My love for dogs is the driving force behind Urban Dog Care. Born and raised in New York City, I’m something of an urban dog myself and am well versed at navigating Manhattan streets. I offer an always growing body of knowledge about dogs, owing to a voracious appetite for any media which educate about their history and training. Though I believe strongly in personal experience (and will stop whenever possible to interact with any dog I pass!), daily study is a major part of my understanding of canines. I am a fan and avid reader of any authors who promote positive, brains-over-brawn theories about modern dog handling.
Even before I discovered my love for dogs, during my years as a photographer, people often called upon me to take care of their animals. Cats, dogs, fish, I was the first person they’d think to ask. What’s more, they would often say that their animals were better when I returned them than when they’d arrived. I could only shrug and smile – I had just done what came naturally, paying lots of attention to the animals, interacting with them, and rewarding them for good behavior.
Adopting my own mixed breed pup changed my world – photography quickly faded as dogs became, pardon the pun, my new focus. I started right in with endless study of any information I could find on dogs. Then I started applying the knowledge to real life, spending hours a day at the dog run playing and socializing with dogs, then taking a job as a dog walker. In addition, my dog and I had at least three training sessions daily, including basic obedience, tricks, and some agility. Most of my favorite experiences though were ones unique to living in the big city – riding the subway, visiting stores, strolling the sidewalks, and enjoying the off leash hours in NYC parks morning and night.
After realizing that a lot of what I’d learned at first was rather dated, I decided I needed some new outlooks and a fresh start. My searches for a more intellectual, modern ideas led me to Dr. Stanley Coren. I loved his approach and read every book he had published, realizing that working with dogs should be as much science as magic. This in turn led me to authors who promoted positive training; Dr. Patricia McConnell, Jean Donaldson, Karen Pryor, Pat Miller, and others had the wisdom I had sought. Finally, a way of working with dogs that struck me as natural, intelligent, and, simply, right.
I had already been working as a dog walker, but switching completely to positive, reinforcement based, force free methods, improved progress with my dog and other dogs drastically. Before too long, clients and eventually strangers started asking me for training tips and help with their dog. After two more years I parted ways with my employer to begin my own business in another area of the city – another three years later and here we are!
I firmly believe that I can help you get results with your dog’s behavior, but despite the work I’ve done, I hesitate to call myself a trainer, behaviorist, or ethologist. Why? I’ve never been much for schooling nor titles, and have always preferred to learn through independent study and practical application. Taking a cue from my best canine buddies, I only care about results and doing what works.
There’s a man in our Uptown area with whom I exchange a friendly greeting almost daily. One morning he raised a hand and called out to me, “Good morning, Dog Man!”
That’s good enough for me.