One of the biggest concerns I hear from my clients is that their puppy or dog jumps on people. It can be scary and embarrassing when guests come over. Depending on the dog’s size, it can be quite painful and dangerous too.

This is a common problem in puppies and adolescent dogs. Dogs are social animals and seek your attention. Since we are taller than they are, jumping is only a natural way for them to get closer to us – similar to the way a toddler wants to be held. An adolescent dog is roughly between 6 months and 18 months of age. The breed and size of the dog also factor into this. Typically, the bigger the dog, the later the stage. It’s important that a dog starts learning manners early. Did you know that you can begin training with your puppy as soon as you bring him home?

If your dog is a “jumper”, you will want to give him an alternate behavior to perform. If you only tell your dog what NOT to do, he won’t know what you DO expect of him. If  he jumps on you, have him “Sit”. Pause to give him a chance to comply. If he doesn’t, tell him again to “Sit”. Continue pausing and giving “Sit” cue. The pause is very important. If you regurgitate, “Sit!Sit!Sit!Sit!” he’s probably not going to do as you ask. All he’ll hear is “Wahwahwahwah”. You may need to use a treat at first so make sure to keep plenty on hand! Try not to push him away since he’ll think you want to play! As soon as he sits, immediately give him a treat or a calm rub and tell him what a good boy he is. One thing to remember is to be calm. If you get excited, chances are your dog will jump up again. If he does, immediately remove your hands, stand up straight and tell him to sit again. Repeat as many times as needed.

The keys to success with this is CONSISTENCY AND PATIENCE. Every member of the family MUST do this EACH and EVERY time your dog jumps up. If you have guests over, ask them to do the same thing. This can take anywhere from a few day to a few weeks before you begin seeing results. The more consistent you are, the quicker it will happen. You’re dog will learn that in order to receive attention, he must sit. Before you know it, you’ll see a huge improvement! Extra tip! This also works for jumping on countertops!

It seems that every year there are new corporate slang words that are added to the already overloaded list. Some that irritate me the most are “reach out”, “resonate”, “organic”, “empower”, “leverage”. Most of these have been around for years and most are often misused. 

In the canine world, there also seem to be terms that just won’t go away. These are dominance, pack leader, and alpha. I completely understand why this came to be since at one time dog training was based on these terms and the mindset that goes along with them. Just like the foods that are good for us or bad for us change as more research is conducted, the same holds true for dog training as we find out more about how dogs think.

So let’s look at dog relationships and what we know in the current day – but first a little history – the short version. In the 1930’s and 40’s Swiss animal behaviorist Rudolph Schenkel conducted a scientific study on zoo wolves. In this study, he concluded that wolves in a pack gain dominance by fighting and the winner is the alpha.

Here’s the problem. Wolves are not domesticated dogs and domesticated dogs are not wolves. Schenkel’s findings were incorrect; however, other scientists studied wolves in captivity and concluded the same thing as Schenkel.

Thanks to David Mech and his study of wild (not captive) wolves, we have learned that a pack of wolves is in fact a family. The wolf family consists of the mother and father pair and one to three years of offspring. This completely debunks the earlier dominance/alpha theory.

Unfortunately, many dog owners and dog trainers still believe in this outdated form of thinking and apply harsh and disrespectful training techniques to dogs. A few of the most common techniques include: Rolling the dog on their back and forcing them to stay belly up in order to interrupt bad behavior, glaring directly into a dog’s eyes to show dominance, leash jerking to show who the “pack leader” is, using a prong collar to get the dog’s attention and keep the dog from pulling, and using a shock collar to interrupt barking and reactive behavior. All of these techniques are completely unacceptable and do more harm than good. For instance, putting a shock collar or using a leash jerk on a dog who is reactive only causes a dog to be more fearful and anxious than he already is. In addition, it may appear to temporarily correct the problem, but it is only putting a patch on the symptoms – not correcting the actual problem.

In 1985, Karen Pryor, a well-known trainer, wrote Don’t Shoot the Dog. This was the turning point when positive modern dog training was born. The new era of dog training was blossoming and becoming more popular until 2004 when Cesar Millan became popular with his Dog Whisperer show. Showing “miraculous transformations” with the same outdated way of training, he became vastly popular, creating a surge of dog owners reverting to the dominance theory.

Today there are many trainers using the same outdated methods; however, there are many trainers who have moved to positive dog training. We call them crossover trainers. The reason? They have found that positive dog training is both a very successful way of dog training and it provides a more satisfying feeling of accomplishment.

There is no such thing as Dominance, Pack Leader, and Alpha when it comes to dogs. It is time that these words are removed from everyone’s canine vocabulary. It simply isn’t a thing.

Think of how you learn best. I know for me, I learn if something is explained to me and I am allowed to do it myself. If someone is standing over me talking loudly, I’m going to shut down or tell them to be quiet. The same holds true for a dog. For specific skills, you can lure a dog into position, give it a name (cue) and allow him to repeat the skill several times. Yelling at a dog when he makes a mistake doesn’t accomplish anything but make him want to run away or cower in fear.  In positive dog training, we use rewards, but we also allow the dog to figure things out too. If we train in this manner, he will have a more solid understanding of what is being asked of him.

Have respect for your dog. Imagine being in a foreign country and no one speaks English. Everyone is much taller than you and you have no idea where anything is. Someone waves their hand at you to come over. They ask you a question in their native language but since you don’t understand you don’t respond. Since you don’t respond, they assume you are being rude so they punch you in the nose. Do you see where I’m going with this? You and your dog speak two different languages. Why would someone expect that a dog would miraculously understand what they are asking of them? They don’t! We have to show them in a kind and respectful way.

If you would like to find out more about Positive Modern Dog Training or would like to schedule a consultation or training, please contact me today at  762-218-3708.

Lately I’ve heard so many frustrated dog parents complain about destructive chewing and digging. I will admit that it is extremely frustrating. I’ve been through it with one of my dogs. When he was younger, he would dig up sprinkler lines and proudly sling it all over the yard. It’s not funny or cute when a sprinkler or piece of furniture is chewed and damaged and holes are dug in your yard. All of this damage really adds up and can get very expensive!

What are the common factors that these destructive behaving dogs have in common?

  1. They are adolescents – the human equivalent of teenagers. Depending on the size of your dog, adolescence can begin as early as 6 months and end as late as 2 years. That’s a long time!
  2. They are working dog breeds or a mix of working dogs. Many dogs are not sufficiently stimulated physically and mentally. This causes a tremendous amount of frustration for the dog. If the dog continues to lack in sufficient stimulation, many undesirable behaviors may manifest. Some of these behaviors include but are not limited to: chewing, continuous barking, tail chasing, digging, excessive licking, and reactivity/aggression due to fear and/or anxiety. A dog simply cannot be left to entertain and teach themselves. Just like a child, we cannot expect dogs to miraculously understand right from wrong nor can we expect them to come to us trained. That is our responsibility.
  3. The dog hasn’t had any training.


How can I make the destruction stop?

  1. Keep an eye on your dog. Never leave him unattended. When you catch him chewing, don’t yell at him. Give him a safe chew toy to chew on. Make it one he really likes. By giving him an alternative, you are showing him what is acceptable to chew. You must do this every time and be consistent. ALL household members must cooperate and be consistent as well.
  2. Do a little research and get creative. Although you may not know the breed of your dog, they all have one thing in common – their strong sense of smell. A dog has 220 million or more olfactory receptors (for smell) while a human has only about 5 million. For this reason, nose games are a very good way to satisfy one of their instinctual urges and satisfy their boredom. Easy DIY nose games can be found by doing a Google search.
  3. Train your dog in basic obedience. I always say, “If you don’t train ‘em, don’t blame ‘em.”’ Like I said before, you can’t expect your dog to automatically know what you want just because you say it.  Dogs love to work for you and please you. That’s what they were bred for! By teaching them what you want them to do, you are building communication and a strong bond between the two of you and building your dog’s self-confidence.

Spend time with your dog(s) daily. They deserve your attention just like one of your family members. Respect their needs and try to understand what they are trying to tell you. No dog means to be naughty. They just need guidance and a little of your time.

If you have any questions about Destructive Behavior or would like to schedule a consultation, call or contact me today at 762-218-3708.

One of the most common problems my clients ask about is their puppy jumping and nipping. If you’ve ever had a young puppy, you know that some of their behaviors can be very frustrating and concerning, especially if your dog is a larger breed. Maybe you’ve adopted an adult dog from a shelter or rescue and are having the same concerns. Chances are your new dog has never been taught how to curb those urges. They may have actually been encouraged!

In puppies, jumping and nipping is normal behavior. Puppies are still learning the ways of our world. They explore the world with their mouth and they are teething. Just like human babies, they need something safe to chew on that will help soothe their gums. Jumping is usually caused from attention seeking or excitement. To correct these behaviors, you can try any of these methods or combine them.

  1. Ignore him. Hold your hands up to avoid getting nipped and to take away temptation from your pup. Stand still like a statue and look away from your dog. You can also turn around with your back to your dog. Make sure you have a wall in front of you so your dog can’t come back around and jump on you. Because dogs communicate through body language, the dog understands this as “you will not receive attention until you stop that behavior.”
  2. Teach your dog to “Sit”. If he jumps or nips, have him “Sit”. Reward immediately with a treat or petting. If he jumps up again, ignore again until all 4 feet are on the floor or “Sit” and reward again. Repeat as many times as needed. Giving an alternate behavior is better than just saying “off” or “no”. If you just say “off”, he may get off you, but then he thinks, “OK, what do you want me to do now?”
  3. Toss a treat or toy on the floor. You may ask, “Isn’t this a reward for jumping/nipping?” Tossing a treat or toy redirects the dog and says to him, “Hey! There’s something better on the floor than jumping and nipping me!” You can incorporate a queue when you toss a treat. You can use “Off” or “4 on the Floor”.
  4. Always have a toy on hand. If the dog is nipping or using his mouth during play, show him what IS appropriate to play with. Exchange your hand for a toy and play with him! Never Ever allow a dog to play with your hand. Always use a toy during playtime.
  5. Keep Frozen Toys on hand. For puppies that are teething, be sure to keep plenty of frozen chew toys on hand to give him- frozen Kongs, frozen rings, etc.

NEVER PUSH YOUR DOG OFF OF YOU. When you throw your hands up or push at your dog, he will think you are playing. Although this is a normal reaction, if you’ve ever done it you’ve probably wondered why your dog comes back for more? 😉

Jumping on Guests

When you know you are having visitors, place your dog behind a baby gate in your bedroom or place in a pen. Instruct visitors to ignore your dog until he is quiet and laying down or at minimum he has four paws on the floor. You or the visitor can go over immediately when your dog is quiet and calmly pet or reward with a treat. If at any time he jumps up or begins to act excited, stop petting and ignore again until he calms. If you have an unexpected visitor, ask them to wait to enter the house. Move your dog calmly to a room behind a gate or to a pen before letting them inside.

July the 4th is fast approaching! While this is an exciting time to celebrate with family and friends, every year I hear so many heart wrenching stories of family dogs who have run away during fireworks. This doesn’t have to happen. No matter how well-behaved, calm, and reliable a dog is, just like humans, they are not perfect. They do get spooked and scared, especially when left alone outside with very loud noises. It doesn’t matter how high your fence is. If frightened enough, your dog will find a way to escape.

Here are some suggestions for keeping your dog safe and calm during the July 4th celebration:

  1. Keep your dog inside. Shut the blinds and curtains to eliminate additional triggers. If for

some reason, your dog isn’t allowed inside, please make an exception. If you have a

garage, you can also let him stay there. Make sure there is plenty of fresh water and

entertaining toys to keep him occupied.

  1. Make sure your dog has a safe place. If your dog loves his crate, by all means let him

rest there. Freeze some plain boiled chicken in a Kong and give to him before you leave

for the evening. This will keep him busy for quite a while.

  1. Play some soft music. There are many music playlists specifically for anxiety in dogs

available on Spotify and YouTube. Try to find something that has

more piano music. Crank up the volume to help drown out the sound of the fireworks but

be sure not to turn it up too loud as dog’s ears are much more sensitive than ours.

  1. Turn the TV on and the volume up loud enough to cover the sound of the

fireworks. See #3 for a note on volume. Although we may turn the volume up loud, dogs

can still feel the vibration of the booms which can be frightening as well.

  1. Contact a positive dog trainer and work on Behavior Modification for next year!  

If you have any questions about Behavior Modification or would like to schedule a consultation, call or contact me today at 762-218-3708. We currently serve the Columbia County, GA area.


A few weeks ago, I met a client for a training session at the local park in town. This is a place where people and dogs go to walk and hang out. In Georgia, where we are located, there is a leash law. This means no matter how big or small, no matter how well-trained your dog is, and no matter how friendly your dog is, by law, your dog is supposed to be on a leash.


As we were winding down our training session, my client let me know that there was an off-leash dog behind me. I turned around to find a Yorkie and his tall male human. The Yorkie was about 20 feet away from his owner. Without so much as a “Hello” or asking if it was okay, the man told his dog, “It’s ok. Go ahead and say hello!” Mind you, this was a Yorkie, so you may be thinking, “What’s the big deal? Was he a devil dog?” He wasn’t but it was a big deal and I’ll tell you why.


This dog owner was only looking at the situation from his perspective. His dog is friendly. My client’s dog was on a leash. What’s the harm? Here’s the problem. This man had no information about my client’s dog. My client’s dog was at least three times the size of his. Had we allowed play between the two dogs, his dog was at risk of getting injured. While my client’s dog was not aggressive, he had no idea that she was in training, deaf and that she was working through fear and anxiety problems. He gave his dog permission to approach my client’s dog without asking if it was ok and without knowing anything about my client’s dog. True, he didn’t know what we were doing, but that’s no excuse.


You may be wondering what happened next? Well, I intercepted the greeting and told him firmly to please not allow his dog to come over. As he walked away, he rolled his eyes and shook his head. That was a tongue biting experience. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure his dog is loved. I’m sure his intentions were good. But often times, with dogs, our vision of how the situation will play out is not the reality. Other people’s dogs should be approached with respect whether you are with your own dog or not.


Here are some guidelines for interacting with other dogs in public.

    1.      Put your dog on a leash. Aside from breaking the law, you may be putting your dog at risk if you don’t.
    2.      Show respect by greeting other humans and asking permission before allowing your dog to greet their dog.
    3.      Be an educated dog owner. If you see a dog owner with what appears to be an out of control pup, have compassion and be inquisitive – not judgmental. Most owners of anxious dogs are doing everything in their power to get them better. Don’t make remarks or give them dirty looks. They suffer enough without added input.


If you’re the human of a fearful dog, don’t be afraid to speak up if someone approaches your dog without asking. You can nicely tell them that your dog is fearful, anxious, or in training and cannot be petted. You can also purchase personalized leashes or covers or patches from Etsy so that others will know not to approach your dog.

Responsible dog owners spend an enormous amount of time training their dogs. Many dogs have behavioral problems that owners are either trying to manage or working hard at repairing. Be thoughtful and respectful of others and their canine companions regardless of how innocent the potential encounter may seem. It’s difficult to understand a situation unless you’ve actually lived it.


“In order to really enjoy a dog, one doesn’t merely try to train him to be semi-human. The point of it is to open oneself to the possibility of becoming partly a dog.”

   -Edward Hoagland

If you have any questions about your dog’s behavior or would like to schedule a consultation, call or contact me today at 762-218-3708. We currently serve the Columbia County, GA area.