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Posts Tagged ‘school’

Our first basic obedience class

We joined into a regular basic obedience class. Blaze did a puppy kindergarten which included mostly socialization with some basic commands. I’m a big believer in keeping pet dogs in training for the first year of life, not necessarily consecutively but 3 or 4 classes is good. It keeps them socialized as well as forces you to practice their obedience commands.

So this class is mostly older dogs (over 8 months) and large dogs. Blaze is the youngest and smallest. The dogs were all pretty hyper, nervous, stressed. We heard lots of barking, whining, jumping, panting, etc. In my classes I always encouraged just feeding dogs for relaxation and looking at the owners. I think it helps calm the dogs to do that for the first five minutes.

Blaze immediately saw friends he wanted to play with and began barking at them to get their attention. So I just ignored him and when he stopped and looked at me (like why aren’t you letting me go over there) I said “yes” and gave a treat. This lasted for about the first few minutes of class and he finally decided it wasn’t worth it, he would just look at me and get food.

We learned sit, down, come and a bit of stay. All of these were easy for Blaze. His struggle was just paying attention to me. I have a game I like to teach dogs early on called gotcha. I pinch their hind area (not hard but in fun) and when they look I say “yes” and give a treat between my knees. This helps them learn to zip around and come to me when they are distracted. Its helped me numerous times with his older brother Nitro.

Another thing we practiced was the come game. The instructor held Blaze by his chest up off the ground slightly and I teased him with some food and ran away from him. I then called him and as he came running, I ran backwards until he caught me at which point I grabbed his collar and gave some food.

I’m hoping next week will bring more relaxation with all the dogs and more focus. No matter how calm or attentive your puppy is, getting them around 8 other crazy dogs will always pose a challenge.

Puppy Training Advice

Puppy Training

Puppy training can be a trying time. The key to this time is to really remember that all puppy behavior is normal. They like to mouth, jump, bark, dig and piddle wherever they are. They aren’t doing it to annoy you, they are just doing what they have learned so far. It is our job to train them not to do these things.

Think of it as teaching your child to read. You wouldn’t punish your child for not knowing the alphabet if they have never seen it before right? So we don’t need to punish our puppies for things we haven’t taught them. Here, we will talk about normal puppy behavior and ways to encourage them to try something new. Remember – Behavior that is followed by something the dog likes will increase! Puppy training should be a lot of fun!

Puppy behavior

Jumping: There are two ways to solve this – first, stand on their leash. Second, teach them to sit. By teaching sit we are removing the desire to jump.

Mouthing: See this full article on puppy mouthing.

Pulling: This one is easy. Just stop walking! If you never go anywhere when the dog pulls, he will quickly learn. Offer a small treat when he is by your side and talk in a happy voice to encourage him.

The key to training any behavior is to be 100% consistent in your efforts. Often times it will get worse before it gets better but it will go away if you are consistent.

Puppy dog training

Try enrolling in a puppy kindergarten near you. This will really help with socialization and early puppy dog training. Find a dog trainer near you.

Housebreaking puppies

Puppies need to go to the bathroom after they play, chew, drink, eat or sleep. Start by putting them on a leash and tethering them to you. That way you can be aware of them when they start sniffing the ground (usually a cue the puppy needs to go potty). Pick them up and carry them outside. When they go potty, tell them “good potty” and give a cookie as a reward. Do not let your puppy off leash until they have finished going so they get into the habit of going potty, then playing. Many puppies will want to go outside just to play if you let them off leash first.

What if my puppy has an accident?

He will. Do not punish your puppy though. If you catch your puppy in the act then clap your hands or pick them up – this will make your puppy stop going. Get him outside FAST and let him finish up out there. Reward him for going outside. Clean up the mess with natures miracle (or read our article on dog urine removal) which will remove the odor completely.

Do NOT rub their nose in it, swat them with a newspaper, or isolate your puppy. It will only teach them to not go in front of you.

If your puppy is going frequently in the house you are probably not supervising them enough. Watch and learn their cues. If you feel you are watching and your puppy isn’t getting it you can always have them checked for a Urinary tract infection.

If your puppy piddles when you greet them, this could be submissive urination. This would be a problem that is usually cured by ignoring the behavior and letting your puppy calm down before touching them when you first see them.

This article not only applies to puppies, but it is how you should train a dog of any age. If you can’t supervise your dog, please put them in a crate to help curb accidents. Remember, dogs go where they go most!

This can be a trying time, so have patience and you will get through it.

How to Become a Dog Trainer

So you want to become a dog trainer. There are a few different types of dog training schools.

The first is an online type program where you do research, read books, and perform different projects and report back to someone. Some of these even offer exams and so forth. These are good programs for learning dog training theory. Take a look at They offer several degree type programs and provide an excellent source for learning theory and behavior which is extremely important in becoming a dog trainer. Raising Canine also has a professional dog training course online – read more about it here.

The second type is a dog training school that you actually attend for a period of time. As a student, you will learn theory as well as get hands on dog training. A few that we can recommend is the SF SPCA with Jean Donaldson – they have a one week for more experienced dog trainers and six week program for more basic hands on. The second is Pat Millers Peaceable Paws program in Hagerstown MD. This is also a hands on program that will guide you in becoming a dog trainer.

For a shorter program take a look at This offers a great learning experience combined with hands on. This program is called the Instructors Training Program. Dogs of Course also offers continuing education seminars as well. This is an excellent experience.

There are many different ways in which people become a dog trainer.

There are many different ways in which people become a dog trainer. Most importantly becoming a dog training professional requires years of education and lots of hands on experience. There are many schools, seminars, and other learning opportunties to explore. If you need more hands on, try working with an existing trainer as an apprentice, or even just volunteering with rescue groups and shelters. They can always use the help!

One on One by Nicole Wilde Our Review: Excellent Book!

Have you always wanted to do one-on-one, private training, but didn’t know how to go about it? This guide is like having a friend explain it all!

Our Review: If you are considering doing or already do any private lessons, this is a must have. It contains lots of great scripts and questions you should ask anyone you are going to meet with as well as some awesome contracts and handouts. It gets 5 Stars from us! If you are working on becoming a dog trainer, put this on your list of books to read. Internships Another great way to go is through apprenticeships or internships. This involves locating a local dog trainer and asking them if you can begin to assist with their classes and lessons. Its important to tell them you are interested in learning how to become a dog trainer. Often times not only will you get experience but you may wind up with a dog training job as well. This is a great way to go for plenty of hands on experience with dogs. This in conjunction with a school or attending lots of seminars will provide the experience and knowledge you need. Dog Trainer Certification : Becoming a certified dog trainer There is a program offered through the CCPDT. That is the certification council of pet dog trainers. This is a unique program which one day will hopefully include various levels. For now, there is the introduction level which allows trainers with 5 years of experience and a minimum number of hours to take a test on basic dog training. For more information visit the councils website at There is a

Popular Dog Training Books

As always, reading is a great way to learn. Dogwise has the most popular dog training books on the market. Visit this page which lists some of the top dog training books.

New puppy socialization information

Here are some more great puppy socialization ideas.  We already talked about sitting and meeting new people, lets think outside the box!

  1. Have your puppy do just that, play with a box!
  2. Walk on a wooden floor.
  3. Walk on a plastic floor.
  4. Step on a trash bag.
  5. Sit on a table (like at the vets office)
  6. Get in the bath tub – no water just yet! Or maybe just a tad warm water for fun.
  7. Walk on gravel.

Get the idea? Getting your puppy to walk on a variety of textures helps their brains develop and learn to overcome fear.  If your puppy is nervous, don’t just push them on the item. See if you can use your treats to get them to follow it. Try to make them comfortable and relax.  Its very important to go at your puppies pace.

My favorite all time obstacle here is the buja board. Don’t worry – it isn’t something you use to summon spirits :) You put a board on the floor and slowly raise the height so it wobbles a bit.  I like to use a mat I can fold up to make it more wobbly.  Remember, go slow, take it easy and help your puppy have fun!

Happy puppy training.

New Puppy : How to socialize

Whenever  I talk about socialization, many people always assume  I  mean  with other dogs and people.  Socialize actually means introducing to something new.  With young puppies the old theory was to keep them in the house until they were 6 months old.  Then it became don’t take them out until they are fully vaccinated at 4 months. 

We now know that is not true, and its a mistake.  The fear period begins around 16 weeks of age,so the most important time to socialize is from 10-16 weeks.  Does this mean you should take your dog to the dog park to play? Absolutely not!  But here are some new puppy socialization ideas that are safe.

Sitting  outside a coffee shop on a Saturday morning.  Its buzzing with different types of people and kids.  In order to make this productive, bring some of your dogs food and of course a  hungry puppy.  As people walk by, offer a piece of food for brave behavior.  Even if that means laying down and looking at them.  Don’t worry about keeping your pups attention, that isn’t  the goal here. If people want to pet your puppy, ask them to give him a piece of food first, followed by some good old fashioned puppy loving.

If you need to stand on your puppies leash so he doesn’t jump, that’s ok.  Try not to correct your puppy for anything, just manage his behavior so he is good.  Prevention is the key!

Another great place to go is outside a grocery store.  Think of all those noises,  cars, grocery carts,big bags…its socialization heaven. Try to venture out to a few different places a week, keeping safety in mind.

Happy puppy training!