Dog Trained

Dog Trained DogTrained. Positive Play. Canine Success.



If you’ve recently welcomed a puppy into your life, you’re probably keen to start introducing them to other people and other dogs as soon as possible, during that all-important ‘socialisation window’. ⏲️🪟🐕

But what should socialisation actually look like?

🤔 Does your puppy really need to meet dogs of all different ages, breeds, and temperaments in order to learn the right etiquette?
🤔 Do you actually need to work through a checklist of different people, animals, events, and environments for your puppy to experience in the first few weeks?
😬 Or could that actually overwhelm them and knock their confidence and optimism?

The traditional view of ‘socialisation’ would have you believe that you have a critical window in which to expose your puppy to as many experiences as possible, to prepare them for everything they are going to encounter in life. The truth is, this approach relies on exposure and it can really go quite wrong for a lot of dogs, no matter their age. It is what we would call training IN the situation, before your pup has the skills and knowledge FOR that situation.

At absoluteDOGS, we know socialisation is actually an opportunity to cleverly show your puppy that the world is a safe place that they can navigate with you by their side. It’s not about a checklist of things to expose your puppy to… It’s really an opportunity to provide your puppy with a foundation of optimism, confidence, and value in YOU (not the environment and everything it has on offer)! 🐾😍

Socialisation is a life-long event in many ways. We should be regularly training for novelty and non-events, preparing our dogs for real-life scenarios, and doing that over a more extended time period – all while growing optimism, confidence and disengagement skills. We’ve got to be our dog’s guardians, their protectors, and learn when to say “no” to socialisation to guard their carefully grown optimism! ✨✅💪🐶

Keen to learn HOW to get socialisation right from the start and grow confidence and optimism for your puppy (or rehome, rescue, foster or existing family dog)? ✨💖

🔗 Check out our FREE eBook on ‘Socialisation’ in our Secrets to Raising A Puppy: The absoluteDOGS Way resource bundle!

🔗 And head over to our absoluteDOGS TV YouTube channel to find our video on How to Smash Through Your Puppy's Socialisation Checklist!

This post is a beautiful example of how rescues can take care of the needs of the canine and humans that come through th...

This post is a beautiful example of how rescues can take care of the needs of the canine and humans that come through their lives. Rescues that can be a safe space for as many times and as long as needed for each individual in their care are rescues that I can support.


This. It’s not cheating to use meds. Also if you’re in the DMV area did you know we have another round of fireworks coming on Saturday as Alexandria celebrates its birthday? What about having the conversation with your vet about new years or next year *now*. Being prepared with a medication that might help your pup might have some trial and error so this is your time to do better for the next event.

July 4.  Fireworks.  They’re coming. Have you thought about how to help prevent or minimize your pups noise sensitivity?

July 4. Fireworks. They’re coming. Have you thought about how to help prevent or minimize your pups noise sensitivity?

Soundproofing a dog crate. Sounds easy, right? It's not. Even the most skilled DIY-er can't overcome physics. Don't waste your time or money.

Re working our leash skills becasue someone has now stuck her nose into two cats and one racccoons face and is just LOOK...

Re working our leash skills becasue someone has now stuck her nose into two cats and one racccoons face and is just LOOKING for the excitement on our evening walks.

"The secret to healthy dog play is found in the pauses, when one dog stops."

"The secret to healthy dog play is found in the pauses, when one dog stops."

Watching dogs play well together is one life’s greatest joys. One of my essential criteria when looking for a dog to replace Willie was whether he played well with Maggie. We tried two dogs out before we found Skip, neither of whom had any interest in playing with Maggie. Maggie ignored one, and h...

No dog park for us today.

No dog park for us today.

28 Likes, 3 Comments - | Certified Dog Trainers () on Instagram: "No dog park today. "


Behavior is complicated. It stems from genetics, from experiences, from health, from environment... from everything, really. Well, everything *except* a value of your worth as a dog owner - or their worth as a dog.

Think of behavior as communication, not a judgement.

[image description: a black and white dog sits underneath a gauge with an arrow pointing to the center. Text reads "'Behavior is a barometer.' Kathy Murphy. Think of your dog's behavior as communication, not a judgement of their (or your) worth"]

Love this class with Dr Amy Cook!  We took it, live it and recommend it!

Love this class with Dr Amy Cook! We took it, live it and recommend it!

Is your dog brilliant at home but shuts down at the show? Or does he bark and lunge at people or dogs on walks? Does she seem generally stressed, whether frantic about it or quiet and vigilant? All of these common behaviors can be addressed through Therapeutic Social Play!


🔗 in bio to enroll!

Check out a great class by one of our other local (ish) trainers!

Check out a great class by one of our other local (ish) trainers!

You’ve only got TWO MORE WEEKS to sign up for Gone With The Wind - our four week class focused on helping you build a reliable recall!

When you have a dog who doesn’t come when called - right away, please! - it can fall anywhere between “a little annoying” and “a matter of life and death.”

It’s time to get started on making life a little easier, a little less stressful, and a little safer.

Gone With The Wind starts Monday, March 13th with a virtual lesson, and then we hit the road!

Sign up today!


* Bringing this post out of the vault, because it’s so important * 👇🏻

I think it’s common to think that when our dog is unruly, there is something wrong with them. 

Especially when we look around us and see perfectly behaved pups strolling happily down the street with their owners. 

But the truth is…

Everything your dog does is NORMAL. 




Pulling on the lead…

Lunging at other dogs or joggers…


It’s all NORMAL. 

This is  a normal response for a predator (because that’s what dogs once were) that got plucked out of their natural environment and dropped onto your sofa. 

What’s not normal? 

Walking on a leash at a mind numbingly slow pace as you stare at your phone…

NOT chewing things, or mouthing you…

Holding a sit stay or a down stay as you chat to a friend…

NOT losing their mind around another dog. 

Sure selective breeding has curbed some of the more natural responses our dogs have…

But the truth is…

Your dog’s behavior is a NORMAL response to them trying to adapt to an environment that truthfully is NOT normal for them. 

So tell me…

What does that shift for you? 

Because your dog isn’t “Bad”. There’s nothing wrong with them. Everything they are doing is completely normal.


When dogs are trained with methods such as leash jerks, yelling, and shock collars, they have worse welfare than dogs trained solely with food rewards


In the dog-training world, “crossing over” refers to switching from using old-school traditional training methods (catching the dog making a mistake and correcting that mistake) to modern positive- reinforcement methods (catching the dog doing something right and rewarding those good choices).


Some of you may have heard me talk about the “stress bucket”. It’s an analogy I use a lot during behaviour consultations to help my clients understand what every day things might be contributing to the expression of unwanted behaviours in their pets.
It is also very relatable to people and many of us get it when we look at our own lives and behaviours and what might be filling our own buckets.

What fills your dog or cat’s bucket ?
What fills your bucket ?

Taking some time to reflect on this opens the doors for change.


Online dog training classes for obedience, rally, agility, tracking, nosework, dog behavior, freestyle, and foundation skills.



This class is will help you learn strategies for managing and controlling dogs that are reactive to dogs and people, whether that is from fear or excitement, and whether their displays are large and dramatic or quiet and withdrawn. Helping them get over their fears is best done when you can set up ideal conditions, but real life means you have to take your dog for a walk outside, and even when you do your best to set things up, surprises happen! You need management strategies that help you get through daily life that support your larger goals of reducing reactivity in your dog.

In this class you will learn leash handling skills for real life dog walking (u-turns, speed changes, side changes, quick sits), tricks you can do outside to keep their attention and help them stay calm (hand touches, two feet on, four feet on, find it), and strategies for minimizing in-home reactive barking (go to place, timed treats, pacifiers, settling in the crate). You will learn when to feed your dog and the importance of timing (pro tip: it doesn't actually matter sometimes!). You will also read about topics in reactivity, how to support your dog at classes and trials, how to travel in the car, how to be your dog’s advocate, and more!

Enrollment link:


  A cosmetic surgeon once told me that he dreads Sunday night phone calls. They are, almost always, about kids who need their faces put back together after being bitten by a dog. He said it breaks his heart. It breaks my heart too, thinking of the hundreds of cases I saw where the owner […]


Free Advice for Adopters & Puppy Parents webinar! Learn how to make life with your new dog easier and more fun!

On Sun Jan 15 at 2pm ET, come hear trainer Angie Madden, CPDT-KA, CCUI, DogSpeak, LLC discuss dog training and behavior and many common issues that new dog parents face.

Although designed for new dog and puppy parents, this webinar will also help those of you who have lived with your dog longer.

Potential adopters and foster dog parents are also welcome!

Register at


Humane Rescue Alliance has a brand new dog walk and renovated their space with thick blue matted floors. Do you know what that means?


Coming in January:

Mondays @ 5:30 pm - Agility for Fun (for total beginners)
Mondays @ 6:45 pm - Advanced Beginner Agility
Fridays @ 5:00 pm - Agility Jumps (jumping skills)
Saturday, 1/21 at 6:00 pm - Agility Workshop: How to Compete
Sundays @ 6:30 pm - Silver Snouts Agility (senior dog fitness, agility, and tricks)

Coming in February/March:
Mondays @ 5:30 pm - Agility for Fun (for total beginners)
Mondays @ 6:45 pm - Advanced Beginner Agility
Thursdays @ 6:15 pm - Agility Weaves 1
Sundays @ 6:30 pm - Silver Snouts Agility (senior dog fitness, agility, and tricks)

More info and registration here:


If your neighborhood is anything like mine, there will be celebrations ringing in 2023.

Make sure your celebrations don't turn tragic and prepare your pets for the chaos!

[image description: bursts of firework color cover the background. Text reads "'tis the season to be prepared! Check collars for fit. Check tags for correct info. Update your pets' microchip. Stop up on puzzle toys and tasty treats. Speak with your vet about event medication. Stuff and freeze food toys. Fireworks are coming!"]


A fairly common reason dog owners reach out to us for help is when they experience a sudden behavior change in their dog.

Typical examples are things like:
➡️ a sudden increase in potty accidents
➡️ suddenly starting to display aggression during handling or petting
➡️ suddenly not wanting to go out on walks
➡️ a sudden increase in sound sensitivity

Very often, *sudden* behavior changes are an indicator that your dog may be dealing with a new or worsening health condition.

Over the years, our wonderful veterinary partners have uncovered everything from ear infections, broken teeth, and skin allergies, to tick-borne diseases, inflammation from arthritis, torn ligaments & tendons, parasites, and gastrointestinal issues in our shared clients - when the ONLY symptom present in the dog was a *sudden change in behavior.*

SO, if you notice a sudden change in your dog’s behavior that you can’t link it to a specific life event, learning experience, or environmental change (e.g., “my dog is suddenly having more potty accidents after moving from the country to a new city apartment”), we encourage that your first call should be to your veterinarian, rather than to a trainer or behavior consultant.

Depending on the issue, you & your dog may end up benefitting from some combination of medical intervention *and* training, but exploring potential health contributors is your best first step toward getting things back on track with your dog.


Are you taking your dog with you to visit friends & family this holiday season (or do you have family coming to stay with you)? If so, here’s your gentle reminder that it’s not fair to ask your dog to be “the Adult in the Room” at family gatherings.

What do we mean by this? Well, you know how we all have one or two relatives who behave in a less-than-lovely manner with your dog? The ones who don’t listen to your direction, or who insist on handling or interacting with your dog in the way THEY think is best, regardless of how that makes you or your dog feel?

If you and your dog will be spending time with these particular relatives over the holidays, it’s important that you don’t put the burden of responsibility on your dog to deal with or tolerate these unpleasant and unwanted interactions. In other words, Don’t Ask Your Dog to Be the Adult in the Room.

Instead, try one of these two approaches to keep your dog safe, comfortable, and out of trouble during family gatherings:

Tactic #1: Speak with your relatives *before they/you arrive* to explain your dog’s current behavior needs or training goals, and ask whether they’re on board with helping you with stick to them. If you get a resounding yes, proceed cautiously with involving your dog in the festivities (if appropriate), but monitor closely and be prepared to intervene if needed.

Tactic #2: If you’re not comfortable having that discussion, or if your conversation falls flat, opt to put your dog away in another room with lots of yummy bones and chews, a comfy bed, and some white noise. Or, if you have the option, have them go stay at their normal daycare, boarding facility, or a friend’s house during the festivities. If folks ask where your dog is, simply say that they’re not comfortable with or ready for this type of gathering.


If you have your heart set on bringing home a specific dog to your family, finding the right breeder is crucial to ensure the health and wellbeing of your new family member.

100% agreed:  "a dominant character is very often not a problematic one and not one with high conflict."  JoRosie Haffen...

100% agreed: "a dominant character is very often not a problematic one and not one with high conflict." JoRosie Haffenden talks about one way to help dogs in conflict.

Recently I’ve been working with a high conflict personality dog. These guys used to be referred to as dominant but it’s fair to say whilst dominance often is a part of the dogs personality, a dominant character is very often not a problematic one and not one with high conflict. I guess calling them dominant is like referring to people with high conflict personality as confident - and most are, but not all and thousands of confident people don’t have HCP.

I digress! In working with this dog I thought I would share the advice that I give to owners about these dogs. HCP dogs often seek conflict and also respond differently to others when it comes to treatment.

For example, the dog in question would seek attention by coming over to a person confidently and going through their legs or pushing their body or face into them. It isn’t a soft, loose or limber introduction but a forthright pushy one. Almost playful but with an edge. He isn’t asking but demanding. Now, in this situation there are two outcomes for the dog: the physical sensation of stroking; or not getting the stroking.

Essentially when we stroke the dog at some point we have to stop - and so we have to deal with that boundary whether we choose that now is a nice time to cuddle or not.

With dogs that don’t have a high conflict personality, we often advise owners to just ignore the dog. If you ignore them they may ask a few more times and then walk off. And if you also say “that’s enough” or add some kind of cue then they will likely accept that and learn on that cue to go off. My old pit bull would even sigh and puff like “fine…”

But with this dog - and a hundred others I’ve met like him, ignoring or telling him that you weren’t up for it will only result in conflict and even often some level of aggression. He’ll go straight back at you. Now if we are logical and practical and watch his body language there is nothing here that suggests fear. He’s proactive and although he’s a defensive breed and thus is being ‘defensive’ in a way, it’s the not the same thing as the ‘defensive’ we are taught about in behaviour school. He’s offensive if anything in this, and although the conflict generally deescalates after noisey volition and over expressed facial and movement markers, he seems to get a lot of stimulation from that power play. This confuses ALOT of owners - and they don’t know how to deal with it.

You do also see High Conflict Personality dogs who only exhibit this behaviour with other dogs. Similar advice to below is given but it has to be applied to dog-dog intervention and in choosing dogs that naturally behave like this.

Anyway - I digress, my point of this post is they the same advice for communicating with high conflict personality people works well with these dogs and their owners and so I wanted to share this as I feel as though these dogs are often confusing for us to work with and often labelled wrongly as fearful or conflicted.

So, this is the advice I give out to owners whilst we are working to change the dogs response and get a handle on controlling the aggression.

First off: when getting owners to reduce the conflict you are working make EAR actions. So when you are asking the dog or telling the dog to do something be Empathetic, Attentive and Respectful (EAR).

This should avoid conflict. Being empathetic means trying to understand what and why the dog is doing what they are doing. I get owners to think about the mental, emotional & physical needs of their dog. Becoming aroused and working through adversity is a need for many dogs. So ensure these needs are being met else where. And if the dog wants affection, or is seeking sensation or if they need some play, it’s important we don’t allow the high conflict nature of the dog to prevent the owners partaking in bonding and trust building activities.

A for Attention is all about not doing something else at the same time and instead paying attention to body language and vibe shifting. These dogs tend to be ok until they decide a conflict is on the cards and then they are not. Whilst often medical checks finds something wrong, in my experience as often as they find an issue they don’t - however it’s often mislabelled under invisible types of pain OR idiopathic rage which is code for ‘I don’t know what the f**k is wrong with the bugger’. By all means get the dog checked - for sure. But if there is nothing wrong don’t waste €1000 pursuing the avenue just because you can’t see what’s wrong either!

Respect. Respect that he has teeth. Most of the high conflict dogs I’ve met also have muscular, blocky heads and faces and are strong and heavy. Not all, but many. The owners need to respect that. He is stronger than you and more able and willing to head into conflict.

Stopping attention is done so using a BIF style interaction. BIF stands for Brief, Informative and Friendly. If it becomes this long arduous intervention of getting treats and luring the dog - blah blah blah, then the dog becomes aroused. If the interaction lacks clarity then the dog becomes frustrated and confused. If you are strict or formal the dog will take offence.

For me it’s a simple. “Down” cue. Where the owner then removes themself. For certain dogs I’ll sometimes pair this with a consumable chew for them to take off so long as they can remain in the down whilst the owner fetches it. Much of the time they stay in the down, the owner moves out of the space and to a worktop or something else and then says “ok” to release the dog to freedom.

Obviously to work through and modify the behaviour requires a profesional (and if you want to know more about that then check out The School of Canine Science Behaviour Bible where we will go through the modification techniques for these types of case). In the meantime though I hope these strategies are useful and i hope my description helps some of you identify these cases if you’ve been struggling with them.

Id like High Conflict Personality to be used a bit more as a term for these dogs as I think it’s a useful way to describe common patterns of behaviour choices found in certain characters of dog.

What are your thoughts?


We love when our pups head off to Urban Canine!!


4906 Wisconsin Avenue NW
Washington D.C., DC


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On Adventures!

On Adventure!

Nearby pet stores & pet services


Wondering how to pick a dog trainer? There is no regulation in the dog training industry, which means anyone can call themselves a dog trainer. We have a list of recommended trainers on our website, and have two behavior LVT’s who are more than happy to answer questions about training and behavior. Ultimately, you should be comfortable with your trainer, and the methods being used. Training should be FUN!

JW Dog Training & Behavior Consulting
Dog Latin Dog Training and Behavior Consulting
Dog Trained
Animal Behavior Wellness Center
WOOFS! Dog Training Center LLC
Fur-Get Me Not
Behavior United
Your Dog's Friend

Wholistic Hound Academy

Urban Loose Leash starts August 29th with Dog Trained. Join them for a fun virtual class all about training leash skills around city distractions.
Tenleytown's Dog Trained works on teaching your pup how to check-in, relax, and breathe in those moments when they get BIG emotions. Check out their virtual schedule for this online class:
Have a noise-sensitive pup? Join Dog Trained for a Reactive Dog, Zoom Workshop this Thursday, July 16th 🐶
Taking turns at play and train. 😍. Our black and white pups are being rewarded for calm, they are learning to take turns, getting in some great name recognition in a highly distracting environment.

Learn more about Tenleytown’s Dog Trained at
Fourth-of-July weekend is just 2 weeks away. Here's advice from our friends at Tenleytown's Dog Trained how to prepare your pup before the fireworks begin.
Want to jump-start dog training this summer?! Dog Trained is back and offering in-home training packages to build basic manners, loose leash skills, recalls, and modify reactivity and aggression.

Learn more here:
Check out this Zoom workshop our friends at Dog Trained are hosting next Saturday!
Hi Dog Trained Community/Gwen- Our pup Bruno has dry skin which leads to dandruff. Do have any go to fish oil supplement brands? Thanks!
Are you having a puppy play tomorrow at Chien? I thought it was this weekend, but wasn't 100% sure? Can't wait for our new doodle to play with other pups!