Should You Hire A Dog Trainer? An exclusive interview with “Charleston’s Dog Whisperer”

Dog Training in Mt. Pleasant (2).png

Are you maxing out your credit card with buying the latest trending dog harness and leash in hope that your dog will magically start walking properly on the leash? Are your friends and family annoyed that your dog jumps on them every time they walk through your door? Take one deep breath because there is a solution to your frustrations. All you have to do is read this helpful and simple advice from “Charleston’s Dog Whisperer,” Ed Diaz.

The owner of Groovin’ Paws Dog Walking and Sitting, Mara DeMauro, was able to work with Ed in training her two mini schnauzers. They had dominance and leash aggression and as is characteristic of the breed, were super yappy whenever someone came in the house or walked by outside. Mara became fascinated with Ed’s simple and calm approach, which led her to ask him if he would be willing to answer questions about dog training. Below are questions about Ed’s dog training philosophy, dog training techniques, and overall animal behavior. Without further to do….drum-roll...Ed Diaz!

Q: So you are known as the “Charleston’s Dog Whisperer. Who are you really and what do you do?

A: My name is Edward Diaz and I have a PhD in Animal Behavior. I’m an International Animal Behavior Consultant, specializing in wild animals in captivity. I have been working in the field for 18 years and when I am not traveling to other countries to work with all different kinds of animals, I am in Charleston helping people understand their behavior in relation to their pets. I always knew that I wanted to work with animal behavior and those opportunities sort of unfolded for me as the years went on.

Q: What is most important when looking to hire a dog trainer?

A: It is important that the trainer and owner share the same vision for the dog’s behavior. Changing people is very difficult. If you are not comfortable with the trainers approach then you are most likely not going to follow the advice given. There are many training methodologies out there and some are more effective long-term. The more relaxed you can be throughout the training process the more likely that your dog will follow suit. The more intense you are, the more intense your dog will become. If you rely on any gadget long-term, for example, a prong or shock collar, your dog will never properly go through the learning process and understand what is expected of them.

Q: What is the most common "issue" clients have when it comes to training their dog and what would you suggest to help fix the "issue?”

A: Walking on the leash. Most people misunderstand how dogs should walk and allow them to walk in front of them and go in a zig-zag pattern. They also let their dog “mark” their territory so often that the dog builds a sense of dominance and takes charge of the walk. Structured dog walking is super important to the overall success of training your dog to walk on the leash. Your dog needs to have proper posture. To do this you need to have a short, yet loose leash, and your dog’s head needs to be up and they should be standing next to your side. This sounds easier than done but often times can be improved almost immediately with the proper trainer.

People have to experience proper leash walking with their dog to truly understand how nice it is for them and for their dog. It’s fun to walk with your dog, but it’s not fun to be dragged by your dog. When you learn how to relax and control the leash your dog will also relax and enjoy their walk instead of being hyper-alert and constantly pulling. Just remember, nervous walking creates a nervous dog. A nervous dog without rules is dangerous. Dogs learn through experience and repetitions. Practice, practice, practice.

Q: What sets you apart from other dog trainers?

A: I try to be as neutral as possible during my evaluation with the dog so that I can communicate the issues that I see. More often than not, it is the humans behavior and patterns that create the dog’s unwanted behavior. A lot of my training goes beyond evaluating the dog but also the owner. I aim to make my training sessions as simple and easy for the owner. If you do your “homework” you will see the results.

Q: What is a fun fact about the training services that you have provided over the years?

A: There are some people who want their dogs to go on to be therapy dogs. I have had 100% passing rate because the owners choose to follow direction and continue to practice.

Q: What types of daily activity should a dog do to stay physically and mentally fit?

A: Walking. A lot. Daily dog walking helps them to socialize, interact, and learn about their own environment. It helps them to feel stable. It’s especially helpful when dogs walk with structure. Unfortunately, most people don’t walk their dogs enough because they either had a bad experience while walking their dog, they can’t control their dog on the leash, or they don’t have enough time.

Q: If you had to leave one final piece of advice for people struggling with training their dog what would it be?

A: Patience. Assertiveness.

Curious what Ed’s clients have to say about him? Read some of their testimonials below.

"The "Dog Whisperer" of the lowcountry. Ed was such a big help with our 8 year old lab who had a mind of her own. We wanted her to come off the beach when we were ready to leave and after several sessions she started responding to our commands.  He is patient yet firm. Soft spoken yet no nonsense and always has a smile on his face. It was a pleasure to work with Ed who in the end really trains the owner"  -BARRY & ELAINE

"Ed Díaz has been helping my family with various dog behavior issues for the last three years. He has the unique ability to tell owners the psychology of what is going on in the mind of the dog. Once owners understand their animals better, they can address the issues more productively. His ability to control and lead dogs under his care with calm authority is remarkable to see."  -ART & CATHY

"We call him "the Cesar Millan of the East Coast.” Ed  Díaz has taught my dog all of the good behavior she's ever shown. He was recommended to me when I got Stella, an English/American Bulldog, almost 3 years ago. I had full intentions of owning a lazy, calm dog but Stella's genetic makeup seemingly does not allow for those characteristics . . . this is where Ed comes in.  Having Ed instill the rules of "dog" into Stella has made my life as a pet owner that much more enjoyable. From teaching her how to walk on a leash to waiting for my command to eat the food that's been placed in her bowl, Ed always surpassed my expectations. Every now and then, Stella needs a reminder on how to best act like a respectful dog and Ed is always available. Despite the fact that he is making her "work," when Stella sees Ed, she thoroughly enjoys being with him and is completely exhausted after an hour of training, which makes me a happy dog owner with an extremely happy pup!!"  -MARGEAU

"My sheltie mix, Mr. Jackson, can be quite a handful!  He is very smart and attentive to me, but when we moved in with my family and there were more people involved, he began obsessively barking, nipping at people, and became more aggressive with other dogs. After a few weeks of consistent lessons with Ed, I learned how to keep Mr. Jackson's mind calm and submissive by implementing behavioral techniques that became an integrated part of everyday life.  I now also understand why he exhibits his "naughty" behaviors and have learned ways to prevent it and correct it. I feel very confident that whenever another undesirable behavior surfaces, Ed will be there to educate me on how to work on it. I would definitely recommend anyone looking for help with managing their pet's behavior to call Ed. I have shared his number with many friends and they have also been very pleased with the knowledge they gained and the results (when they do their homework!!)" -RACHEL

*Please note that there are many different training methods and techniques available and not one style of training will fit everyone’s needs. Most importantly, choose a trainer whose values and visions match your own.

To set up a FREE consultation with Ed, contact his company, Dargan and Díaz In-Home Pet Training via email or by phone at 843.300.2871.

If you would like to get your pup on our daily dog walking schedule to reinforce their leash training, socialization, and overall health, click here to contact us. We look forward to hearing from you and welcoming you to our groovin’ family!