Nessy’s owner’s came to me from just outside the city of Ottawa with a dog that was wild, anxious, infinite medical issues, couldn’t settle down, walk nicely, or play with the kids without being too aggressive in play. Brigitte could barely walk her without being dragged off her feet. Covered in bruises, from Nessy’s rough play, they needed help.

With help from their vet with proper medication for an ear disorder and anxiety issues, we added various exercise routines, obedience work, metal focus, daily play time and exposure… Then we worked on Brigitte and the whole family, to become the calm balanced leader that Nessy needed to keep her from wild outbursts and endless energy with no off switch.

Here is what they had to say after our sessions and all their homework was completed. So happy to have been able to help with the multiple issues they were having!! Keeping up with the pack walks have been a golden bonus!

Hi Nancy-Lynn,

I just wanted to send this photo of Nessie, relaxing at my feet while I work. Before our training sessions with you and all your encouragement, tips, and help diagnosing her with anxiety, Nessie would’ve never been relaxed enough to just find a comfortable spot and plop down.

We have a completely different dog than we did when we first came to see you.

Pam came to me with a doodle (Doodle dogs originated with a cross between a poodle and a Labrador,) puppy named Moka that was lots of energy and she wasn’t quite sure how to get the dog to behave as well as be safe with her kids. Because she was a novice dog owner, there was lots of issues she came to me with and needed to get control of Moka asap.

After doing a training program that involved her kids and the dog, everyone was better equipped to do the right things to make having a dog fun and safe for the whole family. (including the dog!)

Here’s what Pam had to say about her dog Mocha after doing a program with Awesome K9 and learned how to manage her dog better. Resulting in better manners and confidence, Mocha rarely jumps on people or dogs anymore! She’s a better walker, and her recall is much improved. She is only 8 months old, but has improved so much from when they first started. Thank you Nancy-Lynn!

Practice and doing the homework is the key to success! Great job Mocha and Pam!

May came to me from the west end of Ottawa with her large (95lb) GSD/mix Walle. She was discouraged that her dog was getting more reactive on leash and had a history of attacking other dogs. She had engaged other trainers to help her, but still felt she lacked the confidence to manage her dog with other dogs and people around.

There were two parts of her training with Walle that we put together in a program that addressed the following issues: Convince May, that she could be more confident in controlling (big) Walle’s behaviours and build up her confidence to manage him better changing his reaction with other dogs around. After that, we wanted to teach her better timing, body language and leash work to handle Walle in a calm and confident manner. May needed to be in control and stay calm when he tried to lash out. So, I gave her exercises to practice when out on the street and others approached. The second part of her program was to attend pack walks with other clients and their dogs out in the real world, with everyday outdoor distractions, including 25 other dogs and people. This truly help her confidence and made a significant difference because she was learning it in real time, with real distractions.

This is what May had to say after bringing her dog Walle to us at Awesome K9.:

Walking is so much calmer now (both dog and myself), Walle improved on leash walking tremendously! Focus games really helped with a closer bond, more trust with my dog and mentally stimulated my dog more. Walle knows how to sit and wait now!

I Really liked the well-balanced approach Nancy used that made training very effective. Nancy will base your next training session on how your week went before and what needs improvement. So, expect to put a lot of your own time and training outside of class to truly get the most out of it all in a very quick period of time if you do your homework! The pack walks are not only a huge part of Walle’s training and on-going maintenance, but fun and enjoyable to be part of. I didn’t believe that dogs could be that sensitive to how you are feeling. I learned how to be mindful of my feelings and body language. Nancy is great with making you aware of this which is a vital step to changing and getting better results with, when training your dog. Nancy is very personable, confident at her job, and has a lot of experience!

So Now May can spend more time out with her dog anywhere in Ottawa, having relaxed fun, less aggression issues and is a regular “pack walk member” to help her continue the maintenance to keep up her training and just keeps getting better. I am happy to have help this big happy go lucky dog out. He did great and is so much more approachable now. Yay, Walle!

There are many different training tools out there to select from to give you better control, and easier handling of your dog. The issue is not really the type of training collar you pick. The real issue is “how” you use it. Regardless of training styles, positive or balanced, it is very important to understand “why” a trainer will suggest one tool over another.

The factors can be as simple as: how much does the dog pull? How good is the human at managing or handling skills? Is the training collar being utilized effectively for fit, sizing and applied protocol? What breed is best suited for effectiveness and proper function?

The truth is, any training collar or even a flat buckle collar can be misused and cause problems or even damage to the dogs’ neck or body. As safe as a body harnesses seems, they have been known to chafe or rub under dogs’ legs, causing rashes, skin irritation and rough spots, when used incorrectly. Choke chains are one of the more difficult collars to use correctly as the prong collar can be one of the gentlest and effective tools, when used correctly. Halti’s, can cause strained neck muscles just as dogs with pushed in noses already can have breathing issues and don’t need the extra stress on their tracheas.

In a perfect world, at Awesome K9, we aim for everyone to be working their dog on a loose leash regardless of what tool they are using. This is the best way to keep the dog safe and happy. However, most people come to us because they have issues doing so. So, your best option if you struggle with what tool should be best for you and your dog, get some help from a professional dog trainer who can explain the differences and proper uses for any of these tools. “Nothing” is effective if used incorrectly. They can also suggest the best option for your needs, the type of issues you have with your dog and teach you the proper way to use any training tools.

Nancy-Lynn Stoller IACP, Professional dog trainer / Canine behaviour consultant.
Awesome K9

dog will learn on command to go and “Place” until they are released,

People always comes to me with some sort of behaviour from their dog that they do not appreciate or wish the dog would stop doing. Instead of reprimanding, correcting, or getting angry at the dog, there is a much more effective approach which doesn’t need to be negative or positive punishment-based modification. Regardless of the training methods you use, the temperament of the dog, the styles of correcting or not, and even the dog’s personality, the universal and easiest way to stop the behavior is to replace it with something else.

When you see the opportunity that your dog is about to “do that thing, that you hate” instead of getting excited and yelling at your dog to stop, try to defer the behaviour “before” it happens. Instead, give the dog something else to do, which changes their response and conditions them to a “different” response altogether.

So, for example, if your dog runs to the door when someone comes in. Make him sit and “place” away from the door, while the person comes in and sits down. By repeating this behaviour each time someone comes in the door, the dog will learn on command to go and “Place” until they are released, and your guests can calmly enter the house.

Through repetition, the dog learns manners and protocol that becomes part of a “new routine” and eliminates the old responses and getting rid of that embarrassing or unwanted action.

Nancy-Lynn Stoller IACP, Professional dog trainer / Canine behaviour consultant.
Awesome K9

puppy training OttawaYou can reduce the risk of damage to occasional ill-gotten items by teaching your pup to exchange toys for treats, using something he loves that he’s allowed to have, such as a favorite chew toy or a food-stuffed Kong.

The key to this game is he learns that if he gives something up, he gets something better in return and he gets the original thing back as well. Two rewards for the price of one! Then, when he has a forbidden object, he’s more likely to bring it to you to trade than to drag his prize to his cave under the dining room table for a leisurely chew. The rare occasion that he doesn’t get “the thing” back won’t be enough to overcome the programming you’ve done by playing the “trade” game with him frequently.

In order for this to work, you have to stop playing “chase the puppy” when he grabs the sofa cushion or some other forbidden object. This is often an attention-getting behavior; he’s learned that grabbing “your” toys and dashing off with them initiates a rousing play session.

Here’s what you do:

Offer him his well-stuffed Kong and say, “Take it!” Have him on a leash if you think he’ll run off with it.
Give him a little while to get fully engaged in chewing, and then say “Give!” or “Trade!” in a cheerful tone of voice and offer him a handful of irresistible treats, such as small bits of chicken or cheese.
Hold the treats under his nose and let him sniff. It may take him several seconds to think about it, but eventually he should drop his Kong and start eating the treats. Don’t let him gulp them! Hold the tidbits so he can only take them one by one.
When he drops the Kong, say, “Yes!”
While he is still nibbling, reach down with your other hand and pick up the toy.
Let him nibble a bit longer, then offer him the Kong again.
Repeat the exercise several times. Then end the game by giving him back his Kong and letting him chew to his heart’s content.
Play this game at every opportunity, whenever he’s engaged in chewing on his toys on his own, or whenever you feel like initiating the game, until he’ll give up his chew object easily on your “give” cue.

Nancy-Lynn Stoller I.A.C.P.

Professional Dog Trainer

Canine Behaviour Consultant

Australian Shepherd Training Ottawa CAEcho was aggressive, impossible to walk, and would occasionally nip people when he first came to us.

My dog, an Australian Shepherd, was a biter and a barker, very territorial, and was hard to walk as he would tug on the leash incessantly. After the very first session, the walking had drastically improved. I can now walk him with one hand with no hassle!

Nancy helped me understand why my dog was acting the way he was and what I could do to prevent and deal with it. Her suggestions all improved the situation and I am seeing improvement every day. However, these classes help teach the owner more than the dog- and I strongly believe that you won’t see results if you don’t put a little bit of time and effort into training your dog every day. This is true of Nancy’s or anyone else’s methods. For example, my dog would become aggressive because he was afraid. Me staying calm and redirecting his attention as Nancy suggested changed the entire dynamic of the situation.

I had been told that my dog had an “unsound temperament” and would never change (he was already 2-3 years old when I first started bringing him to training as he is a rescue), but Nancy saw him differently, and understood from the get-go that he was just afraid. He was nothing but loving and trusting towards her from the beginning as she is calm, confident and trustworthy. I am lucky to have found a trainer like her and will certainly go back if I ever get a second dog


Entitlement-Dog Training Tips

If your dog seems to rule the house, tells you what to do and when or always has his own agenda then it’s quite possible the dog suffers from a sense of entitlement.

Humans can encourage this behaviour in many ways. Dogs need and like a sense of leadership, routine and structure. It removes excess stress on the dog, creates a protocol and sets boundaries for the dog to feel more confident and safe. We can encourage good routines or bad ones in many ways. Repetition and consistency is the simplest form of learning and dogs thrive on it. If we keep it simple, it sets the dog up for success and reliability. By setting limits and making choices simple, it rules out confusion for the dog and sets them up to follow through the way we want or need them to be.

Making things either black or white, yes or no, good or bad, removes the mistake of filling their heads with the grey zone. The grey Zone refers to all the “sometimes” the dog gets to do this. Unclear direction and confusion as to when something is ok or not. Especially when the rules are not yet established for the dog.

Lots of people argue, “I got a dog to be able to give it lots of love and affection” However, the dogs perspective on what that means can be very different from the human version. Love and affection for the dog means a sense of control, safety, boundaries, leadership, rules, respect and stimulation, while still allowing them to be a dog.

Too many entitlements before the dog understands the limitation and respect, can set the dog up to feel or think that anything is acceptable. So we are not saying that you can never do things like let the dog sleep with you, or cuddle on the couch while you watch a movie. What we are saying is that the dog has to understand the privileges of being “invited” to do things that push the envelope when it comes to a sense of entitlement.

For example, if the dog learns he can only come up on the sofa with you when he is invited and gets down when instructed, then that becomes an exercise. This is very different than the dog deciding for himself to jump up anytime he feels like it. Limitations are good boundaries to ground a dog rather than too many choices.

Once the dog learns the basic rules and protocols, then you can start giving the dog extra privileges, when they are respectful and understand that it is more of a reward. Once your dog learns the behaviour of respect, and their place, then feel free to introduce other gestures of Love and affection as rewards, not entitlement. If you find the dog be-coming less obedient, or tries to rule the house again, revisit the reasons they are starting to take over once again… go back to basics and set the rules back to limitations to see if you notice a big difference. This is why crate training is so important. Not only does it give you control, but it gives the dog “his” safe space, always accessible and reliable to be there. It takes away the stress and confusion for the dog to have a place he feels he belongs and feels protected. The world outside the crate is no longer his responsibility, taking a huge load off, if he feels he has to “take care” of the whole house.

Some dogs need more structure that others, as well as more rules and boundaries… the only way to find out where the line is, is to take into account what the temperament of the dog is, as well as how stubborn or smart they can be and if they like to lead or follow. For help with assessing your dog, feel free to contact us at for more information and how to schedule a consultation.

Nancy-Lynn Stoller I.A.C P.

questions for a dog trainer1. Where should you look to find a good trainer?

Answer: Best place is through referrals, previous clients, friends, family, your vet, your pet store, SPCA or rescue organization. Other places would be to search on line in your area. When searching on line, be sure to look up reviews, testimonials and get a feeling if you like what you see before calling for more info.

2. What kind of help are you looking for?

What is driving you mad about your dog?… Is it minor issues or major behaviour that you just can’t or won’t tolerate anymore. Is any person, other animal or the dog itself at any risk because of the behaviour?

3. What choices or options are offered for convenience and results?

Are there different packages available with different options or locations and price ranges? Are you looking for private or a group setting?… what would be most advantageous to suit you and your dogs needs.

4. How comfortable are you with the methods, philosophies and training tools that are suggested?

There are many different styles of training methods as well as training tools. Find out what options you have for training methods and what training tools are available with a particular trainer.

5. Do you get a good feeling and personal attention for the trainer from the first phone call?

If you don’t feel like they are truly in it to help you and YOUR problems, then I would move on.

6. How severe is the problem that it becomes stressful or not enjoyable to be with your dog?

Are you at the breaking point of considering not Keeping the dog because of too much effort, time and problems and didn’t expect it to be this hard to manage?

7. What expectations do you have to resolve your problems?

Are you aware that having a dog is a lengthy commitment and to help your dog is work for both and the dog to make changes?

8. How important is it for you to be active in the process?

Are you planning on putting in effort on your part to make the changes happen and stick?

9. How do you value training as an investment for both you and your dog?

Making the commitment to purchase private lessons can seem like an expense, however if you view it as helping your dog become an Awesome dog that is better behaved, less work or stress and a valued companion for many years, then training should offer many bonuses that last a lifetime.

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