5 Resources For Dog Lovers Who Want To Better Understand Their Pets

Dog lovers form deep bonds with the animals in their lives, but it can be difficult for even the most devoted pet owner to truly understand their pup's behavior and communicate with them effectively. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to learn more about man's best friend, from going to a training class to getting a DNA test. If you have a dog or are planning on getting one soon, check out the resources listed here. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.

Helpful Resources For Dog Owners

Name Description
Kyle Kittleson Animal behavior specialist and marine mammal trainer
Calm Energy Dog Training New York-based group focused on improving dog behavior in real-life scenarios
Embark Company that offers genetic testing services for dogs
Responsible Dog & Cat Training and consulting service that specializes in teaching effective communication and correcting problems like aggression
When Hounds Fly Toronto-based dog training program committed to positive reinforcement and making learning fun

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In Depth

Though dogs have often been called man's best friend, even longtime pet owners do not always understand the behavior, health, and psychology of their canine companions. In many cases, obedience training is as much about helping owners learn better communication skills as it is about teaching an animal new tricks. In no particular order, here are five options for those seeking insight into the behavior and well-being of their dogs.

Leading off at #1 is Kyle Kittleson, a specialist in mental health and animal behavior. Drawing on his extensive experience working with dogs for television and movies, as well as his work as a marine mammal trainer, he offers practical advice for pet owners, veterinarians, and anyone interested in having better interactions with canines. Kittleson works as a consultant for Tully's Training, and operates his own online course for those looking to teach their dogs safe behavior around streets and cars.

Kittleson shares free articles giving tips on various aspects of dog ownership, including managing separation anxiety, teaching tricks, and finding the best equipment. He also writes about important animal welfare issues, including insights on concerns around animal performance based on his own experience in the industry, and has contributed his expertise to works by various other media outlets. In addition to working with dogs, he contributes to mental health education, and advises others interested in pursuing a career in marine mammal training.

Kittleson shares free articles giving tips on various aspects of dog ownership, including managing separation anxiety, teaching tricks, and finding the best equipment.

Following up at #2 is Calm Energy Dog Training. Run by canine behavior expert Anthony Newman, this New York City institute works to help people better manage their relationships with their pets. Their courses focus on improving dog behavior in real-life scenarios, such as navigating city streets, playing off-leash at parks, and going for walks on a lead. Their approach focuses on teaching obedience without relying on treats, promoting calm discipline using gentle but firm corrections.

Calm Energy offers basic obedience classes for single animals, as well as group workshops that incorporate socialization with other dogs. They also provide private sessions to work on specific behavior issues or training goals, as well as phone or video consultations for those unable to attend in-person. They publish articles with tips on best practices in caring for pets, and videos on topics like understanding canine body language. The company also operates an online store which donates all profits to local animal welfare groups.

Entry #3 is Embark, a company dedicated to using science to improve understanding of the factors behind health and well-being in dogs. They provide genetic testing services that can give owners insights into their companion's physical traits, breed makeup, and possible health conditions. Those interested can also find out if their pet has relatives within the Embark database, with the option to connect with other owners in person. The company offers basic breed identification, as well as a more advanced kit which includes ancestry and medical information.

Those interested can also find out if their pet has relatives within the Embark database, with the option to connect with other owners in person.

Embark offers advanced services for breeders, with kits that screen for purebred-specific health conditions and assess the degree of inbreeding; they can also provide counseling to help find and assess mates for particular dogs. The company uses its genetic database for research, advancing scientific understanding of canine ancestry and gene expression. Their articles also provide suggestions on training and caring for dogs, as well as information on the science of heredity, for readers looking to better understand the benefits and results of DNA testing.

Coming in at #4 is Responsible Dog and Cat. This Sarasota, Florida training and consulting service is run by Joyce Kesling, a specialist certified by the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants. They offer standard obedience classes, as well as day training that combines lessons with an outdoor adventure experience. Their private sessions help owners to get a better handle on their pet's unique behavior, and achieve basic obedience goals before introducing a new dog to a group situation.

Responsible Dog specializes in teaching effective communication and correcting problem behaviors like aggression. They can assist owners in preparing their pets to qualify for the Canine Good Citizen award from the American Kennel Club, and their Puppy Training Wellness Program helps those looking to get an early start on instilling good behavior. The company offers advice on topics like effective positive reinforcement and how to select a trainer, as well as advocating against the use of shock collars and other aversive devices.

The company offers advice on topics like effective positive reinforcement and how to select a trainer, as well as advocating against the use of shock collars and other aversive devices.

We'll close with #5, When Hounds Fly, a Toronto-based dog training program committed to positive reinforcement, and striving to make learning fun for pets and owners. Animals as young as eight weeks old can start with their puppy socialization classes, learning the basics of clicker training and appropriate play; older pets can enroll in the Foundation Skills course to learn obedience and key commands. Graduates can go on to advanced offerings like the Tricks Class, Scent Detection, or Canine Good Neighbour preparation.

When Hounds Fly offers specialized training to prepare dogs and owners for a new child in the house, as well as focused programs to address common problems like aggression and separation anxiety. They teach seminars on topics like handling and grooming, or leash reactivity. And they publish informational articles giving expert perspectives on topics such as avoiding bites, preventing aggressive behavior, and handling rescue dogs. They also work to raise awareness of abuses by unscrupulous care providers, and promote effective training methods.