Creative Dog Training - Margaret Davis on The Real Dr. Doolittle Show™ | Animal Talk | Podcast #38

Today we're talking with renowned Birmingham dog trainer Margaret Davis. Margaret has spent pretty much her entire life working with dogs and advocating for their welfare. Her father is the famous veterinarian Earl M. Jones. He received the Albert Schweitzer Medal for his contributions in crafting and implementing the Animal Welfare Act of 1966, so as you can imagine, Margaret was a real kennel brat.

In 1984, Margaret started Creative Dog Training (CDT), teaching an obedience class to four clients and their dogs in the middle of the vet's office. By 1990, she had three employees; by 2000, she had 20. In 2005, she opened CDT's second location. Now, on any given day, 60-70 dogs are in daycare at each of CDT's locations. CDT offers a wide range and variety of classes and services for dogs and the people who love them.

Margaret trained the Golden Retriever in the Brett Favre Wranglers Jeans commercial. She has trained and handled the dogs that played Toto in two different productions of the Wizard of Oz as well as the dogs that played Belle in The Miracle Worker and Sandy in Annie. She also selected and trained Hero, the Chelsea Fire Dog that rides on the truck and goes into schools with the Chelsea firefighters to help educate children on fire safety.

Margaret was instrumental in establishing Birmingham's first off leash Dog Park. She supports local dog rescue groups and she provides a free dog training class for every dog adopted. The CDT website also provides Trainer Blogs, sixty-four different Training Podcasts, and Training Tips as well as a message board and a forum in which people can ask the trainers questions. The website is an invaluable educational tool and emblematic CDT's commitment to "helping dogs by educating people."

We covered many different topics that all dog lovers can relate to, such as:

  • What do you mean by "helping dogs by educating people"?
  • Do you think of a dog as a person?
  • Why is it so important for dogs to have dog friends?
  • Can a dog be spoiled?
  • Can an old dog be taught new tricks?
  • Do you exclusively use positive reinforcement training?
  • What is the hardest dog to train?
  • Who is the hardest human to train?
  • Can a dog fail obedience school?
  • What is basic respect training and why does it matter?
  • What do you mean by love, trust, and respect?
  • How can humans know when a dog is stressed?
  • How do you use Reiki when working with dogs?
  • Tell me how you adapted Callahan tapping for use with dogs with phobias.

Key points dog lovers should know:

  • Dogs use their bodies to communicate their state of being and their intended behavior. Most people can read dogs well enough to know when they are happy, excited, playful, or relaxed. Humans who truly learn their language will know when a dog is stressed, aggressive, submissive, anxious, fearful, frustrated, irritated, depressed, etc.
  • Dogs pick up on our energy and react to our emotions, so it is important to project positive feelings when dealing with dogs.
  • Dog training means far more than teaching a dog to sit. It is teaching a dog to respond to commands (for example, “wait” and “leave it”) that can protect him from potential danger. It is teaching a dog the manners he needs to truly be a part of his owner's life (e.g., going to the bathroom outside; leaving something alone when told; interacting pleasantly with guests). It is teaching a dog to obey commands (e.g., “come”) that will enable him to enjoy off-leash freedom at the park or lake.
  • Dogs need to accept and actively play with dogs. They need canine friends.

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