Spring time accomplishments

Things have been busy around EIK9, which is exactly how we like it!


We have had some great accomplishments over the last few weeks and cannot help but brag a little. Emeline our 3 year old GSD passed her International Police Working Dog Association Trailing test and is now a certified trailing K9. Way to go Eme!!! There is no rest for the weary though and Eme will continue to prove herself and complete the NYSFEDSAR trailing tests as well this summer. We will also brush her up in her cadaver skills.


Miss Raina took her International Police Working Dog cadaver test last minute with no preparation and passed with flying colors. Congrats Raina you are now an IPWDA certified cadaver dog!!! Most of Raina’s free time has been spent getting ready for her acting role in an upcoming horror movie.

Daily training in numerous canine fields leaves little time for posting and updating but we will try and chip away a little at a time!

Any questions or if you are interested in any training EIK9 has to offer please contact us below!

Terrific Tip Tuesday

Well it’s been awhile but i hope to stay back on the blog bandwagon!!!


This week’s terrific tip Tuesday is all about how to proof your stay.

REMEMBER you must train on THE DOG”S schedule not your own!! Just because your 9 month old pup has performed a down stay in your living room for 20 minutes while watching american idol doesn’t mean he can do a 30 second down stay in your local park. Do not put expectations on your dog that he cannot fulfill or else you are setting up to damage your relationship and happiness in working with you.

First make sure you change only ONE VARIABLE AT A TIME. Some of the biggest variables you have to change to proof your stay





Lets stick with those 4 for now. First off change your environment, do the back deck instead of the living room but make sure all you change is the environment and set your other requirements low. In other words make it a 10 second stay in a new environment instead of that 2 minute stay in the living room you had worked up to. Slowly work up to the two minutes in the new environment making sure you only move according to the dogs schedule IE what he is successful at 4 out of 5 times before you raise the criteria!!!

As you can see in the example above once he is fine in the new environment at 10 seconds you can start to change the length or “raise your criteria” in other ways for the stay. Take note however you are always working on only ONE thing at a time. Lets say in that session he has mastered a minute long down stay on the back deck (new environment) now take 2 steps away from him instead of standing right next to him  (get it????)

Your options in proofing are endless but take baby steps and make sure you are never raising criteria to high to quick. If you notice he breaks the stay more than once in a set of 5 back down the variable you were working on, stop bouncing the ball, or taking 15 steps away.

Thanks for reading and don’t forget to email me if there is a specific thing you would like to see our Tuesday blog post on! EliteInstinctCanine@gmail.com

When the word Busy has a WHOLE new meaning

I am not by nature a relaxed type of person. In fact i’ve been named “fiesty” by many and i guess have accepted it as a compliment. Sometimes though i have a week or so that sets me back, where i stop being super-women and just return to normal pace.  The past week has been pretty crazy with the addition of the new pups, but the dogs have all adjusted to their new brother and sister and the family has blended perfectly.

I have a laundry list of things i want to write about, i want to film, i want to show but i can only do so much so quick! With that being said look for a few new posts on the pups and how life is going.



Flashback Friday

This weeks flashback friday post is pictures of the canine copilot dogs out and about for Elite Instinct Canine training sessions.

Raina and I at Home Depot


Franky in the car waiting for the lesson to begin


Abby in a sit stay


A word of advice when choosing a trainer

The love of a canine

When trying to choose a trainer or behaviorist to help your family and canine i would like to give a few pointers. There are hundreds of “trainers” out there, and not every trainer has the skill set or capability to handle every dog or situation. I have referred out potential clients to other trainers in cases i either didn’t have the time or compete understanding of the dog’s issues or did not feel that the owner or family was wiling to do the work necessary to fix the behavioral traits that were exhibited. A mark of a GOOD trainer will be thorough pre-screening of the family and canine (s) prior to money exchanging hands. I require a registration form/questionnaire to be filled out prior to my FREE 1 hour behavioral consult. Yes that means i DRIVE over an hour on my own time and money to visit the potential client and K9s before a dime is exchanged. Yes i have performed MANY free consults and NEVER provided training for the family for numerous reasons, and i am sure i have been taken advantage of a few times, but I am NOT a dog trainer for the money, this is not my job that pays the bills. Please be weary of anyone who expects money up front prior to even meeting you or your dog, let alone experiencing his behavioral or training issues to ensure they have an understanding of the family and the canine. I train my search and rescue dogs thousands of hours a month so that others may live, not to make a buck, and i will not compromise a family and their dog so that i can pad my bank account.

Secondly please remember that not all certification programs for dog trainers are created equal, and just because you have a trainer who has graduated from a dog school or dog online academy does not mean they are qualified! There are many different associations you can join and international programs you can pay thousands of dollars to in Canada and other countries so that you can become a “professional”. It is essential that you also look at the trainer, their own dogs, and their experience.  I started training dogs over a decade ago, and i have plenty of “certifications” and letters after my name from various organizations for demonstrating my knowledge and experience training dogs, but my real life experience training and raising dogs is what taught me more than any book or school, and I do not know everything, I have SOMETHING to learn from EVERYONE.

I feel i have a natural talent with dogs, an understanding of them on a deeper level then most, a way of communication with both the dog and the owners that you cannot buy from any “school” or verify through any test (which has been confirmed by all my clients both human and canine i have worked with over the years). I have an open mind i am always ready to learn whether it is from another dog handler, another dog trainer, or the client or canine i am working with and i love to develop new relationships with other humans who enjoy canines as much as i do.  You will not see a flashy website with big words to try and impress you, all you will get is just me,  in my muddy dog hair covered clothes that smell like liver treats.  Yes i have the paper proof of my knowledge, i have the initials after my name, but most importantly what i have to offer is me, and i challenge you to invite me over to meet your dog, no strings attached, and lets see what i can offer you. I cannot guarantee you the snappiest, showy cookie-cutter obedience routine, that is your job as the dog’s handler, but what i can offer you is the TOOLS needed to achieve that. I can teach you how to COMMUNICATE with your dog CONSISTENTLY, i can help you earn his RESPECT and his yours, and I can get you the FOUNDATION needed to achieve whatever you wish with your canine companion. Yes we do believe all dogs should be canine copilots for life, and no i do not whisper……I translate.


Focusing on Consistency- Part 1 The Agenda

Abby and Eme- the consistency of a platz

*Note- this will be the first of many posts in a series dedicated to the consistency that must be displayed while performing obedience training with our dogs.

I have a lot of clients who just want to obedience train their dogs. Most just want a friend or a well behaved pet and some want to move on to trials and competitions. Whatever the eventual goal is a few factors should always remain the same.

~Always train on the dogs agenda, not ours.

Just because WE want him to learn how to lay down in the next ten minutes with the cherrios we have in our hand doesn’t mean HE is capable of learning that fast, and even likes the way cherrios taste!!!!!! My point is, would you be able to write a 10 page purposal on a new bussiness adventure in 15 minutes for the left over pocket change i have totaling 58 cents? NO and nor would you want to!!! The first key in a successful training relationship is to work on his agenda. This is not “giving him power” or making him “a dominant dog” that is a bunch of bull and is blown way out of context (sorry, off my soapbox now)

As a responsible dog owner, our dogs partner and trainer we have to take into consideration him as

A. An animal

B. A sub species of animal AKA Canis Familiaris

C. A breed of sub species example being Pug, or German Shepherd

Only once we fully grasp this concept can we adequately acknowledge the training needs of our friend. We have to work with what we have, and each dog is different. This is one of the reasons we do not have an one method for our training, its impossible to if you want to have a good positive working relationship with your canine. It’s easy to just be a bully and say “It’s my way or the highway” like many trainers do but why, this is your partner, your friend, and you brought him into your world and choose this job for him. The least you can do is do it on his agenda!

We train with our dogs so that we can build a better relationship with them, i particularly focus on communication, consistency, and respect. These words can be defined a number of ways but the way we define and apply them is what gives you and your dog the ultimate relationship. Our work needs to be clear and consistent, we must do the repetitions the same every time and we must communicate it to the dog in the language they understand. This combination is what leads to the mutual respect that is demanded in the training relationship.

While we strictly train on the DOGS agenda, we must have a PLAN as the trainer. Our next part will  be focusing on the plan.

Target stick- like giving candy to a baby………for some dogs anyway

I’m always looking for something new to teach the dogs.

A. because i’m bored

B. because they are bored

C. because the students at the school get bored

D.  because i love to spend my money ( that one isn’t true but i DO end up spending all my money on my dogs, wouldn’t have it any other way!!!!!!)

So last week i purchased a target stick from amazon.  I gotta admit its pretty fun! My dogs have a “touch” and “target” command but shaping the behavior to target the end of the stick is amusing. We worked with both Abby and Raina for about 10 minutes each. Raina has intense focus on me, we worked a lot on eye contact when she was younger and it is one of the reasons she has stellar obedience in almost any setting. This is wonderful, its the way our training relationship is and i love it but boy it makes it hard to get her to notice the target stick or even care about it! I cannot complain, i cannot get frustrated, dogs are perfect at being themselves and this is who she is!! So our 10 minute sessions  are very different with each dog. Abby will now target the purple ball on the end of the stick within a few seconds of presenting it to her at any reasonable height around her, I or objects she is familiar with. We have not moved it to enough locations to generalize the behavior nor have we put it on cue yet to take her to more distracting environments.

Raina is another story, her focus on me has lead me to  have to try alternate “attention getters” for her to find positive association with the target stick. Coating the end in peanut butter of course 🙂    For Raina we will break this down into very short training sessions with clicking as she touches her nose to the peanut butter covered ball on the end of the target stick. 3 minutes 4 times a day, as well as a few sessions with her sister Abby so she can gain some social learning (watching Abby, seeing what she does and what she gets rewarded for)

Abby and her 2nd session

Raina and her 3rd session.

Much less progress if compared to Abby but what you must remember is they are 2 totally different dogs (even though genetically they are exactly the same, 2 litters, Raina was a repeat breeding of Abby’s litter.) As a handler of multiple dogs you must always make sure you do not compare them to each other or their progress. Each dog learns differently and thats what makes training multiple dogs so much fun!

Terrific Tip Tuesday

This weeks tip- How to get your dog to acknoweldge your existence in public.

Do you love walking your dog at the park, or taking him to your friends house to swim in their lake, or want a more peaceful trip to the pet store or vet office?

Contrary to popular belief you actually have to “train” your dog to realize that YOU are important anywhere he goes, and that he should not just “default” to the environment. The  best way to do this is work on a good “look” or “eyes” command. Start someplace easy where you always have your dogs attention like your kitchen before he eats dinner. As soon as he looks up at you and makes eye contact mark the behavior (say yes or click) and give him his food. (For more about marker training or clicker training visit our website http://www.EliteInstinctCanine.com or email me EliteInstinctCanine@gmail.com)

Repeat this exercise every time you feed him and intermittently in all places you go (with just a food tidbit) so he will generalize looking at you is good! Once he is reliably offering you the behavior you can put it on command. We use “eyes” because it is not a word commonly used in conversation around our dogs.

Good luck, keep training and check back next week for another tip!! If there is something you would like to see please email me EliteInstinctCanine@gmail.com

Raina performing “eyes” in a park in the finger lakes.