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Building Confidence In Your Dog

So you both can worry less and enjoy life more.

Force-Free Dog Training In Waco, Texas and McLennan County!

About The Confident Hound

Our mission is to build confidence in dogs and their guardians so you can both worry less and enjoy life more.

We have approximately 8 to 15 short years with our dogs. Stress, anxiety, fear, frustration, and insecurity can take a toll on health and happiness, shortening that time and diminishing your memories together. You and your dog deserve peace of mind, to feel in control, and to have predictability and harmony in your home. We want you both to worry less, so you can enjoy your precious time together.

For both people and dogs, CONFIDENCE happens when you know what to expect, how to achieve your goal, and believe your efforts will be rewarded. This is why we don’t just train dogs – we teach people how to reach their dog training goals. When you both embark on the learning journey together, your bond strengthens and you learn how to confidently tackle problems as a team. We achieve this through positive reinforcement training methods that are free of force, fear, pain, intimidation, and coercion. We choose this method because it is ethical, effective, efficient, and works for every dog.

Your Trainers

Lisa Corcoran, VSA-CDT

Lisa is a lifelong lover of dogs, learning new things, and solving puzzles. Her background is in Psychology (B.S., Virginia Tech; M.A., Catholic University of America) and she currently works in the veteran mental health research field. Lisa is a graduate with distinction of the prestigious Victoria Stilwell Academy for Dog Training & Behavior and has been granted official status as a VSA-Certified Dog Trainer (VSA-CDT). Since 2017, Lisa has volunteered weekly at shelters and rescues to rehabilitate dogs looking for good homes.

These experiences help Lisa understand why both her canine and human clients do what they do. Lisa’s detail-oriented nature helps her to identify the cause of your dog’s behavior problems, and her creativity leads to a solution that works for both you and your dog. If you’re looking for a total dog nerd, Lisa is the trainer for you.

Mike Corcoran, CSB-D

Having grown up with dogs that displayed fearful and aggressive behaviors, Mike made it his mission to specialize in helping dogs like these be more confident and content in their surroundings.

Mike’s educational background is in Computer Science (B.S., Mary Washington College; M.S., George Mason University), which gives him a unique perspective of dog behavior problems as being similar to bugs in computer software. Combined with his experience as a rifleman in the United States Marine Corps, where he learned that true leadership doesn’t rely on using fear or punishment, Mike brings a systems-based approach to dog training.

Mike is a Certified Shelter Dog Behavior Consultant (CSB-D) through the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC) and recently completed Michael Shikashio’s Aggression in Dogs course.

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Sergeant is all ears for some happy vet visit tips! Here's what I bring when joining my clients at the vet office.

🧀 VERY tasty food: We're talking the real deal - hot dogs, peanut butter, cheese, shredded chicken, etc. This is not the time to be cheap with your rewards!! Your dog is being asked to do hard things: Go into this tiny room with strangers, let them stick a thermometer up your butt, then they'll stab you with needles, and they will handle you a bunch all while other dogs bark and cry in the background. Bringing very high-value food will help them form more positive associations with this environment and these procedures.

🥰 A cozy mat or blanket: Predictability and comfort help with lowering stress levels. I love using this Chenille bath rug (found at Kohls) because my client dogs are already familiar with it from training. Also, some dogs don't like the shiny, metal examination table, so having a mat/blanket to stand on can help them feel more comfortable.

🧩 A food puzzle toy: Most dogs don't have interest in eating or playing if they are stressed. So this acts as both a temperature check on how your dog is feeling and a stress-relieving activity. Bringing a fun toy that they know from home is a great way to build positive associations with the vet.

🩺 These 3 things can help your dog feel better at the vet, but they are by no means the main solution for a dog who is stressed at the vet office. Sergeant, his family and I are working behind the scenes on cooperative care to help him feel happier next time. Thank you so much to Texas Animal Medical Center for letting me help Sergeant and his family on this visit!

#theconfidenthound #puppysocialization #puppytrainingtips #dogtrainingadvice #fearfree #cooperativecare #dogsofwaco #wacotexas

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What's the first thing I do when I meet a dog? Avoid petting them.

I don't know about you, but I don't want to be groped on the first date. Physical affection is something someone gets AFTER I've bonded with them. So instead of petting a new dog, what do I do to build a bond?

1) I toss food their way. Nothing simpler than dealing out some dopamine.
2) If they're interested, I entice them to play.
3) I give them space and choice, especially to move away from me. When I'm around, I don't make the dog's world smaller...I give them (safe) freedom to explore.

This was Day 1 of tutoring my newest Prepared Pup client, Ginger. She was nervous about me as a stranger at first. But I used these steps and 30 minutes later she was sad to see me leave.

My Prepared Pup program is for puppies under 10 weeks old. I help you prepare for your puppy's arrival, then guide you through the socialization and training you should focus on in the first 2 months. If you are expecting to get a puppy at some point, reach out to get off on the right foot.

#theconfidenthound #dogtrainingtips #dogmoms #goldendoodlelife #puppyproblems #newdog #wacotx #dogsofwaco

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🎉 Happy 10th Birthday to our sweet goober, Ace ♥️

#dogbirthday #seniordogsofinstagram #rescuedogsofinsta #gsdofinsta #wacotexas #dogsofwaco

🎵 Thank you to @jamesbartholomewguitar for this beautiful instrumental of Billy Joel's Just The Way You Are

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✨ Destructive Dog Tip ✨

Does your dog like to rip and chew on your personal items or furniture? My first step in solving any training problem is to check that the dog's needs are being met. This is because there is usually an unmet need beneath unwanted behaviors.

Your dog has a biological need to shred, dissect and chew things up. Despite being domesticated, the instinct to rip apart a carcas is still there. Without a way to satisfy this craving, they find whatever feels or smells interesting - like your table legs or panties 😲

So don't fight the beast...FEED THE NEED! We give our dog Ace two chews each day - one in the morning and one at night. He is passionate about his chew time and never let's me forget when 10 am rolls around 😂 Afterwards his emotional cup is so filled that he settles down for a nap 💤

Our go-to digestible chews are:
✳️ REDBARN Bully Sticks
✳️ BRUTUS & BARNABY Dehydrated Sweet Potato Treats
✳️ HONEST KITCHEN Dehydrated Codfish Skins

The sweet potato treats and codfish skins are my favorite chews for puppies and small dogs because they're not as dense and tough.

Confession Time: Ace likes snotty tissues 🤢 What's the grossest thing your dog likes to steal and shred? Share in the comments 👇

#theconfidenthound #dogbehavior #dogtrainingadvice #puppytrainingtips #dogenrichment #wacotx #wacotown #dogsofwaco

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Like most dogs, our dog Ace likes to be a part of all the family activities. With a nearly 100 lbs dog and a very mobile baby, this can be challenging!

My #1 tip to new parents is to give their dog a designated spot to relax - like a bed, cot, couch, or area rug. While your little one plays, toss treats to your dog on their spot. This will motivate them to keep hanging out there. You're also building a positive association with the sights and sounds of your baby playing!

BONUS TIP: Make this spot a safe zone for your dog. If your child begins to approach the spot, intervene and redirect them away from the spot. This shows your dog that their spot is a place they can retreat to and you will hold that boundary for them.

♥️ Share this tip with a parent

#theconfidenthound #dogtrainingtips #dogsandbabies #dogsandkids #dogmomaf #gsdofinsta #wacotexas #dogsofwaco

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🧦 Is your dog a thief?

Our first dog Artemis loved to take socks and rip them apart. At first, we told her 'No' and tried to take them back by force. Guess what? It didn't solve the problem. But one small change did...we started offering her a trade for something tasty!

TRY THIS ➡️ Every time your dog takes an off-limits item, go and get your tastiest treat. Offer them the treat in a closed fist right in front of their nose and let them contemplate the choice. If it's a bargain they accept, they will have to drop the object to get the treat. As soon as they drop the item, throw the treat to the side so you can swoop in and grab the object.

⚠️ Then here's the most important step...Put that object away!!! If it's accessible to them, they will get it again. Work smarter, not harder by keeping off-limits items out of reach. And provide them with an outlet to chew and shred something approved.

LEVEL UP ⬆️ Once your dog has started to anticipate the treat trade game, you can start saying the word drop as you present your treat fist. This will teach your dog both a verbal ("Drop") and visual (✊) cue for the desired behavior.

❓What object might your dog grab today so you can try this training game? 👇Let me know in the comments

🐶 The sweet pup in this video is Tyson at Fuzzy Friends Rescue. He's a friendly, affectionate, and playful little guy - the whole package!

#theconfidenthound #dogtrainingtips #dogtraining101 #positivedogtraining #rescuedogsofig #rescuedogsofinsta #rescuedog #wacotexas #dogsofwaco

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What happens when you reward your dog's behaviors? Your dog repeats them in the future!

Video Example: My client and I have been rewarding Ginny for walking close enough to us on walks that the lease stays loose. Now she can't get enough and is basically focus heeling! We reinforced a behavior we liked and as a result it is being repeated.

The first week after the consultation, my clients often say they already see a difference in their dog's responsiveness. This happens because my first homework assignment is to simply reward behaviors they like more often. They were training reactively before working with me, but now they train proactively!

Let's pick one lovely behavior you can catch your dog doing today and reward the heck out of it! Talk to me in the comments and I'll throw an idea your way 👇

#theconfidenthound #dogtrainingtips #dogtrainingadvice #dogtraining101 #goldendoodlelife #dogsofwaco #wacotexas #wacotx #texasdogs

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😁 TFW your dog's chew obsession and your organizing obsession converge

But seriously: I keep this many longer-lasting, digestible chew treats in stock because it is a daily enrichment activity in my house and I recommend the same to my clients.

For only 3 seconds of your time, you can:
✅ Fulfill your dog's need to chew and dissect
✅ Reduce the chance of chewing on off-limits items the rest of the day
✅ Give them a mentally stimulation for 5-10+ minutes.

That's the kind of return on investment I like to see!

My favorite situations to give a chew:
🔹When my dog is just antsy
🔹When I need to focus on work
🔹When I'm moving around the house and I need my dog to not be in the way
🔹When I'm entertaining guests
🔹When we transition to evening relaxtion time
🔹When I first get home and my dog is amped but I just need a few moments to myself

Chews seen in this video are Cow ears, Veal lungs, Codfish skins, Peanut butter bully slices, Dehydrated sweet potato slices, Lamb lung, Tilapia filets, and Nylabone Healthy Edibles. Click the link in bio to get to our Amazon list of favorites for all of these products!

👇 What enrichment solution to unwanted behaviors has become YOUR obsession? Let me know in the comments!

#theconfidenthound #dogtrainingtips
#canineenrichment #giveyourdogajob #dogsmoms #dogmomaf #thehomedit #wacotexas #dogsofwaco

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Just a compilation of Ace living his best life 🥰

We adopted Ace when he was about 7 years old. Before coming home with us, he lived outside for nearly all of his life and not by choice.

Ace still enjoys spending time outside, but now it is on his own terms. Nothing makes me happier than watching him enjoy life. Plus, it's a good reminder to me to stop and take in a beautiful sunrise on occasion.

#theconfidenthound #seniordogsofinstagram #rescuedogsofig #canineenrichment #dogenrichment #wacotx #dogsofwaco

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👶🐶 DOG & BABY PREP: Introducing The Stroller

The most common advice given to expecting parents is to bring home the baby blanket from the hospital for the dog to smell. While there's certainly no harm in doing this, it doesn't prepare your dog AT ALL for how their life is about to change.

When we prepared our dog Ace for our baby's arrival, we focused on building positive associations with the new objects (e.g., stroller), sounds (e.g., baby cries), and activities (e.g., being gated out of the nursery) he would encounter on a daily basis. The Treat & Retreat game was our go-to for acclimating him to any new baby gear.

Ace has handled the transition to big brother fantastically! Part of the success is due to his unique personality, but I give us a lot of credit for being proactive and preparing him before our baby came home and life got hectic.

How does your dog react to baby strollers? 👇 Let me know in the comments!

#theconfidenthound #dogtrainingtips #dogsandbabies #babiesanddogs #dogmoms #expectingmom #wacomoms #wacotexas

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