Four Paw Sports Center

Four Paw Sports Center ...where relationship matters! Offering indoor agility, obedience, rally, flyball, puppy training and conformation classes! We are an indoor training facility just north of Seattle, focusing on any dog sports - agility, obedience, rally, conformation, flyball - anything you want to do to connect with your dog - including the newest dog sport rage of Treibball (otherwise known as Urban Herding)!

We offer individual practice times as well, so come and use the equipment and space to work on the skills that YOU need to focus on.

Operating as usual

Absolutely!! What I would add is that if something doesn’t feel right with a trainer, speak up! Speak to the trainer pri...

Absolutely!! What I would add is that if something doesn’t feel right with a trainer, speak up! Speak to the trainer privately and ask questions. Consider if their training methods are in line with how you want to relate to your dog. Always be an advocate for them!

So true!

So true!


In case you think coyotes aren’t a concern since we’re “in-city”, this was around 5:30 this morning in Edmonds just south of the Westgate corner (Rt 104 & 100th). Please be careful with your dogs & cats!




If this puppy can do it, we can too!

Swiped from the Edmonds Dog group!

Swiped from the Edmonds Dog group!

So important! We so often "teach" our dogs things we don't mean to be teaching or even realize we're teaching them.

So important! We so often "teach" our dogs things we don't mean to be teaching or even realize we're teaching them.

“It’s amazing how little you care about what people think.” My client said during our lesson the other day.

“You focus on your training regardless of what people around you are doing.

I mean, the other day, you didn’t even notice the dog that was running around at your feet, trying to get your attention, because you were so focused on coaching your student.”

I laughed. It’s true.

I mean, I’m not going to say I never care about what people think of me - I’m only human after all.

But when it comes to training dogs, I NEVER worry about the opinions of strangers.

Because my dog needs my full attention.

And truthfully, the people who are passing judgment don’t.

But in this case my client was mistaken. Because I DID notice the dog.

Even though I didn’t acknowledge it or say hi…

I knew it was there.

My choice to ignore the dog was intentional.

Because if a dog approaches me, I ignore it…

Every. Single. Time.

And dog owners regularly misconstrue my actions when I do.

They think I’m being rude. They take it personally.

But the truth is…

I don’t do it because I don’t like the dog…

It’s not that I don’t want to greet them.

I ignore them out of respect for their owner.

Because lavishing a dog with attention that is pulling to get to me, or jumping around at my feet, is only going to teach them two important lessons…

- Other people in environment are a great reason to ignore your owner

- Being overexcited, pulling, or jumping about pays big

Not to mention, looming over dogs that don’t know me, making direct eye contact, thrusting my hand out, and touching them without giving them the opportunity to check me out first can make them uncomfortable.


Anyone who has worked through behavior challenges will tell you how grateful they are when people ignore their dog.

When people don’t swoon, or touch their dog but instead, give them the space to reinforce their training.

And give them the space to say hi if they want to.

So when I’m in public, I offer others the same respect.

Despite my deep desire to scoop every dog up in my arms and kiss their faces (I am who I am)…

I ignore dogs when they approach.

I put their needs above my wants.

And I wish more people would do the same.


Per Snohomish Co recommendations, we are requiring masks to be worn indoors regardless of vaccination status.☹️ Agility students may remove their mask while actively running only. While we'd love to go mask-less, we feel masking indoors is the responsible thing to do.

Great description of “socialization “.

Great description of “socialization “.

Socialization should be your first goal when starting out with your puppy because it can only be accomplished when a puppy is young AND it has a huge impact not only on the type of dog you will have when they mature (social versus nervous).

Puppies are in a critical period of socialization from about 4 weeks of age to about 14 weeks (this range may vary based on the breed). During this window it is important that the puppy is properly socialized because their brains are the most receptive to learning about the world. Proper socialization is the key to the friendly and social dog.

It is important to stress that socialization is not exposure. It is far more complex than simply taking your new puppy places with you. In fact, for some puppies exposure can be too overwhelming and can create more fear. Socialization is about helping your puppy build positive associations.

When setting up socialization experiences it is always important that you carefully observe your puppy’s body language. Puppies and dogs communicate active enjoyment and stress through their bodies, and it goes far beyond a tail wag. Small signals like licking lips, dropping the head, yawning, and scratching can all indicate stress. Becoming proficient at reading your puppy will help you learn when your puppy is having and good time (and building those essential positive associations) vs. when a situation could be too overwhelming, and we need to back off!

Our goal is for the puppy to have a choice to interact or to retreat and to reward that bravery and interaction with high-value reinforcers instead of being forced into situations that cause stress and assuming the puppy will “get used to it”.

Want to read more about puppy socialization? Read our blog:

Some new issues caused by the pandemic.
All the Sad, Lonely Pandemic Puppies

Some new issues caused by the pandemic.

How are dogs that have never been apart from their owners going to deal with post-pandemic life?

Love it!

Love it!

Guys, I promise this isn’t another usual my-dog-on-leash-other-dog-off-leash type of post. It gets good! (Or I think it does 🤣)

The other day I was on the local public park (not a dog park, but dogs are allowed) walking Menta. We were on a high movement area, so I had her on a leash. Another dog, off leash, sees us and starts approaching. Menta wasn’t interested and started moving away, but the dog got to us before we could leave. So she politely greeted him back, they sniffed for a few seconds, all perfectly good and fine. Dog was young and wants to play, so he offers a couple of very polite play bows, but Menta declines and moves away. Dog gets the message and moves on.
Quite good, right? Here comes the juicy part:
As I’m leaving owner comes to me with a speech more or less like this:
- Hey, if your dog is autistic and doesn’t even play with other dogs, go somewhere else! Don’t come to the park and ruin the other dogs’ days!!!!!

I heard this, a wave of fury started taking over, but suddenly I think I had a lightbulb moment and switched gears completely.

With the biggest, friendliest smile, I opened my arms as wide as I could and go:

- Ohhhhh! Come here! I want to give you a BIG hug!

*panic in her eyes as she backs up, speechless*

- Hey, don’t run, I’m so friendly, come on, I just want to give you a hug! I’m friendly, I just want to hug!!!

*still speechless and backing away with terror now*

- Wait? You don’t want my friendly hug?

- neither does my dog. Have a nice day.

As I walked away, I saw her just standing there, speechless, and she was leashing her dog! 😅
I think I’ll try this approach more often 🤣

So important to understand!

So important to understand!

It’s really more than just words.

It’s really more than just words.

It’s all in the language

Rather than expecting your dog to act a certain way in certain circumstances, why not help them by managing the environm...

Rather than expecting your dog to act a certain way in certain circumstances, why not help them by managing the environment to help them succeed! A little bit of forethought and planning can prevent a bad situation.

MYTHBUSTING MONDAY: "When a dog ________, you have to _________ so he learns not to do that."

So goes most of the training advice of the last century. Human beings are amazingly creative when it comes to punishment (just look at medieval torture devices), and dog training is no exception. From devices that intentionally cause pain and discomfort, to innocent-seeming products like "The Pet Corrector," which is a can of compressed air, and ultrasonic "bark control" boxes.

Here are two problems with this line of thinking and the consumer industry that supports it:

1) It only occurs after the dog has ALREADY barked, jumped, run off, snapped, etc., and

2) Dogs don't misbehave just because they haven't been told not to.

Unwanted behavior is caused by a variety of factors that vary with each individual dog.

DOGS DO WHAT WORKS. Dogs bark for a variety of reasons. It scares off the mailman (or at least that's how it appears to your dog). When a dog jumps on visitors, it gets people to pay attention to her. By allowing dogs to practice unwanted behavior, there's a better than even chance that the behavior will work for them BEFORE you can administer the punishment. Also, if your timing is off, the punishment won't be associated with the unwanted behavior, but with YOUR behavior. This is how dogs end up learning to avoid owners who reach for their collars, or worse, start to use aggression as self-defense, or quickly eat something after hearing "leave it."

So, what are you supposed to do? Outsmart your dog, that's what.

Parents don't leave sharp objects laying next to exposed outlets and then scold babies for electrocuting themselves. They baby proof the house. Putting away dangerous items and using a variety of tools to lock cabinets, cover outlets, and discourage busy toddlers from getting into places where trouble could happen.

This is management. By carefully managing your dog's environment, you can prevent a lot of problems.

Once that's done, you can work on teaching better behavior. When the "bad" behavior is no longer working -- meaning you've prevented opportunities for it to happen, thereby preventing opportunities for it to be rewarded -- you can now focus on making "good" behavior work better for your dog.

How? Well, that's where you use the formula in the image below. You know that ________ is a problem. Now, think about when it happens. All behavior has a trigger (antecedent). It could be the sight of something, the sound of something, even the smell of something.

When you identify the trigger, you can predict the behavior. When you can predict the behavior, you can manage it. Common management tools work in most cases, but you might need to get creative.

Dog owners are always surprised that such a simple solution exists. They never even considered that they could place their dog behind a baby gate in the hallway before opening the front door because they were so focused on what to do AFTER the dog escaped...or jumped...or snapped.

Now, here's the catch: Everyone has to be consistent. Management won't work if Mom is the only one doing it, but Dad thinks that's silly and a magical snap of the fingers (which worked on his last dog) is all it will take, or teenager forgets to put the gate up. But, that's true of training, in general. Everyone needs to be consistent...or the one person who can be consistent must take on full responsibility.

Once a solid management plan is in place, training sessions can begin. Training is not what you do or say once something goes wrong, it is practicing for those situations - this is why sports have "training practice," not "after-school football tournaments."

Training is practice. Management just helps you control WHAT your dog is practicing!

These images are free to share on Facebook via the “Share” link. Downloading for redistribution online or in print form is strictly prohibited. ©2015 Lisa Mullinax. All rights reserved.


Important information for all you puppy owners! These x-rays are amazing and I hope the make a big impact on you about the importance of being careful with your puppy! Your breeder and/or vet should be able to give you guidance as to when your puppy’s growth plates will likely close.

Looks like Conformation practice tonight will be full! At 3pm, only 1 pre-registration spot remained at 7:15, and 2 at 8...

Looks like Conformation practice tonight will be full! At 3pm, only 1 pre-registration spot remained at 7:15, and 2 at 8:15. Please grab your spot now!

Tenacious Teen taking over your life? Why not start the new year spending some time getting to know your adolescent dog ...

Tenacious Teen taking over your life? Why not start the new year spending some time getting to know your adolescent dog a bit better and learning to speak her language in order to build a better relationship?

Starting on Thursday, January 9, 2020 4:30PM

Has your perfect pup turned in to a tenacious teen? All dogs go through a trying adolescent period where their choices aren’t always what we’d like. This class will help bridge that gap between puppy and adult and put you back on the same page!

This on-leash class is for dogs 16 weeks and older. We will help you discover ways to channel all that adolescent energy in a way that won’t frustrate you or your dog! Games will be played that will build your relationship and harness your pups natural drive. We will set your pup up for success in real life situations (No more frustrated greeting, no more launching like a rocket at your friends, family or random strangers, loose leash walking that won’t leave you with a sore arm or skinned knees). Teens are tough but also terrific!!

Want to build your relationship with your future dog sport dog or just want your furry friend to be able to hang out without creating mayhem? This class is for you!

Make Training Great Again!

It’s December-time to think about, NEW YEAR’s RESOLUTIONS? Give yourself the gift of a workshop with your dog! Been want...
fourpawsportscenter | Special Events & Workshops

It’s December-time to think about, NEW YEAR’s RESOLUTIONS? Give yourself the gift of a workshop with your dog! Been wanting to try Nosework but classes are full or times aren’t right? Erica is doing 3 2 hour workshops on January 11! Still having trouble getting your dog to come or fighting them on walks? Back to back 2 hour workshops on 1/18-Total Recall and Leash Walking.
Tenacious Teen??? Oh we’ve got you covered on 1/4.
These are fast fun workshops with limited working spots and plenty of time to ask the questions you want answers too.
Hey, these also make great gifts!!

Four Paw Sports Center offers positive dog training manners, obedience, agility, rally, freestyle in Lynnwood, North Seattle, Shoreline, Edmonds, Mill Creek, Everett, Bothell


We had a blast with Inga in April and she's back! Want to test the waters of field training but don't want to use aversives? Come join us! Contact Erica (all info in body of post). I think we have ONE working spot left and still have plenty of auditing. This is a great opportunity to let your pup channel their inner bird dog.

Great article! This is one of the main reasons on-leash greetings can lead to a dog becoming reactive. We (their humans)...
Curving - Dog Body Language - Silent Conversations

Great article! This is one of the main reasons on-leash greetings can lead to a dog becoming reactive. We (their humans) limit their natural form of communication and they send a different signal to the other dog.

The deliberate dog body language of curving is used in polite greetings, negotiation, or as a calming signal. A head-on, frontal approach can be seen as confrontational. The curving could be the curving of the dog’s body (which makes a slight c-shape), or a directional curve in the path the dog wa...


Woo hoo! Classes are ON!!


With local schools closed again, we will not hold classes on Wed Feb 13th. Students, please check your email for information. Can we have a thaw please??


We really hate to do this, but we’ve decided to cancel classes yet again 🙁. While it might be clear where you are, our students come from a variety of places, some of which are still not in good shape. So out of an abundance of caution with the forecast calling for some snow, we are opting to keep people safe. Check your email for more information!


NO classes or drop-in Saturday! I'll bet you're surprised to hear that... 😉


6426 212th St SW, # 100
Lynnwood, WA


(425) 835-0483


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