Teaching your dog the meaning of language

Teaching Your Dog: The Meaning of Language

My name is not a command!

Teaching your dog the meaning of language and commands is a major part of owner and dog communication. You can train your dog using his name before a command as in “Joe Come” or even use his name as encouragement after calling him but his name itself should never be used alone as the command.

Say for instance, you always call your dog’s name, “Joe”, to get him to come to you. The word “Joe” has now taken on the meaning of the command “Come”. Likewise, if you yell the dog’s name when he’s snooping through the trash can or about to steal your lunch off the kitchen table, the dog learns that his name means 1) he’s in trouble or 2) he should get away from something. This can be very confusing for dogs after a while they become desensitized to their name.

Now imagine how confusing it would for the dog if he learned to come only to his name and now you want him to learn Sit and Stay. As the dog is sitting you must be very careful to not say his name. Even in encouraging ways. “Good boy Joe”. To your dog “Joe” means “Come”. He cannot sit/stay and come at the same time.

Teaching your dog the correct language for the command you want to achieve requires clear communication. He needs to learn “Joe” what? “Joe” followed by a command tells him what you want him to do. “Joe sit”. “Joe come”. “Joe out”. This way he learns each individual command and that his name is to get his attention and get ready to respond.

Give it a name.

Dogs have the ability to learn or recognize hundreds of words. We all use Sit, Down, Come or variations of these and other commands. We do this by associating a word with an action to get across what we want the dog to do. You can do the same with everyday words using consistency, patients and enough practice to build a clear association between the word and the action.

Name it!

  • “Kennel” as your dog is entering his kennel/crate.
  • “House” as your dog is on his way into the house.
  • “Outside” as your dog passes through the threshold of the doorway.
  • “ByeBye” as you gather the leash for a walk.
  • “Potty” as the dog is begining to urinate.


The opportunities are endless. Just be sure to use simple commands and use them each time your dog is doing the action you want to name. Use tiny treats to motivate your dog if needed and have fun with word play too. Just because a word means something in English doesn’t mean it has to to your dog. It is just as easy to teach a dog to lift his paw and associate the word “Pony” instead of “Paw” as the dog lifts his foot.

Dog Training Tools

The Proper Use Of Your Dog Training Tools

Get to know the dog training tools we use. Each dog is different so we like to have options. We use all the training tools below but not on every dog. Dogs trained with us will go home with the option that works best for the dog and owner.


Headhalters can take some time for a dog to acclimate to the feel and pressure on thehalti on dog muzzle but once the dog has settled into the headhalter it can be used to guide a dog into heel position and keep him there. Care should be taken to avoid harm to the dog’s neck by not forcing the dog’s head sideways or downward into an unnatural position.

To use this type of dog training tool properly, you should have the dog next to your left leg in heel position and hold the leash so the dog has just enough slack to walk by your side. Any forging ahead should be met with a slight twist of the wrist or slight tug backward. Never give a hard leash correction with a headhalter!


prong collar on dog

Pinch/Prong collars are a metal collar with angled prongs that add pressure evenly around the dogs neck when fitted correctly. We use these to introduce the first phases of pressure and release to the dog. While your dog is distracted, step back until the leash is taut and keep pressure on until your dog moves around and puts slack on the leash. For sit, apply upward pressure and lure with a treat or tuck the hind end into a sit.


Choke chain collars need to be fitted so they can release their grip and not sit tightly on the dog’s neck. With your dog facing you, make the collar into a circle and let dog wearing choke chainout some slack on one end. Put the collar on the dog when the collar is in the shape of a “P”. This will allow the collar to loosen quickly after a correction. If the collar is put on in the “q” shape, it will tighten and remain tight. A properly fit choke collar will only have 3 or 4 inches of extra chain extending after placement on the dog’s neck.

Any less and there will not be enough slack for a correction. Any more you will have to make bigger movements to make a simple correction. As with the prong collar, never let the leash tighten. Correct by giving a quick pop and doing an about turn. Practice this routine any time the dog is out of heel position and soon enough your dog will be walking nicely on a loose leash.

Transitional leash on dog


The Transitional Leash is a slip lead that is twisted to fit over the dog’s muzzle similar to a headhalter. Unlike Gentle leaders and Haltis the Transitional leash controls from the back of the dogs head. It works by applying upward pressure until the dog sits calmly. With pressure on when the dog is aroused, pressure off when the dog is calm. It can also be used as a slip leash when needed.


Avoid Dog Behavioral Problems

Avoiding Dog Behavioral Problems

How to Avoid Dog Behavioral Problems

Dog behavioral problems can be very frustrating to dog owners, learn what it takes to have a well mannered dog…


There’s a lot of talk about Leadership and how to dominate your dog. That’s Not what we want you to think of in terms of Leadership. Effective leadership is taking the role of the decision maker, the food provider, the caretaker. As a dog owner you are already making decisions for your dog on a daily basis. Such things as when it’s time to get up or when your dog goes outside.
Simple everyday decision making should be second nature to the dog owner but sometimes it isn’t. Some pushy dogs out there are making too many decisions of their own and most times these are bad decisions. This is a common dog behavioral issue that can be easy to break.

A dog who barks and growls at everyone trying to enter the home is taking on the role of leader. He is guarding his home. Not your home. Not your family. But his home and his people. This may sound like a good idea. Everyone wants to feel protected and a dog who alerts to noises isn’t a bad thing. But it is your decision as leader to determine who enters your home. A dog who feels he owns his castle is one step away from correcting you or someone in your family for making a decision he doesn’t approve of.
To be a leader to your dog takes giving your dog some rules.


  • Not rushing the door and jumping on visitors
  • Not dragging you around on leash
  • Not begging for food
  • Staying out from under foot
  • No running through the house like a wild dog.


Another way to solve your dog behavioral problems is to show leadership is to put your dog on a feeding schedule. Twice a day is good. Let him know the food comes from you, the provider, and wait for your dog to be calm before placing the bowl on the floor. Remove after 10 to 15 minutes whether he is finished or not. He won’t starve. And don’t be manipulated into coercing him to eat at each meal. Put it down and walk away.

A good leader is also a good caretaker. This means you need to look after the well being of your dog. Make sure his vaccinations are up to date, his diet consists of a well balanced food, and his grooming is attended too as needed. Exercise is also important. As his caretaker it is your responsibility to see to his mental and physical well being. A dog lacking in exercise becomes overweight and has an increase risk of joint pain and other health related issues. A dog who is lacking in mental stimulation becomes a nuisance with constant need of attention. Frustration from a lack of exercise, mental or physical, can manifest into chewing, running around like he has no off switch, excessive barking, or mouthiness.

To sum it all up.. A good leader is a good dog owner. Someone who makes the right decisions for their dogs safely, health, and well being.

Behavioral Dog Training:

It is never too soon nor too late in a dog’s life to begin training. Though the sooner you start the less time your dog has to learn bad habits. Training creates good habits by giving your dog something constructive to do in place of something undesirable. It teaches your dog self control so your dog has the ability to make good decisions.

Training gives your dog an understanding of what you want from him. It’s not about doing a trick to get some laughs. Being able to call your dog back to you out of harms way goes a long way in extending your dog’s life. When we teach a dog to Sit or Down we expect the dog to stay there until told otherwise.
Training takes time for your dog to understand. It also needs to happen outside of the home around real world distractions. If you only work with your dog in a class setting or in the home your dog will likely not understand the command in a new setting. Dogs don’t generalize as we do. That’s why we have to teach Sit in many different settings for the dog to truly understand what Sit means. The same goes for all other commands too.

Repetition, Repetition, Repetition. The more you work with your dog the better trained your dog will be. Imagine a child learning the alphabet. The child repeats it over and over and over until they no longer have to think about it. It becomes second nature to them. Give your dog plenty of training time until he has a complete understanding of what he is learning.
How do you know when your dog is trained? Test. Look at your dog and say his name. Now say Sit. Did he sit? How about Down. Did he Down? How about from across the room. Well?

If your dog can do these and others on the first command within a few seconds of asking then your dog has a good understanding of the command. Now take it further and find some distractions. Can your dog do the commands now? Yes. Then find more difficult ones.
Training is never really over. It’s an ongoing process and relationship. If you give up on it, it will go away.

Dog Training Management:

This is what we do to make things easier on us, the dog, and the situation. Managing your dog can be crating him when company comes to teaching a Place command so he stays on his bed while company visits. Management can also be utilizing training tools; such as for aggression, a Halti can be worn in public to keep a reactive dog safe by controlling his mouth. A tether can keep a puppy attached to you to make sure he doesn’t wonder off and pee. Management can also keep dogs safe in a situation of a multi dog family. Crating may be needed to while the owners are not home so no fights break out.

The better you manage your dog/dogs, the less likely bad behavior will occur. Management doesn’t replace training but goes hand in hand with it. We need to be aware of what can happen at any given time and use some sort of management (a learned command, restraint, interference, confinement, etc) to keep mistakes from happening.
What ever your dog’s age Now is the time to be the adult in the relationship. A dog’s mind is as mold-able as a child’s. Give the correct guidance and education and anything is achievable. Teach your puppy or dog as much as possible and they will grow into a well mannered companion that will be welcomed everywhere.


Choosing the right dog training program

Finding the Right Dog Training Program

The Right Dog Training Program for You

Finding the right dog training  program can be confusing and stressful, especially when you are not sure exactly what you are looking for.

Are you looking for a hands-on approach for your dog training needs?

Do you have time and patience it takes to practice weekly?

Are you looking for a more economical way to have a well behaved dog?

If so, then private lessons are probably the way to go. We work with you one hour a week to achieve your dog training goals. Whether you need basic manners or off leash control our programs will help you train for the dog you want.

You may prefer our boot camp programs if you don’t have time for weekly lessons, want to get further a head in your dog’s training faster, or would like to have a professional take your dog through each step of the training for you.

You can choose the program that best suits your needs and let our trainers give your dog the foundation to build on at home. After your dogs stay with us we teach you how to continue the training and implement it into your daily life. We follow up with a few in home lessons and as needed lessons here at our facility to help you with any future training issues or just to keep the training fresh.


Making a dog toy

How to Make Your Own Dog Toy

Make Your Own Dog Toy

Here is an easy step by step guide on how to make your own dog toy. A fun toy for your dog is a fleece dog tug. These simple, easy to make dog tugs are a cheap way to have fun with your dog. I like to have a few around of various sizes for tossing or tugging, but please only give them to your dog while supervised.

These can be made from used or inexpensive fleece throw. I get mine at Walmart for under $3.00 each. Each one will make 2 or 3 toys depending on how you cut them.


Start by folding the throw in half, this will make cutting the strips faster. I cut from the fold to the edge. a longer fold will yield shorter strips for short tugs and a shorter fold will yield longer strips for longer tugs.

Cut into strips about 1 1/2 to 2 inches wide. don’t worry about jagged or imperfect lines.

Separate strips into two bundles (three, if you’re making tugs thinner). take one of the bundles and fold in half. Twist the middle together about 6 inches and fold over a door knob.

Divide strips into three equal parts. Braid tightly but leave space at the top to get off the door knob.

When you only have 2 or 3 inches left, tie a knot at the bottom. Remove from door knob.

There you have it! A fun colorful fleece dog tug toy.

Variations :

Make a double knotted tug by tying a knot at the top and then braid and knot at other end.

Use strips from different colored throws to make multicolored tugs.

Cut shorter lengths for smaller tugs or tossing toys.

Before braiding is done insert tennis ball (with hole through) onto the middle section and continue braiding around the ball.