Not only does a crate give your pooch a quiet, dark (I cover the outside of mine with a blanket, not including the door) place to relax, if trained properly, they will find it as one of their safe spots to retreat to for a nap or just to get out of the way.  It’s also great for potty training your pup and having a spot where you can secure them when they need a nap, or you are leaving the house. 

Socializing your pooch is critical, and while you always want to take the opportunity to do it, the critical time to socialize them is from 12 – 16 weeks old. Take them to a local building supply store (that doesn’t sell food…nonservice dogs won’t typically be allowed in a store where food is sold), your car dealership, your office, your dentist, the bank, etc.  Exposing the pup to a wide variety of places, dogs, people, smells, sounds, etc will build a confident dog.  Of course, you always want to be considerate.  Explain that you are trying to socialize your pup, and can you come in for a quick visit?  Sit outside at your local mall and ask people if they would like to pet your pup…8 of 10 people will and you can read it on their faces if they do/don’t.

We’ve heard it all before, why? Because it’s THAT important!  Be consistent with your training.  Decide on training what words you are going to use and stick to them.  Understand that “Off” and “Down” are different commands…just as” Stay” and “Wait” are also different.   Your dog learns through patterning and part of that patterning is using the same words for commands as well as releases.

If you can, start that pup with formal training at 12 – 16 weeks old. He will have the beginnings of his life saving vaccinations by then and mentally he will be ready to begin learning.  Keep in mind that before he’s through his vaccinations, be very careful that you aren’t exposing him to dogs that might not be vaccinated or where he would run through grass where you don’t know what wildlife has been running through.  Expect your dog trainer to ask for proof of vaccinations.

Even if you haven’t asked for your dog to sit, but she is, it never hurts to reward her with a “good sit Mille!” or a “good down Scarlett!” Our dogs want to please us more than anything else…even food.  They LOVE to be spoken to and even if they don’t understand all of our words, they understand our tone.

Especially when you have a new pup, you want to touch her and get her used to being petted. If you find your pup in the corner, bring them to you and have them lay next to your or at your feet.  You must show them the behaviors you want.

Your praise (and the tone in which you give it) is as good as a juicy steak or crunchy bone. If you don’t have a treat in your pocket, that’s okay…give them some love and let them hear it in your voice.  Making you happy truly is their mission in life.

Your pup learns by feeling things with their mouth so supervised exploration will again build a confident dog. Use your voice to let them know you like them biting this or that and lower your tone when you don’t like it. 

This will give you peace of mind at a time when you’re franticly trying to find your baby. The other thing will be to take one of your thousand pup photos and get on your local social media or neighborhood watch site. Lost Pets Kalamazoo and Looking for Louie are two sites that come to mind.  You’ll want his picture, the crossroads of where he was last seen, time, date, collar, etc…these details are important for the people who are going to be keeping their eyes open for him.  Also…once you’ve got him home, update that post before you take it down.

So often owners go through basic obedience and then figure they are all done. Your dogs LOVE to train with you.  Their ability to learn is nearly limitless if you want to give it the time.  There are many advanced courses for dogs beyond the basics and depending on your interests; Agility, Canine Good Citizen Certificates, Therapy work, Advanced Obedience.


Did you know dogs need 19 hours of sleep a day?? Puppies need more!  In this world of over stimulation, please don’t do it with your pooch.  If you find that your pup is bugging you non-stop or just zooming around like a Tasmanian Devil, he might just need a nap.  This is where your crate training is going to be a life saver!

While older dogs can help with demonstrating a particularly complicated command, relying on them for basic manners will not work. Don’t forget those little eyes will pick up bad manners too!

No, No, No! Bored puppies chew things and investigate everything.  If you’re leaving the room and the pup is out of its crate, put a leash on the tike and have him come with you…all day long, every day.  Unless you really like saying “I only left the room for a minute” and if that’s the case…leave that puppy unsupervised and you’ll be able to say it A LOT!

Except for these great tips, of course! Keep in mind as you are scouring the internet for tips and tricks, not everything will work for YOUR dog.  Your dog’s breed, temperament, socialization, experiences and prior training all make him different and his responses will be different as well.  Training should be FUN!  So, if you’re not having fun, and your dog is not having fun…then maybe you need to figure out a new way to accomplish that goal…OR CALL ME!  😊

When your hands are on your pooch, she is feeling your love. If she’s nervous from a storm and you’re petting her to sooth her, you’re giving her the message that you like it when she’s shivering.  If you dog is growling at a stranger or another dog and you pet her to calm her down, she thinks you like it when she growls.  HANDS OFF for bad behavior! 

Behaviors are bad…never the dog. If he’s dug a hole…it’s the digging of hole that is bad…that’s what you don’t like.  DON’T hit or beat your dog…take your shovel and show some frustration to that hole.  “That’s a BAD HOLE!”  Your pooch will get the message that you don’t like that hole!

Ammonia will smell like the next place to pee for your pooch.  Instead find a neutralizing solution at your local pet store or buy yourself an empty spray bottle, label it Vinegar & Water and make your own concoction of half vinegar/half water.  It’s easier if you have that mixture ready to go and with your cleaning supplies where you’ll find it.

Online & Community Resources

The Alliance of Therapy Dogs

The Alliance of Therapy Dogs is the organization which I am a tester/observer for and one which I highly recommend if you are thinking about having your pooch and you become a therapy team. There is a great need in area hospitals, hospices, assisted living homes, schools, libraries, court houses and even the airports! It’s a great way to enrich our community while spending time with your best friend.

American Kennel Club

Looking for a breeder? This is a great place to start. If it’s a particular breed you seek, you can also look for rescues that a devoted to that specific breed.

Pet Finder

This is a great place to search local rescues for your next baby. You can search their site for a particular size, age, gender or breed of animal as well as determine how far you are willing to drive to get it.