Responsible Dog and Cat Training and Behavior Solutions located in Sarasota and Bradenton Florida


Responsible Dog and Cat is located in Sarasota and Bradenton Florida. Our services include puppy training, adult /adolescent dog training, day training. We use pet friendly training methods.  If you want to learn how to train your dog using behavior and preventive methods, Contact Us to schedule your private dog behavior/assessment consultation..

Joyce Kesling is certified in dog and cat behavior through, professional dog trainer experienced with many breeds and types of dogs. Review my experience, training, certifications and professional memberships here.

If you’re already experiencing behavior issues classes are likely not going to be your best choice where to start. Once we’ve resolved behavior problems, you and your dog will better be prepared to succeed in class environment.

“Behavior modification exercises are NOT, repeat NOT, obedience exercises.  At the very outset, clients should be disabused of the notion that this is fancy obedience.”  Karen L. Overall, MA, VMD, PhD, ACVB, ABS Center for Neurobiology and Behavior, Psychiatry Department, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

Behavior problems include jumping, barking, chewing, digging, house-training, socialization and play behavior. Complex behavior problems includes all types of aggression, anxieties, fear and phobias, separation anxiety/distress, attachment problems (home alone), and sibling rivalry. Treating behavior problems first requires in-home assessment/evaluation. This includes taking a behavior history, assessing your dogs responses to training, observations, video taking/processing (if needed) and most of all getting to know you, members of your family and your pets.

Most often dog and human conflict is caused from insufficient knowledge in canine behavior and using force during training. Too often owners misinterpret dogs  behavior for dominance and notions of being alpha.  Using force on these dogs leads to loss of confidence, aggression and learned helplessness. These negative emotional states have serious consequences leading to compromised well-being and welfare.

Read why punishment and aversive control can lead to learned helplessness here.

Understanding learned helplessness makes things easier to understand when making your choice.  You can ask yourself these questions.  Do you want your companion dog to enjoy being with you, respect you, and is playful? Or do you want your dog to avoid you, appear unable to learn, won’t try new things? Unable to express being a dog?  Some people do, perhaps they should not have a dog!

Dogs are different from us; this difference creates different challenges in training and problem solving. You want to avoid using training methods that jeopardize your relationship.  Understanding canine communication and dogs cognitive abilities are important pieces of knowledge when educating owners how to prevent problems and conflicts. 

Read Defining a dog behavior problem.

Owner relinquishment due to behavior problems is a trend not improving. Lack of training and resolution of behavior problems is the leading cause suggested by research studies.

We use and recommend the following methods for training and behavior modification.  Marker training (clicker, voice, whistle, hand signals) using luring, shaping, targeting, and play.  You can review dog training tools and equipment recommended for training and behavior modification here: “Good trainers: How to identify one and why this is important to your practice of veterinary medicine,”  published in the Journal of Veterinary Behavior (2006) 1, 47-52.  Excluded dog training tools include choke collars, prong or pinch collars, and shock collars.

If you do anything for your pet, take time to review dog trainers for certifications and credentials. They should have these posted on their websites.  Verify their memberships and credentials with the certifying organizations. If someone says they’re a dog trainer ask them for proof of education. Be careful who you select, your dog’s life depends on your decision.  You and your dog can’t afford to make the wrong choice.

Make sure the dog trainer has sufficient dog training experience, meets sufficient criteria including learning theory and ethology, can they explain how and why their methods work without using coercive punishment.  Does the dog trainer understand your needs. How effective and realistic are they about their ability to resolve behavior problems?  Avoid guarantees? Have they discussed risks and liabilities if aggression is involved.

What might be unacceptable behavior for you may be acceptable for someone else. The behavior may be normal dog behavior. Dogs living in dysfunctional environment that do not include learning rules and boundaries will not adapt successfully. Problem behavior is a case-by-case study and important you choose the right dog trainer/behavior specialist in the beginning.  If you already have a behavior problem, you need a dog behavior specialist!

Contact Us to book your appointment.  We understand what you are going through; we are here to help you.  Remember, it is not your fault or your dog/s; dogs are simply being dogs, doing what dogs do!

Joyce Kesling, CDBC                                                                                                  

Dog Training and Behavior Solutions, LLC

Certified Dog and Cat Behavior Consultant

Florida Dog Trainer, Dog Behavior Specialist

Sarasota and Bradenton Florida