Allison's Dog Training

Clean up after your dog!

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could train our dogs to do this? Ha!  Wouldn’t it be nice, if everyone who walked their dog picked up after them?  Well, unfortunately, because people do not pick up after their dogs, it’s the number one reason dogs are not permitted in so many places.

Please clean up after your dog.  Please, please, please - if you see that someone else did not clean up after their dog - clean that up too.  Just as with litter, if we all do our part (and take it one step further) our dogs may be permitted access to more places and our immediate environment will remain cleaner.

Did you know that RATS can live off of our dogs output?  In many towns there are those “no man” areas.  A long side lot, a green triangle, an empty lot or a sump.  These are the places many lazy folks think it’s just okay to allow their dogs to eliminate without the necessity of cleaning it up.  In my neighborhood, there is a man who walks his little dog on a flexi lead, and allows that dog to run up and do his business on everyone’s lawn.  There are also folks who walk their dogs after dark, so they are not seen leaving their dog’s mess behind.  Wrong!  Not only is it just gross, it poses a health hazard, parasites, bacteria and invites RATS.

The next time you set out on your walk, please carry 3 bags.  One for when your dogs goes, a 2nd just in case they go again - and a third as your good deed if you see evidence that someone did not teach their dog to scoop their own poop!

Don’t make eye contact!

The pictures says it all!  Dogs use body language in many different ways, and we can follow their example. Dogs being pack animals, are, for the most part, peace keepers.  To calm: averting eye contact, scratching, sniffing the ground, yawning.  To engage in play:  soft woofing, play bow, pawing, hopping back and forth, running back and forth to get another dog to follow. To warn: quick fierce barking, growl, freezing, hard eye, lip curl, bearing teeth, growl, lowering their head.  Usually, with warning, they are also attempting to calm by not making direct eye contact.  Confrontation with the intention to bite usually happens very quickly.  Many dogs will run through their known warning, and if ignored or further provoked, will act out.  Other dogs will escalate immediately into a hard eye, bared teeth, lunging and biting.

What’s the safest way to pet a dog you don’t know?  DON’T PET A DOG YOU DON’T KNOW!  This is ESPECIALLY true where children are concerned.

You’re not alone


Bringing a new dog into your home is daunting and overwhelming;

Juggling child rearing and puppy training together can just make you want to pack your bags!

Through your best efforts, you’ve researched, chosen the best breed for your family, but that particular puppy turns out not to be the right one for you;

You’ve had a dog for a while, and your family situation has changed either through work, divorce or death of a loved one, and the dog is the one getting the short end of everything;

Little by little over time, your dog’s behaviors (that you thought would resolve themselves) have now become entrenched and/or dangerous;

You and your dog had a bad experience with a loose dog and you’ve lost your confidence to walk your dog;

You have rescued a dog, only to find that it is a dog who is not safe for your family;

Your beloved dog is facing the end of their life and you need help and the moral support of someone who knows you and loves your dog;

You’ve said your goodbyes and just need to share and remember all those great times you had with your dog.


Many people think it’s either necessary or okay for their dogs to “mark” when on a walk.

When a dog marks every tree, or other area where dogs have gone, your dog is telling every other dog in town that he owns the town!  To avoid this, have your dog urinate either in your back yard or in a designated spot very close to you condo or apartment.  Now that you know your dog is empty, there is no need to question his ‘need’ to go.  Simply step out and tell Fluffy to “heel”.  When your dog is in heel position, he is walking next to you, head up and it’s his job to keep pace with you.  

If you have given your dog ample leash and free reign in the past to mark everything along what has become a halting, stop and go procession, you can retrain your dog to walk in heel position and stop eliminating on everything.  Keep in mind there are some females that have this trait, and will even hike their leg to mark over where some other dog left their scent. The same eliminating and heeling approach should be used for both male and female markers.

After your nice long walk, take your dog to it’s designated elimination area once more before heading back into the house.

Where to Sleep?

To sleep in the bed or not to sleep in the bed, that is the question~

“I want the dog to sleep in my bed with me, and cuddle on the couch”.  Those are the statements I hear frequently from clients.

To me, this is personal preference… provided your dog is trained.  By “trained” I mean that your dog will willingly get off any furniture at any time every time you request it – without the necessity of pushing or dragging.

In order to accomplish this, your dog needs to know, “wait”, “up” and “off” commands.

For those people whose dog readily argues the point, then the dog looses the privilege of being on the furniture, unless and until the dog can comply with the commands.

For those people who do not want the dog on the bed or the couch for any reason but want to snuggle with their puppies, keep in mind that there is little difference to the puppy if he/she is up on the couch on your lap… or just up on the couch.  So – sit on the floor with your puppy.

Dogs do not generalize information well, and it is possible to teach your dog to only get up on one chair or couch, but not the others.  By using a throw or blanket, you can also signal to your dog when it’s appropriate to get up, and by removing same, when it is not (when company is on the couch).

It’s never appropriate to allow your puppy or dog to make a running leap onto you or the furniture.  Dogs learn in pictures, so if you teach that picture to your dog as appropriate, they will do it at the most inappropriate times – and usually with company that isn’t too crazy about dogs to begin with.

Attention Seeking Behaviors

Let’s face it.  We are the most exciting person in our dog’s day.  If you get on the computer, and your dog begins pawing your hand controlling the mouse; when you sit down to watch TV and your dog sits directly in front of you and begins to bark; when your on the phone and your dog has to go out and come in and go out and come in or just bark incessantly, when you are in another room and you hear things falling or being chewed…. Your dog is trying to tell you she needs MORE ATTENTION.

If you immediately turn to your dog and give them a whole lot of negative attention, guess what?  It’s still attention.

Be pro-active in your training.  If you REALLY need to make a call, or be on the computer – put your dog in a down/stay first!

If you’ve been out all day and your dog has had no attention other than being fed or let out, then take your dog for a brisk 10-15 minute walk or play fetch in the yard for the same amount of time – or practice having your dog come and sit for 10 repetitions, then come and lie down for 15 repetitions.

Giving your dog negative attention will only guaranty that your dog has learned HOW to get your attention.  

Teach your dog what TO do.  Train her, play with her, love her and be pro-active, not re-active.

Mine Mine Mine

Too often I’m called in because of “possession aggression”.  I think in many cases, this is something that humans create.  Here’s the scenario – a young puppy, loose in the house, ‘shops’ for new and exciting things to put in his mouth.  He comes across a pen, a sock or a Lego.  What happens when the human realizes the dog has something he shouldn’t?  They say: “What do you have?  Give me that” and snatch it out of the dog’s mouth.  Then they say: “Bad Dog!”

Now, let’s look at it from the dog’s perspective.  He found a new treasure, happily going about his business until his owner grabbed it out of his mouth, and once he relinquished it, he was scolded.  You’ve just set your dog up for a lose/lose situation.  Or, the kids have left their stuff on the floor again, the puppy snarfs up the Gameboy and a fun game of keep away ensues with everyone in the house yelling excitedly and chasing he dog.  

Most dogs are smart enough not to fall for this human grabbing trick again.  The next time the dog hears “What do you have”, the dog will either run in the opposite direction (hoping for a game of keep away), clamp his jaws together, hide under a table, or (this is where I get called in) growl or attempt to bite to keep the item.

The WORST possible thing the human can do is CALL THE DOG TO COME, and then PUNISH the dog because it has something in his mouth.

Gee whiz, coming to you should be THE BEST thing in the world your dog can do.  Never, ever punish the dog for coming!

Possession is 9/10ths of the law.  The dog has it.  You want it.

Imagine for a moment, you’ve just acquired a new IPhone.  Your co-worker (who doesn’t have one) says “Wow” and snatches your phone out of your hand to ‘look’ at it.  How do you feel?  Conversely, if your co-worker said, “Ah, an IPhone, I’ve been looking to get one myself.  Would you mind if I took a look at it?” Well, you being the polite person you are, would willingly hand it over for a gander.

So, you need to set your dog up for a win/win/win.  Coming to you, willingly relinquishing the item and getting your praise and petting?  Win/win/win.

In the picture, Spot is chewing a high-value bully stick.  Share a high-value item with your dog as pictured.  When you want Spot to let go, command “out” or “drop it” or “give” – reward Spot with a treat for his compliance, and give him the bully stick to share again.  Repeat this process until Spot is anticipating letting go of the high-value chew toy for a treat.