Author Archive

Puppy Housebreaking – Common Mistakes

Puppies are so much fun it appears “everyone wants one”.  However once puppy arrives the most House breakingpressing challenges every new puppy owner experiences is “how do I stop my puppy going potty in my home”.  As a professional dog trainer and behavior specialist, is in fact a question I receive several times a day.

Puppies do not instinctually know where they need to potty. There fore every puppy must be shown where their potty area is. This takes commitment and consistency from the puppy owner.   

The most reliable method of helping your puppy learn to go potty outside is to use a crate.


Here are a few common mistakes people make when potty training their puppy:


Mistake #1   –  Rubbing your puppy’s nose in it.

TRUTH: This method of technically “scolding” your puppy, and will teach your puppy to fear going potty in general. This will result in your puppy hiding and sneaking to potty in a more remote location.


Mistake #2   – Thinking that puppies are potting on the rug to spite you.

TRUTH: Spite is in-fact a human concept. Puppies do not operate out of spite. If your puppy is going potty in the house, then your puppy does not understand where to potty.  If you do not provide your puppy with frequent potty breaks, it will result in pottying in the home.


Mistake #3  – My puppy should be housebroken by 5 months old

TRUTH:  Every puppy is different, some puppies take a little longer and there are several factors to consider.  Has your puppy developed a habit of going potty in the home?  if so, then getting your puppy housebroken will take longer to create a new habit.  Start off with a consistent routine. Help your puppy understand where his/her potty area is. 


Mistake #4 – Using puppy pads will help my puppy 

TRUTH: Puppy pads have their uses. However if you do not plan to use puppy pads indefinitely my advice to puppy owners is, do not start. 


Mistake #5 – Puppy puppy pads in the puppy’s crate

TRUTH:  If you are planning on crate training your puppy, which will include teaching puppy NOT to go potty in the crate. Do not putt a puppy pad in the crate. This will simply teach your puppy the crate is my “toilet”.


Mistake #6 – My puppy should not still be having “accidents” in my home 

TRUTH: It’s important to understand that nothing is 100%. Its likely you are going to miss your puppy’s signals.  The key is to understand that during potty accidents, its human error. Ensure you do not allow puppy to have opportunity to go potty in the home. If you cannot watch your puppy then he/she should be crated.


Final thoughts:  Puppy potty training can be stressful, and if you are having some challenges getting your puppy on a potty / housebreaking schedule, CONTACT US we would be happy to help. We are Maryland’s puppy training experts.







Posted in: Blog

Leave a Comment (0) →

3 Dog and Puppy Crate Training Mistakes

Mistake No.1 – Puppy associates crate as being a negative place

You only put your puppy in the crate when you need to leave the house: As dogs learn by both positive andimages2negative associations which contribute to your puppy’s perception of life.  The crate is no different. If your puppy only associates the crate with something your puppy perceives as being negative its highly unlikely he is going to desire to be left alone in the crate at all.

Tip 1. – Always associate the crate with something positive, feeding all meals in the crate is a great way for your puppy to quickly learn the crate is associated with eating meals.

Mistake No. 2 – Puppy not spending enough time in crate

Most puppy owners often allow their puppies to spend the majority of his or her day loose in the house or in a large exercise pen or gate area of the house where the owners spend time playing and engaging with the puppy. The puppy often even sleeps on the owners lap, or close by them. The contributes to the puppy feeling secure outside of the crate with their owners close by and in fact is learning that he or she gets security from people being around. Additionally if everything “good” and “fun” happens outside of the crate its less likely your puppy will want to want to be in a crate.  

Tip 2.  – When you recognize your puppy needs to take a nap, your puppy should be placed in his crate, always remembering to place a stuffed kong or bully stick (always supervised) in the crate with your puppy. The reason I recommend a stuffa kong is it allows your puppy to lick at the tasty stuffed treats, during the licking it releases pheromones which help the puppy relax and fall asleep. Your puppy will now being to associate the crate with displaying calm, relaxed behavior.

Mistake No. 3 – Puppy owners close the crate door too soon

As many puppies resist going into the crate and most puppy owners realize that they are pushed for time by the time they are ready to crate their puppy, which results in grabbing the puppy, pushing into crate
the crate and quickly slamming the door behind.  This “method” often ends up teaching the puppy not to trust you coming towards him, as its likely you are going to be physically putting him in the crate closing the door and leaving him alone.  

Tip No. 3 If its necessary to physically pick up your puppy and place in the crate, always remember to drop yummy treats in so your puppy can follow the treats and volunteer himself to go into the crate. Then include adding his favorite tasty food filled enrichment toys to encourage  him to want to be placed in the crate and stay there. However my recommendation is encouraging your puppy to enter the crate and resting there initially with the crate door open, once your puppy is relaxed in the crate you can being to close the crate door for short periods of time. Always staying close by unlit your puppy gains confidence to be left in the crate with the door closed alone.

NOTE:  Its highly recommended you take off any collars and do not put your puppy in the crate with leashes attached for fear of the collar or leash betting tangled in the crate and harming your puppy. 

Always place items in the crate that are crate safe, I highly recommend KONG toys.  However if you are home and are placing your puppy in the crate you can provide your puppy with chew bones. Always ensuring you supervise your puppy and such items are removed if your puppy is going to be left alone.



In no time your puppy will find his crate a safe comfortable, relaxing resting place.





Posted in: Blog

Leave a Comment (0) →

Puppy Training Mistakes

Common mistakes to avoid when training your puppy

“Common mistakes  – how NOT to train your puppy”

Bringing home your new puppy is exciting for sure. However unless you know some important factors to puppy training photoconsider as a new puppy owner owning a puppy can quickly become stressful and less fun than you expected.

So here are some mistakes you should avoid

Bringing your puppy home too soon

Your puppy is receiving precious nurturing and training from his or her mother; learning social skills from litter mates which include bite inhibition, learning appropriate puppy play and how to use teeth appropriately. “mom” is always keeping puppies in check. Unfortunately breeders, shelters and rescue groups let puppies go to their new home way too quickly i.e. before 12 weeks, which results in the puppy experiencing severe stress, separation anxiety and appropriate puppy biting. It is advisable to not separate young puppies from their mom and litter mates prior to 12 weeks to help avoid potential problems as they grow.

Not starting basic training immediately:

A young 10 week old puppy’s brain is open and soaking in new information.  Take advantage of this, teaching your puppy basic manners to sit, stay, lay down, come when called during this age will solidify it well into young adolescence so you get on the right track to a well behaved adult dog.

Failing to crate train:

Dogs love to have a space of their own, that they can snuggle, sleep and feel safe. Crating your puppy helps satisfy their innate desire as well as helps them to learn to settle and relax during times when they need to. A crate should be large enough that your puppy can feel comfortable, eating his meals, chew bones as well as able to stretch out and stand up. The use of the crate is excellent tool to contain your puppy during times when you cannot watch him, and also using it as your puppy’s feeding sleeping place will continue to reinforce it being a great place to be. Crating a puppy should be carried out for small periods at a time, always ensuring your puppy continues to enjoy his new space.

Too much free time:

Yes, ALL puppies are inquisitive. They just get into everything. Their new living environment is enriching with new things and to a puppy everything is a chew toy or a play thing. If your puppy is allows to run free for uncontrolled amounts of time, you will being to inadvertently teach your puppy that the sofa is ok to chew, the shoes are ok to eat, the wires are great play things.  Additionally too much free time encourages your puppy to go potty on the floor.  So limit your pups free time, if your puppy is out of the crate, he must be supervised at all times and when its time for him to take a nap, his crate should be used for nap time.  The crate is an excellent tool to help facilitate housebreaking and once your puppy is more trust worthy (as he grows) he can then be afforded more free time in the home.

Free Feeding:

It is not advisable to leave food out all day. If you allow your puppy to free feed it will make it difficult for you to know when your puppy has eaten, and when he needs to go potty.   Puppies that are free fed can end up putting on large amounts of weight and they reduce the value of their food. Increasing the value of food is beneficial as it can be used for training purposes.

Exaggerating greetings and departures:

Greeting your puppy is exciting for owners, but what we have to also understand that greeting your puppy in an over excited manner encourages your puppy to be excited greeting people, as he grows he continues to believe that we expect him to be excited when he greets us. When your puppy gets older this results in an over excited greeter jumping on guests and then we spend most of the dogs adult life trying to stop him being excited when he greets people. So when you greet your puppy wait until he is calm and not excited, when he is calm interact with him, when  you are leaving do not make a fuss, calmly crate and walk away. Your puppy will learn that calm behavior gets him greeting rewards.

Scolding your puppy:

So you come home and find your puppy has gone “potty” on the floor. you have no idea when it happened, and your puppy comes to greet you tail wagging.  Your immediate response is “BAD DOG” and you start yelling at him,  your puppy will not make any connection to why you are yelling other than the fact that you came home, he came to greet you and you immediately started yelling, your puppy will learn that when you walk in the door “something” bad happens.  If your puppy has gone potty on the floor, the its your fault, he should not have been left unattended. If he has ripped up shoes and sofa’s, again, he should not have been left unattended. So lets communicate with our puppy in a way they understand with kindness so they can trust us to provide for them what they need.

Failing to socialize your puppy:

The first 13 weeks of your puppy’s social life is the most cruciate time period in his or her life. When you take your puppy home. There is NO excuse not to socialize. Your puppy should be socialized with people other puppies, adult dogs, children, new sights and sounds, men and women in uniform. If your puppy does not receive this important socialization your puppy will develop anti social behavior as he grows this anti social behavior manifests its self through aggression, or fear.   Find other friendly dogs in your area that your puppy can physically play with. Sit outside the local hardware store, letting strangers give him  or her treats a they walk past.  Please avoid dog parks as dog parks are often a haven for bad scary behavior.

Happy puppy ownership.

Need help training your puppy

Contact us today –

Posted in: Blog

Leave a Comment (0) →

Separation anxiety in dogs

Separation Anxiety in dogs;  the anxiety the dog experiences when left alone and the anxiety the owner feels worrying about their dog’s emotional health when they have to leave him.  Can dogs with separation anxiety be helped?  The answer is YES!

Case:  Meet Eli, Eli is a 10 year old Pitt Bull who was recently adopted from a local Maryland Shelter.Separation Anxiety Eli crate
Eli has spent the last 6 months at the shelter, where he received lots and lots of attention.

Eli was adopted by the most amazing family here in Silver Spring Md. They brought him home,  immediately they began giving him the attention they felt he deserved. Then Monday morning came when they had to leave him to go to work, not considering any of the challenges Eli would face, the family left for their 9 hr day leaving Eli crated in a room. When they returned home that evening from work, here is what they came home to :

This photo is a photo the owner took when they arrived back home.


Separation Anxiety – Behavior Modification Training

After 3 -4 weeks of Separation Anxiety behavior modification training.  Eli noDSCN3900w enjoys going into his crate and his family report that he can now be left alone for close to 6 hrs.

Working with dogs that suffer from separation anxiety takes time, consistency and commitment. Owners can see results demonstrated by Eli above, by using my positive reinforcement behavior modification training techniques, working together with you and your dog,  We here at Pawz For Health Dog Training recognize that every dog is different, we believe that training programs have to be individualized they are not cookie cutter, and therefore taking time to understand what training technique works best for your dog to achieve optimum results is key.

Do you live in the Silver Spring, Rockville, Chevy Chase,Bethesda, Olney or surrounding  Maryland areas? does your dog have separation anxiety? need our help!

call us today: (240) 424 5984

or click on the box below.


Posted in: Blog

Leave a Comment (0) →

Shock collars – 20 reasons NOT to use dog shock collars!

1. Its inhumane and extremely painful – why torture your dog!?

2. Their design and purpose is to deliver pain to animals

3. Shock collars will be delivered out of anger and frustration

4. The threat of pain is as emotionally damaging to your dog

5. Surprise shocks can cause confusion & high levels of anxiety

6. Pain & anxiety from repeated shocking can cause aggression

7. Dogs may associate shocks with whoever is close by and attack

8. Shock collars can cause infections, burns and sores

9. Trial and error method to determine shock level is crude & cruel

10. A dog that can learn with a shock collar can learn without one.

11. Praise, cookies, kisses and clickers work better

12. Shock collars enable the lazy and insensitive

13.Some kennels/day cares/groomers use without the owner’s permission

14. Doesn’t facilitate learning,instead punishes “normal” behavior

15. No laws regulating production quality and operational consistency

16. Animal wellness should come before profit

17.Malfunctioning collar causes suffering to animal before visible to owner

18. Often it is the owner, not the dog, who needs correcting

19.If it’s too cruel to use on a child, it’s too cruel to use on your pet

Posted in: Blog

Leave a Comment (0) →

Training for your rescue dog

Dog training rescue dog

Dog Training for rescue dogs

Adopting a dog can be one of the most rewarding experiences just  knowing that you have been responsible for saving a dogs life pretty much says it all.

What to expect from your new rescue dog: 

The first few weeks you may feel your dog is just perfect, so what does perfect look like? Typically from the dog owners perspective, a dog that is calm, laying around, not barking, is most likely to fit that “perfect dog” description. However from the dogs perspective he is far from that.  Being adopted can be a terrifying experience for a dog,  look at it this way.  Its most likely he has spent most of his life in a shelter, then a “stranger”  comes along and take him into yet another strange place, that being your home. Your newly adopted dog has yet another new situation to adjust to. Your dog’s new home  may now involve living in a busy neighborhood with heavy traffic, buses, fire trucks, trains, and foot traffic, maybe lots of dogs or children.

Often times, for most dogs this is not a living environment they have been use to. It can take approximately 2 – 3 weeks before your dog will have figured out the lay of the land, and he will respond in a couple of ways;  he could adapt to his new living situation easily or  he could show signs of stress in his new situation which could be exhibited through hiding, or on the flip side, due to his fear and uncertainty, showing signs of growling, barking (aggression) and anything he perceives strange to him in his new world.

So what do we do?  

  • Give your dog some time, help him learn to adjust to his new living environment in a friendly, calm way.
  • Do not push him to quickly otherwise your dog is likely to shut down or exhibit a fear anxiety response.
  • Using enrichment toys to help him learn to refocus his attention, provide him with  fun doggie toys he can engage in making it now a fun place to be.
  • Using food to reward calm behavior,
  • Never scold your dog for showing signs of fear or aggression, he needs understanding, time and the ability to build trust you and his new home through confidence building.
  • A “Rescue dog” does not excuse bad behavior, but remember most rescue dogs are in a rescue situation because their previous owner did not take the time to help him develop confidence and manners.
  • Now its your turn. Invest the time with your new family member, it can be challenging, but who said anything worth having was easy. The more you help your dog learn and develop manners and social skills to better chance he has of becoming the wonderful dog he can be.

Contact: Pawz for health dog trainingfor Rescue Dog training Maryland

Dog Training Servicing:  Columbia, Chevy Chase, Fulton, Bethesda, Silver Spring, Rockville and surrounding Maryland areas.

Good luck with your rescue dog!

Posted in: Blog

Leave a Comment (0) →

Stop pulling on the leash

For many dog owners walking their dog proves to be a fun, relaxing activity. It allows the opportunity for the owner and dog to bond, as they spend time walking through the neighborhood, through the park or on a trail. However when I receive desperate phone call from clients whose biggest problem is they are unable to walk their dog on a leash without him or her pulling on the leash, it now makes the walk unpleasant and reduces the fun walking experiences they desire to have with their companion dog.  Dogs pulling on the leash is as frustrating for the owner of a dog who is 10lbs to the owner of a dog who is 110lbs.  

So what can we do?  do we need to use a prong collar? choke collar, shock collar?  Absolutely NOT!

Teaching a dog to walk nicely on a leash should be done through the use of humane training techniques not equipment which causes damage and pain to your dog.  When I help my clients to teach their dog to walk on a leash without pulling I use a front clipping harness.  I also teach my clients how to develop effective leash walking techniques, using the harness certainly helps facilitate the exercises in a calm and gentle way.

If you are a dog owner who is walking their dog on a prong collar or choke collar and God forbid a shock collar, you have to ask yourself a couple of important questions:

If I did not have any of this equipment on my dog do I really have a leash trained dog?  

Do I need to use a choker, prong or shock collar for the rest of my dogs life?  

If I dropped my dogs leash would my dog still be walking close by me or would he see this as an opportunity to take off and get away from me?? 

Here at Pawz for Health Dog Training, we will teach your dog to stop pulling on the leash. We will work with you to develop excellent leash walking techniques to effectively teach you how to walk your dog without ever having him or her pull you on the leash again.  

Effective loose leash walking is the start of teaching your dog to walk off leash!


This video shows my client using a prong collar to walk their 85lb Chocolate Lab.  

Notice how the Lab is still pulling!

This video shows the same client after 20 minutes of leash walk training

Already he is no longer pulling!

If you need help with leash walking your dog,

Contact us today |  online  |  Tel: 240 424 5984  | cooltext1448806998




Posted in: Blog

Leave a Comment (0) →

Finding a Dog Obedience Trainer In Maryland

Dog training never has to be coercive or painful. In fact I guarantee ALL my clients will immediately begin to see their pet adopting desired behaviors when they use positive reinforcement training techniques.

Positive reinforcement training is a holistic approach that affects the emotional and physical well-being of dogs,” People associate well-being with nutrition and exercise but emotional well-being complements physical well-being. If a dog’s mind isn’t at peace, the whole body breaks down eventually.

As a dog trainer; acquiring skills from some of the area’s leading dog trainers and animal behaviorists, and receiving further education under the nations behavior veterinarian Dr. Ian Dunbar, founder of the Association of Pet Dog Trainer and working closely with Dawn Sylvia-Staswiewicz trainer to President Obama’s dog “Bo” I can attest to the effectiveness of positive reinforcement training; the results are immediate!

I first looked at different approaches to dog training; I became excited by operant conditioning and positive reinforcement training. This method of training stimulates a dog’s mind in powerful positive way.

I found that dogs always responded with a heightened desire to please when they were offered positive motivation in the form of an edible or verbal reward rather than being subjected to choke collars, shock collars and other equipment designed to frighten or inflict pain.

I recently met a couple walking two Rottweiler’s. I noticed immediately the dogs were wearing pinch collars,

I asked the couple why. They explained that they used the pinch collars for greater control and because the dogs would not come when called. I persuaded the reluctant couple to drop the leashes, and within 10 seconds, the dogs were following me using a simple Lure and Reward technique.

A dog not coming when called is the most frequent problem I am asked to solve by my clients. I have discovered it is typical for the average dog own to call and mostly yell the dogs name when the dog is in “trouble” and is likely to get scolded when he returns to his owner. This results in the dog associating his name with something negative. i.e. the only time the family call me is likely to result in punishment. I start out with re-associating the dogs name is positive reward. And we build from there. The results are amazing

“In a society where we are all looking at improving our mind, body and spirit, many of us are looking to do the same for our dogs,” Oquendo said. “It’s possible with positive reinforcement training. It really works!”

Posted in: Blog

Leave a Comment (0) →

Why Not to buy a puppy for Christmas

So you a wondering what gift to buy your son or daughter for Christmas. Well they have a bike, and an iPod, and XBox and the list goes on and on and on. So your thought is Oh I know, he or she will really love a puppy!
Yes we agree all children love puppies, actually I do not know anyone who does not love a cute puppy, if puppies were not so cute I am sure pet stores selling puppies would not be in business. The problem is a puppy is not just cute, but it is in fact a living animal, it has requirements anything that has life requires. Those requirements vary from life to life, but lets stick with puppies for now.
There are several reasons why not to buy a puppy for Christmas.  Purchasing a puppy as a gift for a child presents a mind set that a living animal is a “thing” to be exchanged as a gift. Often times we all know “things” become disposable and after a while that “thing” is of no use nor interest to the person receiving that gift. Children are typical of that behavior. Its natural, the response is “Wow” Mom or Dad its so cute. So what happens after Christ mas day!
Lets look at the lifetime needs of a puppy:

  • Warmth,
  • Food
  • nutrition’
  • Exercise
  • Emotional and Social Development
  • Time from its caregiver

Training, Training Training!

The reason the majority of dogs end up in animal shelters is simply because that little cute puppy grew up, the owners did not take the time to consider exactly what goes into meeting the development needs of a puppy.


  • Do you have time to devote to the mental and social needs of a growing puppy?
  • Do you know the average cost of owning a growing puppy can range from $2000 to $3000 (average a year)
  • Do you know the cost of vet bills?
  • Do you know the cost of premium nutrition?
  • Do you now the cost of boarding and grooming?
  • Do you know how much time and dedication it takes to house train a puppy?
  • Do you know that puppies jump, bite, nip, destroy things, bark, chew, and pee on the rug?
  • Do you know that puppies are just like babies and need constant attention and care?
  • Do you know that puppies grow up to be adults???
  • Do you know the needs of an adult dog?


OK if you know all of the above and have seriously considered the answers to those questions great.

If you have NOT considered any of those questions, then please I urge you consider them now before you go and look at that

cute puppy in the window.

If you buy a puppy for a child, remember after the novelty of that puppy wears off, and the child has lost interest, are you – the parent aware that YOU are the one who will be responsible for its care? if you do not want that responsibility, then do NOT get a dog or any animal for a child until they are old enough and responsible enough to meet the needs of this demanding, growing puppy.
If you get a puppy please seek out a professional motivational dog trainer in your area to help you develop techniques to help your puppy grow into a well socialized, well developed dog.

Remember a puppy is NOT for Christmas its for LIFE!

Need help training your puppy?

Posted in: Blog

Leave a Comment (0) →
  • Home
  • The Trainer
  • Our programs
  • Testimonials
  • Resources
  • Blog
  • Contact Us