Dog bite, now what?

I wanted to share this correspondence with everybody I changed the name of the dog but the incident remains the same. All too often I see people who have a situation that occurs with their dog and they chop it up to a series of unfortunate events.

Here’s the question

“Need some advice….
We got a court summons because “YaYa” snapped at two annoying kids at Lowe’s while I was paying and she was sitting by me on leash and the she may have broken skin. I didn’t see what I’d expect to look like a bite mark, just a dot. Mom ended up calling the police because of the bite.

What do I do now? 
I’d like know if and how I can get this dropped as “Yaya” ‘s not aggressive.  “

You probably aren’t going to get it dropped especially since the dog broke the skin and there is enough evidence to support your dog acted aggressive at this time.  Thus the bite.

I would suggest you take it as an opportunity to get a little extra training with your dog. I’m not saying that your dog is aggressive, but if he’s barking at people it probably wouldn’t hurt to get a little extra control of him especially now that he has a record. 
You know that if somebody calls back in Animal Control is going to have a history of your dog’s bite now. It’s going to be hard to explain to a judge if he asks why didn’t you do anything after the last incident.

“So, do you think I should record a video of “Yaya” Playing with kids in the neighborhood?”

 The thing is even if you have a Canine Good Citizen on your dog and it is preceived  to act aggressively in public. 

The judge isn’t going to care if he gets along with your neighbors kids or any other kids.

If you look at the summons it says that your dog is accused of acting that way on a specific date and time and at a specific location. 

You’re not going to get out of a speeding ticket by taking a video of you not speeding through a school zone on a separate day and time then the ticket occurred on.  A dog ticket is viewed the same way.

Your dog’s behavior is only in question for the date and time on the face of the summons. Unless you have witnesses or security footage that shows your dog behaving like an angel during the time he was accused of acting this way then it’s going to be hard to fight. Your job isn’t to convince the judge that it didn’t happen, especially if it did happen. Your job is to convince the judge that moving forward you’re going to take actions to ensure that this won’t happen in the future. 

This is a good opportunity to have a professional evaluate the situation and come up with a specific plan to prevent future bites with your dog.

“Is there anything else I should do?”

You will want to make sure that your dog is on a 10-day home quarantine if he actually did bite the skin on somebody. 

You want to make sure that your dog is current on whatever licensing your city or state requires which will always include a rabies vaccination at least here in the states. 

Make sure that your dog cannot escape the backyard.

If you decide to continue taking your dog into public places make sure that your dog is leashed and keep an eye open for people approaching your dog who look like they may want to pet. 

It also is worth considering a basket muzzle, but your trainer can talk more in depth with you about that.

When there is a fight at the dog park

What to do if there is a scuffle at the dog park.

This outline is meant for after the fight/scuffle/altercation is completely broken up and there is no risk for re-engagement between the two dogs.

Start by assessing the situation.

Determine if any people were bitten while breaking up the fight and look for injuries on both dogs. Are the injuries minor or severe? Was it just barking and snarling, did it escalate to wet fur, how about puncture wounds or tooth drags? If either dog is injured badly enough that it needs to be transported to the vet immediately ask a witness to exchange numbers with you and see if they complete the next step for you. Assessing the situation will also require you to determine the level of severity of the incident if two dogs just barked at each other moving forward with the following steps may not be necessary but if one of the dog has puncture wounds or seem seriously injured the following step is critical.

Just like a car crash, when there is a dog-dog altercation dog owners need to exchange information. Both dog owners will benefit from exchanging information and taking photos of damages or lack of damages. Keep in mind that some damages may not be visible right away. In addition this can protect both owners by keeping this as accurate as possible. If vet treatment will need to be sought a summons to court will help the victim obtain restitution for vet or doctor bills, but it will be easier if you have the other person’s information. Without this there maybe nothing you can do to find them later.

If the other dog owner chooses to leave the scene quickly, instead of checking in with you and your dog then try and get the make and model of their car, as well as the license plate, and if possible a photo of owner and dog. Be sure not to put yourself in danger while trying to do this. If the other dog owner is cooperating see if you can get a photo of their driver’s license and their dogs rabies tag. If they’re not comfortable with sharing this information with you see if you can get their full name, date of birth, address and phone number.

Gather as many witness’s information as possible. If there is a pen and paper available see if they can write a quick statement as to what they saw occur be sure they include a full name and phone number. The other part of this step is to gather photos. Be sure to get photos of the other dog, owner, both dogs, any injuries, blood left on soil, dog bites and the location it occurred.

Your final step is to report the incident. If there are any injuries to your dog I highly recommend that you to report the incident to animal control. This will protect you if you do have vet bills to pay. This will also put a record out there if a similar incident occurs with the same dog and owner. Many times you can decide if a ticket is issued or if it’s just a written warning, so don’t feel bad about getting the other dog in trouble this can protect you and your dog. Turn the information you collected over to animal control, but save a copy for your records.

Most animal control agencies can run license plates and find people’s current addresses off of driver’s license numbers or license plates in case if the owner isn’t willing to provide that information to you. The more information you gather the better understanding the police or Animal Control will have of the incident. If they can get a clear picture of the incident they can come up with the best way to move forward. Also, if it moves forward to court the city attorney’s will be well on their way to being able to paint the jury a clear picture of what occurred.

The best choice of all is to prevent this from happening. I normally suggest to clients that they stay away from dog parks. Instead I recommend they have play dates with dogs that they know in a friends big back yard, do supervised play at indoor facilities or get a group of friends together for a group walk. If you do end up at a dog park watch for bullying, always keep a close eye on your dog, and spend time learning about body language before you go. When you are at the dog park leave at the first sign of a dog with poor social skills.

Good luck!

Canine Good Citizen

I love the Canine Good Citizen test and I know my students that have earned the title love it too. We have a lot of fun in these classes and it is the first title that most people earn with their dogs.    Any dog regardless of if they are AKC registered can earn the Canine Good Citizen certificate.

This is a title that handlers of all ages can participate in.  Our youngest for handler I’m the last testing event was just nine!

This is a great title if your goal is to have a well-behaved family dog or if you’re interested in moving on to Dog Sports like Rally  or IPO.  

Week 1 in our Canine Good Citizen package starts off with a mock test allowing us to evaluate where each dog is in their training.  We work with each dog and handler then the week before our test day we actually go out and enjoy a patio lunch with our dogs after class.  This allows dogs practice holding a down stay while their pet parents enjoy a lunch.  It’s a great opportunity for dogs to practice their training in a real life scenario, plus it allows students to show off the skills with their dogs learned.

There are other benefits to earning a Canine Good Citizen as well such as free City Licensing, discounts on renters insurance and discounts on hotels when you travel with your dog.

Here’s a little about the test!

1: Accepting a friendly stranger
2: Sitting politely for petting
3: Appearance and grooming

4: Out for a walk (walking on a loose lead)
5: Walking through a crowd
6: Sit and down on command and Staying in place
7: Coming when called
8: Reaction to another dog
9: Reaction to distraction
10: Supervised separation

This intermediate obedience class is designed for dog’s who have already completed formal beginner obedience and formal intermediate obedience classes, or have a very solid training foundation at home.

 Not sure if your dog is ready for this advanced obedience class? Just ask us, we are happy to help! 

For more detailed information about what each test involves, please visit

We offer a 6 week CGC Training Package for $130 and if you only want to test it’s just $15.00

Teaching Puppies To Let Go Of Objects

puppy Classroom
“Help!!!  My puppy is chewing on the piddle pads. He picks them up and runs
around the house like he is declaring catch me if you can. I know I
shouldn’t chase my puppy, but what should I do? Help it is making my
wife crazy!”

Your puppy isn’t the first puppy to discover this really fun way to
activate a vigorous game of chase with his owners. Everyone is
sitting in the living room playing on their phone or watching TV, the
puppy goes and picks up the piddle pad (or sock) and all of a sudden
every one’s full attention is on puppy. Oh and what a fun game of
catch me if you can is.

Let’s start by focusing by seeing this from your puppy’s point of view
and imagine for a moment I asked you if I could take a look at the
twenty in your wallet. Let’s pretend you hand it to me and I slipped
it into my pocket and walked away.  Would you show me your fifty?

We have to acknowledge that even though it is just a pee pad to us it
is a prized toy of the puppy’s. This can actually create much bigger
problems in the future. Fear of having prized objects stolen is what
creates resource guarding which is a dangerous behavior problem for a
adult dog.

Turn the tables on the chase game
Maybe don’t start this with a pee pad, but instead have play this game
with several dog toys. Toss a ball, tug or dog toy 2-3 feet away from
your feet and as soon as your puppy picks it up in their mouth run
away from your puppy while showing your puppy another toy in you
hands. Say “bring” when your puppy starts heading away. Keep your
sessions short and use different toys each session. Remember to run
away from your puppy not towards your puppy. Once your puppy is in
the great habits of running towards you with objects he picks up try
using this when your puppy has objects he shouldn’t.

Teaching your puppy to share prizes and teaching drop on request
Sharing a prized pinecone that your puppy found while out on his walk
may not be at the top of his to do list, but we can teach your puppy
that sharing prizes is actually a big win for him. If he thinks
sharing is a good idea than that’s a win for you too.
For this you will need to have 5-7 object your dog likes to pick up
like a paper towel, pine cone, stick, feather duster, slipper, ect.
You will also need high value crumbly treats like crumbled cheese or
blue buffalo dog treat rolls.
In a empty room with nothing on the floor walk around and say “drop”
1- 2 seconds after saying “drop” place 3-4 crumbled treats on the
floor. Repeat this 15 times.
Then put one of your decoy objects on the ground and completely ignore
your puppy and object. Walk around and say drop then place the treats
on the ground even if your puppy still has the decoy object in his/her
mouth. Repeat this 10 times with each decoy object. Remember don’t
try to pick up the object just leave it on the ground. It’s okay if
your puppy goes back and picks up the object.
Once your dog gets comfortable leaving the decoy object for the
dropped treats then you can say “drop” and only drop the treats once
your puppy spits out the object. Don’t try to steal the prized
possession from your puppy right away unless it is something
dangerous. Instead do three to five drops each time your puppy picks
up something he shouldn’t.

Putting it all together
Now your puppy knows “bring” and “drop” so if you see your puppy pick
something up that he should have ask your puppy to bring and then ask
for a drop. Be sure to reward your puppy well the better the prize he
has the better your should reward your puppy.
Good luck with training puppies can be a lot of work just remember
train smarter not harder. If your puppy thinks it’s a good idea he is
sure to do the behavior you want.
Teaching drop

Chewing 101

red mastiff kong

Kongs are great to prevent chewing

My dog chews, and it is so fustrating! What can I do?

Start by making meal time more challenging. Interactive feeders such as the Kong Wobblers, Busy buddies, and the buster cube are a natural, healthy, and playful solution to add value to kibble, prevent boredom, and allows dogs to use their natural foraging instincts. These promote natural eating habits by requiring dogs to forage for their feasts. Moreover, by prolonging feeding times, they reduce the risks for bloat, chewing, regurgitation, and canine obesity. Dogs quickly learn to “chase” their food through, making dinnertime feel more like a hunt. It’s time to throw out your food bowl and make the switch to interactive feeding.

You can also curb these behaviors are upping the exercise. Excess energy never goes to good uses and can often cause build up frustration or anxiety. Chewing is one way dogs eliminate excess energy.

I don’t want you to think you have to take up jogging there are much easier ways to give your dog a appropriate outlett for the energy. Weighted back packs can be bought online to make your normal walks more effective, flirt poles, scavenger hunts for treats and toys tier out the mind, and interactive feeders (kong wobbler ($11.00) make feeding time a physical and mental challenge.

Chewing is a must for a dog, but we have to offer them toys in a EFFECTIVE way.

Remember the first day you gave you dog his beloved toy?

He probably doesn’t play as much with it as he did the first day. We have the power to keep these toys magical by switching them out frequently.

I normally suggest a person has 3-4 toys that they switch our daily. When selecting toys keep in mind what objects your dog likes to chew up of yours?

Is it the remote to your tv?  Then Nylabones are probably a good option.

Is it your wooden entrainment stand?  Than Lykwood chews are probably your best option.

Some good toys are:

  • Kong (stuff it with different things and freeze it)
  • Kong wobbler
  • Busy Buddy
  • Tricky treat ball
  • Raw bones

The key is to only give your dog these high value rewards when he is likely to chew and take them away the majority of time. This keeps them regarded as high value in your dog’s mind.

What do you do if you catch your dog chewing? Walk up to your dog quickly tell them “no” and offer them a good toy. Than try to reengage them in the inappropriate toy, if they go for it tell them “no”, when they stop reward them with the other okay toy. Repeat until you offer the inappropriate object and they look for the good toy.

Chewing is a common problem in adolescent dogs, but the good news in it is highly preventable and manageable.

Kenneling is great for when you are out of the house, but make sure you take time to properly introduce the crate to your dog. The last thing you want is a hundred plus pound dog who doesn’t want to be crated. Give your dog best toys while he is in the crate. Kenneling fully stops chewing unsafe object and helps with other behavior problems too.  To kennel train your dog visit this link.

Almost every dog has an assortment of toys, but after a few days these toys become boring and dogs begin to lose interest. To prevent this from happing you should have at least four different toys that they are given only when you leave. 

For example:

Monday when you leave for work he gets a buffalo bone. When you come home it gets taken away and put in the freezer. (This gets him to associate positive things when you are leaving the house) Tuesday when you leave he gets an elk antler, when you come home that gets taken away and so one.

Remember the best way to help tier out a dog are things that work mind and body, so consider doing scavenger hunts with HIGH VALUE rewards hidden around the house in upside down food bowls, hidden Kong toys, and natural bones. Natural bones can be a huge stress reliever for dogs working similar to a baby’s pacifier. Good bone options include ham hocks, buffalo shins, pig ears, hooves and antlers. Dogs are very smart and can become bored quickly so you should have at least three types of natural bones. Set these up before you leave the house in the morning or when you need some peace and quiet.

Remember that supervision, exercise and enrichment is the best solution for chewing.

Mastiff Chewing

A kong is a must for training




Distraction Proofing

Why is it important to add distraction into your dogs training?

Distractions are a part of real life, so if you want your dog to listen with distraction you must practice with it. We use simple math and the three D’s of doggy impulse control to make sure we have BOMB PROOF cues that your dog will really understand!

What are the 3 D’S of impulse control you ask?

1. Distance: How far can you get away from your dog and have him still stay? If you’re working on teaching come you can ask your dog how far away can you be and still successful perform come?

2.Duration: How long can your ask your dog to stay? One second? One minute? Ten minutes…. yes its possible….
If you’re working on eye contact such as the focus cue you can ask your dog how long can you hold eye contact.

3.Distraction: Can my dog stay if I accidently drop a treat? What if a dog walks bye? What if a person walks up?

What does impulse control have to do with distraction proofing?

Everything! If your dog doesn’t have self control he definitely won’t be able to perform with distractions present. When a dog chooses to stay when a ball is being thrown that is because he has learned the art of self discipline or doggie impulse control.

Introduction to the concept of distractions

Let’s think of distractions as a ladder with each rung being a different distraction.
The harder the distraction the higher the rung is on the ladder. It wouldn’t be fair to expect somebody to be able to LEAP to 10th rung, right?
Unfortunately, that is the expectation that many pet owners have for their dogs.

Strategically adding distractions
Having a plan in training goes a great way and making sure it’s a smooth successful process.

Try this exercise:
With a pen and a paper make a list of everything that distracts your dog.

Here are some ideas to get you started:
Honking horn
Man walking
Person riding a bike
Dog barking far away
Dog walking by
Food laying on the floor
Leaf blowing bye
Person asking to pet your dog

Once your list is complete write a 1, 2 or 3 next to the distraction based on how difficult of a distraction you think it is for your dog.
One being the least distracting and 3 being the most

Using your list
Spend several training sessions practicing your training with distraction level 1’s present. Try to do lots of repetitions with lots of different level 1 distractions. Then move on to level 2 and level 3.

Doing the math
If you are practicing with a level one destruction present and a level three distraction pops up then you’re actually practicing with a level 4. It’s a good idea to move on to level 4 or even higher once your dog has mastered level 3.

If you find yourself getting frustrated or you feel that your dog is tracking out or ignoring you go back to the previous level of distraction until your dog can be successful again.


Surrendering for Behavior

Training Obligation Pit

When I started training professionally I was working at a non-profit shelter in Colorado.  I got to assist in completing many families by helping to add a new pet to the home, but 2-3 times a day a owner would walk through the front door with tears in their eyes knowing they would be leaving without their beloved family pet.  Surrendering a dog to a shelter is sometimes the only option for a family that has fallen on hard times.  When it comes to behavior issues I was finding that most of the dogs can stay in the home.  If the owner has the resources to change the behavior.

Most of the time the behavior issues we were seeing dogs being surrendered for could easily be corrected within just a few training sessions. In attempt to keep the dogs in their home, I would start a conversation with the owner, by asking them why they were surrendering their dog. Then they would describe a behavior issue that they could no longer bring themselves to deal with. To this I would follow up with, “Have you considered training or behavior modification?”

Inevitably, I would be given one of three answers,

“yes, we’ve been training him ourselves. I’ve owned dogs all my life.” “Yes, we did puppy classes when he was little.”  or “Yes, we spent, insert a ridiculous amount of money here, and we didn’t see any changes in the behavior. I don’t think this dog is fixable.”

Hearing this broke my heart. 

“Yes, I trained him myself I’ve owned dogs all my life.”
Sometimes we are blessed with a dog that is well-adjusted, socialized from an early age and doesn’t have any hiccups along the way. 

Talk to any professional dog trainer from box store beginner to world champion level and I guarantee you that they have used another trainer for their own dog. It isn’t because they haven’t owned dogs before or they are not experienced enough.  It is for the same reason that football players have coaches. Two heads are always better than one and having a coach can provide you with a new perspective to your dog’s behavior and bring new solutions to the table.   If you have experience training dogs in the past that’s great news! That means your trainer will be able to help you solve your dog’s behavior problems even faster than somebody who has no experience at all.   Don’t let your ego be the reason your dog walks into a shelter.

Another challenge I often see with D.I.Y. dog training is behavior problems being misdiagnosed.   I can’t tell you how many calls I’ve gotten to assist a owner with a “aggressive” or “protective” dog and evaluate the dog only to find a fearful dog that had learned to successfully ask for space by barking and lunging at strangers.  If the dog’s owners preceded in D.I.Y. training they could have very easily made the problem much worse. Instead, with a accurate diagnosis of the dog’s behavioral problem we were able to address the root causes of the behavior and with the fearful emotion addressed the dog no longer felt the need to ask for space in such a way. 

Dog training is a evolving profession.  You wouldn’t want your doctor for a life threatening illness, to be a friend who got his medical education from watching DR. OZ, why would you allow a neighbor who got his dog training education from watching The Dog Whisper on TV to treat your dog?  If you are considering surrendering for a behavior issue this is a life threating illness for your dog.

“Yes, we did puppy classes when he was little.”

First let me congratulate you for being a proactive pet parent. Not enough people go to puppy classes when they’re puppies are young. That being said puppy classes are not meant for behavior modification. These classes are meant to teach your puppy to focus on you in a structured environment, build confidence, socialize and to start a foundation for obedience.  In all honesty the great majority of the most popular box stores fall short at even this.

While I can’t stress how important these puppy classes are, they’re not a lifetime fix for your dog. Many dogs depending on breed will go through major behavioral changes throughout their lifetime.  Adolescent dogs will need guidance during each one of these phases in order to prevent behavior issues from developing.  These types of puppy classes, no matter how good the instructor is, won’t prevent behavior issues as they become teen dogs.  That comes through continued practice, training and structure.  Even a perfectly raised puppy may develop behavior issues.

If training and structured socialization stops after a 6-week puppy class on a four month old Neapolitan Mastiff puppy there’s bound to be big trouble when it hits two and a half years old.

Think about it like this, imagine that a child goes to a school where they learn how to share, how to talk about their feelings, and how to be a good person. While the lessons they learned when they were young were undoubtedly, valuable they may need additional assistance reinforcing these lessons in the home.  Additionally, if the parents started to notice abnormal behaviors it wouldn’t be acceptable for the parents to say “well, they already went to kindergarten, so they should just grow out of it.”

“Yes, we spent, insert a ridiculous amount of money here, and we didn’t see any changes in the behavior. I don’t think this dog is fixable.”

Unfortunately, there is no regulations in the dog training field. There are certifications. Some of certifications mean that the trainer was tested and assessed other certifications are simply obtained through a membership fee. Just because you spent big dollars on professional dog training doesn’t mean they have big skill.

I wish it was that simple. 

I have seen board and train facilities that cost $3,000 to send your dog to for month and yield absolutely no results.

This is a buyer beware industry whether you’re looking to purchase a puppy or looking to get that puppy into training classes.

How to pick a good trainer
Well, the proof is in the pudding.
Don’t only  talk to one trainer. Interview several dog trainers before deciding where to enroll your dog.  If you’re considering surrendering your dog because of behavior issues, we will go ahead and consider the behaviors serious. If the trainer doesn’t yield results, then the result of the trainer’s short coming is the dog being rehomed. Take your time finding a good trainer. Ask to see dogs that they have trained.  Are you really impressed?

Look for a trainer who has the best results in several dogs not just one.

Ask if you can come and watch a class. I don’t know any trainer who wouldn’t let someone come and watch a session without a dog.  Choose the trainer you are seeing the best results with I can’t stress that enough. 

Furthermore, talk to the trainer about their training philosophies. Make sure that it’s a training philosophy that you’re comfortable with. If you don’t believe in the philosophy or you’re not comfortable utilizing it, it’s not going to work. You have to be able to implement the training at home for the training to stick.  If you’re considering rehoming the training must stick.

Ask for referrals.  Talk to the rescue, breeder or shelter that you purchased your dog from. Talk to your friends who have well-behaved dogs and if you see a well-behaved dog the park ask them where they got training.

Good luck, I hope that you are a little bit more willing to consider training before rehoming. I have no doubt that you love your dog.  You raised it as a puppy and you and your entire family are emotionally attached to your dog.

Before you surrender ask yourself, “if I’m not willing to take on these behavior issues can I truly expect a complete stranger with no emotional attachment to this dog to take on the behavior issues?”  Often times the real answer is “No”.

Teach pitbull

Games For Kids And Dogs

We love having kids join our training classes a lot of time parents are unsure of how to include their children in their dogs training. This article focuses on games that can keep both your kids and dogs occupied while teaching each other appropriate interactions.

Games to encourage kids to be involved with the dog’s training.

Red Light Green Light:

Who is it good for?

It is good for any dogs or puppies that get to excited when the kids play.

Here is how to play:
Have the kids run around the back yard (green light) any time the dog/puppy gets in the children’s personal space to much such as jumping, mouthing or getting to rough yell red light. The kids freeze and you get a sit from your dog. Once your dog sit you can restart the game with a green light. This helps a dogs learn boundaries getting too close to the kids while they are playing ends the game and helps to teach puppies how to control themselves.

Make your own obstacle course:

Who is it good for?

 Almost all dogs and puppies as ling as they can take treats gently.

Here is how to play:
Supply your kids with regular house hold objects like cardboard boxes, laundry baskets, broom sticks, step stools, or kids tunnels. Help your kids use these things to make their own obstacle course. Then give your kids a treat and see who can get their dog to go through the course the fastest. This helps dogs to learn how to be lured and it helps kids understand how to get dogs to do what they want without physically manipulating them.

Hide and Seek:
Who it is good for?

It is good for all dogs and puppies that can take treats gently.

Here is how to play:
Start by having the kids hide in the same room as the dog give each kid a treat. Tell the dog find “Molly” or find “Johnny” then ignore your dog and let the child he is finding call him. When the dog/puppy finds the correct person he gets a treat. When the dog/puppy gets the hang of it you can use the whole house to play.
This helps your puppy learn to come when called and learn the family member’s names.

Round Robin:
Who is it good for?

All dogs and puppies that can take treats gently.
Here is how to play:
Everyone should have a few treats maybe five (let the children count the treats and pass them out). Everyone should stand in circle and with your dog in the middle have the first person walk up to the dog put the treat to the dog’s nose and say “Come” Once they say “come” have them run back into their place in the circle when the puppy gets to them give them 1 treat. Have the person on the other side of the circle call the dog and then take turns. It is important that if the dog comes to the wrong person the person who didn’t call the dog ignores them completely until it is their turn.
This teaches kids how to call their dog and it teaches dogs to come to everyone in the family!

Find It:
Who is it good for?

Dogs with extra energy

Here is how to play:
Hold your dog by the collar and have your child hide your dog’s favorite treat (Insight at first, once they get better the hiding spot can be harder) When your child is done hiding the treat have your kiddo come back and tell your dog to “Find it” as soon as the child cues the dog to “find it” release the collar!

Good luck with training your dog or puppy! Getting the whole family involved helps to ensure that your puppy or dog can be handled and controlled by all family members and more importantly it teaches children safe ways to interact with their dogs and builds a unbreakable bond!

Want your kids to do more with your dogs? 

For more ways to keep your kids involved with raising the dog click here

Teaching Focus

Shelter Dog Learns Focus

Teaching your dog to make eye contact with you has lots of benefits. You can use focus to teach loose leash walking, to prevent your dog from getting distracted or to refocus your dog if he’s already distracted.    Plus, if your dog is making eye contact with you think of all the things he’s not looking at while out on a walk

To teach your dog to focus on cue you’re going to need to use CAPTURING.   Capturing is a way of training your dog. Wait for your dog to offer the correct behavior and when he does you Mark the behavior with a reward marker such as the word “yes” or a clicker.

For the first step your dog is going to be asking himself “How to I get the treats?”.

Step 1 Focus- face
Put 3-4 treats in both your hands and touch the treats to your dog’s nose and slowly bring the treats up between 6-12 inches from your face.  Your going to watch your dog problem solve.  His eyes will go from one hand to the other eventually his will pause on your eyes.  When they do say “Yes” and pause for 2-3 seconds then give your dog a treat.  Repeat this until your dog can do this five times in a row.

If you need to ask for eye contact your dog probably isn’t looking at you which means that we have to have a verbal cue.

Step 2 Focus- add cue
Put 3-4 treats in both your hands and touch the treats to your dog’s nose and slowly bring the treats up between 6-12 inches from your face.  Right after your hands come up say “Focus” just one time. As soon as his eyes meet your eyes say “Yes” and pause for 2-3 seconds then give your dog a treat.  Repeat this until your dog can do this five times in a row.

The cue word, “focus” is the question and the hint is your hands coming up next to your face.

Step 3 Focus- hands at shoulders
For this next step put 3-4 treats in both your hands and this time only bring your hands up to just below your shoulders.  Keep your hands 6-12 inches wider then your shoulders. Right before your hands come up say “Focus” just one time. As soon as his eyes meet your eyes say “Yes” and pause for 2-3 seconds then give your dog a treat.  Repeat this until your dog can do this five times in a row.   If your dog seems to be stuck go back to the last step.  Repeat this until your dog can get 5 right in a row.

Step 4 hands down

For this next step put 3-4 treats in both your hands and this time keep your hands down at your sides as you say focus. Give your dog a second or two to think about this and as soon as his eyes meet your eyes say “Yes” and pause for 2-3 seconds then give your dog a treat.  Repeat this until your dog can do this five times in a row.   If your dog seems to be stuck go back to the last step.  Repeat this until your dog can get 5 right in a row.

Where to practice:

Start with low distraction then gradually take your dog new places to practice the skill.

Once your dog can proficiently offer you a nice Focus when asked continue to practice with your hands down at your side for several days inside the house or in places that have low distraction.

 Going straight from practicing in your house to practicing at a busy Festival maybe too much. It is very important to add distractions gradually.  Remember your goal is to help your dog be successful at this request so you can mark it and reward it.

If at any point in time you feel like your dog is ignoring you go back several steps until your dog has mastered it. If that doesn’t work you can also try using even more yummy treats such as boiled chicken or hot dog.

Have fun training!!!

Beginner Focus Games:




Teaching Dogs to Focus

Focusing Heel

Manage Jumping When Your In A Hurry 

Prevent jumping. Stop jumping.

One of the most common questions we get is “How do I keep my dog from jumping up.” Jumping up may annoy guests or even hurt. Plus, it is just plain rude!

Dogs jump for many different reasons, this blog is going to focus on what to do to prevent your dog from jumping up when people come through the front door.
Dogs jump in this scenario, because it’s a way of greeting their new friends or their family members. Another reason that dogs jump in this scenario is because they lack the doggie impulse control it would take to perform an alternative Behavior.

There are two categories of solving jumping the first category is managing the behavior. Managing jumping means that you’re going to prevent your dog from practicing jumping, remember the more a dog is allowed to practice jumping the stronger that behavior will become especially if the occasional guest pets your dog when he is jumping up. The other category is training, training is where your dog learns a alternative behavior that is not compatible with jumping, such as going to his bed, sitting or laying down.

Managing jumping is done when you are in a hurry or can’t fully focus on your dog. It keeps the behavior from getting worse, but doesn’t solve it.

5 Ways of Managing Your Dog’s Jumping 
1.Put your dog in a separate room or in a kennel until your guests are in the house and settled in. Kennel your dog when you’re away, so that when you first come home your dog is not able to jump on you.

2.If you know that your husband comes home from work at a certain time or if you have a heads up that guests are coming over leash your dog before they’re expected arrival time. When you’re opening the door you can stand on your leash. You want to allow enough room so that your dog doesn’t feel the leash unless he jumps up. The leash should prevent your dog from jumping up.

3. Giving your dog a distraction right before you open the front door is also a good way to manage jumping. Try giving your dog a Kong stuffed with his favorite wet food or peanut butter. You can freeze the Kong toy if you need it to last longer. Give your dog the Kong in the same room where guests are entering, but not to close to the door.

4. Try using a tether that is close to the entry way. I suggest putting a dog bed approximately 10 to 15 ft away from the door that guests normally enter the home. You can also put a dog bed there, so that when you do have time to train you can use this to teach your dog to go to his bed when guests are coming in.

5.If there is another person home that can help have them play tug or fetch with the dog as guests are coming inside.

You may have to trial and error to see which of these management options work best for your dog! You can also mix and match them while providing your dog with a Kong while in the kennel or while tethered on his bed. Once you find one you and your dog like then I recommend continuing to use it until your is fully trained not to jump.

 Stay turned to our blog because our next blog post will teach you how to train your dog not to jump up!