Sorry for the delay in this post! It is almost time for our third training session, so we have been slacking. This weekend was very busy with fun outdoor activities and hunting for a new pet friendly townhouse rental. Look out for posts on these soon!

Quick Tips

  • Train tired and hungry – It really works!
  • Use distractions to your advantage during training and control those that can be too distracting.
  • Collar and leash training really seems to work in my experience, but always take proper safety precautions.
  • You may have to train against a bad habit (jumping) in order to train a trick or good behavior (heel).
  • No pull walking solutions are never perfect or quick. Work with your dog. It will make it even better when you finally get there.

Luna takes in the scenery on our before training jog.

At the first week’s training session, Luna and I learned something very valuable: train tired and hungry. To try to avoid the little embarrassment that happened the first week and to hopefully prevent any more mysterious holes from appearing in the training area, Luna and I changed up our before training routine.

Last Wednesday, we went for a short jog before class. I made an extra effort to get home from work early, so Luna and I could hit the trails. Sometimes Luna just is not motivated to go to the bathroom, especially if she has been laying around all day. Once we started running she quickly did her business. I was relieved because that meant she would not do it during class. This also helped get out some of the energy she had been storing all day while I was at work and give her better focus during class.

Luna normally gets fed dinner right around 7PM, but that is the same time class starts. Last Wednesday, I decided to feed her after class rather than before. According to our trainer, if Luna is hungry she will be more motivated by food and treats during training (not that she lacks motivation from food already.)

So how did last week go? It was almost 100% better! Luna did not relieve herself in the training area and did not attempt to dig hole to get to the other side of the world. She also barked and howled less than the first week and paid attention. Bringing Luna tired and hungry really seemed to do the trick.

What is the best advice you have or have learned about dog training?


How Luna felt after a long day of training.

We also changed up where we stood in class. Although dog training classes are great opportunities to work on training with distractions, it is good to be able to monitor them. Some of the other dogs may not get along with your dog or may be more vocal and distracting to train next to. After a class or two, you’ll be able to figure out where the best place for you and your dog is.

Also pay attention to what is going on outside of the class. Our training class is right next to a dog agility training class. During the first week Luna and I stood with our backs to the class and she kept turning to see what was going on behind her. Last week we faced the other class. This seemed to help since she could look forward and be aware of her surroundings at the same time. Think about what works best for your dog.

The final change we made last week is that we trained with her collar rather than a harness. I have to say that I agree the collar works wonders at getting the dogs attention during training. I still prefer harnesses for long walks, but I do think the collar gives better control. The only issue with the collar is the risk of it slipping over your dog’s head. This is a big issue especially with beagles who often have narrow heads. If you train or walk your dog with his or her collar, be sure it is fitted properly: not too tight on the neck, but tight enough it will not slip over his or her head. Also with collars, never ever leave a dog unsupervised and tied up by his or her collar (or anything for that matter). This could result in injury or even death. Collars should also not be used to secure dogs in cars. Harnesses are a much better option for cars.


The very food motivated Luna.

During last week’s training session, we worked on moving off treats for sit and started learning stay and heel. I had done a lot of work with Luna on sit, down, and stay, so she is doing well with those. I was a proud dog mom during class because Luna was one of the only dogs that would stay even when I walked behind her! Heel is a completely different story. We train heel by holding a treat by my side and right in front of Luna’s nose. Luna always jumps to get the treat, so it looks like we have to tackle No Jump first. Maybe it would be better if she was a little less motivated by food?

Our trainer also gave us some advice about no pull walking. Luna is a heavy puller, especially when she is on the scent of something. We were given three methods to try by our trainer. All methods are not quick fixes and involve constant reminders to your dog that pulling is bad. Luna and I have been working on them on walks with minimal distractions. There is still plenty room for improvement, but she is showing signs of improvement.

Our homework this week is to work on stay, heel, and no pull. Luna and I will be out enjoying the nice weather and working on our training!

Jessica Shipman
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