposed to an overwhelming event. Some dogs even love coming by and visiting their groomer. Especially those that were prepped using the approach given here. The younger you start with these techniques, the better.

As a dog trainer, you can prep clients for a pleasant grooming experience. Using these steps will help dogs become ready for “the big show” at the salon, where they can have an easy going, low stress experience.

Shelter Dog Safety, Can You Get the Dog Out?

Kennel Safety | Tips for Handling Dogs Like a Pro

Check out the latest CATCH Training Tips video with CATCH School Director, David Muriello, as he demonstrates a safe and effective way to remove a dog from its kennel.

Check back often for more great CATCH Training Tips!

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Are you a fanatic for learning more about behavior and training?  CATCH courses and workshops go beyond basic obedience to help students work with dogs that have behavioral issues. We find the problem-solving process to be fascinating: from basic issues like jumping, pulling, barking, and house training to learning about the more advanced challenges like fear and aggression cases. Many of our students turn their passion for dogs into newfound skills and use them to work with dogs that otherwise would not have the easiest time finding a forever home. Get in touch with us to learn more!


CATCH Canine Trainers Academy Office Headquarters
24 Newark Pompton Turnpike Suite 206, Little Falls, NJ.
Phone: 877-752-2824