dog behavior houston, Jim burwell

Backyard Barking Solutions



Why Is My Dog  Barking in the Backyard?

If your dog’s backyard barking has got you concerned, and your neighbors are complaining, it’s always best to figure out first why he’s barking.

He could be fence-barking at the dog next door, like Keeper does sometimes, or he could be just plain old bored, like Keeper is sometimes.

Keeper  thinks he needs to be entertained 24/7. Sound familiar?

Backyard Barking Solutions

So, couple of solutions.

On the barking at the neighbor’s dog and noises in the back yard, what I would begin to do is to contain your dog more in the short run, while you begin to work on fixing it.

For Keeper, I have put him on a long line as you can see in the video.  It’s just a 10ft cotton line with a snap hook attached at the end.  This gets attached to his collar WHEN you can supervise your dog.  It is never to be left on when your dog is not supervised by an adult.

We put Keeper on a long line initially as a puppy  Doing this meant we had some control over him  and he tended to mind a whole lot better in the house,\

It also gave us better control  in the back yard.

With Keeper, it’s easier to contain his barking, and get him to listen to “quiet” when he does tend to go bark at the fence or at some kind of noise.

How to Use the Line to Control Backyard Barking

The barking starts and you should always give the  come command and praise and treat when he gets to you.

You have to do repetitions, and you have to be in the back yard to make that work for you, but he is definitely a lot more attentive to us when he is on the line.

Toys to Use to Stop Backyard Barking

As you can see right here, I’ve got a Bob-A-Lot, and I’ve got an Intellect Ball here. BOTH have been filled with small pieces of dog food kibble

You put a couple of these out in the back yard for your dog and it will keep him focused on doing something other than barking.

Watch as I show you how it works with Keeper.

Of course, now that I’m out here, I’m just going to make him sit. Good. Hold that sit like that. Good. Good. Yes.

Release him and put a couple of these items down here for him to go to town on, so instead of focusing on some other kind of noise to bark at or something like that, he’s going to be busy playing with his Bob-A-Lot or his Intellect toy.

There’s a couple of solutions for you, right there. Give them a try. By the way, it wouldn’t hurt to kind of keep him on a line in the back yard, as long as you can supervise him.

So that’s two solutions for you. Try them at your house, see if it works for your dog. I’m Jim Burwell, and this is Keeper, and we can still be found at

Don’t Punish Backyard Barking Behavior – Find the Cause

More times than not, dogs bark in the yard because of boredom.  They may also bark at the dog next door.  Both stress and the barrier frustration of the fence and not being

able to engage with the dog cause STRESS.  The entire purpose of the food dispensing toys is to create mental fatigue.  Mental fatigue reduces stress.  Less strees means less

or no backyard barking.

Together, We Can Raise a Happy and Obedient Dog!

dog training Houston

Creative Exercise For Your Dog


Creative Exercise Manages Energy

Using creative exercise is one way that we manage Keeper’s incredibly smart brain and wear his little butt out!

I’ve been using fetch with Keeper, to have him fetch his dummy for exercise.

When I’m gone during the day, Leila uses this as well. BUT the end results of being tired, did not last that long. But she discovered that if she took the very same fetching bumper that we use and she hides it while he’s in his crate her world gets better!

 Creative Exercise Stimulates Your Dog’s Brain

She uses this creative exercise to tire his mind out. She puts him in his crate so he can’t cheat, tThen brings him out and says, “Find it.” The nose goes to the ground and he’s off and looking.

The result of using such creative exercise is: he is a lot more tired from doing that after about four to six “find it’s” . Find it, exercises his doggie brain more than fetching. Fetching is a no brainer. He’s a Retriever, so he just runs and gets it, brings it back, and it’s just physical exercise, which is good for dogs, don’t misunderstand me, but working his mind gets him extremely tired. When you have a smart dog you have to get creative with exercise.

We exercise him physically and we’re also exercising him mentally. Do some nose work with your dog like Leila did with Keeper.

Keeper has to use his nose to find the bumper that Leila hides in the house. This is great for a rainy day too. If Keeper’s looking to go for a walk on a rainy day and we just don’t want to get out in the weather, then we’ll do some find it games.

How We Do The Find It Game

What we’ll do is we’ll either put him in his crate, or put him on his place or dog bed while Leila hides bumper or his toy. You don’t always have to use a fetching bumper. You can use a stuffy animal or something like that one of your dogs favorite toys.

She’ll hide it in one of the bedrooms, maybe under a pile of dirt clothes, and then we’ll come back, let him out of the crate and we’ll send him to go find it. He is mentally exhausted and sleeps for a couple of hours after that. He doesn’t do that after a good game of fetch, okay, so mental creative exercise works!

Here’ s the thing, if your dog is not a fetcher, not a retriever naturally, they still have a highly sensitive sense of smell. You can use something out of your kitchen cupboard. You could grab some vanilla extract, put it on a cotton ball and drag it across the floor, while your dog’s not looking and then put some cookie crumbs in the scent trail and a big food treat at the end as his prize. Then, bring him in, point to it and say, “Find It”, and he will associate the food treats with keeping his nose to the ground and following that vanilla extract or whatever scent you use on the ground till he hits the big prize at the end of the trail.

Scared Dog Confidence Builder- Find It


Help Your Scared Dog Can Gain Confidence with Find It!

Every dog, even your scared dog, has a very keen sense of smell. This can be used as a real confidence builder, especially with a scared dog.  Nose games  train them to use their nose to find things.

You can play “find it” in the house or out in the back yard.  The purpose of the game it to teach your scared dog that he can make good things happen.

As you will see on this video, I’ve used some very simple household things to do a little find-it game with our dog Keeper. Let’s take a look.

How To Structure the Find It Game

First you want to crate your dog so that he can’t see what you’re doing.

Then you go into the other room and you get some vanilla extract out of your cupboard,  a cotton ball, some scotch tape and some thread to it so you can drag the cotton ball  along the floor.
We set a trail just like this with the cotton ball that Keeper will track. Leila is setting it here. She’s going to turn the corner right here and then she’s going to make another turn, dragging the cotton ball like this.

What you might find that  helps your dog  initially, is to put some food treats, crumbs, in the trails to help him keep his nose to the ground. Now she’s putting a big food treat reward at the end of the trail to see if Keeper can find it.

She points to it and says, “Find it.” Now our ceiling fans are blowing the scent around, so he is off the trail a little bit, but he knows there’s a trail.  Sure enough, there he goes and he finds it.

Your Scared Dog Is Thinking!   Wow I Did This!

Another variation of the find-it game, tracking, basically, or nose work, is to find a toy, a favorite toy or article, like this.

This is Keeper’s little fetch bumper. It’s his baby bumper. Leila is going to hide it in the backyard some place. He is in his crate so he can’t peak. No cheating. You’re going to hide it in the backyard. We’re going to go back and get him and ask him to find it.  Every time your scared dog “finds it” the message to his brain is:  I can make this happen!

 She set a track for Keeper to follow.

He’ll be following either her track, or, since he’s done this exercise a few times before, he may just be looking for the bumper, but that’s the whole point.

Once your dog gets the game, he will find it extremely challenging to try to beat the clock and find the toy no matter where you put it.

She stuffed it in a fence post right back there in the corner of the yard, and we will send Keeper after it.

What You Can Use For Your Scared Dog To “Find”

You don’t always have to use a retrieving bumper for your dog to find.

You can use a stuffy like this. This is one of Keeper’s old stuffy toys that we use in the house too. It can be a rubber bone thing like this. It’s whatever is his favorite toy.

It really doesn’t matter.

Stuffies are good to drag across the floor once you crate your dog and teach him to find his favorite stuffy like this. We put Keeper in his crate, hid this in one of the bedrooms, and he tracked our scent where we walked to find this stuffy right here.

Nose Work is Really Easy For Any Dog.

You just have to teach them to follow a track. You can do that by laying a track, even your own personal track as you walk from one end of the room to the other and come back again, dropping food treats in the track, and then send your dog to get his stuffy like that.

It’s real easy to do.

It’s a big confidence builder, especially for scared dogs, just like I said before.

Try this. Work your dog. Above all, have fun doing it. It’s a great way to bond with your dog and do fun things.

dog behavior Houston, Jim Burwell

How To Get Well Mannered Play From Your Dog

Teach Your Dog Well Mannered Play

What I want to say about younger puppies and play styles.

Critical element:  Well Mannered Play.  If you bring a younger puppy into your home and you have an older, soft-tempered dog, your puppy play with your soft-tempered dog, especially if there’s no pushback from the older dog, is going to be just like he does with his littermates.  This is going to be wrestling and jumping on the older dogs, also some mouthing and biting of the scruff and things like that.

With no pushback, what the puppy begins to learn is this is acceptable dog play.

Meaning,  once he’s fully vetted and he gets into a dog park, this play style is not going to bode well with many other dogs and then fights may ensue.

What do you do?  You train for well mannered play.

You really temper the play with your older dog.

Make your corrections using positive reinforcement. 

We tend to let the puppy and the dog kind of play with each other, burn some energy, and that’s good for us because we don’t have to worry about doing that with a new puppy with all of that energy.  

But here’s another thing that begins to happen.

The puppy’s main relationship is going to be with the older dog, and the only relationship possibly that he’s going to see between owners and himself is that if you correct bad behavior, chewing on furniture, house holding, and stuff like that.

You can begin to see this contrasting difference between, “I like to play with my sibling because that’s a good positive relationship that I can understand”, your pup might think, “but it’s these people in the house, these two legged people, that are giving me a bunch of trouble here.”

Be careful how you interact with your puppy.

Be sensitive and aware to the fact that you need to create a good working relationship with your puppy.

Do obedience training with him.

Spend a lot of time with him.

Most assuredly, make sure that the interaction between your puppy and your older dog is one that is easy-going so that he learns how to have well mannered play. Just redirect to a chew toy or something like that if he’s on your other dog.

Your other dog, as soft-tempered of a nature that he or she might be, would probably appreciate it. I hope that explains it a little bit more. 

Walking Your Scared Dog – What Keeps You Up At Night

Hi Folks: this message is specifically for my subscribers to my 3 Tips to Walk Your Scared Dog.

Be sure to leave your comments below in the comment section


Don’t Have My 3 Tips?   Get them HERE

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Your Leash is Talking to Your Dog

We communicate with our dogs in many ways. One of which is how WE handle the leash that is attached to our dog.

If you are dealing with a dog that is scared on walks, how you handle the leash sends either good or not so good messages to your dog.

Watch the video and learn how to be better at walking your dog on leash and what messages you are sending your dog.

If you need help walking your scared dog and your don’t have my 3 tips yet – grab them HERE

dog behavior Houston, JimBurwell

Is Your Dog Interested in You?

Signs your dog is not interested in you:

My dog will not come to me when I call him! In fact he completely ignores me. How do I fix that

Easy – become interesting to your dog!. Be the person he looks forward to seeing. Be the person that makes fun things happen.

Be the person who gets your dog to use that brilliant brain he has inside that head.

To make your dog interested in you—you have to become interesting to your dog. I’ll show and exlain how in the video below

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Confidence Building for Scared Dogs

Scared dogs need help with confidence.  Building the confidence in your scared dog can be as easy as playing a game.

When your dog learns that doing one thing gets him something  he wants – that’s confidence building and the lightbuld goes off and he thinks YES I DID IT.

The great part about this exercise for your  dog is that he can do them when he’s home alone OR with your participation

Watch the video below and see how easy it can be to build confidence in your  dog.

Also if your DON”T have my 3 tips for walking your  dog, you can get those HERE

Tug with Your Dog – Good or Bad?

Playing Tug With Your Dog. Good or bad for your dog?

A lot of people have read that it’s not a good game to play  tug with your dog. But it can be a great energy burning exercise for your dog.  But there are a few rules to understand about the game.


First, let’s talk about the type of toy for Tug of War

When  teaching your dog to play tug, I prefer that you use a cylindrical toy, kind of like this.  Or if your dog likes stuffies, here’s a well used stuffy.

The reason that I use a cylindrical toy, is I can grip both ends.  When I grip both ends, I control 2/3 of the toy, Keeper’s 1/3 is in the middle, in between my hands.

So, type of toy is critical. Never share 50% of the toy with the dog, initially, because then he has more control. 2/3, 1/3, that’s your rule on toys.

The next thing is how you play the game of Tug.

You have to have rules and the rules are this:

1. Always sit to earn the right to play. It’s real simple.
2. The second most important rule, is no being mouthy
3. Being mouthy equals game over.

He can’t go for your hand and put his teeth on your hand. Dogs are very precise about their bite grip.  They can drill right down on their 1/3 without hitting your hand, if they want to.  They’ll test you a little bit by trying to nip or bite your finger sometimes, so if that happens, game over.

Don’t lose your patience. Just say, “Oops, game over.” Put the toy away, play again later.

Tug  Let’s You Also Teach “Drop It”

The tug game is a great way to teach your dog to drop it.  How many times during the day has your dog picked up something of yours, taken it and not wanting it to give it back? If only he knew the command, “Drop it.”

So here’s a good way to teach your dog to drop it, playing tug.

Now you’ll notice a couple of things.
1. I’ll make Keeper sit and then I’ll say, “Take it,” that’s his command word to play the game
2. Then when I’m ready to drop it, you’ll see me pull the tug toy tight, side to side. I never want to pull it towards me when I want to end the game, I’ll pull it side to side.

Keeper may want to continue the game by trying to back up and pull on it himself.

But if you always practice on a leash, at least initially, what you can do is you can step on the leash to prevent him from backing up.

I’ve played the Tug Game With Keeper A Lot!

So that means you’ll notice a lot of this is sped up.  He tends to drop it when I say, “Drop it.”  I usually don’t have to step on the leash, but for purposes of demonstration for you, he’s on a leash here plus he’s outside.

So I’m just going to drop the leash like this. “Come here Keeper.”

Look here, “Drop. Good. Sit.” Always make him sit to play the game.

So I pulled it tight like that and kill the toy action basically.

If I need to or if you need to, step on the leash with your foot to prevent him from backing up.
Then you say, “Drop,” pull the toy tight and wait him out.

Don’t repeat the word, “Drop it,”

Just be patient. “Take it. Good boy. Drop.”

• This is a good way to burn energy
• It creates calm in your dog,
• It works really great on your relationship because he looks forward to the toy.

Remember: Always make him sit before you play the game. Teach him drop it, just like I showed you, and then when the games over, you put this toy away so that it only comes out when you play the game with your dog.

dog behavior Houston, Jim Burwell

Bad Dog Behavior – Steps to Take

We’re talking dog behavior that’s driving you nuts.  A lot of dog behavior problems are caused by stress – your dog’s stress.  We give you simple solutions to fix the dog behavior that’s driving you and your dog nuts.  No matter if you’re dealing with dog behaviors such as house soiling, barking, charging the front door and more – let’s talk about it and give you some ways to turn that dog behavior around