Get an introduction to the importance of training dogs, both for owners and the dogs themselves. Through some powerful analogies, Professor Donaldson will put you in the mindset of your dog to show you why certain training methods don't work and others do. Learn the three key principles of dog training that will provide the foundation for every lesson moving forward. She'll also recommend some important tools to have on hand. x
Formal dog training has traditionally been delayed until 6 months of age. Actually, this juvenile stage is a very poor time to start. The dog is learning from every experience and delaying training means missed opportunities for the dog to learn how you would like him to behave. During the juvenile stage, the dog is beginning to solidify adult behavioral patterns and progresses through fear periods. Behaviors learned in puppyhood may need to be changed. In addition, anything that has already been learned or trained incorrectly will need to be undone and re-taught. Puppies are capable of learning much from an early age.

 If your city requires dogs to be licensed, get this taken care of right away. Licenses can usually be purchased at the Vet's office. Even if your city does not require a license, it's a good idea to provide contact information on your dog's collar. If your pet is lost or stolen, microchipping is a good way to ensure his safe return. Collars can come off, but microchips are there to stay. Dogs adopted from Wags & Walks are microchipped prior to adoption - we will send you an email shortly after the adoption is complete to confirm your preferred contact information before transferring the microchip to your name.

The next option is called luring. Get down in front of your puppy, holding a treat as a lure. Put the treat right in front of the pup’s nose, then slowly lift the food above his head. He will probably sit as he lifts his head to nibble at the treat. Allow him to eat the treat when his bottom touches the ground. Repeat one or two times with the food lure, then remove the food and use just your empty hand, but continue to reward the puppy after he sits. Once he understands the hand signal to sit, you can begin saying “sit” right before you give the hand signal.

Moving to a new home can be stressful for dogs. It's an unfamiliar place with unfamiliar people. Some dogs experience stomach upset and diarrhea. House-trained dogs may regress and have accidents. Some will shy away from you for a while until you earn their trust. Be patient with your baby. It may take a while for him to adore you as much as you adore him. How long it takes is different for every dog. It could take anywhere from three days to three months for your new dog to settle in. Just be patient with him and show him in all of your actions that he is safe with you. If you are having any problems or have any questions during the adjustment period about a dog you adopted from Wags & Walks, please do not hesitate to contact us. We will do everything we can to help ease the adjustment period for both of you.
Whenever you’re training your dog, it’s important to get as many family members involved as possible so everyone’s on the same page. If you are telling your dog “off” when he jumps on the couch and someone else is saying “down,” while someone else is letting him hang out up there, how on earth is he ever going to learn what you want? Consistency will be the key to your success.
The foundation of training should be based on positive reinforcement. Positive reinforcement is the process of giving a dog (or person!) a reward to encourage the behavior you want, like getting a pay check for going to work. The idea is not to bribe the behavior but to train it using something your dog values.  Avoid using punishment such as leash corrections or yelling. Punishment can cause a dog to become confused and unsure about what is being asked of him.  It is important to remember that we can’t expect dogs to know what they don’t know – just like you wouldn’t expect a 2-year-old child to know how to tie his shoes. Patience will go a long way in helping your new puppy learn how to behave.
Here’s an easy technique to get started: hold a treat in your hand so the dog can see it. As the dog approaches you for the treat, move the treat up and over the dog’s head, so it is forced back into a sitting position as it follows the treat with its nose. As soon as the dog starts going into a sit, say “Sit!” and give it the treat within five seconds (this is the critical window for the dog making the association between sitting and getting the treat). Be sure to pet and praise the dog in a happy, excited voice. Repeat this over and over for as long as the dog stays interested. If the dog doesn’t seem interested in the treat, try a tastier one- bits of cheese or hot dog usually do the trick. Remember, the treats should be small, no bigger than your fingernail. Dogs value quantity over size, and we don’t want Fido getting too pudgy! As the training progresses, start raising your standards. Start rewarding only for brisk, neat sits. Carry some treats with you on walks or at the park and have the dog practice sitting in different environments. Soon the dog will not even need the treats for reinforcement and will gladly sit when you ask.
In the 1980s veterinarian and animal behaviourist Ian Dunbar discovered that despite evidence on the peak learning periods in animals, few dog trainers worked with puppies before they were six months old.[25] Dunbar founded Sirius Dog Training, the first off-leash training program specifically for puppies, which emphasizes the importance of teaching bite inhibition, sociality, and other basic household manners, to dogs under six months of age.[31] Dunbar has written numerous books, and is known for his international seminar presentations and award-winning videos on puppy and dog behavior and training.[32]
Training classes for young puppies are also an excellent way to socialize your new puppy to a variety of people, dogs, and other stimuli in a controlled environment. In addition, you will learn how to prevent problems before they can begin, or deal with them as they emerge, rather than having to find a way to correct problems that have already developed. Your puppy might also make some new friends of the same age. You could then visit these friends (or vice versa) with your puppy for social play and exercise sessions. Since the primary socialization period for dogs ends by 3 months of age, puppy socialization classes are most valuable for puppies 8 weeks of age and older. If all puppies in the class have had initial vaccinations, are healthy and parasite free, the health risks are low and the potential benefits are enormous. Discuss the location of classes in your area and when to start them with your veterinarian.
Even if your dog is older, curiosity can get the better of him. Make sure your home is a safe place for him by putting yourself in his paws. Crawl around on the floor and check out any potential dangers. Electrical cords, poisonous houseplants, and any item small enough to swallow are just a few of the things that should be out of his reach. Veterinarians perform more surgeries to remove strange objects that a dog has swallowed than for anything else.

The 21st century has seen the proliferation of television programs and accompanying books that feature dog training and rehabilitation,[35] including Joel Silverman's Good Dog U, Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan, It's Me or the Dog featuring Victoria Stillwell, The Underdog Show, Dogs in the City, and SuperFetch. The Association of Pet Dog Trainers advises that television programs are produced primarily for entertainment, and while all programs will have good and not-so-good points, the viewer should critically evaluate the information before deciding which training tips to adopt.[36]
Gun dog training can be particularly difficult, but this rapid training method by avid hunters and gun dog owners Wolters and Randolph has proven effective for over forty years, and has been a part of most current gun dog owners' libraries. Published over 50 years ago in 1961, this gun dog training book remains relevant today and offers some proven techniques and step-by-step instructions on training a gun dog using supplementary tools.
If you're adopting a puppy rather than an adult dog, expect an adjustment period for yourself, too! Adopting a puppy is like having a baby. There will be lots of potty breaks because their bladder isn't yet fully developed. Expect to get up a couple of times during the night for potty breaks. If you work, plan to come home everyday at lunch to let your puppy outside to potty. If you can't come home, consider hiring a pet sitter. Or, use an X-pen instead of a crate and set up a potty area on one side. Just know that a puppy HAS TO potty several times a day and plan accordingly. We recommend writing down every time the dog goes potty (both outside and accidents) so you can begin to see their patterns and how frequently they need to go out.  Puppies will also chew on everything available, so don't make anything available that he shouldn't chew on.
When your dog knows the release cue and how to sit on cue, put him in a sit, turn and face him, and give him a treat. Pause, and give him another treat for staying in a sit, then release him. Gradually increase the time you wait between treats (it can help to sing the ABC’s in your head and work your way up the alphabet).  If your dog gets up before the release cue, that’s ok! It just means he isn’t ready to sit for that long so you can make it easier by going back to a shorter time.
There are a variety of established methods of animals training, each with its adherents and critics. Some of the better known dog training procedures include the Koehler method, clicker training, motivational training, electronic training, model-rival training, dominance-based training, and relationship-based training. The common characteristics of successful methods are knowing the animal's attributes and personality, accurate timing of reinforcement and/or punishment and consistent communication. The use of punishment is controversial with both the humaneness and effectiveness questioned by many behaviourists.
We love our dogs and we want to do right by them. While there are numerous benefits to owners in having a well-behaved, obedient dog, there are surprising benefits to the dog as well—one of which is the potential of a significant improvement in both the quality and length of your dog’s life. Good training is enriching, mentally stimulating, and gives them a sense of control over their environment. But how do we know which training path to take when there is so much conflicting advice? How do we make sure we’re not doing more harm than good?
We have so much to be thankful for.  With Thanksgiving just around the corner, we wanted to let you know of our updated schedule for the Thanksgiving weekend: Thursday, November 22, Thanksgiving Day CLOSED Friday, November 23, Black Friday CLOSED Saturday, November 24 NO CLASSES (NO 8:30am Socialization, NO 9am or 10am Group Class. Demos will still be held as scheduled at 12 noon) Have a festive and safe Thanksgiving celebration!

Set up his private den. He needs "a room of his own." From the earliest possible moment give your pup or dog his own, private sleeping place that's not used by anyone else in the family, or another pet. He'll benefit from short periods left alone in the comfort and safety of his den. Reward him if he remains relaxed and quiet. His den, which is often a crate, will also be a valuable tool for housetraining.
Dogs, like their wolf ancestors, are used to working and living with a pack. Think of the pack like a small cohesive military unit. Dogs work better when they are consistently given rules and orders to abide. Training gives the dog an opportunity to learn what it should and should not do. It also helps the owner establish that his word is law, and that the dog would do well to obey its owner.
First, teach the release word. Choose which word you will use, such as “OK” or “free.” Stand with your puppy in a sit or a stand, toss a treat on the floor, and say your word as he steps forward to get the treat. Repeat this a couple of times until you can say the word first and then toss the treat AFTER he begins to move. This teaches the dog that the release cue means to move your feet.
The Association of Professional Dog Trainers, APDT, is a professional organization of individual trainers who are committed to becoming better trainers through education. The APDT offers individual pet dog trainers a respected and concerted voice in the dog world. We continue to promote professional trainers in the veterinary profession and to increase public awareness of dog-friendly training techniques.
Many owners wonder if they should enlist the help of a professional dog trainer. Enrolling in a training class with your dog is often a great way to begin the training process, but it’s important not to rely on the trainer to teach your dog. A trainer’s job is primarily to teach the owner how to train the animal. By learning how to train your dog yourself, you can take the training home with you and better connect with your pet.
After the “call your dog” exercise, the dog should be sitting directly in front of the handler. At this point, the handler will say the dog’s name and “heel.” The handlers will take a step back with their left leg, pull the dog in a circle (like stirring a large witch’s pot) and stop so that the dog can sit directly at their side while stepping back into place with the left leg. The right leg should never move.
Summary: Bring your puppy to the party!  This is the time to introduce your puppy off-leash to new people and puppies of all breeds and personalities.  A professional dog trainer and experienced assistants will be on hand to monitor and modify play skills.  Toys, treats, and some low-impact agility equipment may be introduced to add to the educational fun.  Puppy Socials will be a great opportunity to ask questions regarding training and behavior.  All puppies under 18 weeks old with proof of 2 rounds of DHPP vaccinations will be allowed to participate (please bring proof with you to each social).  Registration required.  View class dates and register below.
Non-associative learning is a change in a response to a stimulus that does not involve associating the presented stimulus with another stimulus or event such as reward or punishment.[46] Habituation is non-associative learning. An example is where a dog that reacts excitedly to a door bell is subjected to repeated ringing without accompanying visitors, and stops reacting to the meaningless stimuli. It becomes habituated to the noise.[47] On the other side of habituation is sensitization. Some dogs' reactions to the stimuli become stronger instead of them habituating to the repeated stimuli or event.[48] Desensitization is the process of pairing positive experiences with an object, person, or situation that causes fear or anxiety.[49] Consistent exposure to the feared object in conjunction with rewards allows the animal to become less stressed, thereby becoming desensitized in the process. This type of training can be effective for dogs who are fearful of fireworks.[50]
7. Keep training sessions short and sweet. Pet parents who spend short 5 to 10 minute training sessions with their dog a few times a day will make much greater progress than those that try to train for a solid hour or more each day. While it isn’t often physically demanding, training is mentally exhausting for your dog. A tired, overworked, or uninterested dog will not learn as quickly and efficiently as a dog that’s well-rested and excited to learn.
Likewise, if you have a special place you’d like the dog to stay when she needs to be out of the way of household activities, take her there. This is where you can finally let her off-leash. That place can be where her bed is, or a spot in the corner of the living room where you want her to lie, or her crate. By letting her off the leash here, you are telling her, “This is yours.” Don’t be surprised if she immediately decides to settle down and ignore the family for a while. This doesn’t mean she hates her new home. It means that she has found her place in it.

In the 1950s Blanche Saunders was a staunch advocate of pet-dog training, travelling throughout the U.S. to promote obedience classes.[15] In The Complete Book of Dog Obedience, she said, "Dogs learn by associating their act with a pleasing or displeasing result. They must be disciplined when they do wrong, but they must also be rewarded when they do right."[22] Negative reinforcement procedures played a key part in Saunders' method, primarily the jerking of the choke chain. The mantra taught to students was "Command! Jerk! Praise!" She felt that food should not be an ongoing reward, but that it was acceptable to use "a tidbit now and then to overcome a problem." Saunders perhaps began the shift away from military and police training methods, stressing repeatedly the importance of reinforcement for good behaviour in training—a move toward the positive training methods used today.[23]
By now your dog is figuring out that “good things come to those who wait” and is starting to work on impulse control without being told. At this point in training, your dog has also figured out that obedience is The Strategy to get what he wants. This empowering realization means your dog understands he can take charge and control the situation to get the outcome he wants, overcoming some of the basic instincts that used to guide his behaviors. x
Basic obedience training is necessary to keep your pet and those who come in contact with him safe. Disobedient dogs can be hazardous as well as embarrassing and destructive. Obedient dogs can be a pleasure to have around. You will start by teaching your dogs some basic commands. Patience is required while he is learning because he may not understand what you’re doing at first, but hang in there, he’ll catch on.
Food - Changing a dog's food abruptly can cause diarrhea, sometimes for several weeks. To avoid this, continue feeding the same food provided by the foster home, or mix the old with the new to gradually adjust your dog to a new diet.  Instructions on switching to a new food as well as guidelines on how much to feed your dog and how often should be on the bag itself, however most dog food brands also have this information on their website.

HEALTHY PETS DISCLAIMER: This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your own veterinarian or doctor. Dr. Karen Becker cannot answer specific questions about your pet's medical issues or make medical recommendations for your pet without first establishing a veterinarian-client-patient relationship. Your pet's medical protocol should be given by your holistic veterinarian.


Just like children, dogs need to be taught good behavior. Whether you're bringing home a puppy or an adult, you can expect that he will do some things that you don't approve of and maybe have some bad habits. Your dog will need to be taught how you want him to behave. The easiest and most fun way to teach your dog is to take him to "school" (training classes). You both get to meet other people and dogs. You get the benefit of expert knowledge and immediate feedback. Your dog gets socialization. Both of you may even make a new friend there.
Drop, or drop it, is the order that tells your dog to drop whatever he has in his mouth. When he has something in his mouth, tell him “drop it.” If he doesn’t gently remove it from his mouth continuing to issue the command. When he willingly begins to release the object, praise him and you can also offer him a reward. This one can take a lot of repetition, but it’s well worth the effort.
If he's an older dog, he's probably used to his name; however, changing it isn't out of the question. If he's from a shelter, they may neglect to tell you that he has a temporary name assigned to him by staff. If he's from a breeder, he'll come to you with a long name, which you may want to shorten, or change. And if he's coming out of an abusive situation, a new name may represent a fresh start. But we're lucky: dogs are extremely adaptable. And soon enough, if you use it consistently, he will respond to his new name.
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