Focusing on Consistency- Part 2 The Plan

Abby and I reflecting on life


Everywhere in life we have a plan. Think about it, you have a plan for the night, a plan for the weekend, a plan for vacation, and a plan for dinner that evening. You even have plans for how your children will grow up or maybe how the world will end one day. Why wouldn’t you have a plan for your dog training session??????

Get with the planing program!

It doesn’t have to be documented in official memo style and approved by the president (though if you are working with a professional dog trainer they will help you get your plan solidified and ensure that it is beneficial to you and the canine) but at least know what you are going to do and how you plan on doing it. Now with that being said……….i change my plan a hundred times a day!!! That’s ok though, because i’m changing it based on my dogs AGENDA and the FEEDBACK he is giving me while we are training. You do not have a plan so that you have to stick to it like gorilla glue, you have a plan so you can keep focus and maintain CONSISTENCY in your training session.

Depending on the time of day, what i have already accomplished with my dog that day, and both our moods i will pick what the object of our plan will be. If i have been gone all day and Raina is crazy full of energy I will not jump right into long downs, that is not fair to her to drill such a static exercise. I would do something fun first like go outs where she gets to use her energy bursts for good. THIS is the main factor in working on the dogs agenda for your plan. I already know the process on how to train go outs, so i will start where we left off in our last session and see how she performs. Following my plan allows me to focus completely on the dog and keeping these as CONSISTENT as possible so we both learn with fewer mistakes.

I know this may  be confusing at first, or even extremely complicated and overkill, but you cannot be upset or mad at a dog who doesn’t have good obedience if you never bothered to train him right in the first place.

PLEASE remember bringing a dog into your life IS A LOT OF WORK. I can vouch first hand that it is fully worth the work you put into your pup or dog to have a wonderful canine copilot for the rest of your life.

Terrific Tip Tuesday

Our focus for this week’s terrific tip Tuesday is how to work on the relax command.

Have you ever gotten a new puppy and been so thankful that he has finally fallen asleep on the doggie bed that you don’t dare want to pet him or speak to him and wake him up???? What is he just supposed to know through  telepathy that you think its good he is relaxing? Dogs do not know anything about living in the human world, it is our responsibility as their owner to teach them what we do and do not like them to do in our world.

The moment pup finally lays down and starts to relax we want to praise and pair a word with it. I usually use settle or relax as it isn’t generally used in normal conversation and it tends to be spoken in a calm manner which helps reinforce what we are training to teach anyway. Anytime you see the desired behaviour mark it and pair it with your cue or command. Now obviously we want to calmly praise the dog not pull a toy out and go crazy, but you can provide a few high value snack morsels in slow succession for a minute or so keeping the pup in the down position and calmly petting him. This reinforcement will help show him what it is that makes us his owner happy and what behaviors he should repeat in the future.

(let me tell you it was hard to find a picture of any of my dogs relaxing!! I must just take shots of the action times in their lives)

Terrific Tip Tuesday

This weeks tip- How to get your dog to acknoweldge your existence in public.

Do you love walking your dog at the park, or taking him to your friends house to swim in their lake, or want a more peaceful trip to the pet store or vet office?

Contrary to popular belief you actually have to “train” your dog to realize that YOU are important anywhere he goes, and that he should not just “default” to the environment. The  best way to do this is work on a good “look” or “eyes” command. Start someplace easy where you always have your dogs attention like your kitchen before he eats dinner. As soon as he looks up at you and makes eye contact mark the behavior (say yes or click) and give him his food. (For more about marker training or clicker training visit our website or email me

Repeat this exercise every time you feed him and intermittently in all places you go (with just a food tidbit) so he will generalize looking at you is good! Once he is reliably offering you the behavior you can put it on command. We use “eyes” because it is not a word commonly used in conversation around our dogs.

Good luck, keep training and check back next week for another tip!! If there is something you would like to see please email me

Raina performing “eyes” in a park in the finger lakes.