Dogs On Command, Canine Training Academy

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About Our Owner

Our owner got started in the industry back in 1992. He worked with canine narcotic detection dogs and went to the K-9 training academy in 1996. He graduated after two years and then opened our company in 1998.

His History

For the past 10 years, our owner has trained service dogs for individuals and families with disabilities. He mainly focuses on training canines for children with autism.


We train 486 pets per year and spend seven weeks with each dog. This averages to be about 64 dogs per week.


For the purpose of this article I am only going to write about “stress” in dogs and how it can cause a nervous diarrhea in dogs during and shortly after kennel boarding.

If your dog developed diarrhea while boarding, you may be upset and wonder what happened. Did your dog catch some sort of virus? Did he get too stressed? Perhaps the water given was not clean? If you're using a pet sitter, you may think she fed him something that didn't agree with his stomach. It's easy to blame the kennel for the mishap, but there may be other causes, and it might not be entirely the kennel's fault.
Why Dogs Get Diarrhea When Boarding.

As tempting as it may be to just let the diarrhea run its course and forget about the mishap, it is best to figure out what happened to prevent it from happening next time. You may never know exactly what happened, but your vet may give some clues and so may the kennel. Also, the duration and severity of the diarrhea can be clues as well.

Is it stress. Many dogs get stressed at the kennel. There are two types of stress: the stress from being in the kennel in the first place, and the stress of going home. Dogs sometimes developed diarrhea, often within the first hours of being there. These dogs are clearly stressed. Being kenneled is not easy on the dog. He is in an unfamiliar place, surrounded by other barking dogs and unfamiliar smells and noises. Some dogs may appear to care less about these changes, but several inevitably get visibly stressed and get the doggy version of nervous diarrhea
Some dogs have solid stools at the kennel and then develop diarrhea the moment they are sent home. All the excitement of seeing mom and dad after their absence and being home again may have an effect on the dog's gastric system. When you pick your dogs up from the boarding kennel you should withhold food and water for the first couple of hours, as excited dogs will gulp these down and get a bout of doggie upset stomach
Did Your dog undergo dietary changes? Did you provide the boarding center with your own food? If not, this may be the culprit. If your dog was boarded for just a few days, his stomach may not be agreeing with the new food. This is why many food brands advise introducing any new food gradually over the course of a week or so. Failure to do that may result in an upset stomach. Many kennels now ask for owners to bring their own food. Those who don't may sometimes feed a food that is very bland and easy on the stomach. Others may just feed cheap food. If your dog is in the home with a pet sitter, ask her if she fed anything such as table scraps or some new type of treats. If your dog swallows anything in sight, it could be he got into something he shouldn't have. Keep an eye on him for signs of an intestinal blockage. In some cases, dogs with sensitive tummies may get stomach upset just from changing water.

Does your dog have an underlying condition? A health issue that becomes evident only when your dog is stressed and his immune system is at its most vulnerable state may be to blame. It may seem like a coincidence that you just boarded your dog and your dog gets a bout of diarrhea. All those emotions and changes may awaken some conditions which could have otherwise remained silent for a bit.
Like us, our dogs can and do experience stress. Just as stress can make us feel afraid or hyper or edgy or irritable, it can do the same to our dogs. It is a well-established fact that the “wrong kind” of stress or chronic stress can have a detrimental effect on our behavior, health and overall well-being. Whether “good stress” or “bad stress”, physiologically, the manifestation of stress in dogs is similar as to that in humans, with the same negative and positive effects. Stress has the potential to make one ill, suppress the immune system.


What we do to reduce stress and promote a healthy and happy environment

Exercise – Providing regular exercise for your pet burns off some of that energy that may create stress in a confined area like a kennel. Although our kennels are spacious, our exercise times provide room to run for those who need to stretch,

"Dogs that are stressed may have a hard time engaging in other behaviors, since their mind is so concentrated on being alert. This can be used to a dog's advantage by engaging stressed dogs in activities that are in contrast with being stressed. Encouraging a stressed dog to play for instance, may help the dog overcome the stressful feelings because it cannot be stressed and play at the same time."

Home Atmosphere - We allow you to bring anything you like to make your pet feel more comfortable. Our private kennels allow us the opportunity for the pets in our care to have their favorite blankie or the kong that keeps them busy on those cold winter nights. Having the smells and familiarity of their own things helps to keep their stress levels down while staying in a strange place.

1on1 time – The time we spend with each individual animal that comes to our facility creates a lasting relationship between our staff and your companion, so On Command becomes a home away from home and a family away from family for your pet.

Diet – Changing your pet’s diet suddenly can be very detrimental to their sensitive stomachs. Changing their diet while putting them in a potentially stressful environment for them can be worse. Maintaining your pet’s normal diet helps us to maintain a healthy friend.

Cleanliness – We clean every kennel every day. We use disinfecting bleach with warm water and soap to clean our kennels. Poor environmental cleanliness can put stress on your pet’s immune system. By keeping cleaning a priority at our kennel, your pet will be returned to you as clean and healthy as when you drop them off.

Expertly Trained Staff – Along with lifetimes of experience with their own pets, our staff must complete our training program in order to be allowed to care for your pet. We maintain close relationship with our veterinarian to help teach our staff how to recognize harmful situations and how to avoid them. They help us to keep informed on current pet health issues.

That also means we are trained at avoiding stressing out your dog. Using behavioral techniques we are trained in approaching fearful dogs and helping socialize them with our staff.

Routine - Pets crave stability and structure, so we ensure that 1. We keep their schedule as close to normal as possible, and 2. We keep a strict routine of feeding times, medication times, play times and bathroom breaks.

Now this is what you can do to help reduce stress when bringing your pet to On Command Dog boarding facility

Have fun! - Every time you come to the kennel should be a positive experience. This will reduce your pet's stress by reducing your stress. Your pet will feed off of your emotions when you leave for the kennel if you show that you are uncomfortable. However, if you act excited and happy when your pet goes to the kennel, saying things like "Let's go see TIM and the Guys!!", your pet will get excited about coming to see us! Another way of showing that the kennel is a positive experience is to give some treats along the way.

Bring personal items - We allow and encourage you to bring personal items for your pet's stay. Whether it's bedding or your pet's favorite toy, this will help to make the experience "more like home". Also, make sure that you don't wash your pet's toys and bedding beforehand that they will have familiar smells around them while they stay with us (We can wash their "stuff" upon request for you before you pick up your pet up).

Try a Trial Stay or Come visit us! - You are welcome to bring Your Dog out for a visit or a trial weekend as this will familiarize him to our facility and staff in a nonthreatening way. Before you drop your dog off for a 15 day stay, perhaps desensitize him to being left at the boarding facility by starting off with a shorter stay.

"Many times with a good desensitization program stress responses can be extinguished with time. For instance, dogs that get stressed by thunder storms benefit from listening to recordings of thunder. Such recordings are first played on a very low volume for brief periods watching for possible signs of stress. After some time, when stress responses are low, the volume will be increased gradually until the dog no longer pays attention to the noise. With lots of practice, eventually the fear will wean off thanks to this behavior modification technique."

Bring Something Sturdy to Chew - Chewing may reduce stress in your dog so bring that Kong and some peanut butter, his/her favorite bone, or one of those Indestructible Squeakers and let your dog have fun. We've also had clients bring in a blanket that their dogs love to chew on. It is better that allowing them to stress in their kennel or worse, start chewing on something potentially hazardous
Together we can turn a stressful situation into an enjoyable, healthy, and exiting adventure.


Why do Service Dogs work so well with children who have autism?
When it comes to Autism and explaining the reasons why Service Dogs and persons with Autism are a good match could be related to what make dogs and humans similar, not so much as to how we are different. While the two species of human and canine are certainly far apart in construct, we do share similarities.

For example, we both have a brain, lungs, stomach, and a heart among many other shared anatomical traits. We get sad, mad, angry, happy and tend to take comfort in social groups among many other shared emotional traits.
A major similarity between our species is our ability to execute tasks, remember lessons learned and where Autism is concerned, release a chemical known as oxytocin when we are in good spirits. ( Interacting with their Service Dog)
Canines share this same trait and increased levels of oxytocin are present when they see their owners (the family), form relationships with other dogs either as a pack or to produce offspring. Oxytocin is a necessary component that nature has given our bodies to encourage everything from a smile to the proliferation of the species.

Early reports have shown that oxytocin can significantly break the chain of events leading to what we parents call meltdowns, tantrums and/or outbursts.
When oxytocin was introduced in a clinical test environment, early reports did show an increase in the age-appropriate social interaction between children with Autism and their peers. What we see on the Service Dog level is that the child can be distracted, redirected, and refocused almost instantaneously on the dog as it performs a task to intercept the unwanted behavior.
This can result in simply preserving a family evening out or preventing a sometimes violent, self-harming and dangerous episode that our children often face when their body (more specifically their brain) betrays them.
Since meltdowns often occur during periods of transition for the child with autism, having a Service Dog by their side in all places, public and private, is necessary. Through companionship, comfort, and unconditional love, service dogs help provide a calming sense of consistency and stability in the child’s life.

These Service Dogs are also trained to perform many other task like tethering, tracking and trailing, and alerting to give the family some security of safety for their autistic child.

WHAT IS AUTISM ( Autistic Spectrum Disorder)
Autism is a product of the brain and how information is processed, how the world is perceived, how simple and complex tasks are performed.
A major obstacle in the Autism world is the ability to access the tools of the brain to negotiate conflict and stress.
When a ‘typical’ person encounters stress, he is able to access a large toolbox of methods to moderate his anxiety. A person with Autism is drawing from a more shallow pool of resources and must often rely on their caregiver to assist.

What I want you to do is think about some of the behaviors that you may see or have seen in a person diagnosed with autistic spectrum disorder.
Below I have listed 15 behaviors that as a trainer I see in dog behavior on a social level. Normal Canine Behavior.
Keep in mind that dogs are non-verbal and they communicate in the canine world through body language, eye contact, and energy.

1. I will never tell a lie. Honest in all my actions. I will show you exactly what I’m thinking all the time whether it’s a toy, food I want, or to cuddle with you on the sofa.
2. I may not speak when spoken to but that doesn’t mean I don’t hear you.
3. Sarcasm is completely lost on me. Just say what you mean if you want an honest response from me.
4. I’m empathetic to others, but on my own terms.
5. I sometimes express my frustration in unusual ways.
6. I tend to focus my energy and attention on one thing at a time.
7. I may spontaneously react to a situation in a way that seems out of context.
8. My playtime is often repetitive, I do well with routines.
9. I sometimes have trouble transitioning when I’m put in an unfamiliar environment.
10. I sometimes fear things for no apparent reason.
11. I may have an outburst at any given time in any given situation. Talking to me about it may or may not result in me stopping the outburst.
12. I may be sensitive about where I can be touched. My head, ears or feet may be off limits.
13. If something scares me when I’m young, it may be very difficult for me to not fear that thing for a long time.
14. Sometimes when I gotta go, I just gotta go. Hopefully there is a bathroom nearby but if not, well I gotta go.
15. I may stay up late at night and sleep during the day. It all depends on my mood.
A child with autism may have a hard time speaking to others, but with a dog, they seem to have a built-in topic of conversation or an interconnection as well as a friend to turn to in challenging moments. A lifelong friendship is made.
Autism service dogs take companionship to the next level, providing life-changing physical, intellectual, and emotional support.
A dog is completely nonjudgmental and nonintimidating . The dog provides unconditional love and this can be life changing for your family.

Autism Service Dogs and Training: Contact: 417.439.0944

The Pack Walk

The proper way to walk your dog on a leash: pack walks
Walk your dog, do not let your dog walk you. If you allow your dog to walk in front of you while on a lead you are reinforcing in the dog's mind that the dog is alpha over you because the leader always goes first. This can lead to many behavioral issues that some regard as a "breed trait" or "personality," when actually it is your dog being in charge of its humans. When a dog walks in front, it does not drain its mental energy. The dog is not relaxed, as it has the big responsibility of leading the pack. This mental anguish can build up inside of a dog. When a dog is hyper or high-strung it means the dog is not getting the proper amount and/or type of exercise. If your dog runs laps around your yard or house, this is an indication that it is not getting enough exercise.

If you take your dog for long walks daily and it is still hyper, ask yourself, when we left for the walk who led the way out the door/gate? Who leads on the walk? Was the dog following you, watching you for direction or were you following the dog? Was the dog smelling where and when it pleased? If you answered "yes" to these questions you are walking your dog while it is in an excited state of mind. Your dog is worried about leading which does not calm the mind. If you answered "no" to these questions, then you may have a super high energy dog that needs even more exercise. It is not a natural state of mind for a canine animal to be so hyper.

Keep in mind it is not solely the act of heeling, but also that you as the human are making the decision for the dog to heel. How often do you walk? Do you MAKE your dog heel or does the dog heel when it pleases just because it gets tired? Just because a dog walks well on a lead, not pulling, and for most of the walk walks beside the human does not mean the human is being a pack leader; it really is about who is making the decisions. Was your dog calm and in a submissive state of mind when you snapped on their lead? When you left your home, who went out the doorway and/or gate first, you or the dog? Does the dog decide to heel when it wishes, but pull to the side to sniff or walk out in front when it pleases? Or is the human consciously making the dog heel? If the human allows the dog to decide, because after all he walks "pretty good," then the dog is making the calls and you are allowing your dog to be your leader. If it is all about who is making the decisions, can you decide to let your dog walk in front? No, since instinct tells a dog the leader leads the way, your decision to allow your dog to walk in front will be communicating to your dog that you are allowing him to be your leader.

A pack walk is also the best way to introduce new dogs to one another or to get dogs who already do not like one another to accept each other. Any unwanted reactions from one dog to another should be immediately corrected. By the end of your walk they will feel like they are one pack. It is important that the dogs who are out on the walk are all heeling beside the person holding the leash. Any dog that is walking out in front of their humans will begin to regard himself as the alpha of the group. By making the dogs heel beside or behind the person holding the lead, you are communicating to the dogs that the humans are above them in the pecking order and that all the dogs are on the same follower level.

Remember, it only takes one alpha dog to set off any other dogs around. If you are walking multiple dogs that usually fight you may need more than one human to walk the dogs. Make sure all human walkers are making the dog they are walking heel and that they are correcting any signs of aggression towards the other dogs. You may allow the dogs to smell one another's back end, but make sure you keep walking in the process. The key is to keep moving forward. Keep the dogs walking and remain confident. The dogs will feel your authority or your weakness. Stay strong.
All dogs, regardless of size or breed, need to be taken on daily walks, jogs, runs, bike rides, rollerblading, or any other means you have to get your dog moving. Taking your dog for a walk is an important ritual in keeping your dog mentally stable. A dog, as an animal, is a walker/traveler by instinct. Packs of dogs get up in the morning and walk. Simply having a large backyard or taking your dog to the dog park is not going to satisfy this instinct in your dog. As Cesar Millan, the Dog Whisperer says, "To your dog, your backyard is like a large fish bowl in which they are trapped. Fish swim, birds fly and dogs walk. Having a dog should not be about only fulfilling our human needs, we owe it to our dogs, to give them what THEY instinctually need."

While this might seem like a daunting daily task, the good news is walking is mentally good for humans, too.
For a dog to be mentally stable, you as an owner must take your dog for daily walks to release mental and physical energy. The proper way to walk a dog is the dog walking either beside you, or behind you, and never in front of you. This may seem petty in a human's mind, however it means a lot in a dog’s mind. When a human allows a dog to walk in front, they are sending signals to the dog that he is leading the human. Instinct tells a dog that the leader goes first. A lack of exercise allows the buildup of the mental energy which would otherwise be released in a proper walk, and permitting a dog to be pack leader can cause many behavioral problems in a dog—such as, but not limited to, hyper-activity, neurotic and/or obsessive-compulsive behaviors—all of which are signs of a dog that is not mentally stable. An unstable dog is not a happy dog. Excitement in a dog is NOT a sign of happiness. Dogs that act very excitedly when their humans come home are showing signs of a lack of exercise and/or leadership. For a dog, excitement does not indicate happiness. In most cases it is a sign of a dog that is not mentally stable. When you come home after being gone, avoid speaking to your dog in an excited manner for a few minutes. Go and do something else first. When we see dogs as human, it is difficult to accept a dog's excitement as not being a sign of happiness, however, we must remember dogs are canines, not humans.

I have heard many people say that making a dog walk beside or behind them is mean. Those who believe this are seeing the dog as having human traits. It is actually crueler to assume your dog is just like you in his feelings and instincts and not see him as the canine animal that he is. Think outside the box and accept that your dog is an animal with different needs than a human.

Many people take their dogs out for a daily walk, however, the dog is walking in front of them. Getting a dog to walk properly on a lead is not as hard as it may seem—yes, even your dog(s). (You can walk more than one dog properly on a lead.)
When getting ready to walk your dog, call the dog to you, do not go to the dog to put the lead on. After the dog comes to you make him sit calmly before snapping on the lead or slipping on the collar. Retractable leashes are not recommended, as they give the handler less control. The way you leave your house and property is also important. Your dog must go out the door after you. If you put the leash on the dog and/or leave the house while the dog is excited and leading you, then you are setting the mood for the rest of the walk to be in an excited state.

Take your dog to the front door and open the door. Make the dog sit quietly; do not allow the dog to bolt out the door. The dog needs to see you are the one who decides when it's time to leave.

As soon as your dog is sitting quietly at the exit it's time to leave. Be sure you exit the house before the dog, even if it's just a step before the dog.
The collar should be far up on the neck, which gives you more control over the dog. A body harness is not recommended for walking dogs. Harnesses were designed for pulling—weight pulling, sled pulling, etc. Harnesses go around the strongest point on the dog’s body, making it difficult to control the dog. Keeping the lead high up on the neck, the same way they do in dog shows, will give you more control with less effort. A great tool for keeping the collar high up on the neck is the Illusion Collar. There should be no tension in the lead. Do not allow the dog to pull and don't constantly pull on your dog. Relax.

The lead should be short and hang loose. If the dog starts to pull, snap (tug) the lead up and to the side, throwing him off balance, then hold the lead loosely again (a very quick tug). If the dog starts getting too excited and you're not keeping him beside or behind you, stop and make the dog sit. Wait until he is calm, then start again. Do not call to the dog when you start walking again, just start walking. Pack leaders do not call the pack to come with them, the pack instinctually follows. The dog needs to learn he is following you, and tune into you, the person walking the dog. Do not praise your dog for walking calmly. This only creates excitement and you are more likely to pull your dog out of his calm, submissive state.
The dog should not sniff the ground and relieve himself where he pleases for the sake of marking; his job while walking is to concentrate on following his handler. When walking the dog you can allow it to tip you off of when it has to go to the bathroom and allow it to go if the spot is an acceptable place for a dog to relieve itself. The thing you need to watch for and use your judgment is whether or not the dog is relieving itself because it has to go to the bathroom or if it is simply trying to mark the area. It is ok if the dog tells you it has to go to the bathroom and to allow it to go, but it is not acceptable to allow a dog to mark its scent all over for the sake of marking on the walk.

If you pass a barking dog or other distraction, keep moving forward. If your dog averts its attention to the distraction, give a tug on the lead to avert attention back to the walk. If the tug does not work you can also use your foot, not to kick the dog, but to touch him enough to snap his attention back on you. If the dog is pulling, stop and make him sit. Correct any excited behavior from the distraction with a tug, and if that does not work you can also use a firm touch to the neck using your hand as a claw. Do this as soon as you see the dog starting to avert his gaze toward the distraction, or as soon as you see a look in your dog's eyes that tells you he is going to begin barking or growling. Timing is everything. This must be done right before the behavior happens or at the exact moment it starts. You do not want to wait until it escalates. If you wait too long before correcting a dog (we’re talking seconds), the dog may not even hear you; he will be too focused on the distraction. When correcting your dog, match your dog’s intensity.

Walk at a good pace, keeping your shoulders back and your head held high. Dogs can sense tension or lack of confidence. Walk proud, like you are a strong leader. A dog will sense this and respond to it.

Some like to have their dog sit when they stop at crosswalks, etc. Sitting down is not necessary, however, the dog remaining calm is.
Putting a dog backpack on a dog is one way to make the walk more meaningful by giving the dog a job to do. Throw a couple of water bottles in the pack to add some weight. The dog will get a better workout, and it will also slow him down a bit, making it easier to walk. This is a good idea for some of the more active breeds with high energy levels.

If you are going off to work for the day, the dog should be walked before you leave the house. This will put the dog into a resting mode during the time you are gone. Dogs should also be walked before eating, fulfilling the dog's instinct to work for food.
Sometimes bad weather prevents us from getting outside and walking our dogs. Even on these days dogs still need to release energy. Teaching your dog to walk on a treadmill is an excellent way to do this.

While getting outside and walking is best, a treadmill can work as a substitute when that is not possible. It also can be a very good bonding experience for both owner and dog as the dog exercises side-by-side with the owner.
Dogs, of all breeds and types, that are taken for daily walks, and that are made to walk beside or behind the owner, are less likely to be destructive, obsessive, have separation anxiety and/or dominancy issues, among many other behavior problems. Dogs with higher energy should be taken for longer, more vigorous walks, some two or more times a day. For a dog, walking is a primal instinct. Fulfilling this need in your dog will make for a happier dog and happier owners.

Don’t forget the importance of the calm, firm confidence of the handler in making a huge difference in the success of the walk. The dogs can feel energy and would not have responded to nervous, hyper, scared or tense human emotions.

Walking Off-Leash
Some of us are fortunate enough to have a secluded, safe place to walk our dogs off-leash. I am often asked if a dog that walks off-leash is still seeing their human as pack leader. Yes, it is possible for a dog to run and explore the woods on a walk off-leash in a safe area and still see you as pack leader. To accomplish this, your dog needs to see that you are making the calls and deciding when it is OK to explore and when it is time to come back to you. A simple test, and something you should do before giving the command to explore, is to ask your dog to walk with you heeling without the leash. If your dog is willing to heel next to you when asked without a leash, you are doing something right. A truly happy, balanced follower will enjoy walking beside you when you ask, leash or no leash. If you are not able to do this keep working on it; our best friends are worth the effort.

While out on a walk I often see owners attempt to teach their dog not to react to my dogs by completely stopping and trapping their dogs in a corner. Some owners continuously put food in front of their dogs telling them to stay, others use corrections to tell their dogs to stay. What these owners are doing is teaching their dogs that passing another dog is a big event. What you should be doing is teaching your dog that passing another dog is no big deal and to keep on walking. Whether you like to use food as a distraction or if you simply wish to tell the dog to walk because that is part of life, be sure to keep moving. Stopping and making a big deal out of the other dog creates anticipation. It is teaching the dog that other dogs are indeed something to be concerned about. When you continue to walk you help the dog's mind move onto other things

Loose Leash Walking: Call Us: 417.439.0944

Training Plan Introduction

Over the past week your dog has gone through an intense training program. But now for the next several weeks we will focus our training on you. We will be teaching you how to become your dog’s ‘Pack Leader’ by using what your dog has learned over the past week in daily life. This training will set the rules and boundaries for your dog to follow while at home and in public. By strictly following the instructions outlined in the guide you will you have a loving and respectable relationship with your dog.
Week One: Session One
Now that your dog has returned home from training they will initially view you as a playmate, equal, or pack member below them in rank. This is until the pack structure is rearranged. A dog’s instincts tells them that they do not need to listen to someone of equal or lower rank than them. This is normal for the first 2-3 weeks after the dog returns.

Do’s and Don’ts
1. Keep your dog on a leash for the entire first week.
Exceptions: Potty breaks in a fenced in area
When in a crate or kennel
Why? It teaches that you are in control their daily activities.
It’s harder to get in trouble with a leash on.

2. Practice the SIT, DOWN, and WAIT drills 3-4 times a day.
Each Session should only be 3-5 minutes at a time.
Be sure to reward your dog every other or third time during each session
Redirecting or correcting disobedience may be required.

3. Go through doors, gates, or down stairs BEFORE YOUR DOG. Have the dog “SIT” and “WAIT” while you go first.
Why? Pack leaders always go first.

4. Do NOT let your dog lay or sit with you on ANY furniture. NEVER let your dog sleep with you.
Why? The dog must ask you before they are allowed to get on any furniture.
Pack leaders get the best places to sleep and if you let your dog sleep with
you they will think you are equal to them.

5. Do not show your dog too much affection. YOU must initiate affection, not your dog. If your dog demands to be pet, reject them. 30 seconds later you can call them over to be petted. You can pet your dog but keep it short
Why? Pack Leaders in the wild don’t give their pack too much love. Your dog will
6. All toys should be PUT UP and OUT OF REACH from your dog. YOU should be the one to initiate play.
Why? Toys left out all the time can lead to POSSESSIVE BEHAVIOR, which can
lead to a dog bite.
The goal is for you to be the center of your dog’s universe not a toy or
anything else.
Exception: The dog is allowed to have a chew toy while kenneled.

The Daily Walk
1. Dog MUST be on a leash
2. The walk command is “HEEL”
3. Your dog is required to walk on your LEFT side with their right center neck positioned no further than your left knee.
4. Keep the leash loose when your dog is in the correct position.
5. IF your dog begins to advance forward give a verbal “nope” correction.
a. If your dog continues to advance repeat the verbal correction and give two quick light backwards tugs on the leash. Repeat as needed.
b. If this continues not to work, immediately turn and go back the way you came from for a few steps and then turn again and continue your walk.

Walk Requirements
Small Breeds: 25-30 minutes of walk time, outdoors, on a leash.
Large Breeds: 45-60 minutes of walk time, outdoors, on a leash

Your dog will constantly be looking at your ability to lead. Your dog must see that you are confident, fair, and 100% consistent. Be firm on your implemented rules and boundaries that you have set for your dog. As Pack Leader you are expected to protect and manage the pack.

Protecting the Pack
1. NEVER allow your dog to have physical contact with ANY DOG OUTSIDE your OWN PACK. You dog needs to be socialized in VISUAL VICINITY of other dogs.
Why? It will teach your dog how you expect them to act around other dogs.
With this concept your dog will feel secured in your leadership skills.
Your dog is aware that, most of the time, outsiders will be rejected by their
Pack Leader from entering the grounds.
2. DO NOT let humans outside your “Family Pack” run up and pet your dog.
Why? It is your job as “Pack Leader” to protect from intruders.
3. The ONLY TIME outsiders can give your dog affection is if there is CLEAR COMMUNICATION between you and your dog.

1. Have your dog sit beside you on a leash
2. Once they are calm and sitting patiently allow the other human to approach from
the right side and pet your dog.
Managing Your Dog
1. Management refers to controlling your dog, both with supervision and restraints.
2. ALWAYS supervise your dog when they are unrestrained and be sure to restain them in some way when unsupervised.
Examples of a restraint: placing the dog in a safe room, kennel, or a fenced area.
In some situations crating your dog may be necessary. Especially if your dog destroys fabrics or furnishings when left alone. This is not cruel. It is responsible pet ownership.
Remember This
Training is hugely important but you cannot and should not try to train your way out of every situation. Never set your dog up for failure but rather set your dog up to win. By practicing Management skills life will likely be much more relaxing for you and your dog. The more variables you are able to control in your environment the better chances of your dog’s rehabilitation.

Week Two: Session Two
1. Continue practicing the steps included in Week One.
2. Ask your trainer if you can give your dog a little more freedom.
3. IF your dog has EXCELLED with Session One Practice all week allow your dog more freedoms. While still being supervised your dog is allowed time off the leash inside the house.
a. IF your dog begins to practice BAD and UNWANTED behavior they must be immediately put back on the leash. Until they act correctly.
Week Three: Session Three
If your dog has excelled from Session 2 practice all week the “PLACE COMMAND” shall be introduced. The place command is sending your dog to a particular spot. Be sure to continue practicing the steps from session 1 and 2 as well.
1. Have your dog on a leash and choose a designated spot (make sure it’s nice and comfortable!)
2. Stand with your dog about 3 feet away.
3. Give the command “PLACE” as you throw your dog’s favorite treats into the spot
4. Lead your dog to the spot to collect the treat.
5. Congratulate your dog with the marker “YES” and lots of petting praise.
6. Repeat steps 2-5
This builds a connection in your dog's mind between you saying “PLACE”,
pointing, and the act of going to the spot. Right now the treat is acting as a lure rather than a reward. This will change is step 8.
7. Gradually increase the distance between where you and the dog are standing and the spot. Continue steps 3-5.
8. Say “PLACE” while pointing towards the spot. But do NOT throw the treat.
9. Your dog should go to the spot
10. When at the spot use the “DOWN” command
11. If your dog goes to the spot and goes down reward them with a treat and praise them!
12. Repeat steps 8-11 until the do not have to give the “DOWN” command.
13. Add duration to the time your dog stays on the spot.
14. Use the command “FREE” to release your dog from their spot
15. Gradually move further and further, eventually into another room.
16. Repeat steps 15-17 until your dog performs these commands perfectly 10/10 times.
17. While practicing “PLACE” add distractions. Such as bouncing a ball or putting your dog’s food bowl down. Repeat until your dog performs perfectly 10/10 times
18. Begin to fade and vary rewards. Reward a treat every second or third time, or throw a ball for the dog to chase as the reward instead.
You may choose to add multiple spots throughout your home for this exercise

Week Four: Session Four
Continue to practice steps from Weeks 1,2,and 3
If the dog has excelled from Session Three Practice all week then the trainer will assist the pet owner in establishing any rules and boundaries, and correcting any unwanted and undesirable behavior, as well as any areas of weakness. This week your dog must learn the “SIT/STAY” command to be able to progress to Generalization Training in Public Places
1. Use the “SIT/STAY” command
2. Walk away 30 Feet
3. Do NOT call your dog to you walk back to them. Use the “FREE” command.

Week Five: Session Five
Continue to practice steps from week 1, 2, 3, and 4. Begin to take your dog with you to pet friendly places and begin to learn the “COME” (the recall) command.
1. Start with your dog on a leash (6-15 feet) in an area free of distractions
2. Use the “SIT/STAY” command
3. Walk to the end of the leash
4. Say the dog’s name and motivate them with their favorite treat or toy
5. Use the “COME” command
6. Once the dog starts to come to you RAPIDLY move BACKWARDS until they reach you
8. Do NOT punish your dog if they do not come to you. Use the leash to “reel” them in as you use the “COME” command. Praise your dog when it comes to you and try again.

Week Six: Session Six

The recall command is the most important of the commands that your dog needs to learn. This week your dog will master the “COME” command while under distractions as well as basic obedience commands will be generalized. The training site for the “Basic Command Recognition Evaluation While Under Distraction and Outdoor” and “Recall While Under Distraction and Outdoors” will be determined by the trainer.


It all begins with intention vs. perception.

Humans and dogs speak separate languages. People are extremely verbal while dogs are extremely non-verbal. Dog communication consists of eye contact, body language, and reading energy.

Have you ever been in the presence of someone that gave you the creeps? You may not have spoken to them but you feel something that makes you uncomfortable? That is energy. It is the feeling or vibration that you get from another being.

The most important law when trying to understand animals, especially Dogs, is that they love to follow strong and confident personalities. They do not follow marshmallows or super softies. They also do not follow anything that is interpreted as weak or unstable. For example; Are you anxious when your dog is misbehaving? Do you feel sorry for your dog? Or maybe guilty? Are you stressed all day, everyday about life events. These emotions are interpreted by dogs and other animals much differently than humans. A dog will view this human behavior as weakness and will take over the leadership role for the security of the rest of the pack. For most people, this can be a difficult concept to grasp in the beginning. But once you begin to see and understand this, it all becomes very clear.

Here is the difference between human beings and other animals. For instance, my Belgian Malinois female had a litter of puppies a while back. I studied in detail how she raised and disciplined her puppies from the day they were born up until after she weaned them. (Pack Structure) One of the pups was not as strong as the others were. What did mother dog do? She pushed it aside and ignore it. She did not feel sorry for it or give it her undivided attention through its struggle to survive. Why? Because weakness goes against a dogs DNA.
Other examples that we all have seen one time or another, is a weak squirrel in the nest? Out. Weak baby bird? Out. Regardless of the animal, they will not foster weakness.

Humans however, will find that weak little pup and be sure to nurse it. If we find the squirrel or bird on the sidewalk we are ready with the eye dropper and heating pad to rescue it. This is what makes us human. We are one of the only species that behave this way. The reason, humans can differentiate the differences.

Dogs can not become people. But you can learn to be a bit of a dog.

A dog is an animal that does not have the same reasoning skills as a human. Dogs do have emotions, but their emotions are different than those of humans. They are simple creatures with instincts, and their emotions lack a complex thought process. They feel joy when they know you are pleased, they feel sad when someone dies. However, they do not premeditate or plan ahead, and do not dwell in the past or future. They live for whatever is happening at the moment.
Let’s say that you are upset over something that has happened in your life, for example, your girlfriend or boyfriend just broke up with you. You came home from work mad at your boss. You may even feel that your whole life is falling apart for a number of reasons.

Your dog will know you are upset, but it will not know why. Your dog is unable to reason out in its head that your emotional state of mind has nothing to do with your continued ability to lead the pack. Its interpretation of you will be that you have unstable energy and it will see you as weak.

Your dog needs to know that you know how to lead him. They need to know that you are confident in your decisions and that you can handle whatever the world throws at you. My definition of dominance is simple "THE ART OF LEADERSHIP".
Someone has to make the decisions in the relationship. It should not ever be the dog. Your dog needs for you to learn to be a “Loving, Calm and Assertive Pack Leader”. Your dogs absolutely require you take over for them. This will build an enormous amount of trust with your dog.

1. If you have a dog with a sharp temperament, he needs you to set limits with him.
2. Soft personality dogs are more sensitive and engage in direction more easily.
3. You should never be harsh with your dog, However, you should be firm.
4. Once you decide you are going to require something or engage in an activity, be sure you follow through.
5. We humans have successfully domesticated the dog, but we will never be able to de-animalize a dog and remove their natural instincts.
6. We cannot change a dog into having human characteristics, as this is how behavior problems arise.
7. While we think we are treating a dog in such a way that will make them happy, we are in fact doing just the opposite.
8. By not satisfying a dog’s natural instincts we create confused and unhappy dogs.
To happily coexist with a dog, we need to understand our dogs and satisfy THEM, rather than only satisfying ourselves with our humanizing behaviors.


We hear a lot about positive reinforcement training for dogs. I am often told to forget all of the discipline and leadership and only use positive reinforcement. Positive reinforcement is a wonderful thing and I use it all of the time. If you do a good thing, I will reward you with a good thing.
Positive reinforcement does not just mean you toss the dog a treat. Giving affection is another way to positively influence your dog to do something good. You don't even have to hug, pet or sweet-talk the dog for it to know you are happy with it. Dogs can just feel it.

Food is one of the most powerful tools that you can use to motivate and train your dog. Think of it as very similar as to how you view your pay check each week. How long would you work at your current job if they stopped paying you. A day, a week, maybe a couple of weeks.
If you are not using food to train and motivate your dog, then you could be missing out on one of the simplest ways to get your dog performing at a higher level than he or she currently is.
If your dog is not motivated and enjoying your training they will not perform as well as they can or as enthusiastically. THERE IS POWER IN FOOD REWARDS.

Positive reinforcement works wonderfully, but not all of the time. There are certain situations where rewarding is not going to work. Sometimes you just have to say "no."

The question you must asked yourself is, does your dog really understand what you want?
Positive Reinforcement without guidance, leadership and discipline does not work 100% of the time because you are missing some of the communication. You tell the dog if it does this good thing I will reward you, but you never tell the dog that you do not agree with the other behavior. How is the dog to know what he is not to do if he only knows he gets rewarded for one behavior but nothing is said about the unwanted behavior? Dogs are not complex thinkers. They are very simple.

Some behaviors should not be rewarded with treats all of the time. Sometimes the behavior should just be expected, for example having the discipline to not pull you on a leash or bolt out your front door when you open it. You should expect your dogs to not pull you and expect them not to bolt. That is discipline. You say "no, wait" and you say it like You mean it and they stay because they respect you as the one in charge.

One important thing to remember when using the positive reinforcement method is to be sure you do not associate a dog's bad behavior with a reward. For example, if your dog is barking at a human and you wave food in front of his nose to distract him to get him to stop, you have just associated barking at a human with a food reward. The goal is to distract the dog BEFORE it barks so you are associating the food with a human and no barking. WORK ENGAGEMENT DRILLS WITH YOUR DOG. The "WATCH ME" command.

I believe positive reinforcement is a wonderful thing. As a trainer there is power in training dogs with motivational techniques. However, I also believe it should not be used all of the time in all situations. I believe in a mixture of positive reinforcement, discipline and leadership. Dogs crave leadership. They want to know the rules. You are not doing your dogs any favors by only rewarding the good, and never letting your dog know the other half of the story.

When a Correction is Warranted

When, able use a positive-based training method, such as using a treat or toy, rather than compulsion-based or correction-based training.

• Explaining something over and over again is unlikely to work
• Do not correct too strong or too weak.
• A dog should never be corrected unless you know they understand what they should do.


1. Build a relationship with your dog.
Corrections are given to a dog to teach them right from wrong and without a bond
it is unlikely they will be able to learn.
2. Emotions and Corrections DO NOT go together
Infusing emotions into corrections can be confusing to a dog . All corrections
should be delivered quickly, fairly, firmly, and WITHOUT emotion.
3. Clear communication is KEY.
If you have to correct a dog repeatedly there may be a few issues such as:
• The dog does not understand what is being asked
• The correction was not firm enough
4. Be FIRM with your corrections.
It is better to deliver one well-timed and well executed correction than constant
weak corrections. A weak correction might be interpreted as play.*
5. When correcting a dog use the proper training equipment
Corrections are delivered through the use of a choke, prong, or remote collar.*
*Note: These methods are ONLY used for serious aggression, and dominance-based aggression
A correction for obedience should be delivered in a way that will teach the dog the right action. For example, if a dog does not sit when asked they can be corrected by pushing down on their lower back. After completing the action the dog is praised. A dog that is being corrected for aggression does not receive praise after correction.


  1. The correction must be delivered in LESS than 2 SECONDS otherwise FORGET IT.
    Dogs DO NOT understand what they did wrong if they have done something else
    after the first mistake.
  2. Do NOT let your dog be punished by someone who is NOT a FAIR leader, such as children.

    Do NOT spend 10-15 minutes in training, this will put the dog on overload.
    2. At On Command we NEVER put the dogs away after a failed training session.
    Putting a failed dog away can create a dog that will never succeed and while never form a strong bond with their human.
    3. Keep a couple of treats in your pocket, give them to the dog periodically to watch the dogs reaction. If they refuse, your correction may be too strong or they have lost their spirit. Be sure to take a break.

    Dog Training should be the most fun and eventful thing for the dog and the human.

The Importance of Pack Structure

When a dog lives with humans, the humans becomes their pack. For the dog this pack has a specific order of power. Unfortunately, in many households the dog perceives itself as the leader of its pack. When a dog perceives themselves as the leader of the house many unwanted behaviors may emerge. Dog’s require more than just affection. Rules, appropriate attention, power balance, and many other things are needed for a dog to become well-minded and balanced.

A man and his wife just rescued a dog. The man said that for the first few weeks the dog would just look at them and growl. An incompetent dog trainer told the man that the dog was simply nervous and to give the new dog plenty of treats and love. Thus the man gave the dog limitless affection without rules.

One day the dog walked up to the man and demanded to be pet and the man allowed it. Since then the dog has adored the man and his wife but lunges, barks, and attempts to bite everybody that visits them

In the scenario the dog has taken the position of “PACK LEADER” The dog is now attempting to protect his pack from intruders by biting, lunging and barking at strangers. The dog in the scenario is trying to control humans who don't always listen to him, this is incredibly stressful on the dog. And a STRESSED dog is a potentially DANGEROUS dog.

Dominant Behaviors include…
• Constantly leaning on you
• Putting their paw on you
• Always feeling the need to touch you in some way
• Using their nose to make you pet them.

The dog believing that it is the pack leader is the number one cause of separation anxiety.
1. In a pack only the leader is allowed to leave.
2. If your dog sees you as a follower and you leave, they might be so mentally anguished that they will take their frustration out on your house or themselves.


Mental tension and energy build can lead to many common misbehaviors including:
Eliminating in the house, obsessive or neurotic behavior, chemming on themselves, overexcitment, barking excessively, whining, not following commands, running off, getting in trash, destroying things in the house, obsessively digging, chewing furniture, scratching, aggression

What Can Pet Owners Do?

1. TAKE PACK STRUCTURE TRAINING, this program is offered here at On Command and is the best thing you can do.
2. Provide affection at appropriate times.
Affection alone will NOT give you a well minded and balanced dog, it can be
DETRIMENTAL at the wrong time.
Affection is a REWARD, you are reinforcing the behavior prior.
o Change an unwanted behavior into a behavior you asked for
o Responding to a rule or command
o Entered a calm-submissive state of mind.
“Comforting” a dog if it is aggressive, obsessive, shy, skittish, or ect only
intensifies the feeling.
If your dog has had a traumatic experience and you attempt to ‘comfort it’ it
does not allow the dog’s mind to process. By comforting the dog they may view you as weak.
3. Take your dogs on walks.
Simply having a back yard is NOT enough to satisfy your dog’s traveling instinct.
• Your dog must either walk BESIDE or BEHIND you.
• Your dog must NEVER walk in FRONT of you
Why? The PACK LEADER walks in FRONT
• Do NOT let your dog SNIFF or RELIEVE themselves wherever they please. YOU decide WHEN.
A lack of exercise may cause many behavioral problems in a dog.
4. Do NOT SCREAM, YELL, or BEAT your dog if they do something wrong.
This is NOT how a pack leader corrects their followers.
Instead use a very self-assured and calm manner to correct the dog with an assertive voice correction or a leash correction.

Remember: Dogs need more than affection to become well-minded and balanced, they need long walks, rules, and boundaries.


Here are tips for preparing your dog for the youngest pack member of your family pack.

Before The Baby Comes

Honestly evaluate your dog—and yourselves. Your new baby may not be safe if your dog already exhibits aggressive, territorial or other unwanted behaviors.

You must start early with your dog's training if he is already presenting with unwanted behavior.

Alter your routine months in advance of your due date to reflect what life will be like after the baby is born.

Gradually cut back now on time and attention so your dog doesn’t suddenly feel a lack of affection.


Start Walking often with your stroller and your dog before your baby comes. Mom and stroller go out the door first, dog last. Pack items in the stroller with baby scents like diapers, powder—and perhaps a crying doll in the stroller.

Something else that could be helpful is strap a doggie backpack on your dog loaded with snacks, water and baby goodies. This will help show the dog that he has an integral role to play, with this new “pack member.”

Then pretend a doll is your new baby. Take the baby doll and hold it, rock it, dress it and so on. Whenever the dog is behaving well around the doll (and, later, the baby), reward your dog. When the doll is gone, so are the treats. (Reward)


Make sure your dog is well-exercised beforehand. Inside your home (the baby’s turf), one parent should confidently hold the baby while the dog is several feet away. After a few days, invite the dog closer. Look for healthy body language like sitting calmly, wagging tail, a curious nose, head lowered. If a dog turns his back and avoids the baby, take this as a red flag. DO NOT FORCE THIS ISSUE!!

When you or your family returns home from being out, always greet your new pack member first, (the new baby) for a couple of minutes before greeting your dog. You must remember that their is a pecking order within your family pack. This is a big deal to a dog. They know instinctively that higher ranking pack members get attention before lower ranking members.
Never leave an infant or toddler alone with a dog. This is especially important when the baby is on the floor.
Include the dog when people stop by. Remember, the dog was part of your pack first. Enlist the help of a calm and trustworthy person in the house to be responsible for the dog when you are not able to.


You have an opportunity to demonstrate PACK STRUCTURE when the time comes for you to take the baby and the dog for a walk. The dog must be on leash with a training collar.
When you walk the dog it is NEVER allowed to walk in front of the baby stroller. It must ALWAYS stay behind it. This is a huge thing for a dog. Again, It genetically understands that higher ranking pack members go through doors first, go through gates first, go down stairs first and LEAD ON WALKS.

Remember, If you take your dog for a walk (without the baby) and it pulls you down the street you need to solve that problem before you take the baby with you.


What is it about smaller dogs that lend them to a greater risk of developing behavior problems?
The answer becomes incredibly obvious once I watch the way their human companions interact with them.
Small dogs aren’t born psychologically different than larger dogs. Although man has engineered the outside of dogs in different ways, ( long hair, short hair, ears down, ears up, long tails, short tails and etc.), they’re pretty much the same on the inside. The huge mastiff and the teeny, tiny Chihuahua both start out more or less the same – as dogs.
The reason that so many more of the little guys end up unstable is us, the pet owner.
We create those issues unintentionally (usually) by the way we treat them.
Why we do it is obvious, little dogs are so cute. And it’s that cuteness that can be their biggest downfall. People tend to treat them more like their favorite stuffed animals, or a human child, than like the dogs they are. They baby and coddle them, while neglecting to fulfill their most basic canine needs.
The biggest contributing factor here is that behaviors that you would quickly correct a Rottweiler for are overlooked or ignored in a little house dog. Something like jumping or begging for attention are seen as cute for the small dogs, but as a obvious problem, that must be corrected in the larger dogs.
But so what? We can let the little dogs get away with that. Who cares, right?
Well, you should care because psychologically, the issues (the good, and the bad behavior) are the same to the dog, regardless big or little in size.
If you have a small dog, it’s best to pretend that he’s huge. And whenever he does something think to yourself, “would this be cool if he was a 120 lb. Mastiff?” If the answer is no, then maybe you should start setting up some boundaries for the little guy instead of enabling him to become unstable.
Just today I was dealing with a small dog who had extreme "Small Dog Syndrome", who has been practicing this behavior for the past 10 plus years of his life.

"An Important Fact To Remember"
In my experience, cute little small dogs are the most likely to get “loved to death.”
There’s nothing wrong with loving your little dog but you have to make sure that his canine needs are met first, each and every day.
Treat him like the dog he is. First and foremost – put him down and let him walk!!!
Way too many small dog owners carry their little dogs around like handbags. The dog’s world, is feet on the floor. Let your dog experience the world as a dog – on his own four little legs. He can be your little, wittle, bitty baby; but not before he’s a good old fashioned butt sniffing, tail wagging canine.

If your dog presents with one or more of these behaviors then your dog could be suffering from "SMALL DOG SYNDROME".
Jumping up on people
Begging for food
Assuming the best and most comfortable place on the human’s bed
Growling or barking at anyone trying to get close to the dog’s owner
Demanding to get attention, affection, petting, treats, etc.
Insistence on going through a door way first
Pulling on a leash or refusing to walk on a leash at all
Nipping at people’s heels
Refusing stubbornly to listen to commands that have already been mastered
Barking or whining at a person
Finding and sleeping on the highest perch he can find
Separation anxiety symptoms
Jumping into a human’s lap uninvited
Growling or barking at other dogs
Growling or barking at people
THERE ARE MANY MORE THAT COULD GO ON THIS LIST, but these are the most common that I see in my profession.
Changing behaviors is neither easy nor impossible, but it does require a small amount of effort on the part of the small breed dog owner to overcome some of those annoying behaviors that have crept up over time. You must be willing to
Change your thinking about your dog's behavior
Re-socialize your dog. I always have a pet owner totally mis-understand this concept as to what I am saying here. " Dogs need to be socialized AROUND new things and in different environments. Meaning people, other dogs, new sounds and new smells. The key word here is AROUND and not interacting with. You must remember that you are your dogs pack leader. Your dog knows from the day it was born how a pack leader should act and present themselves. They are born with it. It is instinctive. What does a Alfa dog do when an intruder comes into his pack, or what does a mother dog do when an intruder approaches her new born puppies. They run the intruder away and they do not allow an intruder to interact in any shape or form. So while socializing your dog around people or things, a good way to show your dog your leadership ability, is to protect him from being handled, hugged, kissed, carried around by every person you come in contact with. Your dog will view this as weakness within your leadership ability to lead the pack. To him, a pack leader is a protector and would reject this type of interaction. You need to become your dogs center of universe, not the neighbor across the street. This is your job as the dogs pet owner.
If needed contact a Trainer for professional help if you can't fix these issues on your own.

There is nothing wrong with showing dogs of any size love and affection, but it must be done with a certain sense of leadership and on your terms.

Affection must start with you and must end with you. By practicing these concepts daily, allows the dog to learn what acceptable behavior is and what is not.