Dog Trainer & Behaviourist
Dr. Dylan Northstar
Dog Trainer & Behaviourist
Naturopathic Doctor (ND)
TRAINED AND CERTIFIED
IN DOG FIRST AID THROUGH
DOGSAFE CANINE FIRST AID
We base our training on a loving, respectful, patient, and consistent approach using positive reinforcement and an incremental reward system. We do NOT base our training on "Dominance Theory", as dog behaviour and psychology is far more complex and dynamic than this outdated theory implies.
We teach our clients how to be the best parents/leaders to their dogs in an intuitive, instinctual and compassionate manner. We do this by teaching our clients how to properly understand their dog's behaviours, messages, needs and desires in a calm, assertive, compassionate and ethical manner. It is also vital to know that there is no one-size fits all approach to dog training and, in particular, behaviour modification as each dog's situation is going to be unique based on its breed, temperament, history and human/dog family dynamic. Furthermore, most dogs are removed from their birth parents very early on (often at 8 weeks and sometimes earlier) and are put into a household of humans and primarily learn to read and understand human communication and body language. Without being constantly immersed in and exposed to a canine family or provided with proper guidance and socialization, many dogs essentially never learn or are deficient in appropriate canine cues and communication which can often lead to many behavioural problems and maladaptation. This is where our Pack Power Behaviour Therapy method shines and stands out.
We focus on handling dogs with calm-assertive energy and teach dog parents to understand the natural needs, behaviours and responses of their dog. Based on the premise that dogs are social/pack animals, we assist dog parents in establishing their role as calm, confident and conscientious parents/pack leaders.
We believe it is crucial to balance and satisfy a dog's primary needs: exercise, affection and discipline. It is the dog parent's responsibility to provide their dog with challenging exercise, to effectively and consistently communicate rules, boundaries and limitations and to give their dog an abundance of affection at the appropriate times (i.e when the dog is in a balanced and calm state of mind and NOT when the dog is fearful, anxious, avoidant, hyperactive, or over-excited as this type of affection can reinforce undesirable behaviour).
We emphasize the importance of walking a dog off leash, not only for the dog's exercise, freedom, independence, and exploration, but for the dog parent and dog to bond - with the desire for the dog to ultimately recognize the dog parent as its leader and best friend. We also encourage dog parents to observe their dog for subtle cues in their posture, movement and facial expressions in order to eliminate undesirable behaviour before it arises or worsens. We teach dog parents to understand the profound effect their own attitudes, internal emotions and body language have on their dog's behaviour.
Pets are similar to having children in that they often mirror their parent's behaviours, attitudes and emotions. Dogs are eager to please their human parents and if given the right opportunity and direction they will consistently do so - a rewarding experience for both the dog parent and their canine companion.
Our names are Dylan and Darijan Northstar and we are both Dog Trainers, Behaviourists and Psychology Experts that have been working with animals our entire lives. We are both avid animal lovers and, in combination, have parented, worked and interacted with such animals as: dogs, cats, primates, horses, elephants, dolphins, reptiles and birds. We have volunteered and worked for various wildlife foundations and conservation efforts. It is our dream to one day run our own animal & nature conservatory. In combination we have 20+ years of animal training and handling experience and consider ourselves animal experts.
For the past eight years, we’ve been operating as “The Dog Dudes” in Vancouver, Canada where we specialize in rehabilitating and reintegrating dogs that have major anxious, aggressive, dominant, hyperactive and obsessive issues through our unique “Pack Power Behaviour Therapy”. Many of the dogs we work with are often a danger to others and on their last leg in society, frequently coming from rescues, traumatic situations and having been through various failed training approaches. Additionally, a large part of this process is working with the diverse spectrum of human parents and their psychology, behaviour and beliefs as many dog issues stem from human ones (either consciously and/or unconsciously). We do this by helping them to understand and be conscious of the impact that their attitude, energy and actions have on their dogs. Essentially, through our highly experienced, intuitive and ethical animal-handling and people skills and our nurturing, instinctive and serene pack of Siberian Huskies, we have harnessed an effective training and behaviour modification method.
By observing and studying the natural behaviour and social order of domestic dog families, we have been able to fine-tune our training system to create profound, rapid, and lasting behavioural and psychological changes in hundreds of canines that we have successfully rehabilitated. Our method’s effectiveness stems from the fact that we approach and communicate with the dogs that we work with in a way that is instinctual, calm, assertive, compassionate and understandable to them in their own language. This then sets the stage for our extremely well-trained, balanced, calm and unified nuclear family unit to reinforce the pack dynamic through direct canine communication, as dogs learn more effectively from each other than they do from humans alone. Our pack is composed of Sky (the alpha mom), Phoenix (the alpha dad), and Ocean and Orca (the two beta brothers). When we introduce a dog to our pack, we, as the human leaders/parents of the pack, ensure that the dog respects the hierarchy of our family unit, thereby allowing our pack to feel safe so that they can assert their leadership and influence. This then translates to the problematic dog observing, respecting and ultimately mirroring the balanced behaviour of the pack. In all of our approaches and actions, we ensure that we are abiding by our philosophy that at all moments we are promoting respect, empathy and understanding for the animals we work with and simultaneously teaching and inspiring their human parents to do the same.
Sky was 9 years old and the alpha female and mother of the pack. Her nickname “Queen of Kisses” is a testament to both her matriarchal status and affectionate nature. She is very intelligent, assertive, calm, sweet and observant, feeling like she relates to humans more than she does to other dogs. Ever since she became a mother, she has had a nurturing motherly temperament, protecting innocent dogs and other animals (cats, rabbits, and birds for example) from harm’s way. When it comes to our training, she takes a leadership role of dealing with the problem dogs exhibiting anxiety, aggression or hyper-excitability no matter the motivation (fear-based, bully-behaviour, possessiveness, protectiveness or anxiety). Being a very confident and self-assured leader, she does not tolerate any dog getting in her space unless she allows it or judges the dog to be balanced, calm and non-threatening. She acts like a police officer (“puppy police”), monitoring and analyzing the dogs around her to make sure that they are behaving and being calm when in our presence. To assert herself and to teach dogs, she uses appropriate and balanced canine communication and behaviour that we always support and encourage.
Phoenix is 11 years old and the alpha male and father of the pack. Even though Phoenix is much larger and stronger than Sky he respects her as the primary pack leader. However, if Phoenix feels that Sky is overwhelmed by the size, intensity or aggression of another dog he will step up with great confidence and assertiveness to protect her. While all four of the dogs are very loyal, affectionate, obedient and attentive towards us, Phoenix demonstrates these traits to the highest degree following us everywhere we go, listening to our every request, ready to protect us from any situation and always eager to cuddle – hence his nickname “Mr. Cuddles”. Phoenix is extremely patient and gentle with the other members of the pack. He has a very calm, kind and confident approach with other dogs giving them plenty of bodily and verbal warnings to step in line and be respectful. Phoenix is very protective of the two of us and if other dogs are being rambunctious or obnoxious around us Phoenix is quick to step in to assert healthy boundaries and let everyone know that we are “His Daddies”. Phoenix is a wonderful and loving father and is very nurturing of puppies and any other vulnerable creature. He is an incredible role model to all of the dogs that we work with exemplifying the traits of an ideal canine citizen in everything he does. His only nemesis is slippery floors that cause him to go all “Scooby Doo.”
Orca is 10 years old and is the oldest brother making him the alpha between him and Ocean (although Ocean would probably disagree). Orca got his name because when he was born he was already a little chubby making him look like a little Orca whale. As he grew up his fluffy long haired coat (due to a recessive long hair gene) made him look even more chubby than his family members. His glorious coat and teddy bear like personality has earned him the nickname “Pookie Bear”. Orca has a very chill personality and has always liked to take things slow in life – taking time to “smell the flowers” so to speak. He is the slowest moving of our pack and always “brings up the rear.” However, he does have moments of random energy explosions that are quite entertaining to watch. He’s also quite self-entitled and will always choose the comfiest spot or the biggest bone. He is a social butterfly who loves everyone but is also quite happy to keep to himself in a “space cadet” type of a way. From a dog training, pack power perspective Orca definitely operates more from the side lines as a supportive role providing a calm, laissez-faire type of energy to the group dynamic. But any healthy dog pack or canine community is composed of 1 (sometimes 2) clear leaders and then many followers who are happy to go along with the flow – Orca provides much of this flow. That being said, Orca is no push over with other dogs that have no manners or try to take something that is his – he is very confident and assertive when the moment calls for it. He takes an active role with smaller dogs and puppies. He also has an immense love of cats and other small animals. His one weakness is the dog harness – when we put it on him, he immediately runs to the closest bed, couch or comfortable location and begins to dig frantically and then lies there pouting as if the world has come to an end.
Ocean is the baby of the family, however he has now really matured and become a pack leader. He is seven years old. When Orca was only two years old we lost his biological brother Echo when he swallowed a fish hook from the beach without us knowing (probably the most traumatic life event we’ve ever experienced). A short while after that we adopted Ocean which explains his taller and slimmer stature as well as his more energetic and playful personality. Ocean is definitely the athlete of the family having the ability and desire to bike ride for hours, run like a gazelle through the forest and be the first to say yes to any activity. He also lived up to his name Ocean as he is the only member of the family that likes to swim. Ocean is very spirited, mischievous and explorative often getting up to things that he shouldn’t. He’s earned the nickname “Poo Face” because he frequently returns from his “explorations” with his snout covered in dirt. The biggest asset that Ocean brings to the pack when it comes to training other dogs is his super social and playful nature that can be very useful when graduating a dog from being comfortable with simple interactions with others dogs to bringing it up another level to being able to play and be light hearted with other dogs. Ocean is excellent at teaching healthy play, sociability and sharing behaviours. He is also very useful when we need to implement the “Buddy System” with dogs that have issues with recall where we attach our client’s dog to one of ours. Also, due to his high-energy, he can sometimes be useful as a trigger to dogs who have reactivity issues with playfulness and high energy. While Ocean is very energetic and playful outside he is equally calm and cuddly when at home and rivals (and sometimes surpasses) Phoenix for the title of “Mr. Cuddles”.
Banoo is a seven year old female American Akita. Banoo was actually one our clients from back in 2014. She came to us as a dog that was riddled with anxious aggression both towards people and other dogs. After having spent a month of training and immersion with us and our pack her energy, temperament and behaviour completely shifted into her being a much happier, balanced, confident and gentler creature. Her human mother is a very loving elderly lady but with her disabilities she is unable to provide Banoo with the exercise and socialization that she requires. So, over the past 6 years we have essentially been Banoo’s adoptive family and she has been an honourary member of the pack joining us on our daily adventures and training. Since Sky’s passing, we fully integrated Banoo into our pack and involve her in all of the pack training that we do with our client’s dogs. There was no replacing Sky as she was a one of a kind spirit, teacher and leader but it is very important to have a female energy as part of a balanced pack and Banoo provides this balance. Over the years, Banoo has grown up to be a model canine citizen with a very confident, calm and kind demeanor. She is a true “referee” who is excellent at moderating any overly rambunctious or impolite behaviour of other dogs and she does this with just the right dose of assertiveness and gentleness. Banoo is a true blessing to our Pack Power Behaviour Therapy and a treasured member of our Furry Family.