Tag Archives: Private Lessons

Northern Virginia Based Dog Trainer Sets Second World Record


Northern Virginia Dog World Record Holder

Celebrity dog trainer in Northern Virginia, Nicholas White, who is the owner of globally recognized dog training business, Off Leash K9 Training, set his second world record for the most off leash commands performed in just 5 days of training; during his private 5-day training program in Baton Rouge, LA with Belgian Malinois Molly and her owner Paul Burns, White spent over 40 hours working with Molly and Burns – setting a new world record for 14 commands outside and off leash in just 5 days, 
according to the World Record Academy. During his private 5-day training program in Baton Rouge, LA with Belgian Malinois Molly and her owner Paul Burns, Celebrity dog trainer Nicholas White White spent over 40 hours working with Molly and Burns - setting a new world record for 14 commands outside and off leash in just 5 days.

  Photo: During his private 5-day training program in Baton Rouge, LA with Belgian Malinois Molly and her owner Paul Burns, Celebrity dog trainer Nicholas White White spent over 40 hours working with Molly and Burns – setting a new world record for 14 commands outside and off leash in just 5 days. (enlarge photo)

Celebrity dog trainer, Nicholas White, who is the owner of globally recognized dog training business, Off Leash K9 Training, set his second world record for the most off leash commands performed in just 5 days of training.

During his private training in Baton Rouge, LA with Belgian Malinois Molly and her owner Paul Burns; during White’s 5-day training program, White spent over 40 hours working with Molly and Burns – setting a new world record for 14 commands outside and off leash in just 5 days.

All commands listed below:
1. Come
2. Sit
3. Down
4. Focused Heeling
5. Place
6. Send Away
7.Down From A Distance
8. Watch
9. Stand
10. Heel Command (going to left leg on command)     11.Through Command (going between legs)
12. Touch
13. Sit In Motion
14. Down In Motion

With Molly being a high drive and high energy Malinois, White said that teaching her the “watch” command was the most difficult command to teach her. “Watch” requires a lot of attention and focus from a dog, which is more difficult for high energy dogs.

“Molly was afraid of loud noises, so we spent a lot of time working with her to get her over her fear of fireworks and loud noises.”

On the Net: 
Off-Leash K9 Training’s website

Off-Leash K9 Training’s Facebook page

“The average dog would take weeks or more to be able to master 14 commands outside, off leash, with distractions. An amazing training system; combined with consistency, time, reinforcement, and a highly intelligent dog, Molly was able to master these in only 5 days.

Molly’s owner, Paul Burns, said, “I truly cannot believe everything Molly has mastered in such a short amount of time.”

Importance of Verbal and Visual Cues In Dog Training

At our dog training program in Northern Virginia, we stress the importance of verbal and visual cues in training our dogs.  Dogs learn mostly through verbal cues, visual cues,  vocal tones, repetition, correction, and praise (just like us humans).

First, we will discuss keeping your commands simplistic! In the Marine Corps, we used the acronym, “KISS” (Keep It Simple Stupid).  I always stress to our clients that their verbal and visual cues  should be as easy as possible, often times one syllable.   Many times clients come to our dog training facility in Northern Virginia and their dogs have learned through commands such as come here, get down, sit down,  lie down, get off the couch, etc.

If you look through our list of verbal and visual cues on our Off-Leash K9 Training website, you will see all of our commands are very basic and cut/dry: come, sit, down, heel, off, place, touch, through, off, etc.  I tell people to look at it the same way you teach a baby or an infant, you use the most basic language possible to get the job accomplished.

Second, the “tone” of your commands.  On a daily basis at our dog training facility in Northern Virginia, I have to correct owners for yelling at the dogs. As I say, “If you watch our 400+ videos on our YouTube Channel, you will never hear us raise our voice.”  By raising your voice loudly, the dog (like people) often times interprets this as punishment or consequence which can stress your dog out.  By stressing them out and getting them worked up, you are less likely to get the desired behavior.  When we release the dogs with our “break” command, we get a high pitched and excited voice, allowing the dogs to learn to associate the word “break” with something fun and positive.  However, you will never see us yell or scold the dogs.

Third is incorporating in the visual cue.  Many people ask us if we can also train their dogs with visual or hand-and-arm signals.  Many do not realize, this is not something you necessarily “train” the dogs for, this is something that you incorporate in and they do automatically.

Dogs are master of association, meaning, they quickly learn to associate an action with an outcome.  For instance, if every time you say the word “down,” you always point to the ground, your dog will quickly and automatically learn to associate the hand signal with going into the down position.  If every time you point to an object and then say “place,” your dog will quickly learn that when you point to something using the same gesture, that you want him/her to jump up and sit on that object.

An important thing to point out is ensure that your hand signals for each command is distinctly different.  Meaning, ensure what you do for sit looks completely different than the hand signal you do for down.  If the hand signals look similar, you could find that this could confuse your dog as to what you want him/her to do.

Personally, with over 5000+ dogs experience, I have learned that a well trained dog who was trained utilizing verbal and visual cues will generally pick the visual command over the verbal command.  Meaning, if you point (as if pointing for the down command), but you say “sit,” generally the dogs will down.  This shows me that to the majority of dogs, the visual command is more strong to than the verbal command.

In summary, use simple verbal commands, incorporate distinct visual cues  for each command, and watch your tone.

At our dog training facility in Northern Virginia: www.offleashk9training.com you can see many videos where you see all of these factors coming into play.

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Private Dog Training Sessions in Northern Virginia Verse Group Classes


Why Group Dog Training Classes are Bad

We only do private dog training sessions at our facility in Northern Virginia, there are many reasons for this.

First, I always say, “I have never seen a dog that impressed me in obedience that did it through group training or group sessions.”   I have said this for years, and to this day, I have NEVER been proven wrong.

As the owner of a major dog training business, we could do group classes and we could charge 10 people per hour verse 1 person per hour, it would be great for business; however, I know that we wouldn’t put out QUALITY dogs by using this approach.  That is why I have always and will always refuse to do group classes.  I would much rather put out quality than quantity.

When doing private dog training lessons, the trainer can actually customize the training to your specific dog, your specific dog’s issues, and tailor the program to how your dog is actually responding to the training.

“Cookie cutter” programs never work really well; meaning, there are 10 dogs in the room and one trainer is saying, “Everyone do it like this.”  Dogs are much like people, they learn differently, at different paces, and learn better with different styles.  So, if you are in a group class and your dog is accelerating, you will be left waiting around for everyone to catch up; however, if your dog is slower, he/she will get left behind because the instructor has to keep the pace of the class.

At our dog obedience training in Northern Virginia, we get your dogs amazing in obedience on their own, and then we add in distractions.  Whereas group classes “try” to get your dogs to learn new things, while they are highly distracted, this is a very unfair approach of training the dogs.

Also, in private training sessions, YOU have the trainer’s undivided attention.  You can ask as many questions as you want, you don’t have to spend an hour “waiting your turn,” and you get a wealth of knowledge about other dog training issues specific to YOUR dog during your private session.

So, if you want your dog to get the most effective training and results, stick to private training sessions over group classes.  Group classes are good for socialization with people and other dogs; however, they are not a conducive learning environment for the dog.

You can read the blog post I wrote on Why Your Dog Should Not Attend Group Training Sessions.

Nick White




At What Age Should I Start Training My Puppy (Dog) -Northern Virginia

At our dog training facility in Northern Virginia, we do a puppy training/consultation program as early as 8-10 weeks old. However, we really do not put too much focus on “obedience” per se at that age, we focus on things that we consider more important for puppy development; such as, bonding, socialization, pack leadership, crate training, confidence building such as object desensitization and noise desensitization , and if you have a dog who interested, properly playing tug with your puppy.

In my experience, when you have a puppy who is not yet old enough to enroll him/her in a formal obedience training program, those things I listed above should be your focus! As I say all of the time, I would much rather take in a 6-month old dog who is highly confident and well socialized than I would a 6-month old dog who is skittish and low confidence but knows 25 commands. As you will see in our before and after videos on Youtube, we can take a dog who knows absolutely nothing and give them amazing obedience in a very short time. However, fixing aggression, low confidence, skittishness, etc can take much more time. So, with your puppy, focus on the fundamentals and the actual obedience portion is the easiest part.

With a puppy, everything should be fun, positive, and motivating! There should be little to no corrective based training, at all. You should always end your training sessions leaving your puppy wanting more; meaning, you should never keep pushing your puppy until they lose interest in whatever you are trying to accomplish with them, always stop when they are still wanting more. This is a simple technique we use in order to build motivation and drive with your puppy.

Once you have all the developed all of foundational-based training with your puppy that were mentioned above, it’s time to bring them into a formal obedience training program. At Off-Leash K9 Training, we do not start our dog obedience training programs in Northern Virginia until the dogs are least 5-months old.

By the age of 6-months, you are left with a well socialized, highly confident, motivated, driven, problem-free, and well-trained dog that you can enjoy for the rest of your life!


What Are The Best Dog Training Methods – Northern Virginia

Many people have tried many different tricks and techniques with their dogs and they still wonder, “What is the best dog training method for training my dog?”

There are several training methods that can be used to train your dog. One of the most common and popular methods is reward-based or treat-based training. This training involves finding something that your dog really likes (ball, hot dogs, treats, tug) and using that as an incentive to get the dog to perform the desired command. The marker and treat training we discussed in the previous chapter is based on this method.

The pro to using this system with a dog who already knows the commands is that you have a dog who is very motivated for the reward. Therefore, they are voluntarily complying with your verbal commands in order to obtain the reward. The benefit of using this method to teach a dog a new command is he is very motivated, focused, and eager to please in order to obtain the reward. Often when using a food reward, the dog will be eager to continue training and learning for long periods of time. Look at it as giving a small kid one small piece of candy at a time every time he or she does something good. It is not enough to get full, but it is enough to make them want more. Another major pro to this system is that anyone can do it with no special knowledge or devices needed. Simply watch a video, grab a pack of hot dogs, and you are all set. That is why this is the most common method of training—any amateur can use this method to train a dog.

Anyone who has used this method for training can tell you that despite its numerous benefits, there are also several problems with it, as well. One of the main complaints with reward-based training is reliability. Remember, this system is based on the dog complying because he wants to get the reward. However, there will come a time when your dog does not want the reward or he is distracted by something more interesting than the reward. At that point, you have lost all obedience because your dog is no longer enticed to perform for the reward. As an example, if you are outside, off-leash with your dog and he spots a squirrel, a bird, or another dog, it will be much more interesting than the treat in your hand. When he is faced with a decision to go for the treat or take off after the squirrel, almost always the “prey” object will win. He will take off running to get the better reward and return when he loses interest in the item that initially distracted him.

The other problem with this system is that there is no consequence for disobedience, meaning, when your dog takes off down the road and will not come back, there is not much you can do in order to give him a consequence for bad behavior. Imagine training a child solely based on positive reinforcement; you get a treat if you do well, you don’t get a treat if you misbehave. The child would disobey fairly regularly. Your dog will do the same.

However, reward-based training is fun for you and your dog and it is a cheap, easy, and fast way to start teaching your dog a wide variety of commands with almost no expenses or specialized experience needed. You will be able to teach your dog commands and get decent results with obedience, but you will never have an amazingly obedient dog with this system.

Another popular training method is the prong collar. The prong collar is lined with metal prongs along the interior of the collar. The prong collar is designed to replicate the way the mother would correct her pups in a litter. Or how the alpha-male dog in a pack would correct lower-ranking members of the pack, which is giving a quick nip on the neck. When your dog does not comply with a command, give a quick jerk on the prong collar. Increase intensity of the jerk until your dog complies.

The pro to the prong collar is it is more reliable for obedience than the reward-based system. Using the prong collar, you can still use the reward-based system to motivate the dog, however, now you can use the prong collar to give an instant correction when the dog doesn’t listen with the reward-based system. A scenario would be if you had your dog’s favorite ball and you tell him to sit. If he doesn’t, you give a quick jerk on the prong collar and repeat the command. The prong collar gives him a less than pleasurable feeling and he complies with the command. If he does not comply with the command, increase the intensity of the jerk on the prong collar and repeat the command. This is done until the dog complies. Once he does, give the reward. The dog quickly learns, “If he says sit, I have to do it, so I might as well just do it the first time and get the reward.”

In my opinion, there are a few flaws with using the prong collar. One of the biggest is consistency of the correction given, meaning, is your dog being corrected at the same level of correction each day? If you correct your dog with the prong collar, is your correction (jerking on the prong collar) harder or gentler than when your wife corrects your dog with it? Or, when you corrected your dog when he really started to get under your skin, did you correct him much harder than you did yesterday for doing the exact same thing? When it comes to training, there has to be consistency in order for the dog’s learning to be maximized.

The second major problem with the prong collar is when your dog is off-leash and away from you. If he is 100 yards away and you call him to come and he doesn’t, what do you do? Now, you are back to the same problem you had with the reward-based training—off-leash reliability. Even with the prong collar, neither an instant correction nor a consequence can be given once he is out of your reach.

Overall, prong-collar training is safe, cheap, effective, and very humane when done properly. It is much more effective and reliable than reward-based training, however, it still has a couple of shortfalls.

My preferred method for training dogs is the electronic collar (e-collar). The e-collar comes with a remote control that the owner carries. It is based on almost the same premise as that of the prong collar. It gives a subtle stimulation to the dog’s neck area that can be increased in intensity until the dog complies with the command. Modern e-collars are very safe, reliable, and effective when used properly. In fact, almost all police, military, and personal protection dogs are now trained using the e-collar. When using the e-collar, we also use reward-based training for the dog, generally in the form of a toy or praise.

The e-collar has numerous levels of stimulation so its use can be tailored to a specific dogs’ temperament and the level of distraction encountered. When the e-collar is used properly, the dog does not view it as a punishment, but views it as a training tool, much like a leash. More important, they actually grow to love it because they associate the e-collar with going outside, off-leash, and having fun. Where other training systems fall short, the e-collar picks up. The range of e-collars vary from 400 yards to two miles. With this system, if your dog is off-leash and you call him to come and he does not, you still can give an instant correction that increases in intensity until he complies with the command.

The e-collar is safe, very effective, and humane when properly used. The shortfalls of the e-collar is that they are much more costly than the other training methods; an average e-collar costs around $200. It is highly recommended that you seek a professional trainer before utilizing this training device. The e-collar can make a disobedient dog perform with amazing precision in a very short time, however, in untrained hands it can completely ruin a dog.

Overall, when choosing a training method for your dog, decide what is most important to you—cost, functionality, or reliability. Whatever method you choose, keep in mind that practice, patience, and consistency are important to achieve great results using any method.


Will Shock Collar (Electronic Collar) Hurt My Dog Or Affect Their Personality?


People ask us all of the time, “Will shock collar training hurt my dog?” Or, “Will shock collar training ruin my dog’s personality and turn him into a robot?”  

All of these statements and questions could not be further from the truth.

Anytime I hear the term, “Shock Collar, ” it literally sends chills down my spine.  The term comes from the very old collars which essentially had 3 settings, “High,” Very High,” and “Insanely High.”  Those type of collars are outdated, inhumane, and no longer produced.  However, modern electronic collars do not “shock” at all, they provide a very subtle stimulation that many people equate to “stim” pads that physical therapists use.  Additionally, modern collars have a very wide pattern of stimulation that is safe, humane, and effective for dogs as small as 5lbs.   If you visit on YouTube Channel, you will see everything from Yorkies to Great Danes that we have trained using our electronic collar training system.

When electronic collar training is properly done, it is used to achieve amazing obedience, build confidence, and create more happiness with the owner and more importantly, the dog.  For example, check out this video of this 5-month old very shy/skittish Doberman “Doris” that we just recently trained using e-collar training. Ask yourself, which dog looks more happy, confident, and have more personality, the Doris before or after?

My business, Off-Leash K9 Training, we are the official trainers for ABC’s the Pet Show, on Board of Directors for Prince William County Humane Society, Official Trainers for Southeast German Shepherd Rescue, Official Trainers for Fort Hunt Animal Hospital and many many more.

Why? Simply because all of these organizations have seen first-hand the work we have done changing problematic, aggressive, and low confidence dogs into highly confident, obedient, and problem-free dogs.

Think about it, the top special forces military and law enforcement agencies in the world use electronic collar training, and that’s why they have the most obedient and confident dogs in the world.

Many people ask, “Will My Dog Hate the Electronic Collar?” 

No! Almost everyone is VERY surprised that they receive quite the OPPOSITE reaction from their dog. Because the dog knows the e-collar means that they are going outside (to run, play ball, be free, etc) AND they know they are going to do training! A bored dog is a destructive dog; a trained/exercised dog is a HAPPY dog. They look forward to their training sessions because it stimulates them and gives them something to do. Imagine being at work on a slow day, the day drags and you feel sluggish. When you are busy, it goes by fast and you are energized! Now imagine a dog with no friends, no Facebook, no television, and no internet. Their only REAL stimulation is the training you give them and their time outside to run, play, and bond with you!  As you will see in all of our videos, when we release the dogs the jump up excitedly and come over for their praise.

What does the ASPCA say about electronic training collars?

Randall Lockwood PhD, Senior Vice President, Anti-cruelty Initiatives and Legislative Services, The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) was quoted in a 2007 White Paper titled “The Facts About Modern Electronic Training Devices,” produced by Radio Systems, a manufacturer of electronic collars, “We recognize that older products were often unreliable and difficult to use humanely. But we feel that new technology employed by responsible manufacturers has led to products that can be and are being used safely and effectively to preserve the safety and well-being of many dogs and strengthen the bond with their human companions.

What if I have a small dog?

Modern electronic collars, have such a wide variety of range, they can literally be used on just about any size of dog.  Check out this 6lb AGGRESSIVE Chihuahua that we just recently finished training with the electronic collar.  Again, ask yourself which dog appears to be happier, more confident, and more stable: the dog before or the dog after?

Ignorance on electronic collar training:

I have seen a lot of ignorance on electronic collar training, myths, and things that are just completely untrue.  When I read these, it’s immediately apparent that these individuals have no knowledge whatsoever in the practical application of ecollars nor any practical knowledge of dog training.  Recently, I saw someone say, “There is never a good reason to use one, I do not know any real trainers that use electronic collars.”  I literally laughed to myself, did this person mean a “real trainer” as in a college kid who went to a Pet Smart training course on giving dogs hot dogs?

Because almost every REAL trainer I know DO use electronic collars.  Many are my personal friends and who are widely considered some of the top dog trainers in the world (Trainer Michael Ellis, Andrew Ramsey (former Lead Trainer at Lackland AFB), Bob Solimini (Most Accomplished French Ring Decoy in the US), my good friends at Vohne Liche Kennels (show “Alpha Dogs” and official training hub for the majority of the military and law enforcement agencies, in the United States), Las Vegas PD, US Secret Service, US Navy Seals, and the list goes on and on.

**So, I would love to see who the “REAL” trainers are that do not use them!** 🙂

Let’s think about that for a minute, we have already discussed that the most confident, obedient, and well trained dogs in the world are who? Military Special Forces Dogs, Police Dogs, and Ring Sport Dogs (Mondio, ScH, French Ring, etc), almost ALL of them use electronic collars for their training and not one of them solely use positive reinforcment.  Literally, not one. Amazing, right? The most obedient, confident, and well trained dogs in the world do NOT use the methods they are preaching, but all of them use the training methods they are speaking out against.

Dogs are much like children, you need a “balanced” approach of training.  I have never seen a dog (or a child) that completely amazed me in listening (outside, off leash, distractions, etc) that did it “solely” through a positive reinforcement.

Additionally, we fix and train dogs every single day that “other trainers” could not fix (like Izzy and Doris in the videos above).  Where would these dogs be now (and many others) if it were not for electronic collar training?  We have been many dogs (and owners) last hope, where other trainers told them they couldn’t be fixed, behaviorists told them to euthanize them, etc.  All because of these individuals ignorance, they almost ruined a dog’s (and their families) life.

In summary, if you want to build a closer bond, give your dog off-leash obedience (freedom) in any environment, and build your dog’s confidence to a high-level, I would recommend training with an electronic collar.  The key is to seek out professional guidance from a certified trainer in this specific training system.  Unfortunately, when it comes to using a training collar, there is no “trying,” you are either an expert and will make your dog amazing, or you have no idea what you are doing and will probably cause many problems with your dogs.

Anyone who has gone through our training knows that most of electronic collar training is teaching the owner how to PROPERLY use it, how to properly train the dog, and knows there are many “ins and outs” to the system.  It is MUCH more than simply pressing a button and giving a command.

So please seek professional help before using an electronic collar to train your dog.

What Is The Best Dog Training Program in Northern Virginia?

At Off-Leash K9 Training, we are considered the best dog training program in Virgina and even far beyond, as you will see in our reviews, 400+ videos, and celebrities who have flown their dogs to us from all throughout the United States.

What Can You Expect during Dog Training?

Are you excited to have your dog trained? We are too! So you will know what to expect, read the following:

Your dog will be off the leash.

As much as possible, we want you to feel comfortable and secure that your dog is not on a leash. It is a win-win situation for you both: your dog can have a lot of time and space for himself or herself while you do not have to worry about your dog’s getting lost. He or she easily responds to your commands.

However, we are also aware that almost all dogs do not react to commands when they come to us. So we are going to let the dogs wear an e-collar. This is a special device that works similarly like an electronic fence. Using a remote control, it generates a beep or a vibration (picture a ringing phone). It is a way of communicating to the dog and catching his or her attention to the training, you can see over 400+ dogs we have trained on our youtube channel.

The e-collar won’t hurt them at all.

Many people refer to it as a “shock collar” which always send chills down our spine, it does not “shock” at all, it’s a very subtle stimulation (like stim pads physical therapists use).  We actually make every client of ours try it on their first lesson, they are always pleasantly surprised on how subtle it really is.   In fact, when a dog is properly trained, they are eager to wear them and become excited when they see them. This is because they have learned to associated the e-collar with lots of time outside, training, and play.  See our blog posting on, “Will the ecollar hurt my dog?”

Your dogs are trained by professionals.

Our dog training Northern Virginia is now found across the country. We already have trained and licensed dog trainers, so all you have to do is to contact us so we can give you the best persons or training school to talk to. Though you can buy DVDs and other training materials for dog modification behavior, personal trainings are still the best. The trainers can easily adjust or even customize the sessions according to different factors such as your own schedule, the dog’s temperament, etc.  We have trained the dogs of some of the top celebrities in the country, as you can see on the testimonials page of our website.  We range from former military, law enforcement, and private sector experience, as well.

There are different packages to choose from.

Our Northern Virginia dog training includes various packages like the Basic Obedience Starter Package, which already includes individual lessons and some tools for training. This costs $350. After that, the succeeding sessions will be worth $100 only. There are also some advanced lessons. We can recommend the best package for you based off of your needs and expectations.

We can also train puppies.

In fact, we highly recommend our puppy training Northern Virginia. We want to make sure that your puppy grows up following only the correct behaviors. We train puppies as young as 5 months old; however, we also has a special Virginia puppy training for those that are below such age. Instead of an e-collar, we’re going to use marker and treat training to begin shaping your dog’s behaviors at a young age.

You will play a huge role during the training.

Hey, it’s your dog, after all. We make sure that our leash training in Northern Virginia includes the owner. You can watch at first, and as the sessions go on, you will then take the lead. Our clients love this setup as they can also bond some more with their dogs.