Train Fido

Be Your Dog's Pack Leader

Be the Pack Leader

Your dog is happiest when you are a calm leader. Lead your dog with love and confidence. Transform your dog and your life by understanding how to communicate effectively with your dog. You are the role model for your dog and I will give you all the information you need to be the best role model ever!

The Whole Dog

Your best resource for all your dog's needs. From nutrition to training - you will find lots of articles, tips and training advice, as well as my reviews of various popular dog training techniques and product reviews. Updated daily, so come Back often.

Training Reagan - six days to off leash

Reagan is a 7 month black lab who was jumping on people, wouldn't come when called, not listening and just a teenage. Follow him as I get him to off leash in 6 days - here is day 1

Here is day 2

Day 3
Day 3 continued
day 5

and day 6 part 1
and later in the day - OFF LEASH

Dog Training Basics

The Goal of Training: The goal of training is to have a well-mannered dog who is confident and relaxed. Training helps set you up for  your role as alpha and this makes your dog more comfortable with his place in the pack. The goal of training is not to rob your dog of his quirky qualities such as mischievousness and clowning. It is the best basic thing you can do to have a well trained and happy dog
Age to Begin Training:   Training begins the minute you get your dog, while formal training can begin training as early as three months. P. Training a young dog can be a challenge at first but if you start with basics such as "Sit!" and "down," your pup will learn quickly. Older dogs can certainly be trained and though they may be slower with the uptake, their calmer demeanor makes training easier.
Your Role as Student and Teacher:   It is essential that you   have a calm demeanor when training your dog. This will relax your dog and give him confidence. As a student, listen intently to your trainer and also observe what she does. Do not be afraid to ask questions or ask for extra help. As a teacher, be consistent and establish a training routine for you and your dog.
The 15 Minute Rule: When training your dog yourself, keep in mind that they can only hold attention for about fifteen minutes at a time at the beginning stages of training. It's better to do two fifteen minute sessions per day than one half-hour session.

Different Training Techniques

Some obedience training methods today use positive reinforcement. Some use it exclusively while others combine it with correction. Choosing a method depends on which technique you are most comfortable with, keeping in mind your dog's personality. Different breeds have different temperaments and different dogs within a breed have different personalities. Though the commands are similar amongst various training methods, one method may be better for your dog than another. For example, a timid Yorkie is less likely to respond well to a corrective technique while a bull-headed Pit Bull will probably need a combo of positive and corrective reinforcement. The key is to remember that training your dog is fun and a great opportunity for you to bond. Leave the day's frustrations out of the session.
Traditional Dog Training: The modern version of traditional training really began with Barbara Woodhouse in the 1950s. This method uses physical corrections to train a dog. For example, if you tell your dog to sit and he stays standing, you might give a gentle jerk on his collar or choke chain while pushing down his rump. Rewards for a completed task include an encouraging "Good Dog!". This method is considered to be outdated by many modern trainers but you'll find that some dogs (like that bull-headed Pit Bull) might respond to this after failing with positive reinforcement training.
Clicker Training: This is one of the most popular recent types of dog training and was introduced by Karen Pryor.  It can be used for everything from basic commands to potty training to behavioral problems such as excessive barking. The theory behind this type  of training is that animals learn best from "operant conditioning."  Operant conditioning means that an animal learns from his environment and that he is more likely to respond to a positive consequence than a negative one.  This is pure positive reinforcement training - the clicker indicates to a dog what he has done right.  This method is well-liked because it is gentle and offers a good experience for both dog and owner.
Reward Training:   This is another positive reinforcement technique but the incentive is not the association with the clicker, but some sort of reward. The reward can be a favorite toy, food, or anything he loves . When you give the reward, you should praise your dog in an encouraging voice. Enthusiasm is encouraged in both you and your dog.
Dog Whispering:   Though Cesar Millan, the inventor of this method, sometimes comes under criticism because of the use of correction, it can be a very useful technique with some dogs. ( and my personal favorite method)   The foundation of dog whispering is the connection with and understanding between you and your dog.   The key is that you have to be able to read your dog's body language and to use your own body language to train him.   This does often involve correction but the corrections are based on dog behavior.   For example, a dog who is being aggressive toward another dog can be corrected by applying a clawed hand to his neck.   This mimics what his mother would have done in the wild.   This method requires some study into the behavior of dogs but it can create a very tight bond between you.
In addition to actual dog trainers, you can get advice from a dog behavioral specialist. You might also be interested in learning about the cognitive functions of dogs. There are books on the subject and Cognitive Canine Centers around the country. This will help you understand how your dog thinks and will make training easier. Remember that the most important aspects are to be calm and consistent and try to have some fun, too!

Dog Parks - Good or Bad

In a perfect world dog parks are great. The world is not perfect and neither are dog parks. Here are some of the good and bad of dog parks.


  •   Dog parks are a good place for your dog to burn off some steam
  •   Your dog can socialize with different types of dogs
  •   You can meet new friends and arrange doggie play dates

  • Dog parks can be a place to spread diseases and flea infestation.
  • Dog parks are dangerous because you never know what kind of dogs come there.  This is especially dangerous for young puppies.
  • Some owners may be lax at watching their dogs.
  •  You often find more small dogs on big side of the park then big dogs. A small dog can be literally stomped to death in a dog park.
  • Dog parks are bad if it is the only place the dog is exercised.  Some dogs may be too excitable.

These are just some of the pros and cons.  Choose your dog park wisely

If you do want to go to dog parks, try to pick time in a day when there are not a lot of dogs and you know the dogs. With trained dogs and responsible owners dog parks can be great fun for any dog, but sadly in some cases they are not.

Training the basics before trick training for your dog

All of the basic obedience skills. Your dog must be obedient before he should be taught to do tricks. This is the a foundation to all other training,  As you become the pack leader you will be training your dog to sit, stand, lie down, respond to his name and more!

All of the basic tricks. Training a dog to do the basic tricks is an excellent way to gain experience as a dog trainer. Many of the basic tricks will challenge you in some way that obedience training does not. Amongst the tricks, you can be training your dog to do: spin in a circle, rolling over, shaking a paw, crawling and more!

Advanced training techniques. There is a point in time when experienced dog trainers start to wonder the extent which they can train their dogs. Our most advanced lessons will teach and challenge you to train your dog to do anything that you want. Maybe it is getting a beer out of the fridge or playing chess, bringing in the groceries....the sky is the limit!

Service Dogs - training, tasks they perform, standards of obedience

 Assistance canines are broken down into three categories:  Guide Dogs, Hearing Dogs, and Service Animals (everything other than guide or hearing dogs). In the United States, the term Service Animal is used generically to mean any kind of assistance animal, including both guide and hearing dogs.

The Codes of Federal Regulation for the Americans with Disabilities Act defines "service animal" as "any guide dog, signal dog, or other animal individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including, but not limited to, guiding individuals with impaired vision, alerting individuals with impaired hearing to intruders or sounds, providing minimal protection or rescue work, pulling a wheelchair, or fetching dropped items."

There are some good organizations that will help with placing a service dog.  But there are sometimes long waiting lists and great expense involved.  There are approximately 15,000 service dogs across the U.S.

That is why some people, like myself, have trained their own dogs.  My standard poodle, Jazzy, does some handy things for me.  She picks up anything you drop or that she feels is misplaced - she is quite particular and likes things in order.  She will help carry in the groceries, put her toys away, and assist with removing jackets, socks and shoes.  Her services are quite handy.

Some advantages of training your own dog are:

1 - no waiting
2 - more cost effective
3 - you can train for your specific needs

There are  some minimum standards for Service dogs including:

1 - must respond to command 90% of the time.
2 - demonstrate basic obedience
3 - must perform at least 3 tasks to help the client's disability

The most important factor is picking the right dog for your needs.  Most service dog tasks require a dog to take things in their mouth.  Certain breeds are much more willing to do this.  For example, my rottweiler hates to carry things while my poodle loves it - a  poodle is a retrieving type dog.  Use your dogs natural abilities and tendencies.  Traditional breeds for service dogs have been German Shepherds, Labradors, and Golden Retrievers.  But almost any type of dog that has the temperament, skills, and willingness to work can become a service dog.

In the United States there is no special license or certification required.  While a business cannot require certification as a condition of allowing a team to enter their facilities, they may ask what the dog has been trained to do and whether it is required because of a disability.

What makes a dog a real service dog is being trained to perform tasks that assist a person with their disability.

What do you think of the Dog Whisperer, Cesar Millan?

Whenever you mention The Dog Whisperer, Cesar Millan, you are sure to get a definite opinion.  Most people you run into either love him or hate him.  Which one are you?

I am feeling the love.  He has such a great energy and such  a common sense approach when it comes to dogs.  As he is quick to point out, he teaches dog psychology as opposed to dog training.  His favorite mottos seems to be "no talk, no touch, no eye contact" and "calm, assertive energy".

I used to live in Southern California and if I still did, I would do everything in my power to be around his facility.  Especially the new one  - that is in the high desert, I think, around where I used to lived.  Back in the 80's when I lived in California, I was impressed with Mathew Margolis and did go to his training facility.  But Cesar Millan would be even much better to meet.

I believe most everything he says, but I do have to admit, I am still a little unsure about the pit bulls.  Just last week in the local news I heard about a police officer getting attacked by a pit bull and they had to shoot him.  After the dog was dead it still took 20 minutes to get his jaws unclenched. 

I know it is not about the breed, but how they are raised.  But the thought of a dog not letting go is still scary.

I have studied the Dog Whisperer shows and have adopted many of Cesar Millan's techniques and strategies.  He has a natural instinct when it comes to dogs.

What about you? What do you think? 

Dog Swallows three carat diamond ring - watch video

A golden retriever swallowed a three carat diamond ring estimated to be worth $20,000.  This happened in Rockville, Maryland inside a local jewelry store.

The owner of the dog was looking over the big rock when the diamond ring was dropped on the floor.  The dog, Soli, made a bee line for the tasty rock and swallowed it before the owner to grab it.

So after consulted with their vet, Soli's owners waited patiently for three days before the stone reappeared.

How fun would that be to examine each bowel movement everyday for three days?
Watch the story here: