For a Happy Dog, Think Positive

Sponsored Content.

“If you want a well-trained dog, you have to think like a dog. Unwanted behaviors, like excessive barking, leash-pulling or separation anxiety, are perfectly normal from a dog’s point of view. He or she is trying to tell you something: ‘I’m scared, I’m anxious, I don’t trust that other dog. I’m lonely. I’m bored.’ Our job, and yours, is to figure out what’s motivating this behavior and help your dog find a more acceptable way to live in your world.” So says John Erickson, lead trainer at Happy Paws DC, a training, boarding and daycare facility in Tenleytown. “Dogs need to feel secure and comfortable,” he adds. “And with positive reinforcement, we can give them a ‘moment of Zen.’”  

As the name suggests, there’s no punishment in positive reinforcement. Instead of “no, no,” there’s “yes (I hear you) and (here’s what you can do instead.)” Rather than making a dramatic change from leash-pulling, say, to walking calmly with a loose leash trainers, working with the pet parent, take it literally step by step and reward each new achievement with a high-value treat. “This way, we make it pleasant for the dog to recall and adopt the desired behaviors,” John explains.  

Kiko and her owner, Hannah Joudi, would agree. “Happy Paws is an amazing facility! They were very transparent with how Kiko’s training experience went whenever I picked her up, even providing a bit of homework for me to work on, which further cemented her learning at home. Overall, her training went really well and Kiko and I are closer and work better with each other now than we did before!”  

Happy Paws has been welcoming dogs and their people since 2007 and now integrates training across all three services. We understand that dogs, like their people, have different socialization and learning styles, so our programs are personalized to address their unique needs and bring out their best behavior.  

Happy Paws is located at 4904 Wisconsin Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. 20016. Tel: 202.363.7297.For more information on our training programs, visit our website at or contact us at 




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *