The Goog Dog Training Tips

The Good Dog Training Tips

Sean was referred to me through my work at a vet hospital and I never thought I could be so impressed. Sean's initial 2 hour session with me COMPLETELY transformed my dog.- Michelle

The longer the time the longer the time!

Posted on April 30th, by Sean O'Shea in Training Tips. Comments Off on The longer the time the longer the time!

Like us, the longer dogs have been practicing a behavior the deeper the habit becomes ingrained. The deeper it’s ingrained the longer it often takes to overcome.

This isn’t about supporting the old saw about “Can’t teach an old dog new tricks”, but is just a reminder of how much easier it is to reroute a behavior while it’s still relatively new. (Hint: Fix it as soon as it appears!!!) Of course we can retrain even old dogs that have been practicing negative behaviors for years (we do it all the time), but if you get to a problem in its infancy, it’ll be easier (for you and your dog!) and typically much more quickly resolved.

So this tip is here to remind you that if you go after an issue early, it’ll be easier and quicker for all involved, and if you don’t manage to get the issue early remember to give you and your dog some extra slack and be extra-patient as you work through long-practiced problems.

Deep habits need some deep work. 🙂


Sometimes you need a no and sometimes you need a NO!

Posted on April 24th, by Sean O'Shea in Training Tips. Comments Off on Sometimes you need a no and sometimes you need a NO!

Be sure when addressing your dog’s behavior issues that you remember that there are moments that need smaller corrections and moments that need bigger ones. This is dictated by how big of a problem or risk the behabior is, how often it occurs, and what the intention is of the dog.

For example, you’re calling your dog to you on an off-leash romp, and as he’s recalling he looks away, gets distracted, and pauses for a moment. In this case, likely a small reminder will suffice. But if your dog consistently does this sniffing behavior every time you recall him in an effort to avoid having to listen, he needs something a little more inspiring. (He’s being a brat and making a decision to be disobedient.) AND if your dog blows off your command to run towards another dog or squirrel, then he definitely needs a big NO – or a big correction – to ensure there’s future mileage about that choice. (And to cultivate a better attitude overall.)

A few other examples where bigger conversations are usually valuable: Jumping up on … Read More »


Dogs are weird.

Posted on April 21st, by Sean O'Shea in Training Tips. Comments Off on Dogs are weird.

Haha, here’s an interesting little post for you all. Dogs are weird. Sometimes they do stuff that will simply leave you scratching your head. No matter how deeply you try to analyze the regional behind their behavior, sometimes you’ll just never know.

We work with oodles of dogs, and we have a pretty darn good handle on why they do what they do. But every once in a while a dog will do something totally out of character, totally weird, totally something you’ve never seen them do before. And our normal human curiosity wants to be able to understand and categorize, and file things away in their appropriate boxes, but sometimes it just ain’t gonna happen.

Sometimes it’s just weird dog stuff.

A dog might growl at something that it’s never growled at before, and might never do it again. Weird. A dog might cower at something it’s seen a thousand times, and next time it sees the same thing, it might not. Weird. Or a dog might be great with every dog in the world, except this one, really sweet, docile dog, … Read More »


Go for the whole dog!

Posted on April 16th, by Sean O'Shea in Training Tips. Comments Off on Go for the whole dog!

So many times we get asked questions from folks with dogs issues. Stuff like: my dog barks incessantly, is reactive on walks, is growling at guests, counter surfs, is jumping on people and on and on. Typically dog owner’s minds go to the obvious issue that is most annoying and problematic.

But here’s the problem with that: What you’re seeing are the symptoms of a bigger issue. The reactivity isn’t just reactivity. The growling at guestsisn’t just growling at guests. They’re symptoms.

These symptoms come from stress, nervousness, and anxiety that arise from a lack of leadership, structure, rules, and accountability. The stressed, nervous, anxious dog is the dog who is going to freak out on leash, growl at people, guard his stuff etc.

This is why if you listen to our Q and A Saturday you’ll often hear us recommending foundation work (structured walk, sit, down, place, recall, and duration work etc) rather than just a more simple fix. This isn’t because we want folks to do more work, or to buy our DVD or any of that. No, the reason is … Read More »


Most dogs aren’t built for protection work.

Posted on April 10th, by Sean O'Shea in Training Tips. Comments Off on Most dogs aren’t built for protection work.

We see so many dogs who show up here who are struggling with guarding, territorial issues, being overly protective, and just plain nervousness around unfamiliar people. Most of these dogs are super stressed out, anxious guys, who are on-edge and able to make bad choices due to all of these factors.

But here’s the thing, most of these dogs are sweet, insecure, unsure, conflicted guys. They have one part of their DNA saying protect, guard, be suspicious, be tough, and the other part is saying I’m freaked out, worried, nervous, and overwhelmed by this job I’m doing.

This conflict creates the perfect stress storm for big problems.

Most of these guys we see are simply not cut out for making tough decisions and assessments. They’re just regular family dogs. Even many of the German shepherds and other typical guarding breeds are often not good fits for this type of stress. And if we don’t take over the job of protection and direction, our dogs will usually step into that role. And they often suffer the fallout.

When we turn this model on its head, … Read More »


Why you need to muzzle condition your dog.

Posted on March 25th, by Sean O'Shea in Training Tips. Comments Off on Why you need to muzzle condition your dog.

Hey gang, here’s a quick tip about the importance of muzzle conditioning your dog. Lots of folks will simply put a muzzle on their dog in times of crisis or in situations where they have issues.

This might be at the vet, around guests (if there’s issues there), or introducing new dogs to each other. But here’s the issue with that. While the muzzle being on prevents an actual bite, if it’s just been put on your dog without prior conditioning it’s going to add considerable stress to your dog. So that means that the vet visit will be far worse, the reaction to guests in the house will likely be increased, and the introduction to another dog will likely result in a panic attack and/or fight.

If you’re trying to get your dog over an issue or association, than this is obviously going to be counter-productive (it’s going to make the association worse). Also, if you’re trying to get a feel for your dog’s behavior with another dog, you’ll likely have no true idea of how he feels (he might attack/fight due … Read More »


More direction, less affection.

Posted on March 3rd, by Sean O'Shea in Training Tips. Comments Off on More direction, less affection.

I know this is the age old human/dog issue! 🙂 Our dogs fill so many voids and gaps that us emotional humans struggle with daily. We each have our issues, our insecurities, our fears, and our need to nurture and be nurtured. And our dogs are the perfect receptacles for whatever we project on to them.

Unlike the boyfriend or girlfriend who will let you know that your 1000th text of the day is getting a little needy, your dog will just absorb and absorb. (Our dogs are great at setting limits with physical interactions, but not so much with emotional ones.) They don’t understand that you’re leaning on them becuse you’re lonely, unfulfilled, scared about your future, or heartbroken, they only understand that the person spending time with them is in a soft, weak, non-confident space, and this creates all kinds of issues and fallout in our dogs.

Because our dogs are soft, cute, love to be touched, are always wanting to interact with us, and are not so good with setting emotional limits, they become the operdect target for our emotional … Read More »


The Magic of E-Collar Heel.

Posted on March 2nd, by Sean O'Shea in Training Tips. Comments Off on The Magic of E-Collar Heel.

Hey gang, I just want to take a second to share with any of you who might be struggling with either reactivity issues on the walk or major pulling shenanigans. As great as the prong collar is for helping many walk issues, the very best tool for calming down a reactive, anxious, nervous, wild and crazy walk is with e-collar heel. The way the e-collar shares pressure (without constricting around the neck, and the novelty of its sensation) tends to calm, relax, and tune-in dogs that would otherwise struggle or perhaps escalate. And the even cooler thing is, contrary to what many believe, done right, it’s also one of the most gentle ways to deal with serious pulling or reactivity issues.

So if you have a puller or reactivity problems and you’ve tried other tools or approaches and are still struggling, I highly recommend you check out e-collar heel. Here at The Good Dog, as soon as we encounter any serious walk issues we go immediately to e-collar heel to sort it out. It’s easier on the dog, and it’s easier … Read More »


How we make dogs fight!

Posted on February 22nd, by Sean O'Shea in Training Tips. Comments Off on How we make dogs fight!

When we’re working with dogs who have tendencies to attack housemates or just other dogs in general, we have some go-to techniques that are almost always guaranteed to create an attack/fight. (We do this in order to set up situations to then correct and show dogs what is and isn’t acceptable behavior.)

What are our go-to secrets?

High-pitched, excited, talking to the dogs
Highly excited physical engagement/interaction with the dogs
Lots of excessive affection (especially with multiple dogs in close proximity to each other)
Fast, herky-jerky movements, running
High-energy play with other dogs
Door knocking/someone coming in the door (especially with. Ore than one dog in a tight cluster around the door)
Putting valuable resources around the dog in question with other dogs in close proximity
Fast/high-energy movement from dogs being release from behind a door/threshold into the area with the dog in question

And to really get a dog to trigger, we simply combine high-pitched, excited talk, lots of excited engagement, excessive affection, herky-jerky movements, high-energy play, someone knocking/coming in the door, add some resources, and release some dogs – or some combination of the above.

The point of all … Read More »


Sometimes it’s just about being firm enough to be believed.

Posted on February 4th, by Sean O'Shea in Training Tips. Comments Off on Sometimes it’s just about being firm enough to be believed.

I know this is an unpopular topic with most dog owners, but over and over again we see dogs come to us with relatively simple issues that have spiraled due to the owners inability to say no (correct unwanted behavior) in a firm enough manner that the dog is motivated to stop the behavior.

And this gap in believable discipline creates unstable and stressed out dogs. Not just due to,the unwanted behavior that continues, but because of the larger ripple effect of having leadership that isn’t dependable or believable.

This creates dogs who become stressed and anxious because they don’t have adequate guidance, which causes them to feel like they’re are on their own to figure their world out. This is where most reactivity issues in the house and on walks comes from. The insecurity created by feeling alone to figure things out causes reactivity (and other problem behaviors) to grow and grow.

It’s usually either an emotional issue (feeling bad about sharing rules and discipline) or a lack of understanding/confusion about how to go about these rules/discipline.

The reason dogs typically transform so … Read More »


The dog owner’s survival guide.

Posted on January 16th, by Sean O'Shea in Training Tips. Comments Off on The dog owner’s survival guide.

Hey guys, here’s a super simple, easy to follow, non-overwhelming little survival guide for those of you looking to improve your dog’s behavior and your life and enjoyment together.

If you’ll do just these three simple things, thresholds, the walk, and place command, you’ll massively improve your dog’s behavior. Seriously!

http://youtu.be/_-w28C2g68M (Thresholds)

http://youtu.be/OTiKVc4ZZWo (The Walk)

http://youtu.be/6nxKaTYQFJI (this video shows some deeper pointers on the walk and introducing the prong collar)

http://youtu.be/omg5DVPWIWo (Place Command)


If you don’t ask for your dog’s best, don’t be surprised if he gives you his worst.

Posted on January 2nd, by Sean O'Shea in Training Tips. Comments Off on If you don’t ask for your dog’s best, don’t be surprised if he gives you his worst.

I see soooo many people allowing their dogs to pull them around on-leash, drag them to trees, charge out the door, jump on people, bark at windows, running away when called etc. Most of these things just seem like typical nutty dog behavior, but over and over I see these dogs eventually get themselves into trouble. Sometimes serious trouble.

The pulling dog becomes reactive. The tree dragged becomes more demanding in the house. The door charger runs out and bites the mailman/FedEx guy. The jumping dog eventually knocks over someone and injured them. The barking at windows guy bites a dog or person who comes into the house. The runner eventually either runs away and gets lost,mor worse yet gets hit by a car.

I hate to be a negative Nancy here, but I just wanted to point out that many of these small behaviors have been allowed by us. We haven’t asked our dogs to give us their best. We haven’t trained them to walk properly on-leash, to not be pushy on walk, to mind thresholds, to not jump, to not be … Read More »