School For The Dogs Podcast - Dog Training & Animal Behavior with Annie Grossman  show

School For The Dogs Podcast - Dog Training & Animal Behavior with Annie Grossman

Summary: Annie Grossman of the NYC-based dog training center School For The Dogs answers training questions, confronts myths, geeks out on animal behavior, discusses pet trends and interviews industry experts. Annie encourages people to become literate in the basics of behavioral science in order to help their dogs and themselves. Tune in to learn how to use science-based methods to train dogs (and people) without pain, force, or coercion! Show notes: Have a dog or puppy training question? Visit or leave a voicemail at 917-414-2625 Support this podcast:

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 Best Pet Ever: Comedian (and Scottie lover) Douglas Widick on being a "Big Man [With A] Tiny Dog" | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 2485

Annie recently received an email from a producer who had a request: Were there any School For The Dogs students who were big men with tiny dogs? Or people who had big dogs who wouldn't mind their dogs being humorously mocked on Youtube?  The request came via Douglas Widick, a Brooklynite who had recently brought his young Scottie, Skye, in for playtimes at School For The Dogs. A musical comedian, he'd written a song and was casting its music video. The song's title was "Big Man, Tiny Dog."  Annie called Doug to talk about the origin of a song that pitches woo to the Yorkiepoos of the world while also poking fun at men who seem to use big dogs as accessories to accentuate their own toughness. Their fun conversation touches on everything from being inspired by the Notorious BIG, swimming with dolphins, Dorothy's poor dog training abilities in The Wizard of Oz, dog-fostering tourism in Hawaii, and the joy of using a hands-free leash.  ----- Through the end of this month: Get a FREE virtual 90 minute private session with a School For The Dogs trainer when you sign up for our on-demand courses. Learn more at ----- Big Man Tiny Dog on Youtube Douglas Widick The Found My Animal hands-free leash Annie's Reel walking with a hands-free leash on Instagram Maui Humane Society Puppy Playtime at SFTD ---- Partial Transcript: Douglas Widick: I was watching the Notorious B I G documentary. And he talked about how he was like, “People told me that like certain lyrics were either too intense or whatever on this album, but I'm just writing my truth.” And I was like, oh, is it that simple? Like, he's just writing his truth. He had a song called, Ready to Die, which was about feeling suicidal. And I was like, okay, well, my truth right now is that I'm a big guy with a puppy. [laughs] [music] Annie: A few weeks ago, our client Douglas Widick got in touch with me to ask if I could help him cast a video he was doing a music video to go with a song he had just written. The song, he told me, was called “Big Man, Tiny Dog.” And I heard the song. I thought it was hilarious, just so witty and well written. And I said, of course, we'd be happy to help you. The music video and the song just dropped this week. You can find it on our Instagram @SchoolForTheDogs. I'll also link to it in the show notes. The video features his dog Sky who has come to our puppy play times as well as our Great Dane student Bandit, who came to us when he was just a tiny Great Dane pup. Full Transcript at --- Send in a voice message: Support this podcast:

 Should your dog stop eating carbs? A conversation with dog food entrepreneur Daniel Schulof of Keto Natural Pet Foods | File Type: audio/x-m4a | Duration: 2878

High-fat diets are popular right now in the human realm, but should your dog be "low carb" too? Annie speaks to Daniel Schulof, who left a career in law in order to help combat the canine obesity epidemic by getting people to stop feeding their dog food that is high in carbohydrates. He is the author of Dogs, Dog Food, and Dogma, and founder of a new company that makes low-carb dry food for dogs: Keto Natural. He and Annie discuss his journey into the world of pet food and chat about some of the myths and misconceptions about what dogs should be eating.   KetoNatural food is available at Dogs, Dog Food, and Dogma: The Silent Epidemic Killing America's Dogs and the New Science That Could Save Your Best Friend's Life Like School For The Dogs Podcast? Leave a review on iTunes! --- Partial Transcript: Annie: Keto eating is kind of all the rage right now. I feel like I was an early adopter. Six or seven years ago, I read on Reddit about something called keto chow because I am super lazy about eating. I don't like shopping for food. I don't like thinking about what I'm going to eat next. I don't like preparing food very much. And my favorite food is the food that just appears in front of me. And I thought, you know, if only I could find some kind of decent meal replacement that I didn't mind eating, that would be helpful. Anyway, so I read about keto chow, how it was really delicious and it was made with heavy cream. And that if you were gonna use this as a meal replacement, you really needed to have a diet that was overall super, super high fat, low carb. So that's sort of how I started to get interested in learning about ketosis and this way of eating and how this type of eating worked really well in conjunction with fasting. And I was sort of interested in that cause my natural rhythm has always been to only eat once or maybe twice a day. And I had thought that that was not a good thing, that I should be eating small meals all the time. But the more I read about high fat diets and ketosis, the more I realized it was okay if I only ate once a day and that eating fat does not make you fat. When I first started to learn about this type of eating, I thought, Huh, well, if this is a way of eating that makes sense for humans, would it be so crazy to think that this might be a good way for dogs to eat, too? And I looked around a little bit online for information on this and for products. And I really didn't find anything. But then the other day in my inbox, I got an email and the subject was Your Dog Wasn't Built to Eat Carbs: Podcast Guest Submission. It was someone suggesting I speak to Daniel Schulof who started a company that sells super low carb, dry dog food. So I wanted to learn more. [music] Daniel Schulof: My name is Daniel Schulof, and I am at least somewhat notable in the dog ownership community for two reasons. One is I am the author of a 2016 book that's called Dogs, Dog Food, and Dogma, which is about the weird overlap between industry clinical veterinary practice and the scientific community in the world of companion animal nutrition.  Full Transcript at --- Send in a voice message: Support this podcast:

 Private training for puppies: What it's like to work one-on-one with an SFTD puppy trainer (Also: Special offer on virtual training) | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 1471

Every day, School For The Dogs trainers meet one-on-one with puppy owners in private sessions designed to help pave a path of success for all the species in that unique, particular household. Annie attempts to take an unbiased peak at what happens in these sessions by cold calling two clients who recently attended private ninety-minute sessions with a School For The Dogs trainer. She speaks to Dana, whose family has worked with SFTD's Erin Whelan with her dog, Goldie, and she speaks to Rachel, who saw SFTD's Shaina Norton. She discusses the experience of attending these sessions, their expectations, and their takeaways. Annie also chats with these owners about the benefits of walking with a leash attached to your waist, and throwing "desensitization picnics" for your puppy.  Want to work with a School For The Dogs trainer? You don't have to be in NYC!  Through the end of March 2022, take advantage of a special offer: Two of our on-demand courses plus a ninety-minute virtual private session with a School For The Dogs trainer for just $297 (a $591 value). Learn more at Book a private session with us at Learn more about Shaina and Erin at Episode with Erin Whelan: Also mentioned in this episode:  The Found My Animal hands-free leash Follow us on Instagram to see photos and videos of the puppies mentioned in today's episode! @schoolforthedogs --- Partial Transcript Hi, podcast listeners. So it occurs to me that there might be some people who are listening, who see this as called School For The Dogs podcast, but might not realize that School For The Dogs is not just the podcast name. It is an actual place in New York City. We are located in the East Village in Manhattan, 92 E 7th street. It is a two story storefront location with a big red awning and a little yard out back. And we train dogs. Now I say we train dogs, but of course I believe we are always training dogs. Dogs are always learning. So dog training is kind of, you know, this, this amorphous thing that has no start and no end the way I see it. But we specifically work with dogs and they're human best friends in our location, doing group lessons, doing private lessons, doing what we call off-leash services which are essentially play groups that are monitored by trainers. We separate by puppies and adult dogs, and if they're adult dogs, we sometimes separate them by size or temperament. We have Drop-Off services. Those are services where people bring their dogs for part of the day to work in some cases one-on-one with a trainer, in some cases in group sessions with a trainer. We call that Day School... Full Transcript at --- Send in a voice message: Support this podcast:

 A $229 bully stick holder? Yup! A chat with the Treat Clincher’s creator, Susan Mravca of BarkerFun | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 1993

Susan Mravca is an entrepreneur with a mission: To help people spend more time with their dogs, without their dogs bothering them. Bully sticks, she found, are great at keeping a dog occupied, but she didn’t like having to hold her dog’s chews in place in order to keep her from burying it or swallowing it. She decided to try to design something that could work—something unlike any other product she could find for this purpose—but she had one major criterion that was rather unusual: It had to be an object of great beauty. The result, which she designed with help from her brother —an engineer with a background in the Department of Defense — is the recently-launched Treat Clincher, which just won the prestigious Good Design Award. The price tag, however, will leave some pet owners aghast. Annie interviews Susan about the origins of this product (and offers a $30 coupon to the first five people to purchase a Treat Clincher at Previous episodes about things relating to bully sticks: --- Partial Transcript: This episode is about a product we are just starting to sell at School For The Dogs and at And as I was editing the episode just now I was writing the product description for the online store. And this is what I wrote: Do you worry about your dog swallowing bully sticks? Do you hate having saliva coated chews or sinewy raw bones dragged all over your carpet? Does your dog make you hold her bully stick or bother you when you're on Zoom calls? Do you worry that a home strewn with dog products messes with your mid-century modern aesthetic? Are you looking to buy a pet accessory that your child will hand down for generations? If you answered yes to even one of these questions, then this product, winner of the Good Design Award 2021, may be for you. The product is the Treat Clincher, and it's pretty interesting. Its function is interesting. It's interesting looking and its creator is certainly interesting too. It's also pretty expensive. I'm gonna talk about that, but if you wanna get a visual and a spoiler alert on the price, go check out while you are listening to this, or you can get to the product directly at Annie: As a dog trainer and someone interested in all things relating to products that help us have dogs in our homes and keep them happy and give them happy lives, I've developed this kind of sub interest in bully sticks. Bully sticks being dog chews that are made from pizzle, and pizzle is the penis of a bull. And we certainly sell a lot of bully sticks in our shop and online. And I think I first started becoming interested in bully sticks in a more [laughs] academic way because I was really thinking about how did this happen? Have people who've had cattle farms always known that this was something that dogs would really enjoy? Full Transcript at --- Send in a voice message: Support this podcast:

 Great writing about dogs: An NY Times Obituary and a chapter from Mary Poppins (Also: We’re 4!) | File Type: audio/x-m4a | Duration: 1853

In celebration of School For The Dogs' recent ten year anniversary, this podcast's fourth anniversary, and Annie's birthday last week, she shares two gems for anyone who loves dogs and loves reading, or writing, about them. One is an obituary for Finn, a Manhattan-based dog who died last month. He belonged to Dr. Alexandra Horowitz of Barnard's Dog Cognition Lab. The other is a fictional piece about a pampered dog, yearning to break free from an overbearing woman who insists on treating him like a child. It is a chapter from the first Mary Poppins book, written by P.L. Travers in 1934. Special guest: Magnolia Pedicone  Finnegan, Dog Known for His Exemplary Nose, Dies at 14  Books by Dr. Alexandra Horowitz  Miss Lark's Andrew  Mary Poppins  Liked this episode? Here are some others that may be of interest:   Dog training with Mary Poppins, Professor Harold Hill and Little Orphan Annie  Episode 1: Meet Annie and learn how School For The Dogs came to be --- Partial Transcript: Annie: Hello, human listeners. Thank you for being here. Today I got a little reminder on Facebook that 10 years ago, I had put a t-shirt on my late wonderful dog Amos that said “The Dogs: Dog Training near Union Square.” And it made me remember that School For The Dogs just turned 10. Kate and I met in 2011 and started training together in 2011. So I guess it's actually a little bit more than 10 years. But I think it was about February, 2012 that we really started training out of my apartment, which is where we were located at the time. We converted my living room into a dog training center. And at first we called it the dogs, cause I had a blog called The Dogs and then we changed it to School For The Dogs to make it a little bit more descriptive, so people understood what we were doing and we've come a long way in the last 10 years. It went from being just me and Kate to now we have a staff of, I don't even know 15 people. And we're certainly still figuring it out. I had no idea what it meant to run a small business. Neither did Kate. And we're working hard at it, trying to make it work, learning all the time. And I'm really proud of our team and what we've created. And I'm honored that this podcast has listeners. And this podcast also is having a kind of birthday. I posted the first episode four years ago next week, and I had a birthday last week. So to celebrate all these birthdays today, I wanted to just share a couple things I've read lately that really touched me. So these are gifts that I want to give you or share with you these little gems. The first one is a piece that was written by Dr. Alexandra Horowitz last week for the New York Times. It's an obituary for her dog. She is the head of the Dog Cognition Lab at Barnard College. The author of several really wonderful books about dogs including Inside of a Dog and Our Dogs Ourselves. And totally a superstar celebrity in this field. Full transcript at --- Send in a voice message: Support this podcast:

 Best Pet Ever: Producer Meredith Witte on living in an NYC studio apartment with a Border Collie | File Type: audio/x-m4a | Duration: 2890

In 2014, Meredith Witte decided she needed a Border Collie. The fact that she lived in a studio apartment in Manhattan did not deter it. But how was she going to train a puppy? The day the dog arrived, she called Annie. At the end of their first training session, Meredith was in tears. But they were good tears! Fast forward eight odd years: Meredith and her super bright dog sidekick, Roma, now live in LA. Roma knows how to count and can perform a wide array of adorable tricks. Annie and Meredith discuss their own friendship, Meredith and Roma's incredible relationship, and the wonders -- and challenges! -- of sharing your life with a brainiac, active dog.  Find Roma and Meredith on Instagram! @romalovepup Get our free guide to people training at Book a free session with an SFTD Certified Professional Trainer this month only at --- Partial Transcript: Annie: I am here with client turned friend Meredith Witte. Meredith, thank you so much for being on this segment of Best Pet Ever. You do have one of the best pets ever. Why don't you just introduce yourself, and then we can go ahead and talk about the lovely miss Roma. Meredith Witte: Oh gosh. I mean, I can talk about Roma for hours. It's always so fun to talk to you, Annie, and you made such a big impact in my life. I mean, when I got Roma, I didn't know what I was doing. So I think of you as this person who kind of saved me in this moment of crisis, which, not that getting a puppy was a crisis. But for me, it was such a big deal. And I was so concerned that I was going to do it wrong. And you reassured me so much and gave me the tools I needed to raise Roma up and enjoy the whole process. Annie: Aww. Well, pshaw. That's sweet of you. I just, I know the first time we met, I remember sitting on the floor in your apartment with you and you were holding Roma and you were crying. You had just gotten her like the day before. And I kind of remember thinking like, you know, she's really emotional, but you know what, that's not unreasonable. Like this is totally within the normal spectrum of responses someone could have when they're first getting a puppy and she's gonna be fine. [music] Meredith: My name's Meredith Witte, and I lived in New York for 10 years, and I'm a producer. And I decided one day I was really ready for a dog. I was in my thirties and I lived alone in a studio apartment in Manhattan. And I didn't want just any dog, I wanted a border collie. Annie: Yeah. Now that's…that's where I think you're a little nuts. So how did that come about now? Did you grow up with border collies? Meredith: Well, so kind of, yeah. My grandfather had a ranch in Texas and they always had two or three dog. And the majority of them were usually border collies. Some were German shepherds. But I grew up around them. So you know, whenever I’d go visit or like during college. My childhood dog growing up was kind of a mix. It was probably like an Aussie mix, just a good old Southern mutt, you know. But she looked kind of like that type of dog. Full Transcript at --- Send in a voice message: Support this podcast:

 How to train your dog to touch your hand (and why it is such an important thing to master) | File Type: audio/x-m4a | Duration: 2008

***February 2022 Special: New to School For The Dogs?  Book a free virtual consult with a trainer at*** This episode is a rebroadcast. It first aired on May 15, 2020.  There is one behavior we teach every dog we work with at School For The Dogs: Touch!  This is an easy-to-teach building block that you can use to build... whatever you want! In this episode, Annie outlines how to teach touch, and talks about this behavior's countless uses and variations.  Annie's Free Webinar on training touch - More on Chirag Patel's Bucket Game - Ken Ramirez demonstrates different types of targeting. - Doodle Buddy and other apps you can use with your dog - Support this podcast by shopping in our online store,! Products mentioned in this episode:   Clicker Sticks Lamb Lung ---- +++ Need help house training your dog? Download our free eBook at +++ --- Full Transcript at --- Send in a voice message: Support this podcast:

 Best Pet Ever: Joanie Comenzo is in a complicated relationship with the dog she loves, Nelson the Welsh Terrier | File Type: audio/x-m4a | Duration: 4207

Someone in a dog-related Facebook Group reported being bitten by a dog in School For The Dogs' neighborhood. The person wanted the dog owner to pay his medical bills  -- this seemed, to Annie, to be reasonable. But then a client reached out to Annie, upset about the rancor in the comments section. It seemed like an angry mob was forming to lobby that the dog be euthanized. Could Annie maybe chime in to suggest that the dog and his owner perhaps deserve some empathy, too? She did. And she also suggested people in the group listen to this episode...  This episode is part of our new Best Pet Ever! series. Inspired, in part, by Betty White's 1970s talk show, The Pet Set, this series features conversations with people about a pet they love, or loved. Listen to the first episode in the series here. ----- Special announcements:  Sign up to be notified when we begin taking applications for the next round of our Professional Course at This month only, we are offering a limited number of free virtual consults!  Sign up for one at ---- This is a rebroadcast of an episode that originally aired October 22, 2018.  After years of researching breeds, Joanie Comenzo of Manhattan decided to get a Welsh Terrier. When she went to pick up her new dog, Nelson, the breeder pushed him into her arms and said "Your puppy is an alpha." Joanie loved him from the moment she saw him, and that love never waned, even after he bit her multiple times, and sent her mother and boyfriend to the hospital. Over the last eight years, Joanie has sought training and medical advice from a wide array of professionals. Today, Nelson wears a muzzle every moment of the day that he isn't in his crate. He and Joanie live a happy, if unusual, life together. This is their love story. Notes: Nelson's preferred muzzle Fun Dog Fact Of The Day: As late as the early 1900s, dogs were allowed to roam off leash in Philadelphia as long as they were muzzled. Music: "Love Is Strange" cover by Toast Garden --- Full Transcript at --- Send in a voice message: Support this podcast:

 Our Newest SFTD Certified Professional Trainer Ionelee Brogna on shock collars, horses, schnauzers, trick training, and learning empathy by selling used books | File Type: audio/x-m4a | Duration: 3487

When Ionelee Brogna decided to bring a Miniature Schnauzer puppy into her NYC apartment a couple of years ago, she knew she didn't want to employ the punishment-based or "balanced" methods that her family had used on their dog back in rural Massachusetts. But she wasn't sure what other options there were. Her research led her to... this podcast! And then to classes at School For The Dogs, and then to our six-month-long Professional Course. Ionelee, who formerly worked in publishing and at New York's famous Strand Book Store, just finished apprenticing with us, and is now starting to see clients. She and Annie discuss her background training horses, the human insight one gains working in the service industry, the surprising lessons learned while teaching a dog tricks, and the challenges associated of living with a terrier who is training obsessed.  If you're interested in being notified when we start taking applications for our 2022 Professional Course (aka our "Apprenticeship") join the waiting list at We will be welcoming four students into our spring cohort. Not in NYC? No problem! The program is fully virtual.    Want to learn how you can use dog training techniques on people? Check out our free eBook at   *** February Special!***  Book a complimentary 15-minute virtual consult with a School For The Dogs Certified Professional Trainer at --- Partial Transcript: Annie: I am joined today by Ionelee Brogna, one of the very most recent graduates of our Professional Course. When she is not training, she is often at the front desk at School For The Dogs and mans our inbox. Her official title is admin assistant and client coordinator. Ionelee, though, something I've wanted to ask you since I've met you, and I've never asked you, is tell me about your name, ‘cause I've never met an Ionelee before. Ionelee Brogna: So it's a variation on my grandmother's name, which was Ione space Lee, and my parents smooshed that together so that my middle name could be my other grandmother's name, which is Carol. Annie: Oh, and is Ione a kind of, is that a name from somewhere? Ionelee: Yes, it's Scottish actually. Annie: Oh, okay. Ionelee: Which is ironic. Cause I'm mostly Italian and Mexican, but… Annie: [laughs] But your grandmother was Scottish. Ionelee: Yes. Annie: And her name was Ione. Ionelee: Yes. Annie: Well, it's very pretty. Although it's, I've noticed and I'm guessing you've noticed in your life, people refer to you sometimes as Lone-ly. Ionelee: Yes, I get Lonely a lot. I like to tell telemarketers that I'm not lonely. I do have friends. Which is why a lot of times I'll just sign my name fully in lower case. Annie: Well, anyway, it's a beautiful name. So, I wanted to have you on today to hear about your journey into the world of dog training. Because, as I know, and as other people on staff know, you started out with us as a client, then started working for us doing work at the front desk, and now have graduated our apprenticeship program... Full Transcript at --- Send in a voice message: Support this podcast:

 Does the Pope hate dog owners? A conversation with one of the pontiff's former secretaries, Professor Dan Gallagher of Cornell University | File Type: audio/x-m4a | Duration: 3572

James Joyce said that Catholicism means "Here comes everybody." But does "everybody" mean our Yorkiepoos, too?  Earlier this month, Pope Francis made the remark that "many, many couples do not have children because they do not want to, or they have just one – but they have two dogs, two cats… Yes, dogs and cats take the place of children [...] And this denial of fatherhood or motherhood diminishes us, it takes away our humanity." Annie, who is not Catholic, wondered if this pooh-poohing of pet ownership was echoing the church's stance on our relationships with non-human animals, or if maybe the Pope was going rogue. So, she called her friend Dan Gallagher, a professor of Classics at Cornell University. Professor Gallagher is uniquely qualified to discuss this topic: He used to be one of the Pope's secretaries and translators. He also grew up breeding Cocker Spaniels, and once gave a funeral to a hamster. He and Annie discuss some of the Catholic church's past champions of animals -- from Saint Francis of Assisi to cat-lover Pope Benedict --  try to parse the Pope's words and wonder if maybe it's time for Pope Francis to try his hand sitting. Read the Pope's full January 6th catechesis: Learn more about Daniel Gallagher Learn more about the Paideia Institute Donate to the School For The Dogs Scholarship Fund Get a tile in the School For The Dogs Mosaic --- Partial Transcript: Annie: I want to read a few paragraphs from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, that my friend Dan sent me the other day, on the Respect for the integrity of creation, 2415: The seventh commandment enjoins respect for the integrity of creation. Animals, like plants and inanimate beings, are by nature destined for the common good of past, present, and future humanity. Use of the mineral, vegetable, and animal resources of the universe cannot be divorced from respect for moral imperatives. Man’s dominion over inanimate and other living beings granted by the Creator is not absolute; it is limited by concern for the quality of life of his neighbor, including generations to come; it requires a religious respect for the integrity of creation. Animals are God's creatures. He surrounds them with his providential care. By their mere existence they bless him and give him glory. Thus men owe them kindness. We should recall the gentleness with which saints like St. Francis of Assisi or St. Philip Neri treated animals. God entrusted animals to the stewardship of those whom he created in his own image. Hence it is legitimate to use animals for food and clothing. They may be domesticated to help man in his work and leisure. Medical and scientific experimentation on animals is a morally acceptable practice if it remains within reasonable limits and contributes to caring for or saving human lives. Full Transcript at --- Send in a voice message: Support this podcast:

 Two dog trainers' tips on bringing your dog to the dog park | File Type: audio/x-m4a | Duration: 1207

Dog parks aren't appropriate for every dog, and urban dog parks have their own unique challenges--a revolving population and small foot prints, to name a few. If Annie had her way, all dogs parks would have life guards! She gives some reasons why you might think twice before bringing just any dog to any dog park. If you've decided the dog park might be a good thing for your dog, take some tips from Annie's partner Kate Senisi, a trainer with an expertise in working with high-arousal urban dogs. Annie shares Kate's top eight tips, and adds a few of her own. This episode talks about how to enter the park, what to bring, signs it may be time to leave, and more.   This episode offers special thanks to Alexandra Messiter, who, along with her dog Cooper, has been students at SFTD since 2019. Alexandra and her husband gave a generous donation to our Scholarship Fund recently, and we are so appreciative!  "I felt moved to donate mostly because Cooper (who we adopted from Bideawee in 2019) is just so awesome - he's such a fun, smart, loving companion and has made my husband and I much more passionate about trying to encourage folks to consider rescuing.  Because we know that lack of access to affordable quality training can lead to more dogs being surrendered -- and can discourage folks from adopting great dogs with some behavior concerns -- we're always happy to help any organization that is filling a need, which SFTD is definitely doing here." -- Alexandra Messiter   Visit our site for 8 tips to read Kate's 8 tips on keeping your dog safe at the dog park. Learn more about our Scholarship Fund at  Get half off our on-demand dog body language course using code HALFOFFBODYLANG  Other episodes mentioned in this episode:   SniffSpot:  Bully Test: --- Partial Transcript: Annie: Hey all. Annie here. Today, I wanted to talk about dog parks. Dog parks are not appropriate for every dog, and dog parks in cities have their own unique challenges. They can be very small and dense, and they can have a highly revolving population. Meaning that a lot of people in a big city, a lot of people bring their dogs to a big city dog park means that you might see a lot of different dogs there. It's not just a small population of a dozen or so dogs, like I imagine maybe some small town dog park, what that must be like. It can be challenging for dogs and for people.  Full Transcript at --- Send in a voice message: Support this podcast:

 Best Pet Ever: Writer/Producer Jessica Vitkus talks about Cookie and Coffee, her guinea pigs | File Type: audio/x-m4a | Duration: 1704

Introducing a new series: Best Pet Ever! Wherein Annie talks to interesting people about their interesting pets. Inspired by Betty White's 1970s show, The Pet Set, Annie interviews one of her closest friends, Jessica Vitkus. Jessica is an East-Village based writer and TV producer — she was Annie's boss ten years ago on the Animal Planet show, Too Cute: Puppies and Kittens. Jessica, her kids and her partner Stephen recently got a pair of Guinea Pigs. Jessica talks about the world of Guinea Pig rescue, Guinea Pig Pavlovian Conditioning, and about how rodents may be an underused tool in couples therapy. Like this podcast? You can support us by leaving a review on iTunes and/or shopping at Follow us on Instagram:   @schoolforthedogs  @annie.grossman --- Partial Transcript: Jessica Vitkus: I didn't expect Guinea pigs to be so fun and funny and comical. They are ridiculous furry potatoes in appearance. But also their behavior. A Guinea pig learns that a knife on a cutting board means maybe there's food coming. So anytime we cut on the cutting board, we hear “week, week, week, week.” They make this sound, they call it weeking. And it's “week, week, week.” Anytime plastic crackles, they think it's lettuce coming out of the fridge. So any crackling, if I am like taking batteries out of a deli bag and the bag crackles, they're like, “week, week, week.” They just, they know us. And now I think even the sound of the knife drawer opening, they get excited. “Week, week, week, week.” And also when they're happy, they cluck like chickens. It's hilarious. [music] Annie: Last week saw the passing of 99 year old actress and noted animal lover and advocate Betty White. In one of the obituaries for her, I read that in the 1970s, she had something of a talk show called The Pet Set, where she basically interviewed her friends about their pets. And I thought, huh, that sounds like a fun thing to do. Her friends were 1970s celebrities. Mine are not 1970s celebrities, but they're celebrities in my life. And I will grab at any opportunity to talk to people about their dogs. It's what I love to do. At first I thought maybe I could make it more focused and talk to people about their first dog or a dog that they've lost. But then I thought that would rule out me talking to so many of the dog owners who I've come to know at School For The Dogs who are our clients, both human and canine. So why limit things?And also, I thought why limit it just to dogs? In fact, the first person I realized I wanted to talk to for this series has a pet who is not a dog at all, but is a kind of animal I would really be curious to learn more about. So for the very first entry into this series, which I am going to call “Best Pet Ever,” I am speaking to my good friend, Jessica Vitkus. Jessica is a writer and TV producer. We have been good friends for nearly 20 years. And about 10 years ago, I was lucky enough to be hired by Jessica when she was the executive producer for the show Too Cute: Puppies and Kittens, which aired on Animal Planet. She hired me as an associate producer/animal wrangler/dog nerd on site with facts and training recommendations. Anyway, it was a fabulous job, really great experience for me. And during that time, I know that Jessica worked with lots of different kinds of animals, not just cats and dogs, and learned about all different kinds of animals, including pigs that people kept as pets, and hedgehogs. Full Transcript at --- Send in a voice message: Support this podcast:

 SFTD's Behavior Therapy Trainer Jen Nastanski on working with guide dogs, competitive Obedience and more (Also featuring special guest: Melanie Friedson) | File Type: audio/x-m4a | Duration: 2906

School For The Dogs' Behavior Therapy Trainer Jen Nastanski came to work at our New York-based facility after two decades of working with dogs at professional and competitive levels. She tells Annie about getting trained to be a trainer at PetSmart, getting involved in competitive Obedience using positive-reinforcement-based techniques, teaching (and helping to raise) guide dogs, and, most recently working at New York City's ASPCA, working to enrich the lives of dogs seized and held in custody by the NYPD.  Special guest on this episode: Annie's friend Melanie Friedson, mom to Bichpoo, Herschel Stanley.  Like this podcast? Leave a review on iTunes at  Need help leaving a review? See here: Shop with us at Support us by shopping with us online at Book a session with Jen at or call 212-353-3647 --- Partial Transcript: Annie: Can I include your funny dog voice on the podcast? I don't have to attach it to your name. Melanie Friedson: [funny voice] Of course. It's not funny. It's just how it is. Annie: [laughs] I should introduce you and say that you are – Melanie: You can. I'm not ashamed of my dog voice, Annie. Annie: You are one of my best friends, Melanie Friedson, human owner. How do you refer to yourself when it comes to Herschel? Melanie: [voice] I'm his mom. Annie: Okay. Mom to Herscshel Stanley [laughs]. 12 year old cavapoo? Melanie: Bichpoo. Annie: A bichpoo, of Washington, DC. Melanie: Yep. Annie: Anyway, so it's the last day of the year. And I'm putting up the last podcast episode of the year. I wanted to say to listeners that if they have enjoyed this podcast this year, that maybe they could leave a review on iTunes or shop at to support us. But I thought it would be more fun if it was in your dog voice than in my normal human voice. Melanie: Oh, okay. So you want me to say that? Annie: Yeah. [laughing] Melanie: If you like this podcast, please support us! Leave a good review on iTunes, or you can shop for us at This is Herschel Stanley Friedson’s mom! [intro and music] Annie: Jen Nastanski. Jen Nastanski: Hello. Annie: Hello. Thank you for being on School For The Dogs podcast. And thank you for being part of School For The Dogs since, what, has it been two months now? Something like that? Jen: Something like that. Time is a little nebulous right now. Annie: Remind me of your official title, cause I'm bad with titles. Jen: I'm a behavior therapy trainer. Annie: And you've been doing private lessons. You've been doing Day School, right? Jen: Mm-hmm, yep. Full Transcript at --- Send in a voice message: Support this podcast:

 How to teach a dog to "Break" during play. Also: On how "No" can confuse (and stress out) both dogs and humans | File Type: audio/x-m4a | Duration: 1407

While doing the NYC's annual workplace Sexual Harassment Prevention course, Annie noted that people are being told to assume that many things other than the word "No" may mean "No."  This might be a good thing, but it's also potentially confusing! In the world of dogs, she's seen how the word "No" can also be a confusing concept, as it is frequently used ineffectively, and can even end up positively reinforcing some behaviors. She thinks about how, for both dogs and humans, this confusion about "No" can lead to stress. What if, with both dogs and humans, the focus were not on explaining what not to do, but rather on teaching what appropriate behaviors can be engaged in instead? Maybe men, in particularly, could learn something by taking discussion-starting tips from "Linda Richman," the Mike Myers "Coffee Talk" character from Saturday Night Live in the nineties. ("Talk amongst yourselves: I'll give you a topic. Discuss!") Annie goes into how it's possible to condition a secondary punisher to make the word "No" more meaningful... but most people don't do this work. She also explains that it's a misconception that Positive Reinforcement-based trainers never try to stop behaviors. She explains how SFTD trainers work to help build a dog's ability to stop and start a behavior, and help owners think about what a dog should ideally be doing instead of an undesirable behavior. As an example, she explains how "Break" is taught at School For The Dogs for dogs attending off leash play sessions.  Interested in learning more about our trainer supervised off-leash sessions? Visit us online at NYC's Sexual Harassment Prevention Coffee Talk with Linda Richman (Mike Myers) on SNL In the #MeToo era, 60% of male managers say they’re scared of being alone with women at work Episode 26 | Teach a foolproof DROP and COME using Classical Conditioning Like this episode? Please leave a review on iTunes!  Learn how here: Special thanks to Toast Garden for the theme song! --- Partial Transcript: Voice: No comes in many forms. Verbal no means no. Body language can mean no. Excuses can mean no. A tone of voice can mean no. Maybe can mean no. [intro and music] Annie: I recorded that clip from the annual sexual harassment awareness training required by everyone at any business in New York state. So, I'm going through this online training thing, and I realize there's kind of this focus on the concept of no... Full Transcript at --- Send in a voice message: Support this podcast:

 Spencer Williams wants you to be your dog's best friend: Meet the CEO of dog toy maker West Paw | File Type: audio/x-m4a | Duration: 2671

Spencer Williams, the founder and CEO of Bozeman, Montana-based company West Paw, grew up on a working ranch where the dogs slept outside, worked hard, and, when they played, they did so with sticks. And... they were happy! Some twenty-odd years ago, he decided he wanted to help modern non-working dogs be that happy too, and wanted to do so in a way that wouldn't just improve doggie lives: It'd also improve the community and the earth. Those weren't small goals! Annie talks about the origins of this interesting company, whose guaranteed-for-life, recyclable, made-in-the-USA products have been sold at School For The Dogs in Manhattan and at for nearly a decade. Learn how they became a "B-Corp" and what that means, in addition to finding out about some of their innovative products, materials, and practices.  Find West Paw products in our online shop: Like this podcast? Tell your friends! And leave us a review on iTunes! --- Partial Transcript: Annie: Well, thank you so much for taking the time to chat. I'm really excited to get to know you a little bit. I feel like I know you through your business. But maybe we could just start out, you could just say your name and your title, and we'll go from there. Spencer Williams: I'm Spencer Williams and I'm the CEO and owner of West Paw Annie: And West Paw, as School For The Dogs fans might know, makes some of the most fabulous dog toys on the market. We have been selling them at since 2014. And I'm excited to talk to you, because as I've spent these years buying West Paw products, both for my own dogs and for our shop, I've learned a little bit about the company that has intrigued me. So first of all, tell me about being a B Corp. Is that what it's called? Spencer: Yeah, I mean, that's great. Well, and thanks for all the years of experience you have buying and using and selling our products. I'm looking forward to the conversation. And B Corp's a great place to start because it is a movement that matters a lot to West Paw. This whole concept started just about a dozen years ago. And what people realized is that when they were leading a business that was impact driven, if that business had a change in leadership or a change in ownership, sometimes those impacts the business was able to drive would be lost in those transitions. And the idea around the B Corp was how do you create more opportunity for those impacts to be long lasting? And how do you measure the impact? So the idea here, Annie is how, how do you differentiate from really good marketing to fact-based information on a company's impact. And so that's where the B Corp movement came from. And in a nutshell today, what it means is that a company can choose to become a certified B Corp, and the B stands for benefit. That's a good way to think of it. Like you're benefiting primarily four areas in a business: the employees who work in the business, the community that that business is located in or impacts; it's also around the environment and how the business impacts the environment; and then finally the customer piece. Full Transcript at --- Send in a voice message: Support this podcast:


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