Jennifer Merritt

Jenn Merritt, CPDT-KA has been a science based, professional dog trainer for over 15 years, is owner of Blue Dog Creature Coaching in Hamilton, Ontario and co-founder of Good Dog in a Box

Through Blue Dog, Jenn offers in-home private training and behavior problem solving for families in the Halton Region of Ontario. She specializes in the Tellington TTouch Method and parent education and support for families preparing for life with a dog and a baby. 

Good Dog in a Box promotes positive reinforcement dog training to families with children. The innovative programs, techniques and resources help families with children build a stronger bond with their dog, while teaching children to be safe around all dogs.

Jenn also founded K9Kindness, a community based, humane education organization that promoted the use of positive reinforcement dog training methods and equipment.  A main facet of K9Kindess became the development of Kids4Kindness, a 7 week humane education and pet responsibility program for 4th graders based on the highly successful Moore County Pet Responsibility Program.

Jenn is certified by the Certification Council for Pet Dog Trainers, a professional member of the Canadian Association of Professional Pet Dog Trainers, a Guild certified Tellington Touch Companion Animal Practitioner, a Family Paws Parent Educator, a Licensed Presenter of the Dogs & Storks™ educational program. and is Vice President of the Burlington Humane Society board of directors in Burlington, Ontario.

In her spare time, Jenn contributes to dog training journals, magazines, and blogs including the Association of Pet Dog Trainer Chronicle of the Dog, DogFancy and The Good Dog Blog. In 2011, Jenn was nominated for the prestigious Maxwell Medallion for excellence by the Dog Writer’s Association of America for her series on the TTouch Method. Jenn also has produced a DVD on dog park safety/play behaviors and a set of DVDs for TTouch, documenting the 30th anniversary “Cellebration” with Linda Tellington-Jones. The TTouch DVDs are available at www.ttouch.com

 

Blog posts by Jennifer Merritt

My Day as a TV Dog Trainer

I was shocked a few months ago to see some segments on local evening news featuring a force based dog trainer. These local segments were advertised along with the CBS program “Greatest American Dog”, a reality based program that promoted reward based training. Incensed, I emailed the reporter and outlined how I felt these segments misrepresented modern dog training and gave the viewing audience a one sided approach, which simply suppressed each dog's behavioral problems. She admitted that the force-based trainer pitched to segment ideas to them. The reporter was willing to do another set of segments featuring reward-based trainers.

 

Walking in Balance with TTouch

Pulling on leash is one of the most common issues I see both from the dog and their person. One of the many ways that I try to approach the problem and inspire people to change it from physical aspects. Dogs that pull not only affect their own bodies over time, sometimes creating neck and spinal issues from years of constant tension, they can also create physical issues with their handler. Our bodies feel the pressure from up to three times the dog's body weight when they pull putting tension on our hands wrists, arms and shoulders. The dog and the handler are often completely out of balance, definitely not working together.

 

Parenting Skills for Dog and Child

As my husband and I both approach the age of 40, we find ourselves in an interesting, and in our social circle dwindling, demographic of child-free couples. Most of our friends have joined the ranks of working couples juggling both kids and pets. We are often in awe of them as they multi-task the care, feeding, education, health, and happiness of canine, felines, along with their two-legged kids.

The relationship between parenting children and dogs seems, in some respects, quite similar. I find it fascinating that most of my clients and friends that had well behaved dogs coincidentally also have well behaved kids. Quite often, I can predict how my sessions will go with a client when I meet their children.

 

Time Well Spent

It is simply amazing how technology has allowed us to control and manage nearly ever facet of our lives for our convenience. We multi-task at work and at home, programming the TiVo, the Roomba robotic vacuum, even our preferred ring tones, etc. In our world, where everything is prerecorded, edited, and set to our specifications, I'm seeing more new pet parents whose lives are strict routines in which their time is critical.

Not surprisingly, a new puppy or dog coming into their lives can present major inconveniences in their compartmentalized lives. They discover that the wants and needs of their new pup cannot be programmed or scheduled as easily as the TiVo. The dog's needs happen at all hours, even at 4:30am to use the potty. This was not on the agenda!

 

Don't Replace Fido with Fido 2.0

I consult with people regularly that have recently lost a much loved, and nearly perfect canine companion. Grief is something that I've dealt with both in my own life and in my former career working in a family owned funeral home. Early stages of grief can leave a terrible void and sometimes we try to fill the void quickly. In the midst of grief, a new puppy of the same breed and generally the same sex as the dog they lost is adopted.


Most often, I see lovely retired couples that have grown older and lost an equally lovely, geriatric Golden or Lab. One member of the couple, or better yet, their grown children, adopts a Golden or Lab puppy and gives it as a surprise. It's about a week later that I'm consulted by the family to help them deal with Fido 2.0.

 

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