Making The Time To Train Your Dog

Lisa with the CK-9 Dog PackYou Get Out What You Put In

I have to tell everyone that in dog training, and even in life, you get out what you put in.

I will try to explain this to you...

If you do not take the time out of your busy schedule to train your dog, he will most likely not behave in the ways that you would like.

If you do take the time to train your dog, at least 15 minutes a day which is not much, then you will find that he starts understanding what you want from him, what you don’t want from him, and will subsequently fall in line into a well-behaved much more pleasurable dog to live with.  
The best dog trainer in the world cannot help you if you do not practice what you are taught.
I hear excuses like, “I just didn’t have much time this week” or “we were super busy this week, we didn’t get to work with him at all.”

That is all those sentences are to me: excuses.

How To Find The Time 

Do you brush your teeth? I hope so. Make your dog perform a down stay while you are doing this. 

Do you sit down and have breakfast or dinner? If so, make your dog perform a down stay while you are doing this. Yes, you may be interrupted many meals before he gets the command down but you just worked your dog throughout your schedule. 

Do you have to take him outside to eliminate? If so, make him “heel” to the door and then make him sit and wait before you let him out. 

Do you feed him? If so, make him perform commands for his meals twice a day. 

You have the ability to work with your dog in small increments while you are at home doing your everyday household duties. Please take the time out for Fido or understand that it is YOUR fault if he doesn’t behave in the ways that you would like.

Reactive - Let's be More Specific, Please!


Alright folks, I think I’ll spend today talking about a popular catch phrase in the dog training community that actually doesn’t mean a darn thing to us as professional trainers on temperament assessment and evaluation of a particular dog.

I’ve heard the term “reactive” hundreds of times when people are trying to explain their dog’s behavior to us.  It’s really vague. 

I think it’s safe to say that every living creature is reactive in some way or another.  I like to get down to the details and not use this particular catch phrase or term.  I’d like to know what you mean by “reactive.”  Is your dog play bowing (yes, to us reactive can mean good things as well because the term is so very vague), dog aggressive, is it cat aggressive, is it food aggressive, is it possessive aggressive, is your dog showing inappropriate out of context aggression?  I find that reactive is a nicer, kinder, gentler way to say there may be an underlying aggression issue.  I like to get right to the point and find out what the issue is so I best know how to deal with it and fix it.

I think there’s some folks out there that are claiming to be professionals and they are because they are taking your money.  That’s the definition of professional, is someone who gets paid for a service. But in reality we have to understand canine behavior in depth and totally, why dogs do certain things.  Is it idiopathic behavior or is it learned behavior or is it something in between?  Very often all of the dog problems we see are caused by the owners.  How they interact with the dog, how they handle the dog, lack of discipline, improper timing when it comes to praise and reward. 

Bottom line is let’s call a spade a spade so that we can get to the issues that need to be dealt with so that we can effectively work our dogs through behavioral problems.

Shelter Dog THOROUGH Evaluation. Why Aren't They Getting Done?

I decided to write this post because I feel many shelters do not have in place an evaluation system for the dogs that reside there.  I do not think I can support a shelter that does not properly, thoroughly, and professionally evaluate their dogs.  Evaluating is CRITICAL. 

Some of the things considered when performing a thorough evaluation:  super stressed, agitated, doesn’t like to be touched somewhere for one reason or another, if he/she has had any prior training, food aggressive, dominant, submissive, subordinate, defensive, nervy, possessive, loves food, loves toys, takes things gently or doesn’t, is under socialized, aloof, shows idiopathic aggression, is noise sensitive, hand shy, has a lack of manners, cat aggressive or will tolerate them, dog aggressive and if not truly, what would this dog prefer for the best qualities of a pack mate (older, opposite sex, not very energetic).  

If you think about some of the things just mentioned, why wouldn’t shelter staff and management take the time to get to know and evaluate their dogs before they are returned to the public sector?  When placing a dog with some of the traits stated above, if the dog had these issues (i.e. defensive, or any aggression) I would NOT show to a family with children under the age of 12.  The shelter’s staff who fail to thoroughly evaluate their dogs do not know that the “cute” dog, that a family with two young’uns is interested in, has this undesirable temperament and behavior of deciding to possess or own the sofa and disciplines the child at face level for approaching his valued spot.  Also, what if a dog is not tested properly and a young child trips and falls over a sleeping dog who happens to be quite defensive?  The outcome is predictable.   

If you work in a shelter, (and I have, day, night, and weekends – good, bad, and the ugly) you may love animals, I don’t doubt that.  I do doubt however that many of you even comprehend true canine behavior, have the experience and/or the knowledge to assess, place, and/or make difficult decisions if necessary, especially under the pressure of volunteers and/or board members who wish to save every animal that comes through your doors.  So that is why I say if you are in this business you need to consistently educate yourself.  If you do not, you are not only doing a disservice to your dogs, you are doing a disservice to your community, which you are potentially putting in danger.

This is a staff negligence issue.  Volunteers are the most fabulous creatures on the planet!

You can also learn about medical issues you wouldn’t have otherwise seen during the evaluation period.  This is one time that the dog gets looked at in a somewhat sterile (little distractions) environment from nose to tail and most importantly you get to check out what is in between their ears!

Directed Play Training

First Published in 2010

If you start teaching your pup directed play training at an early age you will be very glad you did for a number of reasons.

1. It is a great way to teach your dog to focus on you and ignore distractions

2. It teaches your dog to happily return to you and drop it's toy or ball at your feet or retrieve to hand

3. This is a great way to exercise your dog

4. It helps build strong play training drive in your dog which can be utilized in advanced training as your dog matures.

5. It will teach your dog not to steal or grab things and play the catch me if you can game

6. As you progress with the game you can begin working on your dogs self control and basic commands while maintaining complete focus

When starting with a puppy you should have 2 identical toys, balls, sticks, or whatever you choose. You will need a long leash 20 feet or so and a flat collar. We start by tossing the first ball within the range of your leash, the reason being that if the pup wants to take off with the ball you can reel him in to you. Remember this is a game that you control and he or she needs to learn to play by the rules.

Once the ball is tossed you will ask him to "bring it" in an excited tone. When he returns to you show him the second ball in your hand. One dog always wants what the other dog has. So he will want the ball you have. Encourage him to drop the ball or put it in your hand and as soon as he does toss the second ball. As he is going for the second ball pick up the first and continue this game.

After a few sessions you will be able to throw the ball outside the range of the long leash. They will become so focused on this game that nothing else will matter to them but the game.

When they really get the hang of it you can hold the dog by the collar and tell them to stay, toss the ball wait a few seconds and command him bring it. As they are returning to you then you can work on the come command and sit in front before tossing the second ball. This becomes directed play training and motivational obedience all in a manner that can be fun and productive for you both.

 Problems to watch for -
If the dog does not bring it close enough, ideally drop it at your feet or place it in your hand use lots of encouragement and back away to draw the dog closer.

If the dog runs out for the ball and does not bring it back don’t toss the second ball. Go out with him to the one you tossed and give the ball a little kick to encourage him to bring the one you have just thrown.
Don’t let the dog see you pick up the ball he has just dropped or he often will want that one and ignore the one you just tossed. Pick up the ball when he is retrieving and not watching you.

Have lots of fun with this because it can be a great foundation for future off leash control!


    Copyright Consummate K-9 Training LLC 2010

How to Choose a Professional Trainer

In Texas, there are no set regulations for becoming or titling yourself a Professional Dog Trainer.  Anyone can establish a name and open up shop.  If you are shopping for a reputable dog trainer or company, keep in mind these simple tips:

Be sure that your trainer and their staff have resumes full of experience.  Many dog trainers make claims about their illustrious careers with many years of dog training experience.  We recommend asking them what they have accomplished with their own dogs over their career.  What fields of discipline have they studied and trained?  If they have certifications, who was the certifying agency?  Hopefully not their own business!

A well rounded, experienced trainer should have a broad spectrum of training experience;  not only with obedience, but therapy, service, and even sport work.  If you are looking for a trainer to handle aggression issues, who better than a trainer who has worked with protection dogs or police K-9s.  These are the trainers who really know how to help you.  If you want precision obedience, look for a trainer with sport work or competition experience.  In dog training, the best way to train is by hands-on experience.  Dog training cannot be learned by watching, reading, or viewing videos. It must be done physically and one-on-one with many different dogs.

Another key credential to look for is the trainer’s methods of training.  Experienced trainers will have multiple methods of training, an open mind, and will have continued their education throughout their careers.  If a trainer refuses to use training methods that may be of interest to you, take yourself back to their resume of experience.  The right trainer will use multiple training methods and will explain why they would use a particular approach to solve your issues and achieve your training goals.  Look for a trainer who has and continues to work with multiple trainers.  A trainer that has spent many years working with and training working dogs is your best bet.  For them, companion dogs are a walk in the park, regardless of the issues you may be having.

Beware of the slogan, “WE CAN TRAIN ANY DOG.”  Unfortunately, it is nothing more than a marketing ploy and has very little truth.  At Consummate K-9, we will work with any dog and owner, even when serious aggression or fear is present.  Regardless of the issues, we will never give false hopes of turning your dog into a safe and balanced companion if we feel it is not achievable.  We will be honest with what can be done and what the end results will be. 

Be sure your next trainer has a training facility.  There are many trainers that seem convenient because they will come to you!  Unfortunately your dog will not be able to socialize with other dogs with only in-home training. Trainers with facilities show their commitment to their business.  A proper training facility is quite an expense but well worth it for year round training and the availability of many training disciplines. 

Often the most successful trainers are those you hear about from your vet or past clients.  Over-advertising is a big red flag and is not necessary.  Trainers that post ads all over towns, along streets, and in windows tend to be struggling and begging for business.  A good trainer will have a great referral chain based on continued success.  A great way to find these trainers is to call a few local vets and ask who they recommend.  After all, your vet knows your dog and always wants the best.  Often you will hear the same name from multiple offices.

One final piece of advice, beware of the hard sell.  No reputable trainer will try to hard sell you out of respect of ethical business practices.  At Consummate K-9, we encourage you to shop around and make an educated decision based on your training needs. 

Consummate K-9 Training


Make Yourself a Responsible Pet Owner

What does it mean to be a responsible pet owner?  Keeping your pet healthy and happy?  Assuring they have a warm home and loving family?  Yes!  However there are other things to consider when owning a pet.  The Coalition for Living Safely with Dogs lists five key points for being a responsible pet owner.  These five points are:  selection, identification, socialization, sterilization, and supervision.


Before you get a dog, be sure to ask yourself if you have enough time to care for him or her.  Do you have the time to housebreak a new puppy?  Do you have enough money for proper care, food, vet costs?  Is everyone in the house ready for the same commitment?  Have you researched the specific breed?

Choosing a dog can be a drawn out process, but it is worth taking your time.  If you are rescuing, try to gather as much background information about the dog as possible.  Some shelters know very little about the dogs turned into them, others have extensive backgrounds.  Spend time with the dog before bringing them home.  Have all family members, including other pets, meet the dog in a neutral place.  If you are working with a breeder, ask to meet the parents.  Do research about reputable breeders and the proper questions to ask a breeder. 


Proper identification can be crucial to being reunited with your pet if they are ever lost.  Be sure to keep all I.D. tags or micro-chip information up-to-date.  If your pet is not micro-chipped, make sure their identification tags are clearly visible and on them at all times.  Even the most well-trained pets can get loose from time to time. 


Socialization is one of the most important things you can do for your pet.  You are encouraged to take your pet places with you, expose them to new people, places, and noises.  Let them experience the world beginning even at a young age.  Socialization can help you prevent aggressive or unwanted behaviors in the future.  Obedience classes are a great way to socialize your dog under professional supervision.  Once you know your pet is social, you can try taking them to dog parks or doggie daycare facilities.  A social dog will be able to adapt to new situations and will also form a greater bond with you.


If you do not plan on breeding your pet, spay or neuter them.  Keeping your pet in tact for any other reason can cause more harm than good.  Spayed females are less likely to get cancer or uterine infections.  Neutered males are less likely to develop enlarged prostate glands and testicular cancer.

Spaying and neutering can also help alter a dog's behavior.  Often it can help calm a dog and prevent further aggression.  "Unneutered dogs are 2.6 times more likely to bite than neutered dogs." (Gershman KA Sacks JJ Wright JC.  "Which Dogs Bite?: A Case-Control Study of Risk Factors," Pediatrics 1994)


Responsible pet owners should always provide a cool or warm, safe, and healthy environment for their dog.  No dog should ever be chained or left tied up outdoors.  Pets can be safe and contained in proper outdoor shelters with access to food and water.  Even when indoors, pets should earn their freedom.  If they have not earned their freedom, keep them in a crate when not at home to prevent destructive chewing or possible harm.

Always supervise your pet when they are meeting new people or playing with children.  Learn your pet's body language and know how to properly handle your pet in all situations.


By keeping these five steps in mind, you are well on your way to being a responsible pet owner.  Being a responsible owner is a large job.  Pets are helpless and rely on us 100% to care for them day to day.  In return, you will receive unconditional love.  It's not a bad trade!


How to Help Your Pet Have a Great Halloween

Halloween is just around the corner, which means there may be added excitement and risks for your dog.  If you plan on taking your pet trick-or-treating with the family, be sure to remember these helpful tips.  Make sure you have a good and secure collar, and be sure their I.D. tags are visible and up-to-date with current information.  Keep in mind that people in costumes may frighten your dog.  If they begin to show anxiety, try motivating them with their favorite toy or returning them home. 

If your dog will be staying home with you while you hand out candy, be cognizant of their behavior, as well as their containment.  If your dog has a tendency to bolt out doors, crate them or keep them confined with a dog gate.  Also, be aware that although your pet may love children, when they are in costume, they could get scared and act differently.  If you plan to crate or confine your pet away from the front door, do so a half hour before trick-or-treat begins.  This way, you do not create added suspicion by rushing your dog away when the doorbell rings.  If your dog will be with you at the door, be sure to have them leashed. 

Finally, be aware of where the candy and treats are at all times.  With Halloween comes lots of treats and small toys that could be hazardous to your pet.  Dispose of all candy wrappers to prevent choking or intestinal obstructions.  Make sure children are aware of the dangers associated with feeding their pets candy.  Chocolate contains the ingredient theobromine which can cause vomiting or diarrhea.  Common signs of chocolate poisoning are:  excessive drooling, excessive urination, pupil dialation, rapid heartbeat, vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, muscle tremors, or coma.  If you suspect your pet may have gotten into chocolate, contact Animal Poison Control immediately. 

By taking these precautionary steps, you and your pet can have a safe and enjoyable Halloween!


A dog that is strong in temperament and on the dominant side will display body signals that tend to make him/her look imposing and large. They are easy to read and include the dog standing squarely on all four legs. You will also notice the head and tail held high as well as the ears strongly erect depending on breed. They will move forward stiffly and confidently with a direct stare. You may also notice the dog place his head on the shoulders of another dog. Basically the dog is communicating to its opponent that, “I am the boss here and I do challenge you.” One thing to be aware of as a dog handler is if the opponent takes a frigid stance with direct eye contact and the body is slightly lowered in the front and forward expect an immediate fight unless you intervene in a millisecond.

On the opposite end of the spectrum a dog with a soft temperament will display behavior in much the opposite way. Look for a lowered head and ears flat against the head. The dog may roll on its side or back and expose its under belly and genitals. The tail may be tucked between the legs. They may be slinking low towards the other dog or person actually trying to make themselves look smaller. In this situation the dog is often saying, “Look I am no threat, can’t you see by my subordinate behavior and my attempt to appease you?” If the dog rolls on his back and urinates it is the ultimate sign of submission.

Rabies Resources

Here are several excellent sources of rabies information online.
For the Department of Agriculture website where you can download information about  rabies in Pennsylvania or the Rabies Submission Form for  Nonhuman Exposure submissions for the Department of Agriculture laboratory.
For the Pennsylvania Department of Health website where you can download the Human Exposure Form.
For the Compendium for Rabies Control from the National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians and other rabies information:   Remember that the Compendium is not the Rabies Law in Pennsylvania.

For the Rabies Law in Pennsylvania, you can find that on the Pennsylvania Code website:
I have also attached a pdf version of the Rabies Law.

For an excellent handout from Penn State about rabies in wildlife:

For an excellent handout from Penn State about rabies in bats:


It is difficult with some breeds to see what their ears are telling you. Especially dogs
with floppy or heavily cropped ears. With these guys I like to look where the ear connects to the head to see the subtle movements in different situations.

Ears forward and erect.
Often seen in a confident dog or a dog that is interested in something. “Hey, what is that? I need to look into this further.” In dog to dog situations the dog is showing his status and is not afraid.

Ears slightly back.
Somewhat of a subordinate gesture. Often seen at greeting a friend or playmate.

Ears flat back against the head.
There can be a number of meanings for this depending on the situation. It can be see upon greeting the master or family members. “Hi, I am happy to see you, you’ve been gone almost a whole hour.” It is also seen by a subordinate dog greeting a more dominant dog. “See look at me, I am no threat.” And it can also be a sign of real fear when coupled with tell tale body language which we will cover later.

One ear forward, one ear back.
You will see this if your dog is attentive towards you when you are out for a walk and the dog may be ahead of you. “I may be up ahead but I am still listening for you.” On the other hand it can be seen in dogs in serious conflict. “I am really unsure how to handle this situation.” It can often accompany a fearful interaction and the dog does not know what to do next.


Tail carriage is just one of the many signs of body language we use to read a dog. As this series continues we will talk about posturing, ears, what they are telling us, vocalization, growling, barking, eyes, hackles or piloerection as it is referred to in the scientific world. Here we will try to avoid that kind of talk and talk in dog people terms.

When you watch your dog he/she says many things with it’s tail. Not all dogs are as easy to read as others because of their natural carriage may differ greatly from breed to breed.

Tail up high, slightly flagging from side to side. Often see in the leader of the pack, Confidence, and often the dominant one. “I run the show here.”

Tail tucked between the legs. Frightened, very submissive. “I’m no threat to anyone here.” Except in the case of a fear biter.

Tail low but not quite touching the back legs. Relaxed, at ease. “Hey, every thing is cool in my world.”

Tail straight out but not absolutely solid stiff. “Well I think what I see is quite interesting to me.”

Tail in a low fast wag with rear directed to the person or other dog. “I really like you, I am no threat and would like to play, have some fun, attention or a good belly rub.”

Very slight tail wag. “I see you looking at me. Are you going to call me over? You’re my best friend, huh?’

Tail with hackles straight out and starting to rise. “Watch out, I am not afraid and am about to put you in your place if you don’t back off and I mean it.”

There are many exceptions to the rules but this is just some general knowledge of the art of reading a dog.

Please let me know if you are getting anything useful and enjoying these blogs. I could go on for years talking dog, and will continue if the interest is there. So please write a comment and let me know.




If your pup or dog snaps or takes a piece of your finger when offered a treat it can become a real problem and accelerate quite quickly. This is not what you want especially if your dog plays with children.

Now if your pup is snappy it can be that it is so food motivated that it wants it all now and is unaware that its teeth hurt you. It can also be caused by young ones being a little hesitant when the dog comes for the treat that they will drop it just as the dog goes to take it. What does the pup do? Snatches it as quickly as possible, sometimes before it hits the floor. Therefore creating the snappy behavior.

There is a relatively easy fix for this. It should be started only by adults then you can supervise and teach the kids how to have the dog take treats gently.
We will generally start with something of high value that is soft. A hot dog slice the thickness of a quarter or a small piece of cheese.

What you need to do is hold the treat between your fingers and thumb so the pup can smell it but can not get any quite yet. Now here is where you must be brave and might get a little scratch on your finger or thumb from their needle sharp teeth. Ready?

Allow the pup to smell what is concealed between your fingers and thumb, be prepared and act quickly. If the pup makes contact with your fingers with its teeth you must swiftly use the back of your hand and give a light tap on the nose and say OUCH! Then offer again. If contact with teeth accrues again repeat. After a few tries the pup will start to lick at the tip of your fingers. Hooray! Now as he is licking you will slowly squeeze the tasty stuff so he is able to lick it from its concealed place. Any teeth remove your hand and try again after a few seconds.

You can move on to biscuits by concealing them in your hand letting them sniff them out and gently opening your hand and let them work them out nicely. If the pup is too assertive you remove your hand and try again. He will quickly learn that by being gentle gets him the treat.

Then teach the kids how to offer biscuits in the same fashion under your supervision. In no time the pup should be gentle in taking a treat.

Often this can be resolved in a day or two if you practice it a number of times. 


 Fear avoidance is something that is common to all puppies. You will see your dog display fearful behavior quite often as the pup learns about the new environments and surroundings he/she will exposed to in the beginning of its life.
You must remember it is natural and is often based on instinctual survival. How you handle your pups fear is absolutely critical.

When we see serious fear avoidance issues in adolescent dogs we can usually trace it back to how the dog was raised, socialized, and handled as a pup.

As hard as it may be for some folks it is imperative that you do not pick up or coddle your pup when it becomes startled or frightened. The exception is if your pup is in a dangerous situation or approached by an aggressive dog which may discipline or harm your pup inappropriately. Remember that a stable older dog is not dangerous to your pup but your pup may scream, pee, and panic for a second or more upon being checked out. The reason is that the pup does not know what the older dogs intentions are immediately. Is it coming to kill me?

No, dogs are social pack animals and will meet, greet, and investigate any new dog on the block. A lot of information is passed on from these greeting. Social status, sex, what you had for breakfast.

Now what you must realize that fear may be displayed at many times during the dog’s upbringing. Passing a new garbage can on the side walk that wasn’t their day before. A stranger comes abruptly to greet your dog, a car or bicyclist passing by, a lighting storm. The list goes on.

If you pet, pick up, or coddle your dog when it is displaying these fearful episodes you are actually reinforcing the fear. What you need to do is show confidence yourself and calmly communicate to your pup that it’s no big deal. This can be done by positive reinforcement and redirection. Often this is where focused attention comes into play. As well as play training. Have treats with you and teach your pup to sit and look into your eyes (focused attention). When your pup is focused on you he will not be worried about his surroundings but concentrating on you. No fear! Again look at DIRECTED PLAY TRAINING. Very valuable tool to get the dogs mind right.
Only pet, praise, or coddle your dog when it is showing confidence in new situations and you will avoid the fear avoidance dilemma that can become quite problematic and more difficult to fix as the dog becomes mature. FEAR BITING is another issue we will cover in a future article and it is directly related to fear avoidance issues.

Funny Animals

Pet Store Puppies

When you buy your dog from a pet store, you are supporting an industry that cares very little for health or welfare of your dog. This industry is only interested in profit. The industry we are talking about is puppy mills and they distribute their dogs to pet stores.

Puppies sold in pet stores are nothing more than a commodity. They are puppies that are considered merchandise and need to be sold. The sooner the better for the pet shop owner. Due to poor breeding practices and often very filthy conditions, many of the pet store pups we have seen have numerous health problems, obvious and unobvious genetic defects.

Canine Boot Camp for Alpha Attitude Adjustment

Part 3 of this 3 part series.

From this day forward, you’re going to teach your dog that he is a dog, not a miniature human being in a furry suit.  His mother taught him how to be a dog once and how to take orders.  Along the way, through lack of training or misunderstood intentions, he’s forgotten.  With your help, he’s going to remember what he is and how he fits into the world.  Before long, he’s even going to like it!

Dogs were bred to look to humans for food, companionship and guidance.  An alpha dog doesn’t ask for what he wants, he demands it.  He lets you know in no uncertain terms that he wants his dinner, that he wants to go out, that he wants to play and be petted and that he wants these things right now.  You’re going to teach him that from now on, he has to earn what he gets.  No more free rides.  This is going to be a shock to his system at first but you’ll be surprised how quickly he’ll catch on and that he’ll actually become eager to please you.

How to Become Leader of Your Pack

Part 2 of a 3 part series.

Your dog watches you constantly and reads your body language.  He knows if you’re insecure, uncomfortable in a leadership role or won’t enforce a command.  This behavior confuses him and makes him insecure. If your dog is a natural leader or has a social-climbing personality, this will encourage him to assume the alpha position and tell you what to do.

“Alpha” is an attitude.  It involves quiet confidence, dignity, intelligence, an air of authority.  A dog can sense this attitude almost immediately - its how his mother acted towards him.  Watch a professional trainer or a good obedience instructor.  They stand tall and use their voices and eyes to project the idea that they’re capable of getting what they want.  They’re gentle but firm, loving but tough, all at the same time.  Most dogs are immediately submissive towards this type of personality because they recognize and respect alpha when they see it.

Who's in charge here?

Part 1 of a 3 part series

ALesson in Becoming Alpha

“My dog just tried to bite me!  All I did was tell him to move over so I could sit on the couch next to him.”

“My dog got into the trash can and when I scolded her, she growled at me.  What’s wrong with her?  I thought she loved me!”

“Our dog is very affectionate most of the time but when we try to make him do something he doesn’t want to do, he snaps at us.”

What do these three dogs have in common?  Are they nasty or downright vicious?  No - they are “alpha” dogs.  They have taken over the leadership of the families that love them.  Instead of taking orders from their people, these dogs are giving orders!  Your dog can love you very much and still try to dominate you or other members of your family.

Touch sensitivity exercises

We would just like to touch on this subject briefly. No pun intended. It is very important that your dog allow you to handle and touch all parts of his/her body without making a big fuss. I can’t tell you how many times our clients tell us they can't clip Princess’s nails or clean Cujo’s ears without the fear of getting nipped or bitten.


These issues are easily remedied by working on touch sensitivity exercises when your dog is still a puppy. They are much more difficult to fix if you haven’t done them and now your dog is an adolescent or adult and refuses to allow you to perform simple care he/she will need throughout their life.


What Are Touch Sensitively Exercises?

Socialization is critical

Socializing a young pup is probably the most important thing you can do with your pup next to housebreaking. With your guidance and leadership a young pup needs to be exposed to the world around him/her. Pups that miss out on proper socialization often have problems relating to new places, people, dogs, and environments as they mature. 

We have learned that there is a small time period in the pup’s developmental stage to accomplish proper socialization. Many experts agree that the period from 8 weeks to 4 or 5 months of age will determine how your dog will perceive the world and it’s surroundings as an adult.

If your goal is to have a well rounded, confident, environmentally stable, secure, social, and outgoing dog this is the time to do it.