K9 GamePlan
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International Association of Canine Professionals

Association of Pet Dog Trainers
Cell: 951.768.7374      Email: thek9gameplan@aol.com



Welcome to the K9 Gameplan! Your quantum leap through the "net" has landed you here and I would like to graciously welcome you. I suspect you are here for one of two simple reasons.

  1. You seek information about the new cute little addition to your family.
  2. You seek a solution to an issue regarding your not so cute any more addition to the family ... or existing pet.

Either way, you have landed in the right place. The K9 Gameplan's (K9GP) goal is to make a successful team out of you and your pet. It is about teaching both ends of the leash so that you will end up with a canine companion you will be proud of! Taking the time it takes to train your pet and to learn to acclimate him or her into the family pack network is what this journey is all about. However, if a problem exists, it is only an opportunity to create an innovative solution; a Gameplan to succeed. Through the K9GP, you will learn to play with the dog's nature, to understand the dog's needs, desires, and instincts. With this knowledge you can become calm, smart, and assertive in relating to your dogs. Simply put, you will become the Pack Leader! Only then can you provide a balanced, secure, healthy, environment essential to you both. We are of a higher order and the care and wellbeing of our pets is our responsibility. That being said. Let the GAMEPLAN begin!.

Above: The owner of The K9 Game Plan Melinda Cerisano AND her adopted dog 'COTY'. Coty is from THE COASTAL GERMAN SHEPHERD RESCUE.

Photographer: Susan Tidwell


If we reduce our Gameplan to the simplest terms, training a dog, behavior modification or elimination, is a four part process ... or better said, "this game has four quarters".

  1. The learning phase
  2. Management and setting the dog up for success
  3. Consequences
  4. Consistency

If you are simply training the dog obedience, it begins with the step by step building blocks, or as some would say, "shaping". If we are working on extinguishing or modifying a behavior, we will set the dog up to succeed. By managing the situation, we facilitate the dog's success and prevent failure. In order then to be clear to the animal, we reward good behavior or we provide consequences. Consequences can be anything from the lack of a reward for an incorrect behavior to a collar correction... And... the Gameplan falls apart if there is no consistency. All family members must be consistent.

Sixty percent of the dogs that are in shelters are there because one or more of the 4 elements of a Gameplan were not carried out and the dog was never clear about its role in the family. Without the four elements, there is no leader and without a pack leader, dogs become anxious and insecure. Very few dogs are really born to be an alpha dog or pack leader. In the wild, an alpha dog ensures survival of the group. Here is a human analogy. If your Captain no shows for the flight you are taking, would you be comfortable going with just the Co-Pilot and the Flight Attendants????

Roles of the pack leader:
  • They stay calm and in control
  • They do not let their personal space be invaded
  • They do not beg for attention
  • They set the pace and direction of movement
  • They sleep on higher ground
  • They eat first
  • They decide when play begins and ends

(Can you see where this is going? some solutions in this list, huh)

From the human perspective:
  • You go through the door first
  • You lead when out on a walk
  • You decide when to play and when to give affection
  • No free treats, they must be earned
  • Stay calm confident and expect calm compliant behavior
  • Lastly, you invite the dog to sleep in the bed if so be it don't let the dog jump up there uninvited!!!

Bottom line here is that we all want to follow a great leader... or... we want to be the great leader. We want to be a part of a winning team. A great leader provides direction, discipline and the affection. Obedience is the glue adhering the theory to success.

If you exercise your dog, both physically and mentally, be consistent with your obedience and provide discipline and then affection, in that order, you are a good leader to your dog. In human terms, a good leader in also a teacher and a coach. A teacher provides information and a coach takes you where you could not take yourself. Hence THE K9 GAMEPLAN- your teacher, your coach, your K9 Training Specialist!