Posts Tagged ‘train’

matI am often called to help people who are struggling with a dog that just won’t calm down,.. inside the house or out..the door bell rings and they steam roll anything in their way to get the door barking and jumping.. and have to be pulled away by the collar. One of the best things anyone can do to ensure peace and harmony is to train the dog to go to a mat or bed, lay down, stay there.. and be quiet..

Once you have mastered the place command inside your home you can move to the yard and work the dog there..

This exercise is a great way to end the dreaded fence fighting, squirrel and cat chasing … and many other unwanted behaviors…

The way to begin this training is to place three separate mats in different areas of the house,..

Put the dog on leash and walk them up to the mat… stop and say, “Place” and walk them onto the mat..

When the dogs four feet are on the mat..stop and say, “Good”..don’t let the dog go to far and step off the mat..

The idea is to have the dog on the mat.. all four feet.. pause for a few seconds and then say, “Let’s Go”..then walk to the next mat and repeat this exercise as many times a day as you can for a week or two..

You can use the dogs daily food for training..

When you can tell your dog to go to place and they will..then you can begin to work on getting them to stay there for extended periods of time..

Just think how much nicer it would be,..

That when your door bell rings the dog goes to the door..barks a couple times..and you say, “go to place” and they do..and they stay there until you release them..

This is totally possible,,

If I can do it so can just takes a little time and effort on your part… I want you to know that the way your dog behaves today does not mean that’s the way it has to be tomorrow.. you can change things..

And as always if you need some help you can always write me and I will gladly help you..have a great week..


Some one asked me yesterday, what is the best way to train your dog to come when I thought I would share that with you today.

The easiest way I know of is to play hide and seek with your new puppy or dog.

There are many benefits to this method..

It engages your dogs prey drive and enhances your dogs attraction to you and other family members..which is important if you want your dog to come when called no matter what is going on to distract them..

It will help make you the most attractive thing in your dogs world..

Dogs love this game because they get to do what dogs love to do most..hunt, and in this game they will be hunting you.

This is the way I play this game with my dogs..

Now you can play inside or out.. I prefer outside if possible because dogs come alive outside.. and it helps to keep the inside of your home as a place for rest and relaxation..outside is where the action and high energy activities are done.

Find a spot on a trail where there are bushes to hide in..

have your dog on a long line ..approx 50 feet would suffice..

Have one of your kids or a friend take a tasty treat like a hot dog and while you hold the dog your kid or friend lets the dogs smell the treat and then run off down the trail..skipping running and calling with kissy sounds..

Then they jump off the trail at some point and hide.. don’t make it too hard at first..

Then they call the dog to come.. say the dog’s name loudly and call.. “Rover..Come!”.. then be quiet and still..

You then release the dog and he will take off down the trail..he will find the don’t worry about that..when he does..give him the treat maybe two..and..praise him.. maybe tug a bit on a tug toy..but let him win..that is important when playing tug of war with your dog..

Repeat this game as much as possible over the next few weeks..and in no time your dog will come reliably when he hears his name ..

You will want to fade out the food rewards and replace them with your praise, or a good game of tug. Don’t forget to do this don’t want your dog to become reliant on food.

If by chance your dog gets lost finding his name again loudly he will soon sniff you out..

The person holding the leash should not get involved.. just follow the dog and keep the long line in reach so you can grab it if necessary..

End the game when your dog still wants to play..this will build enthusiasm for the next time he plays.. playing this game really gets to the core of your dogs nature..his prey drive.. now go have some fun with your dog.

If you have questions or just want to chat be sure to get in touch with me.. I would love hearing from you..


wolf eyes

In this video post we will take a look at how to train your dog to look you in the eyes, and why it’s important in getting your dog to pay attention to you.


Getting your dog to look you in the eyes is not easy to do, and the reason is set deep in your dogs primal nature.

You need to understand that in the human – dog dynamic,  your dog walks a very fine “relationship” line between being attracted to you and being resistant to you.

Your dog will respond to you in three unconscious ways..

1. As a pack member, when we are sitting in the living room watching the television.

2. As prey, when we play with them.

3. As a predator, because your gaze brings about memories of times past when they were wild and their survival depended on being resistant to their natural enemies.

Even a puppy that shows no outward signs of distress in coming near us has an unconscious, internal struggle between being attracted to us, and also resistant to us..that is why you will notice puppies act shy and nervous as they come closer to us.

Think about it, you stand upright, your eyes are set in a big head, and you tend to show your teeth a lot.

Even though the wolf is stopped dead in his tracks by the stare of the moose’s eyes, is still very much attracted to that moose.

There are some who will tell you that in order to train your dog to look at should hold a piece of food up in front of your face and say something like, “Look at me”

While this will get your dog looking in the general direction of your face, I have found that your dog will still resist making direct eye contact.

They will look at your chin, nose or the food that’s in front of your face.

If you are not looking closely you would miss the fact that their eyes never really lock onto yours, they just skim over your eyes and this is usually enough to get you to give them the food.

There is no real communication in this method.

This reminds me of when I was a boy, I would come home from school, and one of my favorite shows was Batman and once I got watching it I was unaware of what was going on around me.

Grand Mother would ask me to do something and I would half look at her and half still watching t.v. and I can remember her warning me to, look at her when she is talking to me.

She understood that in order for me to really hear what she was saying she needed me to give her my full attention, and focus on what she wanted me to do.

When you are looking someone in the eyes they have your full attention.

Getting your dog to hold your gaze is not going to be easy. In your dogs world direct eye contact is not taken lightly and could result in a life and death situation.

You want to make looking you in the eyes a pleasurable way for your dog to solve problems, not a cause for concern that will hamper your dog training efforts.

You want to increase your attraction to your dog and reduce the resistance by making eye contact something your dog desires and finds satisfying.

After you watch this video let me know if you liked it by sharing this post with other`s

There are many people who struggle daily with getting their dogs to pay attention to them and this can be very dangerous to both dog and owner.

Talk to you soon,


* WARNING… It is risky to stare at a dog, so don`t try what you see in this video with dogs that have food aggression, or dogs you don`t know very well. I don`t want you to get hurt.













The ultimate pleasure for any dog is to bite, it is what they are designed to do, and in doing so massive amounts of stress is released from their bodies.

In this video I demonstrate a great exercise called bite and carry.

This exercise makes Ragnar feel good, keeps his energy flowing,.. and in the process he follows me wherever I go..

I have always trained my dogs during the course of my daily life, I do not have scheduled training sessions.

When I see an opportunity to work with my dogs, I take advantage of it.

If you have any  questions, leave them in the section below and I will get back to you soon.

all the best,





It’s not that hard to train your dog to like the leash.

First let me start by saying that your dog was not born with a collar and leash, so it is perfectly understandable that he or she is going to react to this new experience with some concern.

If not done properly it can be very dramatic for both you and your furry faced friend.

I have seen dogs buck and jump, bite at the leash, pull and squirm trying to get that alien contraption off their neck. I have even seen them just lie down and scream bloody murder.

Some just shut down and refuse to move a muscle.

You see to your dog, a leash and collar means the end of their freedom, so it is only natural that they will protest.

If this has been your experience then I am happy you found my post today. I am going to break it down for you so that your dog will form positive associations with the leash from the very first time you clip it on.

Let me show you step by step how easy it can be to train your dog to like the leash.

Start in the house

The first thing you want to do is make the leash a fun and rewarding thing for your dog. I accomplish this by putting a little peanut butter on the clip end of the leash. ( dogs and puppies love the peanut butter)

Next call your dog to come to you..don’t go to them, you want them to get used to coming to you when you call. If your dog hesitates a little and roams around some don’t be to concerned with that, just keep encouraging them with high-pitched happy tones, and soon enough they will smell the peanut butter and come to see what that wonderful smell is.

When your dog gets to you take his collar in your free hand and let him or her lick the peanut butter off the clip end of the leash.

By holding onto the collar you are conditioning your dog to be comfortable with you taking hold of his collar, something you will no doubt do many times in the up coming years.

Hold the collar while poochy gets all the peanut butter, and when he is finished..don’t try to clip the leash on, just release the collar and tell him to go play.

Give him 10 minutes or so and then repeat this process, but this time as he finishes the tasty treat, without making any fuss or saying a word, and while still holding his collar, clip the leash to his collar.

Drop the leash on the floor, let go of his collar and tell him to go play.

For the next 10 minutes you will need to supervise your dog as he moves around the house dragging the leash with him. You will want to make sure he don’t get snagged on something or it will cause the leash to get tight and your puppy or dog is most likely to freak out.

Avoid this at all cost.

After the ten minutes is up, with scooby snack in hand call your dog to come to you, take his collar in your hand and give him the snack, and unclip the leash..then release him to go and play.

Now the next time you practice this exercise, every so often reach down and pick up the leash, don’t pull on it or put any expectations on your dog to perform, not just yet. Just pick it up and drop it. Say something like “good dog” and give him a rub on the head, or a scratch on the ears.

Remember to make everything about having the leash on a good experience for your dog.

Positive, and rewarding association with the leash is what you are striving for.

Now the dog has began to like the leash, it means that good things are coming.

It is now time to put a little pressure on the leash when you pick it up, nothing that will confuse the dog, just a little tug, or slight pressure.

Reinforce the positive association with a snack or with verbal praise.

Once the dog is comfortable with you picking up the leash and applying pressure, it is time to start walking your dog around the house, use the furniture as obstacles to help your dog to pay attention to you and get used to moving in different directions as you lead them with the leash.

Every so often stop and have your dog sit, and give him a food reward, then move on with the exercise.

It is important to not jerk the leash or attempt to correct the dog with high levels of pressure. If your dog wants to go one way and you want to go the other, just stop, and when the dog turns and looks at you then simply move in the direction you want to go. Your dog will follow you.

Well that’s it in a nut shell, this is the easiest way that I know of to train your dog to learn to like the leash. If you have comments or questions just leave them in the section below.

Also if you would like to stay up to date with my postings and let’s face it who wouldn’t right? lol

You can subscribe to my blog or why not visit my page and let me know what you think there.

You can find my page here..  River Valley Dog Training

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,


thinking dog









Sometimes people get real touchy about what words to
use in order to get their dog to do a certain behavior.

I will often find myself in the middle of a heated
discussion between two people who are trying to train
the same dog.

One will say,” I tell my dog to sit, and my wife tells
him to park it. Then they both look at me to settle it.

These kind of interactions make me a little nervous cause
I never get in the middle of anyone’s dispute but in these
cases I was hired to come and help them to get on track
with their dogs training and there is so much misinformation
out there in the dog training world, that I feel it’s
important enough to get in the middle of a family argument.

I tell these people  it don’t really matter what words
you use, it’s your dog and as long as you have been clear
when teaching the dog the command and consistent with your body
language,then your dog is going to be smart enough to know what
you want him to do. I will say that the more simple you make it
the easier it will be to train your dog.

You always want to give your commands in a calm but commanding
tone of voice. Just a little sharper than normal conversational

So don’t worry so much if Dad says “Sit”, and Mom says “park it”,
or Mom says “down” and Dad says “lay down”.

Just use the words that comes naturally to you, so you will be more
likely to be consistent, consistency is the key, not the words we use.

In traditional English-speaking dog training we use the words
come,sit,down,and stay as verbal cues to get our dogs to do a certain behavior.

I have taught many dogs these same commands in French and German,
hell you could even train your dog in “Hippopotamus.”

It would break down something like this:

Hip- means come
Po- means sit
Pota- means down
Mus- means stay

With enough training you could hypothetically, say “Hippopotamus”,
and your dog would come,sit,down and stay all in one take.

Watch this video I made while training a 12 week old Belgian Malinois
named Sid these commands in French.

So to put it in a nut shell, it don’t matter so much the words you
use to command your dog, but don’t change it up every week or your
dog will get confused and training will be more difficult. And who
knows maybe you will be the first in your neighborhood to train your
dog in “Hippopotamus.”

All the best,






bite victimIf you are thinking about training a dog to bite,.. you are only setting yourself up for a law suit. If you feel the need to be protected for any reason my advice is to get a human body-guard.  Only the most highly skilled trainers like law enforcement or military personnel should be engaged in this kind of training. Having a dog that is trained to attack and take down perps is a life long commitment and should not be attempted by the average dog owner. That being said, you can learn how to train a dog to protect you.

Having a dog with you when you go for a walk can help make you feel safer, and in most cases if you have a Rottweiler, German Shepard, or a Doberman, chances are no one is going to test you to see if the dog will bite.

Looks can beattack dog a very effective deterrent in and of itself.




If you want to train a dog to protect you it is imperative that you begin training as soon as you bring your puppy home, usually around 8 weeks of age. Proper socialization will be a life long and continuous endeavor, not only to people but other animals as well.

Not all dogs are suited for protection work, you won’t know if yours is until you actually begin to train him. Your dog’s temperament will determine how he behaves in public, but regardless of temperament, if you properly train your dog he should be fine. If you are not sure as to how to properly train your dog you should contact a local reputable trainer to help you.

I have trained many dogs, and it is my experience that when you train a dog to be obedient and loyal, and provide them with everything they need to be happy and healthy, they will defend you to the death if the occasion calls for it.

Dog training 150For example I never trained my dog Lola to bite and she is very friendly with strangers and other animals, but I would not want to be the one who jumps out of the bushes and tries to take my wallet or cause me harm, it would not end well for them, just sayin.

Because she is so well-trained I am confident that she will obey me when I say quit, no matter what. I know this because I trained her to stop immediately when she is in full prey drive, and her excitement levels are off the chart, when I say quit, she puts the brakes on and immediately comes to me.

So there you have it, you can learn how to train a dog for protection without teaching them to bite. They will protect you naturally if push comes to shove, and as long as they are highly trained and your relationship is strong, you can feel at ease the next time you go for a walk.

Remember training your dog to bite is not cool, and you are only asking for trouble, for you and your dog.

That’s all for now…

I hope you found this post helpful, and if you did please share it with your friends, and leave me a comment and let me know what you think. I’d love to hear from you.

Good luck, and good training


guard dog





The first question that you need to ask yourself is,. “Do I know how to train a guard dog”? If the answer is no, then you need to hire a professional dog trainer to help you.

Guarding is a natural dog behavior, and some dogs can be trained very easily to guard us and our property. The ideal candidate for guard dog training would be a dog that is confident, has a strong drive..(either for food or toys), and is responsive to their owner at all times even when there are distractions. A dog can be trained to guard without fostering aggression. Teaching your dog to bark at strangers, and laying out clear boundaries for him to patrol is the only method I use.

Must Have A Strong Foundation In Obedience

A good guard dog will have been trained to come,sit,down,and stay reliably. In the event of an intruder you will want to be sure your dogs are going to do what you ask the moment you ask them.

Do not move forward with training until you are sure you can control your dog.

Set The Boundaries Your Dog Will Patrol

Using treats or toys as a reward, walk your dog around the perimeter of the area they will be guarding, and periodically toss a treat ahead of the dog, when the dog perks up and looks say,”Watch it”, and let the dog have the treat as a reward for looking.

Put Barking on Command

You will want your dog to bark at certain times to alert you of strangers coming on to your property. To train your dog to bark on command first get a toy or food reward, hold it up and get your dog excited about the reward to the point that he barks. Use a happy, playful, and excited tone in your voice to encourage your dog to bark. As soon as he barks give the reward. Repeat this exercise as much as you can, and in a little bit your dog will bark as soon as you give the command.

Train Your Dog To Bark at Strangers

Have a few of your friends that your dog is not familiar with to stand just outside the boundaries to your property. Walk you dog around the perimeter, and when you see a person, say,” Watch it”, and when your dog looks at the stranger, give the command to speak. Reward him the second he barks, to reinforce the idea that it’s good to bark at people we don’t recognize.

Change up your friends so the dog don’t get familiar.

It is of the utmost importance that you continue to socialize your dog in order to prevent him from getting to possessive of you, take him to the dog park often, and other family outings. Teach him the difference between being home( where his job is), and being out with the family (the times when he can relax, be social with everyone, and have fun).

Never train a guard dog to bite, there is a distinct difference on how to train a guard dog v.s. how to train a protection dog. I will cover this topic in a future post, so stay tuned.

That’s all for today

Do you think this post helped you in any way?

If it did please share it with your friends, and leave a comment I’d love to hear what you think.

Good luck, and good training.


dogs playing




If you have a dog and regularly take him out for walks, you will inevitably run into other dogs who are either excited, or aggressive. Really excitement and aggression go hand in hand, often when you meet an overly excited dog who is very eager to meet and play with another dog he can sometimes trigger aggression in the dog he is trying to play with. You do however have options that will help you if like many owners, you just don’t know how to greet excited or aggressive dogs the right way.

First off not all dogs are the same, they each have different personalities. Some may not mind being jumped on by an excited dog, and some will growl and hide behind their owners, others will in a split second, full on attack and try to kill the offending dog.

If you’re out walking and you see a dog in the distance, (sometimes as much as 100-200 meters away,) up on their back legs pulling and barking, lunging to get to your dog, then there are a couple of things to take into account.

Listen to the bark of the excited dog coming your way.

If you listen to the sound of the bark coming from any dog, you can tell if it is aggressive or excited and just wants to play. The bark will have what I like to call a “happy tone” subtle as it may be there is a distinct difference between an aggressive bark and an excited bark.

However as I stated, not all dogs are the same. You may encounter a dog who is not barking at all, but the other signs of excitement will be apparent,.for example, pulling on the leash, panting, tongue hanging out, scratching and digging for a better foot hold.

Note: If you have a puppy, say between 5-10 months of age, and he is showing signs of being excited to greet other dogs, you can nip this behavior in the bud, if you miss this chance and your dog continues until the age of 14-18 months, this behavior will now be reinforced and training him will take a lot more time and energy.

Early training is always better.

Aggression and excitement kind of blend together.

Are they different?


What I’m trying to say is that dogs who are allowed to build up their levels of excitement to boiling over, are much more likely to become aggressive, or cause aggression in other dogs, than if you train them to be calm and quiet.

Some dog owners think that because their dog is so happy and excited to get to another dog and play that this is a good thing, I want to tell you that it is not. This is a very serious concern. You need to consider what is going to happen when your dog jumps and nips or maybe tries to hump another dog. The outcome can be dramatic, even tragic.

What can you do about it?

If your dog is too excited you can simply choose not to meet that other dog. Go to the other side of the street, and move your dog away.

Walking away is not failure.

The same rule applies if it’s another dog approaching you in a high state of excitement. Politely warn off the other person, and move your dog away.

You can size up the situation and let your dog go ahead and play with the other dog, and if everything is going fine, and the excitement levels are not off the scale then all is good and you can relax, give your dog this reward, and enjoy the moment.

Note: I rate excitement levels on a scale of 0-10,.. 0 being asleep, and 10 being red zone, or out of control.

Average levels of play excitement that will usually not result in aggression is level 5-6

Remember that this will be unique to your dog and your situation, not all dog’s are the same.

If the excitement levels suddenly spike, and you’re not sure about what may happen, you can leash up your dog and remove him from play, away from other dogs and people. Then take time to calm him back down, and slowly move closer to the dog and size up the level of excitement, if all is good, then free him to resume play.

Note: When I say free him to play, I mean to let go of the leash, if the owner is tense it will be related to the dog through the leash, and can cause your dog to become even more excited or nervous.

By letting the dog go, he will behave in a much different way, than if you are hanging on the leash.

Getting your dog to calm down quickly from say a level 8 excitement to a level 5, is not going to happen over night.

There is no magic pill, but if you keep at it, and celebrate the small successes, in about a month or so you will have a very different dog, and you will have learned how to greet aggressive or excited dogs the right way.

That’s it for today, I hope you found this informative, and please share it.
Thank you for your support.