Category Archives: Laurie’s Training Tips

Annyong in crate during superbowl

Dealing with Company and your dog during the Super Bowl

People ask me all the time what to do when company comes over. That seems to be a big challenge for most dog owners. Either their dog wants to charge to jump, lick & pester or, to see what they taste like! My new dog Annyong is more toward the latter. He probably would have been fine, but since I didn’t have the time or attention to focus on him 100%, I kept him in the crate for safety reasons. This is what I would recommend unless you are able to focus on his behavior. Why risk it?

So what I did was (video below):

Started with a dog comfortable in his crate, in a relaxed mood.

Next, as company comes in to watch The Superbowl, I drop his supper-kibble by kibble- into his crate to give him something else to think about. By using his meal I can give him hundreds of “rewards” or distractions without worrying about him overeating. I also don’t have to worry about him not being hungry & more interested in focusing on “intruders!”.

My sister, also a dog trainer assists me by giving some kibble to get him thinking about that rather than all the commotion. As time goes by, his outburst get fewer & fewer. Each time I give him some more of his meal, sprinkled in with some treats for good measure. If I was able to do this on a weekly basis he would be much more settled with company. My girl, Ziva barked a little when the family arrived but quieted down almost immediately.


Resource Guarding Aftermath

Low Conflict Resource Guarding

So my new dog Annyong isn’t perfect. I knew this going in. Last week during his earned freedom time he picked up one of my kid’s toys & wouldn’t let me have it. I didn’t think he’d bite me over it. But he did. I tried to take it from him & he took a piece of my flesh from my hand. (see video below) 

E-collar set on 8

E-collar set on 8

So today (with e-collar already on) he had taken something into his crate  during his freedom time. Instead of going head on “give it to me, drop it, out” etc. I told him to get out of his crate “come”  as I tapped the e-collar (on 8/100) & had him go to place. Then I was able to safely take an object left behind from his crate.

Day 4 progress. Dog v. Cat

I haven’t been able to practice this for a few days… I got further than before, however I didn’t have all my tools (prong & ecollar) with me. If I had I could have gotten further today. It was the first time he was out of the crate not eating looking at the cat, laying down, so that is good progress. His face wasn’t relaxed though.

That’s our next milestone to be achieved.

Remote collar giving my dog freedom

Annyong is learning to stay close to me, and not trip up my daughter riding her bike. By keeping the distance short I’m now working on getting his attention with a distraction-his kid! He’s doing amazing! Low level e-collar (8/100) is usually not even felt by people. I can’t feel until an 8 & some people can’t feel until a 12. And when you do feel it, it feels like a tickle “I think I felt something”. Hardly shocking. Yes, they go up high, but I don’t use them that way.
You can & should have a dog to be proud of.
Would you like to have a Dream Dog?

Annyong is able to run along loose with his little girl

Day 3 progress. Dog v cat

So as you can see I’m not rushing anything. As a matter of fact I hadn’t thought of introducing them until I noticed Monday my cat wasn’t hiding any more. That indicated to me the dog wasn’t sending off a dangerous vibe anymore. So each day this week I’ve been feeding them closer & closer, challenging Annyong’s impulse control & focus. I want him to choose to make good decisions, not tell him all the time what he should be doing “come sit down stay” blah blah blah.  (video below)

Could I have moved this along faster? Did I have to wait a month, 5 weeks to be exact? Sure I could have brought him to the cat or the cat to him. What would have happened? Dog would have lit up (like he did on day 1) & cat would have ran. Dog would have gotten harsh physical correction to override his strength & intensity on the cat. (This dog was almost impossible to handle when I was just training him under his previous owner). So I would have been forced to be heavy handed with him had I rushed things ahead of their timetable. Cat would have hid longer. Both animals would lose trust in me.

So by going at their pace I’m able to achieve more. Better results with softer handling. They are speaking to us all the time. Are you listening?

Dog v. Cat

Dog vs. Cat…working on attention & impulse control

Annyong has been with me just over a month now. I’ve been following my own protocols to the letter: Crate & leash only for at least 2 weeks- inside & out of the house. He’s been out of the crate on drop leash, proving he will listen to me if I say his  name. I give commands on leash & practice his obedience. I have taken him in fenced in yard & practiced on drop leash name & recall, coming back to me with high value food reward, coupled with a low level e-collar (5 works good for him usually). He has been doing AMAZING. Except…. he still wants to eat the dreaded evil cat! (video below)

On the first day here, the cat walked near his crate, probably not even noticing him. The dog blew up & he hasn’t been in the area since. Now whenever the dog catches a glimpse of the cat, he lights up, but milder & stops almost instantly. Over the last week or so, the cat has been joining us in the living room again, on the opposite side of the crated dog. (When I have him out of the crate, I make sure the cat is behind a closed door. #1 keeps him safe, #2 keeps dog from losing focus). Remember: avoid what you can’t control, train what you can. One of the first times I had dog out of crate, showing him how to relax & chill with me, the cat wandered out & he went to an intense focus I couldn’t break him out of. I had to end the session as he was past the point of coming back to a calm enough state he could be out.

So now that the dog has settled in & is under better control & making better decisions, I see if I can get his attention when the cat is in sight. I wish I’d recorded this from the start, as the cat was only a few feet eating to begin with. Annoying showed interest, but didn’t freak out. Because he didn’t freak out, the cat didn’t run. Because the cat didn’t run, the dog didn’t freak out…you get the picture. So I pulled out the video & recorded keeping his attention while the cat was in the background. This is a first. Them being in the same area together. At one point you may notice his ears go forward & he gets a little intense, I tap his e-collar (level 15 for this, probably could have gone lower). He chills & goes back to eating.

I will continue with this now daily until I can control the dog’s attention & intensity around the cat. As I progress, I will bring him toward cat, call him away (on leash

& ecollar), add some movement on the cat so it doesn’t trigger dog past the point I can control his attention…

I haven’t seen the dog mean harm to any person or dog yet, even though he came to me after breaking out of a fenced in yard & attacking 2 dogs & going ballistic when company came (previous owner). And wanting to eat their cat. I’ve seen him slip out of my car & charge at a dog on day 3 with me & run right past the dog & lay down. Most people would have been upset it happened. I was relieved he didn’t do anything. It proved he didn’t want to harm anyone as if he wanted to, he would have. He’s a good dog. And he’s mine. And I love him. Stay tuned.






Sit on the dog

Sit On The Dog

Sit on the Dog

by Jill Priest & Laurie Wagner (originated by Margot Woods)

If you only do ONE exercise with your dog, it’s this one.
Not sit. Not stay. Not even come.
This exercise will do more to create a bond and build a relationship of trust & tranquility with your dog than any other.

In order to help your dog learn that you will not be available to entertain him at all times, and to teach him that he is expected to calm down and be well-behaved during those moments, we will introduce the long down, or “sit on the dog” exercise.

“Sit on the dog” is deceptively easy: place your dog on his leash, then sit on it, allowing him just enough length to lie quietly at your feet with a little bit of tension on the leash. (If you have a large or particularly active dog, you may want to wrap the leash around one leg after you’ve sat on it.) And then ignore your dog for 30 minutes. That’s it.

Be sure to “sit on the dog” when you are working on something else: watching television, reading the newspaper, working on the computer. You must do the exercise for a minimum 30 minutes, at least once, and preferably twice a day, after the structured walk. It is helpful to have each family member practice the “sit on the dog” exercise. It may take a little while, but you will find that your dog will settle quietly at your feet, and learn that when he wants your attention, sometimes he will just have to wait.

If your dog does anything for attention, you are to ignore him. If he climbs up on you, chews the leash, mouths your hand, or anything else that is inappropriate, grab the leash next to the collar and put steady, gentle downward pressure on the leash – no talking or touching the dog allowed! Continue to provide this pressure until he settles again, and continue with the “sit on the dog” exercise. The 30 minutes begins AFTER your dog settles down. This means the first few times you do the exercise, it may last as long as 45 minutes or an hour – some dogs have lasted even longer than that. Take heart – your dog will soon learn to settle very quickly.

The “sit on the dog” exercise often feels like you are “not doing anything” with your dog, and people are sometimes tempted to not do it. To skip this exercise is to deny your dog the gift of self-confidence, self-control, and “doggy zen.” It teaches your dog how to calm himself down by choice, it teaches him to defer to you when you are not able to pay attention to him, and it teaches him that yes, he is fully capable of relaxing quietly, something puppies can have a hard time learning. “Sit on the dog” is an excellent exercise for achieving the overall leadership role you should have with your dog.

I did this today with my new dog, Annyong:

At the start of the exercise

At the start of the exercise

I was working on the computer ignoring him

I was working on the computer, ignoring him










Eventually he did this…

Sit on the dog

And then this. Each day we do this he will settle faster & faster

















Watch this time lapse video to see before your eyes how by not talking or touching him he settles. At one point the cat comes out (his current nemesis) but we start over & he settles back down. This is a POWERFUL tool.



Here is Margot’s cute pictoral.


Let me know if you have any questions.



Thinking of A Dog’s Needs Before My Own

Annyong, my new dog

Annyong, my new dog

I recently had an owner I had been working with surrender her 2 year old German Shepherd. He was very challenging & she was not cut out to handle such a difficult dog. It happens & I won’t fault her for it. I applaud her for making the tough decision to follow through with the old adage “if you love something set it free…”. The dog was a bite waiting to happen & she needed to give him away to save his life. So, I have a new dog. I expected him to be more challenging than he has been so far. To be honest, I think he’s a bit shell shocked right now. When he gets more comfortable he’ll come out of his shell & start to test me a bit.

So this dog had been OBSESSED with his previous owner. Now he does not need me to love him up so he replaces one addiction with another. To feed him a normal amount of attention would be disastrous for him. So I give him an occasional kiss or two here & there. I haven’t said more than a few words to him. I changed his name so I say his name a few times a day. And I’m teaching him “go potty” in a certain spot in the yard. That’s about it. So he’s more apt to listen to me when I do speak. We all know plenty of people that never shut up and we tune them out, right? So because I’m not filling his head with constant chatter I have his full attention when I do speak.

This dog does not need love right now. He needs peace, stability & lots of structure. Tough love so he learns independence & that he can stand on his own 4 paws. When he is in a better place, I will gradually give him love, making sure it doesn’t excite him too much. Preventing him from transferring his obsession from one owner to the next. I have to be a bit distant. I can do this though. Every time he starts to panic & obsess over me I shut down all emotions & eye contact. He’s doing well, better than expected by a long shot. Our few kisses so far have been delightful! I can’t wait for more! But this isn’t about me & my needs right now. This is about him & his.

poodleI had a 9 month old poodle pup recently in. Had been with owners only a few months. Left the breeder at like 5 months. Why so late? Was he returned? Planned on breeding, but they had problems & decided to sell him? I don’t remember the answer, but those questions went through my mind. But the crux of the matter is he was acting out at home- in his new home without any dogs. He was impossible to walk & would react when he saw a dog, pulling & clamoring, making a scene when he didn’t get his way. What did this dog need? Did he need to learn commands & walk nicely on a loose leash? Yes. But I believe if you give the dog what he NEEDS, he gives you back tenfold what you WANT- attention, respect, obedience, manners. So instead of working him on leash a lot day 1, I worked him a bit so he wasn’t so resistant & was a bit connected to me. Then I brought him into the day care to give him what he needed- to be back with dogs! He’d lived with a pack of dogs for his first 5 months & then isolated from dogs the next 4. That’s a huge component why he was behaving so poorly. By giving him some play time, he was then able to shake off some pent up energy & frustration & then I was able to get him to pay attention to me on the next walk a hundred times better.

winnieOver the summer an owner came to me with her dog that was impossible to walk. He pulled like crazy, especially when he saw another dog. And because the dog was so impossible to walk, she didn’t walk him. She just found it easier to leave him in the fenced in yard. So that bandaid didn’t last long. As the dog became more & more frustrated in the yard, he one day climbed the fence & attacked another dog. And another, and another. The fact that he was being confined to a huge fenced in yard was the root of all of this. Dogs aren’t meant to live behind 4 walls any more than we are as humans. It’s called house arrest & is a prison sentence. But too many dogs live like this day in & day out. And they bark & bark & bark… out of boredom & frustration. So this dog came to me & did I demand he focus on me 100% & learn a perfect heel & not to pull on the leash? Heck no. This poor dog hadn’t been out of his 4 walls in almost a year! So I took him for a long walk along the grassy area across the street from us. I let him sniff & sniff & sniff until his heart’s content. Eventually as he started to pull to sniff I squeezed the leash a bit & he stopped pulling. Repeated the process until he finally showed some interest in me & then built on that. The next walk I introduced food to him. So he would pull on the leash, I’d squeeze the leash tight & he’d come back. I’d immediately release the tension on the leash & give him some kibble. It took a day to get him to where I wanted him to be, but I felt I got more by starting off by giving. I gave him some freedom to explore & satisfy his need to sniff & take in nature. And he thanked me for it with some amazing attention & I now have a great new friend out of it. 🙂

A Quiet Daycare Can Help An Anxious Dog Turn Into A Peaceful, Happy Pup

A quiet daycare can help an anxious dog like Pickles turn into a peaceful, happy pup. What do you notice the most about this dog’s before and after expressions?

Tips For Introducing Your Dog To A New Canine Friend – Part One

 “What is a good way to introduce my dog to my friend’s new dog?”

First – What NOT to Do
Bringing your dog over to another dog on leash (or vice versa) is not the ideal way to introduce two dogs.

Reasoning: Often people talk excitedly & try to encourage a dog to sniff another dog. People often misread a dog’s wagging tail as a sign of being happy, when it just means it’s excited or alert.

But is excited always a good thing?

An excited dog can annoy a calm nervous dog just the way an excited person can annoy a shy person wanting to be left alone. What would a shy person do? Maybe walk away. A dog would likely too…if it could. But with an unknowing owner not allowing a leashed dog to move away, it can turn ugly. If that dog isn’t allowed to move about freely, it could growl at the other dog.

And what would you do if your dog growled at another dog? Sadly, most people would scold the dog for growling. “Hey! Stop that. Be nice!”. When in fact the dog is just trying to say he’s uncomfortable.

The best thing to do when a dog growls (at a dog or person) is to give the dog more space. If the dog’s growl isn’t heeded, it can escalate to a snap or bite. Now the other dog may get attacked & people will come to me to fix the dog that was attacked & it was because his owner wasn’t teaching him manners.


The golden is getting into another dog’s space, either he doesn’t know or doesn’t care that he’s making another dog uncomfortable.

Like the picture here. The golden is getting into another dog’s space, either he doesn’t know or doesn’t care that he’s making another dog uncomfortable. If your child were chasing after a shy kid who was trying to get away, you’d stop him right? Let’s talk in human terms for a minute. If you approached me to say hi, and I backed away, what would you do? You would stop moving right? If you proceeded to approach me as I backed away from you, you’d be considered a weirdo right? I see this ALL THE TIME with dogs. Dogs, like humans, do not come out of the womb with manners or social skills. It’s up to us as their parents to guide them through this crazy world.

We teach our children to say please & thank you, to say excuse me & not grab things out of your hands….we need to teach our dogs not to run up to another dog. I’ve heard a zillion times on facebook “My dog likes other dogs, but just doesn’t like getting charged at”, like it’s their dogs problem. I say “I don’t either!” why should we expect a dog to appreciate getting charged at by a complete stranger. If a stranger (or strange dog) came charging up at you, I don’t think you’d appreciate that either. You’d be likely to run away or go on offense if you were trapped (think: on leash) –you wouldn’t foolishly assumed they were friendly, would you?

Yet we expect our dogs to accept being charged at. In class I always ask the people if they think of their dogs as their babies. Almost all of them say yes, which I think is a good thing! If you think of your dog as your baby, you will teach them manners & protect them from harm. Look at this picture. This black & white dog looks terrified, does it not? If your baby were being approached by a scary looking guy, would you worry about hurting his feelings when you told him to back off? I think we need to worry more about what our dogs think of us. Do they think we will protect them from harm? The more they feel we have their back, the less anxious they will feel when approached by a person or dog they may make them uncomfortable.

Stay Tuned For theNext Article on How to Best Introduce Two Dogs