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Anna Bettina Johnson

Anna Bettina Johnson is a Holistic Dog Trainer who has been helping dogs
have better manners for a decade. After opening and running her own
non-profit rescue, and rehabilitating those dogs for adoption, Anna became in love with behavior modification! She loves seeing the change that positive training has on dogs and their families alike!

Holistic Training involves looking at the big picture. Sometimes outside
influences can affect behavior, as well as diet, level of exercise, etc.
Anna helps people understand the emotional need of their pets in order to understand how to correctly modify their behaviour - but most of all -holistic training is positive & fun! As training should be!

PawFun blog posts by Anna Bettina Johnson

Ask Pawfun’s Holistic Dog Trainer: Help! My puppy hates his crate!

papillonA Pawfun Blog reader asks: We have a four month-old Papillon. Is it normal for a puppy to go through fits and barking rants when crate training them? Is it something that changes with time or is it a breed problem?

annaPawfun’s Holistic Dog Trainer, Anna Bettina Johnson, of Calling All Dogs says: Crates can be an invaluable tool for house-training, as well as a comfortable, safe place to leave your puppy during the day when he cannot be supervised. Some Puppies take to their crate right away & others need some help warming up to it. It’s important that you take the time to ensure your pup feels comfortable in their crate.

All good things happen here
Make sure that you never use the crate as punishment. Like I said before, this should be viewed as a comfortable, SAFE place for your pup.

Next, make sure that everything yummy & fun happens in the crate! You can toss a favorite toy in for your puppy to go in & fetch, or even small tasty treats. (more…)

Pawfun’s Holistic Dog Trainer: You need a professional trainer, in person, immediately.

dogbite1A Pawfun Blog reader says: Hello, please help me. My five year-old Pit Bull and my one year-old Pit got into a huge fight a few days ago. It was so bad I needed to take the younger one to the vet.

My older one refuses to be friends with the younger one. We have them separated. What can I do to stop them from fighting? I don’t want to give my younger dog up for adoption. I love them both, but I live in an apartment and they both wine all day.

annaPawfun’s Holistic Dog Trainer, Anna Bettina Johnson, of Calling All Dogs says: There are many reasons that the dogs could be fighting, and unfortunately, this is not something I would feel comfortable giving you advice on via the internet. This is a situation that immediately needs the help of a professional trainer, in person.

An attack that required medical attention is a serious attack, and should not be taken lightly.

I am so sorry to hear about the issues that have come up between your dogs. It certainly can be hard to transition a new dog in, and having to deal with aggression between them is very frustrating. It is a good idea to keep them separated right now. Please have a professional trainer come to help you immediately. (more…)

Ask Pawfun’s Holistic Dog Trainer: Is this a dominance issue or just puppy play?

wheaten_puppyA Pawfun Blog reader asks: I have a 10 week-old Wheaten Terrier puppy. I am about 99% happy with the amount he is learning and his progress, however I have two questions.

When he is outside playing and having fun he gets to a point that he is just 100% wide open 100 mph. I guess this is the “puppy Crazies” that they all get, but he does two things I’m not sure of:

1. “is this a dominance issue or just a puppy playing?” (more…)

Ask Pawfun’s Holistic Dog Trainer: Help! My Puppy is Aggressive!

A Pawfun Blog reader says: My puppy is six months and has become aggressive! I cannot afford an expensive trainer, but she has been biting me and has stopped listening to the things she was trained on, such as “go in the cage”.

HELP! Please! Is a trainer the only thing I can do?!

toy1toy2toy3toy4Pawfun’s holistic dog trainer, Anna Bettina Johnson, says: I am so sorry to hear that your puppy has started biting and seems to have a hard time listening. There are a number of reasons that your puppy could be acting out.

Puppies, in general, tend to be mouthy & if they are no re-directed or handled correctly, this behavior can get worse instead of better.

If your puppy is biting *hard*, meaning: breaking the skin, drawing blood or not letting go when she bites, it is best to call in a professional.

If your puppy is doing the normal, mouthy, puppy play-bite behavior, here are some tips to help you re-direct it.

Bite This – Not That
Anytime your puppy starts to get mouthy, pick up one of her chews or toys & place that in front of her so she goes for it, instead of you. Praise her for putting her mouth on the correct object! I like to keep a whole basket full of toys for puppies, keeping only a few out at a time & rotating them to keep puppy interested.

Biting = No Fun
Puppies use their mouths to play, investigate, communicate & more. Unfortunately, they often end up chomping down on us in a gesture of play. (more…)

Ask Pawfun’s Holistic Trainer: My adopted dog is growling at me! What should I do?

angry_dogA Pawfun Blog reader asks: About 3 months ago, I adopted a 5 year old Lhasa-Poo from the animal shelter. He and another small dog had been surrendered because the owners had lost their jobs and home. He was in the shelter for 5 days.

He is an adorable little dog, very, very loving and just wants to be held and petted. He loves to snuggle down in bed with you and he loves to play fetch. His name is Tucker. I also have a 5 year-old male Chocolate Lab that I have had since he was a puppy, Hershey. He is very mellow and lets Tucker rule the roost.

There are two things Tucker does though, that I would like to correct.

  • The first is that he seems a little sensitive around his hind quarters and sometimes he will growl at me if I touch him there.

If I then scold him for growling he will really growl and bare his teeth. That makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck.

  • The second issue is that he potties in the house.

I have a huge fenced-in dog area. I let the dogs out to go potty and get fresh air. They can be out for sometimes 10,15,20 minutes. When I let them back in, Tucker will go directly to the kitchen and pee on the floor if I am not watching him. He will also poop in the house even though he has just been out. When I do let him out he seems to stay at the door and bark because he wants to be with me all the time.

Do you think he is too nervous being outside, maybe he was used to be walked on leash to potty, he is so intent on being with me that he won’t leave the door to do his thing, is he angry at me ????

Any help would be greatly appreciated. I love this little guy but he frustrates me terribly.

annaPawfun’s holistic dog trainer, Anna Bettina Johnson, says: Congrats on your new adoption! It is so fun to have a new companion, but can also be nerve-wracking at times. Let’s address the potty issue first!

Potty Outside = Praise
It is not uncommon for an adult dog to lapse in their house-training when they come into a new home.

You mentioned a couple of key things: He potties inside when you are not watching him and he stays at the door and whines when you let him out. It is very important that you teach him the right thing to do. Right now, he doesn’t know.

It is also very important that he is never punished for accidents, because that’s exactly what they are. He has anxiety when you put him out. When you let him back in and his anxiety subsides and he remembers he has to pee – and then does. (more…)

Ask Pawfun’s Holistic Dog Trainer: How can I teach my 2 year-old dog to play?

Shih TzuA Pawfun Blog reader writes: I just got a 2 year-old female Shih Tzu, and she does not know how to play. She was kept in a crate for many hours a day with her previous owner.

How can I get a close bond with her so that we can play together.

Holistic animal trainer Anna Bettina Johnson of Happy Healthy Pup says: How wonderful that you were able to rescue her and give her a chance to learn and grow! It’s not uncommon to see dogs from rescue situations that do not know how to play. It’s also important to keep in mind that not all dogs like to play.

Training to Bond
A great way to build a bond and better understand your new companion is to enroll in a positive manners class. Your instructor will help you communicate with her and you’ll be able to learn more about her personality and what motivates her. You’ll also give her some positive world experiences and a chance to see/meet other people and dogs.

Toys = Good Things
If you find that she is motivated by food, you can start pairing food with the objects that you would like her to find enjoyable, like toys. (more…)

Ask Pawfun’s Holistic Dog Trainer: Will my two puppies ever get along?

bignsmalldogsA Pawfun Blog readers says: I have a Pomeranian/Shih Tzu cross and a Yellow Lab. The Lab is 10 weeks and the other is 12 weeks old. The little one is so scared of the Lab! What can we do?

Holistic animal trainer Anna Bettina Johnson of Happy Healthy Pup says: Often times, when we bring home a new, smaller puppy it can be overwhelmed by everything, including a bigger dog that already lives in the home.

In order to ensure that everyone feels safe and has a positive experience, it’s best to take things slowly and set your new puppy up for success!

Play It Safe
For the first little while that your puppy is home, set up baby gates to keep the Lab from overwhelming the new, smaller puppy. Praise them for sniffing or interacting through the gate, but be sure to let them do it on their own terms.

You can take the baby gate down for small, interactive sessions between the two, but be sure that the Lab is not (more…)

Ask Pawfun’s Holistic Dog Trainer: Help! My Six Month-Old Puppy is Aggressive!

iStock_GoldenRetrieverPuppylA Pawfun Blog reader says: Help! I have a mixed-breed dog who is approximately six months old and she’s showing signs of aggression (especially in the morning at feeding time.) We got her from the pound as a puppy and we think she is a Blue Heeler/Australian Shepherd mix. She barks, growls a lot and gets in fights with our other dogs.

I love her to death but I’m afraid if she keeps getting worse she might get aggressive toward us. I can’t really afford an expensive trainer and I don’t know if this is something she will just grow out of…(I doubt it)

She runs outside with two other dogs, one her age a Border Collie/Terrier mix? and a Golden Retriever mix who’s a few years old and is very easy going. She’s a loving puppy but she’s not too bright. We got her the same time as the other puppy and they where raised in the house together and then they went out when they got a little bigger. (She didn’t like being in the house anyway) they have over 30 acres to run so space isn’t the problem… I really need advice.

annaHolistic animal trainer Anna Bettina Johnson of Happy Healthy Pup says: Aggressive behavior can exist because of several reasons. It sounds as if your puppy is resource guarding her food. It is not uncommon for puppies to act aggressively around food, especially puppies that have spent time in a shelter, such as yours. The best thing you can do for her right now is manage the situation! Make sure that feeding time is a safe and pleasant experience for her!

All Yours
First thing you should do is feed all the dogs in separate areas. If you have crates for everyone – great! Crate each dog in their own crate, with their own food, and don’t let them out until everyone has finished. If you don’t have crates, take the puppy into a different room, or even outside and leave her alone with her food. Make sure the other dogs cannot harass her or get to her food.

Treat Time
Since the aggression usually shows up when food is around. Make sure to be careful with treats and chews. You’ll want to follow the same protocol with chews as with mealtime. Make sure everyone has their own safe spot to enjoy a chew. If you are working on training or any behaviors that you are offering food rewards for, make sure that you are working with one dog a time.

Also, don’t take any good behavior for granted! The times your puppy is being well-behaved and not acting aggressively – praise her! And if it is safe to do so, offer her a food reward, or engage her with a favorite toy! Make sure to always praise and reward the behavior you want from her.

Ask Pawfun’s Holistic Trainer: Help! My puppy chews everything!!!

puppychewPawfun Blog reader Heather says: I am 10 years old and I have a six month old puppy. His name is Happy and he will not stop chewing on his bed, dolls, and toys. Can you help me?

annaHolistic animal trainer Anna Bettina Johnson of Happy Healthy Pup says: Awww… puppies! With that cuteness comes tons of energy, chewing, potty-training, and a myriad of other challenging behaviors.

It is not uncommon for puppies to be voracious chewers! Puppy chewing usually gets worse at around six months because they are losing their puppy teeth and gaining their adult teeth. The teething process can be painful and uncomfortable and chewing helps to relieve that.

Keep him busy!
The best thing you can do for your puppy during all of this is provide lots of different types of appropriate chews. Try tendons, cow ears, bully sticks, chicken/turkey jerky, sweet potato chews & cartilage chews. They also make some puppy chew toys that can be frozen, which many puppies love!

Rotate these chews often to keep your puppy interested in them & if you catch your puppy chewing on something else, simply re-direct him to an appropriate chew instead!

Ask Pawfun’s Holistic Dog Trainer: What’s in a Name? Should You Rename Your Adopted Dog?

boxer_look How important is a name? Very! Names should have a positive association and your pup should love hearing it!

But, I often work with people who have adopted their canine companion and are afraid to change their name. Most people assume that changing a name is to confusing and hard for the new dog. This is simply not true! In fact, I highly encourage a name change if you have adopted a dog. New home, new life.. new name!

So, how do you change your adopted pup’s name or simply get your current dog to respond immediately to their own name?

Here’s a simple way to train it:

– Start in a quiet area. Say your pup’s name & immediately offer a small, tasty treat. Repeat this often!
– Now that your pup is learning that his new name has a fun (and yummy) association, try calling his name out in the yard with a few more distractions, when he responds, praise & treat.
– Pretty soon, your pup will come quickly & happily when they hear their new name.
– Once you are sure they have it, you can phase the food rewards out slowly.

Teaching your pup to love their name & respond to it accordingly is also a great way to build a bond with your new pup or strengthen the bond with your existing pup.

Happy Training!

Got a dog training question for Anna? Ask it here.

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