Alpha Dog K-9 Training


* An obedience command is given only ONCE. Try not to repeat yourself if you can help it. If you need to give the command again then correct your dog, say "no" at the same time the correction is given, then give the command again.

"Never give a command without being willing to enforce it!

* A leash correction is a one second snap and release of the collar. It is always paired with the word "no".

*Well timed praise is extremely important. Our method of training employs positive reinforcement and clear communication so if you do not praise your dog, he will never know when he's doing the command correctly, However, try not to over-stimulate your dog with praise. You will know when it's too much because Fido will be so overjoyed that he will break the given command, forcing you to correct him and probably confuse him.

*Likewise, if you correct your dog for an incorrect behavior, and then say "good dog" you have just told him that the incorrect behavior was "good", i.e. Fido

. jumps on you, you correct and say "no, off", he gets down, you say "good boy".

"It is important to vary your routine as much as possible. If you always do the heel, sit, down commands in that order, your dog will remember the order and you won't be able to tell if he is truly responding to you, or just memorizing the "routine" .

*Practice in different places. Take your dog with you to the hardware store, the park, the soccer game. If he/she is in these situations routinely and learns to have self control, chances are good that your dog will be welcome at more places and able to go with you more often.

*MAKE IT FUN! If you're not happy, the dog won't be. Training in new places is challenging but fun, take a walk with a buddy or take a group class! If Fido's having a bad day, go back to something you know he can do and always end on a positive note.

*Don't forget-the session isn't over until you release your dog with his special word. You're going to determine when that happens, notthe dog.

Alpha Dog K-9 Training


__ Look-the food goes from the dog's nose to yours, quickly. When you get eye contact, reward the dog immediately. Extend the ''look" to 5-10 seconds then practice in different situations (outdoors), and finally in motion at the heel. The final step is to fade the bait.

___ Correction-is a one second jerk and release on the dog's leash. It looks easy, but the timing and technique require a bit of practice. Always correct on the word "no".

___ Release-Practice by asking for a sit or down, then saying the release word while throwing a toy or piece of food.

___ Walking on a loose leash-A sharp change in direction to the right when the dog moves from your side or forges.

___ Heel-means to be by my heel, while in motion, sitting, or lying down. Praise your dog for the correct position, correct for an incorrect position (pulling, forging, bumping into you or swinging wide). When you stop, the dog should sit on your left at the heel position, not facing you.

Sit-Be sure that the dog is sitting in the heel position, and praise or correct as you need to. If you move and he breaks the sit, correct him back to the exact position that he left and try again.

__ Stand-is stand and do not move the feet. You should be able to place the dog in a stand and walk away.

___ Down-means to lie on the belly, elbows on the ground. This is not the "off' command, which is "off' the couch, "off' the counter, and "off' grandma. If the dog breaks, correct back to the exact starting position and try again.

___ Stay-is to remain in the down for an extended period of time-usually more than 5 minutes.

___ Recall- Front/Come-the dog should come to you directly and sit in front of you, whatever word you choose to use.

___ Leave it -don't touch it, sniff it, or look at it.

___ Drop it -if your dog has an object in his mouth, he should drop it immediately on command.


Alpha Dog Kg Training


The NILIFprogram is remarkable because it's effective for such a wide variety of problems. A shy, timid dog becomes more relaxed knowing that he has nothing to worry about; his owner is in charge of all things. A dog that's pushing too hard to become "top dog" learns that the position is not available and that his life is far more enjoyable without the title. It is equally successful with dogs that fall anywhere between those two extremes. The program is not difficult to put into effect and it's not time consuming if the dog already knows a few basic obedience commands. These exercises provide your dog with the structure, boundaries and direction they need to be happy in our human world. "Freedom" to do what they want is unnatural tothe canine existence. To them such "freedom" means no one is in charge. This can frighten and confuse your dog, leading to hyperactivity, barking, chewing, over dependence and possible aggression. Showing your dog that you are their leader does not always consist of physically dominating the dog. In fact the old saying that "aggression begets aggression" holds true for most dogs, and if you are not prepared to totally physically dominate your dog, you and can and will provoke a bite. Most dogs are perfectly happy submitting to a leader; they actually gain confidence and a sense of security from having someone to follow.

So how do we show our dogs we are the leader and they are the followers?

By asking them to defer and wait for everything, to establish rules and hierarchies. This behavior is calming, and easy for the dog to do. It teaches the dog to pay attention to your signals and provides a way to quickly control your dog's reactions.


The program begins by eliminating attention on demand. When your dog comes to you and nudges your hand, saying "pet me! pet me!" ignore him. Don't tell him "no", don't push him away. Simply pretend you don't notice him. This has worked for him before, so don't be surprised if he tries harder to get your attention. When he figures out that this no longer works, he'll stop. When you give your dog attention on demand you're telling him that he has more status than you do. Timid dogs become stressed by having this power and may become clingy. They're never sure when you 11 be in charge so they can't relax. What if something scary happens, like a stranger coming in the house? Who will handle that? The timid dog that is demanding of attention can be on edge a lot of the time because he has more responsibility than he can handle.

Some dogs see their ability to demand attention as confirmation that they are in charge, then become difficult to handle when told to "sit" or "down" or some other demand is placed on them. It is not their leadership status that stresses them out, it's the lack of consistency. They mayor may not actually be leadership

material, but having no one in the pack that is clearly the leader is a bigger problem than having the dog assume that role full time. Tension is created by a constant fluctuation of leadership.


Your dog already knows that he can demand your attention and he knows what works to get that to happen. As of today, it no longer works, but he doesn't know that yet. We all try harder at something we know works when it stops working. If I gave you a twenty dollar bill every time you clapped your hands together, you'd clap a lot. But, if I suddenly stopped handing you money, even though you were still clapping, you'd clap more and clap louder. You might even get closer to me to make sure I was noticing that you were clapping. You might even shout at me "Hey! I'm clapping like crazy over here, where's the money?" If I didn't respond at all, in any way, you'd stop. It wasn't working anymore. That last try -- that loud, frequent clapping is an extinction burst. If, however, during that extinction burst, I gave you another twenty dollar bill you'd be right back in it. It would take a lot longer to get you to stop clapping because you just learned that if you try hard enough, it will work.

When your dog learns that the behaviors that used to get him your attention don't work any more, he's going to try harder and he's going to have an extinction burst. If you give him attention during that time you will have to work that much harder to get him turned around again. Telling him "no" or pushing him away is not the kind of attention he's after, but its still attention. Completely ignoring him will work faster and better.


As the human and as his owner you have control of all things that are wonderful in his life. This is the backbone of the NILIF program. You control all of the resources: Playing, attention, food, walks, going in and out of the door, going for a ride in the car, going to the dog park. Anything and everything that your dog wants comes from you. If he's been getting most of these things for free there is no real reason for him to respect your leadership or your ownership of these things. Again, a timid dog is going to be stressed by this situation, a pushy dog is going to be difficult to handle. Both of them would prefer to have you in charge.


To implement the NILIF program you simply have to have your dog earn his use of your resources. He's hungry? No problem, he simply has to sit before his bowl is put down. He wants to play fetch? Great! He has to "down" before you throw the ball. Want to go for a walk or a ride? He has to sit to get his lead snapped on and has to sit while the front door is opened. He has to sit and wait while the car door is opened and listen for his release word. When you return he has to wait for the release word again to get out of the car even if the door is wide open. Please remember that he's already learned that he can make all of these decisions on his own. He has a strong history of being in control when he gets these resources. Enforce the new rules, but keep in mind that he's only doing what he's been taught to do and he's going to need some time to get the hang of it all.


You're going to have to pay attention to things that you probably haven't noticed before. If you feed your dog from your plate, do you just toss him a green bean? No more. He has to earn it. Teach him to go to his bed, or other designated spot, on command. When he goes to his spot (place) tell him "stay" and then release him when he's done. Having a particular spot where he stays is very helpful for when you have guests or otherwise need him out of the way for a while. It also teaches him that free run of the house is a resource that you control. There are probably many things that your dog sees as valuable resources that I haven't mentioned here.

The NlLIF program should not be a long, drawn out process. All you need to do is enforce a simple command before allowing him access to what he wants. Dinner, for example, should be a two or three second encounter that consists of nothing more than saying "sit", then your release word, followed by "good dog!", then putting the bowl down and walking away.


Now that your dog is no longer calling the shots you will have to make an extra effort to provide him with attention and play time. Call him to you, have him "sit" and then lavish him with as much attention as you want. Have him go get his favorite toy and playas long as you both have the energy. The difference is that now you will be the one initiating the attention and beginning the play time.

He's going to depend on you now, a lot more than before, to see that he gets what he needs. What he needs most is quality time with you. This would be a good time to enroll in a group obedience class. If his basic obedience is top notch, see about joining an agility class or fly ball team.


The NlLIF concept speaks to who initiates the attention (you!), not the amount of attention. Go ahead and call your dog to you 100 times a day for hugs and kisses!! You can demand his attention; he can no longer demand yours. Use this time to reinforce obedience commands, or teach new things, such as 'roll over' or learn the specific names of different toys. If you have a shy dog, you'll see a more relaxed dog. There is no longer any reason to worry about much of anything. He now has complete faith in you as his protector and guide. If you have a pushy dog he'll be glad that the fight for leadership is over, his status in the pack is clear, and his new role is that of devoted and adored pet.

Your dog must sit or down, look and wait for the release cue before: _ Receiving attention

_ Going out and coming in _ Eating food or treats

_ Putting on the leash and collar

_ Going through any door or doorway _ Greeting people

_ Getting in the car

_ Jumping up onto the bed or couch _ Playing or relinquishing toys

_ Petting, touching and grooming

Develop dependency Hand feed at random times Crate for rest time

_ Attach training sessions to play sessions so that your dog learns to obey while he is excited

_ Play only when you initiate it

_ Stop playing before he wants to

_ Play hide and seek in the house (We want him to worry about where you are) _ Be aloof at all times (you want to keep him guessing as to how to please you) _ Exhaust the dog twice a day, but try not to do in the same place every day - (Each time a dog visits an old haunt he becomes more confident-we want him slightly insecure)

_ No going to the dog park unless he is on the long line and there are no other people/dogs there. (Unsupervised play teaches that they don't need their owner nor do they have to obey anyone, and that their play is not under the owner's control)

_ When entering or exiting any place, your dog must be behind you or at a heel - this applies to going up and down the stairs too

_ While on walks practice loose leash walking and change directions often. Preferably, your pet will be at the heel. Alter the route of your walk as often as possible.

_ Practice distraction often on walks - use his favorite toy or food. The only time he gets to play with this toy is while on walks or when he is working. The reward for his doing what you want him to do is that he gets the toy. After he has had it for a few minutes take it away from him by making him "leave it".

_ Practice your automatic sit every 10-20 feet or so.

This program is not a substitute for professional obedience training, but can be used to augment it. If you have any questions or problems, please call us immediately at 508-989-5859, don't wait for your next lesson!

Alpha Dog K-9 Training


During my years of training dogs, I have learned lots of different approaches to training all kinds of animals, and have blended what I think are the best methods and come up with my own style. During our initial visit, I or one of my trainers will formulate a training plan for you and your dog that you are comfortable with. Please try to refer to the training sheets or email or call us if you have a question about technique-don't wait until the next session-we are here to make you and your dog successful!

My philosophy about training any animal is "if it's OK with you, then it's OK"things like being on the couch, table scraps, etc. However, if part of your training plan is restricting some of these behaviors, please try it my way for the 6 weeks that we're together .. .if you aren't happy with the results, you can always go back to what you were doing before!

If you need specialized commands because of a physical impairment, please let us know immecliately. Things like heeling on the right or an inability to physically correct your dog are easy to work around. We can always modify your training plan, but it's easier for your dog to get it right from the start. This is also true if you want to train your dog in another language or if you would like a special command added to your course.

There is no dog too old to learn. Some people think that because their dog is an adult, training is hopeless. Absolutely incorrect! We love training adult dogsthey have a longer attention span and tend to retain things even better than puppies. The oldest dog I've done a basic obedience course with was a 12 year old beagle. He was an excellent student and a joy to work with.

We love kids, and they are often our very best handlers. If you are thinking about having your roommate/SO /parents/kids/ spouse/pet sitter work with your dog, please feel free to invite them to any or all of our classes.

Alpha Dog K-9 Training

The first command we teach is the "look" command. It would be nice to teach this before any of the other basic obedience training commands is started while your dog is still a pup, but if you've got an older dog they can learn this command easily too. The "look" command is used to get your dogs attention in any situation, and it is a simple but critical command for puppies, obedience, sport, and aggression desensitization.

The way we've had the most success 'with teaching this command is to take your dog's bowl of kibble and (one at a time) place the kibble (or something that he loves) on his nose then quickly up to your nose and say "look". Wait for the pup to look and then either throw it to him or onto the floor. Do it again and again and again. Ask your kids and your spouse to play the "attention game" with him

too. Soon the dog will begin to recognize the command.

Alternatively, you can try what we call the "Human Pez Dispenser" method.

Ask your dog to look, and then with a piece of chicken, liver, or cheese in your mouth, take it from your mouth with your hand and give it to the dog, or spit the food from your mouth to your dog. The idea or goal is that the dog will not "look" at your hand for the food, but will always focus on your face when commanded to "look". It sounds a bit distasteful, but has been working for dogs and handlers in competition for decades.

Step 2 is to extend the "look", When your pup's got the command down, begin to withhold the kibble or bait and make the dog wait (while still looking directly at you) for 3 seconds, 5 seconds, etc., until you get to about 10 seconds.

Step 3. Try asking for his attention at the sit, stand and down positions, then while moving.

Finally, begin to wean the dog from the treats and simply praise him for looking when commanded.

Remember that different dogs learn at different rates and to keep training sessions short. The most important thing is to keep training fun for both of you!

Alpha Dog K -9 Training

Grooming and Exam

Some dogs need to be groomed more than others, but it's always best to meet with and have a relationship with a good groomer. You never know when your dog will run into a swamp, a skunk, or roll in some foul treasure they've found. Also, I have found that bringing your dog to the groomer occasionally just to get a cookie and then putting them back into the car makes the actual dropping off for bathing much easier.

You should run your hands over your dog every day. If you get to know their body, you will be able to spot a lump, a tick, or a hair mat very quickly, before it becomes a problem. Also, try to look into their ears, eyes, nose and mouth at least once a week. Ears should be clean, no drainage, waxy buildup, or mites (black grainy dirt), eyes should be bright with no drainage, nose should be free from drainage, and gums should be pink. Check the mouth for broken/missing teeth. There are some great toothpastes and brushes on the market, and dental health is important for your dog.

Nails should be clipped short all the time. If you can hear your dog coming across the kitchen floor, they're probably too long. Dog nails are like people nails, and if you look under the nail, you will see the "quick", just like yours. The quick will recede if you keep the nails short. If you let nails grow, the quick will grow out with them, and the dog will become uncomfortable. You should know how to clip your dog's nails, even if you're uncomfortable with actually doing them all the time. To get your dog used to clipping nails, try to massage his feet when you're sitting watching TV or when he's quiet. When he gets used to that, hold the clippers on each nail for a second, without cutting anything. This will get him used to the feel of the clippers. When you actually do clip the nails, try to hold the paw up so that you can see the skin under it. Clip close but don't hit it. If you do, just apply pressure and a clotting agent like "Quik Stop" or drag the nail across a bar of soap to form a "stopper".

Unless you're showing your dog or keeping your dog in along coat, your grooming equipment should consist of a good quality brush made for yourdog's coat, ear wipes, nail clippers (the scissor-type ones are my favorite=easier to use) and clotting agent.

Alpha Dog K-9 Training

First Aid

I always recommend a first aid kit to take along in the car. Mine includes the following, but you can customize it to your own needs:

Ruff Spots Healing Balm Tweezers

Vet Wrap

4X4 gauze

Sterile water and syringe for flushing wounds Clotting agent

Ipecac syrup


Pepto Benedryl Scissors Ice pack

Heat pack

Common injuries/ailments include urinary tract infections, sprains, strains, upset tummy, ear infections, cuts, punctures, splinters, abrasions, burns, heat stroke, poisoning and hypothermia.

For everyday small cuts and scrapes, flush with water, clean with soap and water, and treat with Ruff Spots or Bag Balm.

Most dogs can take things like Imodium, Pepto, and Benedryl. Before you give your dog any medication, it is critical to know why the dog is exhibiting signs of illness! Do not treat your dog without calling your vet first to get proper dosage instructions.

Alpha Dog K-9 Training

Common Medical Concerns

Signs of a urinary tract infection are frequent urination, little or no stream when the dog tries to go, and a foul smelling or dark colored urine. Antibiotics are required for treatment.

Prevention includes plenty of water at hand, and allowing your dog frequent trips outside.

Signs of an ear infection are: holding the head at an angle, shaking the head, scratching the ear, drainage or foul smell coming from the ear. They're fairly common in dogs that love the water, but can also be a sign of allergies. Antibiotics are required for treatment.

Prevention includes drying the ears after the bath or a swim.

Signs of stomach upset are listlessness, retching, vomiting, and excessive licking of the walls or floors. Common causes are altering your dog's diet without "weaning" them onto a new food, and eating garbage or other foreign substances. Prevention includes securing trash cans and candy dishes and keeping an eye on your dog (even in your own yard) so you will always know what he has eaten. Usually this will self-correct, but it's always best to check with your vet first.

Unless you plan to breed your dog, get him/her spayed or neutered! Cancer is alarmingly common in dogs that are not altered, and unneutered dogs tend to develop behavior issues.

If your dog has an injury that you think is too much for you to handle, it probably is. You should have your veterinarian's number with all of your other emergency numbers, and an alternate number if your vet isn't open overnight or on weekends.

Alpha Dog K-9 Training

Behavioral Concerns

What do you do when you find a puddle on the kitchen floor, a chewed up shoe, or a hole in the flower bed? What you should do is to clean it up, throw it away, and fill it in. My point is simply that if you don't catch Fido in the act, you can't punish him for it. Dogs do not have a sense of time, and very much live in the moment. They do not understand it when you drag them over to the site of a transgression and shove their nose into it, screaming at the top of your lungs. First, you are teaching your dog that you can be irrational, because they have no idea that they did something wrong. Second, you are teaching them that you can be a very scary individual, because they are listening to the tone of your voice, not what you are saying-they don't speak English. Some dogs misbehave because they're stressed-they will lose bladder control, chew to comfort themselves, and dig because it's fun, and to some degree, inherent in their breed.

Ten or twenty years ago, people hit their dogs. We don't do that anymore because we have learned that it is cruel and it doesn't work to curb unwanted behaviors. There is always a better way. If you are confounded, call your trainer-that's why we do what we do and get paid for it-we're good at it!

If you are trying to teach Fido to go to the bathroom outside, and he hasn't quite gotten the concept, or he's unreliable when you're away, why not put him in his crate? Most dogs will not soil the place where they sleep. The chewing thing? Work on the command "leave it", put your shoes away, or put your dog in his crate when you're away. As far as digging goes, you can give your dog an area in the yard that is his to dig in, and let him know that this is his area. Supervise outside time and correct him for going into your flower bed, then bring him to his area again. In a short time, he will learn that it is unpleasant to dig in one spot, and pleasant to dig in another. If that's not an option, provide lots of chew toys and puzzle toys to occupy his mind and body. If you've already bought out the local pet store, then chances are good that your dog is simply bored. Get off the couch and get outside or enroll in doggy daycare. Unwanted behaviors often go away on their own when your dog is properly exercised.

Alpha Dog K -9 Training

Physical Fitness

Most adult dogs in the United States today are overweight. Is yours?

Ask your veterinarian if your best friend is overweight, or run your hands down his sides. If you can't feel his last rib without searching, chances are good that more exercise is in order. Obesity means that your best friend is at risk for heart disease, hip and elbow problems and back problems, to name a few. Exercise is the best prevention and correction for obesity, eases separation anxiety, curbs unwanted behaviors, and will strengthen the bond between you and your dog. If your dog doesn't get out much, or is the type that doesn't love the outdoors without companionship, then here are some great things that you can do to spend an extra 30 minutes a day getting your exercise, and his!

Teach him to fetch

Meet your neighbor and their dog and have a play date in a fenced area Go to the pet store

Practice your obedience commands

Have every member of the family take 20 minutes every day and throw a ball or playa game with your dog

Go to the library and find a book on teaching tricks

Take a walk or playa game- Milford has a GREAT paved trail. Medway has a free dog park.

Take a "for fun" class with us-we have Freestyle (dog dancing), Flyball, Agilty, and Rally-O classes that are all FUN!

A tired dog is a happy dog, and much less prone to unacceptable behaviors. If you absolutely cannot exercise your dog, then get a pet sitter to run or walk your dog, or think about doggy daycare.

If your dog is already on a diet, then perhaps you could switch him to a light version of his current food, or decrease his food by 10-ls%and add in some raw veggies, such as green beans or carrots. It will still give him the feeling of being full, but will decrease his caloric intake. (My dogs love raw carrots!)

Also, look at what he's getting for "extras" =biscuits, people food, etc. Try throwing a ball or playing a game instead of always using a food reward, your dog might much prefer a 10 minute game of fetch to a treat that's gone in seconds. Alternatively, try raw carrots as treats or break up biscuits into very small (pea sized) pieces.

Remember, it's a treat, not a meal.

Alpha Dog K-9 Training

Dogs and Babes ...

We always advise that as soon as you are aware that there will be a new baby in the house, begin to prepare your family dog. It is important that your dog does not associate the new baby with disruptions to his life and a general feeling of stress in the home.

It is essential to ensure that your dog has a basic understanding of good behavior. The dog should be able to lie quietly for short periods, not jump on people, furniture, etc., walk on a lead without pulling and come when called.

Most dogs are used to being the "baby" in the family and may find it difficult losing this position, so try to remember to set aside a few minutes to train or play a game with your dog every day. If it is your intention to exclude your dog from certain areas of the house after the baby arrives, establish these rules well in advance to the baby's arrival.

It is a good idea to teach your dog to heel next to your baby's. carriage, but never tie the leash to the carriage. The leash should be held in your hand or around your wrist. The dog should also be accustomed to new items of furniture and

toys such as noisy baby toys, toys that play music, a walker or Exersaucer, a Pack N Play, a high chair, etc. before baby arrives. If possible get a cd of baby noises and play it in a place where the baby will normally be so the dog becomes socialized to these sounds. Also, many dogs play with plush toys, so teach the dog the difference between his/her toys and the baby's toys. Teach the dog how to approach the baby properly and gently. Allow the dog to make initial investigations and approaches, always supervised by you. Associate the baby's presence with positive things. Give the dog favorite treats and lavish praise for desired behavior around the baby. Do not place the baby on the floor with the dog and never raise your voice at or hit your dog for approaching the baby incorrectly. Gently show the dog what you wish him/her to do and reward for responding correctly.

Due to the fact the a baby's immune system is not fully developed, ensure that your dog is healthy and is up to date with worming and vaccinations before baby arrives. Grooming to rid your dog of an errant flea or tick (that carry Lyme disease), dirt in general, and excess hair is also a great idea.

If your dog has any behavioral problems, make sure that you resolve these before baby arrives or if you are in doubt about your dogs behavior after your baby arrives, please call us immediately. Now that you have two babies, and although we know that you love them both, please remember to never leave any baby or child unattended with any dog.

Alpha Dog K -9 Training


Any product labeled "super premium" should be good for your dog. My basic rule is if you can buy it at a grocery store, it's not good enough. Grocery store foods are more volume than substance, as you will notice if you look outside where your dog goes for bathroom. A big plus to feeding a super premium food is lower stool volume, because more of the food is digestible. The more your dog can break down and use the food, the less waste you have. Also, when feeding a super premium food you will actually feed the dog less food because it's able to be more fully digested. Learn what to look for and check the bag to see what the main ingredients are, and for ali expiration date. If the first ingredients start with something other than MEAT, try something else. I use do not recommend one brand over another because some dogs have allergies or will do better on a

fish/ chicken/beef or lamb diet, than will others. It depends on your dog and what works best for him or her. Having said that, please do your research and stick with a food for at least 3 months before deciding weather it's going to work for your dog or not. Remember that it is never ok to go from one food to another without weaning off one and onto another, a process that should take at least a week.

Many vets are recommending a blend of dry and wet foods these days. The dry food works to clean the teeth, and the wet to enhance palatability and increase healthy oils. It's best to do your own research or go to a good on-line magazine like Whole Dog Journal for their test results.

Raw diets and homemade diets are also very good for your dog, but can be inconvenient and expensive. If you're thinking about either of these, ask your vet to recommend a good book or guide suited to your dog. There are countless cookbooks out there today especially for dogs, and you may want to think about this alternative if your dog has food allergies. DO NOT try the raw diet without guidance, some foods that are fine for people are toxic to dogs. Dogs also have certain vitamin and mineral needs that have to be taken into consideration when thinking about a raw or homemade diet.

As far as treats go, I often use dehydrated lamb for training new behaviors, for shaping, clicker, and reinforcement. It may sound unpleasant, but it has no dyes, sugar, or salt, very little fat, and is high in protein. It is available at pet stores, and I haven't found a dog yet who won't stand on their head for it. If the whole idea of that intimidates you, try to find something that's not loaded with SALT, SUGAR, COLORS, or FAT for your dog. Also, the size should be about that of a pea. You're not FEEDING your dog; you're reinforcing a specific behavior. If you figure out the cost after you break it into manageable pieces, it's not terribly expensive.

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