News about Your Dog’s Friend

What Is TTouch & How Can It Help My Dog?

ttouch large

Join us this Saturday for a one-session class where you can learn the basics of TTouch. Fearful & reactive dogs are welcome! (You and your dog can be behind a privacy screen so they aren’t overwhelmed or distracted.)

TTouch involves gentle body work, movement exercises, and body wraps. Through these techniques you can relax the mind of an anxious, fearful, or reactive dog and ease the aches and pains of a senior dog.  (These techniques also work for your feline friends!)

While there are TTouch practicioners that you can hire to work on your animal — much like we humans go to a massage therapist to loosen up! — coming to a TTouch class allows you to learn the techniques yourself so you can work with your dog anytime.

One of the neat things about TTouch is that it helps the dog’s mind come back to center and focus in the moment. Want a practical example of TTouch’s effects? It’s especially useful for dogs who get car sick. The non-driving human sits with the dog and uses TTouch to keep the dog focused on the touches, rather than the nauseating motion of the vehicle. Pretty cool, right?

Here’s a video from Tellington TTouch with an overview of TTouch:

Sign up for Saturday’s class while there’s still room!

Got a Pet Peeve About Your Dog’s Behavior?

“He’s a great dog 95% of the time. There’s just this one thing… and it drives me crazy!”

Sound familiar?


Dog Improv is for you!

If you’ve already got the basics down, but you’d like to work on some specific skills that your dog lacks, Dog Improv is your class!

In Dog Improv, you will let our instructor know what you’d like to learn and she will design exercises specifically for you and your dog.

You could work on:

  • Firming up the basics (sit, down, wait, stay, etc.)
  • Loose-leash walking
  • Drop it / Leave it
  • Ending counter-surfing and/or garbage picking
  • Control and focus
  • Tricks (sit pretty, roll over, etc.)
  • …or anything else you want to learn!

Dog Improv will take place on Thursdays from 10:30 am – 11:30 am starting on November 14. If you’d like to request a different day or time for Dog Improv, please let us know on our Contact page and we’ll make a note of your request for future scheduling.

Health News: Canine Flu in Montgomery County, MD

There have been some cases of Canine Flu reported in Montgomery County. Flu is essentially an upper respiratory virus that for MOST dogs is mild and transient. The flu mimics kennel cough, but it lasts for 10 – 21 days, even if antibiotics are used. A few dogs can develop pneumonia, which can be life threatening. The problem is that dogs shed flu for 7-10 days before they show signs of the disease; so, owners don’t know to isolate them when they’re actively shedding.

The vets we have consulted don’t seem overly concerned, since the flu hasn’t spread widely. However, there is a flu vaccine available.  Although the vaccine does not stop transmission, it reduces the severity of the disease and shortens the shedding and symptomatic periods. Talk to your vet about whether or not you should consider the flu vaccine. Some vets are recommending it; others aren’t.

At our training center, we are adding bleach to our cleaning procedures and wiping down all surfaces. We are also using a hospital disinfectant / fogger. Be careful about going to public places, like dog parks, where no one is checking on the dogs’ health and shot records. Our area went through a similar scare four or five years ago, but the warning didn’t last long and few dogs were affected. Hopefully, this time will be similar.

Book Club Discussion for Parents of Fearful Dogs

fearfuldogbookDoes your dog shy away from new people? Is he afraid of “silly” things like garbage cans or boxes? Do you want to help your dog feel more comfortable, less stressed, and happier? Our September Book Club selection is for you!

Join us on Saturday, September 28th from 10:00 – 11:30am when we will discuss Debbie Jacobs’ insightful, practical, and deeply empathetic book, A Guide to Living with & Training a Fearful Dog.  Discover what the world looks like from the perspective of your fearful dog and learn how to help your dog live a less stressful life.

Please read the book before our Book Club discussion. Reading from cover to cover isn’t a requirement, so if you have limited time, pick the chapters that apply the most to your dog.

Discussion led by: Kelly Spring, CPDT-KA (

If you order it (or anything else) from Amazon, Your Dog’s Friend will receive a percentage of your purchase as a donation.

Please click to register in advance so we have enough handouts for everyone. Thanks!


St. Luke’s Episcopal Church
6030 Grosvenor Lane
Bethesda, MD

Does Your Dog Bark & Lunge At Other Dogs?

You’re trying to exercise your dog, but it’s stressful because every time another dog appears, your dog goes nuts. Barking like mad. Lunging. Growling. You’re holding on for dear life, trying to pull your dog away while shouting apologies at the other dog’s human. Your worst nightmare is meeting up with an off-leash dog when you’re on a walk. In fact, you’ve given consideration to not walking at all because it’s just so difficult to control your dog.

You’re not alone.

What you have is a reactive dog. What we have is an expert trainer and a team of dedicated training assistants. Our job is to take your dog from barking and lunging at the sight of another pooch to calmly looking back at you. It’s an intensive class, but it delivers results (assuming you hold up your end of the leash/bargain)!

The Proof is in the Picture!

Reactive Dog Latte on the last day of class, not barking or lunging!

Now THAT’s what we call awesome! Congrats to Latte and all of the newest Reactive Dog Class graduates, both human and canine.

Here’s what Latte’s Mom Says…

When we adopted our dog Latte a year and a half ago, we struggled through many “solutions” for his dog reactivity and had become very frustrated with our walks being all about controlling his reactive state when spotting dogs around. What finally worked for us was the positive reinforcement method taught by Michelle Mange in her reactive dog class. Latte is soooo much better on the walk these days – we can go a couple weeks now without any real incident! Sure, there are still bad days or surprises, but we (both dog and human!) are finally able to enjoy the walks more. Michelle gives great instructions, including seemingly small adjustments that go a long way in making the walks more positive. Each person gets their own personal coach to assist and provide feedback. In our case, our coach also owned two herding dogs so she understood our dog well and showed my husband and I many ways to improve our general training technique. Since we started this method, we’ve gotten a lot of compliments on Latte because he is so focused on us when being trained. Thanks Michelle and gang!

Four Spots Left in the Next Reactive Dog Class

Our next session of Reactive Dog Class begins on Wednesday, July 31st at 8:10 pm. It is an 8-week class that will give you and your dog the tools to go out and about without the stress you’re experiencing now. You may not have a dog that likes other dogs, but by the end of the class, you should have a dog that looks to you for guidance rather than taking the situation into his own paws. Sign up today or contact us if you have questions.



Death in the Dog Park: The Dangers of Collars in Off-Leash Dog Play

collarsFor Immediate Release

June 12, 2013

This past week in Pennsylvania, a dog was killed at a dog park in a freak accident caused when he suffocated because another dog got his jaw stuck under the collar and they couldn’t get apart. But is this really a freak accident? The Dog Gurus, Robin Bennett and Susan Briggs will tell you this type of incident is a known danger when dogs play off-leash together and one they always discuss when teaching pet care facility owners how to operate safe off-leash play environments.

“Understanding collar safety is one of the most important issues pet owners should consider before taking their dog to play off-leash with other dogs”, stated Bennett. Every day pet owners enter the dog park and take the leash off their dogs but leave on whatever collar the dog happens to be wearing. For rambunctious dogs that like to wrestle and grab the neck area of other dogs (a common play style seen in dog parks), there is the potential to get the collar stuck under the jaw. If this happens, the dog who has the collar in his mouth will often begin to panic and, in the chaos that follows, the collar tightens and begins to suffocate the other dog.

So how do you balance the concept of safe play, with the need to mange your dog and move him when you need to? Every owner supervising off-leash play needs to give careful consideration to whether or not their dog should wear a collar in the dog park.

In their guidelines for pet care centers, The Four Es of Excellence in Off-Leash Play. Briggs and Bennett outline their baseline standard on the topic of collar safety which they would also recommend for pet owners: The safest way to let dogs play is to remove all collars and harnesses so that the dogs “play naked.” Since dogs play with their mouths there is a high risk for teeth and jaws to become caught in another dog’s collar. Dogs have died as a result which is reason that “play naked” is recommended for safety. However, in some situations, for safety or legal purposes it may be necessary to have a collar on a dog. Velcro safety collars or break-away collars are a good option since they can be easily removed. Another option is paper collars hand marked with dog names. Owners should have slip leads readily available if they need to quickly leash their dog for safety (a slip lead can be made from a standard leash simply by feeding the hook through the hand grip.)

Bennett and Briggs have both experienced the dangers of dogs getting their jaws caught in a collar. “It is a chaotic, stressful situation that looks like a fight, but becomes a life or death struggle between the dogs,” states Bennett. Briggs added, “When this type of situation happens, the collar tightens so much that it is virtually impossible to get it off the dog, particularly since the dogs are in a panic. The only hope is if you have something sharp to cut the collar off, but even that is risky because you can cut the dogs.”

If you go to the dog park, make sure you are taking measures to minimize the risk of injury due to a collar mishap. These types of accidents are completely avoidable! If you absolutely must use collars, make sure they are Velcro or break-away collars. But for the safest off-leash play environment, our recommendation is to let the dogs play naked.

Reprinted with permission from The Dog Gurus

About The Dog Gurus: Co-creators Robin Bennett and Susan Briggs have over 30 years experience as operators and consultants in the dog daycare industry. Their staff training program, Knowing Dogs, has quickly become the best off-leash dog play training program available and is based on their best selling book: Off-Leash Dog Play: A Complete Guide to Safety and Fun. They continue to create resources for the professional pet care industry with the goal of keeping all dogs safe. For
more information visit their website  or join their Facebook page