Imagine sending your dog to a trainer and when you get your dog back, several things are wrong:
You notice immediately that your dog has scars on his neck.
Beyond that your dog is incapable of performing basic commands.
The trainer has the nerve to tell you “your dog is like a dumb blonde in high heels“. Of course this didn’t stop him from keeping the money.
This is exactly what happened to Ouspi’s owners after they sent him to a trainer for what they believed to be an obedience training program to help them live with their young, playful, dog and family, including three young children.
After this experience and by the time they got to me for a consultation they were not only doubtful about their dog and if he would be a good fit with their family, but also very sceptical of dog training, and dog trainers, since they had been burned before.
This video documents, not only Ouspi’s training journey, and the wonderful Dog that he is but also shows several important points about the transfer lesson with his owner Victor.
Dog training & distractions.Reliability is key.
Firstly, the dog has not seen his owner in three weeks. Ouspi does not know that his human will be there and I march him out, he believes it is just another day in our life together & present him to his owner and of course the dog gets emotionally charged up.
Then I tell Ouspi to go onto his place and remain there while I explain several important things to Victor.
I did this so that we would have a chance to chat but more importantly, I did this to demonstrate how controllable Ouspi is even in the presence of what is arguably one of the biggest distractions and emotional charges you can create for a dog in training.
As you can Ouspi did great.
No more pulling on leash
Ouspi used to pull on leash as many dogs do.
You can see in the video that Ouspi has a wonderful heel. He walks nicely on a loose leash, and is both attentive & cooperative.
I then teach Victor how to properly reinforce the heel command and Ouspi again works just as well for Victor as he did for me, his trainer.
We continued through our lesson going over other exercises and concepts, and then we get to the end of our lesson when they are about to go back home together and Victor presents me With a wildcard:
“My dog has never gotten in the vehicle by himself. I always have to lift him in“
“Do you think we can do something about this?”
I reply with“let’s see what’s going on” in order to determine what’s needed to fix it and voilà three minutes later, Ouspi is hopping in and out of the van for myself and then for his owner.
All said and done, pleasantries exchanged, chitchat had between us, and they drove off to go home and begin their new life together.
Ouspi is most definitely not a dumb dog. He’s a wonderful, vibrant, playful, kind, trainable dog who needed a fair chance with clear instruction. He’s actually an easy dog in many respects and was always fun to work with.
He shows not only some really nice obedience and focus but also a real love to work and interact with people which makes training easy if you are a skilled and enthusiastic dog trainer.
It is so easy and such a copout to blame the dog. A dog trainer should be an educator, a coach, and a motivator. We should be guiding & building our dogs up and challenging ourselves to continuously find the right way for the individual dog in front of us.
The dog in this video is an excellent example of several things:
First of all, she’s just a wonderful dog everything you could hope for when bringing a young puppy home and imagining your future with your grown-up dog.
Second of all her owners contacted me when she was young and we’re serious about having a well trained dog.
She was well trained at the time we finished our program.
All of that is well and good however what you’re seeing in this video is six years after I did my work, so what you’re really seeing is how well the owners maintained the training.
Angel was back at the kennel for boarding while her family was away on vacation and while I was spending some time with her, I thought it would be fun to play around a little with her training and see how sharp she was.
Off leash obedience, focus and a huge willingness to work
I was expecting nothing less yet at the same time super pleased to see how they’ve preserved the work we’ve done together and how focused their dog is.
The whole experience from beginning to end was truly enriching, enlightening and always fun
Too often we let good deeds and good people get pushed aside in the swirl of the day-to-day activities of life. While understandable, we believe that a general lack of acknowledgement faintly supports the idea that positive interactions are no different than negative interactions.
With that in mind, we wanted to share our experiences working with Nick Zevgolis owner of FamilyK9.
As parents of a severely autistic boy, we wanted to ensure our dogs transition in the family unit, would be a happy, healthy and balanced experience that would not disrupt (only assist and support) the inherent delicate life dynamics of a household with a handicapped kid.
We enrolled in Nick’s private intensive In Home Obedience – On and Off Leash training course hoping he could teach us how to work with our dog as well as help guide and train our young Shiloh Shepherd named Angel for our complicated lifestyle.
From our very first training session, we’ve been amazed at how professional, knowledgeable, caring and discreet Nick has been with all of us. Throughout the training course, we’ve become quite fond of Nick as has Angel. He has treated us as something other than just a customer and he has given Angel a steady dose of love and effective training.
Nick has been honest, forthright, kind and professional with us, in every interaction we’ve had with him.
We would highly recommend Nick to anyone who is looking for a dog trainer; he is hands down one of the best out there!
In closing we would like express our gratitude to Nick and let him know that our support goes beyond kind words, the whole experience from beginning to end was truly enriching, enlightening and always fun.
Passion Fruit’s owner contacted me with a request to help with their dog primarily due to dog reactivity. It was clear from speaking to her that she had major issues with walking him.
He would lunge and bark at dogs – and some people too.
He was difficult to walk due to his size, strength and intensity.
When he would focus on something they would not be able to control him during an outburst.
Reactive dogs make life challenging for their owners
Many owners of reactive dogs find themselves planning their routes carefully in order to avoid triggers. They plan their walks at times when there is less chance of activity outside. They learn to become very strategic and specially alert – trying to always be a step or two ahead of the dog to avoid problems and outbursts.
Reactive Dog Training
While training Passion Fruit (nicknamed Dan) I made sure to build his foundation training to the fullest. This was done so that when we started to add in his triggers he would have a wealth of experience and understanding to draw from.
As we began to work in more challenging situations – all that was required to bring him back into focus was a little reminder. You can see in the first video that he has an easy time working with me – remains focused and calm throughout our session. Even when I slip on the ice – he continues to walk right next to me without missing a beat.
Board & Train transfer lesson – teaching owners how to maintain a trained dog
IN the second video I am working with his owner Anne – for the first time. She hasn’t seen Fruit in three weeks.
I kept her update don his progress via email and now is time to teach Anne what she needs to know in order to capitalize on Fruit’s training.
Anne did a wonderful job in our lesson and I was really happy with just how enthusiastic she was about Fruit’s training.
From Passion Fruit's Owner
Having Nick train our dog has been life-changing – and I’m not saying that lightly. Our husky mix, Fruit, is an anxious, reactive dog. He would pull a lot when we were walking him- especially if he saw another dog or even just a person walking towards us. Nick not only did an amazing job training Fruit, he also helped me understand what I needed to do to help ease Fruit’s anxiety. I am more confident because I am in control. Fruit senses that and this allows him to relax. There is such a difference in his behaviour, that I have actually looked down a few times to make sure he was still there! Fruit’s attention is on me now, so he is less concerned with other dogs and people. The odd time he does start to react, I use the “leave it” command that Nick taught him and Fruit snaps back into place. Frankly, we are BOTH less anxious now on our walks! I highly recommend Family K9. If you’re on the fence about it, just do it. You won’t regret it.
Montreal Dog Trainer -Dog reactive Husky in training
Montreal Dog Training – teaching reactive dog owner how to properly handle her dog
A collection of video clips highlting dogs in training from Montreal’s West Island
Montreal’s west island is a very dog rich part of the city. There are plenty of parks as well as dog parks to enjoy withy our canine companions. I have trained all over the west island for just about three decades. In that time I have enjoyed helping countless dog owners in their goals with their K9’s. From puppy training to obedience, advanced obedience and helping resolve behavioural issues.
Training an English bulldog puppy – the Bacon Chronicles pt. 2
Montreal Puppy training (with distractions!)
Montreal Dog Training – teaching reactive dog owner how to properly handle her dog
Montreal Dog Training – structure, play and clear communication in training
How to calm an anxious dog
Training a large powerful dog to not pull on leash
A Dogue and a dog
Training tiny dogs!
Montreal Dog Training Montreal West Island dog training, 3 very different dogs in training
Dog Training Ile Perrot, Qc – GoldenDoodle training
Rescue dog training – Montreal – Family K9.com
K9 Boot camp Montreal's west island – Family K9.com
I was a young man, starting out having only been training dogs for a few years and eager to make a name for myself. When I think of the schedule I used to keep back then – training 7 days a week sun up to sun down….
I remember the day this article came out and I had a stack of papers sitting on the front seat of my car.
They were great times, I had a bounce in my step and wanted to share with everyone what I knew as well as my passion for dogs and making the most out of our relationships together. 30 years later and that passion is still burning brightly in me.
What a time it was back then … No GPS or iPhones. No bluetooth in cars, not even a headset/earpiece.
Just a giant flip phone,an Agenda book containing 45/50 weekly appointments and everyone’s addresses, a paper map of Montreal and the surrounding areas. Seems like a million years ago and yesterday all at once.
A clipping from the Montreal Gazettewhen invited by a now defunct pet supply store in NDG to host a “ask the trainer” night.
Over the years I have had the pleasure of appearing on CTV News with Brian Britt being a featured guest interview, CJADradio on the Tommy Schnurmacher show multiple times as well as countless .
If you want to train your dog to listen reliably – especially under distraction and high levels of stimulation you need to develop a belief system as part of your training program.
What this means is that the dog believes in or trusts the outcome of the process to be favorable for him if he follow your rules of conduct.
This dog training video dives into developing a belief system as it pertains to helping Tabasco – a 4 year old rescue dog not jump up for petting or play.
This system can and should be applied to all we train our dogs to do. It is a cornerstone to having a dog who can function under stress/excitement, helps improve reliability around distractions and makes our training much more durable.
Working with Nick has truly been a life changing experience for us! Nick is professional, kind, and you can tell that he loves and values what he does. He’s been available for follow up questions and also is very quick to reply.
Tabasco spent 3 weeks with Nick and we were blown away by all of the progress he made! His leash manners are terrific, he is less anxious around people near our home, and we’ve seen improvement in all areas of concern. Would absolutely recommend Nick to all those looking for help and guidance concerning their pup, one of the best experiences we’ve had! 🙂
Over the years, I’ve trained some dogs who have had really unique names that stand out. Here’s a small gathering of some of my favourite unique dog names.
Malamute Passion Fruit – nicknamed “Dan”
Passion fruit is a large malamute mix whose owners contacted me because he had aggression issues towards dogs and some humans. He was wonderful to train with as was his owner Anne. Here are a couple of videos, both showing him in training with me, and then working with his owner for the first time. I know they explained it to me, but I still can’t quite comprehend, how a dog named passion fruit called Dan?
Rescue dog mixed breed Fig Newton
Fig is a rescue dog who came for a consultation with his owners last year, and it was clear that he’s a very sweet and nervous dog who needed help to control his reactivity.
He’s got a very dedicated team and has done great in training. I can confidently say he’s the one and only Fig Newton that I’ve trained in my 30+ year career training, dogs.
French Bulldogs Banksy & Basquiat
Banksy and basquiat are two French bulldogs both named after artists.
Each of them are wonderful dogs with big personalities and I remember them as my French bulldog artistes!
Mochi Shiba Inu
I trained Mochi towards the end of 2022. Her owners contacted me due to her reactivity towards other dogs – which would result in her, turning and biting her owners out of sheer panic and frustration. She’s definitely a Shiba Inu, meaning a dog with very unique characteristics who doesn’t give her self away socially to just anybody and doesn’t work in obedience for free. Shiba’s are a very unique breed, and I enjoy training them very much because of their strong and unique personalities. This picture of her was taken on her first day in the kennel when she snuggled up on her bed and I wrapped her up in her blanket. Later that week, when I was shopping, I saw a box of Mochi and thought of that photo immediately.
Cow English Bulldog
What can I say about my cow?
I can’t take credit for the name. Her breeder named her and at first I thought it was a ridiculous. We had actually named her Clara after Clara Hughes the Canadian Olympian (speed skating/cycling). In time we started to grow fond of the name and alternate between calling her Cow or Clara and she’s happy to answer to both
Living with Cow was such a shift for me mentally after spending decades with working bred shepherds, all of whom carried a level of intensity most people will never experience.
Cow is a hang out on the couch, stay by your side/wake me up for dinner type dog. She is a silly, soft dog who just wants to be near you and be loved all the time.
I went from racing F1 cars to sitting in traffic on a bus dog temperament wise. She’s a sweetheart the sound of her snoring is oddly comforting to me and our family dotes on her.
El Guapo Chihuahua
Loosely translated, it means the handsome one.
I trained Guapo from a little puppy and his owners went on to do obedience training, and we have since trained many dogs together.
Bugsy Jack Russel Terrier
Now we’re going back deep into the 90’s. Close to 30 years ago in fact. This little jack Russell ruled the roost in his home and like most Jack Russells had a giant personality. He was an awesome dog, big character, and you could train him sun up to sundow with the amount of energy and drive he had. I always assumed he was named after Bugsy Siegel the gangster.
Bones the Pitbull
Bones’ owner brought him to me at eight or nine years old for training and he’s nothing short of a total sweetheart. I love the name bones and the juxtaposition given his large muscular stature. I spent many a lunch/coffee break, hanging out with him in his kennel and we would just chill out together.He was one of the most easy-going, affectionate and chilled out dogs I have ever met.
Tuba Chocolate Labrador Retriever
Tuba the chocolate lab was a one of a kind! He would board with me regularly, and at the first meeting with his owners, they explain to me that he would not go out to relieve himself first thing in the morning, unless he first was given his breakfast.Of course, this peak my interest because I had not come across a dog like this before and I was curious to see if he would do the same thing with.So naturally, his first morning in residence at the kennel, I open his kennel door to let him out with the other dogs (who are all looking at me like “hurry up, Nick, I got to go to the bathroom”) And sure enough tuba backed up deeper into his kennel making it clear to me that he’s not ready to go out yet because breakfast has not been served.What a character! As soon as he inhaled his 2 cups of food, (took him all of five seconds, maybe) he walked out of his kennel, went outside and did what he had to do and went on with his morning.
Hypertension Dutch Shepherd
Hyper was my dog. He was my training partner, my buddy.We spent countless hours together both in and out of training and I miss him every day since he passed in 2014.Hyper was a Dutch shepherd and a working bread one I thoughtThere’s a special bond between a trainer and a dog, especially a working bread dog because once you ignite the working side of the dog bones, do you like nothing you can understand unless you’ve lived it.He would sit at the door when I went into the kennel or position, himself somewhere by a window, trying to get a vantage point of watching me train other dogs and shaking cry the whole time until he had a chance to be with dad.
These clips are quite old so the video quality is not great – but they are a testament to countless hours of work, bonding and the human K9 connection. And for those wondering – Hype got to eat the cheeseburgers once the clip was finished:-)
Hyper's Cheeseburger torture - familyk9.com
www.familyk9.com - more Hyper clips!
www.familyk9.com - Hyper plays basketball
www.familyk9.com - Nick Zevgolis & Hyper the Dutch Shepherd
www.familyk9.com - Object guard
www.familyk9.com - Hyper's defense
Family K9 Dog Training - Nick Zevgolis and Hyper @ work
Family K9 Dog Training
Family K9 Dog Training - Nick and Hyper
Environmentally conscious dog and dog trainer
Bacon – English Bulldog
I’ve got a hand it to bulldog owners. It seems like many of them come up with really unique important names.Bacon came in for training as a very young puppy, and he was relentless in his mouth penis.In fact, this was his families, biggest concern as they had young children and bacon would chew on them relentlessly.Understand that this was nothing more than just play for bacon and here are a couple of videos of bacon in training.The first one highlights his very first day, in fact even his first moments with me at the kennel and I’m trying to orient him towards playing with a toy.At one point you can see he removed my shoe.Talk about skill! I continue to redirect them towards a toy and overtime refine this so that he understood playing with his mouth was fine as long as it’s on a toy rather than our body parts or clothing.The second video shows him about a week later, working on some obedience skills that we were developing for a few days.Such a happy, silly and playful dog he was an absolute joy to train.
Sherpa West Highland White Terrier
I trained with Michèle and Sherpa in the early 2000s. Sherpa was a very special and wonderful example of a west highland white terrier. We have since gone on to train Gaspard another great example of the breed.