Welcome Home! Ultimate Guide Further Info.

Below you can find the further information that I reference in my Welcome Home! Ultimate Guide:

Security & Confidence

Daily routines help your puppy develop a sense of security and confidence. Follow this daily guide to raise a happy, well-socialized and well-behaved puppy:

7-9am: Outside, Breakfast, Walk & Play

  • Take puppy out of crate/kennel. (More on crate/kennel training in my Welcome Home! Ultimate Guide DVD.)
  • Take puppy directly outside to eliminate. “Label” the process with a phrase like “go potty,” then praise and offer a treat when he is successful. (More on house training in my Welcome Home! Ultimate Guide DVD.)
  • Breakfast.
  • About 15 mins. after breakfast, take puppy outside to eliminate again and then take him for a walk (if he has had his vaccinations).
  • Take puppy back inside and allow him to explore a little. Give a treat-filled chew toy for play and fun. Play the “Capture” games throughout the day. Put him in a kennel or exercise pen, or tether him in a supervised, social area and give him a high-quality, chewy treat.

9am-12pm: Rest

12-1pm: Outside, Training & Play

  • Take puppy outside to eliminate.
  • Play the “Find It” games. After watching my Welcome Home! Ultimate Guide DVD on how to train your puppy with cues, practice sit, down, stay, come, go-to-bed, etc.
  • Throw toys and play.

1-4pm: Rest

5-6pm: Outside, Walk, Training & Play

  • Take puppy outside to eliminate.
  • Take puppy for a walk (if he has had his vaccinations).
  • Play the “Find It” games. After watching my Welcome Home! Ultimate Guide DVD on how to train your puppy with cues, add in some of this training also.

4-9pm: Dinner, Training & Play

  • Give puppy supervised free time or keep him kenneled or tethered in a social area of your home. Watch TV, read or work on your computer while practicing the “Capture” games. Give a treat-filled chew toy for play and fun.

9pm: Outside then Sleep

  • Take puppy outside to eliminate.
  • Keep puppy in a kenneled area in your bedroom for a good night’s sleep.

We suggest this vaccination protocol created by W. Jean Dodds, DVM:

9-10 Weeks Old: Distemper + Parvovirus, MLV (e.g. Merck Nobivac [Intervet Progard] Puppy DPV)

14-16 Weeks: Same as above

20 Weeks or Older: Rabies (if allowable by law)

1 Year: Distemper + Parvovirus, MLV (optional = titer)

1 Year after initial dose: Rabies, killed 3-year product (give 3-4 weeks apart from Distemper/ Parvovirus booster)

Dr. Dodds considers infectious canine hepatitis (adenovirus-1), canine adenovirus-2, bordetella, canine influenza, canine coronavirus, leptospirosis, and Lyme regional and situational. Please research the prevalence in your area, and discuss it with your veterinarian.9-10 Weeks

Collars, Harnesses, Leashes and Tethers

It used to be that all anyone needed to walk and/or train their dog was a six-foot leash and a choke chain.  My how times have changed – and for the better. This article explores the many varieties of collars, harnesses leashes and tethers on the market today and the good, the bad and the ugly of how they are used.

As a professional reward-based trainer, I believe that whatever tool you choose, it should be used humanely, with your first thought being what is best and most comfortable for your dog. My personal philosophy is that collars, harnesses, leashes and tethers should primarily be used as safety tools, not training tools.  As you’ll discover below, collars, in particular, should not be used for training a dog to walk nicely on a leash. They should only be used to carry identification tags.


For many, collars are, nevertheless, used for training, to hold identification tags and as fashion accessories. They can be made of nylon, plastic, cotton, rubber, leather and metal. Types include everyday-use collars such as rolled collars, flat collars, martingale collars, buckle collars, and snap collars. Safety-minded, “break-away” collars are designed so that dogs that grab while playing don’t potentially strangulate their playmate or injure themselves by getting their jaws caught. Specialty collars include electronic training collars, spray collars, flea collars, flotation collars and Elizabethan and inflatable “donut” collars (typically used to keep a dog from licking a wound and/or sutures). This entire article could be devoted to collars alone but then we would have no room to write about harnesses, leashes and tethers. So, to keep things economical, we’ll review the pros and cons of the most familiar and most used collars.

Choke chains and Prong Collars    

Choke chains, also referred to as “slip” collars, chain training collars and check chains, have been around for over 50 years. They were originally made popular by British dog trainer Barbara Woodhouse in the 1960’s. The choke collar is placed just behind the dog’s ears and constricts or tightens when the trainer pulls on the leash.  A prong collar, also known as a pinch collar is made of a series of metal spikes or prongs, or wedge-shaped points that pinch the loose skin of the dog’s neck when the trainer pulls on the leash. Both choke and prong collars can be made of metal, plastic or nylon and are primarily used to control a dog’s pulling and lunging and to get them to heel (walk by a person’s side). The trainer usually employs a series of short jerks on the leash, also called “pops”, as punishment to get the desired result. Ultimately, the dog learns to avoid the aversive tightening of the collar around his neck by walking near the trainer’s side.

PROS: None

It is certainly possible to force a dog to stop doing something such as jumping or lunging, and it is possible to teach a behavior such as heeling by using a choke or prong collar. However, our understanding of how dog’s learn has come a long way in the past 20 years and the field has evolved, resulting in safer, easier, and more reliable reward-based training methods. Using a choke or prong collar to force a behavior is no way to educate a family member and friend. It is no way to promote kindness, compassion, empathy and nonviolence in the world.

CONS: The possibility for whiplash and injuries to the trachea and esophagus that can lead to complete asphyxiation (such as when a dog is hung or “helicoptered”).

Other injuries may include spinal cord trauma that may impact movement and cause paralysis, injuries to blood vessels in the eyes, neck sprains, bruising and damage to the skin and tissues in the neck and/or behavioral problems such as pain-influenced aggression which may lead to severe bites.

Martingale Collars

Martingale collars, also known as limited slip collars or greyhound collars, are flat, usually cotton collars with a loop that goes over the dog’s head and another attached loop that, when pulled, tightens the loop around the dog’s head.  Properly adjusted, it tightens but never closes the loop completely so it doesn’t choke.

PROS: Doesn’t choke a dog and the design makes it virtually impossible for a dog to slip out of or to back out of, when it is fitted properly.

CONS: Loose loops. People often do not fit the collar correctly and the dog’s paw can sometimes get caught in the dangling loop and sometimes the dog gets her lower jaw caught. It must be stressed that properly fitted, the collar is safe.

Unfortunately, some people believe the collar is designed to keep a dog from pulling. It is not.

Lastly, for safety’s sake, it is very important to remove any collar, especially a Martingale when dogs are playing with one another and when dogs are put in their kennels.

Electronic Collars

Electronic collars are also referred to as remote-training collars or shock collars. An electronic collar is designed to deliver an electrical charge in order to communicate what the trainer wants the dog to do or stop doing. Electronic collars can be used in three ways:

  1. Marker: A signal to the dog that a behavior is correct and a treat is on the way. In this mode, the collar is set at the lowest vibrational intensity possible. Classical conditioning is used first to pair the tactile electrical sensation with a highly-valued treat. Some blind and deaf dogs are trained in this way.
  2. Cue to elicit a behavior: A signal to the dog to do a particular behavior, such as turn left, turn right, lie down, come, etc. In this mode, the collar is set at the lowest vibrational intensity possible.
  3. Cue to stop a behavior, aka Punishment: This is the option most people are familiar with. If a dog is doing something the trainer doesn’t want like jumping, barking, lunging, escaping from a yard, and so on, an electric current is delivered to the dog through two contact points located on the collar. In this mode, the collar is set at a