Dog Mom Talk: Training & Traveling with Nicole Ellis
You’re in for a treat, my friends! I am SO excited to share this week’s Dog Mom Talk interview with celebrity dog trainer and pet lifestyle expert, Nicole Ellis! With over 15 years of experience in the professional dog training field, she is co-author of the book Working Like A Dog and has shared her message of positive reinforcement training on The Today Show, NBC, Fox, Pet360 and Huffington Post, to name a few!
Dog mom to two adorable trained movie and therapy dogs, Maggie (a Bichon Poodle mix) and Rossi Bear (a Cavapoochon: Cavalier, Bichon and Poodle mix), Nicole believes in training through positive reinforcement and lots of love. With a focus on puppy skills, movie training, therapy dog training and service dog training, her goal is to help pet parents strengthen their bond with their pet by developing a new shared language.
In fact, you will be able to catch Nicole in action very soon as an expert dog trainer on Amazon’s new show The Pack, coming November 20, 2020!
Based in Los Angeles, Nicole Ellis has traveled all over the world sharing her training expertise, and we are so fortunate to have her share some of her insight with us! On this week’s Dog Mom Talk, we get to know this impressive dog mom and her pups, as she shares some training tips and helpful advice for traveling with your dog!
Let’s have a Dog Mom Talk!
Is there a unique story behind your dog’s name? Why did you choose these breeds in particular?
Rossi is named after the motorcycle racer Valentino Rossi. Both Maggie and Rossi join us on motorcycle adventures together!
I got Maggie from a Los Angeles animal shelter. I went there looking at Rottweilers and decided with my schedule and apartment at the time, he probably wasn’t the best fit. With 3 minutes to closing, I said I’ll take her! I had never held her or anything until then. She’s since been in countless TV shows and ads, and traveled the US visiting hospitals and nursing homes with me.
I fell in love with the Bichon Poodle mixes because of Maggie. They are active and can keep up, small enough for me to travel with, cuddly and sweet and don’t shed. I couldn’t find a Bichon Poodle breeder that did all the health testing, but I fell in love with Rossi’s breed and the rest is history.
What is the story behind your brand?
I grew up riding horses and bonding with family pets. I was always the fearless kid in the class who volunteered to hold the giant boa constrictor or pet the cheetah on vacation. I started training exotic animals, bears and tigers mostly, studying with the top trainers, and I decided to train my own Maggie. I instantly knew I wanted to do this for the rest of my life. I wanted to help people have that same special bond I was creating with her.
I do a lot with my dogs; we ride horses, motorcycles and we hike together. I genuinely believe life is better with a dog (or two!). With a little training more people can do things with their dogs and hopefully less end up in shelters, like the one I got Maggie from. From that idea, I was inspired to create free training videos with tips and information that pet parents can easily find and use for free. I’ve got lots of helpful info on the blog, as well!
What is one thing new dog parents should do in the early stages of puppyhood?
I would say socialize your dog to various things. This doesn’t mean letting your dog meet every single dog. This means letting them calmly see and explore the world. Expose them to different sounds like trucks, construction workers or firework videos. Let them feel different flooring, for instance, or see different people, like people in hats, kids playing on a swing set, etc. These experiences should be positive for your dog.
It can be tricky to keep the house clean with a dog or two. What are your go-to pet-safe cleaning products?
We have a Roomba that helps with the dust bunnies. I use Skout’s Honor to clean all our beds, toys, etc. They are eco-friendly, plant-powered and cruelty-free. For bowls, I use Kinn Kleanbowls which are made from sugar cane fiber! They’re biodegradable, germ-resistant and eco-friendly. Kleanbowls say pets will drink and eat more, and always choose this bowl over their bowl filled with germs. I did the test and never went back. It’s also super easy to travel with, as I throw them away. Dishwashers don’t get hot enough to kill all bacteria, so this is an easy way to help my pets oral and overall health.
How has being a dog mom changed or positively impacted your life?
Being a dog mom has given me so many opportunities. I’ve met my favorite people thanks to my dogs, from my friends to my boyfriend. I’ve traveled the world with other dogs thanks to the opportunities my dogs have given me. Dog people really are the best people, I can’t imagine a life without them.
You’ve traveled a lot, what is some advice you can give dog parents travelling for the first time? What have been some of your favorite dog-friendly traveling spots (hotels, beaches, etc.)
Prepare! Planning ahead will help you in the long run. Double check what “pet-friendly” means in any particular hotel – Can your dog be left alone in there? Are all your activities pet-friendly, and will your pet enjoy said activities?
We did a road trip (pre-Rossi) up the coast of California and I absolutely loved the beaches by Big Sur. I would love to go back again with Rossi. We also went camping at Montana De Oro with the dogs and the horse. All of us got to run on the beach, it was an absolutely unforgettable experience!
What are your go-to travel items that you love and that make travelling easier for you?
I have smaller dogs (15lbs) so I travel with a SleepyPod Air bag when I fly. It’s the longest bag that fits under seats, but it’s also a crash tested car carrier. I like that it has pockets to hold my passport and tickets, and keeps our dogs safe on our travels together.
We are also pretty outdoorsy, so we use a lot of Ruffwear and Paikka gear. When we’re on the road, we use Sleepypod gear in the car, and the Sleepypod Yummy bowl. It’s 3 bowls in one: I freeze water in the bottom so it slowly melts throughout our road trip. At events, we love to wear cute bandanas from Ripley & Rue and The Daily Moca. Other than that, we bring a nice long leash to explore, a tennis ball and of course, some treats!
For more tips on traveling with your pet and what you should bring, check out Nicole’s detailed blog post on traveling with your dog here!
HUGE thank you to Nicole Ellis for taking some time out of her busy schedule to answer some of my questions! You’re such an inspiration to so many pet owners around the world. Keep spreading your message of positivity. There definitely is no other bond quite like dog and dog mama (or dad!) I can’t wait to see you on Amazon’s The Pack!
You can learn more about this wonderful dog mom and her dogs on her website www.maggieandnicole.com and by following them on Instagram. If you want to learn how to develop that special communication with your pup, check out her Youtube videos here.
Find out who will be the next guest on Dog Mom Talk, next week! Subscribe to our newsletter below to be the first to know.
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