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Check out this blog for recent dog training tips, behavior articles, dog training videos, and photos!  We'll show you real training that we're doing in and around DC.  Plus, our tips on working with you dog in an urban environment.  

Have a question that you want answered by Michelle?  Email your question to michelle@gooddogdc.com and your answer may appear here!

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Puppy Mill

Posted by gooddogdc on January 18, 2014 at 9:25 AM Comments comments (0)

In case you missed it on Facebook, here is our ADORABLE puppy mill client Sandy getting a lesson in confidence from her new friend, Tahiti. They are so cute!!!

Max at 16 Months

Posted by gooddogdc on January 8, 2014 at 2:50 PM Comments comments (0)

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So, his obedience is definitely coming along! You can see one point during this video where a couple comes down the hill with their little baby. I didn't even see them appoaching! Luckily, Max stayed connected. He did get slightly distracted during his heel, but I definitely rewarded anyway with the tug once I saw the people there.  He's got a long way to go, but we're making progress :)! 

Hiking Video

Posted by gooddogdc on December 28, 2013 at 5:45 PM Comments comments (0)

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This is still one of my all time favorite dog activites!  It is a great way to promote your bond with your dog, promote healthy socialization, and practice your training in a real life environment.  For those of us who live in the city, it is a great opportunity to let your dog have fun just being a dog!

Last Minute Gift Ideas for the Petlover

Posted by gooddogdc on December 23, 2013 at 10:10 AM Comments comments (0)

With the holidays fast approaching, you may still be stuck on what to get for the pet lover in your life. I understand, I am also a last minute gift shopper! Here are my top 5 favorite ideas of things you can get today:


Donation to a local shelter or rescue – The animal lover in you live with adore this gift! It is perfect for the animal lover who already has a lot of pet stuff. Many shelters even have programs where you can sponsor a specific animal to make it even more personal. Local ideas are www.warl.org or http://support.washhumane.org/site/PageServer.


Dog training – Okay, so you know I had to throw this one in there ☺! Most people can really use some extra dog training, and if they don’t have any behavior issues it is always fun to teach your dog a few new tricks like play dead and high five! For those who are really committed, we can even teach Fido to fetch the remote or a beer from the fridge! The best part is, you can purchase this right from your computer, just go to http://www.gooddogdc.com/apps/webstore/ and email info@gooddogdc.com to let us know someone will be contacting us to schedule their sessions. Easy!


Bully sticks – Can be found at any pet superstore – these are my favorite dog chews. I get the 12” sticks. Warning, they do smell a bit, but it is worth it when your dog takes a nap after working on it for 20 minutes!


Natural Balance or RedBarn dog food roll – my favorite training treats! Any dog in your life will love these, and pet lovers always need new treats!  Some variety of this kind of treat can also be found at any pet superstore.


 • Squeaky KONG tennis balls – These are inexpensive, can be found at most pet superstores, come in various sizes, and dogs who like toys usually love them!  They also have these on a rope, which my dogs are addicted to!  Any dogs who like tug will love the ball on a rope version.


Happy Thanksgiving!

Posted by gooddogdc on November 23, 2013 at 10:40 AM Comments comments (0)

With the holidays fast approaching, it’s a great time to make sure everything is in order for your dog! Here are a few quick tips:


Invest in a few extra chew toys for the holiday season. I really love bully sticks. The 12” ones are a great long-lasting, durable chew toy. I take them away when they get down to swallowing size, one or two inches. Most dogs adore them! I also like to keep several stuffed KONGs ready to go in the freezer. When company gets here, I swipe a little cream cheese over the top to get my dogs started and voila! I have the perfect doggy entertainment “pup-sicle”. My dogs are happy chewing and I can entertain my guests without having to worry about them. When things get busy, if my dogs are underfoot, I just crate them with a couple bully sticks. By the time they work their way through those, they usually just settle down for a nice nap!


Pre-designate a “sanctuary space” for your dog. This is especially necessary for young dogs or dogs who have any sort of behavior issues. Having a quiet room with no guests where they can go to calm down is so helpful! The sanctuary room should be dimly lit, have classical music or some other soft background noise, a cozy resting place, some chew toys, and a bowl of water. You can put your dog here anytime it seems like they are getting upset or if they need a break from all of the excitement! Your dog will thank you for this space if things get hectic!


Brush up on your basics. Before the family gets here, take a few minutes each day to refresh your dog’s skills with some short, positive training sessions. Similar to if you learned to play the piano, but didn’t play for a whole year. It might not be a bad idea to have some practice sessions before a performance! Likewise, your dog will appreciate the practice and it may make the holidays go smoother for everyone involved. Sit, down, stay, leave it, and come are the basics that every dog should know to be a great pet. Brushing up on any tricks, such as shake, can also be real crowd pleasers and fun for your dog too!


Finally, exercise, exercise, exercise!!! This is a major dog training "secret" for a perfect dog.  It is well worth it to wake up an extra hour early to exercise your dog during the holidays. If you have family in town or if you are traveling, adding an extra hour of exercise to your dog’s normal routine can be a lifesaver! This is a great time to go hiking, play some hard fetch, go swimming, have a doggy playdate, or do any other high intensity exercise. Your dog will be nice and tired and should sleep calmly throughout the day, and you can just smile and take all of the credit when your friends and family can’t believe what a well-behaved dog you have!


I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving week and that the above tips make this holiday a little nicer for you and your dog!!!

What to do with all that rain?!

Posted by gooddogdc on October 12, 2013 at 12:50 AM Comments comments (0)

After a very wet week, my dogs were starting to get a little stir crazy.  Iry hates being out in the rain, but Max seemed desperate to go.  Despite the downpour, I put on my rainboots and raincoat and headed to the park! Surprisingly, I ended up loving it! There were no other dogs or people there, so we had full use of a giant field. It was an amazing training session for long distance recalls since I could let Max roam as he wanted with no fear of running into anyone. The other fun benefit is that the rain kept Max nice and cool! Without the issue of overheating, we were able to work for much longer than a normal recall/fetch session. So, for those of you brave enough to face the sheets of rain pouring out of the sky, you might be rewarded by a blissful day at a park that belongs just to you and your dogs!


For those of you less willing to leave the comforts of your home for long (human or dog!), I have a few other ideas that have been keeping us busy!

 

  • Hand-feed your dogs dinner as training “treats” to refresh any obedience or tricks.
  • Teach your dog a new behavior! This is Iry's preferred rainy day outlet, she is working on crawl right now.
  • Play hide and seek. Put your dog in a sit stay, hide (Some place obvious at first if you’ve never done this with your dog. For new dogs, I’ll often just go in the other room and flatten my body up against a wall.) and call your dog to come and find you. Remain silent while he is searching. Only make a small “hint” noise if he’s seems really lost or confused. When your dog finds you, act like he just found you under an avalanche and saved your life! Heap on the praise and treats and make your dog feel really special! This game never gets old for my dogs and they will play it for hours if I’m willing!
  • This is a great day for an activity toy or food puzzle. A fun game is to take an old muffin tin. Hide treats in the muffin holes. Cover each space with a tennis ball or other similar sized object. Give the new “toy” to your dog and watch his brain work it out! If he won’t play with it, you may need to increase the value of the treats (hot dogs work well for this) or help him out by showing him how to do the first few.
  • Call up your friends and have a playdate! I’ll be doing that this evening, and I’m glad! Max really needs the extra attention!

 

Happy rainy day! I hope you have fun with your pups today!


(Below is our backyard.  It's a lake!!!)


The Long Recall

Posted by gooddogdc on October 11, 2013 at 4:45 PM Comments comments (0)

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This is a video I took recently while we were out hiking.  In it, I am calling Max away from two of his dog friends.  We have practiced recalls like this several times per week since he was a baby puppy.  He now really enjoys them!

#6: 10 Tips from a Professional Dog Trainer

Posted by gooddogdc on October 10, 2013 at 2:25 PM Comments comments (0)

#6. For all of my behavior clients out there, you’ve all heard me say this one a lot! Behavior issues are like gaining weight. Whether your issue is destruction, jumping, barking, fear, or aggression, it’s time to take an honest look at how much behavioral “weight gain” he’s put on.


How severe are your dog’s behavior issues? If he’s put on 30 or 40 lbs of behavioral baggage over several years, it is not going to go away overnight. Crash diets are too good to be true. Instead hard work, habit change, and a time commitment are all needed for long-term behavior change success.


Stick with it though, and your hard work will pay off I promise! It is worth it and I am cheering for you!




Meet Jaxson!

Posted by gooddogdc on October 8, 2013 at 11:35 AM Comments comments (0)

Last week I had a great training session with a fun, active 2-year-old yorkie mix in foster with Partnership for Animal Welfare.


He is highly food and toy motivated, and in the right home who was committed to training with him, he would be an amazing dog! I think he has potential for obedience, tricks training, and agility so long as he is trained using positive reinforcement methods. Plus he is adorable and house trained!!!  


If you are interested in learning more about Jaxson, please visit http://www.paw-rescue.org/DOGS/jaxson.php.


#7: 10 Tips from a Professional Dog Trainer

Posted by gooddogdc on October 7, 2013 at 9:25 AM Comments comments (0)

#7. I think toys are one of the most under used supplies out there. If you buy a bunch of toys and leave them around the house for your dog to play with whenever he feels like it, sometimes he might play, but often those toys become pretty boring to him. Instead try putting all of your toys up. For young pups leave down chew toys only (medium to hard in texture toys meant for chewing).


Start with one very special toy and start building up your dog’s desire for it. Often a plushy, squeaky toy is an easy place to start. I really like those long skinny ones with no stuffing because you can use them for light tugging and they seem to peak a dog’s interest better than some. I also try to make sure that the toy I am using is small enough to easily fit in a pocket so that I can use it later for training.


Many dogs do not like playing with toys, but enjoy playing with you. For those dogs: several times a day, when your dog seems a bit active, surprise your dog by whipping the toy out of your back pocket. Proceed to act like a total goofball, running around, do high-pitched baby talk, all the while playing with your toy. If at any point your dog plays with the toy at all, praise him heavily and act even goofier. After 20 seconds of madness, put the toy away and sit down ignoring your dog. Pretend like nothing ever happened. Keep this up until your dog is actively engaging with the toy.


Once your dog realizes that this one toy is the key to getting his owner to be FUN, he will slowly start to become obsessed with the one toy. At that point, you can start making your dog work for it. “Sit” to play with the toy, “down” to play with the toy, etc. Once your dog is obsessed and working for one toy, you can slowly start to add others into the mix.


Toy training is lots of fun! The best part is that it makes your dog interested in you. It is definitely a relationship builder and playing with your dog will give you great focus from your dog and a killer recall. Happy training!




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