Archive for the ‘Dog Parks’ Category


“How can you have any pudding if you don’t eat your meat!!”

You might be wondering what a line from a song made famous by Pink Floyd has to do with training your dog.. but bear with me and let me explain.

You probably remember your Mother or Grandmother saying something like this as you were growing up..

“You can’t watch t.v. until you get your homework done.”.. or, “You can’t go play with your friends until you clean up your room.”

These are examples of the Premak Principle.. simply put this principle states that “If more desirable behaviors are made contingent upon less desirable behaviors, then the less desirable behaviors are more likely to occur.”

Learning to use this powerful principle in dog training will be very beneficial in teaching your dog to do things they may not necessarily find desirable.. like coming when called… especially if they are sniffing other dogs butts.. chasing a squirrel..

Here’s one way you can put this principle into practice to increase the likely hood of your dog coming when called no matter what the distraction..

Get a nice big piece of whatever your dog finds tasty.. like a chunk of cooked chicken, or a big slab of stinky cheese..

Put your dog on a long line of about 20 feet.. let your dog see the prize..and toss it just outside the 20 foot line.. then let your dog go.. he will run out in haste to get the food..but stop him just short of his goal.. now call him to come.. he might not listen to you as he tries to get to the food.. so just give a firm tug on the line and move quickly backward.. once your dog gets to you.. grab his collar and praise him for coming.. then let him go to get the food..

See how that works? That’s the Premak Principle in action..

You can find other areas of your daily life to practice this principle and give your dog training a power boost.. for example,..

If you are at the dog park and your dog is playing and having a ball.. call him to come to you often.. grab his collar ..give him a tasty food reward and let him go back to play.. he will quickly learn that while coming to you puts a stop to what he was doing.. it is going to be in his best interest because you always have something he really likes..and.. he gets to go back and play.. so for him.. and you.. it’s a win win situation.. and the likely hood that he will come whenever you call regardless of what’s going on will increase.. which is what you want right?

At first your dog will need to be convinced to come to you and thus the use of the lead..but with time your dog will begin to trust you and in time the lead will no longer be needed..

social cuesGood morning ,

I hope you are all doing well .. it’s Friday and some of you will be heading out with your dogs to take part in various weekend activities,. so I wanted to chat with you for a minute about your dogs before you head out..

I am often asked to help people train their dogs to be more social with dogs they meet on the street and in the dog parks instead of being a loner and avoiding play..

This is what I think about that..

It is unfair to ask our dogs to like and play with every dog they meet..

Take a minute and think about how we go about our day..

We may pass hundreds of people during the course of a day..but we only interact with a few of them.. we say hi to a couple of friends at the local coffee shop..and say thank you to the check out clerk..

But if we are being honest,..

Many of them really freak us out..

We are social with everyone,..we nod and smile,..and hopefully we don’t attack anyone.. lol

We behave in a socially exceptable manner.. but we don’t care to chat or get involved with everyone..

Dogs are much the same..some dogs they like..others they don’t ..and to try to force them into interactions with strange dogs is a recipe for disaster..

I expect my dogs to be social ..and not attack any dogs..but I don’t expect them to immediately like and go play with strange dogs..

It’s for this reason that I don’t go to the dog park..there are too many strange dogs..that may or may not have any social training..

I prefer to get to know any dog that is going to interact with my dogs..and their owners as well..that way I can be reasonably sure my dogs are going to have a happy and fun-filled romp with their new buddies..

If you have questions about this or any post, please write me in the comments and I would love to chat with you more..

Have a great weekend..and try not to attack anyone 🙂

All the best,


download (1)Good morning, I hope you are all well and having a great day with your pups.. today I wanted to chat with you for a bit about the dog park.. just a few things I feel is important for you to know in order to have the best possible experience for both you and your dogs, and while I am not a fan of the dog park, I know a lot of people are,. so if you are determined to take your dog or pup to the park there are a few things you should be aware of.

When you enter the dog park with your dog..the first thing that happens is your dogs stress levels go up.. the stress hormone cortisol begins to flood your dogs system ..

and depending on your dogs temperament.. stress can be a good thing or a bad thing..

In well-balanced dogs, stress can help them to learn new things in an excited environment.. in fearful or shy dogs stress can lead to aggression..and if someone doesn’t step in on behalf of the fearful/shy dog..he or she will do a number of things to ward off the dog that is causing the stress..

The first thing a fearful/shy dog will do is to crouch/lie down an attempt to stop the interaction..if this is unsuccessful, they will then snap, bark, and lunge at the dog.. and as always as a last resort they become defensively aggressive and may attack the offending dog.

If you see a dog displaying these signs and your dog is engaging with them.. immediately call your dog to you.. if it is your dog that is showing signs of unhealthy stress..perhaps the dog park is not the best place for you to bring your fearful/shy dog.

I will leave you with a few of my top tips for having a safe and fun-filled romp in the dog park..

1. Before you consider heading out to an off leash park..make sure you have a solid and reliable recall with your dog..if you don’t,.. then the dog park is not going to be a safe place for you or your dog.

2. The idea that dogs should work things out among themselves is a recipe for disaster.. and for this reason you should always be watching your dog and know where they are and what they are doing at all times, leave your cell phone, i-pads and pods in the car..

and finally..

If you do have a solid recall with your dog sure to not sabotage it by calling your dog to come and then clipping the leash on them and going home..your dog will see this as punishment and your reliable recall will suffer.. if you call your dog to come to you often during play,,have them sit..and give them a tasty reward.. then release them to go and play.. you will ensure your dog will always want to come to you when you call ..not matter what they are doing at the time..

Remember ..a dog will not just snap and attack another dog..there are many subtle signs and warnings a dog will give before they resort to defensive aggression.. so observe not only your dog,.. but all the dogs at the you can recognize these signs and get out ahead of any problems at the park.

All the best


come when called reuseHow to Be Sure Your  Dog Won’t Come When Called!


Self Awareness and Judgement



If you could see through the eyes of your dog you would see that the way you are currently calling your dog to come to you might not be the best way.

If you are unsatisfied with the results you are getting when you practice the recall command you have to take a closer look at your self.

We see so clearly, hilarious things in the actions of others, yet we are totally blind to what we might be saying or doing.. or the effect it has on our good dogs.

Getting Your Dog To Come Is Easy As Pie


It is not hard at all to get your dog to come to you, the harder task is making sure you don’t blow it by making some very common mistakes.

Your dog want’s to come to you, all you have to do is consistently give him real good reasons to want to.

Keep reminding yourself that you are competing for your dogs attention with other dogs butts, chattering squirrels, and that half eaten sandwich that has laid on the ground for a couple days.

So you got your work cut out for ya.

Here are some things that you can do if you want to be sure your dog Won’t come to you.

Get really angry and call your dog to come.

Just picture it.,,you dog is at the other side of the park playing and sniffing another dogs butt, having a great time. You decide it’s time to head home so you call in a good natured tone of voice, “Come Fluffy.”

Fluffy turns and gives you a glance and then goes right back to sniffin’ and playin’. You feel a sudden flush of embarrassment, other people are watching now.

You hold in your growing frustration and call again,, this time with more authority, ” Fluffy Come Now!”

You can’t believe it, Fluffy is acting like she didn’t even hear you., and now she is way at the other end of the park playing with strangers and their dogs.

Now you are red faced mad, as you stomp across the park, neck veins bulging, muttering under your breath, “Just wait till I get you home.”  and say things that you know you don’t mean, things like,

“I will never bring you to the park again.”

Imagine what you would look like if you could see your angry face in a mirror.

If Fluffy didn’t come when you were in a good natured mood, then she sure as hell aint’ coming when you look like a stark raving lunatic.

Here’s a few more:


Call your dog to come and then put him in the crate.

– Calling your dog to come and then clip his nails, give him a bath or take him to the vets.( Or anything he don’t really    like)

– Calling your dog to come at the dog park and then clip the leash on him and take him home.

– Be real cheap with your food rewards, dogs really like store bought cardboard cookies. lol – Don’t train your dog to be reliable off-leash, then let him go free and call him to come.

Here’s what to do if you want to guarantee your dog will come to you when you call.

When you’re at the dog park call your dog to come often, reach out and take him by the collar, have him sit, and then give him a big, tasty, piece of sausage or cooked ham.

Rub his ears and tell him how proud you are of him and what a good dog he is, be genuine, because he will know if you are faking it.

Then give him a release command and let him go play.

Do this every time you go to the park and when he is off playing by himself at home. If you are consistent you will teach your dog that when you call  him to come, that means good things are about to happen, and he won’t want to miss out on the goodies.

You are also training him to be compliant and reliable, two very important characteristics of a well trained dog.

Think about what you say and do with your dog, and more importantly how you say and do it.

When you look at things from your dogs point of view, training will become much easier.

All you have to do is imagine how you would react to what you just said, or did to your dog.

Talk soon,


P.S. One of the most important tools you can have is the crate, not only does it provide place for your dog to rest and feel safe, it is a great tool for managing your dogs behavior.

If you are struggling with crate training your dog then you should go here NEXT

The Ultimate Guide To Crate Training Your New Puppy or Dog





prong collar








Fact: Prong collars are designed to do one thing and one thing only

Their purpose is to cause pain to a dog to get him or her to stop any
number of behaviors, such as pulling on the leash or becoming aggressive
towards dogs or people.

Question: Do they work?

Answer: Prong collars do work if you are into the quick fix, but in the
long run they do nothing to address the underlying reason your dog is
pulling on the leash, and once the collar is removed the behavior comes

Question: Can they be used by the average dog owner?

Answer: Yes, but unfortunately it’s been my experience that if not used
correctly,( timing has to be perfect every time to be effective) a metal
prong collar will only increase the likelihood of the owner getting
bitten by their own dog, and at the very least the dog will begin to
associate pain with whatever else is close by at the time when the pain, another dog, a child.

Question: Is it safe for my dog to interact with other dogs in a social
setting like the dog park while wearing a metal prong collar?

Answer: I have witnessed many dogs in play and at times they will tug on
the collar of another dog in play..if this is a metal prong collar and
the dog feels pain when the other dog tugs on his metal prong collar the
likelihood of a fight increases 10 fold.

My advice is if you plan on taking your dog to the dog park, (which by
the way I think is very risky for you and your dog,) be sure to take the
metal prong collar off before you let your dog go. This will be one less
reason your dog might get into trouble.

I feel strongly that this should be a rule to gain entry to any dog park,
or area where other dogs are going to be running around off leash with
little or no supervision. A big sign that reads..

Absolutely No Metal Prong Collars Allowed!! One Strike And You Are Out.

What I hope you take away from this post is that it is never a good idea
to cause your dog pain. Your dog will live in fear, and nobody wants that

I have a technique that I use to convince people that using these
contraptions are hurtful to their dog, and unnecessary.

When I meet a client that uses a metal prong collar but is still having
issues with behavior, I first point out the scar tissue that has built up
around the dogs neck which makes the use of the collar ineffective, and
then I ask them to put the collar around their arm and then tell
them to give it a good yank.

As they rub the pain away and check for bleeding and bruising

They often comment that they had no idea how much they were hurting their
dogs and most of them promise to not use them again.

There are more effective methods for modifying your dogs behavior that
don’t use force,fear,or pain.

I recommend putting in place the 4 laws of nature that govern all dogs,
and once you have won your dogs mind, then you can influence their
behavior, without having to resort to gadgetry or other adversive

Let me know if you found this post to be informative by liking my
Facebook Page, click here to like.

All the best,


dog park




I get emails every week from people who are trying to figure out how to raise their puppies and dogs to be good canine citizens, but are concerned with some particular behavior that is causing them problems.

I want to share with you one of these emails that I got from a lady who takes her 10 month old Belgian Malinois to the dog park on a regular basis.

The email reads like this:

“Hi,my name is Mary and I have a problem.” “I have this 10 month old Belgian Malinois and I take him to the dog park to play and socialize as often as I can, usually 4-5 times a week.” “Lately he has been showing a nasty bit of behavior towards other dogs at the park.” “He will put his head on them and push them down, if they lay down, he stands over them like a statue growling even louder.”

“I am worried that he is going to attack one of these dogs.” “I try to correct him but he pays no attention to me,..I am worried about him and I don’t want to do something that will scar him for life..please help.”

P.S. “I was wondering if going to a different park would help?”

This was my reply:

“Hi Mary thanks for the great questions.” “What I am about to tell you is straight up dead serious.”

“I don’t fool around when it comes to problems like yours.”

“I’m probably being politically incorrect, but I really don’t give a damn.” “Dog aggression is dangerous, serious, business, and I don’t take it lightly.”

“Neither should you.”

“People get bitten every day by their own dogs, because they tried to break  up a fight at the dog park.”

“I need you to listen to me when I tell you this.”

“You can NEVER take your Malinois to ANY dog park as long as he is showing aggression.” “To ignore this advice is dangerous not only to you and other people, but to any dog that is around your dog.”

You need to learn how drive plays a big part in your dog’s personality.

When an educated dog that is in control of his drive, they will not be aggressive.

I suggest you visit my website and read the article I wrote on how to establish leadership with your puppy.

Thanks for writing, I hope I have been of some help. I completely understand your frustration.

Aggressive and dominant dogs are a pain in the keester

All the best


This email got me thinking about dog parks so I decided to tell you why I think taking your puppy or dog to a dog park to run wild with 15 or so strange dogs off leash is a very risky idea.

Dog parks were born out of necessity. People who live in town and city apartments needed somewhere to take their dogs to exercise and play.

While the concept was no doubt conceived in good intention, all I see when I visit one of these parks is a lot of dogs off leash with no human leadership to speak of, and just about every one of them is out of control.

A high number of these dog owners don’t know about how powerful the instincts are in their family pet, and how these drives effect a dogs behavior.

When a dog is introduced into the dog park his drive and instinct is running on max power.

If you stand back and observe dogs interacting in the park you will see that the dogs are grouping together in packs. If there are more than 3 dogs in a group then this is a pack. Within that grouping the dogs will vie for rank, the dog with the best leadership skills will set the rules for play.

I see this play out often when the same dogs go to the same park all the time. They will see this area as their territory and if an outside dog comes into the park, he is not going to be welcomed like a long-lost buddy, and this is where the problems start.

The dogs who are familiar to the park will become territorial,dominant,and some will be fearful.All of these behaviors can result in aggression which can very quickly, in the blink of your eye quick, turn into a full on dog fight.

Where a lot of people make a mistake is by thinking that because those dogs are playing with other dogs they will play with yours.

This is dangerous thinking.

Those dogs who are playing have already established the pecking order, and the game is being played by their rules. If your dog has a different idea about how to play the game, he may well be attacked by the leader of that grouping of dogs, and the other dogs in that group might very well attack your dog as well.

Mixing puppies and adult dogs together in this kind of situation is just plain wrong. Some older dogs don’t really tolerate a puppy’s behavior and have no qualms about putting that puppy in his rank. When a older dog corrects a puppy for any certain behavior, the punishment can range from a tooth bump, which might draw a little blood and certainly make the puppy yelp, and run for the hills, to a full on aggressive attack that can result in sever injury to the pup or even death.

If your pup is approached by one of these dominant aggressive older dogs you have got to get your pup behind you and protect him at all cost. If you fail at this and your pup gets attacked you will most likely raise a dog aggressive dog.

And just because you got a Rottweiler or a German Shepard, that really don’t  make any difference, a puppy, regardless of breed, is not ready to defend it’s self against any dog that is not in his age group.

To let your puppy work things out for himself with an older dog is the same as putting your 7 year old pee-wee hockey player into a game with kids 10-13  years old, in most cases the 7 year old is not ready, physically,mentally or in any other way to play with those boys, and is at some point end up hurt.

I take my dogs and puppies to the dog park, but I stay outside the fence and work on having fun and keeping my dog focused on me, not the dogs or people in the park.

The only good thing about a dog park at least for me and my dogs and pups, is that it can serve as a great distraction learning environment, as long as I keep outside the fence.