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Canine communication

Mind over matter is an idea that has been at the forefront of philosophical conversation for ages. One Guilderland animal trainer has translated that strategy into a way to keep animals calm and obedient.

Patricia Marciano runs a business at a rural property near Guilderland's western border. On her property sits a house, a horse stable and a kennel of dogs.

Outside the kennel, the scent of burning wood fills the air; Marciano is petting the only dog that lives with her full time, a half-Dalmatian named Greta.

Marciano has run her dog training and boarding business since 2004 and is an avid horse rider and self-proclaimed animal lover her whole life. This love of animals translated into a career as one of the area's most respected dog trainers.

For her boarding business, she said, owners will typically leave their animals between two nights and two weeks, but she has kept dogs for as long as a month. Boarding at her kennel is $27 per day.

Her dog training, though, is where she has really made her mark. She focuses on using body language rather than verbal commands to help keep dogs calm. There are some words and sounds that she uses, but she said the best training techniques involve getting the dog to know what you are thinking.

She demonstrated her techniques on Regen, a 4-year-old yellow lab and a real pistol. Marciano said Regen has consistently been a "trouble dog."

"He is a very active dog," Marciano said. "He has the attention span basically of a flea."

Regen once broke his owner's rib when he chased after a rabbit while on a walk.

Her strategy with Regen was to give him a choice to do what is correct, and what is wrong, then reward him when he does what she is asking. She stressed that he must have a choice, and it is important to start with the simple tasks.

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