House training is not “automatic.” It is a process that the owner must follow step-by-step. Done right, it can be accomplished in a very short period of time. Done wrong, your puppy can grow into an adult dog with chronic house training problems.

But even for adult dogs with chronic house training problems, the success rate using our dog housebreaking method is very high.

Keep in mind that dogs do not go to the bathroom in the house because of anger, spite, jealousy, boredom or mischief. Except in rare cases of illness or separation anxiety* dogs go to the bathroom in the house for one reason – they have never been properly housetrained by the owner.

Here are some common mistakes that owners make during early housebreaking attempts that can make the problem worse:

  • The use of puppy pads inside the home
  • Too much freedom too soon
  • Feeding low quality dog food and/or feeding table scraps
  • Punishment after the fact
  •  Using the wrong cleaners to clean up the accidents
  • Inconsistency by family members

But even if the above mistakes have been made, ANY DOG CAN BE HOUSE TRAINED!

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Only 6 Commands

No clicker, no jerking, no flipping on the back, to rough stuff, no snipping fingers or inappropriate corrections. ONLY 6 COMMANDS. That’s all your dog needs!

COME: a solid recall “coming when called the first time”. We practice this when your dog is distracted by something because the recall is most important in real-life emergency situations.

SIT: a solid sit-stay. We do not use “stay”, it is built into sit and useless. Instead, we focus on the release command.

DOWN: a solid down-stay “We do not use “stay”, it is built into down and useless. Instead, we focus on the release command.

GO: We teach your dog a Greeting Routine, to meet strangers in a calm and friendly manner, no jumping, no lunging, barking etc.

OK: You don’t have to walk through a door-way ahead of your dog in order to be the leader. Having the dog walk with you is more practical, as long as you give permission to do so.

NO: There is no “leave it”, “stop it”, “drop it”. No is universal.

These basic commands are simple for the dog to understand and can be used interchangeable in many different situations.

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10) Shouting at the dog

Dogs should learn to obey commands given in a normal volume, without shouting. Unfortunately, people often learn that by yelling at a dog, they can momentarily interrupt bad behavior. But this is a temporary fix, not a long-term solution. Frightening a dog breaks down the owner’s relationship with the dog, so fear should never be part of a training program. A well-trained dog obeys commands given in a normal volume.


9) Removing a puppy from a litter at too early an age.

Puppies need to remain with the litter until 7 to 10 weeks. Most toy breeds need to stay with the litter until the age of 10-12 weeks. Even if the mother dies, the litter should remain together until at least 7 weeks of age so that they can learn from each other. Puppies learn bite inhibition, den cleanliness, following leadership and much more from their early experiences in the litter. Some of our most challenging cases involve dogs who have been removed from the litter before the age of 7 weeks.


8) Hitting the dog.

Believe it or not, in spite of a mountain of information to the contrary, many people still feel it’s ok to hit their dogs. There is no valid justification for hitting a dog. It is never a solution to any dog training or behavior problem – in fact, it creates more problems than it solves.


7) (TIE) a) Putting the dog’s nose in its mess after a house training accident.  b) Using paper or puppy pads for housebreaking.


a) Never, never take your dog back to an accident and stick his nose in the mess. This can lead to stool eating, aggression, fear, shyness and more. It’s also a sure fire way to make the process of house training take a whole lot longer.


b) Do not use paper or puppy pads during housebreaking. Teach the dog early on that the bathroom is outside. Using paper or pads inside the home confuses the dog and retards the housebreaking process.


6) Rolling a dog over on its back and holding it down to show “dominance”.

This outdated technique (called the “Alpha Rollover”) is based on flawed science and it does nothing to establish leadership. To the contrary, it can break down the bond between you and your dog and can lead to aggression.


5) Getting a dog for protection

Protection trained dogs do best in military, police or security work, not as family pets.   “Amateur protection training” done at home often has disastrous consequences. If you want protection get an alarm system, not a dog.


4) Choosing the wrong breed for the family’s lifestyle.

There a number of breed selector quizzes available online. Take several of them and narrow your search to the breed that matches your family. Decide what you want in a pet dog – a jogging partner or a couch potato? A long lustrous coat or a coat that sheds less? Some breeds need a “job” – for example, a border collie is better suited for a herding job on a farm rather than living in a city apartment.


3) Adopting or purchasing 2 dogs from the same litter.

Sometimes this can work out fine, but more often it makes training, socialization and development more difficult. Look at it this way – if you visited a foreign country without an interpreter, you would learn to speak their language a lot faster. Similarly, one puppy will bond with the family faster, and learn things much more easily, than two puppies from the same litter. Two puppies from the same litter will often focus more on each other than on their new family.


2) Getting a second dog to keep the first dog company.

Dogs need HUMAN companionship and leadership. If you don’t have time for one dog, getting a second dog makes no sense.


#1 Mistake Made by Pet Dog Owners:

Getting a dog when you don’t have time for a dog.

Dogs require lots of time and attention. Behavior problems, housebreaking problems, poor socialization, destructiveness, boredom, obsessive behaviors like tail and light chasing, excessive barking, self-mutilation, excessive licking, choking on toys left in the crate all day, digging, yard escaping, fear, shyness, lack of exercise, insufficient play and mental stimulation are only a few of the challenges which arise when people don’t have time for their dogs. Excessive crating, locking a dog in a room or tying it out all day, free-feeding the dog or installing a doggy door so the dog can fend for itself will make things worse. Not to mention lack of time and attention for training and veterinary needs. A dog is not a goldfish. A dog is a pack animal with clearly defined social and developmental needs. Don’t get a dog unless you have time for a dog.

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Dogs and Babies

The arrival of your new baby is an exciting, joyful moment! Life changes in lots of ways for everyone in the family. You’ve got a million things to think about, but there’s one thing you might not have considered – introducing the baby to the family dog.

Expectant parents with dogs at home are almost always given 2 pieces of advice from well meaning friends and relatives – sometimes even from healthcare providers. Unfortunately, these 2 myths are at best ineffective, and at worst, dangerous.


“Bring home a doll and start treating it like a baby so the dog will get used to having a baby at home.”

On the surface, this sounds like it makes sense, but there’s a huge problem with this piece of advice: a baby doll is not a baby. Dogs are hunters, with highly evolved senses. They can smell mates, prey and predators from miles away.  They have eyes that can detect the slightest movements. They can hear the sound of a twig snapping deep in the woods. Their very survival depends upon these keen senses. Thinking that a baby doll smells, moves and sounds anything like a baby is ridiculous.

What does a baby doll smell like? It is usually made of vinyl and cloth and it smells a lot like a dog’s toys! Exactly the wrong association – you don’t want your dog thinking the baby is a toy!


“A few days before baby comes home, bring a blanket home from the hospital with the baby’s smell on it.” 

Is looking at a post card of Paris the same experience as visiting Paris?  The advice to bring home a blanket does absolutely NOTHING to prepare a dog for the arrival of an infant.

Think about this: many dogs have been in fights with other dogs. Is that because they did not smell another dog before the fight began?  Does smelling something teach the dog to feel good around something?

So what should you do?

If your dog has not experienced the sight, smell and sound of a human baby during his early socialization period (prior to 5 months of age), he is going to have a problem adjusting. No one can guarantee that every dog will be safe around every baby, but there are lots of things that David Roe at Blue Dog Ranch Training Center can do to improve this relationship.



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Aggressive Behavior

If your dog growls, snaps, bites or displays the type of aggressive behavior, it is a serious problem and it will not go away on its own. Resource guarding is a very common form of aggression in dogs. Because we train your dog in your home, we can design exactly the right program to help with resource guarding and other dog aggression, dog training and dog behavior problems.

Our aggression intervention programs use modern, effective desensitization and counter-conditioning techniques that are fast and effective.

Aggression is a self-reinforcing behavior in dogs. Every time a dog bites someone, it becomes more likely that the dog will bite again. Left untreated, both the frequency and the intensity of the attacks will increase. The dog will not “grow out of it.” Dog aggression will not go away on its own, and it cannot be “punished” out of the dog. In fact, punishment can make aggression much worse.

We can help rehabilitate your dog using classical and operant conditioning protocols that work in harmony with your dog’s natural drives, to help get the fastest possible results.

If your dog is aggressive toward humans or other dogs, we have programs that can help.

Meanwhile, here are a few simple steps you can take:

Don’t make excuses for the behavior. It is often useful to study the “ABCs” of aggression (Antecedent, Behavior, Consequence), but this does not mean that one can excuse or accept the behavior.

Safety first! Provide close supervision of the dog at all times, especially around children.

No physical punishment.

Require that the dog defer to you for everything it wants – food, toys, going outside, etc.

Ignore all demands for attention made by your dog. Dogs should be given lots of love and affection, but they should never be permitted to demand play, petting, toys or attention.

Avoid situations that have triggered previous attacks.

Do not tie the dog outside for extended periods of time.

No rough play, chase, keep away or other inappropriate games.

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Dogs and Children

Family dogs should be safe and reliable around children. Aggressive dog behavior like guarding of food or bones must never be tolerated or excused. It’s important to take the time to teach children how to behave appropriately around puppies and dogs. It’s also important to teach your puppy from an early age to view the approach of a child as a positive thing, not as a threat to his resources.

Sometimes, in a misguided attempt to teach a dog to share, an owner will reach into the puppy’s food bowl and play with the food while the puppy is eating. This does not teach the puppy to share. Instead it teaches him to view the approach of a human as a negative thing. It’s an annoyance – an interruption to the puppy’s meal.

Instead, approach the puppy while he’s eating and add more kibble, and occasionally some yummy treats, to the bowl. This trains the puppy to regard the approach of a human as a positive thing. More tips on preventing resource guarding are covered in our Puppy GoodStart program, done in your home.

If your dog or puppy has already started growling, snapping or biting to guard his food or bones, then do not try the above method. Instead, a different approach must be taken. Those techniques are covered in our aggression intervention program and behavior modification program, done in your home.

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