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!

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.

I am frequently asked, “When will my dog mind me without having to give him treats?” That’s actually a really good question! This is how I explain it.

In order for your dog to do as you ask, you will not have to give a treat every single time, but let’s take a look at what we are expecting from a different perspective.

Say you are on vacation. You are in your favorite spot doing your favorite thing – whatever it may be. Your phone rings and it’s work. There is an emergency at the office. You are asked a question that can only be answered by stopping what you’re doing, whipping out your computer and finding the answer. That wouldn’t be that big of a deal if you were just lounging on the couch of the room you were staying but you are sitting on the beach with a cocktail and the ocean breeze blowing ever so perfectly. What you are being asked to do is something that is nowhere near as wonderful as laying on the beach relaxing. You go back to your room, turn on your computer and get the information that is needed to curb this emergency. Now let’s say that you give your office the information and they say “Ok! Bye!” How would that make you feel? If it were me, I would feel like they were very ungrateful! All they needed to do was give me a simple, “Thank you. I know you’re on vacation so I really appreciate your help.”

Chances are when you ask your dog to do something, you are interrupting something that is much more interesting than what you’re asking him to do. If he does as you ask, why wouldn’t you tell him “Thank you”? What’s the best way to tell your dog thank you? With a treat, of course! I always carry treats with me. Do I give them to my dogs every time they do something I ask. Of course not. But I do give them treats when they’ve cooperated with me or handled a particularly stressful situation like a champ. In other words, I don’t take my dogs for granted.

Remember that your relationship with your dog is what you make of it. The stronger your bond, the more obedient your dog will be. Let him know you appreciate him and you will reap the rewards in ways you could never imagine.

If you have any questions about training or rewarding your dog or would like to schedule a consultation, call or contact me today at 762-218-3708!

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.

Teaching your dog to heel can be one of the most difficult skills to teach your dog. It causes frustration and often causes you to question why your dog just won’t get it. Going on a nice walk on a beautiful day becomes a storm of pulling, distractions, and barking. You probably wonder if it’s really worth it?

Please understand that each dog learns in his own unique way. Just like children and even adults – one doesn’t learn the same way as the other. Some take longer than others. You will probably find that you will spend more time on one of the steps than the others. It just depends on your dog and his personality, traits, and drive.

Proper heeling is when you can walk your dog with a loose lead and his head does not move past your heel. This is primarily for safety so that if you turn left or right, you will not trip over him. He should move when you move, back up when you back up, and turn when you turn.

1. Practice “Heel” first with NO distractions.

Use a quiet place in your house. Attach a sturdy 6 foot lead to his harness. I recommend a harness instead of a collar for more control and to avoid choking your dog. Lure your dog with a treat to your left side. His head should not extend past your left heel. Take one step. If he stays in heel position, immediately say “Yes” and give a treat. Repeat this adding one step at a time. If at any point, he falls out of “Heel” position, simply go back to the last point he was successful and begin from that point. Ignore fails. Reward successes.

TIP: Place loop of leash around your right wrist and hold the leash further down with your left hand. This will give you more leverage and control.

Once your dog has mastered the heel skill in the room without distractions, move to a different room.  Then take him with you around the house on the lead. Let him follow you and correct immediately if he falls out of heel position by stopping and luring him back into position. Don’t forget to reward for correctly heeling. Say “Yes” immediately and reward to capture the correct response. If you wait too long, you may accidentally reward a behavior that you don’t want.

Move in the yard with a few distractions. Go through the steps the same way as you did inside. Continue working outside with few distractions until he has mastered.

Move to the front yard with more distractions. Finally move to a neighborhood street – then to a local park or local store that is animal friendly.

2. Stop and Start.

Your dog loves to walk. He’s on a mission and he speeds ahead. When you stop, he thinks, “Hey! Why did you stop? What’s wrong?”. He should turn around to look at you. At this point, tell him what you want (come back to your side/heel). You can do this by calling him or luring with a treat. Once he is back in place, resume walking. Each and every time, he speeds ahead, Stop and Repeat. Yes. This can turn a 30 minute walk into an hour but it is so worth it! Be sure to keep lots of treats with you so you can reward for a great heel!

3. Redirect your Dog.

If he is pulling, gently change directions and guide him. I have actually been known to do figure eights and donuts. By doing this, your dog has to look at you for guidance because he has no idea what you’re doing. He may think you’re a little crazy but that’s okay! He should fall back into heel position and you can resume your walk. Just like Step 2, you may have to do this many times at first so don’t plan on going for a quick walk! Prepare to double your normal time. Don’t forget to praise and reward when your dog is heeling correctly!

The heel skill is no quick skill to learn. You will need lots of patience, understanding and determination. There will be times you will feel like giving up. Don’t. Give. Up! Don’t let your dog see your frustration. This will make the process take just that much longer.


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


*NOTE:  If your dog is unresponsive to these techniques or you don’t feel comfortable implementing them, contact a trainer who is familiar with behavior modification in dogs. Do NOT attempt to do anything that will jeopardize your safety.


Our relationship with dogs has evolved dramatically over recent years. We consider them a member of our family – so much so that when they behave “doggishly” we don’t understand. Has your sweet innocent loving dog ever snapped or tried to bite someone? It happens. Let me tell you about a recent incident at our house.

We recently moved to our new home. One of the things that we didn’t have was a fenced yard. With 2 active dogs, both hounds, it was a necessity to get one ASAP. I called someone who I used before. I will call him Bob. He is very professional, friendly, and does a fabulous job! I also had Bob divide the fenced area so that I would have a dog run/training area.

The day came for the fence install. I’m not sure who was happier – me or Emmett and Ellie. I leashed Emmett up and took him out to potty and to play in the new dog run. On our way to the run, Bob wanted to meet him (who can resist Emmett?). I took Emmett over to him. A little excited to meet Bob, Emmett sat nicely for some rubs. Bob gave Emmett some great rubs, then put his hands on either side of his face and stuck his face in his. Emmett gave a warning snap and Bob jerked back in shock. I will admit I was a little shocked too, but given the new surroundings, the new person, and Emmett’s excitement over meeting someone new, this was actually a normal behavior for a dog.

Bob came back the next day to finish up some things and we had a discussion about dogs, which led to a short discussion about the “incident”. I explained to him that he should never ever put his face in a dog’s face especially when he doesn’t know the dog. He understood and that was that. But after having the “dog” discussion with Bob, I realized that there are so many who are still unaware of a dog’s warning signs. So many do not understand dog behavior.

Let’s look at this from a “human” standpoint. You meet someone for the first time. They shake your hand, give you some compliments (rubbing the dog), then put their arm around you while continuing to talk (sticking their face in a dog’s face). I don’t know about you, but my reaction would be, “Look. You don’t know me so back off Buddy!” Since a dog can’t talk, he does what is customary for a dog. He gives a warning just like Emmett did.

You’ve heard all of the stories about dogs attacking without being provoked. The truth is, they probably WERE provoked. The human just didn’t realize they were doing it.

When we feel bad or are in a bad mood, we want to be left alone. When we don’t know someone, we certainly don’t want them in our “space”. When someone touches us and we don’t know them, that is not acceptable. We have the ability to voice our dislike. Dogs don’t. The only way they know to show fear, anxiety, or other negative emotions is by giving warning signs. These are not always a “snap” or another obvious sign. They can also include tucking their tail, looking away, shaking, excessive panting, scratching, ears pinned back, or a low growl to name a few. It’s important to understand a dog’s body language to know the warning signs and respect the dog’s space.

Dog Body Language Poster

We must understand that dogs have emotions very similar to ours.  A dog’s interpretation of events and the way they react to the associated emotions is what differs. It doesn’t mean that a dog is bad. It means that they are normal. Would you run up and hug a grizzly bear? Of course not! You know what the repercussions would be. Most, if not all, dog bite incidents can be avoided if we all educate ourselves on dog body language. It’s NOT the dog’s fault. Feel free to print the Dog Bite graphic above, created by Lili Chin, that will help you better understand what to look for when interacting with a dog. The AMVA also has a selection of videos on Dog Bite Prevention for children and children at heart.

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