Creating Boundaries for Dogs--Inside

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.

2019 Closed Dates – Mark Your Calendars!

Hi Everyone!

It’s that time of year again where we post what days we’ll be closed so that you can mark your calendars and plan in advance 🙂  On that note, we are receiving a lot of requests to make reservations MONTHS in advance!

We’ll be accepting reservations up through Monday, April 29, 2019, as of December 1st; on March 30, 2019, we’ll be opening up our calendar to accept summer reservations up through September 5; and on August 31, 2019, we’ll be accepting Holiday reservations.

Here are the list of dates that we’ll be closed:

  • January 4-7
  • February 22-24
  • March 22-24
  • April 12-14
  • May 17-19
  • September 6-October 6


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]

The Usefulness of Dog Backpacks

The use of a dog backpack is an awesome little tool for providing a harder workout in a much shorter amount of time.  Plus, it gives your pup a job to do and they love that!

Using the Backpack for Workout Purposes

For high-energy dogs that come into our care for daycare or boarding, we increase their workouts by having them sport a backpack, if we’re taking them on a normal leash walk and provided they meet the health and physical requirements.  The backpack is typically filled with either a) nothing, or b) items such as smaller water bottles.  Just walking for 20 minutes with a backpack filled with two, small water bottles (one on each side), the dogs are very tired after the walk is over!

A Tired Bear

If you’re not sure how to get started for your pup, start by making sure that your pup is healthy enough to have increased workouts of this magnitude and doesn’t sport any injuries by seeking your veterinarian’s advice.

Assuming your pup is healthy and able to wear the backpack, start first by getting him/her accustomed to it.  You can do this by just having him/her wear an empty backpack around the house J  When your pup is comfortable with it on, go for a short walk with your pup (just keep the backpack empty for your first walk).  Depending on how well he/she does, you can increase or decrease the time, leave the backpack empty or add weight to it (again, it’s always best to consult your veterinarian on the limitations or restrictions that you need to be aware of for your pup if you’re unsure)!

Giving Your Pup a J-O-B!

Dogs love to have purpose!  In fact, in a dog pack, everyone has a role to play—a purpose—so giving them a job is really something they would appreciate.

A job can consist of your pup carrying items around for you and bringing them to you command or simply having them wait or stay next to you until a project you’re working on is complete.  Below are a couple of simple examples.

A.  Let’s say you are in need of fixing a garden hose that has sprung a leak outside.  Place a roll of duct tape in a pocket on one side of your dog’s backpack and a water bottle on the other side (you never know, you may get really thirsty for some reason).  Have your pup follow you outside (always practice leadership) to where the infamous hose is, place your pup in a down/stay until you have fixed the evil leak.  Just simply giving your pup a job to do even though it isn’t physically exhausting will drain a lot of their mental energy because quite a few skills are being used just in this one simple exercise J

B.  For this second example, let’s say that you have a lot of gardening to do (I guess I have gardening on the mind, which is funny because the “green thumb” gene bypassed me!) and too many items to carry.  While you’re carrying the garden tools (this goes without saying but sharp items should NOT be placed in your dog’s backpack for safety reasons), your pup could be carrying items such as gloves, water, collapsible dog bowl (so that your pup can be hydrated, too), seed packets, bags and things of this nature.  As you work at weeding the garden and walking in between the garden rows, your pup will be following you.  Or you can simply put your pup in a down/stay in a particular spot, and call your pup to you to bring you something when you need it.  After he/she has completed the task, give them the command to go back to their spot and lay down/stay until the next time you call them.  Hopefully, their spot will be a shady spot because wearing backpacks makes one hot.  If you don’t have a shady spot in your garden, or if you’re wanting your pup to follow you walking through the rows, then just make sure you’re only performing the activity for no more than 30 minutes (quite possibly even less than 30 minutes depending on the needs of your pup, weather, etc.).  You can see the obvious skills that you will be using here in this exercise.

Both examples also strengthen you and your pup’s bond—a beautiful thing!

Another way the backpack can come in handy is if you’re busy working with your pup on breed exercises or other types of training such as SAR (Search and Rescue).  If it’s raining outside and you need something constructive to do with your pup indoors to help deplete his/her energy, you can put some items in the backpack and have your pup bring them to you.  This not only puts weight on him/her while moving but also gives a nice refresher on skills training using the commands such as “come”, “wait” or “stay”, “down” and whatever other commands you have taught or are teaching your pup.  Again, it also enhances your bond with your pup.

Bear ready to go

Reminder Tips:

  1. You need to make sure they don’t have any physical limitations
  2. You want to make sure to decrease the amount of time you normally walk them while they’re wearing a backpack (if you walk them typically 45 minutes per walk, start off walking them for 15 minutes with a backpack and increase slowly if necessary)
  3. Take a collapsible water bowl with you on your walks to make sure that your pup is stays sufficiently hydrated


Dog Owners: Getting Back to Basics

Have you ever noticed that once you get your pet’s unwanted behavior fixed, it doesn’t last that long?  And, you can’t figure out why?  If you’re in this camp of people (we’ve been there, too) scratching your heads trying to figure out why your dog went back to his old, bad habits, then we may have some tips to help you get him back on track.

1. Exercise:  Exercise is the first—and crucial—ingredient of a healthy dog recipe that can’t be overlooked and must be adjusted to accommodate your specific dog’s needs.  All dogs are different on their exercise needs, and not all dogs have the same energy level.  Therefore, if you have two dogs, one may be more energetic than the other requiring a different and/or stronger exercise routine. You may need to try a few things before you find out exactly what works for your dog, i.e., how long to walk them, if you need to not just walk but run them, if you need to bike them, etc.

A.  Questions to ask yourself


  • Are you giving your dog daily, adequate exercise for his energy level?
  • On top of daily walks, are you incorporating any breed exercises in his daily exercise routine?


Ein and Roscoe, both herding dogs, love to play Fetch

Just a few examples of breed exercises are:


  • Australian Shepherds, Border Collies, Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, Spaniels:  Fetch in or out of the water; swimming.  During the exercise of playing fetch, make sure that your dog brings you the toy, stick or whatever you threw for him.  Have him sit calmly before you throw it again (no barking allowed as barking isn’t a calm behavior).  Why?  Because you’re working on draining his mental energy as well.
  • German Shepherds, Huskies, Malamutes:  Have them wear a backpack bringing you something (they could be carrying water bottles in it, treats for them, etc.) every few minutes for a duration of whatever is appropriate for your particular dog’s energy level, age, health, etc. (after they’ve walked and/or ran).  You can also harness them to a wagon for helping you with yard work by pulling the wagon filled with gardening tools and supplies.


2. Rules and Boundaries:  This is an important step that often gets overlooked.  In everything we do as dog owners, we must always be their calm, supportive leader.  And, as their leader, we need to always be consistent in teaching and enforcing the rules and limitations.

Dogs size us up literally in seconds.  They know–fast–whether or not you’re a leader or a follower.  If you’re currently a follower and your dog is dominant over you, this is something you can (and should) rectify.  No worries!

Just remember that a dog feels at peace when all of his needs are met (not just the love and attention that we humans love to give our animals).

3. Affection: This is the ingredient, in our dog care recipe, that is often out of place. Make sure that you’re only rewarding (this is what affection is to a dog–a reward) your dog for good behavior and when they’re in a calm state. Whatever actions they are displaying at the time you’re giving them affection will only exacerbate whatever they’re displaying the moment before you gave them the affection. Hence, if you’re petting your dog when he/she is scared, you are only telling them that it’s okay to feel that way, which will make their fear grow stronger instead of dissipate (also, try to not say “it’s okay” when they’re scared).

Kit, a great dog teacher

[pullquote_right]A dog’s language is still the same no matter if they’re running with a human pack or in the wild as dogs.[/pullquote_right]

Important to note, if you maintain a consistent, daily routine with your dogs, more often than not, the basics alone will solve most behavioral issues.

Material Suggestion:  Print out a weekly calendar to log how much exercise you gave your dog each day.  You can also journal changes in their behavior and the steps you’re doing to correct bad behavior.

Happy journey with your pup!

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]

Working with Dogs

Though we are not “dog trainers”, we do work with dogs while they’re in our care.   From no training to advanced training, we work with dogs of all skill-sets by helping them improve their existing skills or teaching them new ones.

In this particular video, we are working with a Lab pup who needs some work learning to come when called (recall).

[pullquote_right]Dogs can have a lot of fun as you’re working with them on their skills 🙂 [/pullquote_right]

Training Tool: Grannick’s Bitter Apple Spray

Have you ever had a puppy that liked to use you as a chew toy or use your arm as a navigational source for directing you to their particular problem at hand?  We have.  Years ago in 1995, we brought home our sweet boy, Phoenix, and his methodology for getting us to address his immediate concerns was in the form of the latter:  Leading us.

Phoenix was a soulful, intelligent wolfdog who loved to show us everything and if we were too busy at the time to stop what we were doing to go scout the source of his problem at the time, he had a difficulty waiting on us.  Therefore, his tactic was to show us what was going on by leading us by the forearm.  Intelligent on his behalf?  Yes.  Wise to let it continue?  No.  Why?  Because it was a bad habit to allow as acceptable behavior for obvious reasons.  Not to mention, I bruised easily and going to the bank in the dead of summer (here in the valley, the temps get around 110 degrees some days) with bruises all over my forearms had many an eye quietly shifting the blame to my poor, unsuspecting husband.  Of course, wearing long-sleeved shirts during summer was out of the question.  So, it was time to act on the problem.

We had Phoenix for a couple of weeks before he had his surgery to remove his dew claws and get neutered.  When he came home, the veterinarian had recommended we purchase a bottle of Grannick’s Bitter Apple Spray to keep him from chewing on the bandages around his feet.  Since the solution wasn’t supposed to be harmful if swallowed, I called my Vet and asked him that if I used the solution as a training agent by spraying Phoenix directly in the mouth (not a full-blown, all-out spray, but a light tap of spray), would it harm him?  My Vet said “no”.  Hence, the training began.

It didn’t take long for Phoenix to understand the concept that grabbing was not allowed.  I think it took literally two times of me using that bottle on him for him to completely stop.  Afterwards, if he was doing something unacceptable, depending on what he was doing would determine the type of correction but if it was something that warranted the bottle coming out, I would tell him “et-et” and just show him the bottle.  His ears went back, he laid down and immediately stopped what he was doing.

I worked with him to bark if there was something that needed my immediate attention, and he did.  Sometimes, he would come and paw me, give a grunt (he was part Malamute so all of you Malamute owners, you know their “speak” and know where I’m coming from) and as I got up to investigate, he would lead the way to the source of the problem, which was generally one of my kids getting into trouble or someone around the property line that was a stranger.

Since the business opened, when I’m working with mouthy pooches, I advise their owners on the destructive behavior (this behavior transcends from human to object to other animals, too, so it’s a good thing to get a handle on as soon as you can recognize it) and to use Bitter Apple Spray with a calm but commanding presence to correct the behavior.

It’s on our list of demonstrating the training technique in video format as soon as possible so keep watching the site for it.  I’m hoping it won’t take too long for us to get it created and uploaded but it really depends on the amount of time we have and how busy we are.


Phoenix when he was older

We miss you!

Enjoy your training and have fun with your pup!