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Hamptons Life

Nov 30, 2010 1:27 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

A Pocket Guide To Raising The Proper Pooch

Nov 30, 2010 1:27 PM

Attired in a cream colored down vest and a red rosette collar, Saffron Monsoon, known affectionately as “Saffy,” set a calm pace on her morning walk through Emma Rose Elliston Park in Southampton. Her companions, Jay-J and Lisa Hartman, walked close behind.

Saffy, a Chinese crested hairless dog, and Jay-J, a dalmatian, perused the leafy grounds with an easy, confident gait, their mellow meanderings belying tough beginnings. Suffering from severe behavioral issues due to abuse and neglect, Saffy and Jay-J were adopted and rehabilitated by Ms. Hartman, a Southampton resident and dog trainer who gave the pooches a new lease on life.

Ms. Hartman, known as “Lisa the Dog Trainer,” is a lifelong animal lover and dog welfare advocate. She published her first book, “Dial A Dynamite Dog: The Ultimate Field Guide for Training Your Pet,” in August. Tapping into her expertise as an animal behavioral specialist, Ms. Hartman refers to her book as the ultimate “Cliffs Notes”-type guide on positive pet training.

Her journey as a pet advocate began in 2004 in Miami, Florida. While nursing a back injury, Ms. Hartman first connected with the Humane Society of Miami as a shelter volunteer. But soon afterward, she completed the ASPCA’s six-week intensive course in dog training and became the shelter’s Director of Behavior and Dog Training.

In Miami’s Dade County, Ms. Hartman reported that more than 50,000 animals are euthanized each year, so she put her skills to work rehabilitating “troubled” dogs at the shelter, making many of them eligible for adoption. During her time in Miami, she also wrote a pet column for The Biscayne Times called “Pawsitively Pets” and contributed her time to various dog charities and rescue groups along the East Coast.

Happy to be back on the East End, she said, today Ms. Hartman is hard at work providing year-round and summer residents with personalized dog training programs.

“My dog training does not involve force,” said the petite canine coach, whose Southampton-based Positive Dog Training business services the East End’s dog-loving community.

“I don’t endorse any bullying in my training, the accent is on the positive,” she said. “I like to reward the dogs for their good behavior.”

Ms. Hartman said that dog owners can establish themselves as leaders, not by force, but by controlling their dog’s environment. As an example, in one of the many recommendations contained in her book, the trainer encourages pet owners to make themselves valuable to their dogs by eliminating “free feeding.”

“It is like an earn-to-walk program” explained Ms. Hartman. “Good behavior is rewarded and by controlling the dog’s walks, food, car rides and treats. They will eventually understand who is the boss.”

But, Ms. Hartman stressed the importance of positive reinforcement and the reciprocity of loving behavior between owner and pet.

“I want our next generation of pet owners to learn to communicate with animals with intelligence and compassion, not a heavy hand,” she said.

“Dial A Dynamite Dog” is on sale at Little Lucy’s Pet Boutique in Southampton, Harbor Pets in Sag Harbor, the Montauk Bookstore and on Amazon.com. For more information about positive dog training, visit lisathedogtrainer.com or call (786) 942-7387.

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Nice! Great article about one of our members!
By NancyPetPro (1), Southampton on Dec 2, 10 9:39 AM