NEXT WEEK BRING grooming tools such as brushes and combs

This week we covered
Equipment – harness, snoot loop, gentle leader
Treat immediately follows behavior
Mock exam
Play time with sounds
Sounds, cap gun, book drop – tape of sounds in background while playing.

Handle your puppy all over making it fun for the puppy. Remember to offer treats, toys and praise while you are touching all over.


Several million dogs are euthanized every year because of preventable behavior problems. Prevention is best! Don’t wait for several months before you seek help for a problem behavior. One of the goals of puppy training is to use preventative exercises and techniques to ensure that your dog does not feel the need to guard things such as food, people, places or toys. This is the time to make him feel safe and comfortable while he his being handled and staying home alone. Most importantly he must be taught to have a “soft mouth” or not to bite.
Your are not establishing a relationship with your dog. You are establishing a bond with your dog. (remember he is not a person). Most behaviors that we want from our dogs are unnatural for them. Behaviors that we do not like or see as a problem behaviors are natural for the dog. Dogs do not know the difference between right and wrong, they do not have religion or morals. Dogs do not do things out of spite or jealousy. It is dangerous for you to impart human values to you dog. You will damage the human/animal bond, and create confusion and miscommunication between the two of you. This will lead to serious behavior problems possibly even aggression.
Dogs learn from experience. They will repeat what works for them. If they get attention for crying, they will repeat the crying. They will avoid behaviors that come with a negative experience. If the puppy bites you and you go away, the puppy will avoid biting.
It is easy to set up a “behavior chain” that you did not intend to. For example, the dog gets aggressive with company, so you distract him with a treat and have him lay next to you, and if he reacts to company you give him down command and a treat. If you are not practicing this exercise when company is not there, then you create a behavior chain. In the dogs mind it goes like this. I like treats and attention. If I growl & lunge at company, then I will be able to lay next to my owner and get attention and treats. Over treating and not practicing exercises in the absence of negative behaviors will create an unwanted behavior chain. Aggression =’s attention=treats.

I use only positive methods to train all dogs, and correct behavior problems. Just because dogs will not repeat a behavior that comes with a bad experience, does not mean that it is a good idea to use punishment. I will explain this during our visits. Most importantly you will damage the human/animal bond, and the puppy will learn to distrust people.

What you need…
Treats. I recommend low protein treats such as carrots, peas or green beans. I sell a variety of healthy treats in the store. (sales pitch: all of the treats I sell are made in the USA some are organic. Most are wheat, corn, soy free. If you need help choosing a treat feel free to ask for my suggestions)
Refer to the poison food list, and avoid things on that list.
A nylon collar. I recommend a martingale style collar for puppies, or a flat collar with a metal buckle. DO NOT GRAB AT THE COLLAR TO GET THE PUPPY TO STOP SOMETHING. YOU WILL MAKE HIM COLLAR AND HAND SHY.
A nylon leash 4-6 ft long with a metal clip.
A nylon long line 15 to 30 feet long. We will use this in training come and other things later.
Toys. Lots of toys. Different toys serve a different purpose in your puppies training and stress release. He should have toys for snuggling, toys for carrying, hard chew toys such as nylabones, rubbery chew toys, and interactive toys for learning thinking skills and relieving boredom. He should also have one kill toy, a toy that he can shake and wrestle with. Your puppy should have around 15 toys. You always keep 5 put away and trade them occasionally. (never put away his favorite toy)

Of course he should have food and water bowls. Water should be available inside and out.
A toothbrush and dog toothpaste.
Grooming brushes and combs
A nail clipper that has double blades.
A local veterinarian, and emergency numbers incase your regular veterinarian is not available.
Puppy shampoo if you are going to eventually bathe the puppy yourself. I use puppy shampoo on my adult dogs because it is tear free and gentle. Be careful not to choose shampoo with smells that may attract bugs, such as fruit smells.
A car harness or carrier for in the car. If your dog is loose in your car, enters the drivers cabin and causes an accident you are liable. There are new regulations in effect with hefty fines for dogs who are able to enter the drivers area of the car. It is dangerous for you, your dog and your passengers for your dog to be loose in the car.
A copy of your dogs rabies certificate. Keep one in your car and one at home. In NY if your dog bites (even though some people may call a small bite a nip it is still a bite by definition) another person or dog a DEC officer has the right to shoot your dog and send his brain to Albany to confirm that your dog does not have rabies. Local officials such as police and dog officers have the right to take and confine your dog at your expense to confirm that your dog is not sick with rabies or other zoonotic diseases. If you cross the borders between NY and PA or any other state you must have a copy of the rabies certificate or your dog can be confiscated.


If at any time your puppy becomes afraid during socialization exercises or during everyday activities, follow these guidelines

  • Do not baby or coddle a frightened puppy. You are praising the puppy for being afraid. He will feel there is something to be afraid of and the fear will become worse.
  • Try to get him happy and playful with a silly voice, a treat or a game.
  • If the situation is too much for the puppy, back away until the puppy is relaxed again.
  • Start from this point (distance) to build up self confidence, and trust in you.
  • Gradually get closer giving the puppy treats.
  • The goal if for your puppy to be comfortable and confident around stimuli that was scary to him.
  • If you are unsure about something call me.
  • This is a complete list. Not all of these may be necessary for your dogs life. I have clients all over the country so I tried to consider every possible life situation.

Both genders
Different ethnicities

People wearing
Punk hairdos
Shaved heads

People with
Legs in cast
Metal frame walker
Guide dogs
Baby strollers
Baby carriers
Back packs
Shopping carts
Limps or odd gaits
Erratic body moves

People in uniform
Postal workers
Vet clinic staff
Ambulance attendants
Crossing guards
Meter readers
Telephone workers
UPS and other delivery people

Athletic people
Skate boarders
Roller bladders
Cross country skiers
Toboggans & sleds
Snow boarders
Wind surfers
Speed walkers
People swimming
Hang gliders
Water skiing
Martial arts
Bike couriers

Friendly healthy dogs
Small pets (hamsters)
Large birds (geese chickens)

Motor vehicles
Trucks backing up
Screeching brakes
Cars backfiring
Airplanes & helicopters
Street cleaners
Snow plows
Garbage trucks
Skidoos & Seadoos

Environmental hazards & noise pollution
Thunder & lightening
Snow blowers
Loud speakers
Building and demolition
People yelling

Outdoor events
Hot air balloon
People singing
Live music band
Farmers market
Beach party/bonfires
Santa Claus
Fairs & rodeos
Sporting events
Mimes & clowns
People dancing
Rush hour
A rally/protest
Street vendors

Construction sites & Gardeners
Front-end loaders
Power tools
Fork lifts
Lawn mowers
Ride on mowers
Leaf blowers
Weed whippers
Electric hedge shears
Sweeping with broom
Garden hose

Strange sights & smells
Drunk people
Ice cream truck
Strong perfume
Strong cooking smells
Model airplane
Remote control toys
Skipping rope
Ceiling fans
Floor fans
Air purifiers
Fire places
Wood stoves

Different surfaces
Ceramic tiles
Slipper surfaces
Manholes and grates
Watery or wet
Swinging bridge
Wooden dock
Tarmac (not when hot)
Wood floors

Different environments
Car rides
Vet clinic
Boarding kennel
The bank
Video store
Gas station
Toll booth
Shopping mall
Friends homes
Public transit
Outdoor café’
Country versus city
Automatic doors
Pet store
Boat rides
School grounds
Petting zoo
Car wash
Walk after dark
A tunnel
A bridge
Busy intersection
Outside day care
Crowd of people
Sporting facilities
The beach
The woods
Hiking trails
The office

Home environment
Phone ringing
Loud TV
Loud music
Hair dryer
Vacuum cleaner
Kettle whistle
Dish washer
Electrical appliances
Dog in bath/shower
Domestic staff
Home office
Repair people
Delivery people

Obedience commands ©
Daina Beckman
Dog Behavior Specialist
Happy Tails Dog Behavior & Training

Obedience training should be fun and interesting for both you and your dog. Consistency is a must. Keep your body up tall and confident, use the same tone of voice, use the same movement with your hand and arm. I recommend you make a list of commands and define them. For example does “down” mean lay down? Or does it mean all four feet on the floor. If it means lay down then perhaps “off” means all four feet on the floor. If “sit” means fanny on the floor two front feet on the floor and “down” means lay down then what does sit down mean? Sit down now is to different commands you can’t do two opposing commands at the same time. Make sure everyone is using the same word for the same action. Correct company if you need to.

Don’t keep saying his name and don’t keep saying the command. Just say the command once. You wouldn’t like it if your boss kept saying Mary Sednemo, Sednemo Sednemo Mary, Mary Mary Sednemo Are you confused? So is your dog. Do you feel nagged? So does your dog. Sednemo is Serbian for sit down.
Be patient your dog has to filter though all of the possibilities while he decides what action you are asking for.
For example you dog may know shake and that is easy and fun for both of you. Now you are teaching your dog the new command down. You say your command with confidence and give your hand signal at the same time. Your dog is thinking “when I put my fanny on the floor I got the treat” so he puts his fanny on the floor. That didn’t work so he thinks “when I lift up my paw I get the treat” so he lifts his paw. He may try several actions that he already knows will get him the treat. Be patient hold your position and wait for him to figure it out. Don’t’ repeat the command or hand signal until he breaks. I have waited up to 3 minutes for a dog to figure out sit. You will need to start again when the dogs concentration “breaks”. The solution to the problem has become too difficult and he will go do something else. When he begins to leave to do something else try the command again.

Always end training sessions on a positive note with lots of praise. If you one or both of you are getting frustrated move on to an easy command and then end the session. Dogs place learn. That is why some dogs do okay at obedience class but not at home. You have to practice at home. Practice in every room of the house and out side. If you go to the park or when visiting grandma practice there too. It is better to have lots of short practice sessions. For example before feeding practice sit then put the food down. Practice sit and 2 or 3 other commands in the kitchen when you get home from work. After dinner practice the psychological heel and stop periodically to practice sit, down or stay. Practice sit and down in the evening in the living room. Mix it up, make it fun.

For all commands you are going to use a hand signal that goes in the direction you want the dogs nose to go. Always start with your hand near the front of the dogs nose.
Sit – up and back
Down – down and away from his nose (slowly at first)
Stay – a flat hand in front of his nose
Come – a sweeping toward you motion
What fun commands can you think of? How about spin… go in a gentle wide circle to start with.

Give the command in a confident you can do it voice. Don’t ask like you have doubt. Don’t be aggressive like a drill sergeant. Place your hand over your dogs head above his nose with the treat between your thumb and forefinger facing palm up. Slowly raise the treat and move it towards your dogs backend. Wait for him to think about what you are asking. As soon as he starts to put his butt on the floor say good boy sit and give him the treat. If he doesn’t sit because he is unsure or distracted say ok and walk away for 10-20 seconds. He doesn’t want the treat. Try again.
Be patient, wait for him to figure it out. Keep repeating this process. He will get it.. If you have a puppy and he is still not getting it, place your forearm behind his legs and gently sweep them forward while using the hand signal up and back toward his tail. This will bring his back legs into a sitting position. Lots of praise when his back end starts to sit.

You will use the same method and patients for every command you teach your dog.
Do not force your dogs body into the position. Pushing on hips and shoulder is painful and will cause your dog to mistrust you. One exception would be shake. You can gently tap the front of your dogs leg or pick up his paw to get him started.