Charlotte Dog Trainers Talk: How to Protect Your Pet from Heat

Summer is on its way, which means that long, hot days filled with sunbathing at the pool and trips to the beach are among us. While summer days can be carefree and fun, there are still precautions that you must take in order to ensure that you’re happy and healthy. Does reapplying your sunscreen and remembering to stay hydrated ring any bells? Just like you, your dog loves to play outside and bask in the sunlight; however, there are dangers that come with warm weather. Curious on how to protect your pet from the heat? We’ve got you covered! We sat down with our Charlotte dog trainers to find out the best ways to protect your pup from the summer sun.

Q: When are the best hours during the summer to take your dog(s) on walks or let them play outside?

A: In the mornings before 11 am or in the evenings after 6 pm. The biggest thing you want to watch out for is the humidity level. High levels of humidity will cause dogs to overheat way before high temperatures will. So be mindful if it’s very humid or muggy…your dog will not last as long being outside.  

Q: Signs your dog might be overheated?

A: Pay attention to the tongue. The dog’s tongue will become dry, then start to swell, and eventually start to curl back or hang out of the side. These are all signs that your dog needs water or to get out of the heat. It’s also always best to make sure your dog has water available at all times when outside in the heat.

Q: Best activities for keeping your dog cool, but still active, during the hotter days of the year?

A: It’s good to play at parks with lots of shade. If your pup likes to swim, look for slow moving creeks, ponds, or lakes. You can also take a walk through a pet-friendly store. Try a trip to the pet store or Lowe’s and Home Depot, which are both very dog friendly. Not only will you get your shopping done, but your pup will get some good exercise in a safe, air conditioned space without risking burned paws or overheating.


The next time you try to take your dog for a walk, or let him or her outside to play, make sure that the weather conditions are safe. Another tip is to ensure that there is a place for your dog to relax in the shade with a big bowl of water. And always remember…if it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for your dog.


Introducing Dog and Baby: Adding a New Member to the Family

Bringing your baby home for the first time is one of the most exciting, yet stressful times… especially for new parents. From baby proofing your entire house to making sure you have extra diapers and supplies (because you will definitely need them), it’s important to keep your dog’s needs in mind too. Introducing dog and baby is not a hard task; however, it might take some time and patience for your pup to adjust to having a tiny human in the house.

Prepping for the Arrival

Most soon-to-be parents prep for their baby by buying clothing, toys, and supplies in advance, as well as taking baby classes to prepare them for what’s to come. You should start early with preparing your dog for the baby’s arrival as well. Have friends that already have a baby? Invite them over so that your dog can have some time to grow comfortable with having a baby in the house.

Another great option is to play baby noises for a short period of time each day, so that the first time your newborn has an epic meltdown (which will inevitably happen), your dog will not be surprised or frightened by the sudden, loud noises.

Socialization is key for any dog, so don’t be afraid to gradually introduce your pup to children of different ages so that he or she will know how to react when a little one is crawling or running around.

Back to the Basics

While your dog might already be well-trained and well-mannered, disrupting a dog’s everyday routine with a new baby might throw your pet off a bit. Refreshing your dog’s memory with basic commands like “sit”, “place”, and “down” is important so that when baby comes home you can easily give a command and your dog will follow.

Enrolling your dog in dog training ahead of your baby’s arrival is a great investment that will pay off for years to come. Our trainers have helped many families prepare their dogs, and they can provide you and your pup with some great tips and tricks for when the big day finally arrives.

Bringing Home Baby

When the day finally comes to bring your newborn home, try to take the introduction process as slowly as possible. Start with introducing your dog to your baby’s scent with an article of clothing or a blanket. Once your pup feels comfortable with the baby’s scent, bring the baby into the room and allow him or her to adjust to the presence of a new family member.

Try not to walk through the door and immediately show your dog his or her new sibling. For one, it will throw your pup off, or he or she might be overly excited and want to jump up and see what all the commotion is about. Taking baby steps is the key to a beautiful relationship between dog and baby. Once your pup feels comfortable, and you do as well, allow him or her to see the baby. Most dogs do very well around babies and children; however, it is important to ensure that you take the time to prepare your dog for all of the big changes so that he or she can be comfortable and excited for the new addition to the family too.

Photo by J carter from Pexels

The Best Dog Trainers in Charlotte

The Off Leash Experience

At Off Leash, we have a wonderful team of dog trainers who have an immense love for dogs, as well as a strong passion for improving the human-dog relationship. Our dog trainers work closely with you and your pup while abiding by the Train as You Live® concept in order to teach your dog how to obey and respect your rules, while keeping their energetic and playful personality. Get to know our wonderful Off Leash team, and meet the best dog trainers in Charlotte, NC!

Meet our Team of Dog Trainers

Hi, I’m Brittany! I’m originally from Nova Scotia, Canada but I grew up in New Hampshire. I came down to North Carolina in 2007 to attend UNC Charlotte, and apart from a brief time back in Canada, have lived here ever since! I joined the Off Leash family as a customer in 2009 with my first dog, Lambeau. He was an Australian Cattle Dog/Pug mix with a mind of his own! Although he LOVED to cuddle, he also desperately needed training. Within a few lessons, he was completely off leash playing disc golf with me daily! Training made ALL the difference in his behavior, and allowed our relationship to be much more enjoyable. At Off Leash, I am a dog and people trainer. I do demos, train dogs in people’s homes, and I  work with the Jumpstart doggies. Coming from the customer side of things, I know how desperate people feel when signing up for training. We all love our dogs, but sometimes it’s hard to love a dog who causes so much stress. Everyone typically has a little bit of doubt whether their dog could be trained, and I LOVE seeing the switch in their heads when that doubt vanishes! It’s an amazing experience to help dogs reach their potential! Dom (my husband and another Off Leash trainer) and I have an 8 year old Beagle/Boxer mix named Toonie who loves playing with frisbees and snuggling on the couch. We also have a 2 year old Golden Retriever named Goose who is President of the “Let’s Go Play Club,” and is best friends with every single dog that comes through our doors!

My name is Delicia Cushing and was lucky to be born and raised in San Antonio, Texas (and yes, I’m one of those proud Texans)! My husband and I were also Off Leash customers, before I started working for the company. We have three fur-babies of our own, Baily Gray is our Off Leash trained, Pointer mix, Fagon the Dorkie is the oldie but goodie, and sweet Chippy is our Mini-Dachshund. One way to spot me is that I’m the only Dog Trainer with blue hair, and occasionally, I also help with Special Events and Socials! For me, there are so many amazing parts about the training process, but my favorite is being able to meet a new pup almost every day! I’m never quite sure what I’m walking in to each day, but there’s nothing quite like doggy kisses and love! When I’m not working with Off Leash, you can find my husband and me making memories with the fabulous friends we have made along the way! We love the chance to live and love!

My name is Dominic Rivieccio and I’m from Omaha, Nebraska! My girlfriend, now wife, Brittany (another Off Leash trainer) and I have two dogs, Toonie and Goose, and she introduced me to the Off Leash family through her dog Toonie. Living with a trained dog was so fun and enjoyable, it made me want to get into training myself! I enjoy working with the dogs in high distraction areas such as a park or shopping center. I love seeing the dogs so focused on the training, but still having fun! One minute we are practicing the come command, and the next, greeting strangers calmly. We believe in our Train as You Live® philosophy and love training our dogs to be able to go with us anywhere, whether that’s an off leash hike in the woods or shopping together in Home Goods! When I’m not working with Off Leash, my wife and I love to watch movies and hangout with friends. I’ve always been very interested in cars and I recently got an older Pontiac Trans Am as a project car, and I love spending time tinkering on that.

Meet the Team: Our Off Leash Dog Trainers (from left to right), Dominic, Brittany, and Delicia.

Dog-Friendly Places in Charlotte, North Carolina

When you’re a dog owner you often find yourself wishing you could bring your pet with you wherever you go. While some places just aren’t suitable for a playful pup, it has recently become common to see restaurants and businesses opening their doors to customers with four paws and a wagging tail! Whether you’re a local, or visiting the area, below are some of our favorite dog-friendly places in Charlotte, North Carolina.

If you find yourself in South End Charlotte

The Suffolk Punch is a jack of all trades, and it’s dog-friendly! Whether you’re in the mood for a hot cup of coffee, a craft beer, or delicious dining experience, you can enjoy it all while your pup sits happily by your side.

If you find yourself in Plaza Midwood

Pour Taproom: Charlotte is a fun place to meet up with your friends and enjoy great drinks, as well as great company. Plus, you can bring your canine along as you sip and taste different beers and wines! Or…if you’re in the mood for a slice of something nice, Pizza Peel is a yummy place in Plaza Midwood to dine with your dog and enjoy some delicious pizza!

If you find yourself in South Charlotte

The Flying Biscuit Café might be known for their biscuits, but they also serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner. If you’re searching for some good, southern cooking, and need a place to meet with a friend and their furry companion, then you should check out the Flying Biscuit Café!

If you find yourself in Uptown

Vivace is an excellent choice for a fine, Italian meal…plus you can enjoy the views of the city on their pet-friendly patio. Or…if you find yourself craving Mexican cuisine, Vida Cantina is another restaurant in Uptown that loves to host puppy approved events on their outdoor patio.

Another great thing about all of these places is that they’re members of our #redbucketclub, meaning that all of these venues are dog-friendly, and they provide water for your canine! Are you interested in our #redbucketclub, or simply want to know more? Feel free to check out our Instagram, or follow the hashtag to learn more!

How to introduce an e-collar to your dog without causing fear and pain

“When you’re putting on a shirt,  if the first button is wrong…. rest of them will be wrong also.”

With the invention of vibrating collars and e-collars with “low stim” controls  the use of e-collars for dog training  is now more popular AND more humane than ever before…..

BUT!  study after study repeats  The Key Indicator for Success with the use of e-collars for training a dog is  “Properly Trained Human” PERIOD !

Here at Off Leash Dog Training our claim to fame is : We help our clients’ dogs become  great members of their families while keeping their personality.  Visit our Testimonials Page to Read More… And we do this by properly introducing the new tool to our dog in a non-threatening and non-painful way.  Here is a Video

Dog Training Exercise: 2 minute Sit

Here at Off Leash Dog Training® the cornerstone of our Dog Training philosophy is  Train as you live®. What that means is Human/Dog relationship is an ongoing exchange of information rather than human occasionally barks orders at his dog.

The Exercise: This Dog Training Exercise is called “2 Minute Sit”

The Purpose: is to teach your dog to sit while You the owner are doing some other activity independent of  your dog. This will teach your dog to Sit and remain calm without needing to be constantly supervised and praised.

Troubleshooting If you are new or have never done this exercise before, it’s unlikely your dog will be able to maintain a 2 minute sit right away.  First Get a starting point: Sit your dog and time it to see how long s/he sits naturally (No correction at the moment) So ifs/he breaks the command 5 sec. 19 sec. Doesn’t matter. Just get a natural normal time for your dog. This is your starting point for this dog training exercise.  Next is to keep increasing the time (about 15% at a time) until reaching 2 minutes mark.

Dog Training Exercise: Auto Sit

Charlotte is a great city for dog training. We have great weather and lots of places to take our dogs with us.  Here at Off Leash Dog Training® the cornerstone of our Dog Training philosophy is  Train as you live®. What that means is Human/Dog relationship is an ongoing exchange of information rather than human occasionally barks orders at his dog.

The Exercise: Auto Sit

Purpose: It conditions your dog to not rush thru your walks.  And while you’re walking your dog if you want to stop for whatever reason (talk to a neighbor, smell the roses, tie your shoe)  Your dog knows what to do.

Training: Start by walking your dog (on leash).  Next add regular Stops to your walk  (start with every 5th step) As soon as you stop give “Sit” command. After about 7th or 8th time your dog will begin guessing your command and will offer Sit. Praise BIG and celebrate… Then drop the command and praise the Auto-Sit

Success Indicator: While you are walking with your dog (on a leash) Your dog sits every time you stop.

Off Leash Dog Training® Muzzle Policy Update

As our Off Leash Dog Training® community gets bigger (currently we are a community of 3,000+ families) the number of aggressive dogs in our system also grows.

Since we train all breeds and all issues, It’s common for some of our clients to see an aggressive dog for the very first time in their lives during a group lesson…. and that can be scary. In fact life changing (Read about Turk suffering from dog phobia most of his life.)

Here at Off Leash Dog Training® we pride ourselves on always listening to our clients and make the adjustments based on our clients’ feedback fast.  So, today we have updated our Muzzle Policy:

For the safety of all our clients and their dogs,  Off Leash Dog Training requires ALL aggressive dogs (dog aggressive, people aggressive, dog reactive or people reactive dogs)  to be muzzled during the group lessons.

If during the group lesson at any time your dog  snarls, bites, lunges at other dogs, please muzzle your dog right away… This is NOT a punishment and should not be viewed as such by you or your dog.  It is a safety measure so you and your dog along with others can continue training.

Our goal of course is for you and your dog to come to more groups and interact more with other dogs and humans.

We recommend Baskerville Ultra muzzles, which can be purchased at Amazon.

Here is a video of one of my good friends Josh aka Barefoot Dog Trainer explaining how to condition your dog to actually like the muzzle.

Why Off Leash Dog Training® ?

Charlotte is one of the most dog friendly cities in the Nation.

There is no limit to places  to take our dogs….. As long as they are well trained dogs of course.

and that’s what we do.

We’ve been training dogs  for 9 years.  Trained a few thousand dogs here in Charlotte.   What do you think is the #1 question we get from general public?

Why Off Leash ?  Aren’t there leash laws?

The simple answer is There are leash laws. (and you should follow them)

But there are many places (like Lake Wylie) where the law allows dogs to be off leash as long as your dog is in your voice control.

Remember!  in all honesty  if your dog is properly trained  do you really “need” to  have them on a leash?

Not to mention just like human children if your dog is trained she doesn’t need to be restrained.

Here is an example of a GSP named Anabelle.

Anabelle is a rescue dog who was a bolter……  Her owner hired us Off Leash DOG Training because she ran away and almost got hit by a car on South Blvd.

Look at here now.

She can take Anabelle to places where she can be a real German Short Hair

Off Leash Dog Training Downtown Charlotte MeetUp

One of the benefits of Off Leash Dog Training benefits of course is Our Community.

Once you are completed the Phase 1 of your Ultimate Off Leash Training™ you can then register for Meet Ups and Group Lessons (Click Here to see the current dog training schedule)

Here is a video shot on Down Town Charlotte with Off Leash Dog Training Downtown Meeting.