potty on command

Teach Your Puppy to Potty on Command

Why teach your puppy to potty on command? Because sometimes you need your dog to do their business right away.

To do this we give them a command to communicate that it’s time to pee or poop. First, your dog needs to learn Word + Action.

Choose your potty commands. You will want two separate potty commands. One for pee and one for poop. I use words like “go pee” or “potty” and “do your business” or “go poo”. You can be creative if you wish but simple is better.

Take your puppy outside to relieve himself.  As soon as he begins to pee, begin repeating your new word or phrase. . “potty, potty, potty…” Repeat until he stops peeing. Do the same when he squats to poop. “go poop, go poop, go poop…” Keep in mind you need separate words for each.

That’s it. Continue repeating your command words for about 1 week and then test your dog. Go to your potty spot and give your command word or phrase and give your puppy a chance to go. If your puppy is still distracted too easily or not understanding the command then you may need to continue repeating your word for a few more days or another week. Most puppies I’ve worked with understand after 5 to 10 days but all dogs are different. Just be consistent and clear with your words. Your puppy will get it soon.

If you’re looking for help with your puppy’s training and don’t have the time for classes, have a look at our puppy training head start camp.




Training a German Shepherd

Training a German Shepherd Dog

We train a German Shepherd the same way we train any dog. Using the basic commands: heel, sit, down, come, wait, place, off and out to give us the foundation to expand on in different situations and around more difficult distractions.

Exercise is important for this breed and the more structured the better. Heel provides a great way to structure a long walk but for times when that’s not possible, a game of tug can release tension and wear out your german shepherd. You will want to put rules to the game too! “Out” is the command we use for the dog to release the toy to us. “Off” is how we tell the dog to stay away from the toy so we can pick it up without him pouncinng on it. Add in a sit until released with a word like “tug” or “get it” and you’re on your way to working on impulse control while having fun. Just be sure to put the special tug toy up after the game and bring it out on your own terms.

You don’t want to create a dog that needs to play constantly.

An on that note, when training a German Shepherd we want to teach him or her how to relax. Sit and Down stays will help with that. Start for short sit/stays and work up to more time with you further away. Same with the down but add even longer periods of down/stays to create a really relaxed state.

We begin with no distractions to really help the dog understand the command and then bring in distractions like other dogs, new surroundings, temptations on the floor (food or toys), or working in public where there is a lot of people.

Just remember: Exercise, structure and relaxation for a well balanced german shepherd. All of this can be achieved with obedience training and the right approach.

Need help with training your german shepherd? Our St louis dog training programs give you control and better manners.

Remote e-collar training - Canine Life Skills

Remote E-Collar Training

Remote E-Collar Training for Dogs

Remote E-Collar Training is often a misunderstood training tool for owners and trainers. Here is a list of some basic misconceptions when it comes to using remote E-Collar training for your dog.

5 Top Lies about Remote E-Collars


You can’t use one on a small dog:

Quality E-Collars are used differently than bark collars or invisible fence collars. We use them to “teach” dogs how to “do” something and not as a punisher.  With quality collars like Dogtra or Technologies, it is easy to find just the right level so that the dog works without discomfort. So, yes they are safe on small dogs as well as big dogs.


It will stress your dog out.

Any training program can cause a little stress during the learning stages. During this time your dog is receiving structure he may have never had to deal with before while learning self control. This takes a lot of concentration on his part and mental stress that’s no different than a human child having to study their school work. A training program shouldn’t be about having no stress at all. But, rather, teaching the dog how to deal with the stress to be able to function in different situations.


Remote E-Collar training is for stubborn dogs, dogs with behavioral problems, or as a last resort for bad dogs.

Totally false. Trainers today are using a remote E-Collar as a training tool and not as a correction device. These methods work for any dog not just problem dogs. The Remote E-Collar is only a tool. Not unlike prong collars, headhalters, leashes, buckle collars, etc… the tool doesn’t train the dog, the trainer trains the dog with the tool in hand. It’s all how you use it.


An E-Collar will make a dog more aggressive.

Proper Remote Collar foundation training is necessary for any dog to learn self control around other dogs. Also, we use other Techniques and tools along with the E-Collar to help the dog make better choices. Again, train, not correct, for lasting results.


Vibration training collars are a better alternative.

Vibration collars don’t have the advantage of multiple settings like remote E-Collars do. Plus, most dogs are startled by the vibration but are not from the stimulation of the e-collar. And, the wide range of levels allows for personal tailoring the feel to each dog unlike a one size fits all approach.


Dogs and intestinal worms

Canine Intestinal Worms: How to Treat Them

Canine Intestinal Worms

There are four primary types of canine intestinal worms that can infect your dog. They are Hookworms, Roundworms, Tapeworms, and Whipworms.


Hookworms attach themselves to the wall of the intestine and feed on the dog’s blood. Adult worms lay eggs that are passed with the dog’s feces. In 1-3 weeks the eggs hatch and the larvae are released. Dogs can be infected by ingesting the larvae from contaminated soil or water, eating infected wildlife, through the skin, from nursing, or by being passed from a pregnant bitch to her puppies.

Infected dogs may show signs of anemia (pale gums, weakness), black, tarry stools, dull dry hair, and weight loss.

Monthly heartworm preventatives (Interceptor, Sentinel, Heartgard Plus, Iverhart Plus) are effective at controlling hookworms. Treatments include Drontal Plus, Panacur, and SafeGuard.


The adult roundworm is about 3 – 4 inches long and look like spaghetti. The adult lays eggs that are passed with the infected animal’s feces (dog, fox, cat, mice and other small rodents) where they become infective after 3 – 6 days. An infected animal can pass millions of eggs in its feces each day.

The eggs of roundworms are resistant to environmental conditions and can remain in the soil for months to years.

Infected dogs may show signs of weight loss, dull coats, a pot belly, anemia, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, or cough. Puppies can be infected from mom before they are born or from nursing. Dogs and puppies can become infected from eating contaminated soil or water or eating infected wildlife.

Monthly heartworm preventions (Heartgard Plus, Iverhart Plus, interceptor, Sentinel) are effective at preventing roundworms. Treatments include Drontal Plus, Panacur, SafeGuard, and others. When treating for roundworms it is important to retreat the dog after 2 – 4 weeks to kill the larvae that have migrated back to the intestine. It is also advisable to have a fecal examination on your puppy about 1-2 months after its last treatment to detect any new adult worms.


The tapeworm is flat and consists of a head and many segments with their own reproductive organs. New segments are formed and mature segments are cast off. The dried segments look like grains of rice and dried or moving segments may pass with the dog’s feces while some may be seen on the dog’s anus area or on the fur.

An infected dog may scoot on the floor or lick the anal area. Other signs may include abdominal discomfort, nervousness, vomiting, or in heavy infestations, convulsions.

A dog becomes infected from ingesting fleas infected from eating the tapeworm’s eggs in the environment. Treating the dog’s yard for fleas as well as treating the dog is recommended.

Treatments include Drontal Plus, Panacur, SafeGuard, Droncit, and D-worm.


Whipworms get their name from the whip like shape of the adult worms. Whipworm eggs are somewhat susceptible to drying but can remain alive in moist soil for years and are resistant to freezing. There is no effective method for killing whipworm eggs in the soil. Pick up feces daily to prevent exposure.

A dog can be infected by ingesting food or water contaminated with whipworm eggs. When the eggs are swallowed it takes 3 months for the larvae to mature into adults and burrow into the intestinal wall. Adults lay eggs that pass with the dog’s feces and must remain in the soil for about a month to mature and be capable of causing infection.

Dogs infected with large amounts of whipworms may show signs of anemia, diarrhea, weight loss, and frequent licking of the flank area where inflammation may occur due to the worms penetrating through the intestinal wall.

Monthly heartworm treatments (Interceptor and Sentinel) are effective at controlling whipworms. Treatments include Drontal Plus, Panacur, and SafeGuard.

It is advisable to have a fecal examination on a regular basis. Canine intestinal worms such as Tapeworm segments can be seen on the dog’s anus and hair and in the feces but other worms often go undetected until a heavy infestation has occurred.

House Training a New Puppy

House Training a New Puppy

 House Training a New Puppy: Puppy Training Tips

When house training a new puppy, supervision is the key to success. Until your puppy is reliable you must keep a close eye on him at all times. The easiest method is the tether. Attach a six foot leash to your puppy’s collar and attach to your pocket or belt loop. This way the puppy is never six feet out of reach and you can use the leash to escort him quickly outside.

Use the tether until the puppy becomes reliable for a couple of hours at a time. Continue keeping a watchful eye on him for signs he needs to go out. When it is not possible to have his tether on put him in his crate.

Treat his crate like a baby’s playpen. It’s a safe place for him to chew on a toy and your floor stays dry.

Always take your puppy immediately outside after a nap, time in his crate, mealtimes, after play and first thing in the morning.

Do not place water bowl in the crate. Let your puppy see where his water dish is and give ample opportunity to drink.

Remember: What goes in must come out. Keep on a regular feeding schedule.

If your puppy is in the process of doing his business, startle to stop, No, or stomp foot, and get him outside immediately.

Watch for him to go potty outside and praise. You can add a cue phrase such as “get to it” “go potty” “do your business” as he is going potty. Repeat it several times each time he potty’s to help him make the association.

Clean any messes with an enzyme cleaner such as Natures Miracle or Simple Solution. Household detergents and carpet cleaners can’t wash away the smell enough for your puppy to not detect it.

Never punish or scold the puppy for a mistake. Physical punishment can lead to submissive peeing or a puppy that is afraid to do his business in your presences.


Avoid mistakes when bringing home your new dog

Avoid Mistakes When Bringing Home Your New Dog

Bringing Home Your New Dog: Common Mistakes You Could Be Making

Bringing home your new dog is an exciting experience! A common mistake adopters make is giving the new dog too much freedom too soon. Freedom should be earned slowly as the new dog becomes more reliable with housetraining and the new owners have some basic control of the dog.

Before bringing home your new dog, we suggest investing in a crate. Crate training is the fastest and safest way to housetrain the new dog/puppy. Even if the dog was reliable in the previous home, accidents happen.

Use the crate to get your dog on a routine and stick with it until you know he is reliable. The crate will also give the dog/puppy a safe place to get used to the new surroundings. After a long walk or playtime let him rest in his crate and observe his new family as they go about their business. Let him sleep, chew on a toy or just hang out. This will help him learn to chill out while the family is in hectic mode and that he doesn’t have to be involved in every activity.

Try not to go overboard with the doting. It is best for his development to give him some space and time alone. Ignore him occasionally. We want to create a dog that can handle being left alone when the owners are out and not be totally dependant on humans for emotional support.

Do your little dog (this goes for puppies too) a favor and put them on the floor. Let them be a dog and experience the world at their own eye level most of the time. You can cuddle when it’s nap time.

Make sure children in the home understand how to properly interact with dogs and puppies before bringing one home. No tail grabbing, ear pulling or surprise attacks on the sleeping dog.

Play games with puppies that don’t encourage grabbing at hands or chasing pant legs. Even most adult dogs like a good game of fetch. Toss one toy and have another ready so you can get him to drop the first toy as you toss the second one. Have the family or the kids stand about 10 feet apart and encourage the dog/puppy to come to each person in turn and reward with a tiny treat. Check out the internet or book stores for more games to play.

Introduce the new dog to a resident dog on neutral territory like a park or just down the street. If possible take your dog with you when choosing a second dog. Make sure the dogs are compatible in energy levels if you are looking for a playmate for your dog.

If you are looking to get a second dog with an adult or senior dog in the home don’t leave it up to the old kid to show the new kid the ropes. You don’t want to pass on any bad habits.

Seek out a dog trainer to help with questions and concerns before you adopt, to help you pick out the right dog for your situation, help transition the new dog, and get you started on training your new dog to prevent misbehavior in the future.