Monthly Archives: October 2013

How To Stop My Dog From Chewing Things: Dog Training Northern Virginia

Dog chewing northern virginia

A common question we get at our dog training facility in Northern Virginia is, “How Can I Stop My Dog From Chewing Everything?”

The first thing I have to get you to realize is that your puppy is not doing this out of malice intent.  I hear all of the time, “I cannot believe he chewed through the cord of my flat screen TV.”  Keep in mind, your dog does not know that it’s a 65″ flat screen TV cord that he chewed through, he thought, “Here is a rope to chew on…”  So, for your sanity and your puppy’s well-being, keep that simple fact in mind. 🙂

The good news is, there are a lot of things you can do to mitigate this behavior:

1. “Puppy Proof” your house! It’s always funny to me that when people have a baby, they go through all of these lengths in order to baby-proof the house.  This is done so the baby doesn’t hurt himself or get into something they shouldn’t.  However, nobody does this for their new puppies!  So, “puppy proof” your house!  If your pup is in a room, put up all the shoes, cords, etc.

2.  In my book, “Raising the Perfect Dog: Secrets of Law Enforcement K9 Trainers,” I recommend that the average dog should be in the crate when not directly being supervised until about 1.5 years old.  It drives me crazy when I hear (weekly), “When I got home, my dog had destroyed my couch!”  I always say, “How old is your dog?”  They usually respond with something like, “6-months old…”  What do you expect?!  Would you leave your 2-year old home alone and expect them not to get into anything? No.  I say “average” dog because some dogs can be faster than this, and some slower (just like kids).

3.  You have to teach your pup what is his and what isn’t his.  This is done be exchanging/redirecting.  Anytime your dog has something that he shouldn’t (shoe, cord, sock, etc), tell them “No” and remove it and then exchange it with something that they CAN have.  This is how the dogs learn what is theirs and what is not.  Often times, owners say, “NO” and just remove the object and that’s it.  So, the dog never really learns what they CAN play with.

4.  Obedience Training: This is probably one of the most important and effective things you can do in order to get your dog on the right path.  As I say, “I have never seen a with zero obedience training that was an angel in the house.”  This gives them confidence, correction, discipline, structure, and pack leadership.

5.  Mental and Physical Stimulation: Remember, “A bored dog is a destructive dog.”  If you do not give your dog a job to do, they will become self-employed.  A self-employed dog will always cost you money.”  Work with your dog on obedience, detection, protection, exercise them, etc.  All of these things will greatly reduce your dog getting into trouble around the house.

If you follow these easy principles and steps, you should notice a great reduction in your dog’s chewing/destroying behavior.

Therapy Dog Training in Northern Virginia: Northern Virginia Therapy Dog Training

Northern Virginia Therapy Dog

We can give your dog the tools to pass therapy dog testing at our facility in Northern Virginia. On a monthly basis, our trained dogs pass their therapy dog testing with ease.

If you look at our YouTube Channel, you will see all of our trained actually “exceed” the standards laid out for therapy dogs.

If your dog completes our Therapy Dog Development Course, they will have all of the tools needed to become a certified therapy dog. Upon completing our course, we can test you for your AKC Canine Good Citizen, once your dog receives this, he can take his Therapy Dog Certification Test, which we can arrange. If you look at the link above, you will see all parts of the test listed.

As you will see, not only does our training program meet these testing standards, but they greatly exceed them, as well.

The test ranges from obedience, confidence, and noise desensitization.

At Off Leash K9 Training, LLC we have many of our graduates leave our training program, and successfully pass all therapy dog testing immediately after completing our course.

If you are looking at having your dog become a therapy dog in the Northern Virginia area, contact us and we can help you and your dog achieve all of your training goals (and beyond).

In Home Dog Training in Northern Virginia : Dog Training At My House

At our dog training facility in Northern Virginia, I am a huge advocate AGAINST doing in-home dog training. As I say on a daily basis, “I have never seen a dog that has impressed me in obedience, that did it through in-home training.”

I have said this phrase for years, and despite us training 7 days per week, 65 dogs per week, I STILL find it to be true. Unfortunately, thousands of people (and their dogs) every year find this out the hard way.

The problem with in-home training is that you are training your dog in “their” environment! Meaning, it’s the same smells, same sights, same distractions, same territory, etc. As many dog owners find, it’s pretty easy to get your dog to listen IN their house; however, as soon as you take them outside and off leash, they take off running. Why? Because it’s a new environment for them to explore, sniff, and new things for them to see.

If you have a trainer show up at your house every week for 8 weeks (or more) and conduct the training at your residence, I can guarantee you, as soon as you take your dog to a “realistic”(new places, distractions, etc) environment, they will not listen.

We literally see this on a daily basis for dogs that are brought to us to “actually” get trained. We train your dog IN a new environment: new smells, new sights, new distractions, etc. So, when you get your dog used to listening in a new/realistic environment, it’s very simple for them to listen in their own environment. However, if you get your dog used to listening in his/her environment, as soon as you take them to a realistic environment, you are essentially starting from scratch!

Think about this for a moment, ALL OF THE TIME, you hear people say, “My dog listens okay in the house, but as soon as he’s outside and distracted, he doesn’t listen at all!”

However, you have NEVER heard someone say, “My dog listens flawlessly outside, off leash, with distractions, but he doesn’t listen inside the house.”

So, that is the single most important reason that we are against doing in-home training with your dog.

Service Dog Training in Northern Virginia: Therapy Dog Training Northern Virginia


At our dog training facility in Northern Virginia, we have it all when it comes to basic and advanced training for your dog. Whether you’re looking for some basic obedience courses, or you want military grade training, you can schedule just about any training package you’d like.

We also offer you and your dog the opportunity to give back to our country and our community.

You can get your dog trained as a therapy dog, and visit nursing homes and assisted living facilities. It’s a proven fact that having a companion animal around helps to improve the lives of the elderly, as well as, those with special needs. Dogs are also welcome in a variety of rehabilitation centers, and special needs schools.

And when it comes to basic through advanced obedience training there is absolutely no better place to have your dog trained than at offleashk9training. Our  trainers have an admittedly biased passion for helping every day people learn how to become both master and companion to their four legged friends, as well as, teaching those canines how to follow simple commands for behavior modification. Their training becomes second nature to them, and eventually without even realizing that it happened, they will obey your commands without fail.

You can also have your dog, usually it’s best to start them as a puppy, trained as a seeing-eye dog or some other specialty, like search and rescue. For us at offleashk9training, some who have served our country in the Armed Forces,  it’s more than just a job, it’s a passion and love for both the canines and the techniques they use to train them. We want your dog to be as successful as you do, and we put everything they have into making sure that happens.

And if you’ve ever visited a rehab center, wounded warriors, or nursing home in Northern Virginia, you’ll know just how therapeutic it is when gentle, well trained animals, make the elderly, and those who are working to recover their independence, a part of their families. Dog training can be so much more than just obedience and behavior modification. You can use this opportunity to literally change peoples lives for the better, and that is a reward that will pay dividends for the rest of your life.

So whether you’ve been thinking about training your dog for a while, or it just occurred to you that it might be a good idea, you can call the specialists at offleashk9training and talk to one of our trainers.  We’ll be able to help you with scheduling classes, and choosing courses that are best for your specific dog. Also, if you’re considering specialized training for courses other than obedience, you can ask about the specifics of those courses as well.

We can provide you and your dog all of the tools and training necessary in order for you and your dog to become a successful service dog team! We have aided many dogs and their handlers in passing the therapy dog certification.

How Dog Training Helps Everyone! Dog Trainers in Northern Virginia

If you’ve ever walked down the street and passed someone who’s walking their dog on a leash, you know that apprehension that can be felt by strangers when an unknown dog is nearby. You’re not sure whether “spot” is a friendly, or if he wants to take your leg off. At offleashk9training, we know exactly how you feel. That’s why we specialize in training dogs from all walks of life, how to be the best behaved dog on the block.  You will see on our YouTube Channel, we have everything from 6lb Chihuahuas to 160lb Great Danes.

In Northern Virginia, as in other parts of the country, winter moves on into spring, and as the weather warms up more and more people start walking outdoors or enjoying the park with their four legged friends. Usually it’s not a problem, unless someone has a not-so-well behaved dog that isn’t on a leash. That is what’s so nice about our dog obedience training programs at our facility in Northern Virginia. We will train your dog for everything from basic obedience, all the way through advanced obedience training. You’ll literally have the best trained, and most well behaved dog on your street with a set of our obedience classes.

Not to mention that the behaviors your dog learns work just as well when he’s off a leash, as  they do when he’s on. So how does all of this translate into a better community? At offleashk9training our techniques are so affective you’ll be able to walk around comfortably and confidently, knowing that your dog will obey your commands time and time again. And whether you take him to the park, the beach, or a backyard barbecue; you can rest assured that his training will always be superb.

Now imagine if everyone took their dog for training at offleashk9training. No leashes, no fuss, just well behaved, polite, friendly, four legged canines who follow their handler’s commands without fail, every time. No worrying about your children running around the neighborhood. And in Northern Virginia the neighborhoods can be big, with lots of dogs and puppies.  There is no worry of them jumping up on strangers, chasing animals, or going after other dogs.

No matter where you live, whether you’re in an urban sprawl in New York, of a suburb in Northern Virginia, or the most rural parts of Florida, your dog needs the training that we at offleashk9training can provide. If only to save yourself the headache of someone saying they got bit by your dog, or scratch or barked at, etc.  I recently illustrated this in my post on “Don’t Make Training A Last Resort.

Don’t you want the control that great obedience training instills in each canine? The authority to command your dog to “come” and “sit” when and where you tell him to? Give the trainers at offleashk9training a call and get started today!

Should I Free Feed My Dog or Meal Feed My Dog? Dog Training – Northern Virginia

food aggression northern virginia



How to feed your dog is an age-old debate that we get asked about weekly at our dog training facility in Northern Virginia.

I will give you my personal opinion on this subject, and just to be fair, I will give you some of the pro’s and con’s of each.

My personal belief is that it is more beneficial and generally healthier for your dog to meal feed verse free feed.  There are many reasons that I feel this way, which I will list below:

Pro’s of Meal Feeding:
-Generally, if your dog is sick or something is wrong with them, they won’t eat. When free feeding, it generally takes much longer for the owner to notice.
-When you do the meal feeding with a puppy, it gets their digestive system on a schedule; therefore, you can predict when your puppy needs to go to the restroom which will greatly help expedite their housebreaking process.
-Food revolves around YOU, the owner. Which aids in establishing pack leadership.
-You control how much the dog eats, preventing your dog from bloating or becoming obese.

Con’s of Meal Feeding:
-You can forget to feed your dog a meal if you get busy
-You could be overfeeding or underfeeding; however, with monitoring their eating, you can know when to adjust.

Free Feeding Pro’s:
-The dogs do not feel pressure to eat, because they know food is always available

Free Freeding Con’s:
-Delays potty training
-Many dogs will eat out of boredom
-This can make them less motivated for treat training
-It is harder for the owner to notice if the dog is sick, because it’s harder to tell if they are eating or not
-Many dogs will overeat

Keep in mind, it is proven that a healthier way for humans to eat is by eating small portioned meals throughout the day; therefore, I would assume the same is true for dogs. There are many pro’s to meal feeding and very few pro’s to free feeding (in my opinion).

Generally, I have found dogs that free eat, are often times over weight (much like people who eat all throughout the day with no regulation).

Anytime My Dog Gets Outside He Runs From Me – Dog Training Northern Virginia

At our dog training facility in Northern Virginia, we hear many stories of how when untrained dogs get outside, they turn catching them into a game. Meaning, when you get close to them, they will run away; often times, this results in the owner having to “trick” the dog in order to catch them (luring them using treats, cornering them, etc).

Dogs display this running behavior when they get outside for a couple reasons.

First, they more than likely escaped when the door opened, this means that you and your dog have not practiced door manners nor incorporated it into your obedience training. You can see numerous videos of us training dogs to do door manners on our YouTube Channel.

Second, if your dog does this, that tells me that your dog cannot be trusted outside off leash; meaning, their obedience training isn’t to the point where you can allow them to have freedom to run outside. Since your dog never has freedom outside/off leash, to run around, play, explore, and sniff around; when they do get outside with this freedom, they don’t want to come back because they are enjoying their freedom to explore.

Third, they turn it into a game. Your dog knows you are trying to catch them, so they just turn it into a fun game. Fun for them, but not you. They let you get close, they run back, they let you get close, they run back.

Lastly, generally when your dog escapes and you DO catch them, you usually punish them somehow. So this really reinforces to your dog, “Do not get caught or go in.”

Fixes For This Behavior:

This is simply an obedience training issue, that’s literally all it is. Obedience training completely fixes this issue and prevents it from ever happening.

First, your dog now does door manners, so they don’t just run out of the open door.

Second, they can be outside, off leash, and have freedom on a daily basis; therefore, being outside off leash looses it’s “fun” appeal, because it’s a daily occurrence. The dogs we train at our dog training facility in Northern Virginia are literally outside, off leash, and running around freely on a daily basis; therefore, them being outside and “free” isn’t a new fun adventure for them.

Lastly, they come on command every single time you call them, so you never have to worry about having to chase them.

If you find yourself chasing your dog outside, I would recommend finding a qualified trainer in your area that specializes in off leash obedience.

Detection and Nose Work Training – Dog Training, Northern Virginia

At our dog training facility in Northern Virginia, we also offer detection and nosework training.

Many people often times ask us, “Why do detection or nosework training with my dog, he is just a pet?”  Surprisingly, there are a lot of reasons in how this benefits you and your dog.

First, just like obedience training, it is a great bond building exercise to do with your dog.  It pairs you and your dog with each other, working together, problem solving together, and spending time together.  By doing this, it creates a much closer bond between human and K9, that’s why military/police handlers are so close with their dogs, they are always “working together.”

Second, it’s one of the best mentally stimulating drills you can do with your dog. As I say in my book, Raising The Perfect Dog, “If you do not give your dog a job to do, they will become self-employed, a self-employed dog will ALWAYS cost the owner money.” When your dog is doing detection work, they are constantly thinking and processing odors (literally) and in their mind, they are “tossing” the odors that do not match the target odor.  They are literally processing hundreds of odors in a very short amount of time, remember, your dog smells everything!  When you smell your cup of coffee, they smell the coffee beans, the vanilla, the soy milk, the shot of espresso, the paper cup, the ink on the cup, the paper holder around the cup, the plastic lid, etc. So, you can imagine when your dog is searching a building, how many odors they are actually processing through their nose and their mind.

So, if you have a high energy dog that you can never seem to get worn out, doing nose work with your dog is literally one of the best exercises you can do in order to get them completely exhausted.

Third, it’s just plain fun!  It’s awesome to give friends who come over a demo of your dog searching around your house, once they find the odor, they drop into a sit.

Lastly, this is a great confidence builder for your dog! They are searching, finding things, and getting rewarded. If you watch detection dogs work, you will see they are very excited and confident!

So, if you are looking for a way to get your dog more bonded, more confident, more stimulated, and both of you having a lot of fun in the process, look into doing nose work/detection training with your dog.