Wednesday, March 19, 2014

aaaaahhh!!! Puppy teeth!!!

So I received an email regarding a 12 week old puppy biting its owner.  This is such an incredibly common thing that I decided to copy the whole email response and make a blog post out of it so I can refer to it on a regular basis.  The owner asks:

"Things are going OK but not great.  I have a question...what do I do when she plays and bites the leash ( I need it to keep her from the flower beds with mulch) and when she bites my pants?  Thanks again for your help."

To this I wrote:

It's ok, these are all things we will cover in class but you're needing answers now! I completely understand.  First of all, the biting is something most dogs grow out of. However, puppies need to learn how much is too much.
So, when puppy is playing with you and  hits your hand OR chooses your hand, as soon as it hurts I want you to yelp the same way your puppy yelps if he accidentally gets hurt.
"YIPE!!!" This usually interrupts puppy's play. As soon as it's stopped, grab a toy and encourage play with the appropriate object.
In other words "NO don't chew on me" followed by "YES chew on this"!!
If his play biting does not stop or he won't be redirected onto a toy, stop playing with him. Give him a little time out.  If what he wants is you, don't let him have you. 
He will learn that biting Mom makes her yelp and go away! Give him some down time then bring him back out for constructive play (remember that's when you play and train at the same time).

Same thing with the leash and pant legs, revert to the "no don't chew on that, chew on this" concept.

12 weeks is not too young to teach a "leave it" command but it's hard to teach it through an email.

Just tell pup no by saying "ah'ah'" to interrupt him whenever he's got his mouth on the leash. show something he's allowed to have then go about your business.
By the way, the leash pesters your pup. He can feel it tugging on him as well as it's fun to chew on! Keep an eye on the condition of the leash each day. Sometimes those little razors can cut through the leash without you even knowing it!

One of the best things i've found regarding pant leg and shoe biting while you're walking is to encourage your pup to walk by your side slightly away from your feet.

Do this by:
  • getting your pups attention before you start moving (no leash required for this excercise)
  • holding your hand off to the side wiggling your fingers or holding a treat where you want your pup to walk.
  • say "lets go" in an encouraging voice
  • look, talk and hold your hand AT the spot you want your dog to walk.
  • praise him for walking in the correct location around your body

I hope this helps!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Why I call it a "revolution"

A revolution is defined in sociological terms as "a radical and pervasive change in society and the social structure".

Social Evolution is defined as "the gradual development of society and social forms, institutions, etc., usually through a series of peaceful stages."

I am aware that what I'm trying to do for the dogs in the NorthWest Arkansas region is most accurately defined as social evolution but I'm not that patient of a person.  I like the speed at which REVOLUTIONs happen.  I don't want our dogs and pet owners to have to wait 10 more years to find friendlier way of communicating with each other!

So, Revolution it is!

Positive Reinforcement methods ARE being taught here in our area but it's not the norm yet. Too many schools may say they are positive reinforcement trainers but don't hesitate to throw a pinch or prong collar on a dog. That is a tool designed to use aversive techniques.  If you pull it hurts. So, don't pull.  I say, if you pull we stop moving, when you give your attention back to me you get treats AND we get to start moving again!  Before I EVER put you on a leash I'm going to teach you how to walk WITH me. That way when I put you on a leash you'll know where you're supposed to be.

Teaching a sit behavior has, for so long, included pulling up on the head and pushing down on the haunches to make a dog sit. I'm applying pressure and discomfort to you, you move away from it and it stops.
I say, show a dog a treat, use that treat to LURE them into a position without saying a word, MARK that behavior then REWARD it.  If you do this several times, then start using the word "sit" the dog will associate the word sit with putting his butt on the ground!

Old trainers will usually say things like "yeah, but then the dog ONLY sits when you have food and then the owner comes to me and I have to FIX your students".

Yes, someone has actually said that regarding my method of training. What they DIDN'T ask me is how I get the dog off of treats.  By using different rates of reinforcement and different rewards as reinforcement I teach the owners how to get a dog to sit or down or come without having to have food.

I've seen "positive trainers" with prong collars on their advanced dogs. I have heard, on many occasions, that so called advanced dog yelp in pain for not being in the exact position their owner thinks they should be in. 

I have one question.  Why? 

If your idea of a dog is complete compliance without emotion or thought then get a robotic dog. 

But if your idea is to have a dog who loves learning new skills, loves spending time with you, listens when you talk to it AND gets to be a dog in the real world then by all means, join my revolution. 

Mine is not an original idea.

If you don't believe me that training can be fun AND effective please come play with us.  Watch how your dog responds to my methods of training.

I know there are countless personalities of people AND dogs.  My method is not for everyone.  Not everyone wants what I want.

But if you're reading this and your heart and mind say "yes! I want to learn how to have a wonderfully behaved dog  that is happy!" then I urge you to check out this style of work.

There is, in my mind, a place to begin applying pressure to dogs. But that pressure should never come in the form of pain.

So, call or email me if you have questions and are interested in learning about what I do for dogs. 
Let's make Friendly Training the norm in our region!!
Happy Training!

Sunday, March 9, 2014


So in the last month my schedule has exploded.  My other work has kept me very busy as well as my dog clients.  I've realized today I've dropped the ball on a few things.  Y'know that feeling when you realize "ohh no, i was supposed to do that thing!".  It's not a good feeling. You sort of feel like you're pulling a large stone uphill and it's a losing battle.  Well, a daily routine and consistency can change all of that.  If I set aside 30 minutes each day to follow up with my private clients nobody will be left stranded.  Nothing gets left undone and my day runs smoothly.

Training is the same way. If you want a specific outcome like your dog sitting by the door instead of rushing to go through it, you have to set aside time every day to practice that skill.  Just practicing in a class environment will get you a few steps closer to success but not all the way! 

Do me a favor,  pick a skill that you want to learn or pick a behavior you want to get rid of in your dog.  Ask yourself if you know how to train the "right" behavior. If you do, start practicing twice a day for 2 minutes at a time.  Yes, you heard me right.  TWO minutes.  Remember, you're targeting ONE skill.  Train for one week.  Then, after one week see what happens.  You'll more than likely give your dog the verbal cue for the behavior you want before he does anything wrong. SHAZAM!!! your dog will toss his butt onto the floor for a sit at the  door command!! (ok, maybe it won't sound like shazam, but you get my point).

How can our dogs know what we want if we do not consistently tell them?  If we let them get away with the wrong behavior half the time or even a third of the time they won't really know what they should do. We give our dogs mixed signals all their lives.  They try so hard to figure us out but we're supposed to be the smarter creature.

Let's set them up for success folks.

Like life, choose one thing to change at a time. Don't overwhelm yourself and your dog.

If you don't know where to start, ask me!
"Starting a dog training revolution in Northwest Arkansas."

Saturday, March 8, 2014

UK study names key factors in aggressive dogs.

So one of the trainers I love to watch is Victoria Stillwell. She's got the tv show "It's me or the dog". If you can find her show, watch it. I love that there is  a television show that uses positive methods to train difficult dogs.
This morning she posted on her facebook page article I wanted to share.

Take a minute and read this. I am glad someone did the research to show it's not the breed of dog, it's training methods.  Yes, some dogs are prone to be more assertive but they don't have to be aggressive.

See you around town!!

Friday, March 7, 2014

March 2014 schedule

Currently, I am available for private sessions and am organizing Monday evening classes starting April 7th.

If you would are interested in enrolling in a class please email me at for registration information.

Classes are 6 weeks long. One hour per week. $100 total.  All participants must provide up to date shot records.

Welcome to Family Friendly Dog Training!

Thank you for visiting Family Friendly Dog Training!

Although this site is under construction, I am available for private training sessions.  I am also in the process of securing a location to offer classes on Monday and Tuesday evenings.

Please call me at 479-301-5027 or email me at for more information.

Thanks for visiting.
More to come soon!