puppy training, Jim Burwell dow trainer

Don’t Spank the Puppy


Don’t Spank The Puppy

I was taken aback last week with a question. And that question was, when do I spank the puppy? My obvious answer was, you don’t.

It’s Not Appropriate to Spank The Puppy

To spank your puppy is inappropriate.  Here’s a couple of good reasons why.

Let’s say you come home from work and you find a mess on the floor and you go grab your dog, rub his nose in it and spank the puppy on the nose with a newspaper.

Not good.

Why?  He could have done it five seconds, five minutes, five hours ago. So he’s not going to associate the punishment with the crime in the moment. What he will make is a direct association with is greetings are no longer fun when dad gets home because bad things happen.

Don’t Spank the Puppy Over Biting and Nipping

Here’s another example. Puppy biting, for example. Your puppy jumps up, he bites you and mouths you on the hand, and you spank the puppy on the nose.

You could create hand shyness that could eventually lead to aggression and, even worse than that, it’s going to break that bond and trust that he’s been trying to build with you.

Do This Instead of Spanking the Puppy

So what’s the answer? Well, the answer is simple. It’s just simply, think of what you would prefer your puppy do rather than the inappropriate behavior and just train him to do that. Okay?

In the case of house soiling, house train your puppy. If you don’t know how to do that, call me. Or call a trainer that can help you set up a good house training program for your puppy. All right?

In the case of puppy biting, you need to ask yourself this question, have you satisfied all of his needs?

Has he had plenty of physical exercise?

Has he had mental stimulation with doggie puzzles and brain teasers, and obedience training? For sure, don’t leave that out.

And he may need food, he may need water, and he may need a potty break. So always run through the list to make sure that you’re satisfying all of his needs.

So now, remember folks, positive training takes time, but it will build a fair and balanced relationship with your dog or your puppy. And it will be built on two things. Trust. Your puppy will learn that he can trust you and that no harm will come to him. That’s a much better relationship. And an understanding that all good things come from you, but they must be earned.

Now you know why you should not spank the puppy!

Puppy Training Houston Jim Burwell

Puppy Crazies Can Drive You Mad

Be Prepared, Be Very prepared, for the “Puppy Crazies”



Puppy Crazies are Hard!


Most new puppy owners like John and Mary, don’t get a free pass from the puppy crazies.

They thought they were ready with all the reading and watching videos.

But the reality of bouts of wild, random running, attacking and biting anything and anyone in its path was beyond what they expected.

Puppy crazies can be described as chaos and destruction, like an F5 tornado.

John pulled me in their front door with a strong guided hand shake as Mary said,

“We don’t know what’s wrong with our puppy! Lucy can be so sweet and loving in one moment and suddenly turns into an out-of-control demon.

At least 2-3 times a day, she’s driving us mad! We think we picked a puppy that is mentally unstable.”

They were not mentally prepared to deal with Lucy’s bouts of puppy crazies.

It’s like her off switch is broken. Sound familiar?

I got there just after Lucy ate lunch and saw it first-hand. I told them it looked just like our new puppy, Keeper. I said, “He can be a mad man sometimes!” I assured them that it was normal puppy behavior.

How to Deal With The Relentless Puppy Biting and Attacking

Their big question: Where is Lucy’s off switch?

Before I talk about how to deal with the puppy crazies, it’s as important to know what you want to avoid.

I told John and Mary that the next time Lucy goes into the puppy crazies, remember the following:

  • Do not chase her
  • Do not laugh at her crazy antics
  • Do not stroke her if she jumps on you

All these gestures can be mistaken for praise, which in turn reinforces the puppy behavior you’re trying to stop.

And of course do not physically punish your puppy.

What Works for us When Our 11 Week Old Puppy, Keeper, Gets the Puppy Crazies?

We learned that Keeper’s crazy biting, running and attacking period is predictable.

It usually happens after meal times.

Knowing what’s coming we’ve started feeding Keeper only half of his meal in his bowl. We save the other half.

So after he finishes his meal we:

  • Get him outside in the back yard to run out some of his crazy puppy energy and also poop.
  • Shortly after that, we crate him with a food dispensing roller ball that has the rest of his meal.  Roller Ball
  • He’ll work out his puppy crazies on the roller ball and before you know it, he’s fast asleep!

That’s your off switch!

Leila tried gating him in her office with toys, chewies and a cardboard box.

But she remained the primary target of his puppy biting and attacking.

That choice was short lived – trust me on that one!

You must know this puppy crazies phase won’t last forever and will pass.

This is important: How you handle your puppy’s crazy biting and attacking can make a big difference in your relationship with your puppy.

Lessons Learned from Jon and Mary’s Puppy Crazies Solution

I told John and Mary that there is value in this lesson.

Everyone learns, even Lucy.

  • Lucy will learn to accept scheduled nap times as part of her daily routine.
  • Predictable activities like eating, nap times and training relieve stress and anxiety for Lucy and you.
  • Lucy will learn to accept her crate and be confident in her crate. This lets you be there and active in the house getting things done without her whining and barking.
  • You will learn routine crate time has other benefits.
  • It aids in house training (constant reminder not to potty)
  • It keeps your stuff safe when you are busy taking care of other important things and can’t tend to Lucy.

John and Mary learned this important part of scheduling.
They now see how it gives them free time to get things done without Lucy under foot.

As an example, our puppy Keeper is crated at 10:00, 1:00 and 4:00 for an hour or two each time.

This allows Leila time to get many things done in the office. Keeper now willingly goes to his crate for his down time.

Effective, early crate training aids in:
house training and controlling puppy crazies with a lot less stress and anxiety for all concerned!

Together We Can Raise A Happy and Obedient Dog

You got your dog for a reason. You wanted to share your life with a happy and loving dog. But now, your dog has big problems and life is not happy.

I can help you get that happy, well behaved dog back no matter where you live. We’ll do private lesson in your home OR we can do private video lessons where geography is no longer a roadblock.

puppy training Houston with Jim Burwell

First Time Puppy Owner

Never having had a puppy before Donna was anxious about training her new puppy the right way.

In 3 lessons Donna learned how to get her puppy to

  1. Be potty trained
  2. Not to bite and nip
  3. Teach him  to come when called
  4. Teach him  all the house manners she wanted.

Puppy Biting Tip You May Not Know

Here’s a puppy biting tip you may not have heard.

If you are a new puppy owner dealing with puppy biting, you’ve got to be wondering: “What’s a puppy biting tip that actually works?”
How many frantic searches on Google have you done on ways to stop puppy biting? Only to find so many, you don’t know which is best.

Puppy Biting Tip that Works

Let me quess, you’ve tried:

  • alpha rolls (putting and holding your puppy on his back) and that didn’t work. 
  • You’ve grabbed his muzzle with a “No bite!” or 
  • yelping when he bites and the poor old stand-by of using a squirt bottle.

Nothing works with your puppy biting!

Let Me Simplify Puppy Biting for You

It’s a reality. Training puppies not to bite can be time-intensive. You can’t just do it a few times a day for only a couple of days.  Puppies need daily reinforcement to give you good behavior instead of the bad behavior they offer.  This can take weeks before they “get it.”
If you’re tired of your hands and arms being a pin cushion, try this technique. It’s works.

Link the Biting to an Undesirable Consequence

Your puppy wants to play with you and your family members. But he doesn’t know what your rules are at first so he just plays with you the way he would play with his littermates or other puppies.
That will include a fair to large amount of play biting.

Here’s what you do.

Begin to play with your puppy with petting – no rough housing.

When he bites(and he will) you say, “Oops! Too bad!” and immediately crate your puppy. Leave him in his crate for 1-2 minutes and then repeat the exercise.

Age and size appropriate family members repeat and repeat this exercise. There is always with parental supervision.

What you’ll begin to see is your puppy will start to experiment with other kinds of interaction, like “licking.” He discovers that licking is good and he gets more time with you.
Over time, the you puppy’s biting ceases and the Band-Aids can come off your hands for good!
Here’s a caveat. Very bossy puppies may take longer to come around, more so than the more submissive puppies.

Don’t give up! You and your puppy will surface as winners.

Common Sense Reminders

Until you have your puppy biting under full control, do not engage in the following with your puppy:

Games of chase: This will activate a puppy’s prey drive meaning lots of running, chasing, biting and chewing.

Playing fetch is a much better game for all family members to play with your new puppy.

  •  Rough play/wrestling: This will teach puppies how to use their mouths to grab and hold when playing with humans. The thing is, puppy biting is normal puppy activity. It’s how they interact with their litter mates. It’s how they learn the important lesson of bite inhibition. In other words, don’t bite human skin.
  • Tug-of-war games: Until you have control of your puppy’s biting, it’s best not to play tug for now. It’s a good way to burn predatory energy BUT tug-of-war must have strict rules. We talk about that in another article.

And one more important note for you:

Control Your Puppy When Not Interacting With Him

  1. Containment: Use crates, exercise pens or gates to contain your puppy when you can’t train or supervise your puppy. Too many people leave their puppy out for too long of a time and they get into trouble with biting.
  2. Puppy proofing and prevention: Keep things you don’t want chewed on out of reach, and keep your puppy on a leash. When you can’t eyes-on, hands-on supervise or he gets too crazy – crate your puppy.
  3. Redirects: When your puppy is out on leash, ALWAYS have appropriate redirects like a stuffed Kong toy or chewy. 

Don’t forget, practice makes perfect for you and your puppy so keep on working with your puppy until he finally “gets it.”

Does this sound like something you can do?  Let me know.

Together We Can Raise A Happy and Obedient Dog

 Jim Burwell, is Houston’s most respected dog trainer for 30 years, serving over 11,000 clients. Jim takes the science of dog training and shows you how to make it work with your family and dog. He gives you the ability to get the same great behavior from your dog.


How To Leash Train Your Puppy

It can be very frustrating trying to leash train your puppy. Especially when your new puppy absolutely refuses to walk on a leash with you.

That puppy butt hits the ground, front legs go out in front like brakes. As far as he’s concerned there will not be any leash training for him!

If you think it’s hard to leash train your puppy, I’m going to show you some very simple steps to get your puppy walking on a leash.

One caveat here: make sure your vet is okay with taking him outside in front of your house and on the sidewalk. Respect your vet’s wishes as to where your puppy should be on vaccinations.

Leash Training My Puppy

We are going to go thru 2 steps to leash train your puppy.

We begin with developing a consistent puppy training exercise so that you can get your puppy comfortable with being on a leash and collar.

I’m going to teach you the exact steps to take to leash train your puppy

We start in the home with some simple exercises, then we go outside to the back patio and then when he’s ready we go out to the driveway and sidewalk.

Remember to never push your puppy past his comfort level. When you leash train your puppy you want to make it fun, easy and safe for him. The easiest was to do this is by keeping his focus on you, keeping your voice happy and make sure he’s rewarded for doing what you ask.

Ready to positively and successfully leash train your puppy?  Then click on the video below.

Click PUPPY PROBLEMS to go to the article I mention.

Together We Can Raise A Happy and Obedient Dog

Be sure to ask your question below.  I’m sure there are many puppy owners with the same question and I am happy to help.

Jim Burwell, is Houston’s most respected dog trainer for 25+ years, serving over 10,000 clients. Jim takes the science of dog training and shows you how to make it work with your family and dog. He gives you the ability to get the same great behavior from your dog.

Fix 2 Mistakes and Easily Potty Train Your Puppy

Puppy Potty Training MistakesI get it. Learning how to potty train your puppy can be a frustrating process. If for no other reason – it takes a lot of your patience and a lot of your time. In fact one of the reasons puppies end up in shelters is because the owner “thought” their puppy was difficult to potty train. My hope is that with just these few simple tips you will be well on your way to successfully potty train your puppy.

Let’s take a look: There are two big mistakes you are probably making all the time when trying to potty train your puppy:

First big mistake: You are probably allowing your puppy to have free roam of a large space (kitchen-breakfast area) or worse yet the entire house. As one client said: my puppy ended up “ninja shadow pooping” all over the house.

Second big mistake: You put your puppy outside alone and “assume” he will go potty and completely empty both his bowels and bladder.

Both of these big mistakes can set your puppy up to fail miserably at house training. Why? Your puppy doesn’t know “not to potty in the house.” He just knows he has to potty. Not going potty in the house is something you have to teach your puppy. The good news is that I can actually make it easier for you than you think!

Fixing Mistake Number One

I have found that puppies do best if they have a safe place to stay when you can’t supervise them. That would be their crate with just enough room to stand up and turn around. Most puppies instinctively don’t want to soil where they sleep.
Crating can dramatically help your efforts to potty train your puppy. If you are feeling guilty about crate training and want to learn more about the advantages, check out my article here on the benefits of crate training. Buy a wire crate large enough for your puppy as an adult but use a divider panel to limit his space in his crate while he’s a small puppy. You should become a master at controlling your puppy and his environment. This should take care of the first mistake you are probably making.

Fixing Mistake Number Two

Are you putting your puppy outside alone to go potty? Why is this bad? This teaches your puppy to go potty when you are not around. This means if you don’t crate or supervise your puppy in your home, he’ll sneak off and go potty when you are not around and it’s okay. You’ve not been “around” when you’ve put him in the yard to go potty, so it’s okay to go potty without you there!
Do this instead:

  • Routinely take him to the same spot outside every day and immediately reward him with a high value food treat each time he goes. Outside.
  • Also, take him out on a leash. This will help you to help him stay focused and not get distracted with lizards and leaves.
  • Make sure that you don’t hurry his business and cause him to not to finish. If you do, that means he will be more likely to make a mistake inside. This is where your patience and time comes in.

All Summed Up.  Now, let’s take everything we went over and make a concise list of things to remember

Here’s Your List

  1. Crate train your puppy to keep him safe when unsupervised. This immediately sets him up to succeed.
  2. Routinely take him out for potty breaks on leash to keep him focused. This will most likely include middle of the night potty breaks for a while. Remember, your puppy can only hold his business 1 hour for every month he is old.
  3. Routinely take him to the same spot every time. It will pay big dividends later.
  4. Develop a reward history for going every time in the correct spot using a “high value” food treat. This increases the likelihood that your puppy will learn that peeing/pooping in that spot works for him so eliminating there becomes a stronger behavior. Yea!

There, that wasn’t so bad, was it? If you’re diligent, avoid the two big mistakes above and focus on these four things to remember, you can really get your puppy potty trained more quickly and that will make everyone happy! I know you have questions so be sure to ask them below. Your question will help others who are wondering the same thing.

Remember: “Together, We Can Raise a Happy and Obedient Dog”

Jim Burwell, is Houston’s most respected dog trainer for 25+ years, serving over 10,000 clients. If you’re still having puppy training problems with your new puppy this will help you. Jim takes the science of dog training and shows you how to make it work with your family and puppy.

Before Getting Your New Puppy Answer 5 Critical Questions

Before Getting Your New Puppy Answer 5 Critical Questions

If you’re like most folks, pretty much all common sense flies out the window when thinking about getting your new puppy.

Before Getting Your New Puppy Answer 5 Critical Questions

Practicality is replaced with excitement thinking about that cute little furry puppy and that sweet puppy breath.

Emotions definitely have the greatest impact on you and your plans to get a new puppy.

You can be so swayed by your emotions about this decision to get a new puppy; you fail to think about the practical, common sense aspects of this important life changing decision.

And believe me it can be very life changing!

Here are a couple of examples of exactly what I mean when I say, “Your emotions can have a powerful impact on your decision making process.”

  1. It’s Christmas time and what could be cuter than a brand new puppy under the tree.
  2. The kids have been constantly bugging you that they want a puppy.
  3. A rescue puppy at a shelter or rescue event grabs your heart and the guilt gets the better of you.

These are just three examples on how emotions can quickly sway your decision making process.

The problem is, once the emotional high of getting that new puppy settles down, you NOW have a living, breathing, biting, jumping, peeing, pooping and sometimes barking puppy on your hands! Now you might be thinking:   “Oh my gosh! What have I done?”

Let’s Go Through a Good Exercise on Reality vs. Emotions

Let reality take a front seat as I ask you 5 critical questions you should be asking yourself BEFORE getting your new puppy.

We will simplify things first by just focusing on two things.  Time and Money

Simply put, if you have the time and the money, getting your new puppy shouldn’t be a problem. However, it’s a little more complicated than that.

So listen up as I give you the bottom line with these 5 critical questions.

Question #1

You may think you have the time and money to get your new puppy but is it the right time in your life for a new puppy?

Do you have vacation scheduled, overtime commitments or out of town work schedules that will be taking critical time away from your new puppy’s need of a consistent daily schedule?

A new puppy needs to know you’ll be there every day to teach him what to do as well as when, where and how to do it.

Question #2

Will your budget accommodate the added expense of food, vet bills and grooming costs?

Question #3

If you work all day and the kids are in school, who will take your new puppy out to potty frequently enough to set him up to succeed in house training? Who will you trust with this responsibility?

Question #4

Do you have the time to commit to a good obedience training program?  This is critical to begin teaching the manners you expect of your puppy soon to be future adult dog.

Manners like “Sit, don’t jump or bite” and “don’t chew my stuff” are critical.

It will also take time for you to understand and implement a good house training program to get your new puppy house trained now.

Question #5

If you have kids, it will be important to take the time to get them involved in your new puppy’s training.  This is especially true if the kids created the emotional pressure in the first place.

Kids can quickly lose interest as the newness wears off. You better understand that the responsibility for the puppy could be right back in your lap.

Even if you have the money, think about the impact the constant needs of a new puppy will have on your schedule. It’s like having a new baby. You just can’t leave it alone for long.

 If You’re Still Determined

 If you’ve answered these 5 critical questions then you need to get ready for that sweet puppy breath and those warm kisses.

Control Puppy Biting in 3 Easy Steps

Control Puppy Biting in 3 Easy Steps

For lots of new puppy owners, the relentless puppy biting and putting razor sharp teeth on skin, comes as a surprise.

Control Puppy Biting in 3 Easy Steps

It can be extremely stressful and a test of your sanity!

It may also spark thoughts like:  “my last puppy didn’t bite like this” or even scarier “is my puppy aggressive?”

Control It Without Stress

Sometimes puppy biting can get out of control. They bite everything from table legs to your legs, fingers and toes. If this is your puppy you need to learn how to control your puppy biting without the stress. Are you prepared?

First What Not to Do

Stop all of the following immediately:

Chase games: These games activate a puppy’s prey drive which includes running, chasing, biting and chewing. Playing fetch is a much better game for all family members to play with your new puppy.

Rough play/wrestling: These interactions teach puppies how to play with humans and puppies use their mouths to grab and hold.

The thing is, puppy biting is normal puppy activity. That’s how they interact with their litter mates and learn a very important lesson: bite inhibition or more simply put, don’t bite human skin.

Tug-of-war games: Until you have control of your puppy’s biting, it’s best not to play tug for now. It’s actually a good way to burn predatory energy BUT tug-of-war must have strict rules.  We talk about that in another article.

Now, Let’s Simplify and Learn to Control Puppy Biting

Don’t you agree that having a plan for your puppy biting lowers your stress already? I certainly do! The rest is simply repetitive work by you and your other family members.

Just Three Areas to Work On

Okay, here are the three areas to focus on when learning how to control puppy biting without stress:

  1. Properly control your puppy to prevent excessive biting until you are ready to train.
  2. Obedience train your puppy to come, sit, down, drop it, and,
  3. Have a good, controlled training exercise to train NO BITE with your puppy every day with all family members until you achieve the goal you desire.

 Proper Control Breaks Down into 3 Areas:

  1. Containment: Use crates, exercise pens or gates to contain your puppy when you can’t train or supervise your puppy. Too many people leave their puppy out for too long of a time and they get into trouble with biting.
  2. Puppy proofing and prevention: Keep things you don’t want chewed on out of reach, and keep your puppy on a leash. When you can’t eyes-on, hands-on supervise or he gets too crazy – crate your puppy.
  3. Redirects: When your puppy is out on leash, ALWAYS have appropriate redirects. What’s a redirect?

These are things like stuffed Kong toys, sterilized beef shank bones, Nylabones, stuffy toys or chew toys.

Be prepared to intercede and give him a toy before he starts to bite on you—praise for accepting an appropriate toy; otherwise you’ll have to say, “Ouch!” and redirect to a toy.

Your timing is light years too late in “dog time” to be effective. Timing is everything. Catch him when he is thinking it – not when he is actually doing it.

Obedience Train Your Puppy

I can’t say enough about starting obedience training sooner than later. We started training our Lab, Sammy, at 8 weeks of age. Now at over 8 years of age, Sammy’s “default behavior” is good manners.

Besides creating mental fatigue, there are too many benefits not to train your puppy to come, sit, down and drop it. You will be glad you did. Above all, obedience commands teach your dog this important rule: You must always give (sit) before you receive anything. That would include food, treats, access to the couch and love and affection, just to mention a few.


A Good Controlled Training Exercise for No Bite!

Here’s what’s going to make the difference in your puppy.

I have a controlled training exercise you must do with your puppy every day. All family members should take this seriously and do your daily practice.

The cool part is that during this exercise, your puppy is under control so he can’t chase you. With parental supervision, this makes it safe for age-appropriate children to do this exercise.

I’ve made a special video to show you exactly what to do every day with all family members. Watch, learn, teach your puppy and most importantly don’t get stressed.

 Remember:  “Together, We Can Raise a Happy and Obedient Dog”

Jim Burwell, is Houston’s most respected dog trainer for 25+ years, serving over 10,000 clients.  Jim takes the science of dog training and shows you how to make it work with your family and puppy.  He gives you the ability to get the same great behavior from your puppy.

my dog licks

My Dog Licks and It’s Driving Me Nuts!

My dog licks constantly is one of many, frequent complaints from clients.  By the time I get the call or email, the owner’s tolerance threshold has been reached.  They are literally going nuts with their dog licking.

my dog licksIs it medical?

If you have an incessant licker the very first thing to do is to have your dog checked out by your veterinarian to rule out any medical issues such as allergies.

Once your dog is cleared of any medical issues, we have to look else where. A dog that constantly licks itself is stressed or anxious about something.

The problem may have started because of some frustration in the environment.  That means you doing your homework.  Do some soul-searching if you will, on what your dog is stressing about.

You don’t want the licking to develop into an obsessive compulsive disorder that will be more difficult to treat.

If you do your homework, you should be able to finish the sentence: My dog licks because he is stressed about (you fill in the blank).  Read on for a better understanding.

Stress in the environment

I’ve listed some of the most common environmental stressors you should consider. Think hard on this.   Can you honestly say, my dog licks because of:

Not enough exercise
Not enough mental stimulation
No structure in your dog’s life
Loud noises like sirens
Other noises like kids screaming and playing loudly
You frequently argue loudly, yell or scream

What’s the best way to get started?

Your corrective program should start from the ground up building a strong foundation of leadership for your dog by requiring him to earn everything. Make a list of all the things your dog can earn – even going outside to potty. Being consistent is the key.

Exercise your dog with walks every day. It’s a good buffer for stress. If he hasn’t gotten enough exercise by spending time outside on walks to explore and be a dog, this can be stressful for him. You owe it to your dog to satisfy his needs.

Mentally stimulate your dog with puzzles and games and have him earn part of his meals from a doggie food dispensing toys like a Bob-A-Lot from

You can also create mental fatigue with rapid-fire sits and downs for 2 minutes then stop. Do this 3 times daily or more if you want. He will love you for it!

Family check

Do an honest check on family emotions to see if your energy or other family member’s energy is frequently off the charts. Do your best to acknowledge this as a possible contributing factor to your dog’s stress or anxiety. Licking is his way of internalizing his stress, instead of releasing that stress by being destructive in your home.

Do this – not that

Understand the value of redirecting his licking if he starts in your presence. Have acceptable chew toys readily available to which you can redirect his licking. You can also interrupt his licking with obedience training; that is, rapid fire sits and downs for 30 seconds to a minute.

The most important part of any corrective program is to locate his stressors sooner than later and be committed to putting structure and exercise (both mental and physical) into place consistently every day.

It may take as long as 6 weeks or more before you can say “my dog licks less” or has stopped, but my guess is you will begin to see improvement sooner.

I’m always curious about your input – it’s important to me.  Do you deal with this situation with your dog?  Comment below with your frustration with this.

Remember:  “Together, We Can Raise a Happy and Obedient Dog”

Jim Burwell, is Houston’s most respected dog trainer for 25+ years, serving over 10,000 clients.  Jim takes the science of dog training and makes it work in your home with your family and dog.  He gives you the ability to get the same great behavior from your dog.

Bad Dog Behavior

Bad Dog Behavior Fix

Does bad dog behavior have you so beat down most days it seems you have totally lost control of your dog?

Bad Dog Behavior

Usually the culprit is an out-of-control bossy type dog or young dog with no boundaries, taking control of your whole house and everything in it.

Where Did It All Go Wrong

Before you find yourself thinking you need to join some kind of 12-step program that always starts off with:   “Hello, my name is John and I’m an owner of a really bad dog”, don’t throw in that towel just yet!

How about a short 3-step program in the privacy of your own home?

You won’t have to join anything or say your name.

It might take some soul searching and self-commitment to a slightly different way of life with your dog, but I think you’ll find it worth it when you take and use these steps to help change your dog.

Step 1: Start with the golden rule

Your dog has been controlling the system far too long and from your perspective, the system is broken. The system needs to be fixed.

The first step in fixing the system is to begin teaching your dog the golden rule, “You must give before you receive.”

That’s done by simply teaching your dog to sit for everything. Once you know he can sit, begin to extend the sit to 5, 10 and 15 seconds.

I know what you are going to say, “He knows how to sit but he won’t hold a sit! He’s always jumping back up looking for the treat!” Hold on, I’m going to tell you how to fix that too.

Step 2: Retraining the sit command

You just need to retrain the sit. Remember your goal. You want a sit and he wants a treat or a happy “good boy”!

The big difference is letting him know when he’s done what you ask.

How do you do that?
Simple!  You say, “Good!” right when his butt hits the ground. Then he gets his treat. Right now I don’t care if he gets back up after you say, “Good!”

Now here’s what makes the difference

Once you get a sit, slowly begin to pause two seconds before you say, “Good!” Then 4-5 seconds. Eventually wait 10 – 15 seconds before you say, “Good!”

Always praise and treat after random lengths of time for which he has been required to hold a sit.

By varying how long you wait to say, “Good!” you are conditioning him to understand that the sit isn’t over until he hears, “Good!” Bell rang, school is out!

Now you are teaching patience and tolerance. That’s the beginning of control.

To help you speed up your training, put your dog on a leash and step on the leash, just enough to keep him from jumping up.

You’ll discover that your dog will be more controlled and focused which allows you to more quickly achieve your goal.

Later you worry about other commands. For now we keep it simple – just a sit. Stretching it out to a longer sit is the key.

Step 3: Control everything in your dog’s life

Be stingy. Don’t give things out easily or too much at a time. Tough love you think? Dogs respect tough love. You are building a strong working relationship with your dog.

Bonus for you and your dog- Important

Most of these bossy dogs haven’t been out to new places with you because quite honestly, they are out of control and it’s embarrassing for you. It’s just not fun.

When he begins to listen to you, now you can show him you are in control in a different way. You’re in control of great new places to explore.

Frequent weekend day trips to the beach, parks or hiking trails will keep him challenged.

New settings will open his mind to wanting to learn over and over again with you. Don’t forget, make him sit to get out of the car – and back in of course.

He will soon want to be a good pack member to earn the right to go with you again.

Remember, you want a new dog and a new life.

So go and show off your new well behaved dog.  You both deserve that happy ending. It’s easier than you think!

When you’re ready to go further my Ground Rules for Great Dogs will take you step by step to a truly well – mannered dog.

Thanks for letting me share my dog training knowledge with you.   Don’t be a stranger.  Feel free to comment below.  I’d love to hear what you think.   

Remember:  “Together, We Can Raise a Happy and Obedient Dog”

Jim Burwell, Houston dog trainer for 25+ years, serving over 10,000 clients, has a profound understanding of dog behavior and the many things, we as humans, do that influence that behavior – good or bad.  Jim has the ability to not only steer dogs and puppies down the right path but to also train the owners to understand their part in having a great dog.