Even as a long-time dog owner, I wasn’t prepared when I adopted my enormous DINOS, Luther the mastiff-mix. This class helped me to accept not only Luther for who he is, but also the fact that I still have a lot to learn about dog behavior. Thank you for providing a place to learn and grow with other DINO lovers 🙂 Nicole K., Illinois

What does The Living with DINOS (an online class) cover?

This is a unique, self-study course for people who live with dogs who need space and other “challenging” dogs. The course addresses the human issues – stress, conflicting emotions, and isolation – that many people who live with dogs with behavioral issues may experience. By tackling these areas, we can learn to decrease caregiver stress.

The 12 lessons focus on topics such as:

  • basic tips for walking a challenging dog
  • understanding and managing our own stress to reduce burnout
  • letting go of unrealistic expectations
  • getting familiar with different types of training and behavior professionals
  • building a more positive outlook by pushing back on the negativity bias
  • creating self-care plans and new healthy habits for ourselves
  • learning to pay attention on purpose and notice the good
  • exploring our beliefs and the stories we tell ourselves
  • connecting with the joy of living with our dogs!

The goal is simple: Reduce your stress

and enjoy life with your dogs more!

What does the class include?

Each lesson consists of readings, activities, writing prompts, videos, and/or worksheets, plus:

4 exclusive interviews that you won’t find anywhere else from professionals who work with dogs just like yours.

If I can brag a little, the interviews are pretty amazing. It’s worth taking the course just to hear what they have to say!

  • Dr. E’lise Christensen DVM DACB a Board-Certified Veterinary Behaviorist talked to us about the special role of a veterinary behaviorist, when and why medication might or might not be helpful, fear-free vet visits, the emotional life of dog owners, and tons more.
  • Melissa McCue-McGrath CPDT-KA and Sara Scott CPDT, two certified professional dog trainers, talked to us about living with a reactive dog in the city and country, muzzles, meeting other dog friends, speaking up for our dogs, and answered some of your FAQs!
  • Kristin Buller LCSW, a licensed clincal social worker who created and runs The Difficult Pets Support Group, talked with us about her research and professional work as a therapist with families living with dogs with behavior or medical issues. We touched on the emotional toll this takes, micro-losses, judgement, difficult choices, and so much more.

Access to private discussion boards where you can connect to a community of people who understand what you’re going through!

The discussions are designed for you to talk with one another in a private, respectful space. You’ll have access to the class for life, so you can keep returning to the class discussions to touch base when you need it. The discussions are optional, so you can take the course with or without interacting with other students.

And, you’ll get 7 worksheets to download that will help you explore and address your own stress and self-care, the stories you tell about your dog, and reconnect with the good things in your life!

What this class is NOT:

This is NOT a dog training class. This class is NOT about learning how to train your dog or how to fix their specific behavioral issues. This class is NOT a substitute for working with a professional.

The class is about YOU (the human) and your needs. Think of it as a companion to any training or behavioral work you’re doing with a pro in your area.

Yes, you’ll hear many general tips in the interviews that may help you address the practical aspects of living with your dogs, but if you want specific advice or help with training your dog, this is not the right class for you. This class is focused on taking care of YOU.

Who is it for?

Anyone who lives with a dog with behavioral issues, in particular – fear, reactivity, or aggression. If you’re feeling stressed out and want to learn more about how to manage your stress to prevent caregiver burnout, how to make a plan for self-care, get support, and enjoy your dog more, this class is for you.

If you have a dog with a different behavioral issue, like separation anxiety, you’re welcome to take the class too! You’ll still get a lot out of it (just note that the examples shared in class – of living with a reactive dog – won’t apply as directly to your life).

Where is it held?

This class is held online 24-7 on a platform called Ruzuku, which is very easy to use. You can take this class in your jammy pants from anywhere in the world!

When does it start?

Anytime. You can enter the course anytime after you purchase it. You’ll have access to the whole class – all of the lessons and interviews, plus the discussion boards – as soon as you enter the classroom.

There are no specific times or dates that you need to be in the class. You can do the work anytime as a self-study.

The class is asynchronous. The only interactive element of the course are the discussion boards – new people will always be joining the class which means the discussions will grow and change over time.

How long will it take to complete? You could take a weekend and dive in deep to do the whole course or take your time over a couple of months. No rush, you’ll have lifetime access to the course.

Cost: $38

Want to get started? Sign Up Here!

Who created the class?

credit: Michelle Lohutko

I’m Jessica Dolce, a certified compassion fatigue educator and mindfulness facilitator, dog walker, writer, grad student, creator of DINOS, and author of Notes from a Dog Walker. I’ve spent my entire career caring for companion animals and their people as a dog walker, animal shelter volunteer and employee, and animal welfare advocate.

And I’ve experienced compassion fatigue and burnout firsthand! I built this class because I want to make sure people who live with DINOS, like my clients, have access to the tools and information that can help them enjoy life with their dogs more.

Questions? Contact jessica@jessicadolce.com

Do you offer refunds or a guarantee?

No, I do not offer refunds. I offer a fun, supportive, and challenging learning experience, but I do not guarantee specific results, as participants will come to this course in all different phases of life, types of dogs, and varying levels of skills and self-awareness. You are responsible for integrating and implementing the course materials in whatever way works best for you and your dog at this time.

Disclaimer: This class is not a substitute for professional help from a dog trainer, behavior consultant, social worker, or veterinary behaviorist. Use the information provided in the class at your own risk. The creator assumes no responsibility for any harm that may arise from the use of this content. Please contact a professional for further assistance.