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A cherished childhood photo of Mike with his buddy “Taffy.”

weeks and is never longer than 29 days. “As soon as puppies become mobile, the mother dog begins her training. I pick up where Mama leaves off,” he says.   His teaching method: positive affectionate attention. “Discipline is not just correction, but teaching the dog to follow you. The best way is to understand what positively motivates your dog.” He never uses choke chains or slip collars – “This is a no choke zone,” he proclaims – and he doesn’t use treats as rewards. “Dogs are easily motivated by food, so don’t make food the prize, but instead the reward should be affection. Dogs live in the present – if they’re physically and emotionally supported, they are very willing to listen knowing they will get enthusiastic physical and verbal praise. If they don’t listen they receive a verbal scolding followed by positive training. The key is repeating behaviors and praising them when they get it, and you end up with a very happy, educated puppy. Mike’s final phase of training is with the owners. The family attends an average of three lessons at the school. The next step is for “Uncle Mikey” to work with the dog and the family in their own home environment. “This part is critical. After my puppies graduate from boarding school, we go to their home together and I establish communication skills between the owner and puppy, teaching my clients how to utilize training at home.” He is on call and offers owner-attended lessons for the life of the dog, at no extra charge. Raves client Monica Pearson, “After Uncle Mikey trained our dogs, I just had one question for him: ‘Can you do this for kids?’ It would make him a billionaire overnight!”   For more information on The Educated Puppy, contact Mike at 770/475-3049, email him at theeducatedpuppy@bellsouth.net or visit www.theeducatedpuppy.com.

Q&A with Uncle Mikey HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT CRATE TRAINING?

Leaving a puppy loose in the house is a mistake. Trusting him alone is a mistake, primarily because he may get hurt! He could chew up a favorite piece of furniture or pee on the carpet. Crate training is ideal, but leaving them for long hours in a crate is not ideal. Leave the radio or TV on! If you’re going to be gone eight hours, hire a dog walker to play with the dog and take him out for 20 or 30 minutes midday. Within a week’s time, most dogs will go into their crate on their own to just relax, with the door open! Crate training for puppies is ideal for at least the first year of age. After that, it should be determined by the behavior of the individual dog. One of the most integral parts of house training is control of your dog’s attitude. Obedience training puts you in the authoritative position to say where and when he gets to use the bathroom. WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO HANDLE “ACCIDENTS”?

You should verbally scold your dog for accidents in the house, even if you don’t catch him in the act. Do this by putting his nose near the accident, not in it! But then, immediately take him out and say, “Good boy!” Never just say, “No.” Instead, say “no” to going in the house, then immediately take him outside and say “yes” to the good behavior. Always give an alternative expected behavior whenever you scold your dog for improper behavior. Unlike with a child, every aspect of a dog’s existence is regulated by people. Your dog has no choice in who he spends his life with. They are stuck with you! Therefore, I am his champion. I train him, and then you to ensure that you provide him with a happy life! WHAT ABOUT “HYPER” DOGS?

Most dogs aren’t truly “hyper,” more often than not they are stressed out! Sometimes owners wait until a puppy is four to six months old to bring him to me. The dogs have been overloaded with negative reactions to their behavior, and they have no idea what you want them to do! Early training is critical. WHAT’S THE BIGGEST CONCERN PEOPLE HAVE ABOUT “TRAINING”?  IS IT HOUSEBREAKING?

Yes, housebreaking, and for puppies who are teething, chewing up the furniture! The key to success is a combination of obedience training and using a crate while he’s still a puppy. After 10 weeks old, dogs need to be taken out twice in the morning, twice during midday, and before and after eating in the evening. That’s about every hour and a half. For an adult dog, about five times per day on average. All my dogs eat twice a day. Southern Seasons Magazine

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Southern Seasons Magazine Spring 2013- Cover 3  
Southern Seasons Magazine Spring 2013- Cover 3  

Third cover of Spring 2013 issue for better newsstand coverage on sale May 2013.