School For The Dogs Podcast

How to train a dog to "sit" from scratch

An episode of School For The Dogs Podcast

By Annie Grossman
Annie Grossman of the NYC-based dog training center School For The Dogs answers training questions, geeks out on animal behavior, discusses pet trends and interviews industry experts.

Show notes:

Have a training question you'd like addressed? Email or leave a voicemail at 917-414-2625

More places to listen

More places to listen

Why viral videos are bad for dogs, with Eileen Anderson
Pet videos fuel the Internet, but too often they perpetuate false ideas about dog behavior by misattributing a dog's intentions, or by falsely framing their actions.  Why do we seek to anthropomorphize dog behaviors rather than celebrating all the behavioral commonalties that exist between us and them?  Annie and the acclaimed, prolific blogger Eileen Anderson of, tackle this question together.  This is our 52nd episode, and marks the end of our first season! We'll be back with Season 2 in a few weeks! Have a question for Annie? Submit it at or call and leave a message at 917-414-2625 If you are enjoying this podcast, please support us by shopping at, or by leaving a review on iTunes! Notes:  Eileen on fake dog videos: Eileen on smiling dog video: Dr. Susan Friedman's Living and Learning with Animals: Toast Garden: Doris Day's hotel in Carmel, CA: Doris Day Animal Foundation: Sign up for the SFTD Newsletter!
May 17, 2019
Ask Annie: Dealing with humping and other annoying behaviors
Annie  addresses questions from people who are dealing with dogs who have habits that annoy other dogs, and, ultimately, their owners as well. One owner wants to know how to deal with a new rescue  who is bothering the household's other two dogs and generally causing chaos in the home, and a dog walker asks about how to manage a charge who is constantly trying to hump his walking buddies. In addition to addressing setting up appropriate social situations for dogs, exercising them and using crates in multi-dog households, this episode offers a thoughtful take on why dogs hump and how to keep it from becoming an issue.  Follow the askers of these questions on Instagram at @uarndcool and @pudgydog Products mentioned in this episode:  The Treat + Train: The Revol Crate: Flirt Poles: The Animatwist: The Animaswizzler:
May 7, 2019
How to train your dog to walk on a loose leash
Leashes, collars and harnesses are some of the first accessories most dog owners acquire when they get a dog, and very soon they come to depend on these tools. But, in this guide to teaching a dog to walk on a loose leash, Annie suggests teaching where you want your dog to walk in relation to your body (right next to your leg), and what you want your dog to be doing on leash (checking in with you often) before you start relying on equipment to control your dog's behavior. This episode contains suggestions on training exercises to help teach nice walking (with or without a leash), protocols for encouraging good behaviors on leash, and gear recommendations.  Products mentioned in this episode:  Found My Animal double-ended nylon leash: Mendota Lightweight Braided Leash Freedom Harness Liquid Treat Dispenser
April 24, 2019
How to live with seven dogs and three cats in a one bedroom in NYC
Native New Yorker Gloria Bardin lives in a one-bedroom apartment with three Dobermans, one pitbull, a Havanese, two mixed breeds and three cats. And yet... she seems totally sane. Annie talked to her about how she has built a life that can accommodate taking care of so many pets.  Notes: Follow Gloria on Instagram: @fourtypawsvstwofeet Follow Beppi on Instagram: @bep.and.zo Garfield Mail:
April 15, 2019
Surfer, author, rapper, adventurer, humanitarian: Meet Pip The Beach Cat
Last fall, Emily Meadows and her husband took in a stray orange tabby kitten who they called Pip. Pip repaid the kindness by terrorizing their other cats and destroying their Ocean City, Maryland home. To help him extend energy in a more appropriate way, Emily began to take him on walks on the beach. She quickly discovered he loved digging in sand, swimming, and even riding surf boards. Six months later, Pip The Beach cat has become a local celebrity with worldwide fans, and Emily is a full-time cat "momager," who is currently orchestrating Pip's book launch, promoting his rap album, and bringing him nearly daily to do therapy cat work at local nursing homes. Annie talks to her about how finding a creative way to deal with her cat's behavior issues has led to a life neither she nor Pip could ever have predicted.  Notes: Pip's NYC adventures as chronicled by The NY Post Pip's Guide To Ocean City Pip's rap video: Big Pippin' By Yungg Bo Feat., with Lil P aka Lil Pip Pip's first rap album with Yungg Bo Morris The Cat's 1980s commercials Orange cat genetics explained Like this episode? Make sure to subscribe, rate and review School For The Dogs Podcast on iTunes, and follow us on Instagram.
April 8, 2019
A busy person's guide to Operant Conditioning
Positive Reinforcement, Negative Reinforcement, Positive Punishment and Negative Reinforcement: You may have heard these terms thrown around, but they're often misused or little understood. Together, they describe four different ways all animals learn by consequences-- aka, Operant Conditioning. In a rush to put up a podcast episode while her young baby naps, Annie challenges herself to describe each "quadrant" of Operant Conditioning in two and a half minutes.   Notes:   Phoebe controls the TV with her eyes Operant conditioning explained in Little Golden Books Operant conditioning explained on The Big Bang Theory Being BF Skinner's Daughter 6 ways in which dogs and humans are exactly alike A dog trainer's view of evolution Episode 42: Let's talk about dog breeding with Cherrie Mahon Episode 44: Are you talking to your socks? Marie Kondo, Cesar Millan & training humans with snake oil
April 3, 2019
The Museum of the Dog opens in NYC
Up until last month, one of the world's largest collections of dog-related art resided outside St. Louis inside a museum that most of the locals didn't even know about: The Museum Of The Dog. That changed last month, when the museum officially relocated to midtown Manhattan.  Annie interviews the museum's executive directly, Alan Fausel, about the museum's collection, history, and fan favorites.  Annie will be doing a free training demo at the museum this Saturday, March 30th, at 1pm. Stop by!  Learn More at Are you enjoying School For The Dogs Podcast? Please leave us a 5-star rating on iTunes and make sure to follow us on Instagram! 
March 26, 2019
The body builder & the Boston: Joe & Lenny on their journey to Westminster
In 2012, Joe Freni's wife surprised him with a puppy they named Lenny. Lenny, they felt, was simply perfect. In fact, he was so perfect that they decided to start enrolling him in competitions.  In the years since, Lenny has received titles both in dog sports and dog shows, the latter culminating in his recent spot in the Westminster Dog Show. Not long after he started showing his dog in the ring, Joe decided to also start showing... himself. In this episode, Annie learns about Joe's journey as a body builder, a power lifting world champion, and as a show dog handler.   Lenny on Social Media: Facebook: Instagram:  @puppy_kid Twitter:  @LennyandJoeShow YouTube:  Shop Lenny Gear: Learn more about "The Good Boys of Boston" calendar at @good_boys_of_boston Fun Boston Terrier Facts: Our beloved Boston Terrier student Reggie is on Instagram at @reggieinnyc --- Like this Podcast? Make sure to leave us a 5-start review on iTunes! 
March 19, 2019
Are you talking to your socks? Marie Kondo, Cesar Millan & training humans with snake oil
The sprightly Japanese organizing guru Marie Kondo has gained worldwide acclaim for essentially being an excellent trainer of humans. Specifically, she trains people to "tidy up" their homes. While she might be adept at using positive reinforcement (mostly in the form of her sheer enthusiasm about junk drawers) and other methods that dovetail with Good Dog Training, her approach also  encourages people to attach their actions to part in certain bizarre "superstitious" behaviors. like verbally "thanking" pieces of clothing and "waking up" sleeping books by tapping them. In this episode, Annie, who believes that  behavior-changing techniques should appeal more to common sense than to magical thinking,  talks about how Kondo and famous dog trainers like Barbara Woodhouse and Cesar Millan douse snake oil over their proposed solutions in order to suggest that clutter is caused by sleeping books,  dogs love the letter T, and nice leash walking can only happen if you channel amorphous invisible powers.  Notes:  Marie Kondo on Netflix: Marie Kondo's book: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up Marie Kondo on The Late Show w/ Stephen Colbert, 2/5/2019: Marie Kondo on Jimmy Kimmel Live, 1/29/2019: Cesar Millan clip quoted in podcast, in which Millan tells the dog owner that her dog's won't listen to her unless she is "calm and assertive" and "injecting energy" into them while walking. Barbara Woodhouse, dog trainer who throws books at dogs: Clip in podcast is taken from here: On doing dishes and peeing: The following are blog posts about The Dog Training Triad. Each post contains the podcast episodes on the same subjects, which were I posted last July  (Episodes 16, 17 and 18).  Part 1: Management Part 2: Rewards Part 3: Timing
March 13, 2019
Ask Annie: Separation anxiety, tips for crate training and an overview of attachment theory
In this Q+A episode, Annie answers a question from a puppy owner whose dog is scared of the crate and stresses out when left alone, and then considers another dog owner who asks if "Attachment Theory" applies to dogs. Visit or leave a voicemail at 917-414-2625 NOTES Products Annie's preferred crate, the Revol: (get $25 off the Revol with code SFTD25 at checkout through March 31, 2019) See through pen on Etsy by ClearlyLovedPets: See through crate on Etsy by PrettyKennels: Treat and Train: The Toppl toy: Books:  Treat Separation in Dogs by Malena Demartini-Price: I'll Be Home Soon by Patricia McConnell, PhD: Sites:  Evolutionary Parenting article on Attachment Theory and Attachment Parenting by Tracy Cassel PhD: Shoutout:  You can witness Gilby and Ghost's playdates at @GhostFrench ( and @GilbyKriss ( Fun Dog Fact:  The Beatles song that contains a secret dog whistle:
March 4, 2019
Let's talk about dog breeding with Cherrie Mahon of River Valley Doodles
A few years ago, after years of volunteering at rescue organizations and owning both shelter pups and purebred dogs, Cherrie Mahon, a professor of business in Rochester, New York, did something that'd change her life forever: She got a Goldendoodle.  Cherrie fell in love with the breed, and pitched an idea to her mother, a school bus driver who was looking for a retirement career: Maybe they could start a family business breeding doodles? In the years since, Cherrie, her mother, her sisters and a few cousins have  been in the business of bringing fluffy dreams to life for hundreds of happy families. But there are plenty of moments that haven't been so... golden. Cherrie and Annie have an honest discussion about the way people acquire dogs, the science of good breeding, and the emotional rollercoaster of rearing puppies.  NOTES RVD Online:   Breeding resources referenced by Cherrie:  MistyTrails' content can be found here  Puppy Intensive Care On wolves and poodles If you really want to geek out on dog genetics, this slide show is for you. Gets into poodles/wolves around the 4th minute: Also see Chapter 13 of Man and Wolf: Advances, Issues, and Problems in Captive Wolf Research On Goldendoodles and "back crosses" Some of School For The Dogs' students from River Valley Doodles -- Woof Shout Out: Learn more about Gary, aka Garebear, an adorable and adoptable young Frenchie who currently being fostered in the East Village, at
February 26, 2019
New "Diggs" for your dog: Zel Crampton's dog crate revolution
We use dog crates every day at School For The Dogs. They're an integral part of dog training: We recommend them to clients who are house training puppies, incorporate them into class exercises, and transport dogs in them. And yet, all of us who work at our training center agree: Crates... kind of suck! They're clunky and ugly! Noisy! Storing them is a pain, and when you have to open and then collapse them all day long (like we do), you're going to suffer pinched fingers. It has long seemed like a problem with no solution, but Zel Crampton might just be our white knight. Crampton is the founder of Diggs, a product development company whose flagship item, the Revol, is a crate that just might change everything... In this episode, he and Annie talk about the problem with crates, and the "revolution" that he foresees.  Notes:  Find the Revol at StoreForTheDogs:  Through 3/31/19, get $25 off your Revol crate purchase from with code SFTD25 10 innovative crates: Database of dogs licensed in NYC (last updated in 2017): The Treat And Train: In this episode, Annie spoke about how she wished there were a collar that could vibrate but not shock a dog; most vibrating collars are also shock collars. But after recording the episode, she was told about one! Witness the Dogwidgets "No Shock E-Collar Pet Trainer"
February 12, 2019
Teaching a stellar "Down" with a verbal or visual cue
Every dog already knows how to lie down -- your dog lies down all the time! The trick to training a "down" is to teach your dog to do it when you ask for it. That involves adding a cue. In this episode, Annie addresses the difference between a "cue" and a "command," and talks about some of the pitfalls people tend to fall into when attempting to cue a dog -- is the dog responding to your words? Or your body language? Or both? Or neither?! Annie goes over how to teach a "down" using two methods: Capturing, and luring. For the former, she describes how to use a verbal cue. For the latter, she explains how to morph a lured down into a down that is a response to a clear and subtle visual cue. The result is a dog who will understand what you want in as little as just one training session. Also make sure to see our recent episode on training "Sit." Are you enjoying this podcast? Please leave it a 5-star rating and write a review on iTunes! If you have a training question you'd like answered, submit it at School:  Shop:  Instagram:  Facebook Group:
February 6, 2019
Let’s talk about dogs & babies with Jessica Jacobson of Dapper Dog Training
You might consider your dog your "baby," but what happens if you decide to add an actual infant to your family? Jessica Jacobson, owner of NYC's Dapper Dog Training, has spent years coaching families on prepping their dogs for the arrival of a tiny non-furry new family member. Annie and she discuss how she built her career, and go over some key things to consider when training a dog for interspecies sibling-hood.  Notes:  Dapper Dog Training: Marilyn Ullman of the "Discover Your Dream Career" course: Association of Professional Dog Trainers' annual conference: Nursing Your Baby by Karen Pryor: Snuggle Puppies: Annie's baby!: Music: "Hello Ma Baby" ukulele cover by The Channel Drifters
January 29, 2019
Our student Lola Barksdale: A Floofdragon's guide to Instagram stardom
When we first met Lola Barksdale,  she was a tiny Frenchie puppy in our Kindergarten classes. We had no idea that she would become an Instagram star, or that she was secretly obsessed with unicorns and alpacas, loved purple fruit loops and waffles (which she calls "woofles,"), considered herself a "floofdragon" and had hobbies including interior decorating and counting her own feet. The genius behind her account is her human, Rachel Rednor. Rachel works in finance, but during her bathroom breaks at the office, she has developed an entire character for her little dog, built through photos and captions.  Annie talked to Rachel about creating, and managing, her dog's Internet celebrity.  Notes: French Bulldog Club Of America: Music: Ukulele cover of "Play a Simple Melody" by JazzBanjoRex
January 22, 2019
Dog training pet peeves: The word "energy" and the misuse of the word "positive"
In the modern era of dog training, people often rush to blame a person or a dog's "energy" for behavior issues.  In this episode, Annie addresses why all the talk about using or observing "energy" in order to train a dog makes her cringe, and also why she thinks the misuse of the word "positive" leads to too many misunderstandings about science-based training.  Notes:  John Watson's Psychology As The Behaviorist Views It Free eBook edition: Fun Dog Fact Of The Day: Rowlf the Muppet was invented in order to sell dog food! Here he is making his debut in the early 1960s in a Purina commercial where he convinces his friend that dog chow is better than asparagus.  Then he eats his kibble with a spoon.
January 7, 2019
Training "Look" using the "Invisible Triangle" method
Everyone is impressed by a dog whose eyes meets a human's gaze with magnet-like intensity on cue. Teaching a dog to "touch" his or her eyes to your eyes is a great exercise to practice no matter what the pooch's training level is. When teaching this attention-based behavior to a dog-- whether you use a word such as "Look" or the dog's name -- Annie suggests focusing on your training mechanics before jumping to setting criteria for your dog. In this episode, she clearly breaks down how to build a stellar "Look" cue from scratch, in just six quick steps, using only sixty tiny treats. Notes: Treat suggestions Tricky Trainers (and other brands that make these pencil-eraser sized morsels) can be broken up into at least four pieces, meaning you'll go through only 15 treats in your session: Lamb lung breaks up into neat pieces without getting greasy or crumbly: Happy Howies rolls can be sliced and then diced into very small bits: Dogs and presidents: "Look For The Silver Lining" ukulele cover by Renei Yarrow:
December 5, 2018
Part 2: How I used punishment to train my husband to cover his mouth when he yawns
In this episode, Annie offers a follow up to the previous episode, which featured a candid conversation with her husband about her ill-fated attempt to use punishment to keep him from showing her his uvula very time he yawned. Here, she points out some of the similarities and differences between using punishment with dogs and with humans. This episode touches on, among other things: -The long shadow punishment can cast -How language can offer clarification... or not -The subjective nature of "bad" behavior -Choosing appropriate punishers (and reinforcers) -The issue with a "Nothing In Life Is Free" approach to training -The importance of wisely selecting a training subject who isn't inclined to exhibit copious unwanted behaviors Notes: How I used punishment to train my husband to cover his mouth when he yawns (Part 1): Parentonomics-- a book that discusses the trap of toilet training a child with jelly beans: Plenty In Life Is Free by Kathy Sdao: Have a question for our upcoming Q + A episode? Ask it at
November 27, 2018
Part 1: How I used punishment to train my husband to cover his mouth when he yawns
Annie is happily married to a man named Jason Pedicone, who is basically perfect in every way except... he doesn't cover his mouth when he yawns. So, she decided to use her talents as a dog trainer to train him to change this behavior. But she decided to try something she doesn't normally do with dogs: She attempted to curb his habit by using punishment. While she sort of succeeded, she also got a first hand taste at how training using punishment can mar a relationship in unexpected ways. Notes: Pavlov Dog Monitor: Pet Safe Anti-Bark Autotrainer: Jonah Hill on Fresh Air with Terry Gross: Dogs and Yawning: Tips on keeping your dog out of the ER this Thanksgiving: Music: "Hello My Baby" ukulele cover by The Channel Drifters
November 19, 2018
How to shape your dog to go to a mat (and to be a polite Thanksgiving guest)
"Shaping" is simply the process of breaking a behavior down to its smallest components and slowly raising your criteria in order to build new behaviors. By reinforcing successive approximations, it's possible to train dogs to do almost anything they are physically capable of doing! In this episode, Annie goes over some key things to think when shaping a new behavior, and describes how to shape a dog to go to a mat, or what she calls a "sticky spot." A dog who knows how to go to a mat will make an excellent guest at holiday dinners: You can "shape" a pup to have a specific spot where he will have learned to stay put and be calm, no matter how good that stuffing smells! Notes: School For The Dogs training mat: Don't Shoot The Dog: Karen Pryor's Ten Laws of Shaping: Fun Dog Fact Of The Day: Karen Pryor's Nursing Your Baby: Woof Shout Out: Share your shaping session with us by tagging @SchoolForTheDogs on Instagram or sharing at Like this podcast! Please rate us five stars on iTunes!
November 13, 2018
Let's talk about NYC's 1st dog-friendly cafe with Logan Mikhly
Earlier this year Logan Mikhly and her father Coppy Holzman opened a business unlike any other in NYC: A dog-friendly cafe. Logan has a background in animal rescue, Coppy is a dog-loving serial entrepreneur, and both are obsessed with coffee. Frustrated by the fact that New York's health codes make it nearly impossible for them to grab a cup of joe without having to tie their dogs to a streetlight, they contacted the Department of Health for a brainstorming session on how to make a place where beverages and quadrupeds could lawfully co-exist. The result is Boris & Horton. Named after their own dogs, this bright, cheery, and well-loved cafe-cum-indoor-dog-park has quickly become a beloved neighborhood fixture. In this episode, Logan shares the business' back story. Notes: Boris and Horton is located at 195 Avenue A, at the corner of 12th Street. Learn more at Other dog friendly cafes: The Bulldog in New Orleans: The Dog Cafe in Los Angeles: Chateau Le Woof in Queens, NY: Products mentioned: Klimb Platforms: Bocce's Bakery Treats: Stewart's Freeze Dried Beef Liver Treats: Nature's Miracle: Fun Dog Fact of the Day: The CoyoteVest: Woof Shout Out: Last week the world lost a wonderful woman, and dog lover: Ellen Retter. She was a client, a friend, and a big School For The Dogs fan. A photo of Ellen and her dog Lucy training at School For The Dogs with Annie appeared in CNN in 2015.
November 5, 2018
Halloween & Dogs: How to make costumes less scary for pets
Halloween can be a scary time… for dogs! But it can also be a time to think about how to use training to reduce fears and overcome challenges. In this episode, Annie discusses, among other things: -Ideas for low stress, easy costumes that most dogs can wear without anxiety. -Acclimating a dog to a costume by creating good associations with it over time. -Teaching your dog to wear costumes made out of muzzles, cones, and other things you actually may want to train him or her to feel okay about wearing. -Noticing stress signals your dog, or other dogs, may display to show their discomfort. Have an idea for an easy, low stress dog costume? Tag us on Instagram, join our Facebook Group, or share it by emailing Notes: The psychological torment of a dog on Halloween: Dog candy corn bandana: Ty Tag costume: Or make your own: Superhero Bandanas: Cowboy harness costume: Jockey harness costume: Pet Paint: Dog nail polish: Creative grooming (Vice video produced by Annie): Dog muzzle “costumes”: Dog cone “costumes” Rubie’s “Disney” line of princess costumes et al: Make sure to join our Facebook Group!
October 29, 2018
Our student Nelson: Life with a muzzled dog
After years of researching breeds, Joanie Comenzo of Manhattan decided to get a Welsh Terrier. When she went to pick up her new dog, Nelson, the breeder pushed him into her arms and said "Your puppy is an alpha." Joanie loved him from the moment she saw him, and that love never waned, even after he bit her multiple times, and sent her mother and boyfriend to the hospital. Over the last eight years, Joanie has sought training and medical advice from a wide array of professionals. Today, Nelson wears a muzzle every moment of the day that he isn't in his crate. He and Joanie live a happy, if unusual, life together. This is their love story. Notes... Nelson's preferred muzzle: Fun Dog Fact Of The Day: As late as the early 1900s, dogs were allowed to roam off leash in Philadelphia as long as they were muzzled. Woof Shout Out: Zuri, who wears a muzzle to deter people from pestering her for being so cute, can be found on Instagram at Music: "Love Is Strange" cover by Toast Garden
October 22, 2018
A modern dog owner's guide to sidewalk leash greetings
As much as we want our dogs to be social beings, the sad fact is that city streets are not an ideal place for leashed dogs to socialize. The close confines of the sidewalk can keep dogs from having enough space to greet each other properly, and leashes too often can become uncomfortably taught, leading a dog to think that even just the sight of another dog predicts yanking and choking. This episode addresses: -Avoiding other dogs on the street -Using the presence of other dogs on leash as a cue for your dog to pay attention to you -Providing your dog with appropriate off-leash socialization opportunities -Choosing which dogs you might let your dog greet -Helping your dog greet other dogs naturally and appropriately ... and more Notes: 7 things to consider before letting to dogs greet on leash: Dogs In Need Of Space: The Yellow Dog Project: Mendota leash -- Annie's favorite, lightweight leash: Woof Shout Out: Dog adoption vests by Mimi Reid Fun dog fact of the day: NYC dog names (dogs named after fruits, vegetables, etc) Follow School For The Dogs on Instagram: Ask Annie:
October 15, 2018
Let’s talk about the future of dog food with The Farmer's Dog's Brett Podolsky
When Brett Podolsky's dog was chronically unwell, he had an idea: What if he bought the same ingredients listed and in the commercial brand he was feeding her, and made her fresh food? The change in her health was drastic, and led to Brett, who was then working as a comedian, convincing his best friend, Jonathan Regev, to start a subscription-based high-end dog food company with him. Now three years old, their Brooklyn-based company, The Farmer's Dog, has secured some ten million dollars in VC funding and their health-supportive recipes are being enjoyed by tens of thousands of grateful dogs throughout the country. Annie and Brett discuss what it takes to start a dog food company from scratch, the problems behind commercial dog food, and the shifts in dog owner awareness that are leading to a tide change in the pet food realm. Visit and get 50% off a two week trial subscription.  Notes: Learn more about the Farmers Dog at Brett and Jonathan in Forbes:  Fun Dog Fact: Yes, it's possible to dog food that is nutritionally viable (according to government standards) using shoe leather, crushed coal, water, and motor oil.  Woof Shout Out: Our sweet doodle student Webster recently moved to San Francisco. We miss him, but we enjoy keeping tabs on his left coast life on Instagram!  Have a question about dog training? Get in touch! 
October 8, 2018
Katie Sturino, mom to @ToastMeetsWorld, on Instadog stardom
Katie Sturino is many things: A publicist, an influencer, a fashion blogger, a product developer and more. You might know her from The12ishStyle, the blog and Instagram account where she suggests celeb-worthy looks that can be worm by larger ladies who identify as "body positive" or "body neutral." She also has a product line, MegaBabe, which tackles problems like boob sweat. But all of her successes have sprung from her passion for being a "dogager" or "momager" to a brood of dogs who've gained nearly a half million devoted followers on Instagram. Katie and Annie discuss her passion for rescuing puppy mill survivors, the challenges of living with five dogs in Manhattan, and what it takes to make a dog Instafamous. Notes: Katie's Instagram accounts: Sponsor: Train your inbox with SANEBOX! Get $15 off at
October 2, 2018
Teach a foolproof DROP and COME using Classical Conditioning
There are two types of conditioning we use in dog training: Operant (aka learning by consequence, or "Skinnerian Conditioning") and Classical (aka learning by association, or "Pavlovian Conditioning"). When we teach new behaviors, we tend to focus on Operant Conditioning. In this episode, Annie talks about the differences between these two kinds of teaching/learning, and reveals how, in many cases, Classical Conditioning can produce very reliable behaviors with little effort. Notes: What vending machines can teach us about training "come" & "drop it" : Music: "Time Is On My Side" cover by Toast Garden Sponsor: Train your inbox using SANEBOX! Get $15 off at Like this podcast? Leave a review on iTunes at or visit us on Anchor at to support it with a monthly contribution of $0.99, $4.99 or $9.99 a month. Thanks!
September 24, 2018
A better mousetrap: Building the perfect bully stick holder
If you have a dog, you've likely encountered bully stick chews. They're great for keeping dogs occupied, but there is always the risk of swallowing them, especially when they get chewed down to their ends. Several products have recently hit the market, each of which tries to solve this problem in a novel way by sheathing, clamping, or holding the chews in such a way to make it impossible (ideally) for a dog to choke on them. Annie surveys some of these products, and interviews the inventor of the The Everchew, designed by Austin-based inventor Kirby Kendall. Help fund his product on Kickstarter (through 10/3/18) at  Notes:  What is a bully stick?  Bully stick holders at  Music: "Bully of the town" cover by JazzBanjoRex  ponsor: SANEBOX! Get $15 off at
September 17, 2018
Let’s talk about in-home dog grooming with Ani Corless
Ani Corless is a dog groomer and the owner of the NYC-based business Luxury Groomer. Unlike most groomers, Ani goes into her clients' homes to groom their dogs. Annie and she discuss her path to becoming a groomer, some common mistakes that well-intentioned dog owners make when grooming their own dogs, and the various ways that in-home grooming can benefit dogs, dog owners, and groomers alike. Learn more about Ani at Annie and Ani discuss the annual "Creative Grooming" competition held each year in Hershey, PA. Annie produced a short video about this event for in 2011. Interested in pursuing a grooming career? offers both a list of US programs and several informative articles on selecting a school. Sponsor: Is your Inbox a mess? You need SANEBOX! Get a free trial & $15 off when you sign up at
September 10, 2018
Ask Annie: Navigating dog runs and managing elevator manners
In this Q+A episode, Annie discusses how to deal with dogs in elevators, and how to navigate dog parks. She also talks about what to do if your dog gets off leash, and how to help a dog who attacks her brother whenever they pass another dog. Have a question for a future episode? Visit Show notes: Products: Fleece Activity Mat: Wall-Mounted Slow Feeder: Freedom Harness: Liquid Treat Dispenser: Target Stick: Whistle Recall DVD: Grisha Stewart's BAT guide: Music: "Back To School Again" by JazzBanjoRex: Sponsor: Is your Inbox a mess? You need SANEBOX! Free trial and $15 off at
September 4, 2018
Let’s talk about SFTD's origins with co-founder Kate Senisi
In 2011, Annie Grossman and Kate Senisi were both trying to figure out how to make a business out of dog training. They met through the Association for Professional Dog Trainers' message board, and discovered they lived a block away from one another in Manhattan. They also discovered they had complementary talents: Kate had an eye for detail, a background in graphic design, a head for organization, and a passion for dealing with aggressive dogs; Annie had an entrepreneurial spirit, writing skill, and lots of creative ideas. They decided to join forces, and together turned Annie's living room into a dog training classroom--they called it School For The Dogs. Here, Annie and Kate discuss SFTD's early days and their paths to becoming trainers. Notes: Training videos: Music: "Sister Kate" cover by Lloyd Davis Sponsor: Is your Inbox messy? You need SANEBOX! Get $15 off at
August 27, 2018
Being BF Skinner's daughter: Deborah Buzan dispels the myths
Renowned behavioral psychologist BF Skinner codified much of the science behind positive reinforcement-based animal training, and is a hero to many dog trainers. But for over half a century, his reputation has been tarnished by rumors that his daughter went crazy and killed herself because he raised her in a box. Annie interviews said daughter, Deborah Buzan, who is alive and sane. She was in fact raised in a box... sort of. Buzan discussed the "Air Crib," aka the "Baby Box," and growing up with a genius father who was devoted to engineering ways to make life easier and happier for his wife and daughters. Notes: Transcript: Music: Hello My Baby cover by Melissa Mahony of the Channel Drifters Blue Danube cover by David Beckingham BF Skinner Foundation: Sponsor: Is your Inbox a mess? You need SANEBOX! Get a free trial and $15 off
August 21, 2018
Wonderful "Work To Eat" toys: Slow food bowls
Every time you feed a dog, you have the opportunity to channel some of her energy into an appropriate activity, to tire her out, and to give her a sense of purpose. "Work To Eat" toys provide dogs with jobs, and dogs like to be employed! If we don't give them jobs, they too often make up their own jobs, alerting you to every sound in the hallway, or redesigning the couch cushions with their mouths. There are lots of kinds of "Work To Eat" toys. In this episode, Annie talks about one type: Slow Food Bowls. These kinds of toys can be used with any kind of food or treat (wet, dry, raw or frozen), and are no harder to use than a regular bowl. Slow Food Bowls: Types of "Work To Eat" Toys: "Ain't We Got Fun" ukulele cover by Jazzbanjo Rex: Find Annie at
August 13, 2018
How to train a dog to "sit" from scratch
Newsflash: Your dog already knows how to sit! But he may not know the cue you want to associate with that behavior. Annie breaks down how to use the "capturing" technique to teach "sit" anew and to add a novel cue. She covers: -The downsides of "luring" a behavior or "molding" it -The trap of trying to teach a behavior by asking for it repeatedly -The difference between a "cue" and a "command" -How to add a cue -The never-ending process of "shaping" a behavior -How to fade a lure and turn it into a cue Show notes: Get a clicker: Sponsor: Is your Inbox a mess? Train it with SANEBOX! Get a 2 week trial & $15 off when you sign up at More On Pooper Scooper Law: Featured Dog: Want to support this podcast? We now accept "Listener Support" at Anchor.FM/Dogs. Chip in $.99, $4.99 or $9.99/month. Thanks!
August 6, 2018
The Dog Training Triad Part 3: Timing
So, you have a carefully engineered environment (see: The Dog Training Triad Part 1) where your dog is likely to do lots of things you want him to to do, and you have also selected really appropriate rewards (see: The Dog Training Triad Part 2). Now what? you need to make sure your rewards are being given with really excellent TIMING! Dogs are doing things constantly, and concurrently. Behaviors are overlapping at every moment, and a dog may sometimes think a reward is for something other than what you thought it was for. In this episode, Annie explains how to deliver rewards with A+ timing by using a "marker" signal. Read more about this on our blog: Parts 1 & 2 of The Dog Training Triad series: Show notes: Music by: Sponsor: Take control of your email! Get a 14-day free SANEBOX trial & a $15 coupon. Sign up at
July 30, 2018
The Dog Training Triad Part 2: Rewards
Once you've set the stage to up the chances that you'll get lots of behaviors you want (see The Dog Training Triad Part 1), you'll need to figure out how to reinforce those behaviors. In this episode, Annie discusses: -The difference between reinforcers and rewards -Discerning whether something is a reinforcer -Figuring out your dog's individual reward cornucopia -Understanding rewards as currency -The changing value and appropriateness of rewards -"Real life" rewards -The importance of treat size when using food Read more about this on our blog: Products mentioned: Lamb Lung: Liquid Treat Dispenser: Kalles: Tricky Trainers: "Big Rock Candy Mountain" cover by Nicole Toombs: Learn more about... Leslie Hawke's Romanian initiatives: Photographer Milla Chappell: Pike13:
July 23, 2018
The Dog Training Triad Part 1: Management
There are three major ingredients required in any positive reinforcement-based dog training plan. They are: Management, Timing, and Rewards. This episode is about Management, and is the first of a three part series on the Triad. Simply put, management is all about making the right options the easy options for your learner in order to up the chances of getting the behaviors you want. In this episode, Annie looks at the many ways in which we can set up our dog students for success by controlling their physical space, and the ways in which the can also smartly manage their time and energy. Notes: The Dog Training Triad Part 1: Management Work-To-Eat Toys: Crate training: The Klimb Platform: 8 Things You Didn't Know About The Kong:
July 16, 2018
Let's talk about dog walking with DivaDog's Shelley Goldberg
In New York City, a good dog walker can be hard to find. Dog owners open up their homes to them, and put their most beloved and vulnerable family members in their care, but a majority of walkers have no training or even interest in their chosen career. DivaDog is a walking company that strives to bring professionalism to the industry. Annie interviews its owner, Shelley Goldberg, about her three decades in the business, her hiring and management practices, and finding meaning and soulfulness in the pet care industry. You can reach Shelley at 707-DIVA-DOG Notes: 11 questions to ask a potential dog walker: Music: Rockin' Robin cover by Danielle Anderson School For The Dogs: Store For The Dogs:
July 9, 2018
Let's talk about dog photography with Milla Chappell
This episode is all about Real Happy Dogs, the NYC-based photography business started by Milla Chappell, who is known for her photojournalistic approach to capturing the lives of dogs and their humans in situ. Milla tells Annie about growing up as the daughter (and granddaughter) of veterinarians, and how she went from getting graduate degrees in linguistics and English to becoming a wedding photographer, before eventually finding a way to marry her passion for animals, her interest in writing, and her photography talents. Milla shares some tips for getting great photos of dogs, and tells the stories of some of the rescues she's shot and profiled on her popular Instagram. Show notes: Milla shares photo tips: Real Happy Dogs website: Real Happy Dogs on Instagram: School For The Dogs on Instagram: Please make sure to rate 5-stars on iTunes!
July 2, 2018
Ask Annie: Curtailing jumping and helping scaredy dogs
Annie answers questions from listeners dealing with jumpy dogs, and also addresses how to acclimate a nervous dog to all the stimuli she needs to interact with on a daily basis. Have a training question? Leave a voice message at or at 917-414-2625, or email You'll learn: -Why dogs want to jump & why most attempts to punish jumping don't work -How to use treats effectively on the street -How to have people approach your dog on the street (& how to tell them to go away) -How to employ a remote-controlled treat dispenser to help your dog rehearse good dog manners whenever anyone enters your home Show notes: How to stop a dog from jumping before he starts: "Give Me Space" vests: Treat + Train: Resources for people w/ dogs who have issues with fearfulness in public:
June 25, 2018
What you need to know about the dog flu
In NYC in the last month there have been nearly 100 dogs diagnosed with the dog flu. To learn more, I interviewed Dr. Andrea Y. Tu of Park East Animal Hospital and Veterinary Behavior Consultations of NYC. H3N2 is believed to have originated in birds and was first detected in dogs in South Korea in 2007. It was identified in March 2015 in the Chicago area; it most likely spread from dogs rescued from South Korea and brought to the US for adoption. In this episode, Dr. Tu addresses the following concerns, among others: -How the flu spreads -How you can keep your dog safe -What to do if your dog is infected -What to do if you run a facility that is frequented by dogs Show notes: A primer on the dog flu outbreak in NYC: About Dr. Andrea Y Tu: Further resources: Please make sure to subscribe & rate 5-stars on iTunes!
June 18, 2018
Let's talk about dog parties with Hayley Mehalco
Not long after throwing her own English Bulldog a princess-themed birthday party, Hayley Mehalco decided to leave her job as an event planner at one of New York's poshest hotels in order to become a full-time party planner for the canine set. In this episode, Annie learns about the ins and outs of Puppy Parties NYC, a business that caters to "dog Instagram socialites," and talks about her own former tendency to roll her eyes at such things. Annie also asks some larger questions about modern pet ownership: Is it okay for people to treat their dogs as ersatz children? Who is the real beneficiary of things like parties for dogs? Show notes: Puppy Parties NYC: Puppy Parties NYC on Instagram: School For The Dogs on Instagram: Please make sure to subscribe & rate 5-stars on iTunes! Annie Grossman owns School For The Dogs in Manhattan. Learn more at
June 11, 2018
A modern dog owner's guide to nipping
Nipping is something that tends to drive new puppy owners batty. A lot of the advice you'll find on the Internet suggests scolding a pup for nipping; usually people are told they should use a high pitched voice (as if to emulate another puppy) or to berate the dog in the deepest voice possible. There are still lots of professionals out there who will advise that conversing with a puppy will curb the problem, if done in the right tone of voice. In this podcast episode, I suggest thinking about puppy nipping less as a problem and more as a natural thing puppies do as they start to learn about the world. Both you and your puppy will benefit if he has lots of daily opportunities to use his mouth appropriately. Show notes: 7 ways to deal with nipping: On bully sticks: Work to eat toys:
June 4, 2018
Our student Basket: Helping geneticists improve pedigrees
School For The Dogs' clients Samantha Schwartz and Ben Ment wanted to find a mixed-breed Bernese Mountain Dog puppy, figuring that it'd be less prone to health issues than a purebred Bernese. When Samantha's email inquiries to breeders got posted to social media, she ended up being cyber bullied by hardcore breed enthusiasts/purists around the world. Samantha tells Annie about how this unexpected and bizarre turn of events led her and Ben to Basket, a puppy from the Bernese Mountain Dog Vitality Project, which is run by breeders and geneticists who are working to help modify the breed for the better over time. Show notes: Bernese Mountain Dog Vitality Project: Basket's Instagram: Please make sure to subscribe & rate 5-stars on iTunes! Annie Grossman owns and operates School For The Dogs in NYC. Studio: Shop: Instagram:
May 28, 2018
Let's talk about Pavlov with dog trainer Anamarie Johnson
Anamarie Johnson has been with School For The Dogs for three years, and, in that time, has won us all over with her pep, humor, and training chops. In this episode, we discuss her background in rescue work, her childhood pets (fruit flies and incestuous cats), the wonders of classical conditioning and why squirrels at her college were painted orange and green. Show notes: Please make sure to subscribe & rate 5-stars on iTunes! Annie Grossman owns and operates School For The Dogs in NYC. Studio: Shop: Facebook: Instagram:
May 21, 2018
Let's talk about veterinary house calls with Dr. Lisa Lippman
Dr. Lisa Lippman, a visiting vet in Manhattan, isn't just a knowledgeable medical professional: She is also a savvy business woman who is using the Internet to build her in-home practice. She and her comedian boyfriend Richie Redding, with whom co-hosts the Pets & Punchlines podcast, chat about the benefits (and occasional downsides) of having a vet come to your home, the "zoobiquity" movement, the 28-pound cat whose star turn that jumpstarted her practice, and more. Show notes: Pets & Punchlines: Dr. Lisa Lippman: Richie Redding: Please make sure to subscribe & rate 5-stars on iTunes! Annie Grossman owns and operates School For The Dogs in NYC. Studio: Shop: Facebook:
May 7, 2018
Let's talk about dogs in the workplace with Carly Strife of Bark
Annie interviews Carly Strife, COO and Co-founder of Bark, the company behind the incredibly successful BarkBox subscription service, which has earned more than half a million subscribers since it launched in 2012. Carly talks about the concept of turning dog toys into human entertainment, and she and Annie chat about the benefits and challenges involved in creating an office that caters equally to both people and pets. Show notes: 8 tips for training the perfect office dog: Bark: "9 to 5" covered by Azalea Grace: Please make sure to subscribe & rate 5-stars on iTunes! Annie Grossman owns and operates School For The Dogs in NYC. Studio: Shop: Facebook:
April 30, 2018
Our Canine Cousins: On behavior & evolution
Humans and dogs have more in common than what initially meets the eyes. As non-extinct land dwelling mammals, we are both species that are in a special category that makes up 1/20th of 1/20th of 1 percent of all the species of animals who have ever lived. Annie attempts to look at the dog/human relationship from the long lens of the evolution of life on Earth, and helps us think about about what we can extrapolate about dog behavior based on what we know about ourselves. Show notes: A dog trainer's view of evolution: 6 ways in which dogs and humans are exactly alike: Please make sure to subscribe & rate 5-star on iTunes! Annie Grossman owns and operates School For The Dogs in NYC. Studio: Shop: Instagram: Facebook:
April 9, 2018
Let's talk about dog food with Hanna Mandelbaum of Evermore
Annie interviews Brooklyn-based dog food entrepreneur (and sometimes trapeze artist) Hanna Mandelbaum on why it matters what we feed our dogs. Together, they consider some of the many choices, including dry vs. canned, frozen vs. fresh, and cooked vs. raw. Show Notes: Evermore Petfood: Facebook Group: School For The Dogs: Please make sure to subscribe & rate 5-star on iTunes! NYC-based dog trainer Annie Grossman loves to find engaging ways to help both dogs & humans approach training as an exercise in better understanding all animal behavior. She specializes in working with puppies, teaching tricks, & prepping dogs for commercial work.
March 27, 2018
A modern dog owner's guide to house training
Training a dog where to pee and poop is a major priority for most new dog owners. But there is a lot of misinformation on how to do it -- we don't even have a term for it that make sense! Are we training the house? Is it still "house breaking" if you live in an apartment? Annie breaks down how to take on this task in a way that can be easy and error-free using smart management tools, good timing, and well-thought out rewards. If you have a question for Annie or want to request a guest, join our Facebook Group at Show notes: 10 Steps to House Training: About: Dog trainer Annie Grossman loves to find engaging ways to help both dogs & humans approach training as an exercise in better understanding all animal behavior. Please make sure to subscribe & give us 5-stars on iTunes!
March 18, 2018
What is “Good” dog training?
There are lots of approaches to training dogs, but they’re not all equally “Good.” Annie breaks down common labels for the kind of training School For The Dogs promotes, including “positive reinforcement training,” “clicker training,” and “science-based training.” If you have a question for Annie or want to request a guest, join our Facebook Group at Show Notes: School For The Dogs: Shop For The Dogs: Please make sure to subscribe & give us 5-stars on iTunes! About: NYC-based dog trainer Annie Grossman loves to find engaging ways to help both dogs & humans approach training as an exercise in better understanding all animal behavior. She specializes in working with puppies, teaching tricks, & prepping dogs for commercial work.
March 8, 2018
Meet Annie and learn how School For The Dogs came to be
In our very first episode, meet your host, dog trainer Annie Grossman, School For The Dogs' co-founder. Learn about her journey from average-jane dog lover to passionate defender of ethical dog training and ownership. Annie Grossman: Show Notes: Facebook Group: School For The Dogs: Shop For The Dogs: Instagram: Please make sure to subscribe & give us 5-stars on iTunes! NYC-based dog trainer Annie Grossman loves to find engaging ways to help both dogs & humans approach training as an exercise in better understanding all animal behavior. She specializes in working with puppies, teaching tricks, & prepping dogs for commercial work.
March 3, 2018
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