The Truth About Training A Dog At The Dog Park

This idea of taking your dog to a dog park is not a good one. Why?

Training Your Dog At A Dog Park
Is Not A Natural Environment
From A Pack Perspective

#1) It’s not natural for the dog. We’re not talking about human children who need to be socialized with other kids throughout their infancy. Dogs learn dominant and submissive dog behavior and how to interact with other dogs from 6 to 8 weeks of age. This two week period is called a critical stage, and a small amount of exposure will have a lasting effect on your dog’s personality.

dog park

When you throw your dog in with all kinds of other dogs (from other packs) the first thing they need to do is establish who’s dominant and who’s submissive. And yes, they’ll tussle to do this, often. If you have two really dominant dogs, they may even fight to the death. Or if another dog gets flushed too quickly, he’ll get defensive. And then you have a dog fight on your hands, with hundreds of dogs and owners yelling and running around screaming…. and none of the dogs are trained… and none of the dogs are on leash… and all of the owners don’t know anything about dog handling (esp. a fight) but think they know everything. Trust me… it’s a bad situation you need to avoid.

Too Much Poop: The Dog Park Is Not
A Healthy Environments For Your Dog

#2) Health: They let anyone into those dog parks. And believe you me, you get the types who will find a dog in an alley and before giving it shots (rabies, parvo, etc..) … they think they’re doing a great thing by bringing the dog to the dog park where he can cough, lick and breathe on your dog.

No Screening Process: The Dog Park Will Let Anybody In,
Even Dogs With Dangerous Temperaments

#3) Temperament: Nobody does a temperament test on these dogs before letting them into the park. Duh! You’re playing with fire.

So you can see, there are a lot of risks. And just because the dog gets into a dominance scuffle, does not mean that he’s a dog fighter. But everyone else there will think so!  But that’s a different issue for another article.

I will use the dog park on rare occasions if I’m at the point in training where I need an extreme amount of distractions, for certain higher-level dogs.  But even then, only for a short period of time and not to just let the dog “hang out” with other dogs and owners.  Usually, it’s just not worth the hassles. My advice: Avoid the dog park.

Exercising With My Dog

daisyhusky428 writes to me:

So I read on the GRCA website that you aren’t supposed to jog with your golden retriever until it is 2 years old.

so these are my questions:

1.Should goldens be 2 years old before you take them jogging?
2.How old do standard poodles need to be before you take them jogging?
3.How old do miniature poodles need to be before you take them jogging?
4.How old does a labradors need to be before you take them jogging?
5..Can you jog with a small breed(20lbs) dog before a large breed dog (70lbs)?

Adam replies:


1, 2: The breed doesn’t matter, unless you were looking into the Giant Breeds — in which case I’d tell you: “Don’t jog with them.” Otherwise, my advice is the same: Wait until the dog is full grown. About a year old. Pay attention to your dog. Use common sense. It’s not like driving a Honda on a busy highway, where you can’t tell what’s going on under the hood. Use common sense. You won’t “break” the dog. I promise.

3: If you want a dog to jog with, don’t get a miniature poodle.

4. See 1,2.

5. No.

daisyhusky428 responds:

Thanks! because I was considering not getting a golden because of that.
Okay so when a puppy starts jogging after its one year old is there a limit to the mileage like don’t go past 4 miles until they are older or something? When you start jogging you slowly work them up to longer distances right? Like add 1/2 a mile every week or two?

Adam replies:

Daisy: You just go, according to what the dog tells you.



Dog Keeps Pacing, And You Think He’s Under-Exercised

An anonymous writer comments, in response to prior dog training tips: “If physical exhaustion is the only answer, then why don’t I just keep him ‘chained up’ and save ME the trouble. I’m sorry I’m having trouble buying into this lack of exercise/boredom theory.

About Max [the dog] …..He’s a mixed breed, part hound, part long-haired terrier, has the frame of a 15-inch beagle, as a matter of fact, he looks like a long-haired beagle (if there was a such breed). We saved him from a horrible death when we adopted him (at about 7 months old) from the local humane society.

He’s about 3 years old now (and yes he has done this “pacing” since we got him). He’s not obese (which could result from lack of exercise). He’s a smart dog (he can sit, beg, speak, shake, down, stay). And in my opinion gets plenty of “family time” and self-induced exercise.

His bark sounds like a ‘warning bark’ and he races and strolls back and forth [at the gate]. Things I won’t do because it is not fair to him….. Put him in a dog run Put him in a crate until someone gets home Leave him locked up in the house all day Chain him up in a fenced back yard He’s got a 12000 sq. ft yard. I just can’t figure out why he only uses 50 sq. ft of it. Thanks, -Anonymous.”

Adam replies: A couple of points you’re confused about:

1.) Whether or not this is relevant to your dog’s behavior… your dog needs exercise. You cannot “dope the dog up,” as a solution to the dog’s exercise requirements.

So, you’re probably asking yourself, “Doesn’t the darn dog get enough exercise running back and forth at the fence???” The answer is, ‘No!’ Why?

Because what the dog needs is consistent aerobic exercise. The spurt/sprint and then relax-running that he’s doing now simply doesn’t meet the dog’s exercise needs. I don’t know why, I’m just telling you the way that it is. You need to run him, or bicycle him. Or at the very least, play fetch with the ball for 1/2 hour to 1 hour a day. This will definitely take the edge off him.

2.) Your dog is displaying territorial aggression. This is usually exaggerated by a lack of exercise, but will not disappear (usually) simply because you ARE exercising him. So, how do you fix the territorial aggression? Here are a couple of points:

First, you NEED to confine him to an area where he cannot exhibit the behavior when you’re not present to correct him for it. You should use a dog run for this. Remember two things:

– If YOU are meeting the dog’s exercise requirements, then confining him to a small area is NOT a bad thing. In the wild, the Alpha dog would confine the subordinate dog to a certain area where THEY MUST STAY. – Believe it or not, dogs spend approximately 80% of any 24-hour cycle either sleeping or resting. Who cares if he’s sleeping or resting with 20 acres of space around him, or with 12 feet of space around him? If he’s sleeping, he’s sleeping.

– It’s not fair to the dog to get corrected for doing the behavior ONE time (when you’re around) but not THE NEXT TIME (when you’re not around). For the dog to understand, he must get a correction EVERY TIME he does the behavior, until he demonstrates that he has dropped the behavior. This is the only fair way, for the dog. And to do this, you’ll need to confine him to an area (dog run, hint, hint) when you’re not present to set him up.

– Depending on your dog’s temperament, there are different ways to correct your dog. The best way (and fastest and safest) is with a remote collar that you can set the sensitivity to your dog’s temperament. These are safe and humane if you follow the directions. This way, the dog will think that he gets a correction for the behavior, even if you’re hiding upstairs in the kitchen window.

Since the dog is still getting a motivational, consistent correction… your set-ups become much more realistic… which makes the dog drop the behavior THAT MUCH faster.


How To Make Your Dog Lazy & Mellow!

There’s a new book on the market called, “Training Your Dog: The Lazy Way!” I haven’t had a chance to purchase and review this book yet, but while waiting for a friend at a local bookstore I started thumbing through it’s pages and found two items that caught my attention.

The first item in the book that caught my attention was the notion that people who consistently exercise their dog are building up their dog’s tolerance to exercise.

In other words, the author was trying to say that:

The more you jog your dog, the more you’ll NEED to jog your dog.

This line of reasoning simply doesn’t make sense. Nor does it translate into what ACTUALLY HAPPENS when you do it. As many of you know, I’m really into the “Just-Gimme-What-Works” approach to dog ownership and training. And what’s wrong with the author’s assertion is that, in order to make your dog “immune to being tired out” you’ve gotta really commit to a conditioning program that will extend the dog’s endurance. And this type of conditioning doesn’t just happen by accident.

In other words: To Take The Edge Off Your Dog’s Boudless Energy, Commit Him To A Sensible and Consistent Daily Exercise Program! I always love when people start an exercise program at the gym and claim, “I don’t want to get huge like Arnold… I just want to get in shape.” Well, getting “huge like Arnold” doesn’t just happen by accident. It takes a large amount of good old fashioned WORKING YOUR BUTT OFF. And the same goes for your dog.

Three Tips For Making Your Dog Mellow

1.) Like I mentioned above, commit to a daily exercise regimen. It doesn’t need to be excessive. Even 20 minutes of throwing the ball can work wonders. The trick is to try to do it at the same time every day. This way, the dog starts to get tired at the same time every day… like when you’re ready to sit down and watch Seinfeld.

2.) Put the dog through 15 to 20 minutes of training exercises. More than anything else, exercising the dog’s mind is what really exhausts him. I had a Pit Bull when I lived in Berkeley. On Mondays, I take her out to run around and chase the ball in the park for a whole hour. When I’d bring her back into the house, 20 minutes later she’d be bouncing off the walls again. But on Tuesday, I’d take her out to the park, and put her through 20 minutes of intense training exercises. And do you know what? When I’d bring her back into the house, she’d collapse under the coffee table for three whole hours. Mental exhaustion works!

3.) This third tip was mentioned in “Training Your Dog: The Lazy Way” which I really liked. It’s nothing new (we’ve been mentioning this technique to clients for years) … but it’s a good one: When you want the dog to settle down in the house, either: A.) Put him on a 2 foot cable tie down. This will limit the dog’s range of motion, and eventually he’s going to lay down and fall asleep.

B.) Put him on a down-stay.

C.) Put him in the crate.

All of these options pretty much do the same thing… they confine the dog to a limited area and make him stay there.



Dog Treadmills

Is your dog getting depressed? It is not uncommon for dogs to get depressed. They can become bored very easily and when they are bored for extended periods of time this can lead to depression.

The more intelligent the dog the more likely it is to get depressed as they need more stimulation in the form of work or activities that can keep their mind active. This is one of the reasons why dog training is so important, because a dog that is trained well will get a lot more out of life by pleasing it’s owner and it will also have a leader that is can look to for security and confidence.

Often the weather in the area we live can be the biggest problem when trying to keep a dog active with the colder winter months and shorter daylight hours making it difficult to exercise the dog.

There are alternatives for dogs just as there are for humans in these conditions and many people are unaware that it is possible to get a dog treadmill for their dog so they can still be exercised no matter what the conditions outside are like. This can also be ideal for people who live in apartments or those who are unable to take their dog out for a walk at night due to reasons of safety.

For the convenience of ensuring that your dog remains fit and healthy and doesn’t become depressed and need medication, a dog treadmill might just be the answer that you are looking for.  

Please note: This article is part of a collection of dog-related content that we purchased the rights to. Opinions expressed may or may not agree with those espoused by Master Dog Trainer Adam G. Katz. When in doubt, please refer to the advice given in Adam’s dog training book.  This article is provided for your enjoyment, only. It’s relevance to real world working dog training may be limited.

Dog Behavior: How To Get Your Sleepy Dog Out Of Your Bed

Dog Behavior: How To Get Your Sleepy Dog Out Of Your Bed

— For people, the bed is just a place to sleep, but for dogs, it’s one of the ways they figure out what their social status is in the household. A dog who feels that he has special rights is going to keep pushing the boundaries. Today’s mild grumble may turn into tomorrow’s nasty growl. Dogs who get uppity because of their comfortable sleeping arrangements need to be taken down a notch or two, quite literally.

You must also know that if your dog is accustomed to sleeping in the bed, then he isn’t going to give it up voluntarily. Even if you don’t let him up before you go to sleep, he’s going to try to sneak up once you’re asleep. The easiest way to keep him out of your bed is to make his own bed a very comfortable place to be.

Now that you understand your dog’s need for control with sleeping in your bed, take notes of the following nuggets of advice:

1. Put his bed next to your bed: Though dogs can adapt well to sleeping by themselves, they like to be in the same room with their families at night. It is recommended that you try putting the dog’s bed next to yours. He’ll be able to smell you. He’ll hear you breathing. And he’ll know he’s important enough to share the same general space, if not the bed itself.

2. Make his bed bigger: You can’t expect a German shepherd or a Rottweiler to be able to stretch out on a 3-foot round bed and be comfortable. Even though dogs sleep curled up most of the night, they need additional room to spread out when they feel like it. The bed should be as long as your dog is when he’s stretched full length. For bigger dogs, you may need to put two pillow-type beds side by side.

3. Spend some time in his bed: Dogs climb into bed with people because it makes them feel important. You can make their beds feel just as special by visiting them yourself. Sit on the floor and pet your dog while he’s in his bed. Occasionally stashing a biscuit in his bed is a good incentive, too, as that always helps.

4. Give your dog a familiar scent he loves. It’s not really the contact with your body that dogs crave at bedtime, but all of the other sensory stimulations that come with the territory, smells especially. Try taking one of your old blankets and putting it on your dog’s bed. It’s loaded with your personal scents, and that will probably be enough to keep him happy.

How to Exercise Your Dog Without Lifting a Finger

I spent the New Years holiday with my friends Eddie and Sharon.

This young couple have a two year-old Rottweiler named, “Luna” and have discovered a pretty interesting way to exercise their high energy dog.

See, Luna is a high-drive dog. That means she’s got a lot of (cough) excess energy to burn off. So Eddie and Sharon needed to find an easy way to exercise Luna at night, after they returned home from work.

Eddie showed me a laser pen he’d bought and said, “Watch this!”

We went out to the side of the house and Luna bounded along, eagerly. It was already dark outside and I kinda had a feeling as to what would happen next.

“Go get it, girl!” Eddie hollered.

And with that, he flicked on the red laser pen, made it dance around the ground a bit (Luna pounced on it!) and then ran it about 200 feet down the side of the house. Luna sped after the red light, chasing the bouncing spot with all her energy.

When she go to the end of the house, Eddie “ran” the red light back toward us, and sure enough, Luna came charging back toward us.

Back and forth, up and down.

We pulled up lawn chairs and reclined under the cool, December stars. Luna continued to chase after the red light. For twenty minutes.

Afterwards, Eddie let her “catch” the red spot and dropped a cookie on the ground for Luna.

We went inside and Luna collapsed in the corner, thoroughly exhausted. And I marveled at how a $9 laser pen could provide so many hours of pain-free exercise for both owner and dog.

“Did she chase the laser pen like this, when you first brought it home?” I asked.

“No,” replied Eddie. “In fact, there was a training process I went through to get her to learn to chase it. But now that she understands–it’s the easiest way to give her the exercise she needs–without breaking a sweat myself. In fact, it’s kind of fun!”

If you’d like to see a sample of the type of laser pen Eddie was using, click the link below:…Fencoding=UTF8

Recall Exercise Problems and How to Fix Them

The recall command and training is not going well. Long rope, short rope, it doesn’t matter – maybe someone trained him before with this type of technique. When he is on a rope, he will not wander or play ball etc – he seems to know there is a limitation to the length of play area and only hangs around me.

Alas, whether there are other distractions or not, the come command doesn’t work well, unless he wants it to! Thanks, G. Dear G.: Okay, I’m confused. You state that, “The come command doesn’t work, unless he wants it to.” This leads me to believe that dog is not wearing the long line, otherwise you would be in a position to make him come. Which means that you’ve taught your dog to be “leash-smart” or aware that he is wearing the leash, or long line.

The other issue–that your dog doesn’t want to play or leave your side when the lone line is on–is directly related. Here’s the solution to your problem: As I mentioned in the book, you need to have the long line on the dog WHENEVER he is outside& until he proves that he is 100% conditioned. It might take a couple of weeks before he starts to forget that he’s trailing the long line.

For adult dogs like this, I like to let them play with another dog. And be sure not to call him to you, every time he wanders off.Let him feel that he’s free and let him learn to forget that the lone line is on.

On Retrieving

About 6 weeks ago, I acquired a border collie through the local SPCA.

She is about 18-24 months old. I have no idea of her history. All I can say is that “Rosie” is a very smart dog. Rosie is a quick learner and eager to please me. She knows the word “NO”., knows how to sit, is housebroken, comes when commanded to, stays within the borders on my farm, and comes wherever she is when I ring a Tibetan bell.

My Question: Since Rosie is from a working breed, I would like to teach her how to fetch so that she can get as much exercise as possible. How do I go about that, whether it is tennis ball or a Frisbee? I am sure once I have a method, it will take her no time to learn. Could you possibly give me some hints?

PS – I loved your book and use many of your ideas to acclimate Rosie to her new surroundings and ground rules. My friends think I am “nuts” when I spit in my dog’s food bowl and talk about being the alpha dog. However, they have very ill-mannered pets and I have one very nice dog!

I look forward to you reply,

Dear Katharine:

Thanks for the e-mail.

I would suggest re-reading the section in the book on “How to speed up training results by using the ball and food drive!” on page 53.

This will give you the necessary information regarding how to build up the dog’s natural drive to chase the ball (or any other object). This is basically what is known as a “play retrieve”.

If the dog has absolutely NO prey drive, then you won’t be able to do this with her.

The other type of retrieve is called a “trained retrieve,” where you actually teach the dog to formally pick up an object and not release it until give a specific command. Most trainers will use the dog’s natural drive to teach the dog to do this exercise FAST and with a lot of fun and outgoing attitude. And this is the proper way to do it, if you’re teaching a trained retrieve. (This would be appropriate for a service guide dog, for example).

The only problem with the trained retrieve for the purposes of giving the dog some exercise is that, although the trained retrieve CAN be taught to any dog– regardless of the amount of drive– you simply won’t get the dog to run fast if he has no natural ball drive.

Within the next couple of months I will be teaching my dog, Forbes, how to do a trained retrieve so that he can carry items in his mouth for an indefinite period of time.

You’ve probably already read about how Forbes carries my empty McDonald’s bag over to the trash can after breakfast, when we return from our daily McHeroin with Egg, Hash Brown and coffee. This is a play retrieve Forbes is doing. When he gets tired, or is simply disinterested, he spits it out. Once I teach him the trained retrieve, he will be able to carry a bag, or a hammer, or a basket (or any object) in his mouth for the duration of an entire 1 mile walk. You can also build on this behavior by teaching the dog to pick things up… like the phone. Or a can of beer!

How To Improve The Quality Of Your Dog’s Life

Many dog owners invest considerable time in being active with their dogs through obedience training, hunting activities, tracking and protection exercises at training grounds, out in the countryside or in the forest.

These activities allow us to spend time with our dogs while also keeping them physically and mentally alert. Others, such as the police and security guards, use dogs at work. We expect these dogs to have a well-developed physique to be able to perform the work they are trained to do. A lot of time and money is spent on training a smart and efficient dog. There is considerable research and many opinions on the topics of what food and exercise is best for our dogs. We all have the animals’ best at heart. Good care and healthy food is thought to be essential.

No matter how well we take care of our dogs, disease and injuries do still occur. If the injury is related to the muscles, tendons, joints or ligaments a vet or physiotherapist can help. If there is a defect in the hip or elbow joints and in cases caused by unhealthy breeding, the only treatment available is pain relief. As dog owners there is nothing we can do to repair problems related to unhealthy breeding nor can we prevent all accidents. However we can prevent muscle related problems and strain injuries by massaging and stretching our dogs regularly. This keeps the dog well-balanced physically and psychologically, allowing it to retain the agility of the young dog to an advanced age.

A well-functioning dog has retained its natural elasticity and suppleness.

A dog with restricted mobility has short and stiff muscles. When a dog has shortened musculature or tonicity, pressure is exerted on the joints leading, in turn, to decreased mobility. This ‘strangles’ the blood vessels and impairs blood circulation. Muscles, joints, tendons and ligaments then receive insufficient nutrition and less oxygen. Reduced blood flow also means that lactic acid accumulated in the muscles is not naturally transported away. The lactic acid builds up along with other waste products leading to irritation of the pain receptors in the muscles. The dog experiences pain. Pain, in turn, causes further tension and reduces blood flow even more. A vicious circle arises and can persist for some time if it is not discovered and treated.

Short and stiff muscles is something that we ourselves and our dogs can suffer from if we don’t take care of our physical condition. Another illnes that might reduce our dogs mobility is Arthrosis, and is usually formed of fibrous connective tissue and cartilage and is very common in older persons or dogs, especially affecting weight-bearing joints. Articular cartilage becomes soft, frayed and thinned. But also younger persons or dogs might get Arthrosis due to genetic reasons, injuries or the combination of overweight and too little exercise. A common symptom of Arthrosis is stiffness and lameness.

Studies on dogs have shown that regular massage and stretching during a longer period of time are preventing and reducing the effects of Arthrosis and age related stiffness.

Massage and stretching are an effective way to prevent muscle related problems and strain injuries and improve the quality of your dog’s life.  Massage and stretching are a complement to daily exercise, obedience training and diet and build contact between you and your dog in a natural way.

Warming up before activity has a preventative effect and stretching is just as effective after the dog has used its muscles. The dog should have warmed up and exercised before you start to stretch the muscles and I recommend that you allow your dog to wind down after physical exertion. Let the dog walk for a while on the lead in the same way a race horse runs an extra lap at half the pace to round off the race. This helps to remove lactic acid and waste products. As with massage it is important that the dog is relaxed before you start this treatment.

Stretching the back upper foreleg and the flexor muscles of the foreleg

Begin by stretching the back of the dog’s upper foreleg and the flexor muscles of the foreleg. Hold the dog’s elbow with one hand, grasping the wrist with the other. Move the leg forward and upwards, stretching the elbow joint. Stretch the muscle slowly and carefully to its full extent. You will feel when the muscle becomes taut, causing resistance at the back of the upper foreleg. The ultimate position can vary considerably depending on age, breed and mobility capacity. Hold this position for 15 to 30 seconds. Repeat the movement between 1 and 3 times. At each repetition you can gently try to extend a bit more. The aim is to work up good mobility in the muscle by stretching. The result can be seen in extended gait. If the muscle is shortened the dog might appear to be lame.

The forelegs act as supports for the torso and bear a considerable proportion of the dog’s weight. Overweight dogs place greater pressure on these joints and ligaments. The same is true of large, heavy breeds. If they also suffer from shortened muscles the pressure on the joints is very considerable.

By stretching you keep the muscles extended
and pliable and also increase the mobility capacity around the joints.

Warming up can involve walking with the dog on the lead for 15 to 20 minutes before allowing it to run freely. In this way the muscles soften up and are ready for physical activity. Competitive or working dogs should warm up in a more goal-oriented way.

Below you can find a check list that might come in handy when warming up.

First remember that the dog should have warmed up and exercised before starting a competition or an active session. I also strongly recommend that you allow your dog to wind down after a competition or an active session before any stretching activities.

Here is a check list that could be used before a competition or active session.

  1. Let the dog walk slowly for a while and then increase the tempo for 2-3 minutes.
  2. Let the dog trot for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Let the dog gallop for one minute.
  4. Then let the dog make some short explosive moves.
  5. Let the dog wind down a little by going back to trotting and then walking.

Warming up does not tire the dog but rather increases blood circulation and warm up the muscles ensuring that the joints are lubricated and more supple. The dog is now ready to perform.

After the warm up you could also easily test your dog’s mobility using the eight most common stretching techniques. You should be sensitive to your dog’s signals. The dog should not experience any discomfort. If it does, don’t hesitate to contact the vet.

“Place one hand directly above the knee joint and the other hand on the lower part of the leg around the hock joint. Lift the leg upwards so that the knee is bent. Push gently upwards and backwards with the hand positioned above the knee joint.”

After completing a competition or an active session let the dog wind down and then carefully do some stretching exercises. And when you come home reward the dog with massage and you will get a happy peforming dog ready for new challenges.

Massage and stretching is an essential and a low cost investment in your dog’s health and improves the quality of your dogs life.

Jörn Oleby, author of the book “Canine Massage and Stretching – A Dog Owners Manual. Pictures used from the book. You can find the book at these places: UK: – USA:

South Africa: – Australia: