12 Days of Dog Training; First Day


Okay, so as far as singing goes maybe I will keep my day job 🙂

Jumping is never a fun thing to deal with, especially when you have company over. Many times, I am sure you get polar opposites from guests. One will say, “No, really it’s okay” as they pat and encourage the jump, while others are scared to death of your “toothed creature.”

Either way, jumping is not polite in the human world. So let’s prep before the festivities begin!

Training Exercise: Seems simple, but this will help. 

“Sit” is your friend. We tell our dog “no,” “get down,” and “stop,” but do we teach him EXACTLY what we want him to do? It’s about time we do. Let’s be fair and let’s be clear. It’s important for a solid two weeks that you really reinforce the behavior of sit. Think of treats as money going into the bank account of behavior right now.

Formal sessions: Take a handful of treats. Stand and wait for a sit, and as soon as your dog sits, treat (throw treat to floor). I want the dog looking at the floor for treats, not your hands.

I am not cueing my dog to “sit” during these training sessions. In other words, I am not telling him anything. I don’t want to constantly have to tell my dog to put his bottom on the floor with my words. I want to establish this as a common behavior for him to offer when he sees people. Dogs’ train of thought (as if we could know, but go along with the dog trainer’s analogy here), ”Oh look! Human! I need to sit.” I think sometimes we over-cue our dogs by constantly telling them what to do when sometimes they are able to have the expectation of what to do without being told. This should be the case with not jumping.

Everyday life: Reinforce your dog for a sit (or down) with praise or food as you are going about everyday life. Bottom line, when you turn around and see your dog in a sit or down, smile and acknowledge, “Wow! I really like it when you sit.” Remember use your lower-toned “good voice.”

Leave a jar of treats outside your front door with a note. It’s human nature. You give the human a treat and the human will ask the dog to “sit.” Seriously, don’t believe me? Try it.

For this joyous season, plan ahead. With treat in hand, as guests enter your house they will naturally cue your dog to “sit” which will help with the initial greeting.

Do your best to set your dog up for success and be aware of what he can/can’t handle. If he is jumping a lot, he may need a break from the holiday cheer so put him in a room of his own (check out my Holiday Zen Tips). Or maybe you can see that he needs a little help with settling down so tether him to you while you converse with friends and family.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! ❤

P.S. Don’t forget to sign up for updates of my blogs to get the other 11 holiday training tips! And you know, I’m sure you don’t want to miss out on my singing. 😉




Blog written by Michelle Huntting
Building the bridge of communication between dog and pet guardian. 



Check out Michelle’s other 12 Days of Dog Training Tips or the Pet Holiday Zen Tips!
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Pet Holiday Zen Tip #2



Let’s face it, “Jingle Bells” and “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer” simply are not on your dog’s playlist, but one that will help to maintain his Zen is the CD or MP3 version of “Through a Dog’s Ear,” a clinically proven music CD that is designed to promote a relaxed response in dogs. Playing this CD in his space will encourage a relaxed response and drown out the extra noise of company during your guests’ visit–and maybe even your niece’s fiftieth chorus of Frosty the Snowman. 



Check out Michelle’s other 12 Days of Dog Training Tips or the Pet Holiday Zen Tips!
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Pet Holiday Zen Tip 1#



Let’s be honest having company, no matter how much you love them, can be an extra burden and sometimes overwhelming, right? Your routine is off. You are constantly vigilant (if you are a great host) monitoring your company’s level of comfort. At times, we aren’t as relaxed even in our own home with company sharing our space. I can only imagine this is true for dogs as well. 

They may or may not be used to house guests. Maybe the guests get into your dog’s space, making him feel uncomfortable; maybe there are unfamiliar children involved, and the list goes on. The fact is, just as having guests in the house is not the same for you, they just aren’t the same for your dog either, so it’s important that you provide a space for your dog that is his own where, in the midst of the hustle and bustle, he can get away to relax and breathe and regain his Zen.

This space could present as a kennel in another room, a baby gate in your own room or master bath, or a laundry room. It needs to be a place where he can 100 percent let down and not have to worry that your second-cousin-once-removed is going to poke, prod, or pet him. He can just be in his own space.

Depending on your dog’s comfort level, he may need to stay in this private space the duration of the visit and taken on leash to potty and exercise as part of his routine.



Michelle Huntting



Check out Michelle’s other 12 Days of Dog Training Tips or the Pet Holiday Zen Tips!
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Dog Halloween Safety Tips


1) The sugary treats we enjoy are not safe for dogs. Chocolate in particular can be very dangerous for our furry friends. Xylitol, an artificial sweetener found in many candies, can also cause health problems. If you suspect that your dog has gotten his paws on some Halloween goodies, don’t hesitate to call your vet.

2) As cute as it may be, not all dogs enjoy getting into costume. It can be very stressful for dogs to be dressed up when they don’t enjoy it, so it’s best to simply skip the costume if your dog doesn’t think it’s as fun as you do. If your dog does enjoy the costume festivities, make sure you select a costume that fits properly and does not restrict the dog’s movement, and avoid small pieces that may be chewed or swallowed.

3) Giving your dog a safe, quiet spot can help prevent stress and overexcitement, as well as the risk of your dog slipping out the door as Trick-or-Treaters come and go from your home. You may even try leaving your candy in a bowl on the porch so Trick-or-Treaters don’t have to ring the bell or knock.

4) Halloween is a good time for dogs to stay inside. People dressed up in strange costumes can be frightening for dogs, and they may try to bolt out of fear. Even if you have a fenced yard, make sure your dogs are well supervised if they need to go out. Pets are often targeted for pranks and other mischief, especially dark-colored pets.


written by Michelle Huntting