Her Dogs Previously Got Along… Now They Show Dog Aggression. Here’s What To Do

Skipdogwalker wrote to me about how to handle dog aggression:

Hi: I have 3 dogs (Kona, male pit mix 3 yrs old) (Sur, male pit mix 18 months old) (Sierra, female boxer 7 yrs old) all spayed and neutered. Kona was the first dog… we have had him since he was about 6 months old.

Sierra came next and has been with us for over a year and gets along with everyone.

Sur came last has been with us about 6 months, he had a severe case of mange when we got him but it is now cleared up.

Dog Aggression Over A Kong Toy

Kona and Sur played together, slept together, ate together everyday until last month when they showed dog aggression over a kong toy ($1200.00 at the vet) we now have to crate them and bring them out separately in shifts. We let them out in the house together but they are now always on leashes. They have still fought 2 more times but not as long as the first fight (I was home alone for the first fight and it took me a while to separate them) They are both back to the “nothing in life is free” method. They both wear prong collars and Kona has been trained a little with the e collar. Every time we feel like they are making progress we get a little overconfident thinking/hoping they get along and they go at it again. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Also my wife and I have been married for two weeks and this is not making life easy! Thanks

Adam replies:

Hi, Skipdogwalker:

Congratulations on your nuptials!

dog aggression
dog aggression

As you know, there are several aspects to dog aggression: dominant aggression, fear aggression, territorial aggression and all kinds of other facets of aggressive dog behavior, such as predatory aggression in dogs, aggressive barking, reactivity, etc… And without seeing what’s going on, I can only give you a “best guess” as to what’s going on in this specific case.

The best case scenario is that you can get them to be around each other, but they won’t ever be able to interact with each other– because: They’re both males and they’ve already demonstrated that they are unsafe around each other.

What I would do is either:

1. Find one another home.


2. Get absolute, solid obedience on both dogs, so that they respond to voice commands PERFECTLY … specifically, the “No!” command (which you can use to break them up immediately, should a fight start).

But realize that it’s an explosive situation that you’re always going to need to be “on top” of, 100% of time. I’d definitely get a crate, and alternate which dog is allowed free time. Otherwise, having to constantly supervise the situation will drive you crazy. Of course, both dogs knowing sold down-stay commands will help make life easier. But you’re still in a situation where you’re living under the dog aggression equivalent of the sword of Damocles.

Dog Attention Training

Whiteshepherd writes to me with a question about dog attention training:

Hi, I’ve just finished reading your dog training book and had a few questions about dog attention training: I have a 9 months old white German shepherd dog. He’s been pretty dominant compared to the previous two dogs that I had a few years ago. I used the techniques described in the book and fixed his pulling issue on leash and got great results with the sit and down-stay. I also tried to build up his ball drive.

Dog Attention Training Fails Once Her Dog Gets The Ball

dog attention training
dog attention training

The problem is: he’d totally focus and fixate on the ball and ignore me for the whole time. Once I let him to have the ball, then he went wild and became dominant again and tried to correct me if I touch him or put him into a sit or down stay. It’s like the ball represents gaining the controlling power back. Meanwhile, without the toy, he looks so bored and lays down very slowly, but at least he listens to me and would not break down stay without the release command. I gave him praise when he did a good job. I did the watch me exercise and even spit food from my mouth. it helped a little bit, but didn’t get a significant result like I see when you teach dog attention training.

I hope i described the situation clearly. I just wanna him pay more attention and be happy. he’s a really smart dog and once he pays attention he learns things very fast.

Adam replies:

Hi, White Shepherd:

What you’re going to need to do first is: Resolve the relationship issues you have with your dog. He should not be correcting you for going after the ball. You are the Alpha dog, not him. It is YOUR BALL and he is YOUR SUBORDINATE (in the pack). The subordinate dog never corrects the Alpha dog, in the wild. If he does, then it is interpreted as insubordination and a direct challenge to his leadership… which can affect the SURVIVAL of the entire pack.

So, it needs to be addressed, immediately.

You need to correct him with 2X the seriousness that he corrects you.

It’s only after you’ve established yourself — and let him know that if he even thinks about correcting you, that it’s not going to be in his best interest– that you can start working on the obedience and building him up to make him flashy in his obedience routine.

DPTrainer4 adds:

Something you might also do is work with the presence of the ball, but not it’s inclusiveness in the exercise (hold on, I’ll explain…not as complicated as it sounds at first!). This takes away the cumbersome-ness of trying to hold a ball AND give a motivational correction.

Work attention and stationary exercises with the ball on the ground. Walk near the ball, sit next to the ball, and make sure that he’s paying attention to you. Do anything you can with the ball on the ground, and once you have that down, start moving the ball with your feet like a soccer ball to make it more appealing.

J&J sells a waist-clip to hold a ball hands-free, but it only works with tennis-ball or Chuck-It-type balls. It might be of help too, depending on your needs and the size of the ball he needs.

If at all possible, I’d also recommend a ball on a string. I believe Adam has, in the book, some instructions on how to make one yourself. It’s just a good toy to have, and the string adds something for you to grab a hold of.  Please keep me updated as to how the dog attention training progresses.

Stop Dog Aggression When People Pass By

Corie writes to me about territorial dog aggression:

Our rescue husky/heeler cross dog is 1.5 years old. I’ve made a lot of progress with him with your suggestion of the pinch collar and leash and boundary training. He is a nervous dog that is really afraid of everything and when people come up to him his fur goes us and he is on edge. He will not bite, he just backs away. I give people treats to give him and that helps. But when people walk by our yard and I don’t have him in a stay position he will charge after them and show dog aggression (or territorial aggression). I know I have to work more on the boundary issue, little harder right now in Canada with 2 feet of snow on our grass. What should I be doing please? Thanks.

Adam replies:

Hi, Corie:

Specifically for the fence charging?

Don’t leave him out there, unsupervised… until you’ve got this problem fixed.

Here’s what you do: When he charges the fence, yell out, “No!”… then calmly walk to him and administer a firm correction with the tab. Rinse and repeat.

This issue really just comes down to getting the right motivation level, for your corrections. If, after several repetitions, he’s still doing it… then your correction simply isn’t meaningful enough.

If you can’t get a good correction with the pinch collar, I’d recommend upgrading to the e-collar. There is something about the texture of the e-stim that gets through to the dog (without having to even be set high, sometimes) that works, when the pinch collar corrections do not.

– Adam.

DPTrainer4 adds:

To echo what Adam posted, it’s basically a problem that the dog is outside and devising his own ways to keep occupied.

That doesn’t mean that you need to keep him busy 100% of the time when you’re out with him, but it’s a good policy to not turn him out by himself often. Because we have an unfenced yard, I feel (and this is my opinion, and it’s NOT MEANT TO RAG ON ANYONE WITH A FENCE) that because we must be outside with our dog, she is more focused on us than just doing her own thing around the yard. We play with her, do obedience, work on boundary training, just sit and chill…but we’re out with her. My personal opinion is that it helps a lot with potential problems that she would otherwise have if she were allowed to go out by herself and fence-fight with the two poodles that live behind us (and yes, she has the capability to do that if we allowed her to do so).

If possible, keep the dog outside on a long line too so that you are not stuck playing “catch-me-if-you-can” when you need to correct.

Cory responds:

Thanks for the tips – figured the e-collar might be the next step.

I have another question. I have been doing all you suggested to become the alpha dog – having him wait til I go thru the door first, down stay for longer periods, not being allowed on bed, etc. but when I walk him he always wants to be 1/2 a body (dog) length ahead of me. I use the pinch collar and correct him and say hey and he steps back but then he’s ahead again. I also have a 13 year old lab who comes with us for a short part of the walk but he’s always 10 paces behind because he has a hard time walking and chooses to stay behind. Daos (husky) is pretty much the same way whether my lab is there or not. Although he is getting pretty good at walking with the leash (well it is dragging so I can step on it if he decides he wants to get away). Training my lab was a breeze – this rescue dog has certainly been a challenge. What should I do about the husky trying to lead? E- collar again?

Adam replies:

Hi, Corie:

Yes, the e-collar will definitely help with that, but what you’ll want to start doing is more of the Left-about turns. (Make sure they’re tight turns, as if you’re balancing on a tight rope, and make the dog step back and around you, if possible.)

The idea is to bump the dog in the side of the head with your knee, in a surprise left-about turn. The dog will start to hang back, because he’s watching and waiting for (and wants to avoid) getting bumped by your knee.

You can synchronize the knee with the e-stim, for even greater results.


Keeping Your Puppy From Eating Too Fast

TeamK writes to me with a puppy training issue:

Our female black lab came from a litter of 12. Brought her home at 7 1/2 weeks. She is now 11 1/2 weeks. At first of course we figured it was how they needed to eat just to get food, but it’s gotten worse. She eats SOOO fast – inhales her food. Tried feeding in smaller amounts, feeding from hand, but still inhales. We also have from day one been around her when she eats,putting our hands in dish or by dish – but now that just makes it worse -she eats faster. (did this with our first lab (now deceased) and she always ate slow and did not mind if kids or other dogs took her food. ( We do not have children at home nor other dogs) I’ve used the kong for small amounts of treats or food while time needed to keep her busy but not for a full meal. If I spread it on floor still inhales it -does not chew. Feed her twice (or 3) times a day splitting her food according to bag. K (Oh yes and she growled at me two days ago when I put my hand in but I continued to do it and fed her by hand and she has not done that since…yet)
Adam replies:

Hi, Team K:

Take a look at this:



It’s usually something they grow out of. I really wouldn’t worry about it too much at this point. Keep doing what you’re doing. Good food drive is healthy (as long as she doesn’t have worms). But she’s growing a lot right now. Eventually (after a few months) you should see this intensity calm down a bit.


Dog Off the Leash in the Country

Pip Writes to me:

We live on an acre of property in the country. On three sides of us are open fields and orchard and in front we have a very busy country avenue. Our place in not fenced except for a back yard area where we keep our dogs. We have a seven month old German Shepard, Mollie, and I have been using your book to train her on the long leash. Our “problem” is that I don’t think we’ll ever feel safe having her off leash on this property. She’s pretty good with her “come” command but letting her off the leash is so scary to me. Many people in our area let their dogs run free so I have that fear that she’ll see another dog or rabbit and take off across the road. Cars regularly travel 60-80 miles an hour on this road.
We are discussing the idea of fencing our entire property which would be a great expense but I can’t see a way out of this delemma.

I have one other question: We take our dogs for a walk on easement roads behind our property. Our older shepard is sometimes on leash but often is free. We have purchased a halter for Mollie. On walks when she has the halter, we let her explore on the long leash. Usually either before, during, or after that long walk, I’ll put the pinch collar on and take her for another walk. I use both the long and short leash. She heels during this time. We also practice “come” (on the long leash) sit, stay, etc. Do you think it’s OK for her to use the halter and have “free walk” time with us?

DPTrainer4 replies:

Hi Pip. I’m glad to read that you’ve been having some success with Mollie, and I do sympathize with you on the unfenced property–our yard is very poorly suited to a fence due to how the house and driveway are situated, and as such, we have never fenced it in. I would like to know if you’ve tried yet to boundary-train her to visual boundaries on your property? You can teach her to stay out of the street, and if there is something, even a line of trees, that differentiates your property from your neighbor’s, that’s something you can use to teach her, as some character said in a famous movie, YOU SHALL NOT PASS.

Something to remember, though, is that we recommend that the dog not be let out in an unfenced yard without supervision, even if she has been boundary-trained. There’s just too much risk that, like you said, something could run by and she’d find it more motivating than the consequences you’ve been giving her for stepping into the “hot” zone (or, Not Your Property).

It may seem hard to trust her now, and there is a point where, as you move through obedience and you see that she is really picking up concepts (not only commands, but also respect and trust for you), you might start to trust her a little more. You might find this a good read, as I actually did have off-leash situations in mind when I wrote it: there’s a big step the owner has to take, mentally, in order to trust that the dog will make the right choice, and in return, earn more freedom.

The very first day we had our current dog home, we learned that she was a squirrel-chaser, bolted out the door, and found anything but us to be the Most Interesting Thing in her world. It took time, long lines, tabs, and lots of corrections and praise…but now she is completely trustworthy (granted, we are in suburbia at the end of a cul-de-sac, so I WOULD be more careful around roads in your area) in the yard off-leash. She doesn’t chase wildlife, or if she does, she stops when I call her, she respects the boundaries of the yard, and anytime she’s out, we’re out. I admit it to being a horrible drag some days–believe me, I’d LOVE to just turn her out on frightfully cold mornings to do her business–and unfortunately, some shelters/breeders do require fenced-in yards in order to give you a one of their dogs, so I do see the bright side of the concept!

As for your question regarding “free” walks, I have no problem with it…I do it myself! The one thing is that, although she can stop and explore, move ahead and behind you, she MUST keep up with you, which means that you MUST keep moving. It’s not a matter of “Give an inch and she’ll take a mile” (unless she is that kind of dog), but the deal is that you’re still leading the walk, even though she’s not right next to you. The one thing I recommend you might change, though, is to not switch between the halter (do you mean body harness with this, or actual headcollar, like the horse?) and the training collar. This can make her “collar-smart,” and teach her that she needs to be good and listen to you when her training collar is on, but when it’s off or she’s wearing her halter, she can do whatever she wants. It’s OK to let her have some free time on the long line and pinch collar. Anytime you are interacting with her, she needs to be wearing it, and even free walks count.

Hope this is some help to you!



Rescued Miniature Poodle with Dog Aggressive Behavior

Martiwise writes to me about her dog’s aggressive behavior:


We “adopted” an 8 year old minature poodle at Thanksgiving….. from a home in which he was neglected (therefore abused to me). The house contained 30 dogs and 1,000 rats when it was highlighted on TV new program. He was the oldest dog and the stud dog, father to a lot of the other dogs in the house. He wsas never outside…. never groomed…. food was “dropped off” at the house…

He was the last to be removed from the house…. had to be shaved, he was so matted (couldn’t even lie down) He was neutered and our hearts go out to him for the life he had to endure. We’d like to give him a good home for his remaining years.

We feel he has a lot of Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome in that he had to fend for himself with 20+ other dogs… fight off rats for food….heard noises (rats) all night long. We’ve house broken him, he comes and sits, waits calmly to be fed…

We have 2 standard poodles, both males, and he has “tussled” with the Alpha on several occasions, and the Beta nips at his neck. My concern is for the dog aggression  he displays when we settle down to watch TV in the evening.

He growls very little during the day… it’s night when the ugly disposition manifests itself. He can be sitting with us, as calm as can be….and if either/both of the other 2 dogs comes into the room…or is in the room and just moves….he begins to growl…ferociously….at both the dog(s) and can include either me or my husband….moreso my husband than me….and has tried to bite him on several occasions when in this state….

I’ve been pushing him off the couch and saying “NO!” sharply….and it helps, but it has not stopped the reaction…..is there anything else someone can suggest?

Adam replies:

Hi, Marti:

What a horrible life! You’re an angel for rescuing him.

Now– onwards:

The dog should not be on the couch. He needs to get a correction for the aggression, and that correction needs to come from somebody he sees as above him in the “pack”.

I recommend you start him on a “Nothing In Life Is Free” program. The structure and predictability will work wonders for providing stability and structure in his life.

Second, you need to start giving him leash corrections in the manner I describe in my dog training book. Please read it, from cover-to-cover, and if you still have questions, we’re here to help.

– Adam.

Martiwise responds:

Hi Adam,

Well, all I can say is…..the book works!

First, I established myself as the “pack leader”…and my male (standard poodle) Alpha “set the rules” for Baby (that’s the name he cam with and we’ve kept it).

I started the “walk on a leash…and he managed it in 2 days of training. Mastered the SIT command….doesn’t “stay” well yet, but wil continue to work on it. Waits. Is housebroken. Was “disciplined” EVERY time he GROWLED at the other 2 dogs when on the couch…was put onto the floor IMMEDIATELY!…and had to deal with the other 2 dogs from that level. And now does not get agitated into the growl stage every time one of the other 2 comes into the area where he is.

I also did the “THINK what he’s thinking; be in his head” …I “listened” to his “communication” with me….body languange, bark, everything! and when I started to realize that I needed to treat him like a puppy instead of an 8 year old dog….it all came together!!! This dog NEVER stepped foot on cement, or grass, or had a toy….or was loved….not the way I “love” a dog! He was the eldest dog of 30, trapped in a “house” that was filthy and rat infested…and had to be destroyed after the 30 dog were removed….and he was the last to be taken out….he and his 8 week old pup/son….who were left in a cage for 2 weeks before their removal…night frightened him, because no one lived in the house….just the dogs and the rats…..food was put out….and the dogs had to fend for themselves…against the rats! put myself “in his place”….it was really easy to do what was needed….think like he did….discipline him….teach him….lead him….and love him!

He’s become my “buddy”….follows me everywhere…..listens to my voice/commands….responds to praises and discipline….and it’s all right there in your book! I didn’t have it with my other dogs, but raising them from puppies was a lot different than adopting an 8 year old!…and he’s finding his place in the pack in our house! Still has a way to go, but NOTHING like it was the week of Thanksgiving…all this progress in 3 months!!!

I’ve told others about you website and book…
don’t know if anyone will take my advice….but if they don’t, it’s their loss….
Thank you for sharing your knowledge! What a difference you made in helping me realize “I CAN DO THIS!”

Marti Wise

Dog Refuses to Go Outside

jomackenzie writes to me:

I adopted a terrier mix 7 year old male dog whose owner had died. They lived in Beirut and he was put in a dog shelter there for about 9 months. Rocco was brought to France & fostered for 4 months in the countryside until I adopted him in October. From the start he was reluctant to go out (I live in the city), he doesn’t want to go to the beach or for long walks, he is unhappy & dragging behind me until he knows we’re going home, then he can’t get there fast enough. He trembles & pants if I take him on public transport or in a car. Since there were fireworks on New Year’s Eve, he is even more fearful. He is almost never left alone, & if I have to leave him, it is never for more than an hour or so. I have tried calming medication from the vet, Zylicène, which seemed to have no effect at all. I have started him on Bach Floral Remedy for Dogs, no change. I have now sent away for a pheronome collar & will also get a training leash & collar for him, but is there anything else I can do in the meantime? I would so like both of us to enjoy our walks.


Adam replies:
Hi, Jo:It’s going to take some time. It’s a process.

I’ve heard good things (from my vet) about the DAP hormone collar.

In addition, I recommend crate training the dog. And use meal times to represent being outside in social settings, if possible. Even if it’s just feeding him on the front porch or my hand, while you’re out on a walk (if he has the food drive).

But far and above, the best remedy will be starting him on an obedience program where you’re incorporating the training around your every-day lifestyle. He’ll soon start to respond to the structure and look forward to it. In addition, even though it sounds counter intuitive, I would start him on the “Nothing in Life is Free” program– which will simply help build his trust in your leadership.

Please keep us posted. He’s a beautiful dog!
– Adam.

Jo responds:
Hi Adam,
Thank you for your fast response. I’m already getting results just from having read thru your book & realising that I needed to assert myself as the Alpha dog. I live in the middle of Nice, in an apartment, so feeding him outside won’t work, & he’s not very food orientated, but I’ll figure something out.
On an entirely different subject, do you (or anyone else) know of anywhere online where I might find a small frisbee? Rocco doesn’t seem interested in balls.
Thanks again,
DPTrainer4 adds:
We’ve had a lot of good times with the Ruff Dog K9 Flyer frisbee…it’s just a rubber frisbee-like thing, no sharp curves in it like the “fast-back” design, easy on the mouth (our current dog won’t touch plastic Frisbees) and it’s light enough to fold and carry.They make a K9 Flyer Jr that’s 6.5 inches (16.5 cm) in diameter, which might be a lot easier on his mouth than the 10 inch (25.4 cm) one we have for our dog!

There should be some other suggestions on the Amazon page to “Similar Products” or what-have-you, but that’s the one my family likes!

By the way, I’m JEALOUS you’re in Nice…my brother went over there years ago for an exchange program and LOVED it, and I’ve been wanting to go there ever since, especially since my French minor has been rusting uselessly in the back of my brain!

Lab loses interest in fetch

dana.hanson writes to me:


I have a 3 year old rescue lab who I would consider very ball motivated. Because he has some dog aggression issues (which we’re working on, but that’s a whole other episode), for exercise I take him to the park to play fetch, rather than go on long walks because we live in a very dog-heavy area. Loose leash training is really helping with the aggression, but I want to mix his exercise up too. We go to an “island” of grass at the edge of the park where we can be in our own area and other dogs do not pass very nearby. So for the most part, it’s just us with none other than natural outdoor distractions. When we first got Jake, he would play fetch non-stop for over an hour — I think he would have played all day if we let him. However, lately he has begun to lose interest in the ball after 5 fetches or so. He will either not chase the ball at all and start wandering around sniffing, or he will chase the ball, drop it 10 yards away and start wandering around. Either way, the ball ends up 10 yards away. Since I have begun your training techniques with him, I intersperse fetch with 5 or so minutes of sit-stay or down-stay exercises, with the ball as a distraction and then the reward after 5 or so reps. This sparks his interest again, but it is short lived, and the ball ends up 10 yards away again. If a dog DOES happen to pass by (no closer than 20 yards), I have been putting him in a down-stay and correcting as soon as he perks up or lunges. When the dog is out of sight and Jake is calm again, I give the release command and throw the ball. Again, interest sparked, but short-lived and ball is 10 yards away. (This technique seems to be correcting the aggression though.)

So I find myself in a quandry. I don’t want to go get the ball for Jake and try to get him to fetch because (a) I want him to know that fetch is MY idea and this is what we’re doing right now, rather than my fetching the ball on his terms, and (b) I want him to get the exercise! At the same time, I cannot get his attention redirected to “get your ball” and bring it back to me after he has disengaged, so he gets no exercise unless I go get the ball and resume fetch (which doesn’t usually doesn’t work anyway). I’ve tried putting the ball away and ignoring him for a bit, but this doesn’t work either. And again, fetch needs to be MY idea and My game on MY time, not his.

SO, to make a very short question extremely long, how to I get him to go get his ball and bring it back to me after he has disengaged from the game? In short, how do I get him to play the game MY way and not his.

As background info, our set up during fetch is this: Jake wears a harness connected to a 50 foot rope, which is attached to a tree. This is insurance against his taking off after a dog. I stand near the rope and can grab the rope if my voice commands do not stop him in his tracks. (I’m no dummy — we’re not 100% on recall and I won’t risk it.) I do not want this rope to be attached to a collar, pinch or otherwise, because Jake often kicks the ball further than the 30 feet I throw it. If he kicks it too far, I don’t want the rope yanking his neck when he goes after it and hits the end of the rope. Along with the harness, he wears his pinch collar with a tab on it. This allows for any corrections necessary during training or dog encounters.

If you have any advice or can direct me to other posts, I would really appreciate it. Sorry for the long question, and thank you!



Hi again,

I just wanted to add that I have read the entire Secrets book as well as the “Becoming the Alpha Dog,” “Loose Leash Training,” and “Fixing Aggression Problems.” I just started using your techniques yesterday, and Jake is an entirely different dog. Today at the park I had him running right next to me — I was darting all over the place and he was right there the whole time! Even more amazing is that all kinds of dogs walked by our “island” and he didn’t even break stride!! 2 days ago, he would have started yelping and whining, reared up on his hind legs, and tried to take off after the dogs. THEN, after this leash session, I brought him to about 15 feet from the road where dogs were passing by, did a down-stay, and… NOTHING!! He just sat there!! I had to give him ONE correction when he started whining, but that was it. I can’t believe it. So THANKS!!

Still having the same issue with Jake leaving the ball 10 yards away though. Any help would be great.

Adam replies:

Hi, Dana:

Thanks for the kind words. Can you please post a picture of your dog?

As for the ball issue: If I’m understanding correctly, it sounds like you’re using the ball as a distraction (to tempt him)? I believe this may be killing his ball drive, and/or confusing him.

What I recommend is to never correct the dog (at this point) for chasing after the ball. Get creative and use other things as a distraction.

In addition, use the ball-on-a-string or the other “drive building” exercises I describe in the book, to increase his ball drive.

Remember: Drive works on a curve. Take the ball away BEFORE he loses interest, and tease him with it… then put it away. Even if he loses interest after four or five throws, then you should be putting it away after two throws– but not before you tease him with it and get him excited about it.

Then, the next time you bring it out, he’ll be just a little more excited for it, and a little more, and a little more… each day. Frustration builds drive.

– Adam.

Dana.hanson responds:

Thanks for the advice! I’ll work on it. Here’s a favorite picture of Jake. I would gush about how beautiful he is, but I’m sure you hear/see that all day! 🙂


Training your dog not to chase cars

Melissa writes to me:

Hi there! I am almost half way done with “Secrets of a Professional Dog Trainer” so pleased with it so far! I have 2 Border Collies. A 2yr old male, Jack and a 9 mo old female, Jill. We are from USA, rescued Jack and Jill in England and now live in Amman Jordan. Huge transition for them from the fields in England to the streets of Amman!!! Jack is transitioning well, Jill is having a bit of a harder time. We rescued her at 8 wks old. She was taken from her mom at 3 wks old but was with her littermates up until we rescued her. Since we have had her she has wanted to chase cars. We have come a long way with her, but on our walks I somehow feel if I had more of her attention I could probably get through to her. She is obsessed with cars when we are out and now cats as well there are millions here, everywhere! I am sure I will find more answers as I continue my reading, but just couldn’t wait to ask…any thoughts? Thanks! Mel

Adam replies:

Hi, Melissa:

Amman, Jordan… that’s pretty cool! Do you work for the State Department? What an exciting life!

Keep reading through the Secrets book. I can guarantee you’ll get a better understanding of how to get through to your dog’s mind, by doing so.

As for your specific issues, I have some video techniques that will apply, pretty closely:

Watch this one, first– for the attention issue. Attention is the FOUNDATION of all training. If you’re not paying complete attention to me, I can’t even begin to teach you, right?


Next, watch this video– which teaches the “Come on Command”.
I would use the cars as a really good way to “proof” her, once you’re in the proofing phase.


Next, watch the boundary training video. This gives you a visual guide as to how to issue the correction. Correct her for going after a cat, firmly. (You can also use the “Loose-Leash/Attention Getter” exercise:


Remember: With my system, we look to distractions as an OPPORTUNITY to work the dog around, because if you have found things that consistently trigger your dog’s behavior, then you can use that to build the dog’s reliability.

Keep us posted.
– Adam.


Melissa responds:

Hi, Adam!

It is really nice to be in direct contact with you. Let me say first of all that I have really enjoyed reading your book. I have gained such valuable information. I am using new training methods on my dogs and results are amazing. Jill is still a handful on our walks, as you say, I think my corrections are not motivational enough…I think with many first time prong collar users, there is that hesitation, of “I may hurt the dog”. I know I am wrong to think this way, and am quickly getting over it! I find after each time I use the collar, I am deleting yet another link. I think I finally have the right fit and size. Jill is about 16 kg and I am using a med on her, Jack is 26 kg and is using a large. Jack does not need much motivation by the way. It’s my Jilly girl that wants to be the protector out there in the jungle…I should mention that she will be spayed in a couple of weeks. We waited as rules in England have them wait til after their first season wich she is just coming out of. Also, I think I need to spend more time alone with her. By the way, my husband is in the hotel industry…this is why we get round…Thanks Adam! Will keep you posted.


Dog counter surfing and jumping up on the backs of people legs

Phyllis writes to me:

Hi Adam, I have read your book on dog obedience training twice and searched the forums but haven’t found a good answer to my questions. I have a 4 1/2 month old German Shorthair/Lab mix named BooBoo. She is an assertive but not really aggressive dog. She has already become dominant mostly to our 5 year old Shepherd mix. My questions are: 1) how do we keep her from counter surfing. We have tried the mousetraps on the counter but she wised up to those after just one snap. She simply ignored any “set up” food we place behind a mousetrap (even when we hid it in a folded paper towel) or if she can, she gets around the trap to get to the food. She has even moved the trap to get to the food before. She is not frightened by loud noises so I can’t use the loud pans trick. I have also tried putting a tab leash on her but she just chews on the end of it whenever she can. And it is hard to grab her tab when I am several feet away from her while she gets her paws up on the counter. By the time I get to her, she is already down. Should I be correcting her even after she has gotten down? One more thing, I have gotten her to stop jumping on me in front, but she’ll come up from behind and bounce off my the back of my legs and be gone before I can turn and correct her. Other than these problems, she is adorable, I must say! Thanks for any help. Phyllis

Adam replies:

Hi, Phyllis:

What you’re going to need to do with this dog is: Use the crate when you cannot supervise her, until she is 100%. When you set her up, correct her with the pinch collar and tab/leash. If she’s chewing the tab, this tells me that you’re not keeping a close enough eye on her. (Hint: To make it easier on your pocket book, use a harness snap and a piece short piece of rope you can buy from a hardware store, both for under $1).

Just to make sure you’re understanding correctly: Take the collar and tab off, when you put her in the crate.

In regard to correcting her after she’s gotten down: That’s where the bridging technique comes in. As soon as she does the behavior — even if you’re on the other side of the room– you need to yell, “No, no, no” as you run to her and administer the behavior. By saying “No,” right at the moment she does it, you’re creating a virtual snap shot in her mind, and by continuing to say “no, no, no” as you run to her, you’re forcing her to remember what she’s being corrected for. Studies I’ve read suggest you have at least 7 to 9 seconds after the behavior, as long as you’re using that bridging technique. So, yes; You should be correcting her after she’s jumped back down off the counter, as long as you’ve said, “No!”

In regard to the jumping while behind you: Same deal. Say, “No!” and then grab that tab or leash and administer your correction. If you’re using the pinch collar and leash correctly (loose-tight-loose) this behavior should be eliminated, very quickly. If not, then your correction isn’t firm enough.

Keep me posted,
– Adam.