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Blog posts from 2017

Posted on April 18, 2017

The Secret to Dog Training

The Secret to Dog Training

Want to know the secret to successful dog training? The secret is not to try to train your dog until you know you control the outcome.

In other words, choosing the right time to train is important. When you are in the middle of something and your dog misbehaves, you may not have time to train. In these situations, INTERRUPT your dog and quickly MANAGE the situation.

Rather than trying to “train” your dog in front of your guests, dedicate time each day to creating TEACHING MOMENTS where you practice exercises that teach your dog expected outcomes.


This kind of Zen Dog Training encourages dog owners to understand when they should MANAGE and when they should train. Training means taking time to set up an environment where you can teach a lesson or prevent bad behaviors from happening in the first place.  Once you control the outcome, repeat exercises over and over (in a controlled setting) so your dog understands your rules.

Essentially, you want to teach your dog they get praise, treats, and love for making good decisions, but you also want them to learn they get ignored, interrupted, or controlled if they make a bad decision.

At Zen Dog Training, we recommend you set up situations – every day – where you teach your dog the rules with repetition.  Create TEACHING MOMENTS by using the right MANAGEMENT TOOLS.


Teaching a dog to stop jumping is a good example that illustrates how using the right MANAGEMENT TOOLS helps you incorporate training drills and training in the moment.

Start by having your dog wear a DRAG LINE (or indoor leash). Put the DRAG LINE on before visitors arrive, or put one on when they start chasing the cat, and you will level the playing field for training.

With your dog wearing a leash inside the house you can more quickly INTERRUPT when they act out, or you can step on the leash and have everyone IGNORE your dog if they start jumping. Even better, the LEASH STEP will give them a mild INTERRUPT every time they try to jump up.

With almost no effort, every time a visitor arrives or you say hi to someone on the street, you can use the LEASH STEP to set-up a situation where your dog cannot successfully jump and, at the same time, gets lots of opportunities to be rewarded with praise, attention, petting, even treats for sitting quietly.

Once your dog starts to understand the rules, you introduce distractions, increase the difficulty, and mix it up to make sure your dog “gets it” in different situations.   


The Secret to Zen Dog Training is getting the humans to think like a dog, and understand what truly motivates their dog. Training comes from a place of mutual understanding where you set your dog up to succeed, and even fail, in training scenarios that reinforce the rules of your house.

Posted on March 22, 2017

Crate training your new puppy

Crate training your new puppy

Meet Bruin, an 11-week-old golden doodle puppy.

He lives with Mathew and Nancy, and his young human siblings Daniel and Susan. Bruin, like the kids, is full of playful energy! Bruin is a young puppy who is still learning the ropes, in the crate, he cries and demands attention, and needs to learn how to be quiet and relaxed when left alone.

The crate is an important training tool for almost every dog, but especially for families with young children. Having your dog learn to tolerate the crate is sometimes necessary when parents need to focus on children, homework, or making dinner. Crate training is important for any owner for trips to the vet, traveling, boarding, etc.

If done correctly, most dogs can learn to love their crate or pass time in the crate when needed. Bruin, like all dogs, needs to learn that the crate is a positive environment, a place where they can relax and settle down.

The solution

Help your puppy learn that only by being quiet and relaxed they will get what they want. Daily practice is the key in teaching your dog that the crate is a safe comfortable place to be, and that it is okay to be alone.

We recommended practicing 10 crate sessions a day, for anywhere from 2 to 20 minutes. Teach your puppy to be calm in the crate, while you are home!

Start by placing 3-4 treats in the back of the crate. Do not call your dog to you, instead walk to your dog, say “Kennel Up” or “Get In”and use your dog’s collar to gently walk your dog into the crate.

Walk away from the crate. Go into the other room, go to the bathroom, or do something near your puppy as you ignore them.

Any time between 2 minutes and 20 minutes later, come back and open the crate. Only after your puppy has quieted down should you let them out.*

When you open the crate, do not reward them or make a big fuss. You are teaching them that going in and out of there is part of their regular life. Ideally, your puppy becomes accustom to going in and finding treats in the back of the crate and learns to relax knowing that eventually, someone always comes to get them out.

What not to do

*It is very important to not give in to his cries, and only release him when he is quiet. He needs to learn that the barking/cries do not pay off and it does not get them what they want.

Do not put him in the crate as a reaction or punishment for misbehavior. Your dog needs to learn that the crate is a safe, positive place to be where he gets treats, and is rewarded for being patient.

Excessive Crying/Howling/Whining is expected! If after 10 training sessions your dog is not learning to calm down in the crate, but seems to be getting more worked up, or even panicked, your puppy maybe showing signs of actual Separation Anxiety. Please contact a trainer, or check out one of our Crate Training eBooks to make sure you are doing everything right.  

Zen Dog

By waiting patiently in the crate to be released, Bruin quickly learned that there is no reason for panic or barking. Matthew and Nancy are now able to leave Bruin for periods of time while they are away from the house, and they can sleep through the night knowing he’s comfortable in the crate.

To learn more about training for your young puppy, and other solutions for crate training, check out Zen Dog Training Online.

Posted on March 8, 2017

Mastering The 7 Essential Puppy Training Lessons

Zen Dog Training

In order to successfully bring a new dog into your home, you must first master these 7 Essential Puppy Training Lessons.

House Training

Teaching your dog Where and When to Go to the bathroom is an essential part of successfully bringing a dog into your home. See our Free House Training eBook for all our house training secrets!

Home Alone & Crate Training

Your puppy should learn to relax and be comfortable when left alone in your home or in the crate. Separation Anxiety eBook.

How to Stop Play Biting

There are at least 4 different solutions for play biting. You should know them all and which one works best with your unique situation. Tougher cases will require all four methods! Access all the Play Biting Solutions in our 6 Week Online Puppy Course.

Socialization to People, Places, and Things.

Socialization is the process of domestication. Your dog must learn to feel safe with people and the world around them.  Always bring treats with you when you are walking your puppy, give them as your dog meets new people, visit places, and get accustomed their environment.  

Socialization to Touch and other Animals.

Socialization should ALSO include specific exercises for touch. Your puppy should be OK with the groomer, vet visits, etc; when they are sufficiently vaccinated become socialized with other dogs.

Preventing Food Guarding

Puppyhood is the best time to teach your dog to not protect their food or feel threatened being approached while eating or chewing a bone.

Control of the Mouth

Your dog must be taught to relinquish things in their mouth on command.

Once you’ve mastered these 7 Puppy Essentials you are ready to start obedience training. Learn more about our Group Classes, In Home Training, and Online Learning Solutions at www.ZenDogTraining.net