The best way to learn about training your dog is to actually DO it with the real time guidance of an experienced professional. However, you can still learn a lot about training concepts and theories by reading. We hope that these articles help you add even more insight to your training experience.

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dog aggression is under control after training with Fortunate K9 in Derry NH

I Resolve   -

     Hey, you! “Dog Lover” with the glass of egg nog and the epic hangover! Where’s your dog right now? Recovering from your dramatic re-entry at 2AM, during which you discovered the atavistic use of Gaelic cursewords as you stumbled over him in the dark? Well, he’s a dog, he’s over it by now. Call him into the room. Ask him to sit.   More...


Don’t Worry, He’s Friendly -

     Maybe you’ve been there: walking along in a public space, minding your own business, when suddenly your reverie is broken by the sound of approaching footsteps and heavy breathing. Before you have a chance to protect yourself, your assailant has made physical contact, body slamming you and covering your exposed skin with slobbering kisses. As you push him away, the Golden Retriever’s owner comes jogging up, waving a dog cookie and a designer leash, shouting the universal battle cry of Canis-Ownerus Ignoramus: “Don’t worry, he’s friendly!”  More...



The Behavioral Bends of Adoption  -

     Well he’s home. Whether he was a long planned “perfect match” decided in advance by you and the Adoption Coordinator, or he was the winning contestant in a long lineup of four legged orphans, he’s your baby now.   More...



But I Already “Did” Training -

     I can’t tell you how many of my students have come to me and begun their explanation of their dogs’ issues with the above. Many times, the owner of a dog who’s already “done training” really hasn’t done any training. He may have taken his dog as a pup to a socialization or manners class and ended things there. Now Pup is a three year old with a host of bad habits. Other owners try to do their training at home, using what seemed to have been sufficient for their last dog. They usually find out the hard way that not all dogs are the same, and that what worked beautifully for Ol’ Shep might not be as effective for Young Buck. As they wait for Young Buck to grow out of the offending behaviors, he instead grows into them, becoming a practiced hooligan by his second birthday.   More...



False Positives -

      Let’s begin with this. I personally don’t care how someone trains a dog, provided they meet the following criteria:

1. They do no harm to the dog.

2. They are easy for the owner to understand and provide techniques that are easy to emulate.

3.  They provide solid results in real world settings in a reasonable amount of time.

     - Chain collar and six foot lead? No problem.

     - Remote collar? No problem.

     - Clicker and treats? No problem.

     - Blade of timothy grass while humming “Rollercoaster of Love”? Is the dog trained?

     Then no problem.

     I do have a problem with ineffective training being sold under the double banner of scientific integrity and ethical superiority.  Look anywhere for dog training information and dog training businesses, and you will see a recurring and very misleading term: “positive”.   More...



How To Have a Way With Dogs -

     I’ve heard it my entire life: “You have such a way with dogs!”

Sometimes it is in admiration, as I handle an otherwise incorrigible dog and show his owners the potential he has. Often it is used as an excuse; an owner will compare the way his dog works for me with the uncontrollable animal he has contended with for weeks, months or years, and with that simple statement, abandons all hope for his own success and abdicates his responsibility in the dog’s failure. “A way with dogs” can be a compliment, and it can be a condemnation (for the dog in question). But the one thing I tell every person who accuses me of having “a way with dogs” is that it is a fiction.  More...  



The Slippery Slope Of Guardianship -

      I own four dogs. Separately or en masse, they travel with me to work, on business trips, and sometimes just for fun. They run in the woods surrounding my home, and walk politely on a leash and whenever possible, off of one in the public spaces where they are welcome. They visit pet supply shops to pick out special toys, they eat the best food I can get for them, they have an affectionate and longstanding relationship with a great veterinarian, they sleep in my room so that they are the last faces I see at night and the first to greet me every morning. I can say without guile that I love them. But I own them. They are my dogs. More...  



The Prong Collar: Fact vs. Fiction -

      Of all the tools used in dog training, perhaps none is more widely misunderstood and maligned than the prong collar (also known as the pinch collar). Many well-meaning but misinformed people assume that judging by its looks, the prong collar is a barbaric device intended to "stab" a dog's neck in order to correct misbehavior. While walking my own dogs on this type of collar I have encountered complete strangers who think nothing of telling me how cruel I am to use such a harsh device. While I am indifferent to this type of comment, I worry that similar incidents will drive responsible dog owners away from using this excellent, effective and kind (yes, kind) training  tool on dogs that benefit from it the most. This article is meant to reassure those who are already using the collar or are considering it and more importantly, to educate those who think it is "cruel" or unfair to the dog.   More...



The Abuse Excuse And Why It’s Bad For Dogs -

      We are a nation of animal lovers. Raised on “Bambi” and “Black Beauty”, we grow up believing in the inherent innocence and good nature of all creatures, and in the notion that if left to their own devices, all animals would exist in a sort of modern Peaceable Kingdom. When someone adopts a dog from a shelter or rescue agency, there is an assumption that the dog is there solely because of some heartless negligence or outright violence. While this can be the case in all too many situations, a more honest look at the facts will show that most pets are given up to shelters by people who are not all that different than the people who wish to adopt or who work at the agency in question. Job relocation, divorce, a death in the family, loss of income, medical problems, and the threat of insurance cancellation for the owners of some breeds are the most common practical reasons people give up their dogs. While we are all familiar with the staggering number who are turned in for real or imagined behavior problems, even that diagnosis doesn’t necessarily jibe with the invocation of abuse that usually accompanies it.  More...



The Shy Dog Primer -

     When it comes to dogs, the main concern in the eyes of the general public is regarding aggression. A quick look at the dog bite statistics in the U.S. will tell you why. While the most horrific headline-grabbing incidents tend to happen because a dog pursues and attacks a much weaker human who may be viewed as prey (think of the latest mauling of a child by a large dog), a large number of dog bites may be attributed to a dog in defense drive, who is biting for a totally different reason.   More...



Dead Dogs Walking -

     Cancelled insurance policies, BSL, negative public sentiment about certain types of dogs, dog sports and training methods...there seems to be an ideological war on common sense regarding canine issues these days. But while it is easy to point the finger at the usual suspects of the media, politicians and John Q. Public, we must also be aware of a more insidious element in the formation of public opinion about dogs. This element is the influence of the widely accepted belief that all dogs are basically the same and should be held to exactly the same standards when it comes to issues of temperament and behavior. This homogenizing effort is best exemplified in the popular temperament tests designed for dogs in shelters and pounds which are now used by some groups and individuals who deal with the rescue of working breeds.    More... 

Big Duke says “Study hard, there’ll be a quiz later”.

29 South Ave.  Derry, NH

1 mile from exit 4 off I-93


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Olde English Bulldogges dog training Boarding School Board and Train

Boarding School students Fenway and Millie offer topics for Julia’s next article.

Some of their suggestions: “The Feline Menace”, “Tactfully Intact”, “The Whole Cat Cookbook”, “Fenway and Millie, The Greatest Dogs Ever!”.  Julia has declined to commit to any of these concepts at this point.

“Canine Contrarian” articles:

Exotic Pets Part One -

     Exotic pets: you mean tarantulas, geckos and spiny hedgehogs? Well, no. Not that I have anthing against sporting a 7 foot corn snake around your neck as a fashion accessory. Oh, wait a second...    More...



Exotic Pets Part Two -

     Have you ever known someone who was blindly obsessed with the latest thing? Have you ever known someone who has acquired a habit, an accessory or a companion that was simply all wrong for them? How do you handle them?    More...



With Friends Like These -

     After a long day of training dogs, coaching owners, and in the course of this work, sometimes serving as a de facto marriage counselor and psychotherapist, I like nothing better than to come home, put on my PJs, pour a glass of wine and veg in front of the TV. People always think that as a professional dog trainer, I have the cable box permanently set to “Animal Planet”. But the truth is there are very few dog-related programs that I can stomach. Most either celebrate the dog as victim; present glossy, dumbed-down propaganda about a particular breed; or show “trainers” at varying levels of incompetence taking forever to barely teach a dog a basic command. The last time I tried to watch one of the latter (“It’s Me or the Dog”), it was a British import, and its star was a woman who dressed like a Savile Row dominatrix and, like some post-modern Mary Poppins, seemed to believe that “wishing would make it so”. Or at least that’s how it appeared as she tried to control an out of hand Great Dane with some cookies, a head halter and a squeaky, ineffective voice that probably sent thousands of dolphins beaching on the nearest coast.    More...  



The Cellar Stairs -

      By the time you read this, my training company will be setting up shop in our new, permanent home in lovely downtown Derry, NH. We spent the past eight months working out of the home of some very kind and generous friends on the Seacoast, where we’ll still meet with our advanced students once a week. But for the other six days, we’ve plunged into the relative hustle and bustle of a blossoming border town and left behind the bucolic fields and quiet training room of our friends’ place. Our new location offers several different entry points to the facility: from the big rollup for the training room, to the main storefront entry and a ramp by the parking lot, to an “emergency hatch” directly into our consult room for handlers with difficult dogs. There was only one way into the old place, though: down the cellar stairs.  More...  



The Dog Park Paradox -

      Manchester needs a dog park, right? According to recent news, Mayor Guinta and Alderman Betsi DeVries are hoping to convince their fellow decision makers that it’s high time the canine residents of Manchester have their own space, especially since there may be an upcoming ordinance...    More...  



The Dog Clock -

      It’s part of the speech I give anyone new to dogs who wants to get into the industry:

Dogs don’t take days off. They don’t observe holidays, they don’t care if you’ve got a cold, they don’t care if you’re preoccupied with your taxes. They never take a day off from being dogs, so you can’t take a day off from being dog caretakers.

    But this rule is true for dog owners, too. In this day and age, when we’ve become slaves to our technological taskmasters, online social networks and things that go “beep”, our canine wetware still needs us to drop a food bowl twice a day.    More...  

Julia V. McDonough

Co-Owner, Training Director




Rick Froton

Co-Owner, Trainer





Jules and Jackson at Fortunate K9

Jackson, a Boarding School student, works on his “place” command with resident stunt cat Jules trying to distract him. 

Puppy Prep student Magnus shares a moment with his owner while working on “down”.