Archive for dog training

Bringing Your Puppy Home

Bringing a new puppy home is an event that requires a bit of planning. Imagine that you are about to bring a two-year-old child into your house. He’ll be curious, active, perhaps a bit shy and overwhelmed by noise and action, and easily overtired. Are you ready for the challenges that a new puppy brings into your home? Here are some things to be aware of, and some tips to help you prepare.

Your Puppy Is Just a Baby

Young puppies are easily overwhelmed. Here are some tips for those first few days:

  1. Keep your puppy’s environment as calm as possible. Excited kids, other pets and household chaos can overwhelm your little puppy and cause anxiety.
  2. Recognize the signs of naptime. Puppies, like babies, need frequent naps. Learn to recognize the signs that your puppy is becoming overtired, and whisk him into a quiet room (or his crate) for a break.
  3. Your puppy’s appetite might be affected by the transition. Don’t worry too much if he doesn’t eat a lot the first day. If he struggles for longer than a few days, see your veterinarian.

Keep Puppy Safe

You’ll want to puppy-proof your house, both to protect your pup and to protect your belongings!

  1. Install baby gates at the top of stairs. Curious puppies can take a tumble down stairs, with bad results.
  2. Get on your hands and knees! Crawl around and look at your home from a puppy’s viewpoint. See any interesting dangling cords or tablecloths? Secure them now, or risk Puppy pulling something over on top of himself.
  3. Educate kids in advance. Teach children how to treat your puppy before he arrives. No ear pulling, tail pulling or hitting allowed! Show kids the right way to hold the puppy so that he feels secure and is safe.
  4. Remove any poisonous plants from your home, or place them high enough that your puppy could never reach them.
  5. Be aware of choking hazards. Some dog treats are not meant for small puppies. Small toys can be swallowed.

The First Night

If you’ve adopted a very young puppy, he may have a difficult time being away from his mom and litter mates. Use the tips to keep your puppy from crying all night.

  1. Take a small blanket or towel to his birth home a few days before picking him up. Ask the owners to put it where mom sleeps, so it will smell like her. Then tuck it into your puppy’s new bed at home, where the smell will be reassuring.
  2. Plan to have your puppy sleep near you, at least for the first few nights. Place his crate or bed near yours.
  3. If your puppy cries or whines, give him gentle reassurance, but be firm. The middle of the night is not the time for a game of tug, unless you want to form some very bad habits.
  4. Consider a “heartbeat” toy. Your local pet store carries a variety of stuffed puppy toys that sound like a mother dog’s heartbeat.

How to Train a Dog To Come When Called

One of the most important commands is to teach a dog to come when called

when your dog is approaching a dangerous situation, an oncoming car or a dangerous animal, for instance, coming when called can save his life.

INVITE your dog to come to you

teach a dog to come when called | a tail above dog training cape cod

Why would your dog want to come to you if you are screaming “COME!#%$^#!!!” angrily, at the top of your lungs – or worse – chasing after him WHILE doing so. That may be a little scary, don’t you think? Also, don’t ask your dog to come to you that may sound like you are on the fence. Many people do not realize that they have added a question mark after the command “Come”. There is middle ground. We like to train YOU to command your dog to Come as if you are inviting him or her to a party.

Think of this from your dog’s perspective.

Who would YOU rather go to – the crazy maniac chasing you and screaming COME!!!!! At the top of their lungs, the quiet unsure owner who issues a “come?” as if they don’t really mean and sound unsure, or the fun happy owner who gives an enthusiastic “COME…..atta boy…..”…..same way they would say “hey, we’re having a great barbeque on Saturday – why don’t you COME?”. Think about it. MAKE IT FUN. Your dog should WANT to come to you.

The first thing to think about when teaching your dog to come is his motivation for doing so. He certainly loves your approval.. But if he’s off-leash, he’s also loving whatever he’s doing when you call. If you have first established yourself as your dogs leader, this won’t be a problem. How do you do that? Well, for one thing, your dog should not be off leash outside until you are first able to get him or her off leash INSIDE! Well, how do I get my dog to come to me when I call him or her inside, you ask. Read on.


In the beginning phase of teaching this command, you’ll want to be sure your dog is attached to a leash or a long line. Invite your dog to Come. If your dog decides not to, you are in a position to HELP the dog, because you are at the other end of the leash. What are you teaching the dog? You are teaching the dog that you are going to follow through every single time you ask the dog to come. Hire a Certified Professional Dog Trainer to help you with to train all the obedience commands, so you have a common language with your dog. The other benefit to hiring a professional, is to learn proper leash handling techniques – it makes ALL the difference in training your dog to come when called, to Sit, to stop jumping etc. Timing is also critical, is your timing right?

Praise and Love

When your dog comes to you, you’ll praise him. Your dog loves your approval; make sure to let him know that he’s done a really great job by coming when called. You want to be sure you are using the RIGHT level of praise for YOUR dog. Again, a Certified Professional Trainer can help you get the best from your dog.

The steps to training the “come” command:

      Start by putting your dog in an area where he is very close to you, and on a leash or long line (a small room or hallway would be great, for instance). Put squirmy puppies on a long leash. Try to find a spot without lots of interesting distractions.
      Let your dog wander away from you.
      Call him to you, using a specific command you’ve chosen. You can say “Come!” or, “Here!” or any word you’d like, as long as you’re consistent.
      Keep calling until the dog comes to you.
      When he comes, have him “sit” then praise him.
      Repeat until he figures out that you will help him each time in the event he chooses to ignore you. (this shouldn’t take long!)
      For puppies, reinforce with treats, and gradually begin to give less treats. You might give a treat three times in a row, then no treat (but still lots of praise). Work on this until you give a treat only once in awhile.

Realize that learning this command will take several sessions. Gradually move from a distraction-free, enclosed space to a space with higher distractions. Always give lots of praise.

Puppy Training – The Place Command

Watch as Certified Professional Dog Trainer, Ann Greene, uses a camera to monitor the 4 month old puppy she is training, Levi.

Ann wants to see how long he would remain on his “PLACE”. The Place Command is basically a crate without walls. Nobody trains it better than Ann!

Watch this puppy – he is happy and well behaved. All this at FOUR MONTHS of age.

Call A Tail Above Dog Training in Massachusetts to help you get started on building a better relationship with YOUR dog!