Sarah Wilson

Dog Expert

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Dog training for dog loversThis website exists for you; to answer your questions and provide you the very best experienced-based advice on caring for, training and living with your dog.

My credentials include earning a masters degree in the human-animal bond, appearing on PBSABC and CBS, being quoted in OParadePreventionForbes, CNNBoston Globe and having nine  books published that have sold hundreds of thousands of copies and been translated into several languages. (Read more on my wikipedia page.)

Dogs have been my profession for over 25 years.  I have cared for, and taught thousands of dogs from tiny toy breed pups to massive giant breed dogs. I’ve gotten up in the night to reassure young pups, been embarrassed/frustrated by a dog’s behavior (then developed ways to easily change it), helped them to enter this world and held them, weeping, as they left it. I’ve learned what works and what doesn’t, what helps and what might harm.

You get it all! I also write blogs helping you select the right dog beds, crates, carrierstoys, and treats.

Supporting you and your dog is my delight. Enjoy!

If you like my blogs, you’ll love my e-mails and these books: How to Train Your Dog to ComeMy Smart PuppyChildproofing Your DogDogologyTails from the Barkside.

40 Comments

  1. I love your My Smart Puppy training games. Will we see an app in the future that would allow me to reference these training games while I’m out at the park training my pup? Descriptions and videos of the training games in an easily accessible app would be awesome. I’d be willing to pay as much for the app as I did for the book! Maybe even more ;-)

  2. Hi Sarah,

    My girlfriend suggested you so here goes. I took home, well, yes, bought a dog for my daughter. I took her because I was in the store for something else and she was much older (7 months) and the guy said he would give me a really cheap deal. I am a sucker, she was a cute cairn terrier from Kansas, hence her name is Ruby. No one wanted her and she did not look happy. Anyway, fast forward one year, dog boot camp (3 weeks), the LI Dog Whisperer (who stopped taking my calls and replying to me after I paid him and his initial visit, many rugs and tons of carpet cleaner. Ruby is now an integral part of our family. Has adjusted in every way but one. SHE WILL NOT HOUSEBREAK. Help. I am at the part where I must adopt her out, don’t want to but I can’t do this to her or me anymore. I keep giving her more and more chances, less and less freedom, I feel so badly. My husband died and I wanted to give my daughter something to ease the pain, I CAN’T DO THIS TO HER TOO. Please help, I will do anything to keep our family together.

    Meredith

    • Hi Meredith -

      I’m e-mailing you a few more questions so I know where we are and where to start.

      Hang on -

      Sarah

    • Breathe Meredith❤ We’ve all been there at one point or another❤ Bringing a dog into your family is such a special addition! However, just like children, it won’t always be easy – but it is worth it! Please believe me when I tell you that Ruby isn’t being mean or trying to hurt or frustrate you.

      The best thing you have done is to reach out to Sarah! Your post is a week or so old, so
      I am praying that you and Sarah already have a plan in place to show you how to help Ruby (or you’re already having success!?) Maybe there is a medical issue behind this and a trip to your vet couldn’t hurt. Ruby has no one else in the world to help her-please don’t give up, or worse, teach your children that it is OK to give up on family.

      Learning how to teach your dog yourself is so rewarding. To have her look to you for the stimulation of learning new things and having your dog feel loved, instead of tolerated is something necessary for any animal brought into a human family.

      Please always remember that Ruby (or any animal) isn’t a child and most likely won’t have other animals around your home to model behavior from. However, just like your own child, they deserve your patience, care, support and love

  3. Great pic and love the site!

  4. Sarah, I keep sharing your articles because they’re insightful and sensible — which are important components in dog/puppy/people training! Love this site!

  5. Dear Sarah, I just recently found this page and I have a question for you. We have a 1 1/2 year old male Sheltie, we have had him since he was 8 weeks old- he refuses to use the bathroom in our own yard, we have tried everything and he just won’t do it. He has no problem using our neighbors yard and that’s not a good thing! Do you have any imput or suggestions for us? Thank you

  6. Hey Sarah,

    Terrific site! I will send everybody I know here. You always give excellent and very helpful advice.

  7. Sarah, Thank you for your advice through your forum and books. With your help, my Bouvier Rider and mutt Jazz are well behaved puppers. When ever I meet people with new dogs in their family, I recommend your books.

    • Thank you, Mark. Your words (and actions) mean a great deal and help a great deal. Pats to Rider and Jazz, for me. Ever since my Kesl, Bouv, I have a major soft spot for those dirty beards. And mutts, well, Pip is Pip. :D

  8. Thank you for your advice through books.

  9. Thank you Sarah for the joy and seriousness you bring to you vocation! I wouldn’t hesitate to put my precious ones in your care.

  10. Can you write something on managing sibling training (other than to rehome one), if you have experience with that? I need specific suggestions on how to work with them (totally separate them so they focus on me, dealing with resultant separation anxiety, etc.) or what you would do if different? I can never achieve calm, because they immediately want to interact if both released from confinement. I cease to exist. They are 20 mos. old Cockers.

  11. Long time no-see Sarah! I have talked about you often and am searching out good materials for a friend of mine to read. I love your site. I hope all is well with you and keep up the fantastic work.

  12. Thanks for your response. I’ll give it a try! Any other suggestions on dealing with siblings are appreciated as well!

  13. HI Sarah…
    I just posted to my blog expounding on another aspect of these ridiculous leashes. As part of my post, I linked to your blog for further info. Please let me know if this is okay with you and if not, I’ll lose the link. You can read my post here:

    http://halinphilly.blogspot.com/2014/01/pet-peeve-4-there-oughta-be-leash-law.html

    Thank you… Hal

    • Hi Hal -

      You are so nice to ask. My answer? Go, Hal, Go! I’m in full support and delighted to aid in your efforts.

      (Oh and when you post about being jailed for having your dog off leash, nudge me. I want to read that saga!)

      Again, I appreciate your ethics in checking.

      Best -

      Sarah

  14. Hello,

    I am torn with a decision to take my dog back from my Father. She is a 1 1/2 year old Cavapoo that went to stay with my father in another state for two and a half months. Her lifestyle at my Fathers home is very different (less structured) compared to our home and I fear that she will not be happy and will not adjust well if she returns. Help!

    • Hi Courteney -

      The good news is dog’s adjust extremely well, so no worries. When dogs visit me, my home is generally more structured than they are used to but they adjust and are very happy while here. When the time comes, I can help her (and you) make the transition.

      You are clearly a good dog momma to ask.

  15. Hi Sarah, i’m hoping you have some tips that will help me! We recently purchased a house on an acreage and with our new house & acreage came Jovi ( a 5 year old female black lab). The previous owners moved to a city & didn’t think it would be fare to take her, so they left her with us. She is a wonderful dog, listens, stays home, loves the kids… But she poops everywhere!!!!! All over the lawn, on the walkway, on the gravel in front of the doors. I just don’t understand why they would have trained her to poop in the bush. She could do it any where, she has 13 acres to choose from and she chooses to do it all around the house :( How do we train her not poop by the house??? Please Help!

    • Hi Kim – how nice of you to take in this lucky Lab. :)

      Labs being well, Labs, I would take her away from the house and toss a treat or two in the general area (not the exact potty zone) that you want her to end up in. Let her find them.

      Do that for a few days. Then put a treat out away from the house before you let her out. Go to the area and let her find it.

      Then start hanging back. Then start randomly leaving out a treat. She should start heading out in that direction on her own “just to double check”. That is the best way I know to get her independently going away from the house to potty. Take a little time but is simple and is easy (two lovely things).

  16. It’s been 23 years so I doubt you’d remember me. I attended your puppy class with my Scottie taboo. I was starting a company making things for dog lovers. But that’s not why I’m writing. I have wonderful neighbors in the city with a new maltes. 3 kids the oldest 12 and parents that have never had a dog. Who do you recommend in the city that would be as close to you as possible to help in training etc? Check out the site. We could barter

    • Hi Lisa – 23 years ago? That would have been at the training center on the Westside, yes? Was Taboo a brindley pup when young? If yes, then I remember him (and I tend to remember the dogs more clearly – kinda of a professional hazard of this work).

      Anyway – I live in St Louis, MO now. But a dear friend of mine, whom I trained as a trainer, does a lot of puppy work in NYC: Noelle Fischer: http://smilingdogstraining.com I’d try her.

      Thanks so much to your note. Love hearing from past clients. How long did you have Taboo’s company?

      Sarah

  17. How do I get my male Lab/Great Pyrenees mix puppy to stop jumping on people?

  18. Is it possible to loose the trust of your dog just by letting a stranger approach??? George has always been scared of strangers but we had made great strides in the last year. Unfortunately last week a friend of the wifes approached him while I was closing the gate & he wet himself which has not happened for ages. Since then he has reverted back to his old self going mental at strangers as they pass the house & snapping at me if I try & interveen. On his walks he just sits down & refuses to go at times which I thought we had got past a long time ago. It seems all our good work has gone & I’m back to square one :(

    • Hi Joe -

      You can’t quite be back to square one but it sure can feel like that. He should progress faster this time since you both have walked that road together already.

      What have your tried so far? What do you walk him on (collar, head halter, harness)? What does he know and respond to when all is calm?

      • Basically I have walked him on his collar in the early hours when there was no one about but slowly went out later & laterwith more people & dogs around. I did buy a harness but he wouldn’t let me put it on. When all is quiet he will sit, stay & come to me but that all goes out the window if there are any distractions. The problem I have now is that we are getting to the summer season & we will be flooded with tourists so it will be a nightmare to get him out :( in the winter I had him out on the beach & he loved racing up & down & even made a friend with a local dog but that is not possible now as he refuses to walk down the road to the beach :(

  19. We spoke on phone last summer. I need more help with my Cody and seems I’ve lost your number. Could you please contact me?

  20. Hi Sarah,
    I hope you can give me some advice. I’ve got a 4 year old female mutt (plott hound mix) and an 8 month old female lab. Now that winter is over, we are out all together more. Dogs that my 4 year old mutt used to LOVE have now become a target for her aggression. It’s almost like she is protecting the puppy? This dog has not history of aggression toward other dogs. The first time I heard her growl at another dog was a relatives untrained male (who outweighs her by about 20lbs wouldn’t stop jumping on her. We were all shocked that she did it, but he has no ‘dog manners’ and most dogs who meet him wind up snarling at him.

    There are two dogs in my neighborhood that were the 4-year old’s buddies. Now, even when the puppy is inside, she snarls and lunges when she sees them. I havent been able to let her play with either of them since we got the puppy. I don’t understand why this is happening and I’d love some advice as to how to handle it. I don’t want the puppy to pick up this bad habit and I don’t want our sweet mutt to turn into a dog-aggressive animal. She is amazing with people, and loves my children like crazy. I am scared that she may become possessive of the children if she is indeed acting possessive of the puppy.

    The puppy gets more attention than she does right now, we are training her and work with her daily. Would this factor into the older pup’s actions? The 4 year old is also a very nervous dog, she has separation anxiety and is very fearful of cars. She also doesn’t enjoy going for walks much, she usually pulls toward home and whines quite a bit.

    Thank you in advance for any advice and suggestions you may have. I am happy to provide any additions information you may need.

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