I am a Dog Parenting Coach: I train your dog to behave the way you want him or her to behave; then I coach you how to continue that behavior.


My skills as a Dog Parenting Coach have helped me understand how animals communicate and helped me care for them. The last 11 years, working as a dog walker, pet sitter, and pet photographer, I have become aware of the body language and signals dogs and cats  use. This has made it easier for me to communicate with them, when I am taking care of them.



Dogs use constant energy to communicate. I call it, living in the moment.It is who and what you are in every moment. Dogs don’t know each other by name, but by the energy they project and the activities they share. They know humans in the same way. As humans, we too are communicating with energy, whether we realize it or not. And, though we may attempt to persuade, explain, and rationalize all day long, these energy signals are the only messages getting across to our dogs.


The first energy that a puppy experiences after birth is mom’s calm, assertive energy. Later, the puppy will follow a pack leader who projects the same calm assertive energy out of association. As pack followers, dogs return a calm, submissive energy that completes the pack balance. It is important to understand that most dogs are born to be submissive, because there can only be so many pack leaders. When a naturally submissive dogs lives with a human that does not lead, he or she will attempt to change the pack balance by filling what they see as a vacant pack leader role. This is how behavior problems develop.


To establish yourself as the pack leader, you must always project a calm, assertive energy. This natural balance nurtures stability and creates a balanced, centered, and happy dog.


 “How do you learn to project calm, assertive energy?” This is where a very powerful human ability comes in handy: Imagination.  Imagine someone who inspires confidence in you, a parental figure or mentor; a famous leader or hero; even a fictional character. How do they carry themselves, and what in them inspires confidence in you? Now, imagine that you are this character, real or fictional. Stand like they would stand. Move like they would move. Take long, deep breaths. Relax your body, but keep your head up, shoulders back and chest out.


When you become comfortable with the feeling of being calm and assertive, communicate with your dog with your energy and body language only. Don’t be surprised, once you’re projecting the right energy, if your dog spontaneously sits next to or follows behind you wherever you go. Now you can begin to experience, being a pet parent.

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© Joe Rivera