Posts Tagged ‘behavior’

jumping dog

In today’s  video post I am going to be teaching you how to stop your dog from jumping on you and other people.



Is your dogs jumping up so far out of control that you have to hand out protective body armor to your guests before they enter your house?

Sometimes this annoying behavior can have your guests curled up on the floor in the fetal position or pinned to the wall, and the experience leaves them wondering why they even keep coming back.

There are many reasons why your dog jumps up on you and other people,. and to find out what they are and learn some  dog training techniques  designed to bring your dogs chaotic behavior to an end forever I recommend you watch this short video presentation all the way to the end.

Be sure to like my Face Book Page and join my list.



th (5)







Fact: most dogs will develop behavior problems that can
cause their owners to become stressed.

It is important to understand that what you may interpret as a
problem with your dog is in fact just your dog doing what
comes naturally to them and for the most part provides a
happy feeling for your pooch.

Barking, digging, peeing and pooping are some of the
characteristics that define a dog as a species.

It is this psychological need that motivates your dog to be a dog.

Jumping, running, chasing, sniffing and growling are just as
normal for a dog as tail wagging and burying objects of value.

So it is vital for dog owners to understand that it is not what
your dog is doing that is causing the problems, the issue is with
how your dog is expressing their natural instincts.

For example if you could understand what your dog is saying
you would discover that they think it is perfectly Ok to jump
into your arms to say hello, and nothing is more fun than to run
through mud puddles, or stare at a shadow on the wall for a
long time.

Some dogs would tell you that it is a natural-born right to howl
at the moon in the middle of the night or pee on the carpet so
they don’t get their feet wet.

So you see what you see as bad behaviour they see it as just being
a dog.

With this in mind you can now see that it is highly unrealistic
for you as a dog owner to think your dog will behave like some
of the highly trained dogs you might see on your favourite T.V.

If you have rules but do not consistently teach your dog how to
behave, then don’t be surprised when they break the rules and
develop dog problems, after all they can’t know the secret to
how to behave if you don’t share it with them and will without
a doubt get punished for doing what comes natural to them.

Set the rules about how you want your dog to behave and then
teach them to express their dog-ness in the right way. Make
sure you are fair and take the time to teach your dog how to
behave when you are walking in the city, or in the country side,
or visiting friends.

Failure to do this will almost certainly result in your dog making
the decisions for themselves and will fill their day with activities
that you will not enjoy.

So remember to take the time to teach your dog’s where to
pee, and how long to bark, where to dig holes, and what to
chew on, and how to walk on a leash, to prevent dog problems.

Take extra special time to socialize your dog to all kinds of
people, and how to play other dogs.

When you do this your life and your dog’s life will be better for it.

all the best,


th (2)









I have been called worse, but I guess you could call me a self educated naturalist.

I find it very interesting and quite frankly grounding, to observe nature in action without outside influence.

The fall reminds me of the times as a young boy when the leaves changed colors
and could no longer cling to the trees, and there was that nip of winter in the
air, my  Uncle Eldon would say,

`Well it`s time to get the traps out and lay the line for winter.“

We would spend hours walking through the woods looking for signs of our quarry
and discussing the best spots to set the traps.

We would look at an old log that had fallen over a
natural animal trail, and ponder if it was high enough off the ground to
ensure a bobcat would have to go under it and not jump over..

Because the nature of the bobcat is to be stealthy, so that means low to the ground
and when faced with the option of jumping over something and possibly giving away
their position, or belly crawl under something they will inevitably go under the
log, thus our reasoning for placing he trap under the log to increase the likelihood
of success.

Now I don`t trap and kill anything for any reason, that was the way my Uncle lived
out of necessity and he provided well for our family.

What I learned about the animals that lived in the woods around where I live, gave
me the knowledge to be able to communicate with our family dogs in the way nature
intended, by observing how they interact with one another and how their instincts
dictated how they behaved.

I learned how to think like a dog..


I learned from and early age that it is not possible to teach a dog to think like
a human, they are not that complex, but when you take the human factor out, and think
about your dog as an animal, with instincts and needs that are very different than that
of humans, then it becomes much easier to know what they instinctively and naturally need
to feel safe, protected and have a sense of well-being.

Dogs crave physical and mental exercise as well as strong leadership that sets clear and consistent
rules, boundaries, and a structured way of life.

When a dog’s natural needs are being met, they will feel that the pack is safe and not have
to deal with any stress.

Dogs have evolved to have a close bond with people, but I believe most people, (not all, but most)
have forgotten or don`t think about the dogs natural instincts, and relate to their dogs in a
very human way, and in my experience this is where people create the stress that causes their dogs
to develop behavior problems that for most dog owners is unmanageable.

But when I am called to come and help someone with their dog troubles, and I tell them that the
reason their dog is acting out is because of the way they interact with the dog on a daily basis,
and that the dogs natural instinctual needs are not being met, and that their dog`s temperament
is a direct result of the relationship they have formed with their dog,and that they simply don`t
understand their dogs needs, they look at me like I have three heads.

Here are a couple of tips for having well-behaved happy and balanced dogs..


Teach your dog to respect your personal space, at the door, on the stairs
and when you are watching t.v. or eating supper..

Don`t worry so much about if your dog sits before going out, but be more concerned about how your
dog behaves at the door., is he polite and gives you room to open the door, or is he jumping,and
pushing at you, nose right up against the door waiting to bolt out the door?

Teach your dog to have respect, for example if you get up to move through the house does your
dog get up in anticipation of your movements or do they lie in your way and force you to walk
around them or step over?

If you answered walk around or step over, you can be sure that something about your relationship
with your dog has gone wrong, and you will need to re-evaluate how you interact with your dog.

If you liked today’s post, then let me know by liking my Face Book Page
River Valley Dog Training

all the best,


anxious dog








What is anxiety?

Anxiety is a part of life for both us and our canine companions.

For us anxiety might mean that feeling you get when you are going to start a new
job and can’t sleep the night before.

Or that gut wrenching feeling just before you parachute out of a perfectly good airplane.

Then there are those people who truly suffer from severe anxiety, and in some cases the anxiety
can be so severe that it causes some people to never leave their homes,and need therapy and medication
just to cope.

What does anxiety mean for our dogs?

Quite often a dog will be anxious about people,children, other dogs, noises, and generally
anything that the dog has not been socialized to accept as a normal part of their lives.

What I find disconcerting is that in a lot of cases dog owners are very cavalier about their dogs anxiety
and they force their dogs to interact with the very things that cause their taking a dog that is anxious about strange dogs to the dog park where they have no choice but to deal with strange dogs, or letting a bunch of random people come up and pet a dog that is anxious about people.

When we talk about separation anxiety in our dogs I often hear people say my dog destroys the house when we leave because he has separation anxiety.

I think it’s important to understand that while destructive behavior can be the end result of is more often a
behavior issue that often is the result of dogs owners punishing their dogs for certain behaviors which teaches the dog that the only safe time to indulge in these behaviors are when the owners are away, on the phone, or taking a shower, and training your dog is the answer.

That being said, destructive behavior can also accompany anxiety..a truly anxious dog in most cases has become anxious because they have unlimited access to their humans..and get so emotionally attached that they fall to pieces when the owners go away.

They will pant,pace, and sweat..and this ramps up the tension and loads the dog does the only thing they can do to alleviate the anxiety, they go through the house like a hurricane..ripping up the garbage, door frames, beds, couches, and relieve themselves where ever they want.

If you find it’s a case of when the cat’s away the mice will play then training is needed..if it is true anxiety then the
owner must help the dog.

This can only be done, by building confidence in the dog so they can be on their own..

To accomplish this you need to crate train your dog and do it in a way that makes him simply love the crate..

First you would put the crate in the same room as you..and put the dog in with a chew toy filled with his food.

Leave him in there for 5 minutes, then 10 then 15..then move the crate to the next room..then to the farthest end of the house, and repeat the procedure, as the dog gets more confident, begin to leave him longer..and always feed the dog his meals from a chew toy..this will give him something to do in his crate and before you know it he will be looking at you as if to say..can I please go in my crate.

It is the same way I taught my children to spend time on their own..I give them a video game and tell them to stay in the room and play..and they gladly do it..and actually look forward to the time when I would tell them go to your room and play your video games.

Your dog will learn to see chew toys and his crate in the same manner..he gets to chew on something to relieve any stress or anxiety, and he gets a tasty munch while doing’s a win – win situation.

I hope you found this post helpful, and if you did you can let me know by liking my Face Book Page

River Valley Dog Training

all the best,


dog off leash









Earlier this week I was asked what I thought about videos that show people walking their dog or dogs on busy streets
without leashes.

I have watched many of these videos and what I see shows the hard work that some people put into their dogs training.

I too teach my dogs to follow me off leash and are trained to the highest level of reliability, so I understand the
dedication and commitment that is required to be successful, and trust your dog to obey you without hesitation or failure.

How they trained these dogs is of no concern to me..I could care less if they use a prong collar, e-collar or a horse

That being said, I do not recommend using anything that causes pain to train your dogs.

There are two things that really bother me about these videos..

1- These dog owners are putting the safety of their dogs and the public at risk..for the sake of their ego’s…plain and

I don’t care how well-trained and reliable you think your dogs are there is always the one in a million chance that
something unexpected will happen and spook your dogs..

-A car could backfire and spook one of the dogs into the street only to be hit by another car..or worse the car swerves to
avoid the dog and strikes a person on the sidewalk or crossing the street…

-Another off leash, less well-trained aggressive dog might be waiting around the next corner..and I know I would not want
to have a bunch of dogs off leash when something like that happened..

I could go on for hours about what could very well happen at any given moment…but I won’t bore you.

That’s why I would never take my dogs out into the pubic with being leashed..even though I know I could..back in the day I
walked a pack of 23 dogs off leash through the fields and woods of my family farm.,and my dogs that I have today are
trained to follow me off leash..but never on the roadway without being leashed.


Just because you can do something don’t mean you should..

The second thing that concerns me a little less about these types of videos is that they are blatantly self-serving..

For the most part these people are trying to get noticed or get a million hits on their YouTube channel.. and screams
loudly..”look at me”, “see what I can do.”

There is no educational value to these videos, as they do not teach people the skills they need to develop to have well
trained dogs that look to them for guidance…in my opinion these videos serve only one purpose and that is to gain
attention and are strictly ego driven non-sense.

It really pisses me off when I see people put their dogs safety and that of the public at risk just to make themselves look
good and sell a few more trinkets or tee-shirts.

If you like today’s post you can let me know by liking my Face Book Page River Valley Dog Training..

Thank you all for your support..

all the best


food aggression









I want to tell you a story about a friend of mine who thought she
had raised the perfect puppy.

Until that day she was forced to call
me to come and help her because as she put it, “My dog has gone off
the edge!”

I listened intently while she remembered the first day she brought
that fuzzy little puppy dog home, the whole family was so happy.

Julie did everything right, obedience training, socialization
training, and the best care that money could by.

Or so she thought.

She was just beginning to think that she had done it, because her
puppy was now 10 months old, and completely house broken and had
never chewed anything that he shouldn’t, went to his crate when she
asked, and got along with the kids and the cat, even played well
with the old dog in the next yard.

And then “it” happened..

Julie was just walking by her beloved dog as he was eating when she
heard it for the first time..


Julie looked down and could not belive what she saw..her dog was
frozen stiff, with his face in his food, lips curled up, showing
teeth, and giving her the stink eye.

I told her to relax that I could fix this up right away, and that I
was glad she didn’t wait to call me as this behavior is much more
difficult to modify if time has passed and it becomes a way of

So I explained that her dog was showing the first signs of resource
guarding, and that is can present in many forms, over toys, places
to rest, people, a hamburger wrapper that has fallen to the floor.

Basically anything that a dog thinks is important to them, and in
Julies case it was over food.

Once a dog has something he believes it is his, and will take
measures to keep it.

That’s why I always tell people to never, and I mean never let a
child under twelve, feed your dog.

As with Julie’s case, even the best trained and socialized dogs can
literally snap in second and strike.

Remember “Kids + Dog + Food = Bad Business”

Now to get back to how I was able to help Julie with her resource
guarding pup.

How to train your dog to not growl around the food dish.

I told her I was very happy that she called me because there are
still trainers out there today that would tell her the dog is being
dominant and needs to be shown who’s the boss, maybe get the belt

Those people are wrong, and are only making matters worse.

Dogs are not trying to take over your house, dominance is a dog
thing, between two dogs and it is more an act of confidence than
anything else.

I asked Julie what she did when her dog growled at her and she said
I did nothing I just walked to the kitchen sat down and made my
self a coffee, thought about what had just happened and why, then I
called you.

I told her that was exactly what she should have done.

You see if you confront your dog in that moment of him growling to
protect his food, you will only convince him that growling was not
enough to get you to back off, and he may very well go to the next
level and bite you.

The old saying is true “violence only brings more violence”

This is what I told Julie to do the next time she fed her dog.

Feed him at the regular time, but this time instead of one bowl
have two and fix his food and have him sit and wait.

Then put down the empty bowl and watch what happens.

He will cock his head, and look at the bowl, and then look at you,
maybe push the dish with his nose or paw, and will be very confused
about what is the deal, where is my food.

I told her to ask him to sit again and this time take a few pieces
of food and toss them into his bowl from a distance of about three
feet, and be careful not to get your fingers close to the bowl in
case he lunges in.

Feed him his entire meal this way,,and teach him that in order for
him to eat you must be present around his bowl.

Over the next few days, slowly inch closer to his bowl until you
are standing right next to it.

Then you can begin to put about half of his food in the bowl before
you put it down, and then periodically drop a few of the remaining
pieces in the bowl.

Around day 5 you can give him the entire meal in one go and then
every once in a while throw in a piece of sausage, chicken, or

This will teach the dog that he has nothing to worry about when you
are around his food dish, he will understand that you are not going
to steal his food, in fact he will begin to like having you there
because he gets extra tasty treats along with his kibble.

Depending on the severity of the food guarding this process will
take the better part of a week, but in some cases could take

Julie said she had no idea why this was happening all of a sudden
and asked me what I though started this all.

I hesitated to ask but she wanted my opinion,

and I knew she had a boy friend that was there quite often,

so I asked her if he had ever tried to take the food dish away from
the pup just to prove that he could.

She gasped and said how did you know.

I told her that this is the most common reason a dog will become
aggressive around the food dish, a lot of well-meaning people think
it is necessary to muck around with the dogs food to prove they are
the Alpha.

I told her to explain to her friend that doing this will only make
the dog worried about his food, and to tell him to stop doing it.

There you have it, if you have a dog that is growling around the
food dish, be sure to not confront your dog as this will only make
things worse.

Try what I told Julie to do, it worked for her and it can work for
you too.

If you like this post let me know by liking my Face Book Page

River Valley Dog Training

All the best,


confused dog








Dogs have evolved to want to live with us, they are dependent on us
for food and shelter and will tolerate even the most horrendous
abuse at the hands of their care takers. They tolerate us more than
we tolerate our own kind.

Think about it, if you put your best friend in the trunk of one car
and put your dog in the trunk of another car, and left him or her
there for 2 hours, who do you think will be happy to see you when
you finally open the trunk.

Most people have no idea about the level of stress they put on
their dogs every day, just by being a human being.

In last nights rant I talked about how confusing it is for dogs when
their owners interact with them from a humans point of view.

Here is the word of the day…


For those who have not heard of this word in
relationship to our dogs it means using human ideas and feelings
to explain dog behavior.

People do it all the time it’s almost like they can’t help it.

For example, a dog tears up the carpet and destroys the door frame and
the owners will say he did that because he was mad that we left him
home, and when we got home we could tell he knew he did wrong
because of the look in his eyes.

Then to make matters worse the owners will then proceed to chastise
the dog like it was a child who knows better and attempt to train
or punish the behavior away.

Dogs and humans have evolved with the ability to get into each
others minds, but this can only be accomplished when words and
human ideas are taken out of the equation.

It’s o.k to be human with your dog, what other choice do you have,
but be aware that you are communicating with a different species
and they don’t understand the words that are coming out of your

If you liked this post let me know by liking my face book page

River Valley Dog Training.

All the best,


baby dog







Have a sniff – get your dog used to the smell of the new baby before you bring him/her home. A blanket you used in the hospital will do fine, this is a good first step to introduce your new baby to your dog.

Leash your dog – start at a distance and if the dog is calm then slowly move closer to the baby, if at any time the dog shows excitement..move back to where he is not reacting and praise.

Be calm – dogs mirror our emotional state so if you are worried then your dog will be worried as well.

Reward the positives – don’t be too concerned with what you don’t want your dog to do,instead reward any good behavior they show.

Let him get a nose full– Dogs need to smell new things so if your dog is calm then let him have a good sniff of the baby..and reward calm behavior.

No Licking – if the dog tries to lick the baby then give him a stern No! and if he continues put him in time out.

Set clear boundaries – there needs to be places where you put the baby and the dog understands that he or she can’t go in there, like the bedroom, or play areas.

Respect Baby’s personal space – guard your babies space and teach the dog that he or she must stay on their place or if lying on the floor near the baby if fine by you then that is what the dog will learn.

Chewing toys – Your baby is going to have lot’s of toys to play with and you must teach your dog that they do not belong to him or her and if you catch them chewing these toys say..No! and give them something they can chew on..

It goes without saying that you must always supervise whenever your dog is near the baby..while the dog may not make the first move..your baby surely will..when he or she becomes aware of the dog.

If you found this helpful let me know by liking my face book page River Valley Dog Training

All the best,











I have talked about how getting your dog to focus on you is critical to having a well-mannered dog that pays attention to you and obeys your commands. Today I will talk about the #2 reason your dog is being “bad” or “disobedient.”

The reason is too much adrenalin, or “Willy-wag juice”.

We have all heard the stories about the 110 lb Mother who lifted a 2 ton car off their child, and other stories of incredible feats of strength or endurance. This is all possible because of one thing, and that thing is a sudden burst of adrenalin.

All animals have this primal urge to survive, and when faced with danger, all animals including us
humans have that survival response that tells us to fight or run away.

The moment that the decision is made to either fight or run,the brain gives the body a short burst of
adrenalin. It is during this short burst of drug induced, increased strength,stamina and
focus, that these amazing feats we read about take place.

The burst is short-lived and then the body is usually spent of energy and slowly returns to normal.

But that being said just like some of us humans are adrenalin junkies who live for the rush of
impending danger, most dogs I see are adrenalin junkies too.

I hear dog owners say their dog is being “disobedient” when he pulls on the lead, or is “bad” because he barks non-stop, but the reality is, these dogs are simply living life in the willy-wags.

Unfortunately a lot of dogs live a very sedentary life, they just lay around the house with not much if any mental or physical release.

This is a very stressful way for a dog to live.

What happens is, one day the stress gets to be too much and the dog starts to whine, or turn circles,
or bark with intense focus. These behaviors will be easy to recognize because they are different from
your dogs normal behavior.

The will have a distinct pattern to them, like the beat of a drum.

The barking would be like, woof,,,woof,,,woof,,,woof,,,all while staring at nothing, and if you give them a command it will most likely go unrewarded.

They will be that focused on what ever is stressing them out.

The adrenalin kicks in and the dog gets a high off the dopamine, runs off into the willy-wags and
quickly learns to create 90 degrees turns in their lives so they can get their fix and feel better.

Once your dog has gone into the willy-wags, it’s too late for you to give any commands, your dog is
just not going to hear you. The part of their brain that helps them think and make good choices, simply shuts off.

He is now just reacting to the situation he’s in.

You will not be able to engage your dog until you get him back under control, and for most dog owners this can be difficult at best, and down right impossible, not to mention dangerous in some cases of aggression, because the dog has gone, he’s not aware of you right now.

When dogs are this crisis mode, extreme physical correction is needed to try to prevent harm to any
people or dogs that are nearby, and this is when it becomes very dangerous for the dog’s handler.

What you need to do is make sure your dog never goes off into the willy-wags, and keep him there. It’s that simple.

Think about it like this:

If you were driving down the highway and saw a sign that said,


Would you slow down as soon as you saw the sign or would you wait until your car was skidding in
circles before you did anything?

You would most likely slow down as soon as you saw the sign, and maneuver your car safely around the turn and not skid off into the willy-wags.

It’s the same with your dog, let’s say he’s dog aggressive.

You are out walking him and suddenly he sees another dog.

From past experience you know he is going to react,

so what do you do?

Do you let your dog pull you straight toward that other dog at 100 miles and hour and end up in the
willy-wags? Or do you read the signs of aggression, ie the sudden focused staring and whining/barking at the dog that triggered his stress, and interrupt your dog and slow him down?

The answer is obvious, you read the signs of the impending adrenalin rush, and put the brakes on your dog to slow him down, get his focus back on you by moving the dog away from the trigger and working some obedience training, or engage your dogs prey drive in a high spirited game of tug of war.

Then safely maneuver him past the other dog, thus avoiding the #2 reason your dog  won’t obey your commands.

Here is something important to understand, I think I’ll bold this.

You only have about 2-4 seconds from the time your dog focuses on a target until he goes into adrenalin overload. Don’t hesitate take action before your dog reacts.

It’s imperative that you learn how to interrupt the adrenalin rush before it happens, if you don’t, you’re going to have behavior troubles and it’s not going to be good for you or your dog.

If you like this post be sure to leave a comment and like my Face Book Page fb like button




All the best,


two pups fighting







Sometimes new dog owners think they should get two puppies so they will grow up with another dog for
company. I don’t think this is a very good idea, and if you are an inexperienced dog owner/trainer it will
be hard enough for you to work with one puppy let alone two. Just think about the middle of the night
pee breaks.

You will be grouchy enough with one pup,so how will you feel when you take the first one
out at 1:45, get back to bed and start to drift when, the other one has to go. This will go on until
the pups can hold their water for at least 7 hours. They will in most cases be between 10-12 months old
when this happens,but it really depends on your dog.This is the first reason why more than one dog is
bad news for new dog owners.

The second reason I base on emails I get from people who do have more than one dog in the home. The 
problems they are experiencing  could be as a result of having more than one foster or rescued dog, or
they got a new pup to give their old dog a friend. Regardless of the situation the problems all have
one thread of behavior in common.They all say that the dogs seemed fine for a while and then all of a
sudden, something bad happened.

Either one pup attacked the other and he needed 50 stitches to close the wound on his rump, or the younger pup has been terrorizing the old dog and now the old boy won’t come out from under the bed, and he refuses to eat. Grand Father dogs can get down in the dumps real easy if a puppy is tormenting them. Sometimes if the old boy has still got the drive to fight, the pup might not make it out alive. These problems occurred because new dog owners who have very little experience with dogs,make the mistake of thinking dogs can work things out for themselves, well I know from 45 years of experience, they won’t just sit down have a bone and talk about it, they are going to dust it up, that’s the dog way.

If left untrained there will be jostling between two dogs for highest rank in the family pack.This
genetically driven instinct has a powerful effect on how your dog will behave, and this is where new
dog owners make a huge mistake. In the case of getting two puppies, not separating these dogs in
different crates the moment they came into the house. In the case of one pup and one older adult dog the pup needs to be crated.

With the right training, these dogs can eventually be together as long as they are being supervised by the owner.Don’t be falsely lured into thinking, “Oh, I am only going to the store, I’ll be 5 minutes, they’ll be fine.” You might come back to a house that is torn to hell and find one dead dog, and one severely injured dog. You might want to read my article on how to break up a dog fight and not get bitten.

If you already have more than one dog in the house I suggest you get each one a crate and separate them and then begin to establish leadership with all your dogs. When dogs are in the presence of their leader, there will be no fighting, or foolishness of any kind.You might want to read this article I wrote on the subject.

How To Teach A  Grown Dog That You Are Leader

The third reason I think more than two dogs is bad news for new dog owners is because it’s hard enough with our busy lives to spend enough time socializing and training one dog but with two dogs your time will be too thinly spread, and both dogs will suffer because you will only be spending half the time with each dog that you should.

The result of this will be that your pups will grow up bonded and will want to spend more time together than with you. This might sound cute, puppies bonding and playing together, but you have to know that this pups will mature between 18- 24 months, this means that their drive for rank in the pack is going to sky-rocket, and these to bonded buddies are going to draw blood as they fight for rank in the pack.

That’s it for now