14 Tips From New York’s Most Musical Dog Trainer
By Jada Yuan
Elisabeth Weiss didn’t know who Lou Reed was when she went to the apartment he shared with Laurie Anderson in 2010 to teach keyboard to their dying rat terrier, Lolabelle — and give their beloved dog a reason to live a little longer. Since then, though, she’s trained the canine companions of many a monied New Yorker, including Jann Wenner’s Wheaton terrier, Max, and Julian Schnabel’s rescue dog, Buddy. Her style is a version of “positive reinforcement training,” as opposed to the harsher, punishment-based “compulsion training” favored by Dog Whisperer Cesar Millan. How does it work? Jada Yuan spent a day making house calls with Weiss for a piece in this week’s magazine and picked up some handy tips for training dogs with kindness along the way.
1. Put a leash on indoors. It calms down restless dogs slightly. “It means, ‘I’m watching you. You can’t just go all over the place,’” says Weiss. “It’s more practical to give them very few choices and then expand from there.”
2. If you catch your dog peeing in the house, don’t yell at him. “That tells the dog, ‘Pee when I’m gone,’” says Weiss. “So people find the pee and poop behind the couch when they come back.” Instead, ignore peeing in the house and make it almost impossible for the dog to make a “mistake” by supervising closely (or crating when you’re not around) and heavily rewarding peeing or pooping in the right place.