This Sunday, as families gather to honor Dads on Father’s Day, it’s more than likely that a dog or two will be joining in the celebration, and the family of  Certified Pet Dog Trainer, David Muriello, is no exception.

David, who graduated from Cornell University with honors, is the Director of Training and Behavior at Biscuits and Bath in New York City (http://www.biscuitsandbath.com), and has successfully worked with thousands of dogs.  The Biscuits and Bath Training facilities, located throughout Manhattan, are “dedicated to bringing a luxurious country-like feel to the dogs of the city, along with the best care possible,” since 1990. David is noted for offering “smart solutions, fun style and the ability to connect with both dogs and people.”

I was struck by the way David wrote about his 22 month old son, Isaac, and when I wanted to write a dog-related post for Father’s Day, I immediately thought of him.  David, his wife Lauren, and Isaac, who live in Passaic County, NJ, welcomed a shelter dog named Hazel into their lives when Isaac was only 20 months old.  Although Isaac is too young for things like playing Fetch with Hazel he is well aware that she is part of the family.  According to David, “the most special part of their relationship is his wonder at her.”  David enjoys watching his son fill the dog’s food bowl, and offer her a toy (and sometimes taking one away), observing, “He (Isaac) sees what it means to care for another, to be gentle and respectful of animals, to learn about their movement and ways.”  On the flip side, David says that Hazel is the happiest when they are all together as a family.

As a trainer and behavior expert, David took great care to secure a strong family match when selecting Hazel.  He wanted a dog that was at least 6 months old to enable him to evaluate the dog’s personality.  Upon meeting Hazel, he was 90% confident she was the one, and a meeting between Hazel and Isaac at the shelter sealed the deal!

So what does David say to a father whose kids are begging for a dog of their own?  “Start with a plan, and a vision of what it really means to own a dog,” he advises. “Don’t go naively into the role of being a dog parent, as it is very similar to being a kid parent.”  David also warns against choosing a dog based on appearance alone, explaining that the dog’s personality should be the key factor. David offers a “Choose a Great Dog Checklist” that can be obtained by going to his Blog, The Real Deal on Dogs that’s  filled with great care and training tips for dog lovers.

David really exemplifies the vision Will Judy had for dog-loving families, even way back in 1949.  Judy, at a time when dogs were primarily viewed as utilitarian, was ahead of his times when he wrote about how the qualities of a dog could help build character in children and extolled that “Every Boy and Girl Should Grow up with a Dog as a Teacher.”  This was written in capital letters of good measure!  Judy believed that children, in caring for a dog, or any pet, was in fact learning the basics of parenting skills.

I would like to take this opportunity wish my own, dad, Jack Begin, who filled our family home with creatures both domesticated, and wild, a very Happy Father’s Day.  By welcoming, and tolerating, a myriad of pets in our household, he obviously has been a great influence on my life.  Coach Begin, as he is perpetually known, was a father figure to hundreds of Bergen County Athletes throughout the years. And a Happy Father’s Day to my husband, Rich, and my brother John with his four, and to David Lender  for his fatherly influences on lives! 

To wish David Muriello a Happy Father’s Day, and learn more about his services, visit  his Blog http://therealdealondogs.com, catch up with him on Facebook, or follow his tweets (or is that woofs?) at http://twitter.com/therealdealdave.

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