Balance in YOUR Training


To establish balance in training, one should understand the difference between “regimented training” and “motivational training.”

Regimented training often has precise steps with a beginning and an end. Many times “regimented training” is applied to all dogs regardless of the dog’s maturity, ability and without consideration of the dog’s natural drive or willingness to please.

On the other hand, a well thought out “motivational training” method, consists of a never ending cycle of planning, teaching, building drive (I want to work), and evaluating.


The planning phase of motivational training provides a direction for all your training session. It is needed to stay on task. Take the time to set goals, define behaviors and break down desired skills into as many pieces possible.

Regular evaluation enables you to assess results and analyze techniques. Is it working?

Constant consideration of the dog’s attitude is needed during and after all training sessions. As a result, modify your training plan accordingly to increase or decrease your dog’s attitude. I.E. should you add more play and motivation or add more self-control and precision.

Training methods should be flexible to best accommodate your dog.

The right BALANCE in training will produce a precise dog that remains energized and eager to work.  A true pleasure to watch and train!

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Online obedience and agility classes.  

Decide WHAT you want to Accomplish BEFORE you Grab your DOG!

Before you begin to train,
consider exactly what you want to train.
What do you want to accomplish during your training session?

For example if you are training or reviewing a sit with your dog, consider the following questions:

  • How will you cue the command?  Will you give your dog a verbal or physical cue or both?
  • How long should your dog sit?  Should he just sit and then stand up, or should he remain in the sit until given a release word?
  • What does the command “sit” mean to you?  Does it mean a rock or tuck sit?  Should your dog remain in the position until told differently?
  • Do you want the dog to sit in front of you?  Sit next to you?  Or should your dog just sit where he is, no matter where you are, or what you are doing?
  • What will you do if your dog sits slowly or not at all?  Will you mark and correct?  Or will you give another command?
  • Will you be sequencing the sit with other skills?  Which ones if so?
  • How will you reward the sit if done well?  Go to your dog and give a reward?  Toss a toy or treat to your dog?  Will you break into a game to reward?
  • Are you going to start proofing the sit with your dog?  If so, what will you do?  Will you add distractions to the training environment?  Will you go to a new location?  How distracting do you want the session?

All these questions are important, because you need to be able to be pro-active in your training with consequences as well as rewards.
Being able to respond quickly and be prepared for what might happen, will give you the upper hand with your training and help you become consistent with your cues and criteria.


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pottyI love getting a new puppy.

However, it is no fun having to clean up mistakes on the floor. In order to teach a puppy to go potty outside, keep him in his crate if you are unable to watch him during the day and at night.   As soon as your puppy wakes up, finishes eating or playing, or you come home, take your puppy outside on leash. Yes on leash!

The leash should be a regular leash and not a retractable one.  A retractable leash teaches a puppy to pull on the leash.  In addition, puppies are harder to control when they are on a retractable leash.  I prefer a 4-6 foot leash made of rope or something similar.

Potty Training

Get your puppy use to potting on the leash AND teach him the appropriate place in your yard to potty. Yes take your puppy to the same area every day to potty. Over time he will learn to potty in that area. The habits you build now will enhance your success later.

When taking your puppy out to potty, choose a keyword or phrase such as “Outside!” or “Go Potty!” and use it every time you take your puppy outside to potty. Being consistent with commands and criteria will increase the chances that that your puppy or dog will learn to potty outside.

Keep in mind that young puppies have limited bladder control and that you cannot expect them to refrain from peeing or pooping for long periods. It is important to get your puppy out as often as possible such as when waking up, after eating or playing and before bedtime.

Here is a good example;
The crate you choose should be sized so your puppy can move around easily.  You do not want the crate to be so large that your puppy can potty on one end and sleep in the other. I prefer a closed or plastic kennel (crate) opposed to an open wire one.  Accidents do happen and the plastic ones are easier to clean.  Something like this is a good size.

Crates are relatively inexpensive so I usually give my puppy crate to the local pet shelter when my puppy grows too big for the crate.

You will discover, if used properly, a puppy crate and a leash are both useful training tools and keep your house a happy place for your new puppy or dog.

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Bringing a New Puppy Home

puppyWhat is the best way to bring a new puppy or dog into your household?

Rapport and Control
As soon as you bring home your new dog or puppy, immediately start building a relationship with him/her.  Spend time and take him/her to many different places.

Encourage him/her to see you as a significant part of his life.  Engage your new puppy/dog in activities such as playing tug or taking on walks.  Teach your puppy/dog to enjoy your company even when you go to new, interesting and busy places!  Encourage him to check out the environment and introduce him to friendly dogs and people.  Use this time to also start training.  People do not need to give your puppy/dog treats.  Leave that “fun” for you to offer.

When meeting new people, randomly have your puppy/dog come back to you and reward him for doing so with play and/or treats.  Build his confidence and teach him to have the desire to be with you because you are more fun and interesting than anything else out there!

Earning Privileges

There is training to be done before your new dog or puppy is given the privilege of routine interactions with your other dogs.  Develop good verbal control of your new dog’s/puppy’s behavior.  This means, in the majority of situations, you are able to consistently manage his behavior by calmly speaking to him.

Each dog, including your new dog, should wait at entrances and exits, come to you when called and sit when told.  It is important to have verbal control over each dog individually and all the dogs as a group before your new dog is permitted to routinely interact with the other dogs in your household.  Make sure each of your dog’s understand and respond to your requests. It is important that each of your dogs recognizes you as an important presence even when they are playing and running about. You should be able to routinely intervene, stop any commotions, and maintain order in your household. When your dogs are playing, randomly call them to you. Make it a competition, the first to you gets the treats!

Structure and Boundaries

It is necessary that you provide immediate and constant structure and boundaries for your new dog/puppy. He should be challenged with mental and physical stimulation on a daily basis. He needs to be loved on and crate trained in order to become a great pet and companion. Until he is older, he should not have the same privileges that your other dogs have earned. Your new dog has to earn access to space and free time in the house or yard. Your other dogs have already earned those privileges and they should receive those perks! Since your other dogs will receive the same attention, training and exercise they have always had, they will have no reason to resent the newcomer.


Leadership and Responsibility
Since you have decided to add another dog to your household; you must assume all the responsibility for this new charge. You should provide him with consistent leadership and encourage him to live within the boundaries you have set. This will help him to adjust to his new environment and help him become confident and well behaved. Be sure to devote plenty of time to provide for his mental and physical needs.

Enjoy training, socializing, and providing mental and physical stimulation for your new dog/puppy.  This requires a great deal of time during the first few months, but will pay-off in a big way.  Provide your new dog/puppy with all he needs and he will grow into the loyal companion and wonderful family member that you would like to have in the years to come!

Please leave comments or email me with future article ideas at Ask DebbyQ. 

Visit my Youtube and watch training videos at

Fireworks- My Puppy is GOING Krazy!

fireworksAH – July 4th and FIREWORKS.

I take advantage when I get the opportunity to condition a new dog or puppy to ENJOY fireworks.

YES ~ I said enjoy!

We start inside the house so the fireworks sounds are muffled.   I surround myself with all my dogs.  Sly, Riker, and Karrde have all been through this conditioning drill.

We begin inside playing with toys and tugging.  Every time I hear a bang or boom,  I cue fun and games to all my dogs and we begin to play.

This cue becomes very exciting for all the boys and my new puppy, POE, picks up on the excitement quickly.  ONLY when I see that POE is having fun will I open my door or we will begin to venture outside.

Once outside, we wait for fireworks sounds.  I whistle and have fun, while the adult dogs run and bark.  As you can see, my other dogs are LOVING the GAME.  It will not take POE long to join in and ENJOY the Firework Games!

Nail Day!

nail-day-photoNail trimming is an important part of a regular grooming routine. If your dog’s nails get too long, they can break, which is painful and can result in an infection. Long nails also cause an irregular gait that leads to skeletal damage. Despite its importance, many people don’t like to trim their dog’s nails. When you get a new puppy, teaching him/her that nail day is FUN is important.

Here is a classic nail day and how to start your puppy off on the right foot.

First, always make sure your puppy has had a good run before doing nails.  A tired puppy is more likely to relax while doing his/her nails.  Also, have some great extra special treats that you can feed your puppy/dog while trimming his nails.

Soft treats like Zukes are great because they are tasty, break apart easily, and are easy to eat for any sized dog.  Click on the bag and it will take you to Amazon Affiliate where I am an affiliate.

Second, you need to have a good pair of nail trimmers or a Dremel.  I like using a Dremel tool to smooth the edges.


Here is an example of a great set of cutters – I prefer this type as they are easy for me to hold in my hand.  Click on clipper image to take you to Amazon Affiliate. They have these as well as many other varieties.

And a Dremel tool that I LOVE! The battery lasts a long time, the Dremel is relatively quite and it is easy to use.

Now you are all set to trim those nails.

Get all your equipment together before you start:  trimmer, Dremel, and treats.  I prefer to sit on the floor and have my puppy between my legs with his feet up in the air.

  • Feed your puppy a treat.
  • While he is eating the treat, trim a nail. Do not worry about how short the nail is, just trim a bit so he gets use to the feeling. Note: see the photo for the angle to cut the nail.
  • Trim one nail at a time and give a treat each time before you trim.
  • If your puppy is remaining still, repeat the above with the Dremel and lightly touch each nail as you feed your puppy between each repetition.

NOTE: if your puppy becomes wiggly, trim one foot each day until your puppy is compliant and still.

If you have multiple dogs, gather the same tools and treats before starting to trim any nails.  Having multiple dogs can be of benefit while teaching nail trimming.

  • Start by letting your puppy watch your other dogs get their nails cut.
  • Feed treats only to the dog that is getting his/her nails cut. This is also a great opportunity to reward the dog getting his feet done.
  • If your puppy tries to get in the way or steal the treats, gently push him aside and continue your work.
  • Once it is time to do your puppy’s nails, give him/her a treat and cut the nail. Give a treat and cut a next nail and so on until all the nails are done.
  • If your puppy struggles or shows signs of stress, start off with one nail on each foot or only one foot a day.
  • All in all, the process is simple and will condition your puppy to LOVE nail day.
  • Once your puppy excepts nail cutting, gradually wean off feeding treats for every toe to every other toe and then each foot.

Introduce the Dremel once your puppy is accepting of his nails getting cut. Dremel your dog’s nails the same way as you did the nail trimming, with a treat then doing a nail.

Nails need to be trimmed once a week.

Doing nails can be an easy job for you and actually become very rewarding for your puppy/dog.  Take your time and associate the nail trimming with something good that your puppy/dog enjoys.

Here is a close up of doing nails.

Nails UP!

Please ask questions or leave comments below.

Watch POE Grow – The life and training of a competition puppy.

Now is your chance! “WATCH POE GROW” will give you that opportunity to watch me train my new puppy, Poe.

poeIn the upcoming videos, Poe and I will be showing you everything I like to do with a puppy or dog to build a great competition partner and a wonderful family member.

Poe will be learning skills that will help create a great foundation needed for future competitions as well as learning how to be a well-adjusted partner and pet.

You will get to spend time with Poe as he experiences new locations, and socializes with new people and dogs. In addition, you’ll learn how I teach various skills, while we build confidence, focus, and enthusiasm.

More importantly, Poe and I will show you how to build desire for focus and engagement through great skills like recalls, tug, bringing back toys, self-control, and much more.

Don’t miss out! While a new puppy offers you a clean slate to build solid foundations, confidence, focus and desire, it is never too late to address issues and clean up foundations with your current dog.

This is the opportunity to teach your new puppy or your current dog everything you want your dog to know.

Poe says to Click LIKE, SUBSCRIBE (to get updates) and SHARE as we “WATCH POE GROW”.

The Great Sport of Obedience


History – The first obedience trial was created in 1933 by Helen Whitehouse Walker of New York. By 1936, the AKC had adopted standards for obedience trials and trials were being held across the United States.

For many years, competition obedience was the only “dog sport” available to people. As a result, it developed a strong following and providing an outlet for dog people to do advanced training, and compete outside the conformation ring. Today, there are many different obedience levels and classes you can enter. Obedience classes range from heeling patterns, recalls, and stays to more advanced classes where dogs, are retrieving, jumping or performing by signal commands only.

Obedience is a test of how well a dog is trained. In order to qualify a dog must accomplish a number of exercises. Competitive obedience is far more difficult than typical household training. When the handler issues any of a number of commands in a competition, the dog must immediately perform the skill without hesitation. Delay or stopping to look at something or someone might result in point deductions. Indeed, Competition Obedience is a fascinating sport. The bond built between the handler and their dog is wonderful to watch. The best thing about obedience is that anyone of any age and with a dog of any breed can train and participate.

Start puppies young. Puppies as young as 6- 8 weeks old are like a spongepoe and ready to absorb skills and behaviors. Most young puppies also have not formed many if any bad habits. While puppies make great students, a dog of any age may be trained and will enjoy training and learning.

Why Do Obedience?
By nature, dogs are pack animals and will look to you for guidance. Providing your dog with structure and boundaries, will help your dog understand how to abide by the rules in your household and to become a companion you will really enjoy.

Obedience training doesn’t solve all behavior problems, but it is the foundation for solving just about any problem. Training opens up a line of communication between you and your dog. Effective communication is necessary to teach your dog how you want him to behave. You can teach your dog anything from sit, come, and walk on a loose leash to heeling at your side and competing at dog shows.

Aside from allowing your dog to live happily as a companion, training helps bring out the best in your dog. Through training, your dog will become more self-confident and able to cope with the everyday stresses of life. While you work with your dog, you will also build rapport between your dog and you. The increased rapport will help establish a good foundation for training in most competition venues such as agility, obedience, and rally. Training your dog increases the possibility that he will be successful in whatever venue you decide to pursue!

▪ He sits when told to and will not jump on guests.
▪ He stays so he will not bolt out the door when it is opened.
▪ He knows you are in charge and will not try to take over the house.
▪ He comes when called and does not bark incessantly.
▪ He does not pull on the leash and walks with you!
▪ He only chews on items that are his.
▪ He will not chase other dogs, cats, cars or people.
▪ He will be able to successfully participate in competitive events such as obedience, agility, rally, and other activities!

Obedience training is fun and rewarding for you and your dog. It can and will enrich your relationship with your dog and make living together more enjoyable. A well-trained dog is more confident and as a result is a pleasure to be around.

Thinking about taking online classes?

Here is what you need to know and look for in online classes?

Online dog training or e-learning has become a hot trend. Today your options are limitless on how and where to gather information about dog training, behavior modification, and competition training. Online classes are growing in popularity and are great way to continue to learn and gather information.

E-learning is a convenient and valuable concept for dog trainers everywhere because it is web-based, easy to use, and accessible 24/7 from your own home! Many dog trainers are logging in to online classes and learning valuable concepts, techniques and philosophies that will enhance their training program with their dogs. Better yet you can learn from those who have been in your shoes and have a vast wealth of experience. With their help you can better prepare your training sessions and avoid mistakes.

Online courses offer a lot of flexibility for busy people. It’s convenient and can save you time and money. This is an ‘easy way of training with top trainers that are not in your area. Dog trainers often drive long distances and pay big bucks to attend seminars by the best of the best. Now many of these trainers offer their knowledge via online classes. Some offer consultations of training or showing videos giving ways to improve. Costs will vary, but when you consider the savings in travel time and gas money, convenience pays.

Taking online classes allows you to work toward your goals at your own pace. It is fun having the flexibility of the online classes. If you are busy a few days a week no problem, just do what you can when you can. It is sometimes better than classes where you get 1 hour each week. Online classes also offer much more personalized attention and feedback.