An Overview on Dog Friendly Hiking – A Success Story

The difficulty of hiking with Boats

Karen called me and was very frustrated with her two year old Standard Poodle, Boats. Dog friendly hiking wasn’t happening because Boats barked at other dogs and pulled on the leash.

Her dog was out of control. When she interacted with Boats, also wanted to jump and bite her. Boats was perceived as dominant and out of control.

When Karen tried to walk Boats he pulled her so hard. She felt she was completely loosing control of him. Boats also barked at almost every dog he saw. This was not only during hiking but also in their yard.

I came to her house and realized that Boats was anxious, and we needed to implement strategies to get Boats to calm down.

Karen and her husband, Sam, decided to purchase our largest program. As a result, the difficulties with Boats gradually began dissipating.

Training Boats to listen well to create dog friendly hiking

The training program was definitely a stepping process. We began with getting Boats to listen to commands in the house. After that, we progressed to the yard. Then, to the neighborhood. Lastly, to parks, so the owner’s could hike more easily.

Prepping commands for hiking 

I determined that we needed to teach Boats the following:

  • Sit Stay
  • Loose Leash Walking
  • Target
  • U-Turn
  • LAT (Look at That)
  • Watch
  • Emergency Come

We began with simple commands such as getting Boats to be able to sit and stay when he was excited and to “target” (touch) the owner’s hand away from a trigger such as when he wanted to jump on me.

The owners also learned about withholding wants until Boats showed good behavior and this helped a ton. Karen was worried about not meeting Boat’s needs. I stated that it was important to meet his needs and for him to communicate them in a healthy ways instead of just jumping and biting.

Loose leash walking was a big one for Karen. We decided that walking Boat’s on a front hook harness was best because that helped prevent him from being able to pull her down. We began practicing in the home.

Having Boats learn to turn around and walk in the opposite direction would help him when he saw another dog. This is also something we worked on at home, and I called it a U-turn.

LAT or “Look at that was a prominent command. We first taught it at home with treats that Boats wanted to pull towards. Next, Boats learned to notice something that he wanted and to choose to look at his owner instead of pulling and barking on the leash.

To teach LAT, we shook a treat bag. When Boat’s look at the treats (trigger) the owners said the command “look” and clicked while Boats looked at the trigger. When he heard the click he then turned back to the owner. He was then given treat. This worked very well for Boats. It helped prevent barking and pulling.

The emergency come command was helpful to get Boats to listen if he got away from the owners during a leash walk. It was also helpful in the yard. The owners gave Boats a very special treat when he listened to this command.

Generalizing commands to the outdoors

The commands were then generalized to the outdoor environment. At first, the biggest change was in the yard. Karen commented how Boats was barking less and coming when she called him instead of ignoring her. This relieved much stress for her.

Because we wanted Boats to be calm when he saw other dogs, Karen enrolled help from other dog owners.

We practiced in Boat’s yard with dogs standing or walking in the distance. When Boats saw the dogs, we worked on loose leash walking, LAT, target, making a u-turn, etc. Karen was super committed and began working with numerous dogs per week.

Next, we got Boats to listen outside of the home on walks. We did some sessions near Country Side Vet Clinic in Middlefield to help get Boats to listen in other environments.

We also did sessions at Mineral Lake Park in Middlefield. This is where we created the largest shifts. We wanted to hike around the park. Here we saw dogs and other distractions such as birds and lawn mowers.

We practiced LAT, target, loose leash walking, etc. so that the owners could get Boats to listen. By our last session, Karen was walking Boats, he was listening and walking loosely on the leash at Mineral Lake Park. It was so exciting!

Recently, I saw Boats hiking with Sam on the headwaters trail in Middlefield.

Both Karen and Sam are very pleased with how they are able to get Boats to be more calm and listen on dog friendly hiking trails.

Dog friendly hiking trails in Geauga County

We are blessed in Geauga County with many hiking trails:

Johanna Teresi, a dog trainer in Middlefield, Ohio helped with training Boats

Johanna Teresi began dog training when she was a little girl at age eight. Her passion grew as she got older. She began attending dog training seminars when she was in high school.

As a result, Johanna, has tons of knowledge due to her years of experience. In 2019, she is now 41 years old and has had experience training many exotic animals including parrots, porcupines, a cavy and more.

She lived in Utah for awhile and spent large amounts of time hiking with her dog, Seiki. She dreamed to hike with her dog off leash in a safe manner and accomplished just that. Utah was filled with dog friendly hiking trails.

After, a divorce, Johanna moved back to Ohio to be closer to her family. She now lives in Middlefield, OH where she helped with Boat’s training.

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Cyndi Istre
Cyndi Istre
14:34 20 Apr 24
Johanna has been a God send inhelping us learn not only the basic ways of dog training but in how... we as humans contribute to our pups behaviors. Biting, jumping and potty training were our biggest challenges and accomplishments. Johanna provided us with the training and informational tools to be successful. She also provided guidance in changing our behavior and reactions to achieve the positive results we were looking more
Christina Fleck
Christina Fleck
18:11 15 Mar 24
Johanna has been super helpful and knowledgeable in helping me train our puppy. We went over... several techniques including practicing not pulling while on the leash. Our puppy is very responsive to the training tools Johanna has taught my children and me. She’s a wonderful person and a terrific trainer! Highly recommend!read more
Caleb Edwards
Caleb Edwards
19:11 20 Dec 23
Working with Johanna was an absolute pleasure and my crazy Corgi Skye enjoyed it very much as well.... Johanna was extremely diligent and patient with her and myself throughout our learning process. She explained the concepts very well and broke them down into simple to understand steps, which was super impactful for me. It’s a lot of information to learn at once but taking it a step at a time truly helps comprehension. She has helped us get Skye on track to being a calmer and more welcoming household dog and also helped us find better ways to get Skye’s energy out when she needs to. If you need assistance or advice on training or just being better connected with your pets, I would highly recommend Johanna!read more
Rosemary Krupar
Rosemary Krupar
18:04 01 Dec 23
Johanna's positive training system has not only helped our dog but has also helped us to be better... pet owners. By learning our dog's body language and applying our own calm demeanor and positive reinforcement, we can help her maintain her own level of calmness during what used to be stressful situations for her. The knowledge and the tools we have gained with Johanna have brought about a more peaceful and pleasant relationship with our dog, Ginny. We highly recommend Johanna for your dog training more
Kathleen Clyde
Kathleen Clyde
17:25 22 Sep 23
Johanna is a really special trainer. We signed our rescue dog Scout up for training because she... almost ran away chasing deer in our neighborhood. Scout also pulled really hard on the leash and I was afraid someone might fall when walking her.Johanna helped us fix all that and more. Scout is a boxer hound mix, so her smell/chase instinct is really strong. Using all positive reinforcement, we were able to train her to go "easy" on our walks and not pull the leash. Scout also comes when we call her, even facing tough distractions like other dogs or food. We can now walk her off leash on trails and be confident she'll stay near or next to us and not run off chasing something. She also learned other commands like sit/stay, go get it, and lay on your bed.We humans were trained too! We learned what harness and leashes to use, which treats were best, when to treat her, how to get her interested in training, how to progress through a more complex command, and more. Johanna really knows both animal and human psychology, and working with her was such a fulfilling and rewarding experience — well worth the investment. Scout loved her and we did too. We cannot recommend her strongly enough!read more
Christi LaPrairie
Christi LaPrairie
17:58 16 Sep 21
I felt pressured to pay prior to services.
Donna Shaffer
Donna Shaffer
19:51 04 Sep 18
Our dog, Bella, was skittish around new people. She would bark and growl. Our veterinarian... recommended training. We contacted Johanna from Ohio4LeggedScholars. Johanna taught us counter conditioning and commands paired with treats. Bella has responded well to the training. She has become more comfortable with new people and new situations. We learned to watch Bella's body language to know when she is feeling confident and comfortable.Thank you Johanna!read more
rachel downey
rachel downey
19:32 23 Aug 18
I love them. Before they came, my dog max, didnt know how to sit for anything, he kept pulling on... the leash when we went for walks on our road, and he kept not waiting when we tried to take him out. He would bolt out. Now he sits a waits for the leash to get it on him. Hes such a great listener more
Stacey Brazie
Stacey Brazie
00:23 26 Jul 18
We were ready to rip our hair out when I found Johanna online. I contacted her and discussed our... problems with our 1 year old Lab Laney. She was jumping on us, afraid of people, barked at everyone/everything that walked by, walked horribly on a leash, and barged at the door when someone was there. Johanna immediately reassured me that she could help! She taught us the different signs that our dog gives us. She also taught us about counter conditioning. She gave us the tools we need to change Laney’s behavior. It is not an overnight fix. You need to be able to work with your pup until it sinks in. Laney has made much improvement in all areas! We are grateful to have found Johanna!!!read more
David McCoy
David McCoy
02:49 21 Jun 18
Four Legged Scholars provided our family with the expertise and guidance needed to train our new... puppy Drew. Trainer Johanna Teresi was the perfect person to help us. Johanna's calm demeanor, excellent knowledge and organized approach allayed any fears that we had about dog training. Drew responded well to her weekly training visits and our ongoing daily training routines. My family wholeheartedly recommends Four Legged Scholars and Johanna Teresi as fantastic and caring solutions when one considers the best method to train your dog.Dave McCoy Ravenna, Ohioread more
Karen A
Karen A
20:25 10 Jun 18
I contacted Johanna when Cooper was almost 6 months old. He had major issues with jumping on... people and constantly barking at other dogs. I was impressed with her persistence and patience when training. She probably spent as much time training me as we spent training Cooper. Classes are over for now and Cooper has met all but one of the goals that we set for him. Johanna has given me the tools and techniques to continue to train him, and I am confident that he/we will someday be able to walk in the park without his barking at every dog he meets. Taking the class has and will continue to benefit my relationship with Cooper for years to come. Thank you more
Sandy Bailey
Sandy Bailey
00:19 12 Mar 18
Johanna Teresi with Four Legged Scholars helped my husband and I so much with our Chocolate Lab,... Autumn. It has been years since we have had a puppy and forgot how much work they can be. Our major concern was how excited Autumn would get when we would get company or our grandchildren would come over. Autumn would jump on everyone. The little kids would get knocked down. My husband and I finally said, we're calling for help and called Four Legged Scholars and spoke with Johanna. Johanna was able to see what we were doing wrong and how we were causing more stress for Autumn by being stressed ourselves and within a few sessions we could see a hug change in Autumn's behavior. Johanna showed us how to react to Autumn"s jumping on our guest. We let all our guest know how to respond if Autumn tried to jump on them and they were all great about helping with the training. We providing a video to Johanna that my grandson took while having a birthday celebration with a house full of people. Johanna was able to look at our video and see that her techniques were working and she could see the improvement in Autumn the next time she came to our door. Autumn's behavior is so much better and we are not afraid for guest to come over or be embarrassed at Autumn"s behavior anymore. The leash training was also extremely helpful. Autumn was constantly biting at her leash and actually had bitten them to the point of breaking her leashes. I was amazed at how the clicker training works, but it was great.Thank you Johanna!read more
Portage Rescue
Portage Rescue
16:39 24 May 17
Johanna has been volunteering her time at the County Dog Warden for several months. I love her... positive methods. She is very patient with the dogs even when they are acting hyper. Johanna explains everything to me and takes notes so I know what she has done with each dog. I strongly recommend her progressive and positive methods. She has helped me learn so more
Jamie Flanders
Jamie Flanders
19:34 17 May 17
Johanna was a mentor for me when I was first starting out as a dog trainer. I took my very first... puppy class through her with my very first puppy. Johanna is unfailingly kind, not only to the dogs that she works with but the people as well, which is a great trait for a dog trainer to have. Many trainers can work with dogs but have very poor people skills but if you want to make a difference for the dog you have to be able to reach the person. Johanna helped shaped me into the trainer I am today and with her initial guidance my puppy turned into a great companion and more
Robyn Jones
Robyn Jones
01:26 13 May 17
Johanna Teresi with Four Legged Scholars is an incredible trainer. She constantly goes above and... beyond the expectations of her clients. I watched her train her own dog in the kindest of ways. She thinks so easily from the perspective of the dog, and is always making sure that the dogs needs are being met as well as the owners needs (both emotional and the training goals). Her classes move smoothly as she is very knowledgeable about all things positive reinforcement. She uses the clicker training and it works magically. She really knows her stuff and uses those skills fantastically. She is the only trainer I'd let help me train my more
Ruth Weisman
Ruth Weisman
20:22 12 May 17
I had the opportunity to observe Johanna's work for about two years. She is committed to ethical... training through humane practices and tuning herself and her clients to their dog's behaviors and needs. In her own home she focused on addressing even the comfort level of her dog as her family grew, making sure that he felt safe with an over excited toddler as well as successful training to lessen his barking at the door. I highly recommend Johanna for both basic dog training and specific needs. She'll tailor the training to suit your pet and your more
Angie Kieffer
Angie Kieffer
16:05 11 May 17
I met Johanna about 8 years ago, and I was a full-time parent. I had four kids and four animals.... One of my dogs needed training. I see my animals as equals, so I was looking for a positive way to connect with my dog that didn’t involve alpha rolls. One of my dogs, Karma, was very skittish.I had Johanna come to my home. She taught me that my feelings of anxiety were being projected on my dog. I learned to shift and let go of my thoughts and emotions especially around fear and anxiety. I was then able to be more present and focused with Karma. She was able to release her anxiety. Karma has gained more confidence around people, places, dogs, grooming, and other animals such as horses and cows. Johanna taught me how to allow Karma to have her own experience and to not project my own life experiences and thoughts onto my dog.Working with Johanna was a rewarding opportunity. I would recommend Johanna to anyone looking for a successful option to positive reinforcement training with their more
Susan Steinwand
Susan Steinwand
17:28 10 May 17
I volunteered with Johanna for about one year, attending and assisting in her group courses.... Having met numerous dog trainers using varying training techniques, I can say with confidence that Johanna truly cares about her clients, both human and canine, and will work together to ensure a happy, understanding relationship between pet and owner. She teaches with positive methods that help owners understand how to effectively and kindly communicate with their dog, which results in better training outcomes. One thing that makes her training unique is that she not only focuses on how to modify the dog's behavior, but also helps owners understand how their actions can affect the dog's behavior, and how changing them can help the dog to learn more quickly.I have been using Johanna's training methods with my own dog, Aspen, and in the short time we have had her, she has already learned so much and we have clear, mutual understanding of each other. Whenever I have difficulty with training a behavior, or get frustrated, I think back to Johanna's words and am able to re-approach the situation and get better results.I highly recommend Four Legged Scholars for anyone seeking help training their dog. Johanna creates an open, fun, and accepting environment where owners can learn how to have a loving relationship with their well-behaved more
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