Month: May 2016

3 Things You Should NEVER Do When Training Your New Puppy

train new puppy

As a dog trainer, I am constantly exposed to a lot of same common mistakes that new dog owners make when training their puppies.


Out of this experience, I’ve been able to identify three HUGE mistakes that, if prevented altogether, can VASTLY speed up your learning curve as a new puppy parent.


If you want to be a respected pack leader for your dog, one that they choose to follow, there are certainly some things you must avoid.


Being mindful of these common mistakes, and following the accompanying advice below will help make the entire training process much more efficient! 


3 Things You Should Never Do When Training Your Pup


1. Be Inconsistent


Consistency is KEY! In order for a puppy to learn what is right and what is not, you must consistently enforce good habits ALL THE TIME.


For instance, if you are having an issue with your puppy jumping on you when he is excited, you must tell him that is not appropriate behavior every single time he does it.


If you allow him to jump up on you even one time and then the next time scold him for it, he will be confused.


He will not understand why it was alright for him to jump up on you last time and now this time it is not.


You have to enforce the behavior you are trying to teach your dog EVERY SINGLE TIME. Otherwise, your dog WILL continue to practice the behavior that you want to stop.


Don't Give Up!


Many dog owners have told me that sometimes it is just “easier” to let their dog perform the inappropriate behavior.


When trying to train a new skill, they'll encounter some failure and then get discouraged when their pup isn’t listening to their attempt at correcting the behavior.


For instance, let’s say your dog is just extra excited to see you, and is jumping up on you like crazy. You tell your dog “OFF” and it doesn’t seem to do anything because he is just way too excited.


This is where a lot of owners give up and say that it is easier to just let him jump until he gets his excitement out.


Persistence And Consistency Are Key


Trust me, I understand why trying to correct and control a crazy dog may seem like a lost cause at times, but it is definitely NOT!


Your dog WILL listen to you if you are consistent and persistent. It may take your dog five whole minutes until he settles down and listens to your command, but the important fact is that he eventually WILL listen to your command, and this is a huge amount of progress in correcting the unwanted behavior.


It may seem incredibly repetitive correcting your dog over and over again, especially when it seems like he’s not understanding right away.


But, the more consistent you are with anything, the faster your dog will learn what you are attempting to teach him.


2. Repeating a Command Multiple Times


This is one of the most common mistakes I see owners make when training their puppies. When commanding your puppy to do something, you should only tell him ONE TIME, no exceptions!


This is a common scenario that I come across: an owner telling a puppy to sit, the puppy does not sit, so the owner keeps telling him to sit until he sits.


If you tell your puppy to sit 3 times before he finally sits, he will think that he doesn't have to sit until after the third time you tell him!


This causes a destructive cycle in which your puppy loses regard for your commands as the pack leader. Don’t let this happen!



You want to be able to command your dog to do something and have him do it after only telling him one time.


It may be hard for you to not repeat the command, especially if your puppy’s attention is drifting away from you.


However, you must be firm and stick with this piece of advice. If you do encounter the scenario described above, use your puppy’s name or another noise to refocus his attention back on you (I like to use a ‘kissy noise’).


Under no circumstances should you repeat the command again, even after using your puppy's name or an attention grabber. Use hand gestures and other noises to refocus him back on you.


3. Using Negative Reinforcement

All Things Pups

I strongly believe that using positive reinforcement is the most effective and efficient method for training dogs.


In addition, it’s my personal opinion (along with most others) that there’s no excuse to physically harm the pet you’re supposed to be nurturing and raising as if a member of your family.


What Is Positive Reinforcement Training?


Positive reinforcement uses rewards, such as praise and/or treats, when your dog does something right.


Why Is Positive Reinforcement  Training So Effective?


I'll answer this common question with a question of my own for you 😉


What would make you more determined and excited to complete a task?


A. If every time you completed a task, you were praised for doing it correctly.


B. If every time a task was assigned to you, you were automatically given a negative stimulus until you completed the task. Once you finish the task, the negative stimulus is removed, but there is no praise.


I think it’s safe to say that most people would definitely find the first example more enjoyable of a task to complete!


The first example is an example of positive reinforcement; whereas the second is an example of negative reinforcement.



In my experience, I have found that dogs respond significantly better to positive reinforcement than to negative reinforcement.




Knowing that a reward will be given to them once they complete a task correctly, gives dogs motivation and excitement to complete the task, while providing a positive atmosphere.


You Want Training To Be FUN For Both You And Your Pup!


Positive reinforcement keeps a dog in good spirits and creates a positive environment so that your pup will look forward to training, instead of making it into a chore.


Being aware of these three common training mistakes and making the effort to correct them will make the training process much simpler and incredibly more effective.


Training a puppy is no easy task and does take a lot of work.


However, if you put in the work in the beginning and follow this advice, you and your puppy will enjoy the training process a lot more and you will end up with a happy and well-trained pup!




In summary, here are three things you should never do when training your puppy:

  1. Be Inconsistent
  2. Repeat a Command Multiple Times
  3. Use Negative Reinforcement Training

Serious Dog Owners ONLY!


For a comprehensive, A to Z guide on effectively training a new puppy—as well as just about everything else a new dog owner would need to know, check out "The Puppy Training Handbook” so you can raise a well-behaved dog!


My question of the day for you is, what's the biggest piece of training advice you're looking for?

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How To Read Your Dog’s Stress Signals

stress signals

One of the biggest mistakes that new dog owners make during training is to overlook their dog's body language and emotional signals.


It is so important for you to be able to understand your dog's body language, ESPECIALLY in stressful situations.




When your dog is under stress, it is imperative that you remove him from the situation before it turns into a negative experience that could create poor habits.


Recognizing Stress Signals


How do I know if my dog is stressed out? And how can I tell if my dog needs to be removed from a situation?


The answer to both of these questions is: YOUR DOG WILL TELL YOU!


In fact, he has probably told you that he's been stressed in situations before, but you had NO IDEA because you didn't know what to look for to determine if your dog is stressed or not.



Your dog will display one or more stress signals when he is stressed. Stress signals vary between each dog and some are more apparent than others.


Stress signals may include:

  • Stress yawning
  • This is different than a ‘tired yawn’ in that it is done more intensely and often times repeatedly.
  • Licking of lips
  • This is different than a dog licking his lips because food is around.
  • Pinning ears back
  • His ears will lay down and point behind him.
  • Avoidance
  • Turning his head away or attempting to move away.
  • Excessive panting
  • Panting excessively not because he is tired or hot could mean he is stressed.
  • Growling
  • Growling is a straight-forward indicator that your dog is uncomfortable.
  • Low-positioned tail
  • Tail is out low or between legs, often times only the end is wagging.
  • Dog suddenly biting at his own paws
  • For no reason other than he is uncomfortable in his current environment.

Having this knowledge on stress signals will benefit you by giving you a better understanding of when your dog is not comfortable so you can remove him from situations accordingly.

How To Read Your Dog's Stress Signals - All Things Pups | In this post I talk about why recognizing your dog's stress signals are crucial, what to look out for in your dog's demeanor, and what to do once you've recognized that stress signal :)


Removing Your Dog From Stressful Situations


Why do I need to remove my dog from the situation? Shouldn’t I just help him work through it?


Great question! It's important to remove your dog from the environment while under stress because dogs may lash out or exhibit unwanted behaviors such as aggression out of fear, so you want to prevent these situations from escalating before they get to the point of no return.


What Should I Do When My Dog Is Stressed Out?


Stress signals are your dog's way of warning you and whatever is stressing him out that he is not comfortable in the situation, which is why it’s so important to NEVER scold your dog for exhibiting any type of stress signal, even growling.


If you punish your dog for growling, next time he’s stressed out he may skip the warning signal that he is stressed and go straight to exhibiting a behavior out of fear, such as attacking the object—which you most certainly do not want!




Being able to distinguish your dog’s own stress signals will help you to better understand your dog and make both of your lives less stressful.


If you notice your dog displaying one of the stress signals listed above, be sure to remove him from the situation until you are able to work through the stimuli with an experienced trainer/behaviorist!


What kind of stress signals does your dog display when he is stressed?

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How Long Does It Take To Train A Puppy?

People ask me ALL the time, “How long will it take to train my puppy?”.


I hate to break it to you, but there is no right answer to this question!


However, I understand where many questions like these come from—wanting to know how many sessions you will need to pay for, wondering when your puppy will no longer run your life, and so on.


The reason why there's no correct answer to this question is because the question itself is WAY too broad. There are SO many factors that go into training a puppy.


What Is The Perfectly "Trained" Dog?


That's the thing, if you asked 10 dog owners what they think a 'perfectly-trained' dog is, you would almost certainly get 10 completely different answers. Which leads me to my next question... 


What do you consider to be a well-trained dog...?


...One that sits on command and comes when called?


...One that is potty trained?


...One that does a lot of tricks on a whim?


As you can see, the answer to the question, "What is the perfectly trained dog", becomes much less black and white when you consider the varying opinions and preferences of each dog owner.


Setting Training Goals


Everyone has their own definition of what they think makes a dog 'well-trained', and therefore, their own goals for their individual dog.


You need to think about what YOUR definition of a “trained dog” entails.


This will allow us to paint a clearer picture of the path to take to get to where you want to be with your pup.


How Long Training Should Take


As you embark on this journey of training your pup, you will get bombarded with misleading claims by other trainers that they can train any puppy "in X amount of days”..


I would be VERY weary of such programs, because as a dog trainer with over a decade of experience, I can confidently say that every single dog I’ve trained has been different in some way.


With that being said, how can anyone claim to be able to train your dog in a certain number of days?


The only way that I could tell you how long it is going to take to train your puppy is if I were psychic, but I'm not 🙁


Whether you achieve that through our services and resources, or someone else, isn't as important to me as ensuring that you get the best training possible for your dog. Period!


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Imagine you are just beginning a new sport.


Would you expect yourself to be a master of it after one lesson?


I guarantee not. What about after a week of lessons? Definitely not a master. Well, you must have the same levels of patience and realistic expectations for your dog.


You can’t expect your dog to be a master at a skill you are just introducing to him to.


You can’t expect him to be a master of this new skill even after a week.


That's why it's so ridiculous to see dog trainers who claim that they can "potty train ANY puppy in 7 days".



Now let's say you give your all in every session of your new sport for a week.


I think it’s reasonable to say you absolutely can expect to make some progress in developing your skills in this sport.


Similarly, if you give your all in training your dog for a week, you can absolutely expect your pup to make progress.


However, if you only give 50% of your all in each session of this new sport, obviously it will take longer to achieve your goal, than if you gave 100% every time.


Once again, the same goes for training your pup.


If you aren’t 100% consistent and persistent with training your dog in whatever area it may be, it is going to take longer to for your puppy to master what you are trying to train him.




If you take ANYTHING out of this post, let it be this: Every single puppy is different with the amount of time it takes them to catch on to training concepts!


Some puppies are faster learners than others.


Some puppies have behaviors embedded in them from their genetics that make training more difficult; while others exhibit behaviors due to their genetics that make training easier.


And even then, not every dog of the same breed is going to have identical behaviors and intelligence.



Every single dog has his own combination of character, intelligence level, and overall behavior. Therefore, there are a plethora of possible genetic and environmental factors that can lead your puppy to be more or less receptive to training.


However, with my extensive background in dog training, I CAN promise you that by following my advice in "The Puppy Training Handbook", or through one-on-one training sessions, your puppy will be trained in the fastest and most efficient way HE can possibly be trained!


What do you need help with when training your pup? Let me know in the comments below!

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