Questions and Answers About Boundary & Perimeter Training for Dogs

Cheryl writes:

“Hi Adam,

I have watched 3 of your videos (Boundary, Perimeter & Property Training, How To Teach Any Dog To Walk On A Loose Leash & How To Teach Your Dog To Come On Command!) and I have a few questions.

1) With the perimeter training. I am using the front door. Will I also be able to use the front yard as another area and the gate into our front yard (from the back) as another?

[ADAM REPLIES:] Definitely. From the dog’s point of view, each perimeter is like an invisible fence. Once he comes up every new boundary he will wait for your release command to let him know that it’s okay to pass through. For example, if he’s standing inside your front door and you tell him, “Take a break,” he will then run out the front door but stop when he comes to the edge of the yard and again wait for you to issue the “Take a break,” command.

2) When I am trying to proof him with the perimeter training, I would assume that it would not be good to try to coax him using “Come, Louie,” correct?

[ADAM REPLIES:] You are correct. It is fair to tempt him to come into the street with anything you can think of EXCEPT any formal commands. If you did this, you would be confusing your dog and not being fair. I.E., you’ve issued a command and then corrected him for obeying you. This is not right.

So, in sum, you can say, “Do you want to go in the street?” and still correct the dog if he walks in the street because THE ONLY time he should walk in the street is if you say, “Take a break,” or “Louie, Come!” In addition, you do not want to mistakenly say, “LOUIE Do you want to go in the street?” because the dog’s name is basically an informal come command and we don’t ever want to associate the dog’s name with something negative.

3) Do I need to use the same release command for everything? I am using “take a break” with the perimeter, but what about when I want him to get up from a down/stay? I had been using “up”. Will that be confusing?

[ADAM REPLIES:] Yes. It is easiest for the dog to understand. Think of the phrase, “Take a break” as being analogous with telling your dog, “Exercise finished.” So, regardless of what exercise the dog may be doing, you always release him with the same phrase.

4) With the come command: When he has the long lead on… what if he plain takes off and runs away? Suppose I’m out in a big grassy area near our little lake… Don’t they ever just wait for this opportunity?

[ADAM REPLIES:] I hope they do. Because that’s how they learn. If the dog can still out-run you when he’s wearing a 30 foot line, then go buy yourself a 50 foot line. Or, get creative by changing it up. For instance, tie the 30 foot line to a tree, put the dog 25 feet on one side and then walk 25 feet to the other side of the tree. If he runs the opposite way, you’ll yell, “Come,” right before he hits the last 5 feet of line. Then he’ll get the correction. The point is: Don’t make him leash smart by always calling him from the same distance. Remember the bottom line/point of the long line: To teach the dog that no matter where or how far he is, you will be in a position to make him come.

In general, if you do it correctly, I’ve found that if you can get the dog to reliably return to you around a variety of settings from 30 feet away, then it won’t matter how far away the dog is.

5) I have been keeping the one foot leash on him in the house whenever we’re not doing anything…. Is this ok?

[ADAM REPLIES:] Yes, you need to. How else will you correct him if he decides to do something wrong?

6) With a problem runner/ignorer like Louie, would you really advise the remote collar?

[ADAM REPLIES:] Again, the point of EITHER the long line or the remote collar is to make it easier to teach the dog that you can MAKE HIM COME regardless of where he is… until he gets conditioned to respond. If you can just run fast, then you don’t need ANY type of long line or e-collar. The equipment you choose to use just makes it easier for YOU and the environment you’re training. For example, if I’m teaching the dog to retrieve birds and he needs to run into heavy brush, then obviously a remote e-collar will work best for my needs. But if I’m training in a regular grassy park without a lot of obstacles, then a lone line will work best. If it’s just in my back yard, I know that I can go to the dog and make him come… without ANY equipment on… and he’ll learn the same lesson, because he cannot get away from me.

7) Louie (3.5 yrs.) is still scared of my 14mth old baby. He gets up and moves whenever the baby gets near him. If I’ve put him in a “Down” should I have him stay there while the baby crawls towards him or all over him or would it be better for the dog to move away? I don’t want to risk any snapping or biting.”

[ADAM REPLIES:] Boy… must be an ugly kid!!! (Just kidding.)

DO NOT make the dog stay next to the child. This would be courting disaster. You can not MAKE the dog feel comfortable with your child. Perhaps he will, when the child gets older

In the meantime, keep a very close eye on the dog when you’re with him and the child. Never leave them together unsupervised.

My Real Estate Attorney Adopts A New Puppy… Here’s What I Recommended

I received a call last week about the news.

My good friend and real estate attorney, Charlie Brown (yes, that’s his real name!) finally “gave in” to his three kids and let them have a dog.

They were out at a friend’s ranch, and an 8 month-old collie-mix happened to wonder up and start playing with the kids, age 11, 7, and 5.

The dog looked healthy and was very social, which is the only reason Charlie’s wife let the kids play with the dog.  In fact, Charlie thought the dog must belong to someone, he was in such good shape.

Charlie asked the ranch hand if anybody owned the dog.  The ranch hand told him that they’d checked around, but it was a stray.  The dog just showed up several days prior, and that nobody in the surrounding area knew who’s it was.

This happens a lot in the country.  Somebody owns a dog, can’t keep it and they dump it off in the country, thinking it will survive on it’s own.

Well, this dog got lucky when he found Charlie Brown and family.

“Can we keep him?  Can we keep him?” the kids begged.

Apparently, the dog was smart enough to stick around and since he was still hanging around the next morning–Charlie made the decision:  “Okay… we’ll keep him.”

Now, normally I’d issue the typical warnings about “letting the kids” adopt a dog, as the burden of responsibility always falls on the parents’ shoulders.  But Charlie knew this already.  In fact,
he’d been planning on getting the kids a dog for quite some time, but secretly knew it would really be “his dog.”

“So, Charlie Brown… are you going to call him, ‘Snoopy’?” I ribbed him.

“No,” he replied smugly.  “I think I’m going to call YOU Snoopy. We’re calling the dog ‘Chamberlain.”

“And by the way, Mr. Dog Trainer…” Charlie continued, “… What do I do, now?”

The first thing I advised Charlie to do is to take ‘Chamberlain’ to his local veterinarian for a full check up… including blood work.

Next, I advised him to download a copy of, “Secrets of a Professional Dog Trainer: An Insider’s Guide To The Most Jealously Guarded Dog Training Secrets In History!” from the Download Library at  (See column at left).

Charlie started reading our article on “Housebreaking In A Hurry” and realized that he needed a crate so that his new dog won’t get into trouble or have “accidents” in the house when he’s

I also recommended a training collar, a tab (a one foot leash for the house) and a leather six foot leash.  (Charlie is also reading “The Perfect Puppy E-book” – also available in our download
library–to get more detailed information.  Like any good real estate attorney, Charlie likes to learn as much as he can about a subject and pay attention to details.  These are good qualities for responsible dog owners, too).

Charlie wanted to know what type of bowls he should feed “Chamberlain” with.

We’ve always used stainless steel bowls.  I use one for water and one for feeding.  (Feeding should be done twice a day for an 8 month-old puppy.  The food should be left out for only 5 minutes, after which it gets thrown away).  I’ve been told that the metal bowls do not allow bacterial growth like the plastic ones do.

Well– I received an email from Charlie this morning, telling me that they are having A TON of fun with their new dog, and that everything is working out fine.  I love these kind of updates,
because they make me feel like my life’s work has some meaning.

Adopting a Rottweiler

Do you need a protective dog that is intelligent and devoted to its owners? If so, you may want to consider buying a Rottweiler.

These big dogs were bred to be very versatile working dogs. They guard their homes and families, excel in agility training, and think that they are tiny lapdogs when they are with their owners. The Rottweiler is fairly large and very muscular.

These powerful dogs weigh between 85 to 130 pounds and stand 22 to 27 inches tall at the shoulder. A Rottweiler has a sleek black and brown coat and deep, soulful brown eyes. The Rottweiler is a part of the American Kennel Club’s Working Group. These powerful dogs are often used as guard dogs.

Unfortunately, some Rottweiler owners have mistreated their dogs in an attempt to make them more aggressive. These abused Rottweilers have given the breed an undeserved reputation as a dangerous breed. Rottweilers that are bred and raised properly are actually wonderful, loving family pets. Rottweilers are not the best breed for an apartment. These dogs are big and powerful and they need room to run.

Ideally, Rottweiler owners should own a home with a fenced yard. If you do not have a fenced yard, you should be prepared to take your dog for frequent runs in the park to burn off excess energy. The Rottweiler is an extremely intelligent dog and this breed does best when it has something to do.

Give your Rottweiler a job, such as keeping pests out of the garden, and you will have a happy dog. It is important to begin training a Rottweiler puppy at a young age, as these dogs quickly grow into large, powerful animals. Also, puppy obedience classes are a wonderful opportunity for you to provide your Rottweiler with plenty of socialization at a young age. Luckily, this breed enjoys learning, as long as the trainer uses love and patience. These dogs respond eagerly to new challenges, which is why the Rottweiler does well in agility trials.

Because of their size and strength, Rottweilers may not be the best choice for a family with a toddler. A six month old puppy may not realize his own strength and could accidentally injure small children while he is romping around. If your heart is set on a Rottweiler puppy, you may want to wait until your children are old enough to walk well. Of course, a dog with the size and energy of a Rottweiler can burn up quite a few calories. You should be prepared to buy quite a lot of food for your puppy.

Also, it is important to make sure that your puppy’s nutritional needs are being met, since Rottweilers can develop joint problems when they are older. Since a Rottweiler has such a short coat, grooming one of these dogs is not very time consuming. Brush your dog once a week with a slicker brush to keep his coat looking shiny and glossy. Also, be sure you take the time to check his nails to be sure they become not too long.

When your dog is a puppy, you may also want to accustom him to having his teeth brushed. If the thought of having a hundred pound dog attempt to crawl into your lap as though he weighs ten pounds horrifies you, then a Rottweiler may not be the breed for you. After all, not everyone wants a dog who has the appearance of a killer and the heart of a marshmallow.

Adopting a Yorkshire Terrier

If you like small dogs with big dog attitudes, you may want to consider a Yorkshire Terrier.

These dogs are so sure that they are just as big and bad as the other guy, that they will not hesitate to take on a Great Dane. Of course, this doesn’t mean that Yorkshire Terriers aren’t lap dogs.

The Yorkie can cuddle with the best of them. The Yorkshire Terrier is a member of the American Kennel Club’s Toy Group. In the show ring, a Yorkie seems to glide across the ground, since the dog’s long, flowing coat hides its tiny feet. Although Yorkies can be as small as one pound, most breeders do not recommend trying to breed dogs this tiny, and for good reason. When dogs are bred to be this tiny, health is often sacrificed for size and weight.

The AKC calls for the Yorkie to be under seven pounds, but does not have a minimum required weight. Yorkshire Terriers have long flowing coats of silver, blue or black hair, with tan on their heads and legs. Yorkie puppies are all born with black and tan coloring.

This breed has dark, intelligent eyes. The Yorkshire Terrier is an ideal apartment dog. Of course, your Yorkie would enjoy having a yard to romp in, but he can survive without it. In fact, some Yorkshire Terriers do not go out at all. These dogs are litter trained, instead. If you do not take your Yorkie for daily walks, you should look for ways to help him get some exercise, such as playing an indoor game of fetch.

If you do have a yard, be sure that there are no gaps under the fence, as Yorkies love to explore. Since these dogs are so small and cute, a Yorkshire Terrier doesn’t always have a chance to get back home before a passerby takes the little dog home, thinking it is lost or abandoned. Yorkshire Terriers are sociable little dogs and enjoy being in the midst of all the activity and bustle of family life. However, these dogs are not a good choice for families with toddlers.

This is not because Yorkies are untrustworthy with children, but because they are delicate little dogs and can be easily injured. A Yorkshire Terrier with a good temperament will allow children to squeeze, poke and pull on him, but it is unfair to subject a little dog to that treatment. Despite the fact that a Yorkie is small, you should still take your puppy to obedience classes. These little guys have a tendency to become stubborn and set in their ways without proper training.

Also, obedience training may save your Yorkshire Terrier’s life if you are able to call him back to you if he escapes out the front door. Yorkshire Terriers have few serious health problems. They do often have dental problems, such as retained baby teeth. Other problems these little guys can have are hernias and hypoglycemia.

Food for your Yorkshire Terrier will probably be your smallest expense. These little dogs don’t eat much. However, you will have to be careful that you don’t spoil your puppy with soft food or he may refuse to eat dry food, which will help you keep his teeth in better shape. Most Yorkies should be groomed at least three times a week to keep their hair from matting. Dogs with silkier coats may only need to be groomed once a week. Also, since Yorkies are prone to dental problems, you should brush your dog’s teeth several times a week.

If you want a pocket sized dog with plenty of spunk, then a Yorkie may be the perfect breed for you.

Two Questions You Must Ask Before Adopting A Dog From A Shelter

Ask these two questions to any animal shelter you’re thinking of adopting a dog from.  The answers may surprise you

“What medical care has already been provided, and should I be aware of… before adopting a dog from you?”

There are certain baseline medical needs that must be met before you take a dog from a shelter: she needs to have been wormed; her blood needs to have been checked for heartworms (in most areas of the country); and her ears and skin need to have been checked or treated for mites and other parasites. And she needs to have had her first vaccinations for distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parvovirus and parainfluenza (DHLPP), as well as bordetella, coronavirus and (if she’s old enough) rabies.

Be certain that any shelter you contact provides at least these basic services. Spaying or neutering is another basic medical requirement that a shelter may or may not provide. Many shelters spay or neuter all dogs six months of age or older before they leave the facility, and that’s ideal for you.

But lots of shelters, understandably, don’t have the money to provide such services, before adopting a dog.  Nevertheless, they’re acutely aware of the importance of stemming canine overpopulation, so good shelters always require adopters to have their dogs spayed or neutered within a reasonable time period after adoption. Some require a deposit, which is refunded upon submission of proof of spaying or neutering, while others give adopters low-cost spaying/neutering certificates from area veterinarians or provide low-cost services themselves.

In some areas, it’s becoming common practice for shelters to spay or neuter all their dogs – even those under the traditional minimum six-month age. Opinions are mixed on this approach to population control. Cities and counties whose shelters alter 100 percent of their animals report a dramatic decrease in the numbers of stray animals on their streets and of animals euthanized in shelters. But some experts believe that medical complications can arise in dogs who are spayed or neutered too young.

If you adopt a dog, make sure she’s been operated on by a reputable veterinarian and is certified healthy before you take her home.

The second question is: “Do you evaluate your dogs’ temperaments, before adopting them out?” At some shelters, you’ll find formal temperament evaluations posted on each dog’s cage that you can read, before adopting a dog. At others, you’ll find staff members who can tell you all about each dog’s personality.

Either approach is fine. What’s not fine is a shelter whose employees know little or nothing about the natures of its animals. Since you’ll have only a limited time to spend with the dogs you meet, you’ll want to find out about their habits, quirks, assets and drawbacks from the people who have been caring for them. Ask whether the shelter does any formal temperament testing of its animals (that is, specific exercises designed to assess a dog’s level of dominance, submissiveness, protectiveness, etc.). If the answer is no, ask whether the staff has spent enough time with the dogs to know their dispositions and to know what kinds of adoptive homes will likely be best for them.

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Dog Training Commands: How To Talk So Your Dog Understands

Everything in language (including “Dog-lish” — the international dog training language) is based on associations. And even if we have prior associations with a word, if those associations are not maintained properly, then the word will lose it’s meaning– or association. Or it can take on a different association.

Ever been in a relationship where the words, “I love you” no longer hold any meaning? In some parts of the world, you can tell a person, “Go jump in a lake” [insert local expletive] … and the response will garner a chuckle and some back-slapping and maybe a complimentary beer. Whereas in other parts of the world, those same words may garner a challenge to a duel. Here’s my advice: Start consciously designing the words you use with your dog TODAY, and consistently attach the associations you want with those words so your dog will learn in a few days– or sometimes– in only a few minutes–that your commands (your words) have meaning.

Now, you may be wondering about tonation? The tone is of minor importance. As a general rule, you should use high tones for praise and lower tones for commands and correction words. But I can say “No!!!” in a low throaty growl, and if I toss your dog a piece of filet mignon, I can guarantee that by the end of the session, you can do your best to sound low and “growly” … and your dog will still wag his tale and smile at you and bounce around happily, thinking that he’s just done the ‘right thing.’ Because “No!” means … YIPPIE! I get steak!!! So– you need to tug on the leash, firmly, after you say “No!” EVERYTIME… in order to create a negative association with the word, “NO” so that your dog understands and associates what you want to communicate.