Dog Training Tips

Dog training tips

Creating Boundaries for Dogs–Inside

We are ALL about leading the dogs not just in exercise but all the time!  It’s our job as pack leaders to promote security and structure.  This includes teaching them to understand what their boundaries are INSIDE the house.  For example, there’s no kitchen access.  And, they all KNOW what the kitchen provides:  FOOD!  The dogs that already know the boundaries inside the house help teach the ones who are just learning.  Dogs are the best teachers for dogs.

Watch Funny Dogs Work Together

We’re creating a YouTube page for our website so that you can see us in motion!  Our YouTube channel boasts tasty treat recipes, dog training tips, some of the adventures we go in (KROMP) and so much more.

An example of our pups in action is in the video below.


Training Begins with… Trust

People often wonder how I get the dogs to obey me all the time (frankly, they don’t 100% of the time because that would make them PERFECT, which nothing is and they’re not…LOL)… they want to know what I do, what I say, do I use treats, what my training “philosophy” is, etc. So, I thought I would share my experience in working with dogs and what I’ve learned so far (I’m always learning something from and about them) when it comes to starting out with a new dog.

Develop a Bond

[pullquote_right]In everything concerning dogs, in general, it starts with trust.[/pullquote_right]

Trust, Security = FUN

Trust, Security = FUN

My first point of order when a new dog comes into my care is to establish a bond. This bond will assure the dogs that, when in my care, there is a balance … a hierarchy which promotes security. The bond begins to form the moment we meet for the very first time. It’s during this first, initial introduction that the dog quickly learns I’m the leader of the pack (all humans in the pack or family should be seen as a leader in my opinion) and that they’re safe. They know there is safety because the leaders are calm but in control; this promotes the security dogs look for and need.  This security is witnessed through not just the control that is over them within the form of rules and boundaries but the control that is also wielded over all of the animals within the pack (the pack can consist of many different animals, too, including cats for example).  These “rules and boundaries” are established right away—enforcing respect–which stimulates trust–that further defines and strengthens the bond.

Dogs size up personalities (humans, other dogs, cats and so forth) – fast. Literally, in a matter of a couple of minutes, a new dog will know:


  • I’m not afraid of them
  • I’m happy to meet them
  • I’m the leader…the Alpha


Have you ever watched dogs and cats meet for the first time? Majority of the time, when a new dog comes into the house, the cats are the first to greet them with nothing short of a smack across the muzzle before it darts off and up its cat tree. Of course, the dog is left absolutely STUNNED for a moment, but more often than not, it never bothers the cats and knows that the cats aren’t afraid of it either. So, what did the cats communicate in a rapid, typical cat fashion?   It said, “Guess what…you’re not all THAT; you’re not in charge around here so deal with it!”

Anxious Dogs

If a dog is experiencing a lot of fear, or has intense anxiety, to develop trust, I will keep them tethered to me for a period of time that could range anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour.  However long the dog needs to be tethered in order to gain assurance that all is well, this is the amount of time that is given to tethering. The key though when they’re tethered to me and what my objective is, is: Establishing trust through close leadership. This is done through tethering in the form of the following:


  • Not allowing them to lead while on leash;
  • Not allowing them to go through doorways first;
  • Commanding and controlling the other dogs around them by allowing all of them to smell each other but immediately after the initial sniff has been completed, commanding space between them so they’re not hyper-focused on each other;
  • Giving them praise and affection IMMEDIATELY after a command has been given that has been executed timely and accurately (I give a lot of simple commands; thereby, I’m always giving them a lot of physical (pets, hugs, kisses) and verbal praise)


By the end of the day, my goal with new dogs is to have established a trusting relationship with them…a first step to a great friendship—a great bond. From here, the rest of our future days together will be built on this trust…the cornerstone in our relationship 🙂 The new commands and skills taught, or refreshed under our command,  from this point forward is much more easily achieved.

[pullquote_right] At the end of the day, it’s about communication [/pullquote_right]

Teaching Dogs Commands That Don’t Know English

Sometimes we get dogs in our care that have come from a home that speaks a different primary language other than English.  The language barrier isn’t too much of a problem if the dog knows hand signals for commands, but even if they don’t, “et-et” works well as a corrective tone to a bad behavior.

Pecos Bill

To communicate commands to non-English speaking dogs, as well as boost their training skills, use a dog that already knows the commands in English.  This dog, in effect, becomes your translator.  For example, take two dogs (one who knows English and the other who doesn’t).  Put them together and give the command “Sit” (hand signals in correlation with the verbal command is always a good idea).  Praise both dogs when they perform correctly.

[pullquote_right]Hands-down, dogs are the BEST teachers, for other dogs; they know their language better than we do![/pullquote_right]

There is just no greater way to reach a dog (that may be looking at you funny when you start to speak) than by using another dog to convey your message 🙂


Dog Training Exercises

We know how much everyone loves the videos so we are posting a few off-leash dog training videos that were taken during our training exercises yesterday.

In these videos, you will see the dogs react to the commands given, but because the video was taken in first-person format, you will not be able to see Jessie herself in the background issuing the commands.

These videos are showing Felix, the Golden, and Bear, the Lab, in a training session not only working on their recall (come when called) but responding to directional changes by the use of a verbal command, as well as, a hand signal. They did excellent!

One thing to note: Before we started the off-leash training, the pups had already had a 45-minute leashed walk plus a vigorous 30-minute session of Fetch just to remove a great deal of energy BEFORE the off-leash training session started. These two are very energetic guys (not the highest of energies on the ‘energy scale’ but definitely high).

Finally, Felix in the final video is used as a doggie mentor for Bear. Bear is still a pup and has a ways to go in training (he’s on his way to becoming a Search and Rescue guy). Felix is older and much more responsive so he aids Bear in learning the commands much faster than if Bear was in training by himself.

[pullquote_right]Dogs are the best teachers for training other dogs! [/pullquote_right]

Product Review: Holt Dog Head Collar

Holt Dog Walking Collar

Quite often we receive questions about how to get dogs to heel and what collar to use to achieve a satisfied dog-walking result, which consists of the dog not pulling you a mile down the road, and it’s been our experience that different dogs respond differently pending variables that consist of their personality, their background, and possible behavioral issues.

On this note of choosing a collar that works for a dogs with specific behavioral issues, we decided to try out the Holt dog collar on two different guys:  1) A sweet boy who stayed with us who was armed with lots of energy, a great desire to pull but needed to wear a head collar due to an infection he had on his neck; and 2) An aggressive guy who tends to lunge at everything from people walking to other dogs to bikes, etc.  So, we had two different dogs with different reasons for sporting a head collar (though both shared the common denominator of being noted very high energy boys on the energy scale).

The Dynamic of the Holt:

The Holt collar works at correcting the dog at the muzzle when they’re not performing on their walk correctly.  Correcting at the muzzle is something that “mama” dogs do especially to older pups (when pups are very young, mother dogs tend to scruff them a lot), and it’s also followed by a specific bark mixed with a growl if you will.  So, as far as the collar simulating the mother’s correction, it obviously doesn’t mimic it exactly (lack of pronged teeth for the tooth effect of course) but at least corrects at the right location and does well otherwise.

An interesting safety feature, and the only feature that made this collar worth buying quite honestly in our opinion, is that it comes with a safety catch if you will.  There is a safety clip that hooks from the head collar to the dog’s regular collar so that on the off-chance he tries to get the head collar off and succeeds, the leash would still be affixed to his regular collar where escape wouldn’t be possible.  This is a huge pro especially if someone or something else distracts you for a moment during your walk and the dog has the head collar off before you can respond.

When we used the collar on our “foster fur-kid” (the name we give all pets that are in our care) with the neck infection, the results were favorable.  He responded instantly to the correction at the muzzle, as opposed to, correction via a pronged collar, which he responded to fairly well but as you know about prongs, they have a tendency to slip too far down the neck so you’re constantly stopping the walk, repositioning the collar to sit at the base of the skull (where correction is received) before you can begin to resume your walk correctly and effectively.

Now, when we used the Holt collar on our little “red case” sweetie who has  aggressive tendencies, you would have thought you were watching a rodeo!  However, after bucking and doing his best to get the muzzle off, in between corrections, he finally succumbed to it and walked pleasantly.  The benefit of this collar for him was that it acted as a restraint because of the collar fitting over the muzzle.  A kudos for the collar to say the least!

At the conclusion of the trial for this collar, at least for the above two dogs with their specific behavioral issues, the collar worked well.

Remember, whatever collar you choose to put on your dog, you first have to be the pack leader.  This will be noted in your attitude and the way you carry yourself 🙂  No collar will work unless you have the basic dynamics of such leadership established and understood—first.

Puppy Training

We do not offer puppy training as a formal service but rather just work with dogs that are in our care whether it’s through the service In-Home Visits to Daycare to Boarding to just Dog Walks.

This video is in a compressed format because we send them to our clients as visit updates (for services:  In-Home Visits or Dog Walks) either via text or via email–at the direct conclusion of each visit.

In this video, little Kinje is nearly 8-weeks-old.  He is learning manners by learning how to sit and lay down on command.  Along with these two commands, he also learns to sit patiently (“wait”) before walking through a door and only after the pack leader (human).  He’s such a smart little guy who is absolutely adorable!

Our Protocol for Dogs with Anxiety

Oftentimes, we have dogs stay with us that suffer from Anxiety in one form or another.  In lieu of this, we get asked what our protocol is for helping these animals overcome their anxiety when they’re staying with us so we thought we would address this question and let you know what steps we take to create a calm, balanced environment for them.

First, it’s important to note that each and every dog is different; they don’t all respond to the exact same protocol for establishing a calm, secure state but majority of them do.  And, in some severe cases, our methods only substantially ease the anxiety (referring to cases where the dog is more than likely “clinically” anxious), not completely remove it.

Secondly, this article refers to dogs that are not “red” cases; they do not have a bite history as we do not board or provide daycare for dogs suffering from Dog or Fear Aggression.

Quick tip:  It doesn’t matter if you know the background of the dog (referring to rescues predominantly here in this statement) or not.  You treat the symptoms and what you do know—always moving forward.

The following is a pretty standard set of principles that we follow for the first 24-hours that a dog is with us who is suffering from severe anxiety (Separation Anxiety or otherwise).  Usually in these cases, there are elements of fear also mixed in with the anxiety symptoms, i.e., trying to back out of their collar, sitting by the front door while shaking, and running in the backyard while looking for a way out.

Always establish trust and leadership

The dog is tethered to one of us for the majority of the 24-hours.  Where the person goes, the dog goes.  However, the dog never leads the person.  The person is always in charge of the dog and leading the dog as its leader, correcting any anxious body language (before it has the chance to escalate to a more noticeable level such as whining, pacing, etc.).


An emphasis is put on plenty of exercise from the structured leash walk that meets the energy level and physical condition of the dog to breed exercises (before and/or after the walk).  Draining the physical energy greatly enables the dog to psychologically calm down and ultimately hear you; they no longer have so much pent-up energy which causes frustration for them (think of how you get when you get “cabin fever”…same analogy here 😉

Establish Rules and Boundaries

This must be done immediately (while they’re tethered with us) and consistently enforced.  For example, the dog is given a job and is always working on some physical and psychological level.  This is one of the “rules”.  You will earn play time, or you will earn food…everything is earned, i.e., the dogs sit calmly before their food dish is put down.

Power of the Pack

Dogs are the best teachers!  Having other balanced dogs around, helps achieve balance for the unbalanced ones.  As a pack, we give them commands to follow such as “sit”, “down”, “stay”, etc.  Just reinforcing these simple commands keeps their attention on us as their leader, further establishes leadership with them, and aids in draining energy or negative feelings (anxiety, frustration, fear).

These few steps are involved and require a lot of patience and time.  However, this area is usually where we shine and exactly why people choose to bring their dog to us for our style of boarding or daycare.  It’s also important to note that due to the amount of one-on-one attention some dogs may need, we only take one “hard case” at a time.