Good Dog – Bad Dog

When I train a dog in a clients home there is as much training that goes into the owner as into the dog.


The first thing I explain is this course is a partnership between us. It is ultimately useless for your dog to obey me, and not you. Once that is established I ask what problem they’re having. It usually starts spilling out- “He’s a good puppy, but he does bad things. He pees all over the living room. He bites my fingers. He’s chewing on our carpet, etc.

My favorite bad pronouncement was “Last night I accidentally left two watches on the coffee table. A cheap Timex, and a very expensive Rolex. Are you trying to tell me the little bas**** didn’t do that to spite me?”

I always ask- why is it bad for your dog to Pee in the living room?
“It’s disgusting, and it’s ruining the floor.”
OK, what else? And why is it bad for the puppy to bite your fingers.
“Because it hurts”, the reply comes as they look at me like I’m stupid.

But why is it bad TO THE PUPPY?

A light of understanding shows in their eyes. Good and Bad are human values.
We have to teach our pets our values.

With the client’s cooperation it’s not hard to do. It just takes some… training.

Remember that Table Manners are a Human Virtue

I Don’t want to Hurt Her!

As a dog trainer, I hear that often from my clients. Guess what-neither do I. But what makes you think that a correction means inflicting pain for your pet? It doesn’t!

He’s doing his best to be obedient

How do you know what punishment physically hurts. We all love our dogs, and that’s why I developed Obedience Please Dog Training, and the Obedience Please methods. They are based on the science of Behavior Modification, Evolution, and Psychology. The Obedience Please definition of well trained is a dog that obeys when given a command the first time every time.

It helps to understand there is no command, be obedient. It’s too abstract for the intellect of a k9. We have to develop obedience as a way of life. The commands are the tools to bring this about.

A Brief Love Story

As I continue my long career as a dog trainer, I find that most of my clients love their dogs. It usually is the same, if it’s an eight-week young puppy that you purchased for a thousand dollars, or a rescue that you donated a hundred to save it, or if you found it running through the street. For most, you look into those eyes, your heart melts, and your hooked. Then a responsible parent, (dog owner), should decide on the next actions to provide on what they will need to do to help provide the best life for their new addition.

  1. Decide on a veterinarian. You want to be sure your new addition is healthy and stays healthy.
  2. Provide for its daily needs. Bowls, food, leash and collar, dog bed etc.
  3. Chose a dog trainer. “Wait why do I need a dog trainer? He seems to be a nice dog. He’s just a baby.”

 In my long years training new puppies in their new homes, I always suggest a home visit before the puppy comes home. I give the the new parents advise on how to set up their house, and to avoid the mistakes that most new dog owners make. The love affair that starts as soon as you hold that sweet, vulnerable, innocent, baby, all too often is short when it cries all night. Or bites your hand. Or chews your carpet. A little guidance from a professional can help avoid problems like these, and make the love story a lasting one.


Before accepting a dog training assignment, I prefer to give a free consultation to the owner. Often during these meetings, I hear the otherwise loving owner say this is such a bad puppy. He bites my hand. He jumps up on me and scratches me. He potties in the house, not outside. Or any other imaginable bad things. I love him, but I can’t live with him if he keeps being bad. The looks on the owners faces are amusing to me when I ask, “Why is it bad that the puppy bites your hand or eats your Rolex watch?”

By now as they explain to this dumb person, ME, because it hurts me or that’s an expensive watch. “Wait a minute, but why is it bad to your puppy? Good and bad are human values. Your dog has to be taught what is good or bad in a human’s world.”


They just want to be dogs. Dogs develop habits, and we have to help them to develop good habit, rather then bad.

Don’t expect them to figure it out for themselves.

How Young is Too Young to Train a Puppy?

A Great Dane puppy not unlike my former dog Pam

I was a pre-veterinary freshman student at Kansas State Collage when my parents called me with the news.

“Lucky died in his sleep last night. He didn’t suffer, he just didn’t wake up.”

I was nineteen, and we had Lucky for seventeen years. He had always been a part of my life. I was devastated.

Three years before I had the unbelievable luck to land a part time job with a company called Animal Talent Scouts. They had a remarkable fawn Great Dane named Dickie, and I fell in love with him. So the next day I drove to Topeka, Kansas, and I bought a seven week old female Great Dane puppy. The next day I taught Pam, the new love of my life to walk on a leash. When she turned eight weeks, much against the established dog training standards, I started her formal training.

Teaching Pam was a delight. Once she accepted learning, she seemed to want to learn more. She hadn’t had time to develop negative habits, or the independence often showed by young adults. She only knew learn what I was teaching her, and do what she learned, and receive a reward for doing what she learned. And her reward was LOVE, not treats.

So, she learned to love my love, not treats.

I prefer starting when the puppy is eight-weeks old. Work with the young puppy three ten-minute periods per day. Sensitivity is the key to working with a young puppy. Stop training when you think he gets tired. Remember- learning can be very tiring.

Always be consistent, firm, and loving. I never give food to reward. Use love.

By the time Pam was four months she had already learned all the commands in our basic course and started on off leash work. She remained a perfect companion all her life.

Weekend at Bernie’s

When Donna first brought Bernie, her three year old one-hundred fifty pound Newfoundland into Obedience Pleases South Pasadena kennel, I welcomed the challenge.

Bernie at our Kennel

“Bernie is a sweet dog. He’s very smart, and well trained.” He was, although as Donna went on to say, “But he pulls so hard on his leash that he can knock me down. When he sees another dog he lunges. I don’t know if it’s to fight or to play, but he intimidates other dog owners.”

Donna had traveled for an hour and a half for me to evaluate Bernie. She wanted him to have a more complete life. Bernie LOVED to go hiking with Donna, and I wanted to help make this happen.

Another Day Another Dollar?

I often on the fact that my dog training appointments never get boring. On the surface one might think it’s pretty much always the same. For the past 61 years, I’ve been going to a client’s house, teaching their dog to sit, or whatever the command is they’re learning on that day. But the reality is it’s never the same. Every dog is an individual, and so is each owner, Their living situation and environment all bring their own challenges.

A dog is a dog after all.


A Beautiful Yellow Labrador Retriever at Chua Dieu Ngu Buddhist Temple

That aggressive Chihuahua is quite different from that gentle yet suborn Rottweiler. And that magnificent Beverly Hills mansion is quite different from my modest townhouse. Working with the countless dogs and owners and the countless combinations they create make every experience very unique. As I traveled today from one appointment with a rather large mastiff in a lovely lady’s apartment in Arcadia, to the magnificent Chua Dieu Ngu Buddhist temple in Westminster to meet a two year old Yellow Labrador retriever, and then to a delightful young couple in Pasadena with two English Bulldog puppies, once again I reflected on why each day is a challenge. And that’s why running Obedience Please Dog Training is a daily delight and adventure.

Chua Dieu Ngu Temple from the Inside

Dog Training Done By Obedience Please Dog Training.

Over the many years I’ve heard from many people why their dog doesn’t need to be trained.

He’s just a small dog.

My dog is so smart.

He’s a good dog.

He listens most of the time.

Its work . I didn’t get a dog to have more work.

How about your children? Do you not need to teach them? Do you not have children because they will be work? A DOG IS NOT A TOY FOR CHILDREN, OR FOR YOURSELF. It is a living, feeling obligation. An obligation that will give you love, companionship, and joy for many years. Below David is working with his two Maltese puppies in front of his Beverly Hills home. So just to list a few reasons to train your pet. Safety: A properly trained dog will happily obey your every command.

That one reason may save his life if he is about to get run over by a car. Socialization: A trained dog can participate in so many more aspects of your life. That will bring so much more enjoyment to his life and yours.Good or bad: A dog can’t understand those concepts without being properly taught them. It will be work, and some monetary expenditure, but it will pay you back over and over for the years that your best friend is with you.

Mary Ellen enjoying her trained puppies at the beautiful Fess Parker Inn in Los Alivos.

Mary Ellen enjoying her well trained pups

Training Buttons to Sit!

dog training

Training a dog to sit requires that you establish authority, that you have the dog’s attention, and that you are consistent and persistent. Dog training is an act of love and safety. Check out Howard training Buttons!