Walking Skills: Lure to heel position

Luring to Heel Position

To be successful Luring to Heel, you want to have practiced luring and use of a marker (yes or click).

Put your baited hand to your dog’s nose.  Step your left foot back and slowly bring your dog back a little bit behind you.  Step  your left foot forward,  and when your dog gets into heel position by your left leg mark it (yes or click) and  give the treat.

This is luring so we will use “Say it, Show it, Pay it.”

When your dog is moving with you successfully, add “With Me” or “Heel” or “Walking,”whichever cue you choose, at the start of the exercise.  After your dog is moving into position successfully begin to add a few steps.



Posted in Uncategorized |

Dog Training Foundation Skills: Paying Attention

Dog Paying Attention: Eye Contact

Your dog paying attention to you is a foundation skill at the root of all good behavior.  The dog can’t do what you ask if he isn’t paying attention to you.  For calling your dog, it is important that your dog develop a habit of checking in by looking at you.  This drill can help establish that behavior.

After you have taught your dog to make eye contact with you, you can make the game a bit harder with a little distraction.  That distraction is holding your hands out with treats.  (Remember the 3 D’s? Duration Distance Distraction)

Mark your dog (yes or click) by putting the treat on the floor.  This gives your dog a chance to look away while eating and then look back at you.  A Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized |

Teach Come With Find it and Hand Target

Come: Calling your dog

Teaching your dog to come to you requires lots of successful repetition.  Its hard to get this because a lot of people call their dog for things they don’t like, such as coming in from the yard or to leave the dog park.

A hand target and “find it” can get you lots of good practice calling your dog. This drill is great because you build a strong reinforcement history.  You also develop a positive association with the dog’s name.  Plus, it makes recall fun.

The benefit of the hand target is that it brings the dog all the way to you.   That way you avoid drive by returns, when the dog comes to you but runs right past you.


I like to say “(dog’s name), Come!” at times when I don’t seriously need the dog to come to me immediately.  I use a hand target (dog’s name Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized |

Bungee Stays

Teaching Your Dog to Stay

Remember the 3ds? Duration distance distraction?  We use these to help our dogs develop fluency with Any behavior that we are teaching.

Bungee stays are a great drill for teaching stay. In this drill you are teaching your dog about distance while minimizing duration and adding little distraction, your movement. (Remember the 3 Ds? Duration, distraction, and distance.)

As always start training this drill in an area with few distractions, a hungry dog, and some treats.

Once you have mastered a duration of stay at about 20 seconds, with you standing right in front of your dog, you can practice bungee stays.

When the dog is seated, standing or down in front of you, give the stay Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized |

“Leave It” – Get Started with Impulse Control and Good Manners

What is the “Leave It” Cue

“Leave it” is a cue to teach impulse control – a key to good manners.  Specifically, it means “take your nose away from that.”  So, it helps to make leash walking more pleasant as there are times when your dog will sometimes investigate things that are off limits.   It can be lifesaving when used to keep a puppy from picking up a spilled bottle of something dangerous like prescription medicine.  Or it can be used to say get your nose away from your sandwich, or stop paying attention to that other dog.  Here’s how you start.

How to teach Leave It

As always when training, start with a dog who wants to eat. Fill a bowl Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized |

Dog Training: Is Jumping Up Driving you Crazy?

How to Stop Dog Jumping

I like jumping on the neighbors.

The fastest way to deal with  jumping up? Prevent it.

Put your dog on a leash or behind a gate when guests or family come over.  Often, after a few minutes of a guest being in the home, the dog will be more calm and you will be more able to ask your dog for polite behavior.  It also helps to ask your guests to ignore the dog.  If the dog is on a leash, stand far enough away that the dog cannot make contact by jumping up.  Step on the leash to make it shorter if that helps you keep your dog closer to you and to the ground.  You can also attach your dog to a tether on to a sturdy piece of furniture.

Give your dog a wonderful stuffed kong or other treat when he is behind the gate so he doesn’t feel like its such a bad deal.  Dogs are social, so rather than putting the in a closed room, I generally prefer having the dog behind a gate or on a leash where he can see what is going on.  But you will learn what works best for you.

Train what you want your dog to do instead of jumping…

by catching your dog NOT jumping.  Get to know your dog — you can probably already tell when they are going to jump.  Before the dog jumps up, mark and reward your dog for having four feet on the floor or for sitting.  To be successful with this you  will need to be ready with plenty of treats and deliver them quickly.  Having your dog on a leash may help.  Teaching your dog a solid “go to your mat” for greetings is a great longer-term training goal.

Use Reward Removal

You will need some friends to help you with this one – people who will turn around and walk away as soon as the dog begins to jump. Click here for a video of how to do it from the amazing Gail Fisher and All Dog’s Gym.   By turning around and walking away, the reward (jumping and saying hi), is removed.

Remember: if you DON’T want your dog to jump on guests he should not practice doing it with you.  Try not to inadvertently reward your dog for jumping on you or other family members by petting, pushing away, yelling, talking, or otherwise acknowledging your dog.  Don’t make your returns home a big deal.  Get some help from others in the home for training and managing the dog when you arrive.   Get plenty of exercise for your dog so that she is not rearing-to-go when you come home.



Posted in Uncategorized |

Heeling Basics #3: Lure to Heel and Right Turn

Lure to Heel Position:

We are using a lure to get our dog into position and a marker (click or yes) to teach our dog where to be when we are walking.  When the dog gets to your left hip, mark and reward.

I don’t think dogs instinctively know that we expect them to turn with us when we walk.  So, we teach them that its a good behavior that we like.    In this drill, you start by marking any movement towards you after or while you step.  Deliver the reward by your left hip.  As the dog gets better following your steps, mark when the dog gets to your left hip or if he stays at your left hip, keeping pace with you.  As in earlier stages,  reward at your left hip.   Also, after your dogs gets the idea that she is to move with you as you turn, name the behavior and say “right” before you step to the right.  Its only fair that just as if you were walking with a  human friend you would tell them you are turning (unless its a familiar route and destination.)  So, its nice to have a word that you can use with your dog to tell her you are turning.


Posted in Uncategorized |

Dog Training Products

There are lots of dog training products out there — some goof and others not as good.  This is meant to help you by good stuff, but not all dogs and people are the same, so your preferences may differ.

Dog Training Products- Harnesses:

Front clip harnesses are useful for training your dog to walk on a loose leash.  The clip in the front by the heck helps to redirect the dog to you when he pulls.  A harness also reduces your dog’s chances of getting hurt from pressure on the trachea when pulling.

My favorite harness is the Walk-in-Sync harness and leash combination.  I find it easier to put on than other styles and it Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized |

Communicating with your Dog: Marker Training

Establishing a Marker (click or “yes”)

Marker training if one of the most effective developments in dog training to become widespread in the last ten years. You will find that trainers of gun dogs, trick dogs, service dogs and pet dogs — even those who were once poo-pooed the method now embrace it. The method is best known from the world of marine animal training (dolphins trained for the military, for example) where people need a way to communicate with animals that can’t be controlled physically.

How does Marker Training work?

It is fabulously simple. A marker is a precise stimulus sound (usually a sound like a click or a word like “yes”) used to communicate with your animal.


First, we teach the dog that the click means he will receive a reward. So, the dog develops a positive association with the Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged ,

Heeling Basics #2 – Reward Zone, Position, Hand Touches

Heeling is useful for walking through crowds, crossing streets, avoiding unwanted dog encounters and more.  Once you have taught your dog to move with you, give you attention, and offer hand touches you are ready to start training your dog to heel.  You success will ing upon whether or not you build a lot of history for reward happening at your side. Its also helpful to be clear in your communication, so I like beginning with ahand on your hip.  With lots of reward the dog will recognize that hand position as saying “the green light light for reward at my owner’s side.”  Deliver rewards at your left side (belly button to hip and then down).

Some of those steps are described in this video Click this link).


Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged ,