Life Skills: Independence Training

Independence training helps to produce an emotional state in a dog, where he is completely relaxed in his environment.  He trusts his people and is capable of consistently engaging in calm, quiet activities – without soliciting participation from his humans.  As soon as possible, puppies and young dogs can learn to balance their social natures […]

Mind the Mouth: Handling by Humans

Puppies and adult dogs use their mouths to play and explore the world. They also use their mouths when their mental state moves over a threshold of mindfulness. Nearly all very young puppies place their mouths on human body parts and our clothing. Owners typically refer to this behavior as “nipping”. It is important to […]

Crates, Gates, and Playpens: Limit Access to Space

When it comes to behavior management strategies, limiting your dog’s access to space plays a large part.  More space in your home sets up for more exploration and potential trouble.  Dogs are opportunistic scavengers who investigate with their mouths and enjoy problem-solving.  Teaching your dog to accept containment and, ultimately, value his “space” is well […]

Attention Hogs

Many dog owners enjoy the abiding presence of their canine friends. They follow us as we move about our homes and calmly and quietly watch us perform daily tasks. These dogs are interested in sharing space and, simply, being near us. They are not looking for direct engagement or extended interaction. Fearful dogs often look […]

Bored Dog Toolbox

Boredom is a top-ranking source of stress for dogs. Because puppies and young dogs spend lots of waking hours seeking mental engagement, boredom also sets up for problem behaviors. Owners can channel their dog’s energy into constructive, safe, and appropriate activities with knowledge and preparation. Cold weather months can mean a stressful change for dogs […]

Proactive vs. Passive Housetraining

A proactive approach is the best option for fast and reliable results in a housetraining (potty training) program. With a proactive program, the owner takes leadership responsibility for setting the dog up to “hold it” and go when access to the preferred potty place is provided. With a passive program, the owner places this responsibility […]

Puppy Nipping and “Zinging”: What’s Going on Here?

Adding a puppy to any household brings plenty of new demands on the family’s time and energy. Understanding this early phase of life and maintaining realistic expectations keep everyone on an even keel. A sense of humor helps, too. Stress in a New Environment Moving from a breeder’s home/facility or foster situation and into your […]

Socialization: It’s a Big Deal.

Socialization is the process where animals learn about the world around them. The most effective and humane way to socialize your dog is systematically exposing her to many different stimuli at levels she can calmly tolerate. This is a gradual process. It’s important to keep expectations in check and remain patient. Puppies have a brief […]

Adolescence: What Happened to My Puppy?!?!

All animals, including dogs, grow through developmental phases. The adolescent phase begins at around seven months of age and can continue until around 18 months of age. Early training and behavior management makes an enormous difference in adult behavior outcomes. Puppy training is a great beginning. Consistent use of learned obedience cues along with behavior […]

Clicker Training: What Is It? And How Does It Work?

Clicker training is a method initially used to train marine mammals. The clicker sound functions as a reward marker. It provides essential feedback for an animal’s correct response to a learned cue or offering a desirable behavior. The sound of the clicker quickly becomes relevant to the dog when it is followed by a reward, […]