Tag Archives: dog training

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!


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.


Why We Do Not Train Multiple Dogs At Once – Dog Training Northern Virginia

At our dog training facility in Northern Virginia, we always get the question, “I have two dogs, can we train both of them together?”

Anytime I get this question, I have always told people no that we do not train that way, and explained that the dogs would have to be trained separately. In this blog, I will attempt to explain “why” we have this training mentality.

First, I would highly recommend you reading my blog, “Why Are Private Classes Better Than Group Classes,” this will help give you a good foundation of our training and mentality.

Why We Do Not Do Multiple Dogs At Once:

-While doing our dog obedience lessons at our facility in Northern Virginia, we tell everyone to practice about 30-40 minutes per day in the week between lessons.  This is done to ensure that the dog (and owner) have the commands down really well before coming back to their next session.  If you do two dogs at once, know your doubled your practice time per day, now, you are committing yourself to approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes per day of training.  A lot of experience working with 65 dogs/owners per week, show me that owners almost ALWAYS fail at this commitment.  Therefore, both of their dogs are being neglected in the training program and not accelerating as fast as they should be.

-Everyone who has gone through our training program, can vouch for the fact that our training style takes some practice, coordination, time, and consistency.  Generally, it takes new owners about 1-2 weeks to get pretty good at our system with ONE dog; therefore, it would almost be impossible to try to master our with trying to learn with two dogs at once.

-If doing two dogs at once, it’s generally the same as a group class.  As anyone knows, we are very anti-group classes, you can read about this in our blog on group training.

Solution: We do the first dog and once they complete their lessons, then we do the second dog.

When using this training method, you and your dogs get the most of out of the training.  The first dog is going through the first four (or eight) lessons, and on a daily basis they are getting your undivided attention.  Additionally, you are getting better and better with our training system as the weeks go on.

So, at the end of your first dog’s training, YOU are good with our training system and your first dog is great in obedience.  Now you do not have to work with that first dog on a daily basis anymore (you just maintain it by using it on a daily basis throughout the day) and you can focus that 30-40 minutes per day on your second dog.  Once the second dog finishes, you are great in our training system and your dogs are both great in obedience.

Once this happens, now you can start working the two dogs together, which is NOW much easier because you are very fluent in our training system and the dogs are great on their own.

Below are two Pit Bulls that we trained separate of each other, this video is about 10 minutes into us working them together for the first time:

This is a much more simplistic transition to make than trying to get the dogs good together while you are trying to learn the system, too.


How To Get Focused Obedience Out Of Your Dog – Dog Training Northern Virginia

focused obedience northern virginia

At our dog training facility in Northern Virginia, on a daily basis we work with getting dog’s behavioral issues fixed and their obedience flawless.

Once your dog has a solid foundation on obedience, I always recommend that you start building their focus during their training.  In many of our videos, you will see that the dogs, while performing the commands, will not take their eyes off of us.  Often times, this isn’t something that comes natural to the dogs, this is something that you have to teach them.

As you will see in some of our videos, you can teach the dog the “watch” command, which will give you a dog that will ignore distractions and maintain eye contact with you.  So, this is one option in order to start building focus in your dog.  You can see an example of this in the video below:

Another very simple option is to not releasee your dog from the command they are in (sit, down, place, etc) until they are making eye contact with you.  Stick to doing this every time you place your dog in any stable dog.

When you start doing this, as soon as your dog makes eye contact, release them.  As you do more repetitions, make them keep eye contact with your for 3 seconds before you release them.  Repeat and 5 seconds, 10 seconds, 15 seconds, etc.

If they do not make eye contact, and they leave the position they were in, immediately put them back in that position and repeat.

Your dog simply learns, “You do not release me from this position until I maintain eye contact with you.”

You would be surprised in the difference this can make in a very short amount of time.  If you do this correctly and consistently, you will notice that as soon as you place a dog in any command, they will stare at you intently, because they have learned this is what triggers you releasing them.


How To Stop My Dog From Running Out The Door – Dog Training Northern Virginia

dog runs out northern virginia

On a daily basis at our dog obedience training facility in Northern Virginia, we work with dogs so they stop running out of the door.

This is what we call “door manners.”  In my opinion, teaching your dog door manners is essential for numerous reason, you will see I discuss this in my blog on Pack Leadership.

Importance of Door Manners:

Pack Leadership: It teaches your dogs that you are the first one to do everything.  You go inside first, you go outside first, you go  up the stairs first, you go down the stairs first, etc.  This is a very simple thing you can do to help show pack leadership with your dog.  As I explain to our clients, “You never see pictures of ducks lined up and the mother is in the back of the line.  You never see packs of lions and the biggest alpha lion is behind all of the  small ones.”  Why? Because it’s very basic pack leadership, the alpha male and dominant member is always in the front.

Manners: Doing door manners does just that, it teaches them manners.  There are few things I hate seeing more than a dog literally almost knocking someone down trying to go out the door before them (or in the door).  This should never be acceptable for you or your dog.

Safety: By doing door manners, you have taught your dog that “just because the front door opens, does NOT mean you are free to run out it.”  So, when you incorporate door manners in your obedience training they become desensitized to the door opening; therefore, it prevents them from running out it like many dogs do.

Did you know that in 2012, approximately 1.2 million dogs were killed from being hit by a car?  Many of them from running out of the front door or chasing something into the street.

ANYONE who has trained with us, has seen us incorporate the door manners into our training, we literally do this with every single dog we train.  That’s how important door manners is to us, we do it with 65 dogs per week.

I have included just a few clips of our door manners training in the video below; however, if you look at our YouTube Channel, you will literally see this in over 200+ of our videos.




If you do not have access to a really good obedience training program, this is something you can start doing at home on your own.  Put your dog into the sit position and “slowly” open the door, as soon as he jumps up, shut door and put him into the sit again.  Repeat this until you get the door all the way open, then release him.  If you do this “every single time” you come to a door, I can assure you within a few days you will see a huge difference in your dog’s door manners.

Initially, you will feel this is very tedious, because they will probably get up a lot; however, just stick to it.  Each time you do it, you will find that you are having to make them sit less and less.

The biggest key is never let them win!  As I say to our clients on a daily basis, “You must be more stubborn than your dog, as soon as you let them get away with it, you just taught them that it’s acceptable.”


How Long Should I Work My Dog On Obedience Per Day – Dog Training Northern Virginia

obedience training northern virginia

A question we get on a daily basis at our dog training facility in Northern Virginia is, “How much time per day should I spend working my dog on obedience training?”

When working your dog on obedience, there should be a few elements that you keep in mind:

-Incorporate the obedience into play sessions; therefore, the dog does not really even look at it like work.  I just recently posted a video on our Facebook Page showing this.

-Keep the sessions at about 45 minutes max, per session.  Generally, most dogs are pretty wiped out after about 45 minutes of solid obedience training.  There are exceptions to this with working dogs, etc; however, that’s a good general rule to follow.

-Give “breaks” throughout the training sessions.  See the first rule, there should be a lot of “play” throughout the training, as well.

What is the maximum amount of time per day I can work with my dog?

To be honest, you can work your dog each day more than you probably WILL work with your dog each day! To give you an example, with our 2-week board and train program, we work the dogs over 3 hours per day!  There are very few people who will dedicate this much time to working their dog every single day.

Again, sticking to my training rules I listed above, their average schedule is around 45 minutes to 1 hour in the morning, 4 hour break, 1 hour afternoon, 4 hour break, 1 hour evening, break, and some more training at night prior to them going to bed.

What is the minimum amount of time per day I should work with my dog?

While your dog is “going through” a training program, you should work with them at minimum 30 to 40 minutes per day.  This should be done to ensure that your dog has a really good concept of the last command that was learned, and they are prepared for the next training session.

What is the best way to work with my dog every day?

At our dog training facility in Northern Virginia, I tell people that in order to gain the most benefit from their training, it’s best to just use the dog’s obedience everyday throughout their daily routine.  Doing this is FAR more effective than you just going home, going in your backyard, and doing come, sit, place (etc), repeatedly for 45 minutes.

Example: When it’s time to feed your dog, have them sit, walk away, sit their food bowl down, make them wait a minute, and release them.

Example: When you go out a door, make them sit, you walkout, and make them wait until you release them.

Example: When someone comes to the door, “place” them on their dog bed, make them wait patiently, and the release them.

By just using the obedience in real-life/day-to-day scenarios, your dog will get far more benefit out of the training than if you just walk them into your background and practice for 45 minutes straight.

If you want maximum results, practice the 45 minutes IN ADDITION to using the obedience daily in real-world scenarios.



Solution to Dog Barking in Crate – Dog Training Northern Virginia

dog barking northern virginia

At our dog training facility in Northern Virginia, we always get asked about problem solving for their excessive barking dog.

Seemingly, often times the dogs are displaying this behavior while locked in their crate/cage.  Generally, this is a common sign of Separation Anxiety; additionally, many of these dogs try to Escape Their Cage, as well.

One of the most important things to do is never let your dog out of the crate “while” they are barking or whining.  If you let your dog out of the crate while they are actively barking or whining, you have just taught them, “When I bark and whine, this door opens.”  This is one of the biggest mistakes that owners make on a daily basis.  We realize that an excessively barking dog can be very annoying; however, you must wait them out.  Just wait until they are quiet, “then” let them out. You want to reward the positive behavior, not the negative behavior.   Again, if you let them out while they are barking, you have just taught your dog that barking is what releases them from their crate.


One of the biggest solutions for this behavior is obedience training.  At our dog training facility in Northern Virginia, this is a very common behavioral issue that we deal with almost daily.  Utilizing whichever dog training method you have been using, correct this behavior.  By giving the dog a correction when the negative behavior is displayed and rewarding the positive behavior, your dog quickly learns to outweigh the pro’s and con’s of the situation, just like a person does.  For example, we use the “off” command at our dog training facility, “off” is used to correct any unwanted behavior (barking, jumping, digging, etc).

A very simple solution for an excessive barker is getting a No Bark Collar.  These are amazing devices that work wonders for  dogs (and their owners).  The one I recommend is the Sport Dog SBC 10R or the Einstein Bark Collar.  A bark collar is a collar that your dog wears that automatically corrects them when it picks up the dog barking (vibration and audible detection built-in).  When the dog barks it gives a subtle correction, if they bark again, a higher level correction, and then it repeats.  These collars work amazingly well for some of the worst barkers.

Bark collars are a win-win for everyone! It’s a win for the dog because they cannot bark, and by them not being able to bark they cannot get themselves worked up and frustrated.  It’s a win for you because you (or neighbors) do not have to deal with an excessively barking dog for prolonged periods of time.

So, if you have a dog who is constantly barking and driving you and your neighbors crazy, look into getting obedience training and a no bark collar for your dog.  You will not regret it.





Should I Allow My Dog To Sniff The Ground During A Walk – Northern Virginia


Heeling with Dog Northern Virginia

During our heel lessons at our facility in Northern Virginia, we always get asked, “Should I allow my dog to sniff the ground while we are walking?”

The short answer is, “No.”  While we are working a dog on heel, I want their attention focused on me, my pace, and my direction.  It’s impossible for your dog to pay attention to all of these Fundamental Things That Make A Good Heel if they have their nose and their eyes to the ground.

Dogs are very sensitive with their nose (as any dog owner in the world can tell).  They can be walking with purpose, pick up on a certain scent, and all of the sudden take off in the completely opposite direction in order to follow this new scent.  The same thing will happen on your walk.

At our dog training facility in Northern Virginia, I literally say on a daily basis, “Your dog sniffing the ground during a heel, will ALWAYS lead to your dog not being in a heel.”  To me, the dog sniffing the ground is essentially a precursor to him breaking the heel, for a few reasons:  a) he’s not paying attention to you, so if you slow down or speed up, he is now out of the heel position b)  he will undoubtedly catch a scent he likes and that will draw him out of the heel c) you will do a direction change, he will not catch it, and that will put him out of the heel.

I tell people that when I release the dog with the “break” command, that’s the dog’s time to sniff around, play, run around, and do whatever they please.  However, when I have a dog in the heel command, that’s now my time.  I give the dogs plenty of “breaks” to do whatever they please; therefore, I do not let them do this while they are in the heel.

I can honestly say, “I have never seen a dog in my life that was allowed to sniff the ground during the heel, who was amazing at on/off leash heeling.  Never.”  That’s a pretty powerful statement, and it’s 100% true.

If you look on our YouTube Channel, we have numerous heeling before and after videos, so you can see the difference this (among other concepts) make in your dog’s walk.

So, in summary, do not let your dog sniff the ground while in the heel command, correct them using whichever dog training method you are currently using.  Sniffing the ground during the heel command will always lead to your dog leaving the heel command.


How Can I Stop My Dog From Chasing Animals – Northern Virginia

Dog chases animals training northern virginia

On a daily basis, at our dog training facility in Northern Virginia, we receive emails from dog owners saying, “If you can get my dog to stop chasing the cat, rabbits, squirrels(etc), it will be  a miracle.”

Essentially, what they are saying is that they have a high prey drive dog.   Some dogs that are very common for having a very high prey drive are Belgian Malinois, German Shepherds, Australian Shepherds, and many more!

What is Prey Drive?

Prey Drive is a natural dog instinct because dogs are predators and hunters, just like humans are, as well.  So, essentially it’s their natural instinct to pursue and capture fleeing prey.

Can I Eliminate My Dog’s Prey Drive?

No, you cannot eliminate it, but you do not want to!  A dog’s prey drive can be manipulated and used to your advantage which we will discuss later.  You can never eliminate the prey drive in your dog; however, you can most certainly control it through obedience.  At our dog obedience training in Northern Virginia, this is something we literally do on a daily basis.  Prey drive is easily controlled through a structured obedience training program by training the dog to a level that their obedience overcomes their instinctual prey drive. Your dog will still have the “want” to chase the animal; however, his obedience will overcome his want to chase.

A great example of this is a Tamaskan named “Ivan” that we just recently finished training.  A Tamaskan is a wolf-looking dog with ancestors  being the Siberian Husky and Alaskan Malamute, so, you can imagine they are very “hunt-driven” and “prey driven” dogs.

See the last part of this video (3:45 mark of video), where you can see an amazing example of obedience outweighing a dog’s prey drive.  If this was just a week prior, that fox probably wouldn’t have escaped this ordeal; however, with training, we were able to make his obedience and control outweigh his prey drive.

How Can I Use My Dog’s Prey Drive To My Advantage?

If your dog is a high prey drive dog, generally that means they are very ball motivated.  So, you can work your dog on obedience, using the ball (prey item) as the reward for the obedience.  So, you will give your dog some commands, once they comply, you will release them and throw the ball (activate the prey).  This is a fun and healthy way to give your dog an outlet for using his prey drive.

Additionally, at our dog training facility in Northern Virginia, we also do detection training.  Almost all military and police detection dogs in the country are very high prey drive dogs; meaning, we manipulate that prey drive and use it to benefit us (and our country).  While doing detection work, they are searching endlessly for hours on end (at times) in order to get that “prey item” (ball, kong, tug) as a reward.


Do not view your dog’s prey drive as a bad thing, in fact, the most prey driven dogs in the world are police dogs, search and rescue dogs, detection dogs, etc.  So, essentially, the most amazing dogs in the world are dogs with very high prey drive.  Prey drive is a good thing, you just need to find a qualified dog trainer to help teach you how to control it, harness it, and use it to you AND your dog’s benefit.  I recently wrote a blog titled, “Do Not Make Training Your Last Resort.”  So, if your dog is actively chasing things, pulling you down the street, or running off; find a trainer in your area sooner than later.