Pack Walks

*For Current Clients Only*

It can be hard to socialize dogs in a safe way especially when working with reactive dogs. Here at Off Leash K9 Training Maryland we are introducing Pack Walks to help dogs have more positive experiences when in company of dogs. Walking within a pack can give your dog opportunities to socialize without interacting face to face. Encountering these situations will help them begin to build confidence and trust. When walking in a pack they receive positive reinforcements from new smells, exercise and feedback from owner while forming positive relationships. When constant rewards are always available it is easier for dogs to learn.

Dogs learn from one another not just from us teaching them. Negative behaviors come from a lack of knowledge of what is acceptable and learn from the pack what are better ways that they can behave. When walking around other dogs who are modeling good behavior will help reinforce your expectations. Group settings teach self control, social intelligence and listening when distracted.

Enjoying walks together as a family will take your pups obedience, confidence and bond to a higher level. Learning timing and communication will not only be beneficial but allow you both to enjoy walks together again.

Essential Commands to Teach Your Dog

One of the great things about dogs is that they’re so smart. While it might not seem like your dog is a genius when they’re drooling or chasing their tail, dogs have an incredible ability to learn. These furry friends understand consequences and can respond to dozens of different verbal cues. All it takes is some patience and perseverance to gain your dog’s trust and obedience.

If you’ve never trained a dog before, you might not know where to start. It’s best to build off simple commands and stay consistent. Learn some basic dog training commands to start working with your dog today.

General Rules of Thumb

Be sure to understand a few rules of thumb before you get started. Here are some guiding principles to help you master common dog commands:

  • Remember practice makes perfect: Set aside a few minutes two or three times per day to practice commands with your dog. Staying consistent will help your dog remember what they’ve learned over time.
  • Stick with positive reinforcement: Dogs can get frustrating, especially when you find them chewing expensive furniture or relieving themselves on the carpet. Even still, steer clear of negative reinforcement, such as yelling or hitting. Your anger will only damage your relationship with your dog, making it harder for them to trust you. It can even lead to fear-based aggression. When bad behavior occurs, redirect. Reward positive behavior with treats and praise. 
  • Reward the right behaviors: You’ll have to be quick with your rewards. If you take too long to offer praise, your dog won’t know what the praise is for. For example, if you tell your dog to sit but give them the treat when they stand back up, they won’t understand that sitting is what has earned them a reward. 
  • Keep command phrases consistent: Your dog will get confused if you say “walk close” one day and “heel” the next. Always keep command phrases short, consistent and straightforward. Stick with the same dog training words each time. 

Remember these rules of thumb as you begin training your dog. They’ll help create long-lasting desired results while building a relationship of mutual trust. With these things in mind, try some of the following commands to teach your dog.

 

1. Sit

“Sit” is one of the most popular puppy commands to start with because it’s easy to teach. You can use a technique called “luring” to encourage your dog to sit. All you have to do is hold a treat in front of your dog and then slowly move it back behind them. As they follow it, they’ll sit. Say “sit” and give your dog their treat! After a few tries, you can do the same hand motion without a treat in your fist. Eventually, you’ll be able to remove the gesture and give only the verbal command.

 

2. Stay

Once you and your dog have mastered “sit,” you can move onto “stay.” For this command, have your dog sit. Then, back away with one hand up, palm facing outwards. When your dog sits still, come back to them and give them the treat. Start easy, only backing away a tiny bit and having your dog hold the “stay” position for a moment. You can increase the duration and distance over time.

 

3. Drop It

The “drop it” command can come in handy when your dog starts chewing on your favorite pair of pants or your TV remote. It’s simple enough — you’ll need two desirable items, such as a toy and a treat. Then, you’ll follow these steps: 

  1. Give your dog the toy while holding a treat in your hand. 
  2. Say “drop it” and show them the treat. 
  3. Give them the treat when they drop the toy. 

 

4. Down

Learning to lay down at your command can help your dog stay calm in real-life stressful situations, such as rides in the car or while at the vet. To teach the “down” command, hold a treat in front of your dog’s face. Then, bring it down to the floor. As soon as your dog’s belly hits the ground, say “down” and give them the treat. 

 

5. Come

“Come” is another helpful command, as it could save your dog’s life in a dangerous situation. You’ll need to put your dog’s leash on and stand a few feet away. Then, tug gently on the leash and say, “come.” When your dog comes to you, give them a treat. After some practice, you’ll be able to prompt your dog to come without the leash.

 

6. Off

If your dog jumps on people or furniture, the “off” command will let you curb this behavior. When your dog has their paws on the couch or counter, hold a treat in your hand and say, “off.” Once their paws are on the floor, give them the treat. You might want to keep treats stashed in convenient places so you can grab one as soon as you see unwanted behavior.

 

7. Leave It

Dogs are curious — they often stick their noses in places they shouldn’t. When that happens, the “leave it” command is useful. To teach your dog:

  1. Put one treat in each of your hands.
  2. Show your dog one treat and hide the other behind your back. 
  3. Keep the treat your dog knows about in a closed fist.
  4. Say “leave it” until your dog loses interest and backs off.
  5. Once they stop trying to get the treat they know about, give them the secret one!

 

8. Heel

“Heel” is a necessity for walks. A dog that pulls on a leash could put both you and them in danger. Focus on proper walking habits each time you go out. You’ll have to keep the leash short at first. Keep repeating the word “heel” throughout the walk and giving your dog small treats when they walk by your side. The key is to make walking by your side as rewarding as possible. From time to time, practice the “sit” command during your walk, as well.

 

 

Get the Best Training for Your Dog by Contacting Off Leash K9 Training

When it comes to dog training, starting with a few simple commands will be your best bet. Over time, your dog will be an expert at following directions. Starting with commands like “sit” and “stay” will help you build trust and understanding with your dog. Basic commands make everyday life easier so you can enjoy the time spent with your pup. 

Is It Too Late to Train My Older Dog?

If you’ve chosen to adopt a dog, chances are he’s not quite a puppy anymore. Rescuing an adult dog is a rewarding and meaningful experience, but it does present unique challenges. You may be asking yourself, “Is my dog too old to train?” Despite popular belief, you can teach an old dog new tricks. If you’re wondering when it’s too late to train a dog, the answer is never!

Training a dog as an adult can be beneficial in some ways — he may be less distractible and energetic than he was as a puppy. Not to mention, training exercises present an opportunity to bond with your dog, whether you’ve had him for years or signed adoption papers yesterday. Every dog is trainable, regardless of breed, sex, size and — yes — age.

 

Untrain Bad Habits

The challenging thing about training an older dog is correcting ingrained bad habits. Adult dogs who received little training as puppies always have a few unfavorable habits. Remember, negative reinforcement in the form of yelling or physical punishment will only damage your relationship with your dog and breed fear-based aggression. Instead, you can alter behavior with positive reinforcement alone. Here are some typical bad habits and how you can untrain them.

Chewing

It’s a fact of life that dogs need to chew for their oral health and to release pent-up energy. It’s a natural behavior that is not negative in and of itself. However, some dogs have a habit of destroying household items with inappropriate chewing. A dog chewing your clothes, shoes, furniture and walls can be frustrating.

To discourage destructive chewing, you’ll have to provide your dog with plenty of things that are safe and appropriate to chew. Then, you’ll need to offer positive reinforcement when your dog chews an acceptable toy, such as praise or small treats. Redirect your dog if you find him chewing on something off-limits. If inappropriate chewing continues, your dog might need more exercise or mental stimulation.

Begging

Odds are, if your dog begs, it’s because he’s gotten rewards for doing so in the past. To prevent begging, you’ll have to avoid giving in, no matter how convincing those puppy-dog eyes might be. One way to change this habit is to give your dog a long-lasting chew away from your dining area when you sit down to a meal.

Digging

Digging is another natural dog behavior. Keep in mind, digging is not usually aimless — dogs dig for a few reasons, including:

  • To create a more comfortable place to rest.
  • To find prey he can smell.
  • To bury something.
  • To curb boredom or restlessness.

Try to figure out why your dog is digging and address the root cause. If your dog is uncomfortable, create a more suitable place to relax. For example, dogs left out in the heat might dig to find cooler soil. If he’s bored, provide more exercise or stimulation. If you can, you might set aside an area where digging is acceptable, such as a sandbox.

Leash Pulling

Most dogs who lack obedience training will pull on walks, often because the dog gets where he wants to go faster when he pulls. If your dog is pulling on his leash, refuse to keep walking until the behavior stops. You should also give positive reinforcement for walking alongside you. Keep a pouch of small treats on hand when you go for a walk.

Socialization

Though socializing is ideal for younger dogs, it’s OK if you miss that opportunity. Regular socialization builds your dog’s confidence around others, which reduces the chance of aggression. One of the best things you can do is take your dog on walks where he’ll encounter people and other dogs. Walks are the perfect time to meet someone new — your dog will have less pent-up energy and he’ll already be on a leash.

If needed, you might use a muzzle. This tool will prevent the danger of biting, and it will also keep strange people and dogs calmer during the encounter. Keeping others calm will, in turn, help relax your dog and make the whole experience more positive. Always prioritize your dog’s safety and comfort. Be patient, watch his cues and remove him from a situation if it’s causing him too much stress.

Simple Commands First

Be sure to start simple. Teach your dog commands that are easy to learn and build onto each other. For instance, you might teach the first few commands in this order.

1. Place

“Place” is a helpful beginning command. Create a special spot for your dog, such as a bed or crate. Gesture toward it and say “place,” prompting your dog to go there. When it’s OK for your dog to get up, you can then say “free.” Once he starts to recognize the words, you can drop the gesture.

After he has the process down, you can teach him to go to his place when he hears other sounds, such as the doorbell ringing. Remember to offer plenty of praise and a small treat each time he gets it right.

2. Sit

“Sit” is another simple command. A popular method involves “luring.” You’ll hold a treat in front of your dog’s nose and then slowly lift it above his head. As soon as his rear end touches the ground, let him have the treat. Then encourage him to stand back up so you can repeat the process. Be sure not to force your dog’s rear end to the ground, as this can be scary and confusing.

After a few successful attempts, you can remove the food lure and use your empty hand — still offer a treat after he sits. Once he understands the hand signal, add the word “sit.” After a while, you can stop gesturing and give only the verbal cue.

3. Stay

After you and your dog have mastered “sit,” you can pair it with the “stay” command. When your dog is sitting, say “stay” and hold your hand palm-out in front of you. After your dog sits still for a moment, offer a reward. Always reward your dog while he’s still in the “stay” position. A common mistake is to let the dog come to you before he gets his treat — this teaches him the reward is for coming to you, not for staying put.

Start by standing right in front of your dog and rewarding him quickly — you can gradually walk farther away and have him hold the “stay” position longer. Over time, you can add distractions like toys to make staying more challenging. This tactic will ensure your dog’s ability to stay put despite real-life distractions.

 

Contact Off Leash K9 Training

Of course, it’s always best to train a dog as a puppy before bad habits have a chance to set in. But if you miss the early window, it’s never too late to train your dog. You and your dog can work together to replace destructive behaviors with positive ones. Address his bad habits, help him adapt to social situations and build onto straightforward commands. In the meantime, you’ll form a strong, lifelong bond with your dog.

Given the unique challenges of training an older dog, you may find you need professional assistance. If you’re looking for dog training for older dogs, consider Off Leash K9 Training in Maryland. We offer private, one-on-one training services so your dog gets the individual attention he needs. We’ll help your dog learn obedience, manners, confidence and trust. Learn more about our training packages and get started by booking today

Are You Ready for a Puppy

New Puppy Checklist: Are You Ready for a Puppy?

Bringing home a new puppy is a big decision. Puppies are major commitments, and you don’t want to rush into owning one. Thousands of families adopt puppies every day because they bring so much joy and love into people’s lives. You may be wondering how to know if a puppy is right for you. Use this new puppy checklist to help you make that judgment.

Have You Done Your Research?

First things first, sit down and do plenty of research before getting a new puppy. You’ll need to know what all is involved. Dogs are high-maintenance pets with lots of everyday physical and emotional needs. Make sure you’ll be able to provide everything your new dog will need. Even if you’ve had a pup before, read up on dog care — veterinarians and animal experts are always making discoveries.

If you’re thinking of buying from a breeder, conduct some research to find one that’s reputable and ethical. See if their prices are reasonable by comparing across several breeders. Remember, shelters are full of dogs who need a home. If you’d prefer to rescue, talk to others who have gone through the process.

Have You Researched Dog Breeds?

You’ll also need to know what type of dog is best for you. Different dog breeds are better suited to different lifestyles. For instance, bulldogs are couch potatoes, perfect for lounging around. If you live in an apartment with no yard, a bulldog might be the right choice. Meanwhile, border collies are high-energy dogs who need a yard to run in or a regular exercise schedule. If you’re big into fitness, a border collie could be the best option for you.

Choose a breed that will be happy with your accommodations and lifestyle. If you’re rescuing a mixed breed dog, find out what you can about the dog’s temperament and individual needs. All dogs are individuals, after all. While breeds tend to have traits in common, every puppy will be different. It’s always a good idea to ask the breeder or rescue volunteer about each puppy’s personality and habits.

Do You Have the Time?

When deciding whether to get a puppy, consider the time commitment. How much room do you have in your schedule? If the answer is, “Not a lot,” you might want to hold off. When you have a puppy, you’ll need time to train, walk and exercise it. You need to be prepared to get up every three to four hours to let it out until your pup is housebroken.

But that’s not all — you’ll also have to introduce your pet to lots of other people and dogs if you hope to raise a friendly, confident companion. Every trip you take with your puppy will require extra planning and preparation. Trips you take without your puppy will require planning, too — you’ll have to coordinate a dog-sitter or a stay in a kennel. A puppy will take up a lot of your time and energy. Be sure you can manage the time commitment before getting a puppy.

Can You Afford a Puppy?

Keep in mind, the arrival of a new puppy comes with a lot of expenses. Many new puppy owners underestimate the amount of money they’ll spend on their companion. Caring for a medium-sized dog with a life expectancy of 13 years can cost around $15,000. With proper budgeting and planning, though, you can still welcome this new member of your family home. When you bring home a puppy, be prepared to invest in all of the following:

  • Dog food: Nutrition is one of the most crucial aspects of pet care and can affect everything about your dog’s health. Depending on the dog food you choose, keeping your puppy well-fed can cost hundreds of dollars per year, if not more.
  • Health: From routine checkups to vaccines, prescriptions and emergencies, maintaining your dog’s health can cost anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars. Choosing a healthy breed or breed mix can help reduce these expenses to some extent. Even still, every dog will have basic health needs.
  • Grooming: How much you’ll spend on grooming depends on the breed you choose. Some breeds require professional grooming services, while others need little more than occasional brushing and bathing.
  • Toys and treats: It’s fun to shower a puppy with toys and treats — and treats are helpful when it comes to training. But you’ll need to factor this category into your puppy budget. Remember, lots of puppies are happy with simple, inexpensive toys, like tennis balls.
  • Pet insurance: A less fun but necessary expense is pet insurance. Depending on the plan you choose, pet insurance can help cover costs involving pet illness, injury and preventive healthcare. It’s a life raft in an emergency, but it’s also another cost to consider.
  • Training: Professional puppy training can make your life easier in the long run, as a well-trained dog will be happier and easier to manage. Puppy training could pay for itself in some ways, protecting your possessions from a misbehaved pup, so be sure to consider this in your budget.
  • Dog-proofing: You’ll also have to dog-proof your house and yard. That could mean adding a fence, buying baby gates for your doorways or stairways or investing in some throw rugs for potential accidents.
  • Miscellaneous items: Random but necessary items should also go into your budget. Remember the collar, leash, crate, dog-walking services and other miscellaneous items.

Are You Ready for Messes and Chewing?

If you’re wondering how to know if a puppy is right for you, ask yourself how upset you’d be if some of your furniture got ruined. If it would ruin your day, you may need to make adjustments before adopting a dog. Puppies can be destructive! They bite, chew, scratch and have accidents. You can only do so much to puppy-proof your house. While patient training will curb these behaviors, the occasional mess is inevitable, especially while your puppy is young.

Before getting a puppy, make sure you can handle messes. You might also consider putting valuable furniture items or heirlooms in storage or shutting them in a room where your puppy isn’t allowed to go. Investing in dog toys and playing with your puppy often can help unleash destructive energy in productive ways.

To Get a Good Handle on Your Puppy, Contact Off Leash K9 Training

Is a puppy right for you? We hope this essential new puppy checklist helps you answer that question! Choosing to adopt a puppy is a major life decision — puppies require a lot of time, attention and budgeting. But, as any dog owner will tell you, they’re definitely worth it. Dogs are excellent companions, filled with love and excitement.

If you decide to bring home a puppy, consider professional puppy training services. Here at Off Leash K-9 Training, we accept dogs of any age, breed and size. We offer private one-on-one training sessions on obedience, manners and trust-building. After our training, you’ll have the tools you need to better communicate with your puppy, improving both your life and your puppy’s. For compassionate, knowledgeable puppy training, contact us at Off Leash K9 Training today

How to Get My Puppy to Stop Biting

 

Bringing a new puppy home is a joyful, memorable experience. It’s also a lot of work. Puppies are adorable little creatures who might seem determined to act up. They require a lot of attention and patience, much like toddlers. One of the most common puppy misbehaviors is nipping or biting, ranging from annoying to downright painful. While it might seem cute at first, it’s a behavior you’ll need to correct before your puppy grows into a full-sized dog with a dangerous mouth full of razor-sharp teeth. With a little patience and the right techniques, you end this habit for good. Use these tips to stop puppy biting and nipping.

Stop Playing Once the Biting Begins

While playing together, puppies chase, wrestle, pounce and nip each other. When one bites another too hard, the victim will yelp and stop playing for a few seconds. This behavior teaches puppies bite inhibition, knowing if they’re too rough, they’ll lose their playmate. You can offer a puppy the same lesson he’d learn from his littermates.

Once your puppy bites, end playtime right away. You might let out a high-pitched yelp or “Ow!” to show your puppy he’s caused you pain. Instead of jerking your hand or foot away, try to make it go limp, which will be unexciting for your puppy. Jerking motions can activate the puppy’s chase instincts, which may cause more biting. Then, turn around and tuck your hands into your armpits, giving your puppy a playtime time-out. Even a negative reaction is a response — refuse to give your puppy attention after biting. Ignore your puppy for 10 to 20 seconds, then resume playing. Yelp and stop playtime for softer and softer bites until your puppy learns to play gently. If biting continues, take a break from playing.

Even if a bite catches you off-guard and hurts you, always skip negative reinforcement. Never hit, hurt or yell at your dog — physical punishments can make a dog fearful and likelier to be aggressive. Steer clear of any discipline that might make your puppy afraid of you, as this can develop into long-lasting fear aggression. Instead, naughty behavior should receive no attention at all.

Distract Them With Something They Can Chew On

Puppies need to teethe, but not on your fingers or toes. When your puppy starts nipping, offer a toy instead. You’ll teach your puppy toys are OK to bite, but your skin is not. If your puppy continues trying to bite you, turn away and pause playtime. You can incorporate toys into your play — use a toy for tug-of-war with your puppy. Have it nearby during playtime and take it out when your puppy gets nippy. Try to keep tugging from becoming too aggressive.

Having toys on hand creates an ideal opportunity to teach your puppy “let go” or “leave it” commands. When a puppy has a toy in his mouth, hold a treat nearby and say “drop it,” “let go” or “leave it.” Be gentle, but precise with your words. When he drops the toy, offer him the treat along with some praise. Eventually, this will teach your puppy to give you objects without getting defensive.

Allow Your Puppy to Calm Down

Puppies sometimes bite when tired or overwhelmed. When your puppy gets bitey, offer a chance to calm down. Lead them to a crate or quiet space. Stay calm when leading your puppy  — crates should be a safe space, not a source of punishment. After allowing your puppy a few moments to calm down, let it start playing again. A puppy can also be agitated if hungry, thirsty or in need of a potty break. Make sure you’ve fulfilled all your puppy’s basic needs.

Plenty of exercise is essential for a growing dog. If you keep your puppy cooped up too much, the biting problem is likely to worsen. Let your puppy burn off excess energy throughout the day. Go for walks, play fetch and take advantage of nearby dog parks. Keep activities mild — you can stunt a puppy’s growth with too much strenuous exercise. Socializing with other dogs is an excellent way for your puppy to learn appropriate behaviors.

Always Reward Good Behaviors Instead

Positive reinforcement is a powerful tool and an important element of puppy training. Offer rewards when your puppy:

  • Is calm, quiet and well-behaved.
  • Follows a command.
  • Accepts a toy in place of your hand or ankle. 

The reward can be a simple “good girl” and a pat or a small treat — but be careful not to overfeed your puppy. Use these signals to teach your puppy proper behavior. They’ll soon associate good conduct with desirable results. 

Discover which rewards your puppy seems to like best. It can help to make a list of possible rewards, in order of how happy they make your puppy. Save the best treats for the most challenging tasks. Offer rewards often enough to compete with natural ones in the environment. For instance, when teaching your puppy to heel, give enough positive reinforcement to make walking by your side more appealing than pulling you around, despite all the fun things outside. It’s also essential to deliver treats as soon as possible after observing the desired behavior, so your puppy makes the correlation. Over time, positive reinforcement teaches your puppy that learning is fun and following the rules is worth the effort. It’ll also support a strong bond between you and your puppy.

Enroll Your Puppy in Puppy Training Class

Puppies are lovable and adorable, but not always perfect angels. It takes a lot to raise a happy, healthy puppy. For the first few months with your puppy, it’s crucial to tailor your responses to their behavior. If you’re wondering how to keep a puppy from biting you, try the methods listed above. Use time-outs, distractions and toys to minimize biting. Always reward positive behavior with praise and treats.

Training a puppy can be challenging, as puppies can be unpredictable and hard to read. It’s always smart to enroll a puppy in a professional training class. At Off Leash K-9 Training, we help you resolve puppy behavioral issues while building stronger trust with your puppy. With our private lessons, you and your puppy will get all the individualized attention you need. We’ll help you master the necessary skills and commands while addressing unwanted behaviors like nipping. We offer various packages — you can choose from an all-inclusive puppy camp, several private lessons or a single refresher course. Enroll your puppy in a puppy training class with Off Leash K-9 training today!

COVID-19

We hope that all is well and you are staying healthy.

To keep you and all of our employees safe, we are following local health department recommendations and requiring that every employee and client be assessed for COVID-19 symptoms and risk factors each day before entering our facility.

In the past 24 hours have you experienced:
Fever
New or worsening cough
Shortness of Breath
Sore Throat
GI symptoms

If you answer “yes” to any of the symptoms listed above, or your temperature is 100.4°F or higher, please do not come to your lesson. Self-isolate at home and contact your primary care physician’s office for direction.

• You should isolate at home for a minimum of 7 days since symptoms first appear.
• You must also have 3 days without fevers and improvement in respiratory symptoms.

In the past 14 days, have you:

Had close contact with an individual diagnosed with COVID-19?
Traveled outside the state of Maryland?

If you have answered “yes” to either of these questions, please do not come to your lesson. We will reschedule your appointment.

Our trainers are taking every precaution to keep you safe.  We are cleaning surfaces and equipment between clients and socially distancing a min of 6ft.  Every one is required to wear a mask and wash hands when entering the building.  No more than 2 people allowed to attend lessons.

If you prefer to hold your lesson outside the facility please let your trainer know your preference.

 

If you have any questions or concerns please contact us at 443-743-3221

Training your new Puppy

So you just brought your new puppy home, now what?

 

You just came home with a fluffy little 8 week old puppy, and besides the basic food, bowls, and toys what else do you need. A TRAINER!!!! Find someone to get you started on basic commands of come, sit, down and to get your new pup off on the right paw. The first week home is very overwhelming and fun, but there is a lot of work that comes with your new pup.

 

Going to the Vet:

Within the first few days home get into a vet; someone who you feel comfortable with and will listen to your questions and decisions. This is very important. If you don’t feel comfortable with your vet’s suggestions be sure to speak up. Your vet will give you suggestions on food, medication, and procedures. It is OK to do your own homework, and do what feels right, not what someone pushes you to do because they “know best”.

 

Dog Food… So Many Choices:

Next up would be food. This is a very hot topic! The breeder or rescue probably sent you home with food that the puppy has been on for the last few weeks. You do not have to stay on this food. Once again, do some research on dog food. You want a food that your dog likes but is also good for them. Just because the breeder has your pup on it doesn’t mean that is the end all be all. Find something you and your pup agree on, and transition them over to the new food over several weeks.

Routine:

Get yourself on a routine. Dogs are creatures of routine. The quicker you get onto a routine the quicker you get onto a feeding schedule and the quicker you will get your new pup housebroken. Who doesn’t want that QUICK! Stay away from pee pads with housebreaking. This only promotes them to take care of business in the house. Some people try the bell, sometime it works and sometimes it doesn’t. I say get into a routine and then start watching your pup for cues (circling, smelling, going to the door or the same spot they like to go).

Kennel/Crate Training:

Crating is equally as important as routine. Crating isn’t a punishment.  It is their space, their room. They need this to understand a lot of things in life. Having a crate with a movable divider will help keep the area small enough so they don’t use it as their bathroom. Feeding in the crate will also help them not want to go where they eat, along with associating a positive experience with the kennel. The crate will also give them a place to go to rest, calm down when they become over stimulated. By teaching them to love their kennel it will be a safe place for your pup when unsupervised and a great way to keep you belongings and furniture safe too!

 

Puppy Training with Off Leash K9 Training, Maryland:

Here at OLK9MD we teach a lot of things during our puppy classes. We offer 2 packages. The puppy consult and the puppy starter package. Not only are we teaching the basic foundation commands, but we are building confidence, teaching manners. During these classes we also answer any questions or concerns you may have. The difference between the two is the number of classes. The consult is an hour long, we say that is more of a refresher class for those been there done that clients who have had puppies before but need the reminder. The starter package consists of 4 classes that are 30 minutes each. We teach the same as the consult just stretch it out over the 4 classes. This is geared more towards the new puppy owners or clients who want to space training out for a couple weeks.

Puppy Play time at Off Leash K9 Training, Maryland

We offer puppy play time at Off Leash K9 Training Maryland two Saturdays a month. This will allow your puppy to socialize with other puppies and people in a safe and controlled environment. Puppies must be between the ages of 3 months to 12 months of age and be up to date on shots. The cost is $10 a session. Please visit our website to sign up .

Watch some of our fun!

Puppy Play Live

 

 

Raising a confident Dog

dog training mdRaising a confident Dog

Socialization and Desensitization

 

We want our dogs to grow up to be the happy and confident and not be “that dog” everyone avoids. You probably hear trainers and vets talking about these buzz words; socializing, desensitizing, etc… well at least I hope you are. These two things are very critical in raising a dog. You have a very short window in their lives to get this right, so get to it and most importantly-HAVE FUN!

 

To have a happy and confident dog you need to expose them to everything possible in the first few weeks of coming home. Like you have nothing else to do but drag this pup around the neighborhood, and experience everything they could possible come into contact with over the next 12-15 years. Yes, you would be surprised on how much you can do on one walk during a busy part of the day.

Meeting 400 people!

I was once told that in the 4 weeks of bringing my pup home I should see about 400 people. Not only that but they should see people of every age, race and size. WHAT! Where am I going to find that many people? Going to the vet is an easy place to get a group of people to dote all over your puppy. You will have about 2 vet visits in this time frame so take advantage of it.  You could possibly hit the jackpot and have a busy waiting room filled with other dogs and kids, but my luck never works like that.

Kid exposure is easy, especially if you have kids living with you.  For those who don’t or need more, go to a park on a sunny weekend.  You will find tons of kids. Bring some treats with you, so you can work on kids giving your pup treats for sitting nicely. Two birds one stone — you work on not jumping on people because you are asking them to sit. If you don’t have a park nearby try to time your walks around the local kid’s bus pick ups and drop offs or walk passed the school at those times.

Find some local stores that allow pets, usually the home improvement stores love having dogs come in to shop. Just make sure you spend ample time outside working on “potty time” before going in, or you may find your self buying a roll of paper towels and cleaner (trust me). Once inside you can find lots of people to come pet your puppy, believe me no one passes up petting a cute puppy. Not only does this give you people exposure but also noise exposure.  I’ll get to that in a little bit.

Don’t forget the dogs!

Don’t forget that socialization also includes other dogs. We shouldn’t expose our pups to lots of dogs or dog places until all those shots are up to date. So what do we do? I like to find small dog stores that don’t have large masses of dogs walking around and of course the vet’s office. Hey you may even run into a dog or two at those local home improvement stores. If not, try to recruit some of your friends that have dogs or neighbors. I only let them meet other dogs that are dog friendly and are up to date on shots and also one on one.

I don’t like to have a pack of dogs meet; I’ve never seen anything good come from that. Letting dogs meet on a walk and sniff each other is good too. Just try to find dogs that you feel comfortable with and won’t cause a bad experience for your pup.

When it is too much…

With all socialization always watch for signs of stress or signs of being overwhelmed. The last thing we want to do is stress them out and have a bad experience. I don’t like huge mobs of kids coming over and having 20 hands grabbing at a pup. One or two at a time is fine and not for hours on end. Never force an interaction.  If your pup would rather sniff try having someone hand them a treat, and if they don’t want it then oh well.  You wouldn’t like it if every person you came across made you stop what you are doing and hug them.

Sometimes it could also go the other way — your dog is the one seeking out everyone you pass.  You have to teach them that not everyone is there to come visit them. Just give a little yank on the leash and keep walking.

Noise and Touch Desensitizing

Let’s move on to noise/life desensitization. You would be shocked to hear some of the items I hear dogs are afraid of. I put life in this category because there are things, for what ever reason, our dogs decide they want to be afraid of it.  Once again we want to be able to expose them to all kinds of sounds: vacuum, blow dryer, blender, garbage disposal, things that make noise in your house and outside your house. I have had dogs afraid of plastic bags, rolling garbage cans and even items that move (bikes, scooters, cars, thunder, etc).

Why are they afraid?  They have never heard the sound or it startles them. Their first reaction is to run for their life or bark at it. If they do either don’t let them. When they run go get them, hook a leash on, and bring them back to it. Get some treats and have them sit and keep repeating until they understand nothing is going to happen to them.  I do the same if they are barking at it. Once they realize there is nothing to it, they become desensitized to it. I like to do training sessions around things that bother them, whether it is the garbage truck picking up on trash day or kids playing on their bike.

Get them to focus on you and the reward rather than things going on around them. After a few minutes they will forget what was bugging them. The last thing you want is for them to get rewarded for being scared. That will just promote the fear.  When you have a fearful/reactive dog you run the risk that one day the dog will react or flee and neither is good.

Touch

We also want to be able to touch our dog anywhere. Sitting on the floor with them right from the start and being able to touch their ears, snout, teeth, paws, nails, body and tails. With new puppies I do this every day several times a day. If you have others in the family have them doing it too. This will help when it is time to groom them or go to the vet not react when touched. If conditioned correctly they will understand that this is what humans do and should not get upset over it. I have seen hundreds of dogs as adults not be able to get their nails trimmed because they want to eat anyone who touches their paws.

 

With all of our training from puppy to adult we stress how important it is to be doing all of these great things. I tell clients it is never to late to work on these things and to be working on them every day.

dog training md

Book Now

Alex M reviewed Off Leash K9 Maryland

Alex M wrote a wonderful 5 Star review about our 2 week Board and Train Program:

Our five month old French Bulldog/ Boston Terrier, Moose, mix spent two weeks with trainer Chris for the OLK9 board and train program and we couldn’t be more pleased with the results. Moose was always our sweet little guy but really needed help with basic obedience and even house breaking was something we continued to struggle with. Chris transformed our sassy, disobedient and destructive puppy into a real superstar!! Cannot say enough good things about this program and the trainers, but here are a few of my top highlights and notes from my experience:

1. Trainer Chris provided us with constant photo updates throughout the two weeks making the separation much easier for us. We knew Moose was getting tons of love and felt comfortable and safe.

2. Picking Moose up and seeing all of his new tricks was really impressive. The training space is immaculately clean and professional looking. Chris walked us through everything he had done with Moose and told we would need to know for continuing and maintaining Moose’s progress. This took about two hours- we felt really taken care of and left feeling even more confident. The trainers care deeply and want this program to keep working for you!

3. Moose showed Chris affection during our pick up debrief session- this really made me happy knowing how happy my pup was and I was glad to see the trainer bonded so well with him! More peace of mind and satisfaction with our decision to enroll Moose in the board and train program.

4. A review of the overall “after”- Moose has significantly improved. He could barely walk on a leash with my fiance and I (causing havoc in our apartment lobby with other dogs or annoying other residents due to our inability to maintain him on a leash and also endangering himself and stressing us out as we tried to walk him at parks and throughout DC) and walking him was never enjoyable. This has gone away and now he is so polite and mannerly to walk with!! This by far has been the most AMAZING aspect of his transformation. It was our goal to see Moose become more manageable and this has absolutely been achieved. Chris took care of his potty training issue with ease and this has been a huge life saver. Moose listens when we say “off” (the command used for “no”) now and he has ceased all chewing and destructiveness in our house. Major bonus!!

5. Two days post training session, Moose is not exactly 100% accurate at all times- he is only a 5 month old puppy after all- and has little “oops” moments where he completes a command half way or slightly incorrectly. HOWEVER, we can clearly see that his little puppy brain gets it and he is trying really hard and that is absolutely fantastic to see as a dog owner. The “Aha moment” is there in our Moose thanks to Chris and now we are running with it! That being said, we are just floored with his transformation and feel 100% empowered and prepared to keep his training going on at home. Chris provided us with the information and instruction we needed to do this and answered all of our questions. He has been super helpful with emailing to answer questions or reassure us when needed and I truly appreciate all of his continued support and genuine concern!

FINAL NOTES ON MY EXPERIENCE: This program is vigorous and intensive. In two weeks my pup has completely transformed and it this was obvious the minute we picked Moose up. Worth absolutely every dollar!! YOU WILL GET RESULTS. I really feel that with Moose’s new obedience I will now be able to build a better relationship with him. As an owner, I feel that I can now get the most out of my relationship with Moose (less time scolding, less time feeling frustrated, more time enjoying him and doing fun activities without stress!!!)

LASTLY, I would like to recommend this program to anyone interested in improving the obedience and manageability of their dogs. I really think this program would be amazing for bigger breeds too for those reading with larger pets in mind. While the OLK training confirms the program works for any breed, any age, any size (and I can attest it does- my little guy is only 25 pounds!) I can imagine it would be truly amazing for bigger dogs. The training facility is equipped with lots of large obstacle pieces and things to jump on to. I grew up with Pitbulls and Boxers and was thinking that my childhood dogs (never trained professionally, good dogs but total goofballs) could have really benefited from some time with Chris!

FIVE STARS: Thank you so much Chris and OLK9 Training Maryland!!!

 

To see more about Moose or other pups we have trained visit our YouTube Channel

Here is the link to Moose’s 2 week stay in our famous Board and Train Program  https://youtu.be/vE0AFZ00X30 

 

To see more reviews from our clients go to Read Alex M.‘s review of Off Leash K9 Training Maryland on Yelp

Kate E

“They are wonderful! Orlaith is doing great and we are excited to continue our training towards therapy dog certification!”