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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.

Follow Us On Social Media!

Step 1 of Happy Vet Visits: Form positive associations with your dog traveling to the vet clinic and hanging out in the parking lot. Try doing this once a month to help you dog happy about going to the vet!

#theconfidenthound #dogtrainingadvice #cooperativecare #veterinaryclinic #vetvisit #positivedogtraining #wacotx #dogsofwaco

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Training Tip: Teach your dog both a "Wait" & a "Stay" cue for different purposes!

In this LIVE video, I cover:

1️⃣ Why it helps your dog to have both cues
2️⃣ How we use them for different situations
3️⃣ How this improves you & your dog's training proficiency

👇 If you have questions or want to suggest a topic for the next LIVE video, let me know in the comments!

#theconfidenthound #dogtrainingtips #dogtrainingadvice #puppytrainingtips #puppytraining101 #wacotown #wacotexas #wacotx #dogsofwaco

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Our dog Ace struggles with anxiety about certain sounds, so we've done a lot of rehabilitation training on this topic. In this brief Live video, I discuss an example of how we help reduce his anxiety for one of his noise triggers...the dreaded washer/dryer!

Do you want to see more LIVE discussions of dog training topics? Comment below with a topic of interest.

NOTE: While I cannot provide direct training advice for your situation, I can give general information about how I have worked through similar issues in the past. If you need a referral to a reputable trainer near you, I'm happy to help you in your search!

#theconfidenthound #dogbodylanguage #dogbehavior #positivedogtraining #dogmoms #rescuedogsofinsta #gsdofinsta #wacotexas #dogsofwaco

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💡 Enrichment Idea: Go on a Car Sniffari!

👃 You've probably heard talk about the importance of sniffy walks. But what if walking your dog isn't an option? You can still provide the enrichment portion of a walk by going on a sniffy car ride instead!

🚗 Make sure your dog is well secured, roll down the windows, drive around your neighborhood slowly, and let them enjoy the breeze and all the good smells.

🐶 Car Sniffaris are a great alternative for older dogs, disabled dogs, dogs on exercise restrictions, and dogs who pull on leash. It's also our favorite way to help Ace meet his sniff quote on a hot summer day and help him decompress after a thunderstorm.

⚠️ If your dog does not enjoy car rides, I recommend working on their feelings about the car first before trying this.

👇 Have you ever taken a car sniffari with your dog? Let me know how it went in the comments!

#theconfidenthound #canineenrichment #enrichmentfordogs #carrideswithdogs #dogtrainingtips #gsdofinsta #wacotx #dogsofwaco

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🤫 How To Deal With Excessive Alert Barking

💬 TIP #1: Instead of barking back, start up a fun conversation.

Our first dog Artemis was the neighborhood watch and her barking at windows drove me CRAZY. When I started replacing my annoyed "Shut UP!" with a cheerful "What did you find?", the effect was immediate! She would stop barking and turn to me with her ears perked and butt wiggling. You could see in her body language that she finally felt valued for her important job. This repaired her feelings about my voice, which made subsequent training more successful.

🔇 TIP #2: Minimize your dog's exposure to things that trigger alert barking.

Our current dog, Ace, is a German Shepherd (so good luck fighting genetics) AND he is noise sensitive. We use white noise and music to drown out sounds, and we have a decorative film on our front windows that lets in light but obscures what's outside. We've also noticed he'll just bark into the void whenever he's bored 😂, which is usually solved by an enrichment activity. All of these things have helped tremendously!

🤝 TIP #3: Teach your dog the "OK Thank You!" game.

Start by just saying the phrase cheerfully, then immediately feeding your dog a tasty treat. Your dog doesn't have to do anything to earn the treat: you are simply charging that phrase with happy feelings and teaching that a treat always follows. Repeat this 10 times daily for at least a few days.

Then you can start using it in real life! When your dog barks at something, say your phrase after 1-2 barks and go give them a treat. With repetition, your dog will start coming to you for their reward instead! Check out @kiki.yablon for more details on this training protocol.

👇Did you catch that cool moment of body language towards the end? Comment below with your guess and I'll share my analysis!

#theconfidenthound #dogtrainingtips #dogbehavior #positivedogtraining #gsdofinsta #germanshepherdlife #reactivedogsunite #wacotx #dogsofwaco

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💼 How To #giveyourdogajob you can get back to yours!

🐾 This is the FIRST thing I teach every #dogtraining client because it is a critical part of addressing your concerns. Behind every "bad" behavior is a dog with an unmet need that we can channel into a human approved activity. These activities enrich your dog's life and give them a daily job to do.

⁉️ So, what is #canineenrichment ? Why do I need to do it? How will it help with my dog's behavior problems? How much will it cost? How much time does it take? What job should I give to MY dog? When do I give it to them?

📘Everything you need to get started is compiled in my Canine Enrichment Guide, which is officially available to purchase! (See link in bio)

🥰 P.S. - Thank you SO MUCH for showing up to the @wacowomenscollective 1st Annual Marketplace this weekend! I loved talking with each of you about what kind of enrichment activities would be great for your dog. Please tag me in videos of them enjoying their new jobs!!

#theconfidenthound #dogtrainingadvice #dogenrichment #newdog #newpuppyparents #dogmomsofinstagram #wacotexas #wacotown #dogsofwaco

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🥎 Does your dog have a "no take, only throw" response to you trying to play fetch? Don't take it personally - playing fetch does not come naturally to most dogs, even retrievers! If your dog enjoys chasing toys, but struggles to bring it back and/or drop it, here's some tips to build up those fetch skills:

1️⃣ Play tug of war daily...and let your dog win! This can motivate your dog to bring toys TO you.

2️⃣ Start small! Play indoors and only throw the toy 5-10 feet away. The further you throw a toy, the more distractions your dog will pass on the way back to you.

3️⃣ Pay your dog for every return! This can either be food or another toy to throw. The food/toy gets released the moment they drop their toy.

4️⃣ End the game on a high note! Quit playing before your dog is too tired to come back enthusiastically.

5️⃣ Be open to what your dog thinks is fun! Maybe your dog doesn't want to run sprints back and forth. If the game is for them, then let them show you what they think is fun. They may want to play fetch, then tug a little, then throw the toy and pounce on it themselves, then be chased by you.

#theconfidenthound #dogtrainingtips #puppyproblems #puppytrainingtips #dogmoms #canineenrichment #dachshundsofinsta #wacotexas #dogsofwaco

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By necessity, we control so much of our dog's lives - what they eat, where the bathroom is, when they go on walks - and this goes double for puppies! This is why I strongly recommend giving your puppy as much freedom and choice as you can within those constraints.

This is Ginger, a mini goldendoodle in my 8-week Prepared Pup program. My agenda today was to take her on a neighborhood sniffy walk and do some socialization & training. Her agenda was to bring this toy with her, so I let her! Then she wanted to just hang in the front yard, so we did that. Once she was ready to go for a walk, I let her sniff and explore anything that was safe.

When you give your puppy some autonomy in their life, you create a bond that will last a lifetime. Instead of being someone that makes their world smaller, they'll think of you as the person who delivers all of the fun. They'll be more engaged during training because you're where the party is at! As they move into adolescence and become more independent, this foundation will be so useful.

🐶 Do you have a new puppy or are you expecting one soon? I wrote a puppy raising guide called the Puppy Primer for people like you who want to get off on the right foot. You can find it on my website via the link in bio!

#theconfidenthound #newdog #newpuppyparents #puppytrainingtips #dogmoms #puppyproblems #wacotx #wacotown #dogsofwaco

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Tip for Training Your Dog In Public & My go-to items to pack in my bag.

First Aid kit from @cabelas
Shirt & backpack from @woofcultr
Long line from @trailblazingtails (sorry for saying the wrong company in the video!!)
Collapsible bowl from @ollydog
Training mat from @ruffwear
Treat pouch from @doggonegoodclickerco

#theconfidenthound #dogtrainingtips #dogtrainingadvice #havefunwithyourdog #decompressionwalk #dogwalkersofig #wacotexas #dogsofwaco

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⁉️ What is a flirt pole? It's a great dog toy! It kind of looks like a fishing pole or large cat toy. Your dog chases and grabs the end with an enticing squeaky toy and you hold the pole end.

Flirt poles are great for:
🔹Alternative exercise option to walks
🔹Channeling your dog's need to chase and tug
🔹Giving your child a safer way to play with your dog
🔹Entertainment on a rainy day
🔹Training your dog to release objects from their mouth

🛒 My favorite flirtpole is the one by @squishyfacestudio because the rope part is made of bungee which is great for playing tug of war. You can find it on our Amazon Idea List (see link in bio)!

👇Most dog parents haven't tried a flirt pole before. Have you? And if so, did your dog take to it? Let me know in the comments!

#theconfidenthound #dogtrainingtips #dogmomaf #canineenrichment #dogenrichment #playwithyourdog #beaglesofig #wacotx #dogsofwaco

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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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