Caring For Your Senior Dog

Many of us have an aging dog at home, caring for a dog over the age of 7 is not the same as caring for a younger dog. This is especially true for the larger breeds dogs. Large breed dogs do age at a faster rate, about 7 to 1 human years, the smaller dogs can be 5 to 1. 

Here are a few tips that should help you keep your aging dog younger. 

1. Keep their weight in check. For both large and small breed dogs too much weight creates all kinds of issues. Just like it can for humans. 

2. Keeping your dog’s teeth maintained and healthy. If your dogs teeth and gums get infected, it can create other illness, from heart problems to blood infections. 

3. Exercise: your dog, regardless of size, needs to get out and walk and smell and explore. Dogs need to do this to stay healthy from a mental and physical standpoint.   Dogs can get depressed if they don’t get to interact and walks can actually help dogs with pain issues. 

For more information click here


This is the final of four posts covering how to choose a dog trainer. In this segment,  we’ll cover practical matters including online reviews, fees/costs, guarantees, etc.




 Online Reviews

When researching dog trainers in the Tucson area or any area, be sure to utilize third party websites, such as:

Other reviews to consider are Facebook and Thumbtack. 

    All dog trainers will have a few poor reviews (nobody’s perfect!); however, the good must outweigh the bad. For each bad review, take time to read the trainer’s response or comment about it. Trainers should take their time to explain to potential clients why that client gave them a poor review. Doing so shows they care and understand how the review process works. Keep in mind not all third parties have valid reviews. in some cases anyone can leave a review with no verification process at all so be sure to do your homework.    

“Hidden” Charges/Fees

When assessing training costs, be sure you’re comparing “apples to apples” — don’t compare the charge of a group training class with in-home training, as the price of each will vary greatly. Also, be sure to factor in any extra cost required to purchase special supplies. For example, an electronic vibration or shock collar (“e-collar”) can cost $175+. Be aware ahead of time of all additional equipment that a particular training method may require. As well as, do you want that equipment used on your dog!

Expect that the trainers you contact will meet you in person to assess you and your dog (if they won’t, that’s a red flag to move on to another trainer). Be sure to ask if there is a fee associated with the introductory meeting. Many companies charge a meet-up fee, ranging from $50-$150 per hour. While there’s certainly nothing wrong with this — after all, they’re in business to make a profit, just like me – you should also know other trainers – myself included — do things differently.

I offer a no-obligation meeting at the home of every prospective client. (For clients who live outside my area, a modest trip charge may apply. If this is the case, I will address this charge with you over the phone.) Once I meet you, review your situation, and explain my process, we will discuss how to proceed.

Personality Matters

Ask yourself several questions at your first meeting with the trainer, such as:

  • Do you like the trainer’s methods?
  • Do you agree with their general attitude and approach?
  • Have they communicated well what to expect in the training sessions?

Finding a good personality match is critical to the success of the training. Seek a trainer you instinctively believe in and feel good about. You should be comfortable with how the trainer handles your dog, because you will be expected to duplicate those methods yourself. Trust your instincts when it comes to what’s right for you and your pack.

Many trainers are undiplomatic in telling a client that they are directly responsible for their dog’s unwanted behaviors. Thus, the trainer may come across as harsh or stern, which is extremely insulting to some clients. Because our dogs are part of our families, it matters how we trainers address the pet’s behavioral issues the client is dealing with. The message may be correct, but how the message is sent to the person is very important.

I always put clients first, and treat them with respect and honesty. Training your dog should be a fun, constructive process, never uptight or angry. While there may be times when things get stressful, especially when dealing with dog aggression, we can dial down the tension by interspersing our sessions with play training and non-stressful walks. Dogs don’t learn well when they are stressed or anxious.

“Guaranteed Results”

Can you really expect “guaranteed results”? Frankly, my dear, the answer is “No.” That’s because the key to success relies almost entirely on you to follow through on the training homework.

And this leads us to another reason the training method you choose is so important: If the trainer is using techniques that you are not comfortable doing yourself, then the training is not going to work. Again, you need to be 100% comfortable with the trainer’s approach.

Here’s what else can happen: After your training sessions are over, your dog is doing great. Then a few months go by and your dog starts to act up again, so you call the dog trainer to return to work with your dog again. The trainer shows up, the dog shines, everybody is happy. But then after the trainer leaves, you are more confused about why the dog acted so well. What “magic” does the trainer have that you don’t?

The answer is simple, but not necessarily easy: It’s all about the relationship you develop and maintain with your dog. It’s about your dog absorbing three key ingredients that create the relationship: respect, trust and bond. If any one of these is weak, unwanted behaviors can reappear, such as ignoring your commands or housebreaking issues.

I have three dogs, and one of them tests me frequently. If I don’t stay proactive, he can unbalance the entire pack. He keeps me on my toes! Using natural training methods that dogs instinctively understand, I’m able to keep my pack balanced and happy.

Finding the precise communication method that fits your dog’s temperament is one of the key ingredients to a happy dog. If you want to discuss your dog, give me a call and please mention this blog post!

Dog Training Mobile – Gerard Raneri 520-440-8848 

Take our free dog behavior quiz – click the Resources Tab 

Just as a carpenter needs a hammer and nails, and a chef needs a skillet and knives, a dog trainer may needs certain tools in order to do the work required. The specific tools/equipment trainers use often go hand-in-hand with their specific training methods and  philosophy. Here are some points to consider when researching dog trainers and what equipment they may or may not use.


Dog Training Collars

Numerous types of training collars are available. Some common types of collars are:

• E-collar (electronic collar, shock or vibration)

• Pinch collar (prong collar)

• Choke collar (check chain)

• Martingale collar (with or without chain)

• Halti (nose collar)

• Gentle Leader (nose collar)

Dog Training collar chained Martingale. 

Each can bring about very different results – some desired, and some not, depending on the method used with the collar and the temperament of the dog. Remember the equipment isn’t bad or good, its how it’s used that makes it good or bad.   

Some trainers use only one kind of collar, while others (like me) use the type of (non-harsh) collar that is best suited for the situation, the dog and the owner. Remember, it’s not the training equipment that trains the dog — it’s the relationship between you and your dog.

When you’ve narrowed down the trainers you want to interview, ask them what tools they use, and listen carefully to their responses. You should quickly be able to tell how open this trainer is to discussing their methods, including their choice of training collar, and why and how they use it. Trust your instincts!

Training Location/Environment

There are several training options out there that take place in various types of locations. Here is some information about them.

Group Training – Its good for socializing your dog, as well as for basic training, such as sit, stay, down…  However, group training is not an option for you if your dog or puppy is not up-to-date on their shots, because an un-immunized dog are not allowed in group classes.      They can presents a health risk to himself as well as to the other dogs. And, for more obvious reasons, group training is not an option for an aggressive dog. Other dogs that may not not be a good fit for group training are dogs that are extremely fearful. Forcing a fearful or timid dog into a group setting could make that dog worse. 

If you feel your dog would be a good candidate for group lessons, interview trainers to find out what methods and tools they use in the class. Ask yourself if these methods are in line with your own desires and goals for handling your dog.

(Note: I do not offer group lessons at this time for the simple fact that I keep plenty busy with one-on-one lessons, which have been my specialty for the 20+ years I’ve been a dog training.)

Board-and-Train – this requires a great deal of trust from you. If you decide this may be a good option for you, be sure to vet the company thoroughly and ask a lot of questions, such as:

• Who exactly will be working with the dog?

• What are their levels of experience?

• What type of equipment might be used on your dog?

  • What other types of activities are offered for the dog?
  • Is your dog supervised 24/7 or is he left alone at a business/store front over night in a crate?
  • After your dog is trained, will the trainer spend a few hours with you, teaching you the dogs newly learned commands?
  • How long can you contact the the trainer for help once you get your dog back?

In home dog training-

In-Home Training – this has become increasingly popular over the years, and is the option I offer. All training is done in your home, with you right there — observing, learning and doing. In fact, you and your family’s presence in all training sessions is key to in-home training success. We want your family to be on the same page, this helps the dog learn quicker.

The in-home training I offer is tailored just for you and your household so that we can address your real-life issues within your own environment, and thus quickly solve any problems together. For example, if you want your dog to stroll calmly with you around the local shopping center, then that’s what we’ll do on a lesson. If your dog barks endlessly at people passing by your home, we can resolve that issue right where and when it happens. I call this real life dog training! We can go to dog parks or to your vets office if they are places you’re having issues. In-home training is geared toward helping you and your dog build a better relationship so you can conduct your life with a well-behaved dog by your side. My simple process helps your dog learn faster and more happily, which also helps you want to train your dog.

in 95% of our lessons, we only use a non-harsh training collar (martingale style) and a 6-ft. training leash. And, while I may correct unwanted behavior, I never use physical or painful correction. Rather, our methods use natural techniques that are not physical and I will review my methods with you first, in-person, in our no-obligation appointment.

Everything is stated up-front, including the training fee. No surprises, the cost is known up front the basic equipment is included in my rates and you will know up front what I’m going to do with your dog. 

It would contradict my training philosophy to do any training with your dog behind closed doors. My system is grounded in the simple concept that I want you to be your dog’s leader/trainer. Your dog must learn to listen to you, not me. After all, this is your dog, that is bonded to you, trusts you and should respect you. My job is to help you understand and improve upon any of these qualities. With our process, you become your dog’s leader naturally!

In my next (4th) post in this series about how to choose the right dog trainer for you and your dog, I’ll review practical matters including online reviews, finances/payment, guarantees, etc.


PART II of “How Do I Choose the ‘Right’ Dog Trainer?” 


If you are new to formalized dog training (i.e., past the rolled-up-newspaper methods or pushing your dog’s nose into a mess), you may be surprised to learn there are a lot of different training methodologies and philosophies out there that are science based and have years of actual proven results. 

As your dog’s steward, know that it is up to you to research these methods so you can make an educated decision about which way to go. Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed, though! It won’t take long for you to grasp the ABCs of dog training styles so you can more confidently select the best training method for you and your dog. 

First, you can find a pretty good overview of dog training methods on Wikipedia. Remember that any effective training system is based on sound accepted theories of dog psychology and proven through years of experience in applying the technique to all sorts of dogs.

we come to you!          

Most training methods use some form of operant conditioning to train the dog. Operant conditioning is defined as “a process that attempts to modify behavior through the use of positive and or negative, reinforcement or punishers.” So, in dog training, when the dog performs a command correctly, he may be rewarded with verbal praise (Good Boy!, a pat on the head, or a treat. If the dog doesn’t perform as requested, he may be given a correction (NO!) in the form of a quick tug on the leash, a sharp verbal signal, or some other unpleasant (to the dog) action. Remember that any effective training system is based on sound, proven science based methods. At (Dog Training Mobile) we in fact use such dog training methods. 

Thinking further about this, you can see that the type of reward/correction /punisher/reinforcement can be regarded as mild, severe or somewhere in between – and which, regardless of what the action is, may not produce the best results for that individual dog. Some dogs are too fearful or too excited or maybe too dominant to stick into a group that every dog is trained the same. That just doesn’t work. It’s like saying all children learn the same, we all know that’s just not true. All people are individuals and all dogs unique and learn best if we take the time build a relationship first.   

Once you understand the fundamentals of various training methods, and the psychology behind them, you can begin to make your selection.Please, consider these points as well:

  • Find the best match of training style based on your dog’s temperament (see previous post for more information on this).
  • Know what method you are comfortable with. Some trainers employ totally hands-off training, while others may resort to a certain level of physical force. Some training methods rely solely on feeding treats to the dog, which can lead to canine obesity or being ignored if you don’t have a treat when you give the dog a command. Some methods rely more on using tools (e.g., types of collars) that you may consider harsh or pain motivating.  Again once the collar is off the dog ignores the owner, this is called collar smart. 
  • Note that some trainers use only one particular method – which may be fine, until you discover that method doesn’t work on your dog. Other trainers – like me – offer a combination of training approaches that best fit your dog’s temperament and your level of comfort in working with your dog. As a relationship-based trainer, I tailor a blend of proven training methods based on how your dog responds to the methods. We do not using pain to train your dog.  

In my next post, I’ll cover some of the types of tools used in dog training, as well as what you need to know about where/how the training takes place. I’ll also zone in on what type of methods I use.  

As always call me anytime with questions –  520-440-8848 – gerard raneri – Take our behavioral quiz and see how your dog rates- keep in mind this is about your “dog’s behaviour” Take The Quiz 

“How Do I Choose the ‘Right’ Dog Trainer?”


I get asked this question so often I thought it would make a good topic for a blog post — or three or four! So, if you have ever asked this question, this series of posts is for you.

My first reply is always “Good for You!” You have already determined that you need help educating your dog so that he (or she) can become the best companion for you and your family.

Then I also say that the “best” dog trainer is the one you choose AFTER you have done thoughtful and thorough research on several important topics.

Do you want a well behaved pup?  

This post explores the first segment of that research.

Your Commitment

What is your level of commitment to training your dog? Will you make time to attend required training sessions, follow through with homework, and be consistent EVERY time you work with your dog? Be honest about knowing yourself and your tolerance for adopting a new routine.

Understanding your own personality can also help you to select the best type of training environment, namely, group training, in-home training, or board-and-train (more about these in a future post).

Remember, your dog is depending on you to make the best choices!

Your Dog’s Temperament

What is your dog’s temperament?  Knowing his temperament — the personality he was born with — is a good place to begin your research for the types of training methods he is most likely to respond to best.

But, this presents a chicken-or-egg dilemma: How can you know your dog’s temperament if you don’t have a trainer to help make that assessment? Don’t worry – just consider asking other knowledgeable people, such as your pet’s veterinarian (including vet techs), groomer and/or pet sitter/dog walker. Dogs adopted from a shelter or rescue group are usually given a basic temperament test by experienced handlers who work there, so be sure to ask those folks too.

In addition, you can get a good understanding of your dog’s temperament by noting his behaviors. For example, when a new person enters your home, what does your dog do? A dog that immediately growls and looks wary has a very different temperament than one who tucks his tail and slinks away.

Many trainers (myself included) will provide a temperament assessment at your first training session, while others charge a separate fee for this specific service.

In my next post, I’ll discuss some commonly used training methodologies and philosophies, based on proven knowledge of dog psychology. I’ll also provide a few reliable web resources you can use for your own research.

Feel free to reach out to me with any questions. I always try to replay within 24 hours.

Gerard Raneri -520-440-8848 visit my website or take our quiz by clicking here “Rate Your Dogs Behavior

Are you giving your dog too many commands? Are you giving commands over and over again?

About seven years ago, after training dogs for many years I changed my style. I realized it became all about the commands and something was missing. Dog Training is more than commands. 

Of course dogs need to learn commands, however, if your dog needs commands to behave in social situations something is missing.  A well behaved dog is different than a dog that follows commands. With my training I always include “Foundation Training” or focus training. Foundation training teaches the dog to come when called, sit, stay and down and walk nicely on command. For a dog to learn to behave in social situations we must help our dogs to become thinking dogs and problem solving dogs, building their confidence so they make the correct choice without a command.

For example, when I’m teaching a dog to wait when a door opens before going out, I do not use a sit or stay command. The process I use is a teaching process using trial of behaviors so they start becoming a thinking dog. Otherwise, if I open the door without a command the dog will probably go right through that door.

In fact in some cases the dogs are being so nagged by the handler  with commands that they start avoiding or ignoring them.  Sure if you keep food in your hand or if you’re an e-collar person, keep stimulation on your dog they will do what you want. But thats not what I’m shooting for in my training.  I focus on  building your relationship with your dog and helping him or her to become a thinking dog.


There are many ways to achieve this but I’m going to give you one very simple and basic way to start that process on your own.  Teach the automatic sit in your home and on leash. Walk around your house or room with your dog in the heel position. Then stop and tell your dog to sit. after he sits, praise him. Then give the heel command and take 3 steps and stop, give the sit command. Repeat this 3 to 5 times, make it fun, fast paced and upbeat. Then, do everything the same except leave out the sit command.  If the dog doesn’t sit; turn and face him and wait him out for a few seconds. If he doesn’t sit, give the heel command and try again with no sit command. If unsuccessful try again using the command a few times. Then drop the sit command and try again, the goal is to wait the dog out and when he makes the correct decision… praise and build on it.

We praise our dogs with a nice pleasant voice when our dogs get behaviors right, “good boy”. If our dog makes a mistake some folks yell or say NO loudly. This usually doesn’t work and can make some dogs scared  of the person doing it. That said, dogs need to know when they make a mistake.  Not by yelling or yanking the leash, hitting or overreacting but by communicating to them that we don’t like it.  It can be a simple low tone ahgg growl sound.  Its really simple if you think about how one dog trains another dog.

This should not scare them or make them want to flight in any way. If it creates fear in your dog then its not something we want to use for that dog. Remember we want to help our dogs make the right choice, It’s about communication, if we aren’t communicating with our dogs properly, we aren’t teaching them.

Dog Barking

Among the most common reasons frustrated dog owners call me is to help them manage “the front door scene.” You know the drill – at the slightest sound of someone at the front door, your dog explodes with a frenzy of barking and jumping.

Whether they hear the doorbell, a knock, or footsteps outside (think UPS package delivery), dogs will instinctively react with great excitement and interest – “Who’s out there?” they want to know, “Is it friend or foe?”

Now, we understand that it’s natural for your dog to react to “an intruder” onto the pack’s territory; and sometimes we welcome an attentive housemate to sound the alarm. But in most circumstances, it is simply not necessary for a dog to overreact with annoying, unmanageable and even unsafe behaviors. After all, that’s why we have a doorbell – we don’t really need a “dogbell,” too!

Beyond the irritating din of loud, uncontrolled barking, an overexcited dog can present a danger as well: he may dash out the door and run into harm’s way; he may knock people over; he may get underfoot and be a trip hazard; or he may even become aggressive to the visitor.

If any of this sounds familiar with your dog, then read on!

Here a few things you can try for when you are expecting visitors:

  • Tire your dog with a brisk 20-minute walk before guests’ arrival time.
  • Keep your dog leashed when inside the house so you can better control his actions.
  • Use a gate or barrier to confine him to an adjoining room.
  • If your dog is simply too difficult (or dangerous) to control with guests, it may be best to remove him from the scene altogether. Place him in his crate in a quiet room and provide a chew toy to keep him occupied.

However, the very best way to control the front door scene is to desensitize and counter-condition your dog to the situation and teaching a new behavior such as going to his place. One of the goals of this exercise is for the sound of the doorbell to now mean something else to your dog besides barking and jumping. The doorbell becomes a cue for the dog to go to his or her designated place near the door or even in another room, where he or she will wait until you release him.

Sound impossible? It’s not! Email or Call me today at 520-440-8848 to find out how to better manage your “dog-bell” and enjoy a more peaceful and safe entryway when visitors come to visit. 


What can Star Wars have in common with our dogs you might ask. Well… your dog is probably a Jedi. No, I’m not crazy!

Our dogs have the ability to get us to pet them or give them a treat, open the door, feed them or do just about anything they want. All of this is done  just by looking at us. They use the “Canine Force”.  The canine force can be a positive thing or it can gravitate towards the dark side. As a Tucson dog trainer I see dogs use the force all the time. In fact by the time I get the call the dogs are flirting with the dark side.  Our goal is to teach our dogs that we are the Jedi leader and they are the Padawan. They must learn to use The Canine Force for good.

Please read more about canine behavior, dog training and being your dog’s leader.  Click Here Is Your Dog a Jedi Warrior 

Every year I receive calls about dogs being scared from all the doorbell ringing.
Not to mention the fact that dogs do not normally like seeing people in masks.

But let’s address the doorbell for now. Trying to desensitize our dogs to ringing doorbells isn’t always as easy as it sounds.
The trick is to get proactive. If you are waiting for people to ring your bell, you’re being reactive.
Take your dog outside and have them on leash, use some treats and ring your bell. As soon as your dog stops barking, drop a treat. Soon your dog will start to look up at you for a treat when they hear the doorbell. Now try the same thing it inside the house!
Do not expect this to happen overnight. Take your time, go slow. If your dog barks just give him a low growl sound or AhAh sound and as soon as they stop barking, drop the treat. Do this a few times a day for no more that ten minutes or when you get the response you want. Do not over do it, short positive sessions is the way to go.

On Halloween, if your dog is fearful be sure he or she has a safe place to stay in your home. It’s very stressful for some dogs so help them to feel safe. Maybe crate them if they are comfortable with the crate. If you have a room they like to be in, turn on the TV or radio for some white noise.
If you need help reach out to your Vet or local dog trainer.

Happy Halloween!




dog trainers tucsonAs I’m sure you guessed it we get a lot of inquiries for dog training services in Tucson, AZ. And we have noticed that a lot of the people searching for dog training or puppy training don’t know what to really look for or where to begin when choosing a provider.

This is understandable because most people looking for dog trainers online have never hired one before and don’t know all the differences. However, we compiled a list of the top three things to consider when hiring a dog training person or company.

And in these points we share some things that might count us out but that’s quite alright because we want to make sure the person gets what they really want and what they think is best for their dog.

Does the dog trainer come to your house or have a school/class location?

Some dog trainers will only work with you at their facility and offer a “class” environment with other dogs. For example, companies like PetSmart have classes vs. one on one personal dog training. However, our dog training style is one on one in the dog’s natural environment and where the dog will actually be when we leave. This helps the process and solidify the relationship with the dog or puppy and it’s owner.

Makes sense right? If you train the dog in the same environment with me, when I leave the dog is still in it’s familiar area. This helps you the owner practice what you learned from our dog training sessions and helps the dog remember more easily.

What kind of reputation and reviews does the Dog Trainer have online?

When you start to Google things like “dog trainers in tucson”, “dog training”, “dog training tucson” ect.. Look to see if the dog trainers have an active budget and are using Google ads. If they are spending money via advertising that is usually a good sign they are a real brand and reputable because if they do it shows they are actively at that moment investing in their business to find more people they can help.

Also, look for reviews from Google, Angie’s list, Thumbtack, and Yelp. Do you see a dog trainer like our company with over 30 plus positive reviews on multiple platforms or do they have none? Do you see a strong web presence and videos with the local media? These are signals that show the business again wants to help you and takes pride in their brand. This can help you weed out fly by night trainers or national companies that aren’t truly local.

Here is an example of one of our videos on the local news:

Lastly, Do they Believe in Non Harsh or Harsh Dog Training methods?

We firmly believe in non harsh dog training methods. However, ask the dog trainer if they use shock collars or any other devices that can hurt your dog or puppy. There are dog trainers that prefer to use these kind of methods and we believe we can train your dog and pet without them.

After all, the reason we got into this business is we are dog owners and we love dogs. We would never want to reprimand a dog in a harmful way instead we look for ways to reward your dog when they start to become more obedient. Harsh dog training methods can make dog even more aggressive in our opinion and we would advise against that.

If you think this article helped you and you would like to learn more about our dog training services call Gerard today at