Local 'dog whisperer' shares training tips

Posted: Updated:
By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

PHOENIX -- Dog behavior has been in the news a lot lately, prompting discussion about training, and what constitutes "instinctual behavior" for a canine.

On Tuesday's Good Morning Arizona, we met the local version of the "Dog Whisperer," Jonny Aguilar. The trainer has helped the real dog whisperer, Cesar Milan, train a few of his own dogs.

Jonny has also trained police dogs, and has worked with some of the most aggressive dogs around, training out behavioral problems. Now, In the wake of several recent dog attacks, Jonny wants to show us a few tips and key commands you can use with your own dogs at home.

"The basic thing is teaching your dogs behavior; basically setting up guidelines in your house," he says. "So as soon as the dog comes home, you're technically training your dog. So you need to put your foot down and figure out exactly what it is you want your dog to understand."

Jonny says that while you can't actually take aggression out of a dog, you can teach the dog to control the behavior. "Use whatever means is comfortable for you, comfortable for your dog, that gets results. Traditional is the choke chain or the prong collar," he says. "Lately a lot of people have been going with positive reinforcement. I like to use the e-collar."

Not only does Jonny go out to people's homes to help them train their pets, he's also an "e-collar specialist." It's where you use a hand-held remote device that can either "page" your pet or give it a little "shock". The device has a range of up to 1/2 mile away. (It's called the Dogtra E-collar.)

One remote device can also control up to 3 dogs at one time. This device is costly, costing up to $300 or so, depending on how many dog collars it controls. 

The e-collar has the same effect as someone tapping you on the shoulder from behind. Once you obtain their focus, you can teach them.

With all the recent news about pit bulls, we asked Jonny about the breed. "Pit bulls actually are a fearful dog," he says. "They tend to attack because it's out of a defense, because they are pit bulls; they have been thrown into a pit and they fight each other," he says. "If you can teach the dog by not raising your voice, just showing them exactly what you want, that dog will be one of the better-trained dogs out there."

I would say the biggest mistake pet owners make is under training, or not training, their dog. By simply applying guidelines to your dog, especially when your dog's triggers are present, you can teach your dog to learn how to behave with or without distractions.

For information:

Jonny Be Good Dog Training

Below, you'll find more advice and training tips from Jonny:

-The biggest mistake pet owners make is under training, or not training, their dog. By simply applying guidelines to your dog, especially when your dog's triggers are present, you can teach your dog to learn how to behave with or without distractions.

The easiest way to notice aggression in advance is if your dog stares at another dog, their cackles up, the skin on the top of their forehead is wrinkled up, and or their tail is stiff. These are observations based on personal experiences. Every dog displays their own signs of aggression, so there's no exact certainty to say all dogs are the same. Aggression can never be taken out of a dog, but you can train a dog to control their aggression. Most aggressive dogs are afraid and become the aggressor to warn off other dogs. Teaching confidence and redirecting their attention can help control aggression.

Top tips:
-Provide structure or guidelines, so your dogs understands how to behave in public or home.
-Find a training method that works. Most importantly that produces RESULTS.
-NEVER scold your dog. Most dogs are rescues and have left an abusive environment.
-Be patient, consistent, and PRAISE a lot when your dog does what you ask.
-It's important to train your dogs, so your guests or the public, feel comfortable around you and your dog. Most people fear dogs because they are unpredictable, but everyone loves dogs and will approach you without permission and want to pet your dog. A well-behaved animal is always comforting to those around you.

Specific Tips:
Potty training: Set a structure for your dog, i.e., breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
In the beginning, give your dog 15-20 minutes to eat and drink at every feeding. This helps you know how much your dog eats or drinks during feeding time. If they don't eat within the time frame, pick it up. Allow 30 minutes to digest and take your dog outside, on leash, to the area where you want them to relieve themselves and then ignore. Once your dog does its business, PRAISE, and overlay a potty command. Do this for every food cycle. Dogs are smart. They will not starve themselves and it takes three days for a dog to dehydrate without any water. In a few days, depending on consistency, your dog will learn to go on command. This process also help with dogs who mark inside the house.

-Give your dog a spot in your house to contain their excitement, like a dog bed, mat, or carpet.
Teach the dog when guests come over to go there and to be patient until you give them permission to get up. Same for doorbell ringing, someone knocking, anything that makes them go crazy.

-Most important Tip:
Dogs cannot speak, so it's important to be PATIENT, CONSISTENT, and your dog will PERFORM.