Dog Training Tips | How to Stop a Dog From Counter Surfing. Do you have a counter surfing dog? Here are some tips on how to stop the surf! #raisingyourpetsnaturally

Dog Training Tips | How to Stop a Dog from Counter Surfing

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Dog Training Tips

How to Stop a Dog from Counter Surfing

Dog Training Tips | How to Stop a Dog From Counter Surfing. Do you have a counter surfing dog? Here are some tips on how to stop the surf! #raisingyourpetsnaturally
Dog jumping on counter

Does your dog counter surf? Maybe you read the title of this dog blog and you have no idea what dog counter surfing is. Counter surfing is when a dog jumps on the counter or table to steal items. These items can be paper towels, food, or anything else he thinks looks like fun.

Dog counter surfing is a pretty typical behavior for medium- to large-breed dogs. Let’s look at it from the dog’s perspective. He smells something tasty in the air and that incredible canine nose leads him to the counter. His nose reaches up, followed by his front paws. He then either snatches the delight or uses his paw to stretch and reach the forbidden fruit. Success! You have successfully taught your dog to counter surf.

How to Stop a Dog from Counter Surfing

Remember the scenario above? Now, envision your dog placing those two paws on the counter but he cannot get the prize. No matter what he does, the food, paper towel, or whatever it is remains just out of his grasp. Each and every time he tries to snatch something from the counter, he is unsuccessful. If he is unsuccessful 100% of the time, the behavior will extinguish as he realizes there is nothing to gain.

Don’t Teach Your Dog to Play the Slots

You may try really hard to keep your counter clean, but if you ever aren’t successful, and your dog is, you just taught him how to play the slot machine. He knows 1 out of 100 times he will gain a prize, so he will continue to be a counter surfer, and may even become a bit obsessive searching the counters.

Dog Training Tips | How to Stop a Dog From Counter Surfing. Do you have a counter surfing dog? Here are some tips on how to stop the surf! #raisingyourpetsnaturally
Winner!

Management, Training, and Dog Counter Surfing Deterrent

Management is always your friend in dog training. Remember, it is so important to ensure your dog is always unsuccessful in his attempts to steal stuff.

Management Options to Consider

I don’t typically—OK, I can’t think of a single time ever—recommend any kind of dog counter surfing deterrent. I’m a firm believer in training a dog to do what you want instead of punishing him because you didn’t train him. Anything a dog can perceive as scary, painful, or unpleasant has a risk of inducing generalized anxiety or fear of a room, object, or you. This is never a good solution. I would rather see a pet parent have a great management protocol instead of using something that has the potential to cause emotional or physical harm.

Rewards Are in the Eyes of the Beholder

My final thought on dog counter surfing is to remember that counter surfing is about a dog receiving a reward. Dexter, my 15.5” tall dog has a bit of a counter surfing history. It took me awhile to figure out why Dexter kept jumping up to the counter even though he never received a reward….or so I thought.

I then started to think about patterns. Dexter had a pattern of jumping up for a few moments every time a family member placed something new on the counter, like coming home with groceries, then jumping down and walking away. Can you guess what his reward was??

SEEING! We don’t call him Snoopy Pants for nothing. He wanted to know WHAT we put on the counter. Now, if he’s around, we can quickly just show him the bag, let him sniff, and he’s done. No jumping up. Goofy boy.

It’s important to remember, dogs are dogs. They do what works. We don’t need to get bent out of shape when they’re being dogs, enjoying food, paper towels, or attention. A little training or management can go a long way toward keeping a peaceful household.


Does your dog surf? Tell me in the comments.

Dog Training Tips | How to Stop a Dog From Counter Surfing. Do you have a counter surfing dog? Here are some tips on how to stop the surf! #raisingyourpetsnaturally #dogtraining #dogtrainingtips #positivedogtraining
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How to teach a dog to lay down. Bonus dog training video on how to train your dog to lay down. #raisingyourpetsnaturally

How to Teach a Dog to Lay Down | How to Train a Dog to lay Down

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Positive Dog Training Tips and Basic Behavior Cues

How to Train Your Dog to Lay Down

How to teach a dog to lay down. Bonus dog training video on how to train your dog to lay down. #raisingyourpetsnaturally
Teaching a Dog Down

Many people tend to tell their puppies “down” when they want them to get 4 on the floor, then they turn around and say “down” when they want them to lie down. The important thing to think about in this situation is that you have two behaviors; one to get 4 on the floor and one to lie down. That would mean that you need two separate words.

For me, “down” means for my dog to lie down. So, if he were to jump up on the sofa and I asked him to “down” he would lie down on the sofa. If on the other hand, he jumped up on the sofa and I asked him to “off” he would get 4 back on the floor.

Watch the dog training

Teaching a Dog to Lay Down

Level 1~

  • Start with your dog in a sitting position.
  • Hold your puppy’s treat right at his nose, slowly move your hand straight down toward the floor. Be patient!
  • As soon as your puppy’s front elbows hit the ground say “YES!” and treat. Repeat

Level 2~

  • Start with your dog in a sitting position.
  • Remove the food lure from your hand and repeat your hand lure from level 1
  • As soon as your puppy’s front elbows hit the ground say “YES!” and treat (treat was in your opposite hand). Repeat

Level 3~

  • Same set up as level 2, but say your Down cue right before you drop your hand to the floor.
  • As soon as your puppy’s front elbows hit the ground say “YES!” and treat (treat was in your opposite hand). Repeat

Level 4~

  • Now, on your next trial, say your Down cue, this time only dropping your hand lure halfway down (not all the way to the floor). You are slowly going to lessen your luring to the ground.

Adding Distractions-when you are asking your puppy to work on his down behavior around distractions such as being outside, around guests or other puppies, you must start the training process over at Level 1 and rebuild. Just like you taught him to sit around distractions earlier. He must learn this process just like he was learned it in the living room.

***Article from Proactive Puppy Care: Preventing Puppy Problems.


BTW Dogs Lie Down, not Lay Down, but people like to search lay down vs lie down. hahaha

How to teach a dog to lay down. Bonus dog training video on how to train your dog to lay down. #raisingyourpetsnaturally #dogtraining #positivedogtraining #teachingdog #dogtrainingtricks #dogtrainingvideos
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Leash Training a Puppy That Bites the Leash. If your dog bites the leash, learn how to train him not to bite the leash. #raisingyourpetsnaturally

Leash Training a Puppy that Bites on the Dog Leash | How to Train a Puppy Not to Bite the Leash

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Leash Training a Puppy that Bites the Dog Leash

How to Stop Your Puppy from Biting his Leash when Walking

Leash Training a Puppy That Bites the Leash. If your dog bites the leash, learn how to train him not to bite the leash. #raisingyourpetsnaturally
Puppy Biting Leash

This is a huge question I get in my local puppy training classes or private puppy lessons. First, it’s a normal puppy behavior. Second, you are not alone! This question has probably come up with every puppy student that I have worked with. Why it’s taken me two decades to write about it, I will never know.

The first thing to remember is that puppies are puppies. They are new to this world. New to puppy leashes, new to the constraints of a leash, new to their collar and harness. They are very excitable and full of zest and energy. Loads of energy (read puppy zoomies)! They are also sharks in a puppy suit. They love to put anything and everything in their mouths. Puppies are playful and seem to have fun playing with whatever fits into their mouths, including their leashes.

Leash Training a Puppy That Bites the Leash. If your dog bites the leash, learn how to train him not to bite the leash. #raisingyourpetsnaturally
Hi! I’m your puppy~!

Given these puppy characteristics, it’s no surprise that your cute little puppy bites his leash. But don’t worry! I have some puppy training tips for you to help you teach him that his leash is not a chew toy.

Leash Training a Puppy not to Bite his Leash

Stop: As soon as your puppy bites his leash, stop walking. Stand very still and hold your puppy’s leash close to your body to prevent a good game of tug-of-war from starting. As soon as your puppy stops biting and tugging on his leash, start to walk again. Repeat this throughout your walk.

You will be teaching your puppy not to chew his leash by showing him that when he bites his leash, you stop the walk and stop the tugging by holding the leash close. When his teeth are not on his leash, he is allowed to walk.

It works. It really is that simple, if you are consistent in the rule. A few things can help jump start how to train a puppy not to bite on a leash.

  1. Reward your puppy often for the littlest steps and attention from the get-go. Take a peek at teaching your dog to walk on a leash for tips.
  2. Teach your puppy to hold an appropriate toy in his mouth while walking.
  3. Practice your puppy’s leash skills inside the house daily for fewer distractions and more success.

Things to consider

  • Chew Proof Dog Leash? Sorry, there is no such thing if the leash is made of fabric or leather. I’m not an advocate for any kind of chain dog leash because they’re heavy, your dog’s fur can get snagged on it, and the chain can get hot. I do however, recommend leash companies such as Lupine Pet that will replace their leashes even when chewed! Buy two, so you have a back-up when you ship the chewed one back to the company.
  • Chew Deterrents: Sure, you can give this a try, depending on the actual ingredients in the product. Remember, you should read the ingredient panel on any product you use. Do they work? In my experience, not really well, but if the ingredients are safe, then it may be worth a try. You would need to apply before each walk. For a puppy, I wouldn’t suggest this.
  • Choke Chain Option: What? I know, I would never use a choke chain on a dog’s neck, never, ever. However, if you have an adult dog with a long history of chewing their leash, you can attach a very thin choke chain to the end of the leash by the clasp. Slide the leash through the ring, and sew the chain to the leash on the bottom and top. Then, when your puppy goes to chew the bottom of the leash, he bites the chain and it may deter him. This is never my first choice, since, again, the chain can get hot and heavy. Your puppy may also hurt his teeth biting on the chain, and the weight of the chain on the leash might keep your puppy from understanding what a loose leash feels like on his neck.
  • Review your dog’s leash daily to ensure the leash is not getting frayed or compromised. Your dog’s safety is at stake.

Now, get out there and walk your puppy! It’s one of the best things in life.


What 1s your most challenging dog training obstacle? Tell me in the comments.

Leash Training a Puppy That Bites the Leash. If your dog bites the leash, learn how to train him not to bite the leash. #raisingyourpetsnaturally #puppytraining #chewproofleash #dogtraining #leashtraining
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Tricks to teach your dog. How to teach a dog to roll over. This fun dog trick is one of my most requested dog trick. Learn how today. Bonus Video. #raisingyourpetsnaturally

Dog Tricks to Teach Your Dog | How to Teach a Dog to Roll Over

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Fun and Cool Dog Tricks

How to Teach a Dog to Roll Over

Tricks to teach your dog. How to teach a dog to roll over. This fun dog trick is one of my most requested dog trick. Learn how today. Bonus Video. #raisingyourpetsnaturally
Roll Over Dog Trick

Dog tricks are a great way to spend quality time with your dog. By teaching your dog a variety of behaviors and tricks, you’ll make him more likely to want to spend time with you. When he wants to spend time with you, you become valuable, and in turn, your dog is much more likely to follow through with his obedience skills. Yup, it’s all about dog games and dog tricks.

Today’s cool and easy dog trick is how to teach a dog to roll over. Okay, it may not be the easiest trick for all dogs, but it is, by far, one of the most requested tricks.

A few things to consider before teaching your dog to roll over:

  • His medical condition. If your dog has a medical condition such as bad hips, back, or neck, this may not be the best trick to teach him. Please speak with your veterinarian on safe alternatives.
  • Location. Teaching him to roll over on a carpet or grass would be much more comfortable than on a slick floor or cement.
  • Trust. This fun dog trick really has a lot to do with a dog’s trust in you and his environment. If you are in dog training class and he’s a bit nervous, this may be a difficult behavior.

Teaching a Dog to Roll Over Training Steps:

  1. Grab a handful of healthy dog training treats.
  2. Lure your dog into a down position. Do not say “down,” because you don’t want your dog to end up rolling over every time you say “down.”
  3. Once he’s in the down position, hold his dog treat between his front toes and allow him to sniff and lick the treat. Watch his hips to see if he rocks them to one side.
    • If he stays in a sphinx position and does not rock his hips naturally, take the treat and slowly move it toward his back end while he smells and tries to eat the treat. Wait for his hip to rock. As soon as his hip rocks, say YES and provide him the tasty treat.
    • If this step seemed challenging, repeat from step 2. By repeating from step 2, you are helping train your dog’s body to get into that position more easily and quickly.

4. Once your dog is easily getting into sphinx position, take your hand with the treats and slowly lure your dog’s head up and over his shoulder. Your goal in this step is to get your dog to lie on his side comfortably.

  • If you notice your dog getting stiff or his paws and toes get really wide, he is getting a bit stressed or uncomfortable. Take the pressure off and don’t lure quite as far. You want your dog to be relaxed doing this behavior.

5. Once he is doing step 4 easily, it’s time to up the game. With your dog on his side, continue to lure your hand with the treat just behind his back. This is the part where your dog rolls over! Praise, treat, and tell him how smart he is!


What is your pet’s favorite trick? Tell me in the comments.

Tricks to teach your dog. How to teach a dog to roll over. This fun dog trick is one of my most requested dog trick. Learn how today. Bonus Video. #raisingyourpetsnaturally #dogtricks #cooldogtricks #easydogtricks #rollover #teachadogtorollover
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Teach Your Dog to High-Five. Dog tricks are an amazing way to connect with your dog. By teaching your dog a variety of cool dog tricks and behaviors, you will help your dog be engaged and eager to learn new things. Having a dog willing and eager to learn is one of the best things you can do for your dog. Today is National High-Five Day, so let's teach this easy dog trick.

Dog Tricks to Teach Your Dog | Teach Your Dog to High-Five

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Cool Dog Tricks

Teach Your Dog to High-Five

Dog Tricks | Teach Your Dog to High-Five. Dog tricks are an amazing way to connect with your dog. Learn this cool dog trick. #raisingyourpetsnaturally
Easy Dog Tricks

Dog tricks are an amazing way to connect with your dog. By teaching your dog a variety of cool dog tricks and behaviors, you will help your dog be engaged and eager to learn new things. Having a dog willing and eager to learn is one of the best things you can do for your dog. Today is National High-Five Day, so let’s teach this easy dog trick.

  • Ask your dog to sit.
  • Place a healthy dog treat in your hand and close your hand around the treat, making a fist.
  • Place your hand about 10” away from your dog’s front leg, at his natural height for a high-five.
  • Keep your hand still—don’t say anything, just smile at your dog. Wait for your dog to paw at your hand. As soon as he does, say “YES” and give him the treat in your hand.
  • Repeat this process about 5 times or until your dog is readily hitting your hand with gusto. This may take more than one dog trick training session—it depends on your dog.
  • Once your dog is readily pawing your treat filled hand, do the same set-up, but this time without food in your hand. Once your dog paws your empty hand, say, “YES” and treat with a treat from your pocket.
  • Next, instead of a closed fist, place your hand in a high-five position. When your dog hits your hand, say “YES” and treat. Now you are really getting close to teaching your dog this cool dog trick.
  • Now it’s time to introduce your dog to the dog training cue, ‘high-five,’ ‘hit it,’ ‘smack it,’ etc. Before you present your high-five hand, say your cue “high-five” then present your high-five hand, he hits it, “YES” and treat.

See, you can teach an old dog new tricks. 🙂


What is your dog or cat’s favorite trick? Tell me in the comments.

Dog Tricks | Teach Your Dog to High-Five. Dog tricks are an amazing way to connect with your dog. Learn this cool dog trick. #raisingyourpetsnaturally #dogtricks #easydogtricks #cooldogtricks #tricks
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Cool Tricks to Teach Your Dog |Teaching Your Dog to Go to His Bed or Station. Teaching your dog to go to a specific place on cue and stay can help in a variety of ways. You can teach your dog to go to his spot when the doorbell rings, when you’re eating dinner, or even when you want to clean up a spill. It’s a great behavior to use when teaching a variety of dog tricks and freestyle dog dancing.

Dog Tricks | How To Teach Your Dog To Go To A Station, Mat or Bed

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Cool Tricks to Teach Your Dog

Teaching Your Dog to Go to His Bed or Station

Cool Tricks to Teach Your Dog |Teaching Your Dog to Go to His Bed or Station. Teaching your dog to go to a specific place on cue and stay can help in a variety of ways. You can teach your dog to go to his spot when the doorbell rings, when you’re eating dinner, or even when you want to clean up a spill. It’s a great behavior to use when teaching a variety of dog tricks and freestyle dog dancing.
Click to learn more about this portable dog bed

Teaching your dog to go to a specific place on cue and stay can help in a variety of ways. You can teach your dog to go to his spot when the doorbell rings, when you’re eating dinner, or even when you want to clean up a spill. It’s a great behavior to use when teaching a variety of dog tricks and freestyle dog dancing.

The wrong way to use station training. Over the years I have seen some dog trainers, particularly those using shock collar training, use station training in an inappropriate way. This note is not to address shock collar training, which I am firmly against, but when not to use a station or stay behavior with a dog.

As a dog parent or dog trainer, it is important to understand our dog’s emotions clearly. If a dog is uncomfortable, we need to help that dog feel more comfortable and secure. The STAY behavior should be used very cautiously and with our dog’s best interests and feelings in mind the entire time of the stay. If you ask your dog to go to his station and stay during a time he’s stressed or uncomfortable, this not only will teach your dog the station or stay cue is stressful, but that situation he’s in may also be stressful.

I never feel that a dog should be put on a stay and allowed to be petted or handled by strangers without the dog owner’s active interaction with the dog and stranger. I personally always feel that my dog deserves the ability to move away during petting; he should not be forced to be greeted. A lot of dogs will STAY because they were taught to and will tolerate the interaction or situation, but are not comfortable. To me, this is not being a dog’s advocate. But I digress.

Steps in teaching your dog to go to a station, bed, mat, or spot.

  1. Choose a quiet environment.
  2. Place a special rug, towel, or pet blanket on the floor. This station should be portable so that you can take it on the go, such as when you vacation with your dog.
  3. Lure your dog with a healthy dog treat to step on the station with all four feet. Say YES! as soon as he steps on it and give him a tasty dog treat. Repeat this 5 times.
  4. Next, lure your dog on the station, this time ask him to DOWN on the station. As soon as he does, YES! and treat. Repeat again 5 times.
Cool Tricks to Teach Your Dog |Teaching Your Dog to Go to His Bed or Station. Teaching your dog to go to a specific place on cue and stay can help in a variety of ways. You can teach your dog to go to his spot when the doorbell rings, when you’re eating dinner, or even when you want to clean up a spill. It’s a great behavior to use when teaching a variety of dog tricks and freestyle dog dancing.
Click for information on this orthopedic dog bed

Your dog’s progression will depend on how quickly he responds to your gestures and requests. Once your dog is really understanding and is even starting to anticipate going to his station and lying down, it’s time to provide your dog with his training cue. In other words, what you want to call this behavior. Go to your bed, go to your mat, etc.

  1. Tell your dog “go to your mat” and gesture to his mat. Once he lies down on his mat, say YES and follow up with a reward or even a jackpot! Repeat 5 times.
  2. As your dog gets better and better, increase the distance away from the mat. Instead of standing 5” away from the mat, stand 1′ away. Ask your dog to go to his mat, provide a little gesture and say YES and reward when he does.

Continue working on adding distance away from your dog’s mat and lessening the gesture until eventually your dog responds to his verbal cue from across the room without any gestures. Through your dog training lessons and proofing, you will eventually teach your dog to be able to go to his mat and stay even around distractions.


Can you think of a time in your life where this training behavior can come in handy? Tell me in the comments.

Cool Tricks to Teach Your Dog |Teaching Your Dog to Go to His Bed or Station. Teaching your dog to go to a specific place on cue and stay can help in a variety of ways. You can teach your dog to go to his spot when the doorbell rings, when you’re eating dinner, or even when you want to clean up a spill. It’s a great behavior to use when teaching a variety of dog tricks and freestyle dog dancing.
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I thought it would be a good day to talk about how to teach your dog to back up or walk backward. Back when I trained service dogs, this was a behavior we taught all the service dogs. This allowed people in wheelchairs the option of just moving backward in a tight spot and their service dog would back up in position.

Dog Training and Teaching Dog Tricks: Teaching Your Dog To Back Up or Move Backward

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Dog Tricks and Tricks to Teach Your Dog

Cool Dog Tricks: Teaching Your Dog To Back Up or Move Backward

Dog tricks to teach your dog. Teaching your dog to back up or walk backward is not only a cool dog trick an amazing helpful dog behavior. Learn how. #raisingyourpetsnaturally
Teaching dog tricks: backing up

Did you know today is National Backwards Day? I know, crazy, isn’t it? I thought it would be a good day to talk about how to teach your dog to back up or walk backward. Back when I trained service dogs, this was a behavior we taught all the service dogs. This allowed people in wheelchairs the option of just moving backward in a tight spot and their service dog would back up in position.

For our pet dogs, this still is a dog trick or behavior that is more than just a fun trick—it can actually potentially save your dog’s life. How? Imagine you dropped a handful of pills and your dog immediately looked at the spill with enthusiasm. You could just as quickly ask your dog to “BACK” and have him move backward away from the poisonous pills. This split second would then allow you to either follow up with a STAY cue or remove your dog from the situation while you cleaned up the mess.

Or, what about when you are feeding a group of dogs and they are all hovering in the kitchen with anticipation? Using your dogs’ BACK cue again can get all your dogs to back up out of the area. Or when your dog is just too in your face? Same thing? Then, of course, there’s all the cute dog tricks and dog dance moves you can do if your dog knows how to back up.

Today is the day I will teach you how to teach your dog to back on cue. There are a variety of ways to teach your dog to back up. I will go over 2 of the most successful ways.

Teaching a dog to back up in tight spaces.

  1. Grab some healthy and tasty dog treats.
  2. Arrange your kitchen chairs or folding chairs to create an aisle just wide enough for you and your dog to be able to face each other inside, approximately 2′ wide.
  3. You walk slowly backward inside your chair aisle as you encourage your dog to follow you. Before you hit the end of the aisle, take one or two steps forward toward your dog. As soon as he takes one step back, say YES and follow up with a treat. You want to do this very quickly to help your dog walk backward and not sit. If he sits, start over. Timing is everything in this first step.
  4. As you and your dog get the hang of step 3, increase the steps your dog takes backward before saying YES and treating. So, instead of 1 step, he takes 2 steps, then 3, etc. If he ends up sitting, drop your criteria back to where he was successful and not sitting.
  5. When your dog is really getting step 4, start to walk toward your dog as he is walking backward, and allow him to continue to walk backward out of the chair aisle. Now your dog is really starting to get it.
  6. Once your dog is reliably walking backward and not sitting, it’s time to introduce your dog’s cue. Say, “BACK” just before you walk toward your dog. Now, he will start to associate the word with the action.
  7. Finally, remove the chair aisle, ask your dog to BACK, walk toward him, and when he takes a few steps back, YES and reward. Eventually, you will start to fade, then remove, your movement of walking toward your dog and only use your verbal cue, BACK.

Teaching a dog to back up in open spaces.

If you prefer or you do not have 4-6 chairs, you can teach your dog to back up without any props. However, this can be a bit trickier since your dog will have the option of just spinning around, moving in another direction or backing up crooked.

  1. Grab some healthy and tasty dog treats.
  2. Encourage your dog to come toward you, as soon as he does, place a treat right in front of his nose as you walk toward him.
  3. As soon as he takes a step back, say YES and follow up with a treat. Repeat this process until your dog is getting the hang of it.
  4. Once your dog is reliable and comfortable with step 3, wait until your dog takes more than one step backward before saying YES and treating. Then 3, 4, etc. As you progress his steps, watch his body and position. You want his backing up behavior to be pretty straight—if not, you will end up teaching him to circle backward! A trick for another day.
  5. Once your dog is reliably walking backward and not sitting, it’s time to introduce your dog’s cue. Say, “BACK” just before you walk toward your dog. Now, he will start to associate the word with the action.
  6. Finally, remove the food lure, ask your dog to BACK, walk toward him, and when he takes a few steps back, YES and reward. Eventually, you will start to fade, then remove, your movement of walking toward your dog and only use your verbal cue, BACK.

And there you have it. A fun and easy way to teach your dog to back up or walk backward.


Have you taught your dog to back up? Tell me in the comments.

#Dogtricks to teach your dog. Teaching your dog to back up or walk backward is not only a #cooldogtrick an amazing helpful dog behavior. Learn how. #raisingyourpetsnaturally
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This dog training game is a way to allow and encourage a dog to offer his own behaviors and reward the behaviors you like and ignore the behavior you are not going for. This type of dog training, or shaping, is great for encouraging a dog who is somewhat shut down to offer behaviors. In the beginning stages of the 101 Things to Do With a Box game, you want your dog to be almost always right!

Dog Training Games: Clicker Training Games | 101 Things to Do With a Box

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Dog Training Games

Dog Clicker Games: 101 Things to Do With a Box

Clicker dog and cat training is not only a creative way to train your pet, but a very effective and easy way to train. Learn how to play 101 Things to Do with a Box! #raisingyourpetsnaturally
Clicker training dogs is fun!

Positive dog training and dog enrichment and games have come a long way over the years. I remember one of the first “games” or dog training lessons I was taught was Karen Pryor‘s 101 Things to Do With a Box.

This dog training game is a way to allow and encourage a dog to offer his own behaviors and reward the behaviors you like and ignore the behavior you are not going for. This type of dog training, or shaping, is great for encouraging a dog who is somewhat shut down to offer behaviors. In the beginning stages of the 101 Things to Do With a Box game, you want your dog to be almost always right! Anything he does that even remotely relates to the exercise gets clicked and treated (learn about clicker training here). Once the dog is easily offering random behaviors, then you can, if you choose, switch to basic shaping with a goal behavior.

In the beginning stages of the game, you may feel like your dog does not understand what he is doing to get the click, and you are probably right. But after a few sessions of the game, the light bulb will go off and your dog will learn it’s because he did x. Then, the training really begins!

Getting Started You can use any old cardboard box for this, or it doesn’t even have to be a box. You can play 101 Things to Do With Anything, but you should start with a random item. Maybe a pan, book or pillow.

  1. Grab a handful of high-value dog treats and place them in your pocket.
  2. Your dog can be on leash, or off, if he’ll stay and keep working with you.
  3. Place your object on the floor and be ready. You will be clicking anything your dog does related to the object– a look, a step, a sniff, a push—anything and everything.

    This dog training game is a way to allow and encourage a dog to offer his own behaviors and reward the behaviors you like and ignore the behavior you are not going for. This type of dog training, or shaping, is great for encouraging a dog who is somewhat shut down to offer behaviors. In the beginning stages of the 101 Things to Do With a Box game, you want your dog to be almost always right!
    Anything gets a reward.
  4. When you click your dog for a behavior, toss the reward in various places around the object. You can then click again if your dog steps on the object, or goes past the object, etc. You are looking to get as much object action as you can, but at the same time, teach your dog it’s the box that is causing the click. Therefore, on some of your treat tosses, toss the treat away from the box, allowing your dog to make a choice to interact, look, or move toward the box.

    This dog training game is a way to allow and encourage a dog to offer his own behaviors and reward the behaviors you like and ignore the behavior you are not going for. This type of dog training, or shaping, is great for encouraging a dog who is somewhat shut down to offer behaviors. In the beginning stages of the 101 Things to Do With a Box game, you want your dog to be almost always right!
    How to clicker train your dog.
  5. End the game with a nice jackpot of treats and fuss. Pick up the object and put it away until your next game.

There will be a moment when your dog “gets it” and starts to eagerly interact with the object. This is when you can start to choose what you want to reward. For example, you have been clicking and treating everything. Now, only click and treat when your dog puts his foot on the object. This is now your new goal. You are only clicking and rewarding your dog when his foot touches the object—all other offerings are ignored. Once your dog catches on to this new game, and has quite a few rewarding sessions, change your goal again, and only click and treat when both feet are on the object. This is how you can train a specific behavior. How fun is this?!

In the end, your dog is learning to learn and build confidence in learning. 101 Things to Do With a Box is an amazing game for a rescued dog, fearful dog, kids and dogs, puppies or people learning how to train dogs. The skill for the dog trainer is learning timing and how to reward a dog quickly and how to read a dog. It’s a great training game. So, grab a box, your dog clicker, healthy dog treats, and your pooch, and give it a shot.


Have you ever played 101 Things To Do With A Box? Tell me in the comments.

Clicker dog and cat training is not only a creative way to train your pet, but a very effective and easy way to train. Learn how to play 101 Things to Do with a Box! #raisingyourpetsnaturally
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Creative Dog Training Tips

Monday Minute: Dog Training Tips | Creative Dog Training

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Monday Minute: Dog Training Tips | Creative Dog Training

Commercial Dog Training

Dog Training Tips for Creative Dog Training. Learn how to train your dog in minutes using positive reinforcement dog training. #raisingyourpetsnaturally
Creative Dog Training Tips

As a dog training coach, I often have clients who are worried that they need to train their dogs daily for hours and hours. But that’s not the case! Now, don’t get me wrong – if you want to have a well-adjusted, well-behaved dog that looks up to you for direction and fun, you do need to find quality time to teach, play, and interact with him. I would say a minimum of 1-2 hours throughout your day to devote to your dog. But teaching him his obedience skills such as sit, down, stay? You can do that in minutes a day!

Welcome to ‘commercial’ dog training. Or ‘waiting for your water to boil’ dog training. You know those times of the day that you are “in between” tasks, waiting? Use that time to teach your dog the behavior cues you want him to know well and dog tricks to engage his mind and build your relationship.

How easy is that? Just toss those high-value meat treats into your pocket before you sit down to watch your favorite TV show, and when the commercial rolls, train your dog. Easy-peasy. You will be amazed at how fast your dog learns and how much fun you both have, and, most importantly, you’ve spent quality time with your dog. OK, Go!


When do you train your dog?  Tell me in the comments.

Dog Training Tips for Creative Dog Training. Learn how to train your dog in minutes using positive reinforcement dog training. #raisingyourpetsnaturally
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Puppy Socialization

Puppy Socialization: How To Introducing Your Puppy To Familiar Dogs and Other Puppies

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Puppy Training 101

Puppy Socialization How To Introduce Dogs

Puppy socialization is super important, but doing it right is key. Learn how to safely introduce your new puppy to other dogs. #raisingyourpetsnaturally
Puppy Socialization

Introducing Your Puppy To Familiar Dogs/Puppies This is the perfect time to call on your friends with dogs. But it is crucial to look for dog-friendly and puppy-friendly dogs. You do not want your puppy to be a guinea pig in finding out if another dog is puppy-friendly. Puppy-friendly dogs are dogs who can tolerate a puppy jumping on their head, running around in circles, and even barking in their face. These puppy behaviors are very inappropriate dog greeting behaviors, which is why you are going to teach your puppy the proper skills in dog greeting.   However, you want to help make certain that if a puppy mistake happens, the other dog can tolerate it and not hurt or scare your puppy.

  • When you have found a puppy friendly dog the ideal meeting place will be outside. Pick a neutral location which can even be just a few houses down from either one of your homes. Plan on meeting on opposite sides of the street. With your puppy leashed to his front clipping harness, and some high-value dog treats in your pocket start to walk up and down the street about 3-5 houses in length. At the same time, your friend is doing the same with her dog on the opposite side of the street.
  • Once it seems like both dogs are unresponsive to the other dog, have your friend and her dog come over to your side of the street 5 houses away and start to walk in the OPPOSITE direction. As your friend starts to walk, you walk your puppy behind.   After a couple of houses, both of you change directions, so her dog is following your puppy.
  • When each dog is once again not concerned with the other, start to close the distance between the two dogs until eventually your friend’s dog gets the opportunity to smell your puppy’s rear area. While this is happening, slip your hand inside your puppy’s harness and feed him treats. This process will do a few things. First, it will help your puppy keep 4 on the floor and focused on you. Once a little sniffing has occurred, switch smelling positions and allow your puppy to smell the other dog’s rear area.
  • Once they both feel comfortable with each other, allow them to sniff each other for a few seconds, then call your puppy to you and give him a treat. This will allow your puppy to learn how to come off of other dogs, and will help keep the new canine interactions low key and more likely successful. Repeat the process of allowing the dogs to come together for little sniffing, and then calling them off of each other.   Building the length of time they get to spend with each other.
  • You can repeat this process, but more speeded up with each following interaction with the same dog. Each time you meet a new familiar dog, continue with the steps outlined.   You will likely also be able to speed it up as your puppy learns the routine you are teaching him. But always continue to call your puppy off of interactions and give a high-value treat. This will come in handy in the future, so let the training begin now.
    • If your puppy is uncomfortable at any time, remove the two dogs. Do not keep your puppy there if he is not happy.
    • If either dog has any issue with the food or reacts in an unfriendly way, remove the dogs from each other.
    • Going for walks together with other dogs is a great way for your puppy to learn to interact with other dogs.
Puppy Play and Socialization
Puppy Play

There will likely be a time in your puppy’s life that he will actually have the opportunity for a playmate for the afternoon. Provide the same introduction as above. When it is time to retire to your home or another friend’s home with both dogs, walk into the house or fenced in yard one dog after the other.

When your puppy is playing with other dogs, it is important to supervise play sessions to ensure they are playing safely and appropriately, so you must watch and intervene when needed.   Appropriate play can quickly get out of hand and turn into aggression, particularly for dogs during adolescence since they are in the learning stages of self-control. This is one of the main reasons for teaching your puppy how to come off of other dogs. During appropriate play between the two dogs, occasionally call your puppy to you and give him a high-value treat. Do this before either dog gets too aroused and rough to keep both dogs’ arousal in check by creating pauses and breaks in play. Over time, your puppy will likely learn how to take play breaks on his own.   Tip: Listen and watch your puppy during play. To help you determine if the play is tipping toward over arousal look for changes in play style, louder, rougher, body slamming or more chaotic are some examples.

  • If there is a spat during play, try not to get too worried. Calmly break them up and remove them from each other. Attach each dog to their coordinating leash and harness for a little time out and rest.
  • If you have enrolled in a good puppy class, or are working with a good private dog trainer, they can help you with understanding dog body language and will be able to help guide you down the right path.   It is always a good idea to have a qualified coach on your team.

Article from Proactive Puppy Care: Preventing Puppy Problems.

Do you have a social dog or puppy?  Tell me in the comments.

Puppy socialization is super important, but doing it right is key. Learn how to safely introduce your new puppy to other dogs.   #raisingyourpetsnaturally
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Positive and Natural Dog Training Books
Proactive Puppy Care: Preventing Puppy Problems