Trained With Kindness Trained with Kindness

Develop DogLife Skills

through kindness, understanding, communication


Do you believe your dog is an important part of your life? Are you dedicated to forming the best relationship possible with your precious furry friend? Is it important to you to guide your dog through his life with you using kindness, respect and understanding?

Then this is the program for you!

CP-HIP is working to redefine “dog training” on every level, from what we do to what we say. So much new, important research is available now that the very concept of “training” needs to be broken down and rebuilt. A marvelous group of dedicated smart people has given us the keys to a newer, substantially better connection with our dogs, and yet most of us are still using ideas and terminology from 15 years ago!

Key findings that may surprise you:

• It is NOT all about dominance, alpha, being the boss, etc.

• Telling a dog that he is bad or wrong does no good because they don’t have a good/bad right/wrong value system.

• Experts do not agree on whether dogs are pack animals or not.

• Rewards-based teaching methods produce better, more consistent results than intimidation/correction/punishment-based training.

We are DogLife Skills Instructors (DLSI) and Kindness Specialists, not “trainers.” We teach cooperation and responsiveness, not “obedience.” (For more on the new vocabulary, see Words Matter!)

Yes, we teach “commands” (vocabulary/instructions/directions). Yes, we fix behavior problems.

Our mission is to show you and your dog how to live in harmony.   

Our methods are kind, simple and effective. They make sense. And they make both you and your dog feel good about working together. We celebrate good choices, which means we don’t need to constantly watch/direct/correct. 

Please join us on this marvelous journey!


Photo: Creed Woodka Photography

It’s all about behavior, really

You can have the star pupil in dog class, but he could still be tearing up your house, snapping at your kids, barking his head off, etc.

That’s because having a happy, responsive dog is not about how many tricks (e.g sit, down, shake) he knows, it’s about what kind of behavior you encourage.

Instructions (“commands”) are simply tools that help you shape a dog’s behavior, and if they are not used that way, they really are not very helpful.

Our emphasis often is not on instructions at all, but rather on creating the situation in which the dog can make good decision that can be rewarded. In other words, we want our dogs to think! We want them to make “right” choices (ours) so we can trust them, and don’t have to watch or tell them what to do all the time. They know what to do.

To us, DogLife Skills Instruction is a big ol’ game. Play it right, and win great prizes — belly rubs, biscuits, car rides, etc. Don’t play right, no prizes … until you do. Our job and yours is to make sure your dog wins lots of prizes! And then we win the ultimate prize: a polite, well-behaved dog.


How we work

Whatever CP-HIP teaching service you choose, you get the same things from us:

•  Thorough evaluation of your dog
•  Clear explanation not only of how to do something, but why you are doing it.
•  Answers to as many questions as you need to ask.
•  A program customized to your dog.
•  A belief that, absent a medical issue, with enough time and effort, virtually any situation can be improved, any challenge can be met.
•  Support that lasts your dog’s lifetime.
•  Silliness, laughter, fun — we do love what we do!

Read some testimonials.


Christy’s principal influences

It took a village

Although my old, reactive dog Jaspar was the main reason I was searching for a better way to communicate with dogs, many people and dogs have contributed to my unique perspective.

Jan Fennell is why I became a trainer. Though I have moved on philosophically, Jan ripped the curtain back and shoved me into the world of modern training. I will forever be grateful at the terrific start I got from this great lady!

My absolutely favorite trainer and one who continues to influence me day after day is U.S. trainer Patricia McConnell. Her work with aggressive dogs over the past 20 years is truly impressive, but for me it’s her keen ability to read and react to dogs, and how she shares that information that really sets her apart (she tells great stories!). She is effervescent and joyful, and she is unabashedly in goofy dog-love with her pups (do we know that feeling? Oh yes we do!). Her signature work, The Other End of the Leash (see Recommended Reading), should be required reading for any caring dog owner! Studying her work and others like her has allowed me to continue to grow as a trainer. I am truly inspired by her.

I found Grisha Stewart early in 2012. She created a great tool for dealing with leash-reactive dogs: Behavior Adjustment Training (BAT). In 2014, she introduced BAT 2.0, also great! I love how she thinks, and I am continuing to follow her to see what else she comes up with.

I am a member of Behavior Education Network, founded by Suzanne Hetts and Dan Estep, two smart, dedicated animal behaviorists who keep up on all the latest scientific animal behavior stuff — as a true “training geek,” I cannot get enough of this stuff! For non-geek pet POGs, they offer Animal Behavior Associates, a great resource for anyone who has a furry companion!


Karin’s principal influences

My former dog trainer, Michelle Blount-Jordan, recommended that I read The Other End of the Leash by Patricia McConnell. It was such an eye opening book! I thought I knew about dogs, but after reading this book, I realized how little I really knew. It made me want to learn even more about dogs. I’ve read every book Patricia McConnell has written!

I love Christy Paxton’s book Reverse Dog Training. It is so informative and written with Christy’s special style of humor! You won’t feel so bad when you discover you aren’t the only one doing everything backwards!

Problem Solving Formula

A great product from Christy Paxton is her DogLife Skills Guides booklets. The booklets cover many useful topics, such as Barking, Body Language, Fear and Overreaction. They are in PDF format, so they are at your fingertips. The topics are easy to understand, and again Christy’s great sense of humor helps you deal with problems in a helpful manner. There are 11 topics, or you can just buy the full set, so you are prepared for life with your dog!

Another favorite author is Nicole Wilde. She started out working with wolf dogs. She began Villalobos Rescue with Tia Torres, who moved on to help pit bulls and is on the TV show Pitbulls and Parolees. Books by Nicole Wilde include Don’t Leave Me, Help for Your Fearful Dog, and Hit by a Flying Wolf.

Behavior Adjustment Training BAT for Fear, Frustration and Aggressive Dogs by Grisha Stewart is an amazing book. Her method can really help dogs with leash- related fear issues!

Other Favorites:

•  Bones Would Rain From the Sky by Suzanne Clothier
•  Dogs are from Neptune and Mine by Jean Donaldson
•  Plenty in Life is Free by Kathy Sdao

Recently I watched the DVD set Do as I Do by Claudia Fugazza. It’s about the new concept of dogs being social learners. They can watch us and copy what we do! Anyone who has a dog that can let himself out of the back door know all about this!

Sophia Yin was a vet and animal behaviorist. Sadly she passed away in 2014. Her website is full of great information. She also has free downloads on how to greet a dog and body language of fear and anxiety in dogs.

Interested in learning more about who has influenced us? Take a look at our Recommended Reading list.

Single-topic booklets

Single-topic problem solving booklets

DogLife Skills Guides give in-depth advice and solutions you probably have never heard before! Eleven to choose from, or buy the whole set!

Learn more.

Training ‘textbook’

Reverse Dog Training

"Reverse Dog Training: A Fresh Perspective for Solving Common Problems"

Start fixing those nagging problems today! Just $12.