DiscoverThe Dog's Way Podcast: Dog Training for Real Life
The Dog's Way Podcast: Dog Training for Real Life
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The Dog's Way Podcast: Dog Training for Real Life

Author: Sean McDaniel

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The Dog's Way Podcast, with professional dog trainer Sean McDaniel, deals with practical dog obedience for real life situations. Sean gives you underlying theory and practical training assignments based in a more naturalistic dog training philosophy to help you solve the most common dog behavior issues. Sean shares his experience from over fifteen years of working with clients and their dogs, dealing with behavior modification, functional dog obedience issues and everyday dog training issues. In the “dog training podcasts”, Sean leaves you with homework assignments to help you begin practically dealing with your dog’s issues. Sean also, interviews leading dog issue experts in topics such as: your dog's diet, veterinary medicine, puppy raising, dog breeding and selecting the right dog for you.
102 Episodes
Dr. Lori Cesario is a leader in the field of veterinary oncology. We've spoken before, but you won't want to miss this follow up interview. It's packed full of useful tools - case studies for specific breeds, where to find the best solutions and preventative steps you can take to keep your dog's risk of getting cancer low. Lori talks about steps to take to gain a better understanding of some of the characteristics - where we live, how our dog compares in size to their breed, when and whether they were spayed or neutered.  Dr. Cesario talks about the best ways to verify the claims made online - she talks about, a database for studies published in veterinary and human medicine. Resources The resource page she mentioned about breeds in the episode is located here. To visit Dr. Cesario's website, visit or click here. Her podcast can be found on multiple platforms. To find it on your favorite platform click here.  
We have a new conversation with Eric Letendre, a great trainer based in the Massachusetts area. Last time I spoke to Eric (in episode 66) he'd published his first book, The Deadly Dog Training Myth. There is so much conversation about remote training collars, but specifically a lot of misunderstandings about what they are for and what they can do. And it is important to note that a lot of understanding can be gained with this technology by understanding Skinner's Four Quadrants. I talked about this in podcast sessions 73 (part 1) and session 74 (part 2). Note that these will open in new tabs so you won't lose your place here. I ask Eric about some of the mistakes people make when it comes to choosing a collar. We talk about "lesser"/"cheaper" collar types. I tell a funny story about a client who had a very interesting experience and why he gave up on it. Misuse and misunderstanding are a very big factor when considering this training method. Eric talks about dog owners basic use methods; As a low level negative reinforcement (or pressure and release) Using it as a positive reinforcement (at a comfortable level) We'll talk about how it can be an incredibly good or bad tool to use depending on the type you use, and your understanding about the psychological approach that you take when training your dog with it. Imagine a dog's response when you get certain things out and the positive response you receive. When you bring out the remote training collar, what association do you imagine the dog having? After listening to this podcast, it won't surprise you to know that dogs (trained properly) have a positive response to an e-collar! Eric will talk about his philosophy about when the collar is applied during a real life training session and why that is. We talk a bit about each of our philosophies and the importance of that timing. Eric's YouTube Page The Deadly Dog Training Myth on Amazon
On this, our 100th episode, I am going to give a consolidated answer to a question that comes up a lot. When and why I use food as a trainer, when and why I don't use food, and when and why I do or don't use corrections or dog collars. It's all connected, and it's time we dive in on this particular subject. So much of the confusion about this group of topics is that, like everything, for every trainer there is a different opinion. And it's easy to take one specific episode (of the previous 99) and think that I either am or am not a "food treat" trainer based on the topic at hand. Different situations dictate those circumstances and I will explain why. It's important to understand that one of the drawbacks (or at least an observation you should consider) is that the treats become "the point" for why they obey a command. For example; find an opportunity to evaluate the process when you do and another when you don't. Was their willingness to obey tempered when they saw that you did not actually have a treat for them? There are several ways to evaluate this - we'll talk about a lot of ways to determine the best way for you to train your dog in a way that works best for your situation.
On this episode I talk to Brooke Mihajlovich, a dog trainer who has recently started her practice to Washington state from Indiana. Brooke focuses on remote training collars to help with training without a leash.  She and her husband both shared a love of Doberman's, and part of their passion to make sure that their new dogs were well trained. Her participation in training her dog sparked her love and talent for training dogs herself. Brooke's philosophy focuses on changing the relationships with their owners at a fundamental level. It's important to create a relationship that focuses on their "humans" as leaders more than just owners. Her primary focus is to give them tools to create a relationship bond that creates very positive results for both the pet and the owner. We get into some of the other areas of training including  Spatial awareness Loose leash training movement on leash (rather than simply pulling) "auto sits" when stopping Shoulder movement and eye contact Controlling and managing the environment Off leash training Electric Collar Training This is a particularly controversial training with some, but Brooke and I talk about how to do it the right way. It's important to understand that once humans understand that it's not what some might conjure up in their mind about a typical shock they understand that it is subtle, and is designed for a minimum threshold for creating a behavior pattern. Her website is, and you can find her on social media at the following destinations; Facebook Instagram I hope that you enjoy this episode, and if you have more questions for Brooke, I hope you'll reach out!
In this episode I speak to Dr. Lori Cesario, a board certified veterinary oncologist. We discuss her passion about being a vet as a child, and her appreciation for the role a certain oncologist in her life played that influenced her decision to specialize in that field. Lori talks about some early detection techniques, and what owners can do to find problems before they become serious. There are dozens of possible manifestations that could be symptoms of cancerous cells.  Lori also talks about some newer testing procedures, like BRAF gene mutation tests that can be good check up tests that can be done every six months. She also discusses some interesting upcoming tests coming to the marketplace. We discuss specific breed related risks, learning about the normal baseline for your dog's health, and her new podcast called, Your Dog Wants You To Know This! (iTunes | Spotify | Google Podcasts) Dr. Cesario's website is loaded with content and is a helpful resource for pet owners. Visit her site at
On today's episode I talk with Cat Matloub and Dr. Judi Stella of Good Dog, Inc. We'll talk about some of the reasons that the company was founded, and what the company mission is today. Cat Matloub is the Head of Partnerships and Community Legal Affairs and talks about the overall mission of the project and what their focus is to date. One challenge that they found was that families were having  difficulty finding reliable information online when trying to add a new dog to their family. Between disreputable groups who were trying to sell something and the difficulty navigating between responsible information and an enormous amount of disinformation, the founders decided to apply their experience from the technology field to create a resource that was available to the public. Dr. Stella is the Head of Health, Standards, and Research, and discusses healthcare treatment options, socialization practices. One of her key objectives includes knowing what the standards are for their listed breeders, and maintaining accountability to consistent standards. Among many interesting insights in this interview is what they learned during this process about how many truly extraordinary dog breeders there are, and how they are in a way some of the unsung heroes of the process.  I hope you enjoy! Sean    
In today's episode I sit down with Ian Grant, a fellow dog trainer with Vermont Dog Training, based (of course) in Vermont! Ian also has a podcast called Vermont Dog Trainer Show.  Ian's Background Ian has a really interesting story before he became a trainer, having been a professional golfer for a number of years before finding that the world of training dogs was a fascinating study. He shares his story of watching The Dog Whisperer and following some of Cesar Millan's shows with the sound off to get a better feel for the body language between a trainer and the dog. Training Techniques Ian and I talk about his dogs Lula and Maddie, and how they became so important in the process of boarding other animals. We get into a bit of a deeper dive in the concept and practice of dog's behavior in crowds, our collective take on dog parks, and what you might want to think about before venturing into the park yourself. Referral Program I also wanted to let you know about our new referral program! After quite a bit of testing it's finally ready to roll out. I'll explain who might be eligible, and you can decide if it's something you'd like to participate in. You can complete a form at to learn more. Getting Your Feedback I've been contemplating whether or not to introduce some "mini" episodes that are with clients and dog owners that have some specific questions about there pet concerns. Would you like to hear these or participate in them? The plan is to create a few of these that are about 20-30 minutes. Contact me to let me know what you think or to participate! Ian Grant's Contact Info (opens in a new window) Vermont Dog Trainer Show Podcast (if you want to check out the episode where I was interviewed click here) Facebook | Instagram | YouTube
First, I hope that everyone has stayed safe and healthy through what may have been the worst of the stay-at-home orders that you may have been subject to. We went through a sort of "emergency sessions" period where the podcast episodes focused on specific things to do with your dog - and as a result we put some of the interviews we had scheduled on hold. Today is the first episode of one of those interviews. What Is Contrast Training? I sat down with Ruth Elliott and talked about a very unique type of training. Ruth is based in Australia, and got into her unique style of training, how she got started, and some of the interesting restrictions to training methods that exist in Australia. Ruth is a greyhound specialist (although she trains all types of dogs). Her business is called Formal Dogs, and she trains and escorts people's dogs to attend their owner's weddings! This is the first I've heard of this and think you'll appreciate her story and her methods as a trainer. We discuss some of the differences in our training style and talk about some of the fundamental teachings in training. Email Bag Amelia in Atlanta, Georgia asks about her dog "Beau" and the fact that he is experiencing a bit of stress her departure when going back to work that he didn't exhibit before. It's a great question, and I'll talk about some transitional elements to use when going from the shelter in place environment to going back to work. Other Questions I also answer some questions about P.U.P. Dog Rescue, why they haven't been mentioned on some of the emergency sessions, and when that will be starting up again. Oh, and if you want to see a cool video, check out this slow motion video of a greyhound running.
In this episode we move to phase TWO of the "down" challenge for food motivated and non-food motivated dogs. I'll talk about an interesting discovery from listeners from the Czech Republic and Sweden and how their "crazy stay in place" situation is nothing like that! Life is proceeding pretty much the same there as it was before March. So we we talked about sweeping the leg and your proximity to the floor in the phase one of the training. The goal in this phase is to wean yourself off of that proximity to the floor. We'll go back to those phase one elements of time first, then distraction. Overview Train in different contexts Train through the whole arc of behavior with distractions Use natural transitional rewards as you do small snippets of practice throughout the day Emails Cheryl from Ann Arbor, Michigan - She got her dog Oscar introduced well to the sit and the down. But he is confused between both sit and down. I'll talk about how to help your dog distinguish between them. Sandra from Texas has an interesting question - and apparently has my voice from the podcasts in her head (Sorry, Sandra!) Today's quote comes from Aristotle... "Courage is the first of human qualities because it is the quality which guarantees the others." Click here for a closer look at the book on Amazon.
In this episode we'll jump to a critical point with the "down" challenge, that uses no food and instead focuses on the "say and show" method. It's not unlike the say and show version of sit; but some there are some angles and positions that are distinctly different. There are two categories of people who may be the best for this type of training; Non-food motivated dogs People with dogs who give signs that they see these lessons as "optional" The idea is that we teach this as a necessary part of functional obedience. It's also good to train their dogs this way to "overlap" the food-based approach. I am also linking this to an excerpt I posted on YouTube from our video training series that provides a bit of a visual guidance for the lesson. Emails (07:58) Lara and Tim (and "Kona") from Arizona ask about requirements with puppies and food training (10:11) Ellen asks (on behalf of "Duke") where you should be in a progression and types of treats Quote on Resilience Part of our Emergency Series includes a brief quote about resilience; this one comes from Jocko Willink, who has published two very interesting books; Extreme Ownership The Dichotomy of Leadership
In this episode we're going to jump into another obedience skills challenge. This one is focused on the 'down' command. This is an important lesson for small puppies as they develop, and even rescue adult dogs in instances where they may not have received much training, or were last trained years ago when they were puppies themselves. Emails I answer an email from Rachael asking about her puppy and (based on her age), whether she should stick to just the introductory training or if she's ready to move to some of the more intermediate and advanced training. I'll talk about the three phases for training puppies to use as a general guide for your dog. Enjoy the episode! I have included some links below as well for other sessions that may be related to this one. LIST OF PAST PODCASTS LINKS Session 18: The overview of what to teach a puppy and when, and teaching two dogs to not go after each other’s fetch toys Session 22: using an air sprayer to stop barking and stubborn puppy “downing” SESSION 27: How to coach a new dog to play better with your existing dog and how to get a puppy out of crate calmly Session 31: Preventing resource guarding in puppy raising and what to do about a dog’s mid-life crisis? Session 32: What are the best chew toys for puppies? And, how to stop an older, larger puppy from Session 44: Prevent Your Puppy from Chasing Your Kids Session 57: Train your Puppy to get along with Baby better Session 58: Fetch! – Teaching your Puppy the rules And another quote/thought about resilience. I mentioned the author, Carol Dweck earlier in the episode, so I thought I'd quote her here. It's about the best thing you can teach your kids about resilience. Here's a link to her book. MINDSET, Carol Dweck. Enjoy, Sean
While you're all stuck at home, hopefully you've all stayed safe - and hopefully you've been working on parts one and two of the "sit" command with your dog! In today's episode we'll work on sit by moving toward the "stay" progression; and I'd highly encourage you to go back and listen to the previous two episodes if you haven't already before jumping into this lesson! Here are the links; Episode 89: The Sit Challenge Part One Episode 90: The Sit Command Part Two: Say and Show Method So we'll start with a competency check of sorts - a very important part before progressing to "stay". Emails from previous Sit Lessons Margie in Toronto, Canada Margie asks about the sit command, but asks about the age appropriateness for this command as it applies to her two dogs (but a bit more specific to my video training series version of this lesson). I'll talk about the age differences and I also have a brief edited version of the video clip from my dog training series to give you a bit of a visual idea of the sit lesson! Direct link to the video clip on YouTube (new window) Direct link to the video training series (new window) Tim, Chicago, Illinois Tim asks about recalling that Sean would teach the "puppy version" of some of these emergency sessions. I'll go over what version of the exercises apply to his age of puppy.   Phase One In the first you were in the "luring" phase one - while you were down on a knee and weaned your way off of needing to be there and you knew you were out of phase one when you knew you could do the following; Stand up say "sit" command; Your puppy understood the command and would perform a sit 80-90% of the time; Your puppy would hold that for at least 5 seconds at a time; Say the "release" command and your puppy knew that they were done. Phase Two You started to challenge your puppy with the "two treat" method by working on two parts of the process; Increasing the amount of time your puppy would hold; Performing those instructions with an increased amount of distraction elements during that time. Older Dogs (phases one and two) For those with older/adult dogs that had difficulty doing the command without treats as a motivator, you would have gone through the "say and show" method I taught where you used 50-75 repetitions, and you increased the amount of time, and the number of distraction objects that they could do the "sit" around in phase two. Quote on Resilience "Our greatest glory is NOT in never falling; but in rising every time we fall." - Confucius
In today's episode I'm ramping up the "sit" command in part two of this series. This is also a good step for adult dogs who have a pretty good grasp already. I'll answer some emails that are timely and play into this specific type of obedience training and talk about a very good question that I did not answer in my part one! And I've been making a habit lately of leaving you with an interesting quote about resilience. I won't let you down this time either. In fact, I've included the quote here along with a link to Viktor Frankl's book; "Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom." - Viktor E. Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning You can download the Audible book here, and also get a free trial of audible with the same link.
In today's episode we're going to work on our obedience skills challenges while we're still confined inside with our dogs! Today's skill at first glance may seem like one you think you already know...but there are some key components to this command - whether your dog is "food" motivated, adult dog or puppy - there are some great tips to go beyond what I call the "phase one" version of the sit command. I'll give you a primer on what is involved with the command and how to progress further. I'll also talk about phase two and lead into things to come for this week and next!
This is part two of the lesson on teaching the "place" command. We're going to take it up a notch from yesterday's work. We'll look at increasing levels of difficulty. We'll also talk to those with older puppies and adult dogs, and those that aren't as "food motivated". The goal being to learn to apply a more advanced set of skills to get the results you're looking for. Hopefully, after episode 87, (which you can click here to check out) you have gone through a few progressions with your puppy to establish their baseline competency level and acceptance of the idea of using their bed. I'll talk to you about evaluating their skills in this episode; this will help you move forward in the right way or correct any bad habits you might not have thought about. There are some great beds that you can use for this. I've included some links below. In full disclosure, these links are affiliated with me on Amazon and I see a small piece of it if you click through. I believe in what I promote, but I just wanted to be clear about what you were clicking! K&H Pet Products Original Pet Cot, Elevated Dog Bed Cot with Mesh Center, Multiple Sizes (by K&H Pet Products) A raised cot or bed like this makes the place command much more defined and easier for dogs to learn the skill. And A quote about resilience from this episode “One form of perseverance is the daily discipline of trying to do things better than we did yesterday.” ― Angela Duckworth, author of Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance (Audible version | Paperback version) Sign up for an Audible monthly membership, click here.
Today's emergency session 87 is a fun exercise, and part one of a session to help your puppy learn the "place" command. As part of this exercise we'll talk about teaching him/her to use their dog bed. We'll go over how to analyze and learn about the personality of your puppy based on the skills exercises I demonstrate, and then tailor your training based on what you observe. It can be a great step in ongoing obedience between you and your new pet. I also touch on housebreaking (more in-depth training with this in session 5) and how that fits into this training. I also have a few pens that you can use for training your pet at night and have included links to each; AmazonBasics Foldable Metal Pet Exercise and Playpen IRIS 34'' Exercise 8-Panel Pet Playpen Wire Pen Dog Fence Playpen And near the end of the recent episodes I've begun to say a few words about resilience, with the hopes that you'll take it to heart and perhaps to cheer you and your family up during these challenging times. I hope that you'll enjoy them. Today's philosopher is a bit more modern than yesterday's quote from Horace (a first century poet).. A brief quote from Sylvester Stallone in a speech to his son about perseverance.
In today's session I'll give you a few tips for creating some fun and interesting mental and physical exercises for your dog while "sheltering at home".  I've also decided to outline the entire subject below and put in a few links for items that might be useful during these sessions; Fetch Work on teaching fetching rules though (if you’re out at the park – be sure to use a long line on your dog to prevent any mishaps in social distancing rules and keep everyone safe. Goals Make sure you’re teaching some rules with this. Teach your dog that you start and end the game. Teach Drop it and stick a treat to your dog’s nose (after getting your dog to drop the ball where you want it with your food lure and work – you can get two identical toys and reward the dropping of ball one with the throwing of ball two. This is a great way to get your dog doing some wind sprints and tire them out completely.) Progression: Work obedience into your fetch – sit or down then say your release command and then immediately throw the ball or toy. Tug Goals Teach your dog that you start and end the game Teach your dog drop it in drive and; Teach them to come down out of drive by giving them a small break between bouts of tug Toy Suggestion: K9 Dog Bite Tug Toy with 2 Strong Handles (by Bull Fit) Made of Durable & Tear-Resistant French Linen Perfect for Tug of War, Fetch & Puppy Training Ideal for Medium to Large Dogs - Firmly Stitched Pull Toy  Flirt Pole If your dog has a high "prey" drive and you have the room in your yard or house.  See if your dog likes the idea first, by attaching a toy to a string or line to see if your dog likes chasing it, before investing a bunch of time or money into getting or making one. Goals: The same as the last two game’s goals. Puppy Prey Drive Building Flirt Pole Tug Toy Redline K9  by REDLINE K-9 or "DIY" it with an old broom handle or relatively sturdy piece of lighter wood (1x2 pine work pretty well), duct tape a handle and drill a hole in the top... run a light line through and tie a cloth tug toy to your line (depending on your dog’s tenacity). I’ve used old shoelaces strung together in a pinch for these DIY versions BOOT laces are better cuz they’re longer.  Feeding toys and puzzles that I like StarMark Bob-A-Lot Interactive Dog Toy by StarMark PetSafe Busy Buddy Twist 'n Treat, Treat Dispensing Dog Toy, X-Small, Small, Medium and Large Sizes by PetSafe Caveat:  Don’t leave this with your dog as a “chew toy”.  They’re not really designed for that.  If you want something for their alone time.  I’d use a black rubber Kong (note: there are different sizes – Get one large enough that your dog can’t mistake it for something to swallow!) Back Rubber Kong (Note: The black rubber is denser and more durable than the red rubber Kongs) BONUS POINTS!! Super geeky reference for more info on the Roman poet Horace 😊
Core foundational skill building is critically important, and practical application of that in today's new "social distancing" environment is essential. I'm going to talk about training exercises that you can run through with your puppy to help determine the type of instinctive response your puppy has, and how to establish some good fundamental behaviors. I think about socializing in three different categories; Socializing to things Socializing to people  Socializing to other animals I usually use that order to establish skills by relative difficulty (since each step in order above is progressively more challenging to establish.) And by the way, if you want a more in depth understanding of what I'm putting into practice today I'd suggest listening to specifically to episode 73 and episode 74 on Skinner's Four Quadrants. Puppy aptitude testing involves sight, startle, sensitivity, and sound, and I talk about how you'll want to consider this when going through these exercises. The first will include the ability to manage their nervous system, recover from stimuli, get back to neutral, so they can get back to a "thinking mode" rather than a more systematic nervous system response mode. The second core skill is helping them stay mentally connected to you during different experiences you both encounter. I'll talk about two specific training exercises you can try!
It's a strange time for sure in the midst of all of the COVID-19 concerns worldwide. I've received a lot of questions about their pets and I wanted to publish a few brief episodes to not only answer questions that I've received but to give you some fun things to do with your dog along the way while you're sheltered in place, or stuck at home. In this episode I'm primarily talking about the following; Can my dog catch Coronavirus? Risks associated with your pet being a "conduit" What kind of exposure should I allow with my dog? Can I take him/her for a walk? Should I use any product to clean my dog's paws? Some useful links to sites relevant to this episode CDC page Description of sheltering in place with CNN USA Today U of Illinois and Urbana pet care Thanks for listening and stay safe! I'll give you more tomorrow. Sean
In our training session for today I'll help design a game plan for training a puppy that likes to bite and nip. I'll show you how to design an environment that is optimal for training for this type of behavior. It is very much requires a 'relationship based' type of approach. Other trainers use a "behavior centric" approach. I referred to a previous episode I published (episode 76 if you want to check it out) where some veterinarians published an article about whether or not dog's were "pack animals". That study and many like it are done in a vacuum so-to-speak, and lack the broader view of the total approach to behavioral training for dogs. The approach I describe in this podcast uses a comprehensive technique. I think you'll appreciate the broader lesson in this method. I'll break the plan down in a few parts; Principals and Mental Constructs Systemic Setup and Structure Pro training versus anti-training Enjoy!  Also, as always, thanks so much to P.U.P. Dog Rescue for sponsoring the program and today we're featuring Skylar. He's a 1 year old chihuahua pomeranian mix, and currently is homed with a cat. Thanks as always for your support and comments about the show! Be sure to follow us on Instagram @thedogs_way for latest info and fun stuff about your best friends.  
Comments (2)

Is there anyway you can post the link to the blog where nose work is talked about? I know I'm five years late to listen to this podcast but I'm very intrigued! Thank you!

Dec 9th

Martin Johan Kronqvist

She clearly uses extremes to propel her arguments against raw diet... I have had my dog on raw diet since I got him and he is in prime condition. And he eats bones, swallow bones and have no problem with it.

Feb 27th
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