Training Tips & Recommended Trainers
At RMLR we can’t emphasize enough how important working with a positive reinforcement trainer is to the wellbeing of a dog. Positive reinforcement training doesn’t just teach your dog behaviors that we like — it teaches your dog how to make good choices, control their impulses and use their brain to manipulate their environment to make good things happen. According to the AKC, positive reinforcement training is neither a bribe nor a gimmick. It’s based on the science of animal learning, and it’s incredibly effective. When selecting a positive reinforcement trainer, the best qualifications to look for after the trainer’s name include CTC, KPA CTP, VSA-CDT, VSPDT, CCPDT, PPG and IAABC.
RMLR Dog Training Recommendations
Boulder to Fort Collins Area:
Gigi Moss Dog Training
- Group Classes & Private Training
- Specializes in basic manners, intro of new pets or baby to the family, aggression, separation anxiety, etc
Training Wheels LLC
- Private Lessons, Board & Train
- Specializes in basic manners, fear, aggression, & reactivity
A Good Feeling Dog Training
- Private lessons, training courses, free webinars, podcast
- Specializes in reactive dogs, adventure dogs, recall, puppy basics
Art and Science
- Dog & cat behavior consulting, Board & Train
- Specializes in building a relationship between you and your dog, behavior modification, service dog training
Namaste Training LLC
- Private and group classes
- Specializes in basic manners and dog/baby interaction
Behavior Vets of Colorado
- Veterinarian specifically trained to work with behavior problems
- Can also prescribe diets, supplements, and medications to support the behavior modification and training provided
- Specializes in fear, aggression, separation anxiety, dog-dog issues, etc
House of Dog Training
- Group Classes, Private Training, Dayschool
- Specializes in basic manners and reactive dogs
Denver Metro Area :
- Private in-home training, board and train, day training
- Specializes in leash aggression, loose leash walking, and behavior modification
- Private in-home training, Board and Train
- Specializes in basic manners, separation anxiety, loose leash walking, behavior modification
In Good Paws
- Private lessons and small group classes
- Specializes in young/adolescent, out of control and reactive dogs
Noble Beast Dog Training
- Group classes and private instruction
- Specializes in group classes as well as in-home training for fear, anxiety, and reactivity
- Basic training, boarding, day classes
- Specializes in reactive dogs, leash reactivity, resource guarding, aggression, fearfulness and socialization
Denver Dream Dog
- Dog trainer & behavior specialist
- Specializes in leash reactivity, fears and phobias, barking dogs, and inter-household aggression with multiple dogs
V Smart Dogs
- Dog behavior specialist
- Specializes in touch sensitivities and separation anxiety
Good Dog DYNO
- Private training, puppy socialization, group classes, day training, Board & Train
- Specializes in puppy basics, basic manners, confidence building, and socialization
- Private training, Board & Train, service dogs
- Specializes in basic manners, puppy training, and aggression
Basic Obedience ▼
1 – SUPERVISE – this really is the most crucial step in the process. If you aren’t watching and the dog has an accident in the house, it’s a lost training opportunity. Disciplining your dog will only cause problems and make the dog afraid. You need to actively supervise your dog so any accidents can be caught as they occur and proper feedback can be given. This includes an interruption, followed by bringing the dog outside. Then, clean it up with a pet specific enzyme cleaner. Ammonia containing cleaners can encourage your dog to go in the same spot again. Puppy pads or newspapers are not recommended. Sometimes using a leash the first few days can be helpful. If you cannot supervise, use an appropriate crate. If an accident happens, know you need to do better at supervising.
2 – SCHEDULE – initially, this is very important. Learn about your dogs and their bathroom habits and feed your dog at a set time, so their bathroom habits are predictable. Most puppies, and even adult dogs, will need to relieve themselves after sleeping, eating and playing. Young puppies will need to relieve themselves at least every 30 minutes when awake. Use your leash to direct them where you want them to eliminate and praise them when they go.
3 – FEEDBACK – be sure that you are able to praise/reward your dog when they go outside and stop them when they go inside. Any missed accidents are wasted opportunities and rehearsals of the wrong behavior. This will work against you. In your absence, your dog is still getting feedback, but it’s likely contrary to what you’d like them to understand. When a dog has to go to the bathroom, it doesn’t feel good. When they go, it does feel good! That means, there is a level of reinforcement that comes along with emptying their bladder/bowel. If there isn’t anyone there to tell them it’s “wrong,” they’re likely to feel the relief and assume it’s “right.” Rehearsal of the wrong reinforcement will only set them up to make further mistakes.
4 – RESPONSIBILITY – once your puppy or dog understands that they should eliminate outside, it’s time to put the onus of responsibility on them to ask to go there. Decide how you’d like to have your dog notify you that they need to go out and set it up. For example, you may want your pup to come to you, sit and stare. When you need to take your puppy out, start with them at that door, ask them to sit and look at you and as their reward, open the door to allow them out. With some diligence and information, any puppy can be well house trained in no time.
If you are struggling with house training, have your dog checked out by a vet to rule out medical problems like UTI, which can make house training impossible.
Never use a crate as a punishment. It is a management tool. A crate should not be used for long periods of time even with a midday break. With the exception of night time, a puppy should not be in a crate for a total time of age in months to hours. A six month old puppy should only be in a crate for a total time of six hours until the dog is a year of age. No dog should be left in a crate on a daily basis for more than eight hours.
Setting up the Crate: Regardless of the type of crate you select, it is important that you have the correct size crate. The crate should be large enough that the adult dog can stand up, turn around and lay down. For puppies, have the crate in a location where they will not feel alone. For adult dogs, have the crate in a space where the dog can get some alone time, if needed.
Making the crate a comfortable place for the dog is important. Sometimes a blanket over the top can be used to block out visual distractions. Calm music can block noise distractions. Use a snuffle mat or special chews to make it a positive experience. Feeding your dog meals in the crate, while keeping the door open, will help associate a positive feeling. Never use the crate as a punishment for your dog.
Step 1: Make sure your dog’s needs are met before putting into the crate: exercise, enrichment, food, potty break. It is best to crate when you have a tired and satisfied dog. Don’t rush the process! Short and positive is the key. Don’t shove your dog into the crate. This will only create an unpleasant experience.
Start by tossing treats into the crate with the door remaining open. When the dog is completely in the crate, toss another treat. When your dog comes out, repeat.
Start adding verbal cues like “kennel” right before you toss the treat. Heavily reward the dog with treats the longer he/she stays in the crate, especially if they are lying down or sitting.
Step 2: Slowly start closing the door and reward your dog for being in the crate with the door closed. Open the door and give a cue for releasing from the crate. Repeat this step several times.
Step 3: Slowly start increasing the time in the crate. Sit by the crate and watch TV or read. While you are walking around, occasionally drop a treat in the crate without giving attention. Put your dog’s favorite chews or toys in the crate. A frozen, stuffed kong (filled with peanut butter, cottage cheese, or canned dog food) is another great toy for the dog to work on while learning to relax in the crate. These are items that are saved specially for the crate. Only let your dog out of the crate when relaxed and calm.
Here is a link to Emily Larlham, a professional dog trainer, YouTube channel Kikopup for short videos on crate training.
If you are having a lot of trouble and/or the dog is showing extreme distress (intense panting/salivation, barking for hours on end, trying to (or succeeding in) escaping the crate, reach out to a recommended trainer for help ASAP.
Impulse Control ▼
Adjustment Period ▼
Kids and Dogs ▼
When kids are involved in selecting a new family dog, it is especially important to find the right match. We would like to share some information with you regarding appropriate and safe interactions between young kids and rescued Labradors. These two videos are very informative: I Speak Doggie (great to watch with kids!) and Stop the 77.
We cannot state strongly enough the importance of supervising young kids around a new dog. This can be especially critical when toys, treats and food are involved. We suggest having a plan for what to do with the dog when your attention is elsewhere and you can’t be closely watching the interaction between the kids and the dog. We recommend using baby gates or having a dog bed and water in another room for the dog so that you can quickly and easily move the dog to provide safe separation from the kids. Dogs should not be allowed to sleep in the same room with young kids, due to the lack of parental supervision.
It is important to teach the kids how to read a dog’s warning signs that indicate discomfort so they know when they need to give the dog a break and some space. These warning signs can include nervous switching of the tail, flattening of the ears, and attempts to back away or escape the encounter. Escalated and extreme warnings include snarling of the lips, showing of teeth, and growling. When this occurs the next escalation is usually a bite. We never want it to escalate to this point, so parental supervision is very important.