Adam Reveals His Daily Training Regimen With His New Dog

As many of you know, I recently acquired a one year-old Dutch Shepherd named, “Petra.”

Since Petra had only a minimal amount of training, I’ve been scrambling to get her “up to speed” so that  I can use her as my demonstration dog.

A client recently asked me to write out a typical day’s schedule with Petra, from morning to evening.  As you can see– getting fast results with your dog is not about spending three hours a day training; Nor is about waiting for the weekend to get out to the park to train.  Instead, it’s slipping the training into your everday rituals.  Of course, it’s much easier when you work from home.  But even if I had a job that required me to work in an office, I’d want to incorporate the training into my lifestyle, before and after work and on weekends.  The trick is to make your dog work around your lifestyle… and by work, I mean “train”:

Adam’s Schedule:


5:30 AM – Wake up, let Petra out of the crate.  Petra must hold a sit-stay while I put the e-collar or prong collar on– depending on what I’m planning on training for during the day.

5:40 AM – Let dogs out to potty. Practice recall when it’s time to come back inside, usually with the e-collar.

6:30 AM – We have breakfast while Petra holds a down-stay (commonly called, “duration work” or “impulse control”) on her place-cot.

7:30 AM – Get ready to take dogs for a 1 to 1.5 mile walk.  Petra is required to hold either a sit-stay or a down-stay while I get the leashes organized, put on my shoes, get my jacket out of the closet, etc…

7:35 AM – Wait at the front door (even though the front door is now open).
During the walk, she is required to walk alongside our Golden Retriever without pulling on the leash.  At various times throughout the walk I’ll make her do “sits” and “downs”.

8:05 AM – As we return from our walk, Petra holds a sit-stay while I get the mail, then Petra’s job is to carry some of the junk mail back to the house.

8:10 AM-8:20AM – Play fetch in backyard.

Dutch Shepherd and Golden Retriever

8:20 AM — Feeding; Petra must hold a sit-stay while I scoop food into her bowl and she waits for the “free!” command.

8:30 AM – Back out to the yard to potty, then into the crate.  Or she loads up into the car to go meet with clients.

10:30 AM – 11:00 AM – Formal training if working on a specific exercise. (See video below)

11:00 AM – Back in the crate.

12:00 PM – Potty break.

1:30 PM – Petra practices the “Load up!” command and then rides in the back of the car while we run errands– if I’m going to a dog-friendly place.  For example: Today we went to Home Depot and Lowes.  Yesterday we went to “Julie’s Signs”.  Everybody loves to see such a beautiful dog and it’s good socialization for Petra.  In addition, we’re able to practice impulse control and duration work by using the sit-stay and down-stay commands around distractions. Or if we’re meeting with clients, she’ll come with me depending on what we’re teaching. Even if I don’t use Petra during the session, I’ll pull her out of the truck and work with her for five or ten minutes while I’m waiting for my client to show up.



3:00 PM — Back at home, I’ll usually do a quick session working on positions while in the kitchen for 5-10 minutes.  Or Petra will hold a a place-command while I do computer work in the office.  Alternatively: Meeting with clients where she is expected to either participate as the “distraction” dog or sit quietly.

4:30 PM — Let the chickens out.  We practice the recall command around the chickens and when we’re done, Petra loves to wrangle the chickens back into the chicken run.  (She’s getting really good at this!)

5:00 PM — Back in the office where she must stay on her pillow and chew on her bone or sleep. She’s a snorrer!

6:00 PM — Dinner, same as breakfast.  Then immediately back outside for a potty break.

6:30 PM — Petra again must stay on her place-cot while we have dinner.

8:00 PM – 8:25 PM —  Tug toy play: This is productive play where she must go into a different position (heel, down, between legs, spin, circle) and her reward is to tug on the toy

8:30 PM – 10 PM — Petra must stay on the pillow in our home office.

10 PM — Potty break and then into the crate for “bed.”

To learn more about my approach to dog training, take a look at my book, “Secrets of a Professional Dog Trainer!”

Using Holiday Distractions To Socialize Your Dog

Don’t lock your dog in a back room for the holidays. He’s part of your family, so he needs to be included in the festivites. So, take advantage of holiday distractions to socialize your dog and work on problem behaviors.

My approach to dog training works so well because it forces you to train your dog around the type of real world distractions you’ll actually want to have your dog with you to enjoy.

Here’s a short video (3 minutes) we did of Halloween 2013. In the video, you can see I’m using a “place board” to give the dog an area to target. This makes it easier for him to understand where he’s supposed to be.

Note: I could have used the down-stay exercise, too. But the place board leaves it up to the dog as to whether he wants to stand, sit or lie down.

Get “Secrets of a Professional Dog Trainer” today with immediate access and talk to author Adam G. Katz in the Master Dog Trainer Discussion Forum– that includes five full length Dog Training Videos!


Does Your Dog Have Drive?

“One of my dogs does not have any drive other than chasing birds and digging. Can you suggest any way to make the training fun for him?”

Adam replies:

Some dogs just don’t have a lot of drive. For these dogs, you’ll just focus on the basic obedience/companion dog exercises. Even so, it’s up to you to learn what your dog likes. Maybe it’s physical touch? Maybe it’s motion? (IE, Taking a few steps forward).

Does he like to eat?

As a last resort, you can try not feeding him for a day, and then only feed during training sessions, one kibble at a time, when he does an exercise correctly (as a reward, not a bribe!) or to get him to “target” where you want him to position himself.  It may take a few days before he starts to really get motivated for the food.

Usually, the more a dog does an exercise the more he’ll start to “loosen up” and have fun with it. So, it might be that, too.

does your dog have drive

Lynn Stockwell adds:  

I have a low-drive dog. It’s a CHALLENGE.

She’ll work for food, OHHHHH she’ll work for food.

I spent months just teaching her how to play with a regular ball–one that can’t be chewed up, doesn’t squeak or have fuzz all over it. She’ll play with it, but try to use it as a reward in a working capacity and she’ll decide that she Just Doesn’t Wanna Play.

Tug? Good luck with that. She won’t touch a jute tug or a traditional rope tug. It HAS to be her Kong Wubba toy, or else it just isn’t worth tugging.

I went with food drive with my dog. Sure, it’s fun for all, and the absolute WORST part is when you teach them that they HAVE to listen without it. I say a lot of things in training, and the phrase “It hurts me more than it hurts you” is definitely one that I’ve been saying a lot. It hurts me to to see her not enjoy the reward for doing something, but when it comes to real-world obedience…I can’t have her blowing me off because I don’t have what she finds invigorating and rewarding. She needs to listen because I say so.

With that said, the more she learns to listen, the less I need to use food and the more I was using praise and petting as a reward. Which actually worked out a lot, since then I could use food treats as a really special reward for something really good.

In short, this dog is the reason why I’ll probably start with a puppy next time… it’s a crapshoot when you adopt an adult dog!


Adam replies: 

I disagree. I think a puppy is way more of a crap shoot. With an adult dog, you can spend 15 minutes and figure out if the dog has drive, what it’s tail carriage is like, if it’s got good nerves (or find that out, at least in the first day or two).

Whereas with a puppy, you never know how it’s going to turn out. I’ve been burned on puppies enough times now that it will be a very strong exception the next time I get one instead of an adult dog.

Her Dog Lies Down When Heeling

Maxene wrote to me asking about about what to do when her dog lies down when heeling: “I have a young Kelpie cross dog who spent his formative months in the RSPCA. Trying to train him to heel, but he is very confused and just lies down and won’t move even for treats. Don’t want to give him a correction yet because I think that might intimidate him more. What should I do?”

Lynn Stockwell Explains What To Do When
Her Dog Lies Down When Heeling

The first thing we need to know is how young this dog is, and if he was ever leash-trained. Did the shelter staff ever take him out on a leash, or was he carried to a play yard? If he was leashed, how did he react there?

The easiest thing to do is SHOW HIM what you want: keep walking. I wouldn’t drag him, but apply consistent pressure up and forward–he will get up. The moment he does and takes a step, give him slack and encourage him forward. By coaxing and cajoling him while he’s laying down, you’re putting all the control in his court, and obviously he’s not keen on the idea of moving. He needs to drag a leash around the house and, ideally, be attached to you at all times unless he is in a crate, especially for housebreaking purposes.

How To Proceed When Dog Lies Down When Heeling?

Thank you for your reply and advice. We think he is about 9 – 10 months old and was taken into the RSPCA when he was 2 or 3 months old. They did lead him around, but only to places he was familiar with, so I don’t think they could see a problem developing. It’s hard to tell if he is apprehensive or just doesn’t see why he has to keep moving, which makes it difficult to decide how to proceed. In all other ways, he is a nice, happy, playful dog. Will try all of your suggestions and hope for the best. Early days. Again thank you.

Adam Expands On What She Should Do When
Her Dog Lies Down When Heeling…

It really doesn’t matter what he wants; if he’s apprehensive or if he’s stubborn or if he’s passive-aggressive. That’s not the way it works. His job is to please you, because you are the dog owner and he is the dog. You are the pack leader, the big boss, the shot caller. He needs to learn this, because it can ultimately save his life!

And let’s not forget: We’re not asking him to do anything exceptional, like run into a burning building or drag a soldier away from enemy fire. We’re asking him to simply walk alongside you and in exchange he gets to walk around your house naked, receive free food and poop on your lawn. Such a deal!

Okay– all humor aside:

Make him walk with you. Keep walking, as Lynn said above. Lock your hands down by your belt buckle and keep moving.  The moment he shows that he’s making an effort to walk with you, create slack in the leash and praise him, profusely… but keep moving! If he has an interest in the ball, you can use that to build an association to the word “come” (if you’re facing him) or “heel” if you’re walking forward, but it’s not necessary.  When he realizes that you’re not going to stop moving, he’s not going to like the idea of being dragged and he’ll get up and start moving.  That’s when you’ll lay on the praise.  A secondary thing will happen, too: He’ll realize that you’re acting like a leader and start following you.

Here’s What To Teach Your Dog First

Suzana wrote to ask which dog training commands to teach her dog, first:

Does The Order You Teach Your Dog
Commands Make Training Faster?

“I have read most of the documents on your site and I am looking forward to more. My dog, a 14 month-old female Brittany Spaniel, Bessi, is not perfect but we manage somehow most of the problems, thanks to your advice and tips. But this time I wish kindly to ask you to advise me how to structure an obedience program. E.g. What things to teach to teach first, what are in the second phase or in the proofing phase. Some things are just tricks and some serious obedience commands. I know that there are ‘formal’ training exercises’ as well as exercises incorporated into daily life (like the “down-stay”). But I am confused when I wish to prepare self and equipment etc. for e.g. one hour obedience training, how to structure it. What goes first, what doesn’t fit with each other… etc I hope you understand my English and sense of my question since I am not a native English speaker. At the end I wish to thank you for your site and all efforts you invest to help us all in that the most beautiful experience of having a dog.”

Yes, Teaching Your Dog Commands In This Order
Will Make Learning Easier
And Faster For Your Dog

I replied:

Look in the back of my “Secrets” book, on page 320-321:

I’ve found the following to be the best order to train behaviors. Remember, there are three phases of training:

1. Teaching your dog to understand the command.
2. Re-teaching your dog the same command in a variety of different places. (This usually takes four or five different type of locations before your dog will start to extrapolate.
3. Proofing your dog around as many different types of distractions you can find.

Most importantly: Training never ends. Reinforcement is forever.

Lesson Plan

First lesson: Teach your dog to walk on a loose leash. Use it whenever you walk your dog on leash.

Second lesson: Boundary and Perimeter training. This teaches your dog what “No!” means, and teaches him what is a motivational correction. It also helps the handler learn better timing and ability to read her dog.

Third lesson: Sit and down-stay. Use these exercises all the time! You should be incorporating these around your everyday lifestyle. Make your dog hold a down-stay while you eat dinner, and a sit-stay while you get the mail. Put him on a pillow and make him stay down, while you watch television. Make her sit while you talk on the phone.

Fourth lesson: A natural transition to the “heel” command. Walking on a loose leash, but insisting that you dog walk on the left-hand side. Starting from the sit, saying the “heel” command as you start walking forward.

Fifth and sixth lesson: Long line and off-leash training.

Dog Runs Away From Him When Off Leash: Will An E-collar Help

George wrote to me with an interesting question about what happens when his dog runs away from him when off leash:

Hi Adam: I know it is good to let your dog roam freely on a long line. I have been using an e-collar and a pinch collar (I use the pinch collar at this point only for walking). My question is: if I let my dog roam freely with an e collar instead of a 50 ft long line and my dog decides to run… will an e collar correction make him stop running assuming that happens?

“When My Dog Runs Away From Me,
Will An E-collar Correction Stop Him?”

dog runs away
dog runs away

Also how do you use an e collar to train your dog to go down ? I have been using your techniques for about 6 months and my dog is really transforming to the point where it is a pleasure now. My dog was a high energy 15 month male Victorian bulldog who was very stubborn and I am now at the point where he has full trust in me, respects me and it really is a pleasure working with him, thanks to your techniques that I have been using consistently. I would have never thought I would have been able to make him hold a down stay from 30 yards away for at least 10 min and listen to my release command (it really is a good feeling being able to do that). I just need to teach how to go down without physical contact preferably using the e collar.

Thanks in advance.  — George.

Will An E-collar Really Help When Your Dog Runs Away From You?

Adam replies: Yes, it will. But I recommend that you use the long line with the e-collar the first few times so that you can use the line to “direct him” back to you. Otherwise he might not understand what the correction is for. Also– as the intensity of the distraction increases, so must the intensity of your stim.

To use the e-collar to teach the ‘down’: It’s best to revert back to the same technique you used to teach the ‘down’ with the leash, but hold the e-collar in your right hand instead of the leash, say, “Down!” and then tap, tap, tap on the e-collar whil you push behind the front shoulders and rock the dog into the down position (just as you would with the leash.

The e-collar setting for the initial obedience introduction should be set so that the dog just barely feels the stim.

Do enough repetitions and sessions until you see the dog start to do it with only the stim and no physical touch. Then it’s just a matter of reinforcement and proofing, same as you would with the leash– but with the ecollar the whole process goes much faster.

The main thing to be aware of is that the dog:

1. Understands the command: You need to ‘re-teach’ the behavior with the e-collar, initially.

2. Understands that the stim is coming from you: If the dog is showing aggression toward another command and feels the stim but does not associate it with you, he will associate it with the other dog and this will increase his aggressive response. This is why detractors of the e-collar will tell you that the e-collar increases aggression. It’s not true: Misuse of the e-collar increases aggression. In contrast, intelligent use of the e-collar will decrease aggression, dramatically.

In sum, the e-collar can be used to both fix aggression problems and to improve your recall command when your dog runs away from you.

Teach Your Dog To Lie Down — The Long Down-Stay

There is a major difference between down stay command and the long down, when you begin to teach your dog to lie down. The down/stay can only be taught after the dog has learned to down on command.

How To Teach Your Dog To Lie Down Is Easier Than You Think

Teaching your dog to lie down on a voice command can take up to three weeks of working three sessions per day, every day. The dog must be wearing collar and leash when doing this exercise.  The long down can be taught in a couple of sessions. It has a totally different focus. It cannot be called a long down unless it is at least 30 minutes in duration. The dog has on a collar that it can’t back out of and a 6′ leash is then attached to that collar. The leash is then run, from left to right over the seat of a solid chair that does not have wheels. The owner then sits on the chair and the leash. The leash is adjusted so that when the dog decides to lie down there will be gentle upward pressure on the collar. At no time does the owner touch, look at, or talk to the dog. The dog must be wearing a collar and leash when doing this exercise.

Teach Your Dog To Lie Down

The owner must have something else to do during the long down period. Read a book. Play a computer game. Write out all your complaints about having to do this stupid exercise. Talk to a friend. Eat a meal. Pay some bills. Do some homework. It really doesn’t matter as long as you are doing something. The only time you would acknowledge the dog is to push it away if it tries to climb into your lap or tries to eat the leg off the chair you are sitting in or some other behavior that is equally unacceptable. When this happens, you must take whatever physical means necessary to cause the dog to stop the behavior at once and not resume it at a later date.

Teach Your Dog To Lie Down And You’ll Build Your Leadership In Your Dog’s Eyes

This is an exercise in leadership and dominance. You are supposed to be the dominant one and the leader. As such, you are the one who decides where the two of you will be and for how long and it is not a voting matter. This is an exercise in patience.

Something every dog must learn if it is to survive to live a comfortable life.  There are no maximum time lengths for this exercise. However, the minimum time is 30 minutes. The exercise should be practiced twice per day, every day. The dog must be wearing a collar and leash when doing this exercise.

After the first couple of days, this is a very calming and soothing exercise for both parties. During the first couple of days a really determined dog will go through the most amazing series of behaviors. Not only that, they will repeat the series in the same sequence over and over. When none of the behaviors win them the leadership post, they will literally throw themselves down, give a very loud humph, and refuse to look at you.

After this period has passed it is all smooth sailing and happy tail wags.  Again, the long down has nothing in common with a  down/stay other than the physical position of the dog.

You CANNOT leave a dog that is doing a long down because you are a major part of the picture. You do leave a dog that is doing a down/stay. You CANNOT tell the dog or show the dog how to do the long down.

You must give the dog the chance to figure out what the most comfortable position is going to be. The dog must be wearing collar and leash when doing this exercise.

Written for by Chris Amick — THE DOGGUY — about how to teach your dog to lie down in 2012.

Dog Obedience Training – How To Correct Your Dog

Dear Adam: While working on our dog obedience training, I wanted to make sure I understood how to correct your dog?  I’ve tightened the pinch collar to make it fit snugly, but it really doesn’t seem to affect the dog. You said that the ring that the leash or tab is attached to should be down, but it keeps swinging around to the back of the dog’s neck.  Can you go over how to correct your dog with the pinch collar, once again?

Its almost as if he doesn’t even mind the collar pinching him and he’s getting huge and strong fast! Any suggestions? Thanks, Rose.

dog obedience training

Dog Obedience Training and How To Correct Your Dog

Dear Rose: No, I never said that the ring has to be down, when teaching dog obedience training exercises. The safety ring should be on the inside, and the ring that is shaped like an apple is the one you hook on the leash. It doesn’t matter if the prongs are underneath the neck or on the back of the neck.

Imagine the mother dog… she might bite the side, or the top, or from underneath… it doesn’t matter. Also, when you give a correction, make sure that you use two hands, together… like you’re holding a baseball bat.

Reach forward to create slack, and then pull it tight, and then make slack again. The first few times that you do it hard enough, the dog may let out a slight yelp. You know that you were motivational then.

You shouldn’t be swinging your arms wildly when you give a correction. Keep your hands together, and lock your elbows, as if you were taking a golf swing. Then, when you create the slack to give the correction, it’s almost like you pivot your hips (again, like taking a golf swing.)

Dog Obedience Training And
Why Motivational Corrections Are Important

Remember, if your corrections aren’t motivational, it means that you’re not popping hard enough, or you’re “pulling” on the leash, tight to tighter, rather than loose to tight to loose.

If you’re still having trouble giving a motivational correction, you might consider upgrading to a remote electronic collar and using it until the dog understands that your commands have meaning.

Initially, I synchronize the leash correction with the e-collar correction.  Using the remote collar will allow you to give a correction that isn’t at all physical– and frequently, you will be able to give the dog a less motivational correction simply because of the texture of the e-collar’s correction being kind of a strange sensation.  (Used correctly, it is not a “shock” in the traditional sense, but rather more of a tingle.  You can try it out on yourself first, and see what I mean.  It doesn’t hurt.)

For more in-depth information on dog obedience training, take a look at my downloadable book, “Secrets of a Professional Dog Trainer: And Insider’s Guide To The Most Jealously Guarded Dog Training Secrets In History!”

Dog Training And The “Go Lie Down” Command

Many dog owners consider the “Go lie down command” as their favorite dog obedience command. The “GO lie down” not only tells the dog to assume a reclining position, it tells him to do it elsewhere. When you are talking on the phone, drinking hot coffee, or working out, “Go lie down” is the command you need to send your overly affectionate dog someplace else. Do not feel guilty if you cannot give attention to him every time he asks you to. If he’s just had his walk, he’s eaten well, you’ve exercised him, trained him, played with him, “Go lie down” is a humane, handy answer to your own personal dog problem.

Go Lie Down Command

Before You Teach Your Dog The “Go Lie Down Command”…

Before you begin with the exercise, put your dog on leash. Point toward a corner of the room you two are in. Tell him in a pleasant tone, “Go lie down.” Now, run with him to where you were pointing, repeating “Go lie down” followed by “Good boy” with a final “Down” as you pat the floor in the corner of the room.

Now, pat your dog’s head. Go across the room and sit down. If he stays, after a minute or two tell him “Ok, good boy.” You can even pet him when he approaches you. Now repeat the exercise about two more times, varying the minutes that he stays in position.

Practice The “Go Lie Down Command” With Your Dog, Every Day

Each day, try this exercise three times. Work in different rooms so that he will do this no matter where you are. This is preferable to the command “Go to place” or “Go to your bed” because you will want to use this in places where your dog is and his bed isn’t.

What happens if your trained dog lays down on the spot when you say “Go lie down?” Some people would find that funny. They would think that when the dog heard “down”, he ignored the other strange words and just obeyed the command he had already learned. They would think that the training was going so well. But you know better, so you will calmly say, “No-Go lie down”, taking the dog by his collar and transporting him against his will to the far side of the room, the side you pointed to.

If your dog makes this mistake early on, it is a genuine misunderstanding that you can and will correct without taking it personally and with patience. However, if your dog is already doing the “Go lie down” and then when you say it he lies down at your feet, beats his tail on the floor and pastes his ears back, he’s acting. He is using passive assertion to get his way instead of doing your bidding. Don’t be mad. He can’t help it if years of selective breeding made him smart, assertive, and witty. Dogs are built to try to rise to the leadership of their packs.

Some dogs take the obvious, aggressive route to the top. Others are more subtle in their attempts. In either case, it is not a personal affront, nor is it to be accepted. It is part of being a dog owner that you look at your pet, think about his behavior, understand him, love him, and remind him of the limits you have set for him. In fact, the “Go lay down”, aside from being very useful, is another wonderful, nonviolent way to remind your dog that you are the leader of the pack.

Adam’s note: To avoid the obvious confusion in this article regarding the difference between “Down” and “Go lie down,” … I use the phrase, “Go on,” so as to not confuse the dog with the Go Lie Down command.