You Should Not Stop a Dog from Jumping Up on Counter

200 lb. Deaf Great Dane, George, & Oreo the Boston TerrierForget about stopping naughty behaviors.:) Instead, spend a little time with your dog and teach him a behavior that is incompatible with jumping up on counters such as to Go-To-Place.

If you focus on stopping behaviors, you are destined to make a full-time hobby out of training. For example- If you focus on stopping a dog from jumping on the counter and succeed, you really haven’t taught the dog what behavior is acceptable, or how he might behave politely and earn a reward.

The dog may abandon the counter jumping behavior only to start scratching the lower section of the cabinet under the countertop, start barking at the counter, or worse!

Go-To-Place is one of my favorite commands.

The “Place” is a very comfortable dog bed strategically placed in the kitchen where you can reinforce Go-To-Place behavior!

CLICK HERE for Go-to-Place instructions.

If you focus on teaching this one behavior, you won’t have to “break him” from jumping up, licking the dishes in the dishwasher, barking, object stealing or any number of behaviors that annoy you!

It’s much more efficient to teach dogs a few basic behaviors that are incompatible with many unwanted behaviors.

Happy Training!

Alan J Turner – How’s Bentley – Memphis TN

Dogs and Puppies are Opportunists!

Boston TerrierDogs and puppies are opportunists.

Dogs follow one rule – “What’s in it for me – right now?” Dogs have no concept of right or wrong, good or bad. I do not believe dogs are concerned about yesterday or tomorrow. I believe dogs are interested in the present and how they can get what they want at this instant in time.

Dogs do what they do because their behaviors are instrumental in getting what they desire– period.

Animals perform voluntary behaviors that are instrumental in achieving their immediate goals.

Voluntary behaviors that achieve immediate goals are repeated.

Voluntary behaviors that fail to achieve immediate goals are discontinued.

Therefore, if your dog is constantly barking at you, the dog must have a history of getting what he or she wants by barking at people. Your ultimate goal is to teach your puppy dog a polite way to ask for whatever. The first step now is to prevent your pup from refining rude behaviors.

When your dog barks at you, walk away. This will teach the dog that barking makes you go away, quite the opposite of what he or she desires. Return in a few moments and then give your dog a couple of simple commands, such as Go-To-Place, Sit or Lie Down. Mark the instant your puppy succeeds and then give that rascal some version of FAT.

The idea is to teach your puppy or dog that barking is not the method to get your attention, but Go-To-Place or Lie Down will get your attention!

NOTES: Notice the word, “voluntary” in the post. Behaviors that involve fearful, compulsive, reactive, or aggressive responses are not necessarily voluntary and cannot be modified using the same rules as voluntary behaviors.

There are many different underlying causes for barking, with just as many (or more) solutions to reduce barking. Some solutions are better for some situations and other methods work best in other situations. For example, if your dog is barking at the dog next door, walking away would be useless.

Happy Training!

Alan J Turner – How’s Bentley Memphis TN
21st Century Canine Relationship Specialist

Does Your White Lab Get Too Excited To Obey When People Visit? Practice With Distractions!

WhiteLabMany of my clients report that their dogs jump up on visitors and pretty much ignore them whenever the dogs are excited. The people often say their dog is stubborn. This is an indication that the people have not practiced basic obedience commands with distractions. Practicing with distractions is called proofing.

You should proof your dog with all commands in various locations, with various distractions. Otherwise, your dog will not obey when the environment is filled with exciting people or dogs or events. People with very well trained dogs have spent hours practicing.

Teaching your dog to sit or shake or lie down is the easy part. The real work is practicing in many locations with various distractions!

People and other dogs are a huge distraction to your puppy or dog. The outdoors is full of distractions. Before you can expect your dog to obey when guests visit, or outside at the dog park, you’ll need to practice with smaller distractions that are under your control. Each time you ask for the behavior (called a cycle), you’ll increase the level of distraction.

Suppose you want your dog to sit, no matter what is going on around her. Here is a sample of instructions for “proofing” the sit.

Introduce your dog to “sit” in a quiet location.

Practice in many locations inside and outside the house, until your dog will always sit when there are no distractions. Now, you are ready to proof the sit. At this point, you will create small distractions as you practice.

Before you begin, get a empty, shopping bag. With your dog nearby, wave the bag over your head and ask for a sit. I’m guessing your dog will not sit, but will be excited about the movement of the bag. That’s okay. Now we have a baseline of behavior.

Next, ask your dog to sit when you hold the bag in your hand, without any motion. Then you ask for the sit when you are gently moving the bag in your hands. Next you might slowly move the bag from one hand to the other. Each time you ask for another sit, you increase the movement of the bag in your hand. Be creative. Rattle the bag in your hands, wave it slowly from side to side, et cetera. Slowly raise it over your head and ask for the sit. After several cycles of increasing the movement / noise of the bag, you can wave the bag over your head and ask for the sit. Your dog will ignore the waving bag and sit!

There are many types of distractions that you can introduce and you can control. Try marching in place and asking your dog to sit. How about clapping your hands and asking for a sit?! Be creative. Your goal is to set up proofing sessions with distractions that are more exciting than real life!

If, during these proofing exercises, your dog fails to sit, do not repeat the sit command! Just walk away for a few seconds, come back to your dog and try again, this time with less distractions.

Once your dog will sit, no matter what type of distraction you provide, it’s time to go outside and work with real-life distractions! If your dog is too distracted by the truck passing by, or the bicyclist, that’s okay. Just move your dog away from the distraction and try again.

The key to having a puppy or dog that will listen to you, when the world around him or her is full of distractions, is to PRACTICE with distractions.

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Happy Training!

Alan J Turner – How’s Bentley – White Lab Trainer

Forget About Stopping Your Dog’s Naughty Jumping Behaviors with a Knee in the Chest

Yorkshire Terrier, Cody
Yorkshire Terrier, Cody

Many of my clients become engrossed, almost obsessed, with the notion of stopping their puppies or dogs from performing some obnoxious or naughty behaviors. They believe that teaching a dog what “NO” means, is the method to train.

That, my friend, is a long and rocky path, which can spiral into trouble and frustration.

You will succeed much quicker if you focus on:

  1. preventing the rude behaviors (be proactive)
  2. increasing the good behaviors (teach your dog what he or she should do in a particular situation)

For instance, suppose the puppy is jumping up on guests. Some of my clients address this common problem by grabbing their dogs’ collars and pulling them off the guests, while saying “NO”.  Other clients instruct their guests to knee the dogs in the chest. How primitive! 🙂

I’m not saying you shouldn’t interrupt jumping behaviors, you should. But every time you grab your dog’s collar, she just scored a goal, and you are not even aware that the game has begun!

Using your knee to punish jumping is equally inefficient, and not a good choice for many situations. How does that work with a 5 pound Yorkshire terrier? a 85 year old client? Even if you have the motor skills to pull it off, and your dog is the perfect size, it will only teach your dog that jumping on you is a bad idea. It will not necessarily stop your dog from jumping on every one else. And it gives your dog no useful information about what he or she should be doing at that exact moment.

You know that your dog will jump and nip. Instead of waiting for your dog to misbehave and then reacting, be proactive.

Attach a leash or tether and prevent your puppy from practicing rude behaviors. You are not going to yell and jerk the leash, just calmly hold the leash and prevent the behavior. Teach your dog Basic Obedience Commands, so she will know exactly what to do when people approach.

Happy Training!

Alan J Turner – How’s Bentley – Memphis TN

Companion Animal Behavior Counselor & Trainer

Private and Group Dog Obedience Training in Memphis, Collierville, Germantown TN

Does Your Dog Get too Excited to Attach a Leash? Teach Leash Time!


The goal of this exercise is to teach a dog to sit patiently while you attach a leash. This is for dogs that like to have the leash attached, but are so excited that it’s difficult to snap on a leash. If your dog is shy or afraid of the leash, visit this page.

Most dogs become very excited at the sight of a leash. Dogs bark, jump and wiggle which makes it very difficult for us to attach our leashes. Some young dogs bite and mouth while we try and attach the leash. With theses guys, I usually place a chew toy in their mouth before I attach the leash.

There are several different approaches we can use to solve this problem. Here’s one that’s easy to follow and effective!

It helps to understand why your dog gets excited. The reason dogs become excited when they see the leash is because the leash predicts an outing. Therefore, if the leash does not predict an outing, the dogs will not become excited at the sight of the leash.

Step 1)

Get your leash. Do not speak to your dog. Hold the leash land walk around the house for a few minutes. Put the leash away. Repeat this sequence several times within a few hours. Repeat (several days if necessary) until your dog is not excited by the sight of you carrying the leash and then perform S tep 2.

Step 2)

Get your leash. Do not speak to your dog. Hold the leash for a few minutes. Tell your dog “leash time” and then attach it to your dog’s collar. Hand you dog a food treat. Drop the leash and let your dog drag it around the house.

After several minutes, tell your dog “leash time” and remove the leash. Hand your dog a food treat. Repeat many times within a few hours.

Step 3)

If your dog fails to sit during this step, just walk away with the leash in hand and try again later. If your dog fails again, go back to Step 1 and start over.

Get your leash. Tell your dog “leash time” and then immediately tell your dog “sit”.  Praise your dog for the sit; attach the leash, and then give your dog a food treat. Let your dog drag the leash around the house for several minutes.

Tell your dog “leash time”; “sit”. Praise your dog for the sit and remove the leash. Give your dog a food treat. Repeat many times within a few hours.

After several of these sequences, your dog will know exactly what to do when you say “leash time, sit”! You can discontinue the food treat once your dog is reliable. Of course, if you have a treat handy, why not reward your dog for sitting politely?

When you are going to take your dog on an outing, tell him or her before you get the leash. Say something like “Let’s go out” and then say “leash time, sit”.

Happy Training!

Alan J Turner
Companion Animal Behavior Counselor and Trainer
Private Sessions for Aggressive, Fearful Dogs
How’s Bentley- Memphis, Collierville, Germantown, TN

The Secrets of a Dog Trainer!

sweetie_pieWell, here it is. The post you all have been waiting for. Within the murky shadows of dog training, there must be a secret. . .

Secrets? you kidding me, right? Does anyone really believe there is a SECRET of dog training?Genuine secrets are revealed everyday; don’t we imagine that any dog training secrets would have been exposed?

Okay, I’ll play along. I train dogs, therefore, I know all the secrets. Only they are not secrets. Anyone can learn to train their dog or puppy. It’s not that hard, really.

If dog trainers were adorned with”secrets, I would have Cesar Milan’s wealth! I don’t.

Forget about short cuts and secrets. The real truths about dog training can be found in hundreds of publications and web sites. But within this vast sea of information is contradicting information. That’s why I have put together this web site. It is for anyone who wants to learn how to teach their puppy or dog to be the canine companion of their dreams.

If you want to learn these secrets about dog training begin with the “START HERE” category of posts. Here’s a popular one about Dog and Puppy Training Plan.

Oh, by the way, thanks to the 13, 378 unique visitors in the past 120 days to

Alan J Turner

Companion Animal Behavior Counselor & Trainer, Canine Specialization

How’s Bentley – Memphis, TN