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The Do's and Don'ts of Dog Training

  • Use rewards like treats to train your dog so your dog will enjoy training. Do not use force or punishment when working with your dog or your dog will not think training is fun and may become fearful of you.

  • Use comfortable, dog friendly equipment so that your dog feels relaxed and happy. Don't use averse equipment like choke collars, prong collars or shock collars, which make training painful and scary for your dog.

  • Have your dog work for valued resources like meals, walks and toys so your dog looks to you for guidance. Do not use confrontational methods that may frighten your dog or worse - cause your dog to react aggressively. 

  • Build a cooperative relationship based on mutual respect, communication and trust so both you and your dog enjoy being with one another. Do not use methods of equipment that are uncomfortable, painful, forceful, scary or intimidating for your dog.

  • Positive reinforcement training is more effective...and fun for both dog and owner! 

The Do's and Don'ts of Dog Training

Puppy Potty Training Tips

Simple Tips for Potty Training Your Puppy

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The First Week of Potty Training Your Puppy

The first week of potty training a puppy is extremely tiring, but I promise it gets easier. You might find yourself questioning why you decided on a puppy to begin with - trust me, we've all been there. But after that first week you'll be able to relax a bit more, and you'll start to see how well your consistency pays off. 


The first week is where you're going to be watching your pup like a hawk, making sure you intervene before any accidents happen. During the first week you're going to need to be aware where your pup is at all times. 

1. Pay Attention to Your Puppy At All Times

A quiet puppy is trouble, or so the saying goes. Whether he's getting into the garbage, eating your new shoes or pooping over in the corner - a quiet puppy signals trouble.


If you want to prevent accidents before they happen you're going to need to watch your pup at all times, including every time they wander off. It only takes one accident to set your training back. Now I know that watching your puppy non-stop isn't exactly fun & exciting, but being able to catch them before they have an accident is why this method works so well. 

If you're like me and have trouble keeping up with your pup at all times try using a tether. You can buy a tether from a pet store or simply do what I did and use a long lead or leash. If tethering your pup to you at all times is what it takes to make sure they're not sneaking off then go for it. If you're keen on keeping your dog tethered you can use baby gates or closed doors to restrict your dogs access to the whole house. 

2. Don't Leave Your Puppy Unattended

Did I mention the importance of not letting your dog out of sight? I did, but this part is so important I need to mention it twice. Your job when house training is to be there to prevent accidents before they happen. You know when your dog is going to have an accident? The moment you are not looking.

There's not much you can do that makes sense after your dog has had an accident 

- and you've missed out on an important training lesson. 

Don't punish your dog if they pee inside. Regardless of all those old training ideas punishment isn't a good deterrent for house training. Yelling at your dog after the fact just confuses the and makes them nervous around you. If you catch your dog in the act you can try to get their attention & move them outdoors. If you're successful & they continue going once you get outside praise them like crazy. 

Your pup is going to have an accident or two in the house - there's no getting around it. What you can do is prevent them from having more by being proactive. Keep them in your sight at all times and take them out every time they start to wander off. 

3. Let Your Dog Out Once Every Hour or Two.

Letting your pup outside every hour or two gets old, but it's the simplest way to prevent accidents from happening. If you've ever wondered why some people choose to get new puppies during the summer or when they're on vacation it probably has to do with potty training. If you've house trained a dog before you know how much time & commitment it takes.

Sometimes your dog might not pee outside and that's OK. An unproductive outside time is better than an accident indoors. Let them wander around a little bit & head back inside.


Though most dogs can handle sleeping through the night without accidents keep in mind that their bladders are awfully small so if you can avoid sleeping in I'd do so. Most puppies just can't hold it for that long. To prevent overnight accidents make sure your pup has peed before bedtime. 

4. Praise Your Dog Like There's No Tomorrow

Every time your dog pees or poops outside i needs to be celebrated. Give them baby talk or a treat, jump up & down, pat their little heads & remind them of how brilliant that decision was. Yes it might look silly but your pup needs to know he's done the best thing ever. When you consistently praise your puppy for going outside they'll start to understand that going potty outside is the best decision available. mention the importance of not letting your dog out of s

The Second Week of Potty Training Your Puppy

This is the 'keep it up' period where the praise is still heavy but you can relax a little more when it comes to watching your pup.

5. Keep Up The Praise & Watch For Signals

Don't get lazy with the praise during the second week. You want your dog to be the proudest creature on earth every time he pees or poops outside. Yes it seems silly after a while, and maybe even a little creepy if your dog stares at you while doing their business - but rest assured, you're getting the message across.

Let your dog know that peeing & pooping outside is awesome, and that all sorts of great things come to pups that do awesome things. 

Though it differs by each individual dog this is the time when most will come up with their own little way of letting you know they've got to go. It might be crying at your feet, ringing a bell you've set up or waiting at the door - just be sure to pay attention to these signals & follow up. Once your dog knows how to get your attention when he's got to go you can relax a little and congratulate yourself on a job well done. 

If your dog isn't giving you an obvious signal that they need to go out (like whining at the door) I suggest teaching them to ring a bell when they need to go outside. Some of the other signs dogs give that they need to go out such as pacing around or circling can be easy to miss if they're in another room, which is why a noise based signal such as ringing a bell can make things easier. 

6. Make Sure to Clean Up Accidents Thoroughly

Accidents will happen, and it's all important to clean them up thoroughly. Dogs are attracted to spots that they've used previously, and remember that their sense of smell is way better than ours. Pet urine can be hard to get out, and not all household products will effectively remove odors. If your dog keeps going in the same spot chances are some of that smell has been left behind.

You can opt for a product that's formulated for removing pet urine odors & stains. 

7. Be Realistic About How Long Your Puppy Can Hold It For

Young puppies can't hold their bowels & bladders for long. If you come home to find they've had an accident in their it's quiet possible they can't hold it that long. Generally puppies can hold their bladder for about one hour per month of age. So your 3 month old pup can probably only hold their bladder for about 3 hours. If you're going to be away at work for long periods of time see if you can get a neighbor relative or dog sitter to come over to let your pup out during the day. 

Puppy Potty Training Tips

How to Handle Puppy Nipping

How to Handle Puppy Nipping with Compassion


Puppies play and explore the world through the use of those tiny, sharp teeth. They are teething, so their mouths are uncomfortable. The act of chewing/nipping can ease their pain and discomfort. It is our job to teach puppies that teeth on humans is not okay, but we must do it positively. Scaring them can cause normal puppy nipping to turn into fear, and in many cases lead to aggression. 

What To Do:

  • When Puppy nips, let out a high pitched "ouch" cry or yelp then immediately remove your attention by turning or walking away.

  • Count to ten, then re-engage calmly and praise Puppy for being calm.

  • Repeat if Puppy nips again, or replace your hand with appropriate item such as a dog toy or chewy. 

What Not To Do:

  • Never hit/push Puppy

  • Never yell at Puppy

  • Never hold Puppy's mouth closed

  • Never use shake cans, spray bottles or noise makers to stop unwanted behaviors.

How to Handle Puppy Nipping

Teaching Your Dog to Walk Politely on a Leash
Part 1

The most important step in teaching your dog to walk politely on a leash is showing your dog where you want him to be while he is on a leash. To make things easier for your dog, start practicing in a small, boring space. 


  • Leash hand should stay at your belly button level.

  • Use a clicker, this "marks" correct movement or position.

  • A click should always be followed by giving a treat.

  • Practice giving treats at the level of your dogs head.

  • Leash should be loose (J shape). 

  1.   Click and immediately give a treat a few times while standing in the correct position.

  2.   Move slightly out of heel position and wait for your dog to move closer to you.

  3.   As soon as your dog moves even the tiniest step closer to you, click and feed a treat at the ideal position (you may need to bend down to your dog if he is short).

  4.   Repeat the process until your dog moves into heel position every time you move out of it.

  5.   Gradually take more and more steps between clicks and treats. If your dog gets confused, go back to just one step at a time, and then increase the number of steps again more slowly to help him understand.

  6.   Once your dog has the hang of it, start changing directions and speed.

  7.   Next move on to a larger more interesting space and start over with step #1. When your dog can handle up to step #6 in that space, move to a new space, again starting over from step #1.

Leash Part 1

Teaching Your Dog to Walk Politely on a Leash
Part 2

If pulling on the leash gets your dog where he wants to go, he'll keep pulling. To avoid teaching your dog that pulling is a good strategy, use one of the techniques below. 

Technique 1: I am a Rock 

1. Keep the leash hand at belly button.

2. When your dog pulls, stop in your tracks. WAIT. As you wait,

pretend you have no dog.

3. When your dog backs up or turns to you, click and feed a treat

at your pants seam.

4. Move forward again. 

Technique 2: Back & Forth

1. Keep the leash hand at belly button.

2. This is a great technique for dogs who are very strong. When your dog pulls, simply move away at a random angle that isn't 180 degrees. 

3. Wait for your dog to catch up to heel position.

4. Click and give treat. Then turn around and continue in your original direction. 

IF your dog keeps pulling, the environment is probably too exciting. Go back to teaching your dog polite leash walking (Part 1) in a less exciting place. Gradually build up to walking in the exciting environment again. Remember to first practice Part 1 every time you practice in a new place. 

Leash Part 2

Dog Boredom

Ain't Misbehaven'! Is your dog bored?


The most common cause for nuisance behaviors in dogs is boredom. Dogs are social creatures and CRAVE attention and affirmation. 


Ignoring your dog for long stretches at a time and then reprimanding him for seeking attention is counterproductive. Reprimands are a form of attention. Behaviors that earn the dog attention will increase in frequency. Reprimands will only confuse the dog.

Dog Boredom

Here are some tips: 

- Keep your dog busy, give him something to do! Chewies, bully sticks, doggie puzzle toys, Kongs stuffed with peanut butter, lick and snuffle mats etc. are all good options (PLEASE supervise your dog!)

- When you take breaks from your activities or work, don't forget to give your dog some attention. 

- Teach/reward your dog for relaxing on their bed.

- Be sure to give your dog exercise, play and mental stimulation every day. Walks, fetch, nose work and training are all great ideas. MIX IT UP! See the Playing with your dogs tips section for more ideas! 

Playing with Your Dog

Dogs (and people) love to play! Playing with your dog is one of the best ways to reward him for a job well done. Done correctly, play can help a stressed dog relax and a distracted dog focus.

Every dog is different, so get to know what sort of play YOUR dog likes. Different dogs will have different play preferences. Try to find a level of excitement that is just right for your dog. Avoid play that gets your dog so amped up (overstimulated) that he cannot think or calm down. On the other hand, if your dog is bored by your attempts to play, try upping the level of excitement or changing to a different game.

Here are some favorites!

  • Chase is a great one-on-one game! Just make sure to have your dog chase you instead of chasing your dog. You don’t want to accidentally teach your dog to run away from you!

  • Tag, You’re It! Many dogs like tag games where you tap, poke or gently push your dog away from you, then run in the opposite direction, encouraging him to catch up.

  • Fetch is always a fun option. If your dog likes to play “keep away” once your thrown the ball or Frisbee, try playing with two toys. As soon as your dog drops the toy in his mouth, throw the second toy for him.

  • Contrary to the popular myth, Tug wont make your dog aggressive. In fact, playing tug is a great way to teach your dog to control his mouth when he is excited! Just make sure you teach your dog to start and stop the game on cue so that you can control the fun and he doesn’t think that your winter scarf or potential tug toy!

  • If your dog isn’t interested in toys, don’t worry…there are lots of other fun games you can play. For less playful dogs, food (peanut butter, pumpkin, yogurt, treats etc.) can be stuffed in hollow toys like Kongs and Busy Balls.

  • Dogs have a great sense of smell, and letting your dog use his nose is a great game! Toss a piece of kibble or a small treat on the floor in front of him and tell him to “find it!” As he gets better at the game, you can start tossing the treats farther away, into grass or carpet, or even hide it when he’s not looking for a doggie scavenger hunt!

  • Training can be a great way to play with your dog. Approach training sessions as games. The more you smile and laugh while you train your dog, the more your dog will love listening to you! Clicker training is one example of a fun and effective dog training method

Playing with your dog
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