Getting Socialization Right


When to start?

Puppies should be handled since birth, so if you are adopting from a rescue or purchasing from a breeder you should be asking about what the socialization looked like before your puppy came home.

Both the American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior position statements state “It should be the standard off care for puppies to receive socialization BEFORE they are fully vaccinated.”

According to the AVSAB your puppy can start socialization as long as they have had 1 round of shots at least 7 days prior to starting their new class.  Waiting can mean you miss the window completely.  Watch this video to learn more, When to socialize

Are you reading your new puppy correctly?

One of the most important parts of your job as a new puppy parent is helping your puppy build confidence in following you and in the world around him.

In order to do a good job at this you have to be very keen on what your puppy’s body language is saying about what they are feeling.  You want to look out for any sign your puppy is unsure.  Now is the time to be a proactive and protective puppy parent.

What is socialization?

Socialization is not about letting your puppy play with as many dogs as possible and meet as many people as possible. It is about teaching your puppy the skills and habits necessary for participating within society; while being happy and confident in the world around him. Socialization for pups seems to be generally defined by many dog lovers as the act of meeting and playing with other dogs which can create many long term behavior problems, watch this video to learn more:socialization the right way

Treats, Squirrels and More

You should never limit your motivational tool box to food rewards.

While we use a significant number of training treats in our classes we encourage all owners to think outside the box. You will have far more reliable behaviors if you learn to utilize the other rewards that already exist in your dog’s daily life.
First let’s consider what is a reward to your dog.
 Does your dog get excited when you pick up your keys to go for a car ride? Does your dog get excited when you walk towards the cabinet which holds his food? Does your dog go bananas when you pick up the leash?
If your dog is becoming excited for something consider this a reward. Your dog obviously finds it incredibly enjoyable and it’s a great opportunity to start to build some manners.
Make a list of all of the things your dog gets excited for whether it’s being invited onto the couch, being handed it’s favorite toy or just having a leash snapped on to his collar these are all opportunities for rewarding your dog utilizing something other than a food reward.
How to teach your dog to say please by sitting.
When you pick up the leash and your dog becomes very excited roll the leash up in your hand so none of it is dangling (if it’s dangling your dog may choose to bite at it) and wait. Your dog will probably offer the same behavior that’s worked for him for the last year or the last 6 months which may be spinning around in circles barking or even jumping on you.
I want you to ignore all that, so don’t try this exercise if you are in a hurry.  It may seem counterproductive but allowing your dog to cycle through those behaviors.  That will allow him to problem-solve and learn what behaviors do not work to get the leash put on.
Eventually your dog will offer a, behavior that is calmer.
If your dog was previously jumping on you and biting at the leash then you’re calmer Behavior might be standing and pausing for a second. If your dog was previously just spinning in circles without making any physical contact your, behavior might be a sit.
The moment you get the behavior that you’re happy with say “yes” and snap the leash to your dog’s collar. After a week of this your dog will automatically choose the behavior that gets him his reward having the leash placed on him the fastest.
You will be surprised by how little your dog now have to cycle through the other behaviors that formally earned him the reward of having a leash put on.
 Remember you get what you reward.
training bully dogs

We use all rewards, not just treats!

Faster Training With Markers

trick training

Markers are great for all dogs

Why we use reward markers…. 
When you take a class with Bennett Canine Training you will be asked to select a reward marker during your first session with us. A reward marker is a very clear way of communicating with your dog which increases your dog’s understanding of the content we are teaching and decreases how long it takes your dog to learn new behaviors.

What is a reward marker? 
A reward marker or a bridge word is used to tell your dog the exact minute they performed the correct Behavior.   A great example of this is if you were teaching your dog to make eye contact with you. If you asked your dog to look in your eyes and then simply fed him a treat you would be treating him while he was looking at the treating your hand not your eyes.   The moment you move your hands your dog WILL instinctively look at your hands. Whereas if you were able to use a word to say “that’s correct, now your food is coming” you can Mark while your dog’s eyes are still on your eyes before they look to the treat. Another important example would be if your dog was at a park off leash and you ask your dog to leave something, you want to be able to pinpoint the exact minute they left the object, even if it’ll take five to 10 seconds for your dog to make it across the field to you. Timing on your rewards is critical.

Why don’t we just use good boy? 
Technically you can use good talk good or good boy, but often times this word is used very frequently by strangers meeting your dog or by family and friends when they’re interacting with your dog. We want our marker word to be a special word that is used only when we will produce a reward after it.  This word is only between Handler and dog. If we choose to use good boy and our dog jumps up on somebody and they say good boy then they’re reinforcing that incorrect Behavior.
When to use a marker word? 

Imagine that your marker word is a camera and you want to take a picture of the exact moment your dog does the correct Behavior. If I was working on teaching sit, I would use my marker word the second my dogs butt hit the floor or if I was working on down I would use my marker word the second my dog’s elbows hit the ground.

What word should I select for my marker word? 
It doesn’t really matter as long as you consistently use it before giving your dog the food reward. Timing is more important.  It should go, marker word pause food reward with only one to two seconds in between.   Marker words that I typically recommend for my students are yes, nice, super, yup or sweet.

Good luck in training and have fun!

House Training Tips

Heeler puppy quote
First things first make a very clear constant schedule. Make sure the whole family agrees on it.   Your schedule must be the same, everyday. 

This should include:

  • A potty break as soon as they wake up.

  • Never leave the food bowl down.  Feed your dog and if they don’t eat pick up the food after thirty minutes

  • Two feedings a day

  • A potty break after each meal

  • Kennel when unable to supervise the more we can catch them in the act the better.

  • A potty break before bed time

If you have a very young dog or a puppy kennel training might be a great opportunity to address house training along with other Behavior challenges such as trash can diving and chewing too!click here for kennel training

A very old or very young dog may not be able to hold it for very long. Consider these questions when determining this:

  • Does he or she hold it in the kennel? 

Do they seem to know when they are looking for a place to go?


  • Clean accidents with an enzymatic cleanser to minimize odors that might attract the dog back to the same spot.

  • Once your dog is house trained in your home, he may still have accidents when visiting others’ homes. That’s because dogs need to generalize their learning to new environments. Just because they seem to know something in one place does NOT mean that they’ll automatically know that thing everywhere. You’ll need to watch your dog carefully when you visit new places together and be sure to take him out often.

  • Likewise, if something in your dog’s environment changes, he may have a lapse in house training. For example, a dog might seem completely house trained until you bring home a large potted tree—which may look to him like a perfect place to lift his leg!

  • Never leave your dog unsupervised, until he/she is house trained. It’s okay to give them a kong in the kennel while you take a shower.

  • Give your dog a treat after going potty outside.

  • Don’t bring your dog inside right after she goes potty, some dogs will start to hold it in hopes of going for a longer walk.
  • If you would like to teach your dog to ring a bell to alert you when they have to go out please start here:  bell training
  • Bennett Canine Training

Puppy’s First Bath Time


It’s bath time and your dog is nowhere to be found. Once you find him, you have to grab by the collar and lead him to the bath tub. When he reluctantly gets into the bathtub and then mopes throughout the entire process. Does this sound familiar to you? 

It doesn’t have to be this way especially if you are lucky enough to be able to start from puppy hood. 

Let’s think about bath time for a second. Most puppies are introduced to a bath for the first time by either getting dropped off at a grooming facility or being put in a bathtub full of water then having water poured over them.  No one can explain to the puppy what’s happening, but it can definitely be very scary for them. It’s an unusual experience and yields very little rewards.  Why should a puppy like bath time? 

All too often dogs learn early on bath time is scary or at least really sucks! 
It’s time to switch up how we introduce puppies to bath times
Day one: Put your puppy in an empty bathtub and feed him his breakfast. Once he’s done with breakfast take him out and let him run around and play. 
Day two: Put about 1 inch of water in the bathtub.  The bath water should be at a comfortable temperature. Smear a little bit of peanut butter on the wall for your puppy to lick off.   Add water proof dog toys like tennis balls, squeaky toys and add a couple of floating treats. Set your timer for 5 minutes and sit with your puppy.   Don’t worry you don’t have to get in the bathtub for this one. 
Day three: Repeat the steps for day 2, but this time splash just a tiny bit of water at your puppy not at his face just towards your puppy.  Reward directly after splashing. Do this several times at about the two-minute Mark.   
Day four: Repeat steps 3 with more splashing. Don’t be crazy keep it fun for your puppy. You can even cup your hands and for a little bit of water over your dog’s back and shoulders if he seems comfortable with it. 
Day six: Repeat step 4 and this time gently pick up one foot at a time. Give your dog a treat after each foot is picked up.  If your puppy tries to struggle and get away from picking up his feet then stop and practice handling his feet outside of the bathtub more before you try in the bathtub. 
After making it through all the steps you can increase how much water is in the bathtub. Remember it’s always ok to go back a step if your puppy seems uncomfortable at any point in time. In fact we recommend it it’s better to spend three days on Step 1 then it is to get to step 4 and have your puppy scared.  If at any point in time your puppy seems scared you need to go back a step. You’ve got plenty of time to teach your puppy how to love baths. 
If you want to learn more about teaching your dog to absolutely love grooming then you should visit our drop-in grooming classes they’re only $15 to join.