Mardi Growl Pet Parade & Party

Join The Fun at World's Fair Park

Dogs and dog lovers alike in Knoxville eagerly await the 11th annual Mardi Growl Pet Parade and Party to benefit Young Williams Animal Center. Thousands of spectators will gather in World's Fair Park March 5th, 2022 from 11 am to 3 pm. The event will begin at 11 am on Willow Ave in the Old City with a pet friendly parade and costume contest! Costumes in previous years have been really unique and impressive so get ahead of the game and plan now for you chance to win some awesome prizes!

At the Mardi Growl Pet Party in World's Fair Park, you will find over 60 vendors, food trucks, face painting, live music, and more! Make sure to stop by and see My Curious Canine and The Bark. We will be raffling off a free day pass to our new Indoor dog park and beer garden, The Bark.

Meet The Trainers

Events in Knoxville, like Mardi Growl, are a great time to get to know our wonderful dog training and indoor dog park staff. We are happy to discuss any of our services with you and answer any questions you may have. With all sorts of fun activities, good shopping, delicious food, and live entertainment, Mardi Growl is sure to please the dogs and their owners! Check out my safety tips below to ensure you have a fun and safe Mardi Growl.

Stay Safe!

When participating in any event with your pets...
  • Vaccinations should be current.
  • Make sure your pets are comfortable around large groups of people, dogs, crazy costumes and loud noises.
  • Bring water and waste bags.
  • Prepare for your pets' comfort (excessive heat or cold temps for example).
  • Limit participation of pets that are very shy or get stressed easily.
  • Make certain to have full control of the leash and your dog.
  • Use of retractable leashes should be avoided as they can break easily or cause injuries to others.

If you don't feel like your dog is ready for all the excitement at Mardi Growl, leave them at home where they can be comfortable and come see me about a personalized dog training plan or book a FREE Meet and Greet Today to make sure your dog doesn't miss out next year!


Keep Reading The Knoxville Dog Training Blog

How to get your dog to behave on Thanksgiving

Dog Thanksgiving

Grandma has just arrived, all the dishes are set to come out of the oven, and the turkey is resting. Things are all going according to your masterful plan until someone lets in the dogs! Before you know it, one is after the turkey while the other has already knocked grandma over. This is not the Thanksgiving you had hoped for.

Jumping up and food thievery are the top two issues dog owners face on Thanksgiving. It may sound impossible to try managing your dog's behaviors while also hosting the most important family meal of the year. You can make it possible with the right plan and approach. This year give your dogs a chance to enjoy thanksgiving, they are a part of the family after all. Just like planning the perfect Thanksgiving meal, having well behaved dogs will take some planning and preparation ahead of time. Our positive reinforcement dog trainers say to have the perfect dog on Thanksgiving you need to follow these five steps

  • Start correcting the jumping today! As humans we have a tendency to respond to jumping with "No" or "Off." However, dogs struggle to understand the absence of something clearly. They do much better when we provide a replacement behavior. Your dog needs a way to greet people and for people to recognize that is what your dog is doing. Responding to jumping with a "Sit" command is the best way to teach you dog how to greet people and get recognized for it. Another issue with "off" is that its just a standing position, so when the dog runs up initially the energy level is high, they stand for a moment, like "hey I'm off," and then they revert right back to jumping when it doesn't work out the way they hoped. Giving them a sit command to focus on is going to calm your dogs energy and is more likely to catch positive attention from people coming in the door. Its a heck of a lot more approachable than a dog running up right under your feet first thing you walk in. If your dog doesn't have this totally down by the holiday, make sure to have treats outside for your guests so they can encourage a sit when they walk inside. Practice makes perfect
  • Have interactive toys ready Having a interactive toys you can bring out when your dog get antsy and needs something to do is a great way to minimize the time you have to spend keeping your dog out of trouble. If you have a multiple dog household or there are young children in the home, consider isolating your dog during that time and letting them out when they finish.
  • Make sure your dog is properly exercised mentally and physically Start wearing down your dog's energy level days before the big meal. Schedule out some time for daily dog walks the week of Thanksgiving or hire an experienced dog walker. Incorporate training practice, interactive toys, and brain games to wear down your dog mentally as well.
  • Teach your dog to "Go" and "Leave it" With all the food around, you'll want a reliable way to tell your dog to walk away from temptation. A leave it command is perfect for teaching your dog to walk away. You can practice telling your dog to go out of the kitchen in the time before thanksgiving so you are start developing a boundary.
  • Have a safe, quiet space prepared Thanksgiving is often a very long day and its okay if your dog needs a break from all the commotion. Play some classical music and give them a comfy, secluded place to relax for a bit.

Being prepared and having a good plan will help your dogs thanksgiving go smoothly. If you have additional questions or concern about your dog's behavior over the holiday season, contact one of our dog trainers in Knoxville, TN to set up a free in-home meet and greet.

Keep Reading The Knoxville Dog Training Blog

Best Pet Stores In Knoxville

It's What Is Inside That Counts

Responsible dog owners care about the quality of the treats and toys they give to their beloved pets but they also care where they buy them. Shopping local has long been an important part of the culture here in Knoxville, TN. It has given us some of the best food and shopping in the south and that extends to your beloved pet. Check out the Top 3 locally owned pet stores in Knoxville, TN. Support these great small businesses while you spoil your pooch with all the best treats and toys!

Top 3 Local Pet Stores In Knoxville

  • River Dog Bakery in Bearden bakes the best homemade dog treats and even dog birthday cakes in Knoxville. The staff there are always so engaged and friendly. They pride themselves in being a store you enjoy bringing your dog to and they hold up to that standard. Not only will you find yummy snacks for your dog but you will also find a wide range of toys and supplies as well.
  • CitiFid-O is downtown Knoxville's premier pet store, offering many locally made products and standing behind the products they offer. The staff puts a lot of thought and consideration into making sure all their treats and pet foods are made in the USA with all American ingredients. They have a range of innovative pet toys, comfy beds, and essential accessories.
  • Natural Pet Supply of Knoxville offers super premium, holistic foods, supplies, and supplements for dogs and cats. Located in Bearden, their philosophy is that better foods result in better health. All of their foods, treats, and products are of the highest quality, natural, whole ingredients with minimal processing, little to no fillers, no chemical preservatives, and human grade.

Keep Reading The Knoxville Dog Training Blog

Before Bringing Home Baby To Meet Fido

After many long months you are finally ready to deliver your precious bundle of joy but you still have this nagging worry in the back of your mind. How will the dog react? With all of stress, hormones, and excitement looming through the air your dog is sure to know something is up and might even be feeding off all the energy in the house.

Lots of Changes Mean Stress For Your Dog.

Believe it or not, all the changes and excitement revolving around a new baby can be quite stressful for dogs. They can no longer curl up in mom's lap, the baby shower brought too many people in the house, and for some reason they can't even go into the spare room anymore. Stress can very easily turn into behavioral issues for our beloved pets. With all the new responsibilities of being a new parent quickly approaching, it's wise to check in on your dog's behavior now, rather than later.

Your Dog Has Needs

The first step to making sure your dog has a good transition, is making sure their basic needs are still being met. Every dog requires a few basic things in their life to keep them happy and healthy. It's our responsibility as dog lovers to meet those needs.

  • Exercise

    Every dog needs to stretch their legs and get in some cardio. For some dog's running around in the back yard isn't enough because they need to explore new sights and smells to not get bored. Worried you won't be able to maintain your dog walks right away after bringing home baby? You may want to consider hiring a Knoxville Dog Walker.

  • Mental Stimulation

    Not only do dog's need physical exercise, they also need to exercise their brains! Dog Training, Interactive Toys and Feeders, games, and dog walks are all great ways to add mental stimulation to your dog's day

  • Community

    Dogs are social creatures and do not do well being isolated. They need to interact with people and other dogs to keep them social and happy.

  • Boundaries

    Dogs are calmer and more well behaved when they know what is expected of them. Consistency is key!

  • Routine

    Being creatures of extreme routine, dogs come to expect and anticipate what is going to happen next in their day to day life. When that expectation isn't met, that can be quite stressful. So try to maintain your dog's routine as best you can.

You and Your Baby Have Needs

Now that we have talked about your dog's needs, lets talk about yours and your baby's needs! You need to be able to trust your dog around your precious baby and you need to know that your dog will listen. Teaching your dog some basic commands and addressing any current bad behaviors now can drastically cut down on the issues your encounter upon bringing your baby home.

  • No Jumping!

    Trying to hold a baby while a dog jumps all over you, is not something you want to be dealing with your first day home from the hospital. Start a new routine now! Have treats by the door and be ready to ask your dog to sit every time you enter the door for the next few months. You want your dog to anticipate the new routine of sitting for a yummy treat.

  • No Barking!

    Your dog's barking may be something you can live with, but what if your baby can't sleep through it. Every knock at the door could be a nap interrupted.

  • "Leave It"

    This command is great to get your dog to walk away from something. Whether that is a pacifier, a tummy mat, or your last chicken nugget!

  • Loose Leash Walk:

    Wouldn't it be lovely to walk your dog and push the stroller at the same time without worrying about your dog darting off the the side after a squirrel?

  • "Come": Imagine a sleeping baby inside the cozy nursery, when BAM! You realize your dog got out of the fence and is running around the neighborhood. A good recall is crucial to keep you from chasing your dog all over town.

  • "Settle"

    It's baby's nap time and your dog decided its the perfect time to get wild and excited. Teach your dog a "Settle" command to have them lay down in a designated spot and relax.

Don't Be Afraid to Ask For Help

With so many dog training methods out there, there is a lot of room for confusion and you may not have the time to waste! Finding the right help can be challenging with so many different trainers in Knoxville, TN. You want to avoid dog training methods that rely heavily on punishment and e-collars. You don't want to risk bringing our fear or aggression in your dog now, at such a pivotal point in your life and you certainly don't want to be juggling a bottle, a baby, AND a remote training aid.

With positive reinforcement dog training methods, you will be seeing a change in your dog's behavior in a few short weeks! One of our Knoxville dog trainers is happy to address any behavioral concerns you dog may have and help guide you and your dog through this next new phase of life! Book a FREE Meet and Greet today to discuss a personalized training plan right in the comfort of your home.

Keep Reading The Knoxville Dog Training Blog

Dog Aggression Isn’t Mean, It’s Mental

When you take an afternoon stroll at one of Knoxville's wonderful parks, you are likely to see all sorts of dogs! Some may be happy and eager to greet people and dogs, others may be lunging, growling, snapping, and might have everyone taking a step back. What makes the difference between the two dogs? Is one dog nice and while the other is simply mean? Dog aggression is usually a symptom of a bigger underlying problem called stress. Stress can make even the nicest of dogs turn into Kugo under the certain circumstances. It's not mean, it's mental. But dogs live the life of luxury; cushy beds, trips to the dog park, a basket full of dog toys. They don't have to work, pay bills, or manage a household, what in the world do they have to be stressed about?

Stressors That Lead To Aggression

  • Rough Past Sometimes it a simple as reflecting on your dog's past experience. Were they ever abused or have they previously experienced a dog fight? That past experience has probably trained them react aggressively to similar stimuli.
  • Lack of Experience Maybe your dog hasn't had a bad experience with another dog or person, actually maybe they haven't had many experiences at all now that you think about it. With this type of scenario the dog may be experiencing stress because they aren't socialized enough and don't know what to expect out of other people and dogs
  • Boredom Every single dog, big or small, lazy or energetic needs mental stimulation and purpose in their life. If they aren't getting what they need, they may seek out entrainment and purpose in the form of guarding. Whether that means they are guarding their owner, food, or other dogs in their group through acts of aggression.
  • Fear Not every dog is a social butterfly dying for attention and interaction. So when an off leash dog runs up in their face or a person screams with glee and reaches out to pet them, some dogs may react aggressively out of fear.

Punishment Isn't A Solution

Have you heard of Pavlov Dogs? Pavlov would ring a bell and then feed his dogs a bowl of food. After many repetitions, he rang the bell and observed the dogs salivate as an immediate response to the bell. Dogs are hyper observant and extreme creatures of routine. So let's imagine this scenario, let's say a dog sees another dog and has a reaction their owner doesn't like, the owner applies a punishment the dog doesn't like and this causes stress. After so many repetitions how do you think the dog will instantly feel when seeing a dog down the street? The hope with punishment based techniques is that the dog learns to associate the punishment with the behavior. But after so many zaps, pinches, and yanks any dog would be just as likely to learn it only happens around certain stimuli.

There is Hope

These dogs aren't doomed to be aggressive and feared forever. With a positive reinforcement training approach, these types of dog's have a chance at rehabilitation, no matter what stressor is causing the aggression. A positive reinforcement dog trainer can work to create good experiences for the dog with the rough past or the dog lacking experience all together. They can also give dogs a new purpose in life besides guarding and, believe it or not, they can even build up a dog's confidence to eliminate fear. Positive Reinforcement Dog Training is such a great way for dog owners to learn how to understand their dog's behavior and how to use gentle techniques that rely on communication and teaching, never punishment.

Do you need help addressing aggression with your dog? Schedule a FREE Meet and Greet with a My Curious Canine dog trainer today to discuss what is causing your dog's aggression and how we can help!

Keep Reading The Knoxville Dog Training Blog


Howloween is one of the best dog events of the year in Knoxville, TN. Howloween is a dog friendly, halloween themed event hosted by UT Gardens. This fun event with a spooky twist will include a judged costume parade with prizes, an expo of educational booths, pet businesses, and rescue groups, food trucks and more. There will be pet food drive to benefit Companion Animal Initiative of Tennessee (CAIT), which works to improve the lives of companion animals and reduce the homeless pet population in Tennessee by promoting humane education and spay/neuter initiatives. Please consider donating money, pet food or other items to support them in their mission. As you walk your dog around Knoxville's Howloween event you will find all sorts of toys, treats, gear, and maybe even your next rescue dog. Be sure not to miss the spooky costume contest and parade that begins at 2:30pm! If you have a great Howloween costume idea for your dog, sign up and you may just win all sorts of fabulous prizes.

Costume Judging Categories

  • Do(g) It Yourself - show off your DIY skills and win over the judges with a homemade costume.
  • Funny Bone - If you make the judges laugh till the cry, you might just have a chance at taking home first place in this category!
  • Bad to the Bone - Send shivers up the judges spines and have them running away in terror to take home first place in this category.
  • Pup Culture/ Character - Watch out for the paw-parazzi everyone will want a photo with your famous pooch! Will your dog be the biggest star?
Entry Fees and More Info

Our positive dog trainers are excited to see you at this year Howloween! Bring your best dog training questions and stick around for some giveaways. We can't wait to see you at Howloween! Can't wait to meet one of our trainers? Book a complimentary consultation today

Keep Reading The Knoxville Dog Training Blog

Leash Reactive Dogs

Take a quick jog or walk through any suburban neighborhood around dusk and you’ll likely see this common sight: Leash reactive dogs lunging at each other from opposite sides of the street, pulling and embarrassing the human walking with them.

What is Leash Reactivity?

Leash reactivity in dogs can manifest itself in many ways: Think lunging, jumping, snarling, rearing up like a stallion, growling, barking and overexcitement when walking on a leash. Simply put, a leash-reactive dog is one that is especially sensitive and reactive while on a leash. Leash reactive dogs aren’t bad dogs – many are well-behaved off-leash and even play well with other dogs at dog parks and at home.

[img src="/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/leash-reactive.jpg"]

Here are 3 things you need to know about leash reactivity in dogs and what you can do to manage your dog’s behavior when walking on a leash.

Natural Interactions

When off-leash and in their own natural environment, dogs usually greet from the side and then sniff each other’s genitals. They don’t approach head-on and make hard eye contact unless a fight is about to start. Additionally, dogs generally only greet each other for a few seconds. Dogs who meet on a leash usually meet head first, and when neighbors stop and chat, tensions can rise. Dog owners need to be aware of how dogs behave on their own and need to create as natural interactions as possible, even during leashed walks.

Use Your Manners

Dog owners also don’t often recognize rude behavior from other dogs. If one leashed dog greets another leashed dog during a walk by running up and jumping on him, this isn’t cute or playful, it’s downright rude in dog society and could be the result of a poorly socialized dog.

[img src="/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/pulling-leash.jpg"]

Positive Reinforcement

Leash reactivity can be corrected with positive reinforcement dog training. You can start curbing this unwanted behavior by teaching your dog to focus on you, not other dogs, during walks. You can start working on this lesson by starting leashed walks in areas without distractions, like in your living room or fenced yard.

For more information about curbing leash reactivity with positive reinforcement dog training, read about My Curious Canine's training style or schedule a free meet and greet or ask about our mastering the walk mini-course.

Keep Reading The Knoxville Dog Training Blog

Ten Signs That Your Dog Is Bored

If most dogs had their way, life would be one long visit to the dog park. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that. Most human dog owners have to work 8 or more hours a day, leaving your dog alone and up to his own devices. In many cases, dogs left alone get bored and that can lead to trouble. Here are 10 signs that your dog might be bored.


It doesn’t matter how many toys Fido has at his disposal. A bored dog might seek out other things to satisfy his need to chew if he’s feeling bored. This can be detrimental to your shoe collections, furniture and even the walls of your home.


A bored dog can try to create her own fun by engaging in digging behavior, which can be destructive to your home and lawn.

Over excitement

Your dog is always happy to see you, but if his greeting is over the top, this could mean he’s bored at home when you’re not around.

Excessive licking

If your dog is constantly licking himself or you, you might think he’s just being clean or affectionate. But in some cases, excessive licking can indicate boredom.

Escaping and running away.

If your dog makes a run for it every chance he gets, chances are this means he’s bored with his surroundings.


Humans might pace when their feeling fidgety and the same goes for dogs. A dog who is bored with extra energy to burn might pace the halls, fence or room.

Panting without physical exertion

There are a number of reasons why your dog may pant. Heat, physical exertion, pain or even just breed disposition. If you’ve been able to rule these out but still find your dog panting, boredom or anxiety might be to blame.

Scratching without physical explanation

Scratching, biting or chewing can be a sign of boredom in dogs. If you find your pooch engaging in these behaviors after ruling out allergies, boredom might be the culprit.

Pulling the stuffing from toys

Destructive play can be fun for your dog. If you come home to find a trail of fluff leading down the hall, you might have a dog who is bored when you’re away.


Many things might inspire your dog to bark. The mailman. A bird in a tree outside the window. The wind. But if your dog’s barking becomes a nuisance to you or your neighbors, chances are he is bored and looking for ways to entertain himself.

How to combat doggie boredom

Keep your dog healthy and engaged and avoid boredom-related behaviors by letting your dog channel his energy into healthier outlets. Ways to fight doggie boredom can include the following.

  • Positive reinforcement training
  • Making good use of daily interactions
  • Using the puzzle toys to add mental stimulation, which can be purchased through MyCuriousCanine
  • Playing obedience games
  • Engaging sports such as agility, barn hunt etc.

A well-trained and mentally stimulated dog is a joy to have in your home. Every minute of each day can’t always be exciting for you or your dog, but making a plan to keep boredom at bay when your dog is home alone can help you have a more meaningful relationship with your dog. For more information about combating your dog’s boredom or stop destructive dog behavior, learn more about our dog training style or book an appointment today.

Keep Reading The Knoxville Dog Training Blog

Off Leash Training

Autonomy, Independence, & Freedom

No, we’re not celebrating the Fourth of July – we’re talking about off leash dog training. When your dog is trained to safely roam off leash, you both can enjoy and explore the world around you in a fun and exciting way. When your dog is off leash trained, you truly have a companion capable of discovering and appreciating the great outdoors and the world at large. It can be a remarkable experience for both owners and dogs alike.

[img src="/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/off-leash.jpg"]

However, that doesn’t mean it’s easy or without danger: unexpected loud noises, wild animals and even other off leash dogs can startle a dog and cause him to bolt. If you want your dog to be off leash capable, you need to always be in control of your dog’s behavior – even when you aren’t bound by a leash or relying on a shock collar to correct unwanted behavior.

What Does it Mean to Be Off Leash Capable?

Many dog owners feel like their dog is off leash capable when Fido comes when called. While recall is an essential part off any dog’s off leash training, there’s much more that goes into training a dog to be truly off leash capable. A dog who is off leash capable is always attentive to her owner, even from 20 or 30 or 50 feet away. off leash capable dogs frequently check in with their humans even as they roam free. Additionally, learning commands beyond the basic “sit” and “stay” goes in to many dogs’ off leash training.

Useful Commands

A dog who is ready to enjoy the world off leash likely understands commands like the following.

  • “Right” and “Left” – Remember, you’re in control of your off leash dog. Teaching simple direction commands makes navigating together easy.
  • “Leave it” – Your dog will inevitably find something in nature you’d rather him leave behind. Whether that’s garbage or another dog, knowing this command will allow your dog to understand what’s off limits.
  • “Down” from a distance – Being able to signal when to stop or even lie down from some distance away is another important part of off leash dog training. Being able to tell your dog when to stop could even save her life in certain situations.

When Is Your Dog Ready?

A dog who is truly off leash capable can follow commands and obey without the use of punitive dog training aids, allowing you and your pet to truly enjoy and experience the great outdoors without fear.

off leash dog training can help you and your dog bond and enjoy the world around you in new ways. My Curious Canine can help you determine if your dog is off leash capable and help you work toward your off leash dog training goals with positive reinforcement and proper communication.  For more information or to get started, learn more about my dog training style or contact me to book an appointment.

Keep Reading The Knoxville Dog Training Blog

What Every Dog Lover Needs to Know

Be Positive, Be Successful

Remember how happy you were as a child when you earned that bicycle by doing chores around the house? You might not realize it, but this was an example of positive reinforcement training and it works with both humans and dogs.

In fact, a dog training style that relies heavily on positive reinforcement and real-world situations is known to be one of the most effective ways to train your dog and build your relationship. Here’s how My Curious Canine’s positive reinforcement dog training compares to some other popular methods of dog training.

Learning Good Behavior In The Home

Board and train facilities often promise to fix problem behavior and curb your dog’s bad habits. But one of the problems with these facilities is that the dog is removed from their home and familiar environment and where the behavior occurs. If you send your dog to a board and train facility because he digs in your flower beds, taking him to a facility without those flower beds for training likely won’t change his behavior. My Curious Canine works with dogs and their families in familiar environments so the dog training is real-world applicable.

Learning In Real-World Scenarios

Puppy classes at pet stores often rely on a “trick-for-treat” model of dog training. While this mimics positive reinforcement, the dog training sometimes fails when a treat isn’t available. My Curious Canine teaches dogs and their people how to behave in real-life situations. For example, when a dog learns to sit for a treat, it might be hard for the dog to correlate that command with situations in his daily life. My Curious Canine can work with your dog so that he learns to sit when the door opens so he doesn’t have to be held back every time someone enters or exits the home. My Curious Canine is personalized dog training that works with you and your family – with both two and four legs – to make sure your dog’s behavior works with your lifestyle.

Be A Leader, Not A Dominator

Alpha dog training methods rely on negative reinforcement, like prong collars and shock collars. These dog training methods instill fear and teach the dog that their human is a “pack leader” who calls the shots. In many cases, these methods rely on a single interpretation of dog psychology and might involve punishments that mimic fighting and forcefully teach submission. For example, to correct a dog jumping up in excitement, the trainer might force a knee to their chest. A positive reinforcement dog trainer like My Curious Canine, on the other hand, would aim to replace the behavior with a controlled technique through a command like "sit" or "settle.”

Regardless of dog training method you chose, it’s important to know that each interaction you have with your dog is an opportunity to learn. My Curious Canine’s goal is to make dog training easy by breaking it down into 30-second intervals with each interaction rather than 30-minute sessions. Breaking dog training down per interaction keeps your dog stimulated and learning.

My Curious Canine's positive reinforcement training techniques teach you how to build a relationship with your dog built on respect and proper communication. For more information, learn more about my dog training style or contact us to book an appointment.

Keep Reading The Knoxville Dog Training Blog