Month: June 2016

Why Clicker Training Is Overrated

Clicker training all things pups

You probably have seen people at the pet store training classes using a clicker to train their puppy.


If you don’t know what I’m talking about, a clicker is a little plastic device that makes a clicking noise when you push down on the button.


When training, you are supposed to make the clicking noise when your puppy exhibits the correct behavior or trick. Then your puppy associates the clicking noise with doing the right thing.


Don’t get me wrong, I think the idea of associating the clicker sound with positivity to tell your pup he performed the correct behaviors is definitely beneficial to training.


I DO believe that the clicker method works, however, there is one major flaw that hinders its usefulness:


That is, are you actually going to keep a clicker on you at all times? 24/7? Because that’s what it requires to implement clicker training.


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Think about it like this...


If training clickers are so effective and convenient, then why don’t you see everyone at the dog park, dog beach, or even your local dog daycare using clickers to correct their dog’s behavior?


Even if you committed to carrying a clicker on you at all times, I guarantee you that you would forget it occasionally. I know that I sure would!


Even if you are a professional dog trainer like me, it's still not the best option at your disposal to train a dog how to respond to commands.



Because it’s my passion to teach dog owners practical skills and techniques so that they can have a well-trained dog for life, not just for a temporary fix!!


And I don’t know about you, but most people I know don’t want to carry around a training clicker every time they’re out with their pup!


More importantly, why would I train somebody’s dog using a tool that they don’t want to use? This is the case with 95% of the dog owners I work with.


So what's the solution?


all things pups clicker

Instead of using a physical clicker device, I like to use a ‘clicker’ that I am forced to have on me at all times... my voice. 


You obviously have this ‘clicker’ on you at all times, I suggest you use it to your advantage!


For training purposes, choose a ‘clicker word’ that you will use to signal to your puppy that he has correctly done what you are asking him to do.


I say a specific word instead of phrase because you want something very short and sweet.


" What can I use as my ‘clicker word'? "

Personally, I use the word "yes" as my clicker word when training dogs; it has been incredibly successful in my training experiences and dogs respond very well to it.



It is easy, fast, and I don’t find myself just telling my dog “yes” unless we are working on training.


Therefore, it’s not easily confused with other words by my dogs, which makes it PERFECT as a ‘clicker word’. Other examples of ‘clicker words’ are the words “good” and “right”.


*Notice that I did not include “good boy” or “good girl” in the examples of clicker words. To find out why, check out the ‘Finding a ‘Clicker Word’ section in “The Puppy Training Handbook”.*


" How do I use a ‘clicker word’? "

When training your pup, your ‘clicker word’ will ALWAYS be followed by a treat or reward such as physical affection. In your puppy’s mind: ‘Clicker word’ + treat = I did something good!


When paired with consistent positive reinforcement training methods, properly utilizing a ‘clicker word’ is one of the most important tools to use for raising a well-behaved dog!

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7 Tips For a Successful Trip To The Dog Beach

dog beach

If you have access to a local dog beach, this can be an amazing way to exercise your dog, while also catching some rays and allowing your dog to socialize. Win-win!


Whether it’s your pup’s first trip to the dog beach and you want to be prepared, or you want to make your trips to the dog beach less stressful, we’ll go over everything you need to know in order to be well-prepared and make your dog beach escapade as smooth as possible.


First of all, let’s get one thing straight: the dog beach is NOT the beach. It is not ANYTHING close to the experience of going to the beach for pleasure.


If you truly pay attention to your dog, you will not be able to lay out and relax, so don’t expect it to be calm and peaceful.


The truth is, the dog beach can be a lot of fun, but it can also be overwhelming and crazy. Remember that you’re doing this for your dog, and it will be an absolute blast for him or her!


Here are 7 guidelines to help you on your dog beach adventure:

All Things Pups dog beach

1. Bring LOTS of water for your pup!


This is extremely important for two reasons:


a. It is very important for your dog to stay hydrated ESPECIALLY when he’s running around playing in the heat.


b. If you do not provide your dog with fresh water, he will drink the ocean water. You definitely do not want this. Salt water can cause diarrhea, vomiting, and dehydration in dogs.


2. Leave the dog food at home


I have seen people bring dog food to the beach, worried that their pup will get hungry.


Keep in mind that you are not going to be at the dog beach the entire day, so your pup will be OK if he eats lunch a couple hours later


That point aside, you should never feed your dog right before exercising him. This can end up in him throwing up his food.


Also, you will have a swarm of dogs surrounding you. All the dogs will want to be your best friend of course when you have the food. Some dogs can be food aggressive, you never know, so it’s best to just not have any food around to prevent any issues.


3. Be aware of the heat


It is very easy for dogs to overheat, so be extremely aware of this. Don’t bring your dog to the beach on the hottest day of the summer.


Mornings and nights when it is not so hot are better times to bring your pup. Just remember that they are going to the beach with a winter coat on—if you are too hot, your dog is definitely too hot.


4. Be cautious of other dogs


One of the biggest issues I have come across at dog beaches and dog parks is not worrying about my own dogs as much, but worrying about other people’s dogs.


Some people decide to bring dogs to the dog beach that really aren’t meant to socialize with other dogs, especially in big groups with off leash freedom.


Everyone wants their dog to be a dog beach and dog park dog, but the truth is that not every dog is!


Be watchful when your dog is playing with other dogs. Sometimes, dogs just get too excited and overwhelmed that their play needs to stopped.


With all of the off-leash freedom, it is important to just be aware of how the other dogs are acting towards your dog as well.


If your dog’s social behavior is like what I have just described above, and he gets too excited and overwhelmed around other dogs (such as where he just snaps sometimes), your dog should not be going to the beach.


It’s not to say that your dog will never be able to go to the dog beach, but the dog beach is just not the place to work through this issue.


You need to work on this in a more low-key, controlled setting where you can control and monitor your dog’s stimuli.


For more information on how to correct behaviors of reactive dogs, check out the “Solving Behavioral Problems” section in “The Puppy Training Handbook” for detailed strategies on how to address these types of issues.


5. Listen to your vet!


PLEASE take your vet’s advice on not bring your puppy to the dog beach until he is fully vaccinated!


I know that you are probably so excited to take your puppy places (and show everyone how cute he is), but trust me, your vet is absolutely right about this one.


It is NOT worth taking your puppy before he is fully vaccinated and having him contract something. Just be patient and wait until it is safe for your puppy!


6. Prepare for sand fleas


Sand fleas or beach fleas are the MOST dangerous type of fleas. They are rice grain-sized fleas that come from the sand and feed on your dog’s blood.


Make sure your dog has received a flea treatment preventative before you take him to the dog beach.


7. Don't forget your toys!


Finally, don't forget to bring some toys that your dog loves!


Whether it be a ball launcher, frisbee, or another waterproof toy, beach toys are incredibly useful tools to help you exert your dog's energy in a way that is fun for you both!


My dog goes absolutely crazy for the Chuckit! Ball Launcher. All of the Chuckit! toys are so much fun for dogs to fetch.

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How To Stop Your Dog From Jumping Up On People

dog jumping

Does your dog love to jump up on you and/or other people?


If the answer is yes—don’t worry—you are definitely NOT alone. 


And for those of you who are thinking: “Yes Fluffy just loves me so much and is so excited when I get home that she jumps up on me to give me a hug”...


..Did you know that jumping up on people is actually a behavioral issue that you should not encourage?


In fact, this behavior is one of the most common behavioral issues we see with the clients that we work with who want to have a well-behaved dog.


Owners often have a lot of trouble with getting dogs (of all ages) to stop jumping up on them and other people. Often, I get asked..


"Is there anything really wrong with this?"


Like I referenced earlier, some puppy owners tell me that they don’t mind that their puppy jumps up on them. If this is you, you need to think about this:


It may not seem like that big of a deal now and you may even think it is cute, but will you mind when your 80 pound dog is jumping on you? Chances are good that you will care when your dog knocks you down to the ground and causes you to have an injury.


Or, if your puppy will only grow to be a smaller adult dog, do you want your dog jumping up on every person who walks through your door or every person who greets your dog?


Also, chances are good that you will have your dog out in public at some point (unless you are a hermit that lives a reclusive life in the depths of the jungle).


There ARE people in this world that don’t like dogs  (they are absolutely insane, I know), and definitely don’t want a dog jumping up on them.


Why does my dog like to jump on people?


Aside from excitement, dogs may also jump up on people to assert dominance as the pack leader.


Whenever you come home, your dog wants to make sure you know that he is the pack leader.


The same goes when guests come over—your dog wants them to know the home is his territory, and he is the dominant one.


Being dominant over you or any human is NOT a trait you want your dog to possess.


A dog who believes he is dominant over his owner is bound to have many, many issues and can also become aggressive with the owner very easily.


So what’s the solution?


The most important thing that you can do when trying to correct this behavior is to NEVER allow your dog to jump up on ANYONE, EVER.


Often times we see people allow their dog to jump up on them sometimes, and then other times scold them for it.


Maybe one day you get home from work and are so excited to see your dog that you don’t mind him jumping up and “hugging you,” but the next day you are not in the mood for his jumping and scold him for it.


This does absolutely nothing but confuse your pup.


You MUST be consistent with what you deem as an appropriate behavior, and what is not appropriate, and strictly enforce it with your dog.


The other common issue is owners telling us that they don’t care if their pup jumps up on them, but they don’t want their dog jumping on other people.


This is too confusing for dogs to understand!


They don’t comprehend that they are able to jump on one person, but not others. What dogs do comprehend is that they are not allowed to do something or that they are not allowed to do something altogether.


"So what should I do when my puppy jumps up on me?"


If your puppy attempts to jump up on you:


  • Tell him/her “OFF”.
  • Turn your body so that your back is facing your puppy.When you move your body this way, your pup will automatically put his paws back down to the floor (where they belong).
  • Turn to face your pup again and repeat the steps if he continues to jump on you.
  • Practice this routine until it becomes a habit for your pup to not jump up.

What should I do when my puppy jumps up on guests or strangers?


When you have house guests, I suggest putting your puppy on a leash if you know that he is going to want to jump up on them.


Inform your guests that you don’t allow him to jump up and instruct them to turn their body and tell him “OFF” if he does.


Often times, dogs jump up on people out of excitement when their owner is just getting home.


If this is the case with your pup, the steps above may not be enough to calm your pup down and get him to stop jumping up on you.


To find out what else you can do to get your overly excited puppy to stop jumping up on people so you can feel comfortable about bringing them in public, check out the “Solving Behavioral Problems” section in “The Puppy Training Handbook” for an incredibly detailed solution to this problem!

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How To Respond To Your Pup's Accident

How To Respond To Your Puppy's Accident

I think the worst part about raising a puppy is thinking your puppy is finally catching on to house training, and then he or she squats right in front of you and leaves a nice puddle on your carpet.


It’s hard not to be frustrated, and think: “What am I doing wrong?! I could have sworn he or she was just understanding that outside is where we go potty!”


With my puppies and the dozens of foster puppies I have raised, I have been in this position many times, so don’t worry, you are not alone!


Let’s get this straight, your puppy WILL have an accident in the house.


Even if you are doing everything right in the house training process, I can almost guarantee you that accidents are going to happen.


Be prepared for this and do your best to not get frustrated when they do happen. One of the most beneficial things you can do for the house training process is to properly correct your pup when he or she does have an accident in the house.


So, first of all, why is your puppy having accidents in the house?

All Things pups accident

1.  Your pup is confused about where he is supposed to go potty


From the moment you bring your puppy home, you should begin house training.


Choose the place outside that you are going to bring your puppy every single time.


This will help him associate this area with you wanting him to go potty and teach him that outside is where he needs to go potty. Each time you bring him to this area, tell him “go potty.”


When he does go potty outside, you need to throw him the biggest praise celebration every single time-with treats included!!


2. You are not letting your puppy outside enough


You need to bring your puppy outside more frequently. Yes, it’s going to be annoying having to go out so often in the beginning, but that’s part of having a puppy.


I recommend dog owners bring their puppies outside every thirty minutes after first bringing a new dog home. Yes, you read that right. Every thirty minutes.


Bring the pup outside to a designated area and say “go potty.” The more often you bring your puppy outside in the beginning, the more times your puppy will go potty in the grass, and the faster the house training process will be.


3. You are giving your puppy too much free roam around the house


If your puppy is just roaming around the house all day, it will be very difficult to house train him. He will go potty wherever he pleases because he can. Your puppy’s crate will be your best friend during house training.


I use the crate A LOT in the beginning of house training because it is so incredibly beneficial for house training a puppy. Puppies won’t usually go potty where they sleep, so it is very rare that a pup will go potty in his crate (as long as you are crate training properly as well!)


Get in the habit of having your pup in his crate with a chew toy, instead of roaming about the house, meanwhile giving him the opportunity to pee wherever he pleases.


Whenever you take your puppy out of the crate, bring him straight outside to his designated potty spot.


What should I do when my puppy has an accident in the house?


This is one of the most common questions we receive from new dog owners.


Good thing, because it is also one of the most important when you’ve never owned a puppy before. How you as the owner responds to your puppy having an accident is incredibly important to successful house training.


If you catch your puppy going potty in the house:


1. RUN to your puppy.


2. Say “No” and pick him up.


3. Bring him outside to the designated potty area and tell him to “go potty”.


Seriously.. run! Whenever one of my puppies started squatting in the house, I literally sprinted to the pup to try to catch him before he started going!


Even if he is already going, get to him as fast as you can and pick him up. He will stop going once you pick him up, so don’t be hesitant to pick him up because of that.


Just get him outside to his spot as fast as you can.


Is there anything else I should do?


These are the ONLY three steps to take when your puppy has an accident. This. Is. It. Despite what you may read other places, those three steps is all it takes.


Your puppy will NOT respond well to negative reinforcement and excessive scolding, and it WILL stall the house training process.



- Rub your puppy’s nose in his accident

- Put your puppy in the crate as punishment for having an accident

- Yell or aggressively scold your puppy

- Just watch your puppy have an accident and not do anything about it

- Scold your puppy for an accident you didn’t see him do


Of these myths, the last one is probably the most common mistake.


Many people will find a pile of poop or a puddle of urine in the house that they did not even notice their puppy make, get upset, and then scold the puppy for doing it.


When you do this, your puppy has NO idea what you are scolding him for. By this point, he doesn’t even remember going to the bathroom in the house!


Scolding him will NOT benefit you in any way at this point. So, unfortunately there is really nothing to do in this situation other than to clean it up.


House training your pup is obviously one of the biggest issues that new dog owners encounter.


That’s why we developed “The Puppy Training Handbook” Program, so that new dog owners have a reliable, complete resource when it comes to how to potty train their pup and just about everything else you need to know as a new dog owner!


But don’t just take it from us, check out what others are saying about “The Puppy Training Handbook” HERE and see if you’re ready to make the jump to become the best dog owner you can possibly be!

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