Professional Dog Training, Behavior Modification and Evaluation

At Pawsitive Manners we offer a variety of services that can be tailored to suit your needs and the needs of your dog(s) through one-on-one sessions. Group classes can be arranged if you and your friends would like to share the sessions. 

Working with a Certified Professional Dog Trainer helps you reach your goals for your dog faster and more efficiently. I use science based positive reinforcement training methods that are most effective and humane. I do not use, nor recommend, methods that use force, fear or pain. 

Please visit the Services page for a list of current services.

Pawsitive Manners can help you with:

  • Preparing your home for a new puppy
  • Caring for your new puppy
  • Puppy training and socialization
  • House training (potty training)
  • Obedience training for adolescent and adult dogs (sit, down, stand, stay, wait, leave-it, come, Find-It etc.)
  • Polite greeting (no jumping)
  • Loose leash walking (heeling)
  • Recall (coming when called)
  • Behavioral issues (barking, door dashing, pulling on leash, dog reactivity, shyness, fear, resource guarding, digging, chewing, leash reactivity) 

Maryam Kamali
Certified Pet Dog Trainer and Evaluator
Maryam [at]

Recent Blog Posts:

Dog - Cat Introduction

Dog Cat Introductions

This post is inspired by all the inquiries I received in the last 2 weeks about introducing dogs to cats.

Some dogs are fine when meeting a new cat, and there are those that cannot be trusted to live safely with a cat.

To determine whether the dog can peacefully live with a cat, put the dog on leash and make sure there is no tension on the leash. Watch the dog’s and the cat’s body language as they slowly meet. It’ll be best to have 2 people during the introduction.

If the dog is not behaving aggressively, ask him for a sit or down. You will need to have high value treats in your treat pouch. Your treats need to be so good that the dog will find them more interesting than chasing the cat.

Treat and praise the dog for looking back at you and remaining calm. This will allow the cat to come closer to investigate, but this will depend on the cat. If the cat is really shy then he/she may not want to approach the dog.

If the dog stiffens his body, barks at and focuses on the cat, then he has strong prey drive. In this situation, make sure that the dog doesn’t get any opportunity to chase or harm the cat. Put the cat in a room and use a sturdy and tall enough baby gate so that they can still see each other.

Now you can work with the dog and get him to do tricks, play and focus on things other than the cat, so that you can reward him for not paying attention to the cat. This process may take several days for the dog and the cat to learn to coexist in the same house.

When you leave the house, please make sure that the cat and the dog are separated to ensure their safety.

Give this a try and leave your comments below. I would love to hear your feedback.

P.S. Blog photo, courtesy of Vafa Animal Shelter
Click HERE to visit their Facebook page!

By maryam.

How to improve your dog's reliability

Buddy Orso Sam

Here are some of the most common complains I hear from dog owners:

• He purposely ignores me
• He only listens to me at home
• He knows better

Does he really know better? Or is he confused? At the end of every session I give my clients their homework, give them one week to do it, and ask them to be sure to practice in as many different environments as possible. Why? Because dogs don’t generalize! If you taught your dog to sit in your living room, it doesn’t mean that he is going understand the command when you are on your front lawn. This is why it is absolutely crucial that we practice every command in different environments with different levels of distraction.

Always carry good quality treats with you when you are out and about with your dog. Don’t tell me that your dog should just obey you without any treats. What would you tell your boss if he told you that, and didn’t offer you any pay?

If your dog doesn’t listen, it could very well be that he doesn’t understand what you are asking of him. Repeating the command or raising your voice won’t help the situation. It’ll only confuse your dog and make him think that you are the one who needs help!

If you have been doing your homework and your dog is still not listening to you, then please contact me to make an appointment. There are other reasons that can affect a dog’s behavior and reliability.

Cheers to responsible dog parenting!


By maryam.

Dogs' Play Styles

Dogs come in all shapes, sizes and personalities thanks to years of breeding for specific tasks. Not all dogs play the same, and none of them play like we do with our human friends.

Dogs have an amazing way of communicating with each other, though some aren’t very good at it especially if they haven’t been socialized enough with other dogs.

People often get nervous when their dog is playing with other dogs in a playgroup or at the park, because they see teeth flashing and dogs barking and playing “rough”. Many dogs enjoy the rough play and they love to bark while playing. Some love to nip at other’s back legs, face, ears and herding other dogs around.

Sometimes owners get stressed out when they witness such “rough” play then start shouting out their dog’s name. This can cause a perfectly happy and healthy play to turn into a dogfight.

Dogs are very much in tune with their owner’s emotions, and when they sense their stress, it makes them think that there is a problem. Yes! You guessed it! The owner transfers their stress to the dog, which causes the dog to react in his playgroup. This can cause dogfights to occur.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not suggesting that we allow our dogs to play unsupervised. I believe that we, as responsible dog owners, should educate ourselves about canine body language so that we can understand how our dogs feel and what they are trying to communicate. With better understanding about dog language, we can confidently supervise dogs at play and prevent fights from occurring!


By maryam.

Excessive Barking!

One of the many things that differentiate dogs from other animals is their ability to bark and I think it would be strange for someone to want a dog and expect him to never bark. Dogs bark to alert their owners, to scare the scary thing off, to demand your attention, because they are bored out of their doggie minds, and they bark because dogs just want to have fun!

There are many reasons why dogs bark, and I always like to find out why a dog barks or “excessively” barks, before suggesting a solution.

If you believe your dog loves to bark and it isn’t because he is under exercised, bored, anxious, aggressive, fearful or any other reason, then teach him to bark and shush on cue.
First find out what triggers your dog to bark. Let’s say it is the doorbell.

Say “woof” or “speak” or whatever you want the cue to be. Then ring the doorbell. Praise your dog for barking. By now your dog is thinking that you have lost your mind!

Now say “Shush” or “quiet” and show him a yummy treat. Your dog will stop barking to sniff the treat. Praise him and say good shush, and give him the treat.

Practice several times, until your dog understands the meaning of “Speak” and “Shush”.

Happy Barking!

By maryam.

Dog-Dog Greetings

Dogs are social, just as social as people… well, most people are social and some are not. Even the most social people, have days which they just don’t feel like socializing at all, and may come across as unfriendly or even aggressive. But the reality of it is that they are just having a bad day!

Believe or not, dogs are exactly the same. Just like us, they can have bad days and good days, and just like people they can get grumpy when they are tired or hungry.

It is important to always pay attention to your dog’s body language and mood. Especially when you are taking him out to the dog park or for an on-leash walk. Listen to your intuition, and if it is telling you that today it might be best not to let your dog greet other dogs, then please pay attention to it!

Have you ever been on a nice and peaceful walk with your dog, and all of a sudden you see a person and his dog approaching, and you think to yourself, is that dog walking his owner or is the owner walking his dog? And you think the dog’s owner doesn’t really look like he is having a good time and seems a little stressed? Then the dog runs over to your dog while dragging his owner along. Before you know, the dog is wrestling with yours and there are loud barks and teeth flashing, and the dog’s owner is yelling as loud as he can while pulling on the leash?

My recommendation is if you are not sure of the approaching person and their dog, then it is best to distract your dog and avoid the greeting altogether. You can turn around, or get your dog to sit, look at you and then give him a treat, and tell the approaching person that your dog is in training.

Each greeting is different because each dog/owner that you meet is different. If you aren’t feeling good about meeting them, then the chances are your dog has already picked up on your energy and he may have already tensed up.
The more positive experiences your dog has with other dogs, the more likely he is to stay friendly and well behaved towards them.

I offer one-on-one coaching to help dog owners with their leash reactive dogs, and the ones who like to teach their dogs polite leash walking, and keeping their dogs out of trouble on walks and off-leash areas.

By maryam.