Tag Archives: new dog

Does Your Dog Bark At People In Your Car? Mine Does!

So Annyong has been with us 4 months this weekend. He’s doing SO GOOD! Except…he still FREAKS out when we’re in the car & he sees someone too close to the car, especially if he sees a dog. He’s a lot better I’ve noticed, even in the last week. He’s not as reactive & he doesn’t react to “every” person.

It wasn’t long ago Ziva (who was another owner surrender 7 years ago this week!) was the same. She would bark like crazy at anything in the car. She used to have to be cross-tied to drive anywhere, as she would run around the car barking. God, I don’t miss those days.

Anyway, today I had Annyong on the day care floor for about 5 hours, where he played & got out a lot of energy. I then took him to a walk at Nelson Park in Plymouth, one of my favorite places to take dogs. There is always a good amount of distraction there between adults, kids at the playground & always dogs- LEASHED dogs. It’s imperative that you avoid what you can’t control (off leash dogs charging you) & train for what you can control. I walked him around the park & saw plenty of dogs & people. He handled it better than expected. He looked really good from the start, so when he did see a trigger (another dog), he was easily distracted & controlled.  He looked like this at the START of the walk (important not to go anywhere until your dog is under control):

Annyong at Nelson Park, looking good!

So when we actually saw a dog this his how easy it was to control him:

Soooooo…. now that he was good & tired & in a good frame of mind, I thought I would try to work him at a gas station. Well, I needed gas, so instead of putting it off, I went for it. With my trusty sidekick, Isabella, we did it! She kept him focused on her with food while we got gas. He did light up a little as you can see, however this is NOTHING compared to how uncontrollable he was. It was beyond embarrassing! So if we do this often, a few times a week, sit in a busy parking lot & feed him his meals, we can desensitize him toward the people passing by. Stay tuned!

If you are not in the New England area & are in need of a professional trainer, please visit the IACP International Association of Canine Professionals. Remember not all dog trainers are the same, so if you have not gotten the results you want, please do not give up on your dog. Find a competent, qualified trainer near you. And be sure to tell them Laurie Wagner sent you! 🙂


Annyong happy on couch

Proof Our Program Works!


Practicing down/stay with meat on the floor.

So here is my 90 day update on my new dog, Annyong. Proof our program works. He has been on “probation” for 90 days in my house. He gets walked, socialized & trained every day. A little affection of course, but no excitement or freedom. He’s been out of the crate more & more as time goes on, always on a drop leash. Now we are starting to trust him off leash. We still have to work him through his cat issue, but he is SO much better than even a month ago. The other day he ran into the house & went chasing the cat & I called him (no leash, no e-collar) & he came! I was very proud! He will still be on probation for many months I imagine as he learns how to behave in the house. And learning he has to listen to me when I say his name. The more he listens/obeys/behaves, the longer he is out of the crate.

a well-behaved dog has EARNED the PRIVILEGE of couch time!

I think most dog owners fail their dog by first not having high enough standards for their dogs. They start off giving the dog too much freedom & then try to (partially) reign him in when trouble ensues (which it always does). They think of the crate as a punishment tool & therefore use it reluctantly. They think of leashes & collars are only for when outside. The more we use these tools (crate, leash, e-collar) IN the home, the more conditioned our dogs are to listening/obeying us. The better behaved they are inside the  more likely are to behave outside.

snuggles on the couch

I’d like the APO (average pet owner) to start with the end in mind. What do you want from your dog? And WHY do you want it? I want my dog to listen to me 99% of the time I say his name or give him a command. I want my dog to not pester my older dog. I want my dog not to chase my cat. I want my dog not to pick up items & guard them. All these things are unacceptable to me. And because they are unacceptable I will not allow them. The big picture of having a well behaved dog is what you allow & what you disallow. I use these tools to teach him manners so he will be safe & not embarrass me. (he still embarrasses me often in public! but better than before & we are working on that!).

Practicing down/stay while I’m doing dishes

A new question I ask dog owners in my class is “how confident are you your dog would listen to you if he was running into traffic & you called him?” I’m 99% confident Ziva will listen to me even charging after a cat/skunk/motorcycle- it’s happened & I have a lot of faith she will obey. I practice often with her. Annyong is NO WHERE NEAR THIS YET. But it is my goal. And he will get there someday soon. 🙂

Managing your crazy dog around company

Start by waiting to feed your dog just before company comes. He will be more interested in food if he is hungry. Before company arrives, start dropping kibble into the crate & then have company come in. (He should start off in crate or on leash). I prefer a crate.

As my dog started to light up I dropped his kibble into his crate as a distraction. “Here think about this instead.” After a few minutes he was pretty calm. I continued to stand there dropping kibble, his whole meal.

After he was very chill I opened the crate to let him go out & greet my mother. (He had not met her yet). Normally I would recommend leashing a dog for this but I was being lazy!  You can imagine if you wait until your dog is totally chill to let him greet company how much better mannered they will be. Any bad manners (jumping, barking) will be milder & more subdued. Of course if your dog is aggressive at all you shouldn’t go this alone. To find a trainer in your area visit the International Association of Canine Professionals to find a competent trainer in your area.


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.


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.

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?

Should I crate train my puppy?

Should I crate train my puppy? by Michelle Gillis of Doggie Fun & Fitness

I hear this all the time…

“I feel bad leaving him in there”

“It’s so mean!”

“I wouldn’t want to be in a cage”

“I want him to sleep in bed with me”

There are so many good reasons to crate train your puppy.  Before I start listing reasons, try to shift to your dog’s perspective.

Human Perspective: a crate seems like a jail cell meaning punishment

Canine Perspective: a crate is a safe place to sleep

Crates are a safe place for a dog to hang without being bothered.  For families with young kids, it’s necessary.  Who wants to take a nap with an unpredictable toddler on the loose?

My dog Annyong loves chilling in his crate. He goes in with the door open, however it’s important you close the door too so it’s on your terms not his.

These are the reasons to crate train…


Housebreaking problems usually start as a few accidents.  This can turn into a habit that can last through adulthood. If those accidents were not cleaned up properly, we are now blurring the inside/outside the house line. We have to teach a puppy that the smell of urine belongs outside.  This is where the crate comes in…

Puppies like to pee/poop away from where they hang.  The crate is a small version of your house.  Your teaching him “you don’t poop where you hang”.  When he gets older, he will see the house as his crate and never have an accident.

I recommend Natures Miracle for clean up


Puppies are curious which can lead to mischief.

  • Chewing through live wires
  • Chewing and choking on objects
  • Eating/swallowing dangerous objects (corn on the cob swallowed whole.. $5000 vet bill)
  • Eating/chewing poisonous items (ant traps, odor eaters, anti-freeze)

Separation Anxiety

Crating for small amounts of time at a young age teaches your pup to tolerate being alone.  If your pup is constantly with someone, they will panic when left alone.

Anyone who has a dog with separation anxiety will tell you how awful it is.

Your life will revolve around managing it and it takes a lot of work and help from others to fix.

Signs of separation anxiety

  • Dog will follow you room to room
  • Whining/barking when out of view (excessively)
  • Watches you constantly

When left alone…

  • Scratched trim in doorways, damage to windows
  • Puddles of drool
  • Frantic panting, wild wide eyes, pupils dilated
  • Persistent barking until hoarse

NOT signs of separation anxiety

  • Chewing furniture, shoes, toys
  • Sleeping when you come home/ or excited/happy to see you

Grooming, Vacations, Emergency Vet Visits, etc.

At some point in in your dog’s life he will have to be put in a crate.  Grooming, boarding, vet stays, can be stressful enough, adding crate stress can make things challenging.

“When can we stop using the crate?”

I think 1-½ years old is a reasonable goal but every dog/situation is different.  Some high-energy dogs need it for much longer.  I recommend using it for many years if you spend a lot of time with your dog, mostly to prevent separation anxiety.

So…. crates are good!

Lets stop applying our human perspective and start looking at things through the canine perspective.  We earn our dogs respect that way

Crates should always be used in a positive way, never used for punishment.  Seek a professional trainers advice before forcing a nervous/fearful dog.

Day 5: First Walk With Both Dogs

So these dogs haven’t officially met yet. They drove home in the car together but tied back so they couldn’t reach each other. Gotta keep things safe!

First walk with a new dog. Dog on right (red slip leash) is Ziva. I’ve had her 7 years & she was also an owner surrender. She was one of the toughest dogs I’ve ever met. I learned so much from her though! It’s making my new dog Annyong (left, blue leash) seem like a cake walk. He was also an owner surrender. Both dogs were very challenging, beyond the owners’ skill sets. It’s very important to chose a dog that matches your skill set.

Introducing a dog to a new dog safelySo I first had them walk on either side of me. They weren’t allowed to sniff each other.






Annyong looking pretty chill. Ears to the side, mouth open, softer eyes, no tension on leash. This is huge progress!

Now a half hour later they are a little more settled. I’m allowing them to walk more closely but still no sniffing. I want them to both be calm & settled before they formally meet. Probably another day or 2.






Day 2: Turning a Difficult Dog Into a Well Behaved one

15253394_10209992978714150_4391550119704422287_n I waited as long as it took for him to show an interest in me before I gave him any attention. It took a day but I would have waited a week… He didn’t have any interest in me yesterday, so I didn’t force myself on him. Trying too hard can get you bit. So today he looked up at me, in my eyes for the first time. Bingo! Look who is my new friend!








Also, I changed his name. He is looking at me now when I say his name more than most people’s dogs look at them. Why? Because I haven’t spoken to him yet, so when I did, my words had more value. Most people I meet talk their dogs ears off & wonder why they don’t listen to them. We all know someone who talks incessantly & what do we do? Tune them out right? Our dogs will do the same to us if we talk too much. The only words I’ve said to him so far are his new name & “go potty”. So when I speak he looks at me. This is an awesome start. Stay tuned for more! Feel free to post any questions!



How To Turn A Difficult Dog Into A Well-Balanced Dog cont.


Day 1,  evening


Wrapping up Day 1. Brought him home on leash in my car. In case he ran around like crazy, I could grab leash. He will ALWAYS be on a training collar until I fully trust him 100% (think several months, not days or weeks). Why? He may slip out of a regular collar. Especially a nervous dog. See it all the time.
He got home. Walked him around potty area in my FENCED in yard on leash. Yes even though my yard is fenced he is still on leash. Why? Because I can’t control him yet. He could run around my yard like a maniac & I would end up chasing him looking like a fool. He is also learning where I want him to potty so my yard won’t be one giant toilet. My dog Ziva goes out front door “go out back” & she goes around the house to potty out back.




ann4Next, the crate. He goes from door to crate. Yes I practice what I preach. He went straight to the crate where he will be only allowed for at least a few days. When he is a little more settled he’ll be out of crate next to me on leash only. Gradual freedom is the best way to a well-behaved dog. Once you give your dog freedom without it being earned, it is hard to take that back.

I hope you all are learning, enjoying these posts. This is not just a “look how easy/fast I can turn a dog around”. Or “look how great I am for taking in a dog in need”. On the contrary I’m hoping to show you how much work goes into making a good dog. My dog Ziva started off worse than all your dogs combined! But by doing my due diligence she turned into an amazing dog. It takes effort but isn’t miraculous by any stretch. Ok good night & more tomorrow.