How to Train a Dog: Tips from NYC’s Top Dog Trainers, part 6/6

By Phoebe Ryles, Epoch Times
March 29, 2013 10:26 am Last Updated: April 8, 2013 11:04 am

How to Train a Dog: Tricks of the trade from New York City’s top rated dog trainers.

New Yorkers love their dogs, but life in any major metropolis offers up some serious challenges to dog owners.  In this series The Epoch Times interviewed six of New York City’s top rated dog trainers to find out how to train a dog for happy city living.  

Each of these certified trainers has a unique approach. Some are near celebrities in their field, and others just broke out on their own, but all have great advice and long line of satisfied customers behind them. Check out the whole How to Train a Dog series here. 

Andy Replogle: Owner New York City Dream Dogs

If Andy Replogle, owner of New York City Dream Dogs could give dog owners just one piece of advice it would be: “Teach them how to play, because that is how they are hard wired to interact with their environment.”

But that doesn’t mean Replogle’s approach is all fun and games.  He studied at National K-9 Learning Center in Columbus, Ohio, learning to to train police dogs, search and rescue dogs and assistance dogs for the physically disabled.

The average dog owner might not know it, but there is a lot of contention out there in the world of dog training about the correct method to use. Understanding the variety of approaches out there can help owners chose an approach that suits them and their dog.

According to Replogle, “The big question is always ‘do you use correction or not?’ A verbal no, or shaking a can, or a physical correction, like hitting a dog, which I don’t use.”

From his more traditional training, Replogle has completely evolved his own personal style.  

“I will use a leash correction, but because of the extremes of these philosophies, it is easy to get lumped in with one or the other.  All trainers will fall somewhere along those lines,” Replogle says.

Replogle asks owners to think about their dog as a part of their larger environment. Dog park level energy can create problems in the kitchen. “So many problems that I encounter are because the dog has more energy than environment can handle,” he says.

That’s why he emphasizes the importance of playing with your dog.  It’s not just fun, according to Replogle, “you are using the play to create a connection between you and the dog. You can use that to get them to pay attention to you in other, more difficult situations.”

“By play I mean any variation of fetch or tug. You can even let them win, it’s a great way to sort of blow off steam,” Replogle says. Most importantly, “It teaches them how to concentrate and how to regulate their impulses.”

The core of Replogle approach is teaching owners to regulate their behavior as a way to control their dogs emotions:

“You can regulate their emotions, through play and through your own behavior. If you are getting too excited or too angry, then something is wrong.”

According to Replogle “tonality of voice and speed of movement are important when you’re working with a dog. For example if you want a dog to calm down you want to use a low tone and slower, calm, movements.”

Sometimes it’s as simple as learning how to pet your dog in a way that will calm him down. “Physical contact can be almost like a reset button.  We should be thinking long sustained slow contact,” Replogle says.

Replogle waxes poetic when talking about the benefits of dog training:

“Being well trained doesn’t mean your dog is sitting like a robot being told what to do, it means everything ok, they can handle a wide range of situations.  Being well trained as a human means being non-reactive and in harmony with your surrounding.”

To Replogle, training is not just about teaching a dog a specific behavior–it is about you and your dog learning to live well in any environment.

Check out the whole How to Train a Dog series here.