Best Dog Trainer

Absolutely Fabulous City Dogs

Last we left Duke, unofficial canine mascot of the RFT, he'd cleaned up his act cosmetically—thanks to 2005's "Best Dog Wash," Four Muddy Paws—but was still a mess behaviorally. Group classes at the local PetSmart may have taught Duke what such commands as "sit" and "stay" mean, but the lessons didn't seem to instill in him a desire to actually carry them out. So we called in Cindy Vickers, president and founder of Absolutely Fabulous City Dogs. A member of the Association of Companion Animal Behavior Counselors, Vickers believes in the N.I.L.I.F. theory of canine obedience. That stands for "nothing in life is free," and what it means is, you can allow your dog to indulge in whatever behaviors you want—sleeping on the bed, sharing the couch, enjoying the occasional table scrap—so long as the dog knows that he's got to earn the privilege by following whatever dictates you set before him. After an introductory two-hour session and just one hourlong follow-up (both priced at a very reasonable $60/hour), Duke now comes when called, drops to the "down" position in a hot second, waits patiently in the next room while the humans are having dinner and has even learned to give high-fives. Absolutely obedient is, indeed, absolutely fabulous.
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