SDOS Episode 11 – The Art of Dog Training without Dog Training

Episode 11

Why are Dom and Alex talking about Superheroes and what does Bruce Lee have to do with dog training? Find out in today show. There are many ways to train a dog but for a pet dog owner some of the easiest and most obvious things are often overlooked. Dom explains how by remembering a few simple steps you can radically improve how much you enjoy taking your dog to the park.


Timestamps [0.35] Welcome to the show [0.40] Dom demonstrates his maths ability [2.15] Who is Casey Neistat [3.39] Have you heard of Bruce Lee [4.16] What is the art of fighting without fighting [5.10] What is the secret dog training lesson [6.33] Why you should avoid the dog park [7.25] How to avoid the problem before it happens [8.03] How Dom deals with resource guarding Sidney [9.06] How to deal with a dog that barks at the window [10.06] Why you need to be a responsible dog owner [11.39] How to take precautions with your dog [12.31] Why do we take strawberries on a dog walk?[14.00] The most important thing you need on your dog walk [16.10] When is the moment you have least control on your dog walk, and how to fix it [19.35] Getting wet and wild [21.39] Dom’s homework for YOU! [22.23] why you need to BUY Dom’s book

Mentioned in this episode

Dom’s book How to be Your Dog’s Superhero. Buy your copy at

Or download a FREE chapter of Dom’s book at


Full Transcript

Dom:     So not just with your walks, but whatever you’re doing with your dog, I think it’s important that you think to yourself “How can I make this … how can I try to solve this problem in the easiest way?”, you know?

Hello everybody me bonny bairns and welcome to Episode 11 of the Superhero Dog Owners Show. We’re into … I was going to say we’re into the double figures, but we’re past double figures Alex …

Alex:      Past double figures!

Dom:     Because 11 is more than 10. [laughs] So first of all, thanks to everyone who has left a nice review for us. Really appreciate that. People who’ve been giving us feedback, and been sharing the podcast and we’ve been getting some nice feedback from right round the world actually, Alex.

Alex:      Are we really?

Dom:     It’s been awesome to hear. So if you have anymore hints and tips, what you want us to do in the podcast, please let us know. But anyway, I’m here, I’m joined today by good friend, Alex the Video Guy.

Alex:      Hello!

Dominic Hodgson:           And, and we’re here on the clifftops of Hendon. The sun is shining, the weather is on the turn a little bit, we’re in autumn now Alex. I can’t believe we’ve got a nice sunny day.

Alex:      I know.

Dominic Hodgson:           It will not be long before we’re sitting with hats and scarves.

Alex:      It definitely won’t.



Alex:      Couple of weeks max.

Dominic Hodgson:           Definitely, definitely. We might take the podcast indoors then, who knows. So, today Alex, I’ve got a question for you.

Alex:      Okay.

Dominic Hodgson:           Who is your favourite superhero?

Alex:      Good question. For me, it’s between either Batman or Ironman. Because I don’t know if you know, but I quite like my gadgets and my technology and stuff.

Dominic Hodgson:           I had noticed.

Alex:      Maybe it’s obvious. So the whole thing of Ironman really appeals to me, all the gadgets and stuff

Dominic Hodgson:           He’s the ultimate gadget guide isn’t he.

Alex:      Yeah. Massively.

Dominic Hodgson:           Awesome. And anyone can be Ironman … I guess anyone can be Batman too, can’t they?

Alex:      That’s true, yes, that’s the reason I like Batman. Because he’s just a man. You know.

Dominic Hodgson:           Uh-huh (affirmative)

Alex:      He’s a guy who’s become a vigilante and done things his own way.

Dominic Hodgson:           Cool.

Alex:      So, that’s what I like about him.

Dominic Hodgson:           That’s a good one. Do you … who else would look up to that may be would be a super hero in your life? You know, in the world?

Alex:      Okay … a real life super hero … I really like, there’s a guy on YouTube called Casey Neistat …

Dominic Hodgson:           Cool.

Alex:      And he’s a vlogger.

Dominic Hodgson:           Yeah.

Alex:      So he’s just all about YouTube and documenting his life and he did a thing, he started about a year ago where he did a film every day, where he vlogged his life and did it … he made himself make a video every single day. And it helps that his life is very interesting. It’s very different, it’s not exactly a normal life. But him sort of making a commitment to make a film everyday, that’s kind of why I look up to him.

Dominic Hodgson:           All right. Cool. So that would be inspiring to you.

Alex:      Definitely.

Dominic Hodgson:           Excellent. Yeah Yeah. You must make a video every day, too, surely.

Alex:      Close. Close to that. Certainly. Yes, getting there. [laughs]

Dominic Hodgson:           Well, that’s cool, that’s cool. Yeah. A couple of good suggestions there. I like those a lot. I think Superman, I would probably … for me would be probably one of mine …

Alex:      Classic.

Dominic Hodgson:           At least that was the one … yeah … the original Christopher Reeves one, I think when I was growing up I would watch that a lot. And enjoy them. I also used to like watching … my real life superhero would probably be Bruce Lee. When I was younger.

Alex:      Nice, nice.

Dominic Hodgson:           You’re probably a bit too young to remember Bruce Lee, Alex, although you’ve probably heard of him.

Alex:      Yes, heard of him. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a full film, I don’t think.

Dominic Hodgson:           You’re missing out.

Alex:      Missing out.

Dominic Hodgson:           A big star, yeah. So the big one that I used to watch was … the one that kind of launched him, was this big Hollywood … a Western movie I suppose you could say, “Enter the Dragon”. And there is a scene in “Enter the Dragon” when Bruce has been invited to a martial arts tournament on an Island and he’s travelling there, and all the competitors are on the boat. And one of the competitors is a bit of a wise boy, he’s a bit of a wise guy, and he’s trying to goad Bruce into fighting with him. But Bruce is having having none of it, he’s like way too cool all of the time. And so, the guy says to Bruce …

Douchebag:        What’s your style?

Bruce Lee:           My style?

Dominic Hodgson:           And Bruce says …

Bruce Lee:           You can call it the art of fighting without fighting.

Douchebag:        The art of fighting without fighting?.

Dominic Hodgson:           Ya know and the guy’s curiosity is kind of peaked a little bit and he says you know, “Show me.”

Douchebag:        Show me some of it.

Dominic Hodgson:           You know, and Bruce says, “We can’t do it here, there’s not enough room on the boat” you know? So we’ll go that island over there.

Bruce Lee:           That island.

Dominic Hodgson:           And so they say, we’ll take this rowing boat and we’ll go to the island. So the guy kind says …

Film Actor 1:       Okay …

Dominic Hodgson:           Okay, and the douche bag gets in the boat and Bruce just kind of pays the line out into the sea, and just kind of leaves him bobbing there, for the boat ride till the end, you know? Which, perfectly demonstrates the art of fighting without fighting.


Alex:      Very clever.

Dominic Hodgson:           Yeah. Really good, see. And, um, because obviously if you don’t want to fight … and you shouldn’t want to fight I suppose, but you know, if you can avoid a fight at all times then you should do that you know.

And the kind of dog training lesson that I’ve got for you from that is … if you are a dog owner and you, you know … obviously you have to exercise your dog, you have to take them out the park and stuff like that. But if you are constantly going to the park and your dog is always … maybe he’s always reacting to certain things that the park, maybe it’s dogs, pheasants or birds or … something. Maybe it’s not even at the park, maybe it’s on the way to the park, maybe he always kicks off at neighbours dog who barks at him through the fence and that kind of thing. And no matter how many times you try your dog always kicks off and you always feel frustrated. And you tell him off and you feel a bit guilty and stuff.

So something that I like to promote is taking a little leaf out of Bruce Lee’s thing, which is the art of fighting without fighting. Why would you bother going to these places and putting your dog through the … you know, you’re dog is going to react, if your dog has reacted all of his life to a certain thing, until you teach him something else than he’s just going to react, and if he does you are going to experience all of that … like I said, the negative emotions that come with … it’s gonna P you off isn’t it? And it’s going to make frustrating … And it’s going to make you not want to walk your dog, you know?

So if you can, and I believe almost all dog owners can do this, if you can you should definitely try avoiding going to the place or passing by the thing that makes your dog kick off. Because, quite simply, it’s the easiest way to do it. Like Bruce on the boat, he could’ve fought the guy obviously and he would’ve won, but the easiest thing for him to do was just to put the guy in a boat and just let him bob along the edge. That was the easiest option and I think as pet dog owners, because we want to take our dogs out and we want to experience the great outdoors and we should want to do all those things we sometimes forget that the easiest option is just to avoid the thing that is making the dog kick off, and it’s upsetting the dog and in turn, it’s upsetting us. So what do you think about that? Think that would be good advice?

Alex:      Absolutely. It’s like what you said Bruce Lee did. You very cleverly got in and solved the problem before there even was one really.

Dominic Hodgson:           Yeah.

Alex:      You jumped the gun and …

Dominic Hodgson:           Exactly.

Alex:      And avoided it completely.

Dominic Hodgson:           Yeah yeah. And you … excellent excellent point Alex. And you’re the owner. We’re the smart ones, really. I mean, dogs are smart, but they over the world like humans have, have they, so technically we should be smarter than dogs. And so if we know in our mind that something is going to happen, we’re the ones who can put steps in place to ensure that it’s not going to happen. So that’s something that I’ve been taught by my kind of dog training mentors and stuff, and it’s something that I’ve put in place with my dog.

Sidney for example. Sidney is a little bit … he can be a little bit of … Resource guiding sometimes, especially around food. But, he’s a lot better now than he was, we’ve been taking steps to make him better. But the easiest thing that I’ve found to do is not feed him in front of other dogs and bingo, the problem’s solved.

Alex:      Doesn’t make much difference to him, he still gets his food.

Dominic Hodgson:           Yes. For sure, yeah, definitely. You know he probably enjoyed his food even more. Because he isn’t having to go through the stress of feeling like he has to defend his food at all. So not just with your walks, with whatever you’re doing with your dog, it’s really important that you think to yourself, “How can I make this … How can I try to solve this problem the easiest way, you know?”

Another example could be, if your dog was … maybe if he was barking at the window all of the time and and you know it was upsetting the neighbours maybe, he was starting to get complaints and stuff life that? The easiest thing to do would be either to put the dog in a different room where he can look out the window, or kind of shut the curtains. Now I know there is people laughing, you’re laughing, but …

Alex:      Because it seems so obvious …

Dominic Hodgson:           Well, yeah, yeah, you know what I mean?

Alex:      But a lot of people wouldn’t think to do … I probably wouldn’t think to do …

Dominic Hodgson:           Yeah yeah and I’ve been the same in the past, but just doing the easiest thing first. And then once you’ve done the easiest thing, then you can take steps to get your dog to move away from the window, but trust me, it’s not impossible. In fact it’s quite easy I suppose to teach a dog to go his bed. You can teach him to do that with treats, you can teach him to go to his bed, to lie in his bed. But it’s way easier to just shut the curtains. [laughs] For everybody involved.

So if you have an issue with your dog, whatever it might be, the sensible thing to do would be to try to avoid the thing that is making him kick off, and also it’s the responsible thing to do as well, I think, Alex. You have to … If you head off to the park and you might have it in your mind, I might have a great game with my dog, but then you get there and you can see that there is a couple of dogs off leash already and your dog is a bit reactive to dogs normally, the sensible thing and the responsible thing to do would be to not let him off, wouldn’t it? Because you kind of know what’s going to happen, don’t you? And, I think, sometimes when we are trying to exercise our dogs quickly we can trust our dogs a little too much and then they’ll let us down sometimes, but obviously it’s not … as we always say, it’s not the dogs fault. [laughs] It’s our fault for doing it the first place.

It’s something obviously I’m more aware of because of the Dog Adventure business, and we have obviously lots of responsibility to the dog to keep them safe for the owners. But also a responsibility to the general public that our dogs aren’t bothering them you know, so that’s something that I take great pride in. That hopefully we don’t really bother anybody when we’re out and about with the dogs.

And to highlight this for you, we shot a little video this week when we were out on a dog adventure, one of our favourite beaches, we might have shot this beach before. We go there often.

Alex:      We do.

Dominic Hodgson:           But this video should hopefully highlight how even though me and Alex, my son, we’re out, we’re exercising, you know six, seven, eight dogs at a time, we still … Even though we’re at a beach where it’s usually quite quiet, we still have to take precautions to take the dog off at the right time. When we know that they’re not going to bother anybody else. So that before we let the dog off, we make sure that we get them interested in the things that we got, so that we can keep control of them when they are off leash. But anyway, the video will explain it a lot better. So you just … Alex, it’s time to roll the video.

Alex:      Roll it.

Dom’s Son:         Come on.

Dominic Hodgson:           So how can you be a responsible dog owner? Well, you need to think about your walk before you head off and you need to take a couple of things with you. The first one is poo bags? Yeah. Obviously responsible dog owners always pick up the poo. We have poo bags in every pocket of every item of clothing that we own, even our wet suits have poo bags in them. So the first thing you need is your poo bags.

The second thing you need are things that your dogs like. In this case we have balls … what else do we have buddy?

Dom’s Son:         Strawberries.

Dominic Hodgson:           Strawberries. [laughs] Yeah. Some of your five a day, we’ve got them right here. So these are toys that dogs like playing with. Alex! Alex! What’s this? Woo hoo hoo. They know these toys, they play with them all the time, so these are going to enable us to get the dogs interested in us.

We also have some … Rico … Tasty tasty treats. Oh, yeah, we’ve got some mixer, some chopped up chicken in there. That smells nice doesn’t it? So the dogs … that they know we’ve got things like this that they like. Then it’s going to enable us to get them to do some stuff, some tricks, to play with them, and to reward them for doing … for looking at us, for playing with us and for paying attention to us.

Yeah, and lastly, we’ve got our toys, and our treats, we’ve also got [inaudible 00:13:20]. We make an effort to make these toys and treats really really interesting for the dogs. Then it’s going to give us much much more control when we get down on the beach, because we’re going to make these treats and these toys far more interesting than they actually are. We’re going to build up the drive of the dogs. Alex, here, yay. And we’re going to get them, the dogs, wanting to play with us so that they really really want to be with us.

And the last thing, which I almost forgot, which is going to enable you to be a really responsible dog owner is your dog lead. A dog lead gives you loads of control even if you dog is interested in going to see something else and the dog lead is going to enable your dog not to do that. It’s going to enable you to have really good control and keep him next to you where you can make sure he’s not going to bother anybody else.

We’ve come to a nice quiet beach today where we like coming because there’s not normally anybody here, and believe it or not, there’s people setting up having a little campsite behind us, so it’s just as well we had all the dogs on lead.

Now when we come to let the dogs off lead, we’re going to do what we always do which is to show them the toys and the treats that we have, and we’re going to play a couple of games with them to get them interested in us. But we’re also … we also carry long leads as well. This is a two meter lead, you can have a five meter lead or a ten meter lead, and if you have that on your dog, when you go to let him off, to let him have a little off leash time, then that’s going to give you more control.

So if you’re dog is a type of dog that is likely to be distracted by other dogs, birds, people, whatever it is, having a long lead on him, a two meter lead, a five meter lead, a ten meter lead, whatever you think you need, means you can stand on it before your dog has a chance to run away and practice that behavior that you don’t really want him to do. Yeah?

Dog training is about teaching your dog something new to do. Something better to do than what he’s currently doing. But it’s also about stopping your dog from doing the bad thing that you don’t want him to do. And a dog lead is by far and away the best invention ever for stopping your dog from doing whatever it is that you don’t want him to do.

Come on boys and girls!

So, you want to be a responsible dog owner, you want to keep your dog safe. In my experience, the time when a walk with your dog is likely to go pear shaped is when you first let your dog off lead. Then usually the second time is just when you are thinking of putting him back on lead again at the end of the walk. Whenever we finish the walk and we think “Oh should we let the dogs have another five minutes?” Then that’s usually when another group of dogs come ’round the corner, or one of the dogs does something stupid, so we tend to put them back on lead a bit quicker. But, by far and away the time with your dog when you have the least amount of control is when first you think about letting them off lead.

So we’ve got a variety of dogs here. We’ve got nice eye contact from some of the dogs. Good boy Dudley. Good boy Max. Lilly-Lou is giving us eye contact. She’s going to bark at us in a minute so that we can let her off leash. Some of the other dogs, they’re looking around, they’re a bit more interested in birds and stuff like that. So they’re looking for other stuff. So we’re not going to let these dogs off until we get some really good eye contact from them like what we’ve got from Maximoo today. Good boy Max. Max knows we’ve got the treat, the toy in our pockets, and that’s what he’s interested in and that’s what he wants. Good boy Max! Yay!

So straight away, Max enjoyed playing with the ball and because we’ve got the ball out, we’re starting to get the attention of the other dogs as well. Alex the Pointer is looking at me. Come on Alex, come on! And the more that I tease him with the ball a little bit, and build up bit of drive, then I can get his focus back on me much much easier.

There’s people coming with dogs now, so we’re not going to let the rest of the dogs off yet. We’re going to wait for these people to go past. And that’s because I know these … our dogs like the water. So, some of the dogs are going to run down to the water and if I know that, I’d be very very silly to let them of leash now when they’re going to run off and run in front of somebody else.

So just beings aware of your surroundings … you’re taller than your dog, you can see further than your dog. Yes, he has a much better sense of smell. But you can see further than your dog. So always be looking around, looking for distractions. Call your dog back, tell him he’s a good boy, put him on lead, put him into a sit until the distractions gone past. Especially if it’s someone with a kitty or, you know, could be frightened of your dog. And that’s the way we approach the dog. That’s the way we walk the dogs when it’s just me and my own dogs. And that’s the way we look after seven, eight, nine, 10 dogs when we’re out with the dog adventures as well. Come on boys! Come on!

So it’s nice and quiet now and the distractions passed by. We’ve walked quite the way down now. We’ve only got a couple of dogs of lead, but we’re not bothered about that. Because we’re more interested in being responsible dog owners. We want … the worst thing you could possible do is go straight to the beach, open the car door, and let your dog just blast out and go and do whatever he wants, which is more than likely going to involve annoying somebody else. This is what it takes. If this means you have to keep your dog on leash longer and play some games with him, get him to do some tricks or something like that … Alex here! Get him to do something things for you. Good boy! That’s a good lad. Then that’s fine. The dog doesn’t need to have off leash exercise all the time.

So now we’re going to give the dogs some off leash exercise. And we’re going to head straight down to the beach because it’s very hot … good boy … and we want the dogs to be nice and cool. And they can all have a nice swim.

Come on boys! Come on!

So there we go, that was us on a trip to the beach. Trying to be responsible [laughs]. Do you think we succeeded Alex?

Alex:      I think you did. Yes. Pretty damn responsible dog walkers.

Dominic Hodgson:           Well we try to be, we try to be. Any other thoughts?

Alex:      Well, the thing I was thinking when watching and filming that video, was that a dog business obviously you’ve got … it’s not just like your a typical dog owner with one or two dogs. You’ve got eight dogs to … to walk as a maximum. When it comes to getting to the park or the beach or whatever it is and it’s time to … you’re ready to let the dogs off you don’t just let them all off at once. Because I would imagine that would be a bit chaotic potentially?

Dominic Hodgson:           Yeah yeah.

Alex:      But … it struck me that you know the dogs personalities and what they’ll react too and … what kind of mood they’re in that days I guess as well.

Dominic Hodgson:           Yeah.

Alex:      And if they’ve been getting excited on the way there. So if that was the case you might keep one on lead for a bit.

Dominic Hodgson:           Well we often do, yeah.

Alex:      Just so that the walk goes much smoother and the dogs have a better time. You have a better time.

Dominic Hodgson:           That’s right, that’s right. Yeah, definitely. And maybe the people watching can start … obviously is should be … you would think it should be a bit easier. These are eight dogs that aren’t our dogs, though we do work with them everyday and walk them everyday. But if you … you might have one dog, or if you’ve got a couple of dogs, you should know those dogs really really well. And so, if you set out … A piece of homework for this week, if you set out for your walk tomorrow with the sole intention of you’re going to try to avoid anything that makes your dog kick off. Anything where it’s not going to be safe for you dog, and you’ll probably find, I would think, that you’ll enjoy the walk a lot more. Because it’ll be a lot less stressful.

And much like Bruce Lee, with the art of fighting without fighting, this is kind of training without actually doing any training. You know what I mean? You’re not … you’re not necessarily training your dog to do anything specific, but what you’re doing is you’re not allowing him to practice doing a bad behaviour that upsets him and upsets you as well.

Alex:      So, it’s all about knowing your dog?

Dominic Hodgson:           Knowing your dog. Yeah. Exactly. Exactly. Yeah. And if you want a better way to get to know you’re dog a bit more … Alex, good point. You could get yourself a copy of “How to Be a Dog Superhero”, because this book I have written and the 50 reviews on Amazon will tell you that this book will help you have more fun with you dog. It will help you get more connected with you dog, understand your dog a lot more so you can have more fun with him. There’s dog trainers and lots of other dogs owners who have written reviews as well so … the book it’s gotten a lot of positive feedback. So if you haven’t got a copy, get yourself a copy of “How to Be a Dog Superhero” because you will have more fun with your dog once you’ve read it and implemented what’s in it.

So I think that’s wrap for this week’s episode. Thank you Alex, again. And next week we’re going to be talking to a very good friend of mine Rachel Bean, who is a veterinary … registered vet nurse. I can’t remember. I always get that wrong. But Rachel, she often comes up and does canine first aid workshops for us up here. She’s super knowledgeable, she’s also a dog behaviorist as well. So Rachel is going to come up, we’re going to shot an interview in the house. We’re going to move inside. She’s going to be teaching us some stuff about … things we can look out for to better keep our dogs in good health, really. You know what I mean? Some good basic tips. She’s super super knowledgeable.

Alex:      Good stuff to know.

Dominic Hodgson:           I just thought it would be a different angle to come from the behavior movies. We’ll mix it up a little bit. If anybody has any suggestions for anybody else, any guests you want to see on the show, then let me know at But that’s it. That’s it for today. That’s a wrap. And if we don’t see you through the week, we’ll see you through the window.

Meet the Author

Dom Hodgson