Resources, and guarding behaviors

by Steph Mahrle


Resources! What is a resource in the dog world? It can be anything that a dog perceives as valuable. Some examples of resources are; bones (Durachew, or raw), dog food (kibble or raw food), toys, territory (backyard, or even the dog's crate), and water. Certain dogs really struggle with resource guarding behaviors which can consist of barking, growling, lunging, and/or biting, in an effort to defend the dog's perceived valuable resource. How can this behavioral issue be managed? In my experience, I do not believe that a dog with a genuine resource guarding issue can ever truly be resolved. I believe in training basic obedience on #ecollar, and then setting the dog up for success by managing the resources in a way that doesn't perpetually challenge the dog. Why? Because this is the safest, most logical method I have observed over time, with a variety of dogs, and their issues. First, I focus on ensuring the dog's "come" command is solid. Secondly, training the "out" command is crucial. The dog needs to understand how to surrender a resource in a safe, predictable environment. After I have ensured a solid foundation of training exists with the dog, I train the owner on how to ensure the dog surrenders the resource, using the most non confrontational method possible. Calling the dog off of the resource by using the "come" command, is typically the most low key method for everyone involved..depending upon the value of the resource. I manage exceptions to these general rules based upon the dog's history of their specific resource guarding issue. While my dogs can share a water bowl comfortably, I absolutely crate them separately when they're chewing on their raw bones. Have my dog's ever fought viciously over resources? No. I'm honest with myself though. Resources are very important in the animal kingdom. The fairest option for both of my dogs is to set them up for success, by giving them both their space when they're presented with a high value item like a raw bone. This is how you train a calm family dog. 


Vintage Dog A Day

by Steph Mahrle


I follow this Facebook page called Vintage Dog A Day (https://www.facebook.com/VintageDogADay/?fref=ts). It is such awesome because you get to see the former conformation of certain dog breeds. The other thing I like about this page, is the photos reflect how functional dogs were within our world, before all of the mass marketing of pampering our dogs became the new hip thing to do. Intentionally treating our dogs as spoiled, bratty, children, or what modern day pet marketing would have us believe as the "right thing to do", has led to real drama amongst people and their dogs. I've personally experienced that conflict, and I'm glad I matured emotionally to live a more fulfilling, and enjoyable life with my dogs. Dogs are happiest being cared for as dogs...not spoiled, bratty, human children. Attached are two of the pictures I really enjoy, the dogs are clearly still loved, valued, and respected, but they actually work for it all. Something to think about... 


Hula Hoop Training With Cricket Has Begun!

by Steph Mahrle


It's happening...😂 ALL over again...only this time I know what I'm doing. I introduced Cricket my #aussiepuppy to the #hulahoop this morning. About 9 years ago, I taught my first personal dog, Karma (also my company namesake), to jump through hula hoops in my backyard. She had horrendous leash reactive behavior. Every time she saw another dog while she was on leash she would lunge, growl, and bark aggressively. So I stopped walking her on leash...and started trying to train her in my backyard and home only. 😆 She seriously was pulling my arm out of my socket, so I thought I was helping us both out. Back then, I thought I'd hit the jackpot when I scored some super bad (but #popular) advice..."a tired dog is a good dog", and I wrongly assumed that agility dogs are more calm than dogs which don't participate in agility.😆 The result was that Karma mastered jumping through hula hoops, and she was so filled with excitement and exuberance, relaxing didn't seem to be something she was capable of. Slowly, I learned to address and resolve her issues which I unknowingly created, and reinforced. 🙂 I'm super pumped to have the opportunity to do things better this time around. Though things aren't perfect, the goal remains the same, #progressnotperfection#GoodKarmaTraining #calmfamilydog #australianshepherd


This is good advice, helpful to anyone involved in any sort of conflict...

by Steph Mahrle


These are some wise words of wisdom that I read recently from Back to Balance Dog Training & Rehabilitation...I'm not sure who said these words, but I do know it was not my golden lab Bollywood because he doesn't talk. He does strike hilarious poses though, so this meme my dears is a perfect combo as far as I'm concerned. Enjoy the laugh, and enjoy the good advice, brought to you by GoodKarmaTraining's calm family dog. 


A puppy bath time tutorial

by Steph Mahrle


I just finished editing my Aussie puppy Cricket's bath time video. This video provides a demonstration, along with effective dog training tips to make your life easier! Special thanks to Unleashed K9 Potential of NJ for helping out SO MUCH with the expertise here! Enjoy! 


Correcting Charlie the Weimaraner for barking at the doorbell

by Steph Mahrle


Does your dog bark, and then race toward your front door EVERY time the doorbell sounds? Does your dog bark at the mailman? Does your dog jump on guests? Are you embarrassed by this behavior and frustrated with your dog but you don’t know how to train your dog to behave better? Many dogs behave in this way. Often, people become frustrated about their dog’s bad behavior, and as a result, many dogs are surrendered to shelters, for these very easily resolved disobedient behaviors. As a professional family dog trainer, I address these types of naughty behaviors on a regular basis. This video provides the details of how I address the naughtiness, and create a pattern of calm family dog behavior. First, I train the dog to fully understand the “place” command. When a dog has a clear job (or command), they are less likely to behave badly, by bum rushing the door and barking. Second, I slowly introduce distractions like walking around and cleaning, talking on the phone, decorating for Christmas, etc. Thirdly, I correct the dog for breaking command, and/or barking. I then redirect to return to the command. 

The training history, of this dog has been very fair, he is actively choosing to be disobedient, and balanced training provides a solution to both he and his owners, which ultimately will keep this family dog, included in his family’s life, and out of a shelter or a Weim rescue. In this case, two-year-old, Charlie the Weimaraner, has had plenty of clicker training as a young dog, but chooses not to behave obediently when no food presented, or if he is simply not hungry. That poses a large problem because his behavior unraveled as he aged. Charlie ultimately has taken that naughty barking, and jumping behavior outside while on walks or runs with his owners. He sees people on the street, and goes bananas, (barking, & lunging). So that established pattern of behavior indoors, where he blew off commands in his home with his owners, then barked at the doorbell, jumped on and disrespected their guests, has become more of a dramatic issue when challenged with greater outdoor distractions. Watch here as Steph Mahrle-Mishra demonstrates with Charlie the Weim, how to create calmness in your home, and resolve the bad behaviors. Spoiler alert, Charlie isn’t shut down from “shock collar” training. He works between a 2 to a 34 on an Educator Mini E-Collar from E-Collar Technologies. He’s totally a happy go lucky family dog, even after our training sessions. This is how you train a calm family dog. Dog training is a process. If you are interested in following Charlie’s two-week board and train follow Good Karma Training on either Facebook or Instagram for daily updates!