Category Archives: Dog Training

Marker Training Dog Training



Marker Training Dog Training

Marker Training is one of the most important aspects of dog training.  Marker Training is a communication system, a system of communication that pairs “markers” with behaviors, rewards, and consequences like a correction.

Phoenix Dog Training uses a Marker Training System with all of the clients we work with and all the dogs we help train.  Let me start by sharing the “markers” we use.

  • Clicker = Reward Marker
  • “Yes” = Reward Marker
  • “Ready” = Start Training Marker
  • “Ah Ah” = No Reward Marker
  • “Good” = Keep Going or Keep Doing What You Are Doing (Duration) Marker
  • “Break” = Done Training Marker


A “Marker” used in Dog Training as a System of Marker Training, is a way to communicate important information to the dog during training.  These “markers” or signals are very powerful when used correctly.

A “marker” can be auditory, visual, tactile, and can even be a smell.  Typically the two most common markers are the word “YES” or a “CLICKER.”  The other most common “marker” is “GOOD.”

The “marker” starts out with NO POWER.  In psychology and behaviorism, and when talking about learning theory and Operant Conditioning, the “marker” starts out as a neutral stimulus, meaning it has no value or no association.


Marker Training Yes reward

Start with a typical “Reward Marker,” such as “Yes.”  Initially the word “Yes” means nothing to a dog.  However if we say “Yes” and then immediately give a food reward after saying yes, and we do this many times such as 50 times in a row, “yes” give a treat, “yes” give a treat, and keep repeating this over and over, the dog starts to learn that the word “Yes” signals to the dog that it will be getting a treat or food reward. by pairing the word “yes” with a treat every time in quick succession, the dog will now understand that “yes” means treat. 

Once the dog has been conditioned to the marker, (classical conditioning, or associative learning,) we can use the word “yes” to mark a desired behavior and that communicates to the dog immediately that the behavior gets a reward.

At this point, our marker has value once conditioned.  the food or the reward is the primary reinforcer.  The Marker Training marker word “yes” now is no longer a neutral stimulus but now is a conditioned stimulus.  The marker training marker word of “yes” becomes the conditioned reinforcer of the primary reinforcer, i.e., food.

That is the science behind marker training, but it is really simple.  We condition the dog that “yes” means treat by pairing the word “yes” with a treat many times until the dog knows that when we say “yes” a treat is coming.  “Yes” becomes the reward marker.  we say “yes” to mark the correct behavior and signal to the dog that it gets a treat for that behavior.

The advantage to using markers in training dogs is that marker training improves the clarity of communication between the dog and the dog owner or trainer.  Marker Training allows those who are training their dog to have great timing.

Timing is extremely important in dog training. Marker Training gives you an advantage in timing.  In dog training you have about zero to a half a second to pair a reward with the dog’s behavior for the dog to “connect the dots,” or understand that the treat was given because of the behavior. 

An example would be when perhaps we are teaching a dog to sit.  you have zero to a half a second to get the food reward in the dogs mouth once the dog sits.  Most Dog Owners and and many Dog Trainers are just not that fast.  If you don’t use a marker training system, you might be very late with the reward.  If you are late the dog will still like the reward, but the dog will have no idea that it was rewarded for the behavior it just did.  That’s right if you reward your dog two seconds after your dog sits, your dog will not associate the reward with the behavior.  TIMING IS EVERYTHING!

So far we have only been talking about a reward marker.  There are other markers we use in marker training when training dogs. Let’s look at some other markers that are typically used.


marker training no reward marker

A No Reward marker is exactly what it says.  in Marker Training a No Reward Marker signals to the dog that what it did is not correct and it will not be getting a reward.  I use the word “Ah Ah” in my dog training.  I have heard others use the word “Nope” or “No” as a No Reward Marker.

As with the Reward Marker “yes,” “Ah Ah” has no meaning or power until it is paired with or conditioned with something.  In this case it will be pared with the removal of a reward that the dog wants.  I condition the No Reward marker of “Ah Ah” by presenting food, and pull it away from the dog before the dog can get the food.  I say “Ah Ah” when pulling the food away. This also has to be done with great timing and with many repetitions in order for the dog to begin to understand that “Ah Ah” means it won’t get a reward, try again.  Once you have a conditioned No Reward Marker you can use this powerful marker to modify a dog’s behavior. 


marker training keep going marker

Another marker I use in marker training is the word or marker, “Good.”  just like “yes” the word “Good” has no meaning and no value at all until paired with a reward many times until the dog associates “good” with getting a treat.” 

“Good” as a marker is used to signal or mark a behavior that we want the dog to keep doing.  The most used application for a Keep Going Marker in Marker Training is for duration of a “stay” command.  We say “Good” and give a treat to the dog who is maintaining a stay to reinforce that staying is what we want.


Marker Training Start Training Marker

Some trainers like to signal or mark to the dog that training is beginning.  Many do this by always saying “Ready” and getting the dog’s eye contact each and every time they start training.  This can be a great and powerful marker to signal to the dog that now is time to begin working.  


Marker Training Stop Training Marker

I like to signal to my dog when my dog is done training or done with a specific command or training exercise.  I use the stop training marker word of “Break” to signal or mark to my dog the end of training or exercise finished.

For example, let’s say my dog is on a Down Stay Command.  When I say “Break” my dog releases itself from the command and begins playtime.  Every time the dog is done, I say “Break” and I play with my dog.

Try Marker Training if you have never used markers.  for more information contact Phoenix Dog Training at (602) 769-1411

Crate Training



Crate Training


Crate Training is a must for a well behaved and well trained puppy or dog.  Crate Training is one of the first training steps for house breaking any puppy or older dog that you might have.  I will go through the steps to successful crate training in this article, and be sure to watch the Crate Training Video that is in this article to show you the steps of crate training as well.  If you find that you are struggling with crate training even after this article and accompanying video, please contact me at PHOENIX DOG TRAINING for personal one on one puppy training and dog training help in crate training your dog.



There are many benefits to crate training a puppy or crate training an older dog.  if you need to potty train a puppy or house break an older dog, the number one rule is to supervise or crate.  dogs and puppies typically will not want to soil their crate and lay in urine or poo.

Crate Training prevents destructive behavior in that you always need to correct and redirect your dog or puppy for unwanted behaviors when you are not available to directly supervise your puppy or dogs behavior. This is very important when house breaking a puppy or dog.

If your puppy or dog gets away with going potty in the house without you seeing it or correcting it, your dog will learn that going potty in the house is ok because there is no consequence.  you have to supervise or crate a dog so there are no missed opportunities to teach and correct your dog what not to do and teach appropriate house manners.

Because it is so important to watch, supervise or crate a puppy or dog with bad house manners, potty training and house breaking issues, how fast your dog learns is often determined on you crating your puppy or dog when you are not available to watch them.

The dog crate is never to be used as a punishment or time out.  think of it as a baby crib.  you place a baby in a crib or a play crib to keep the baby safe when you are not right their with it.


crate training wire cratecrate training plastic airline crate

A wire or metal crate or a plastic crate (size of crate should be as long as the puppy or dog is and not much larger.


clicker for crate trainingA dog training CLICKER (best) or the word “YES” to mark the correct behavior


dog training treat bagA dog training treat or food reward pouch or bag




STEP 1 Throw high value treats in the crate.  The dog will follow the food into the crate associating the behavior of going in the crate with receiving a food reward. We want the dog to find the experience of going in the crate rewarding

STEP 2 After doing step 1 several times then add the next step of starting to “mark” the behavior of going in the crate with a clicker using the principles of clicker training .  Make sure to click as the dog goes into the crate and before the dog gets the food reward you are throwing in the crate in step 1.


  1. Throw treat in the crate
  2. Dog or Puppy goes in crate
  3. Click to mark the behavior of the dog going in the crate
  4. Dog or Puppy eats the treat or food reward.

STEP 3 After you have practiced both steps 1 and step 2 together successfully then add the next step.  Step 3 is to add a “cue” or “command” “Kennel” when the dog goes into the crate to get the treat.  Be sure to say the “cue” or “command” of “Kennel” after you throw the treat in the crate.  This should happen immediately after you throw the treat into the crate but before you click the clicker to mark the behavior of the dog entering the crate.  In this step we are just labeling the behavior the dog is performing.  We are not giving a command we are capturing the behavior of the dog going into the crate and adding a label to what the dog is doing. We don’t ask for the behavior yet with a command of “kennel,” we are just making the association of the word “kennel” with going in the crate several times.


  1. Throw treat in crate
  2. Say “kennel” as the dog first begins to move into the crate (remember we are not commanding “kennel” yet we are just saying the word “kennel” as the dog goes into the crate to follow and get the treat)
  3. Click and mark the behavior with the clicker of the dog going into the crate
  4. Dog eats the treat and is rewarded in the crate.

STEP 4 Begin to now ask for the behavior first by giving the cue or command “kennel” before you throw a treat into the crate.  Use your treat hand to point into the crate rather than throwing the treat first, or pretend to throw the treat into the crate.  If you spent enough time in steps 1,2, and 3, before moving on to step 4, your dog should now go into the crate when you give the command or cue “kennel” while you point the treat hand into the crate as if you had a treat and pretend you are pointing and throwing a treat into the crate. At this point in the training you are withholding the treat until the dog goes into the crate with the cue or command of “kennel” along with the hand pointing inside the crate. At this point you will reward the dog with the food only after you have given the cue or command of “kennel” and after the dog has gone into the crate and after you have marked that behavior with the clicker.  The treat is given to the dog from your hand now after the click.

STEP 5 Close the crate door before marking the behavior for the dog.  once the dog has gone into the crate on command or cue of ‘kennel” now close the door of the crate, then click and treat the dog. (Now the dog has to wait for the crate door to close before the click and treat happen.)  Click and treat several times for the dog being in the crate with the crate door closed.  You are now marking with the clicker and rewarding brief duration of the dog being in the crate for a brief time with the crate door closed.  This is part of preventing Separation Anxiety for dogs and puppies when in a crate.

STEP 6 Teach the puppy or dog to wait in the crate even when the door is open.  We are now opening and closing the crate door with the dog inside and teaching “kennel” as an implied stay.  We are clicking and rewarding the dog with treats when the dog does not come out of the crate even if we open the crate door.  If your dog or puppy tries to move out of the crate when you open the door, immediately close the crate door pushing the dog back into the crate while re- commanding “kennel.”  When you open the crate door if the dog stays click and reward the implied stay in the crate.

STEP 7 Click and treat the dog or puppy for not coming out of the crate when the door is open.  do this fast and often in the beginning.  YOU WANT TO CLICK AND TREAT OFTEN WHEN THE DOG IS IN THE CRATE WITH THE DOOR OPEN. If the dog tries to get out of the crate right as you click, do not dive the treat.  We don’t want to accidentally reward the behavior of coming out of the crate when we are trying to now teach this as an implied stay until released from the “kennel” command or cue. Remember if the dog tries to come out of the crate without permission, block the puppy or dog with the crate door from coming out, then try to slowly open the crate again.

STEP 8 Teach a release command or cue of “OK,” “Free,” or “Break.”  When teaching the dog the release command or cue, you will give the cue or command you pick, in this case “OK’ as this is what I use in the above video tutorial for crate training. Often you will need to help your dog to understand what the release command or cue is and what it means by helping the dog out of the crate and then marking that behavior with the clicker and then reward. Practice only letting your puppy or dog exit the crate when hearing the command or cue of “OK’ signaling it is OK to come out of the crate.

STEP 9 Add distance and duration (time), step outside briefly.  Come back in, click and reward for the duration and distance, also click and reward when you open the crate door and the puppy or dog stays in the crate.  In addition to crate training you are teaching the implied stay and you are beginning the process of desensitizing any possible separation anxiety that some puppies and dogs experience with crate training and being left in a crate for a period of time. When first starting out, only leave the house for a minute or two.  Gradually over 30 days increase your time away from 15-30 minutes.  Add a minute or two a day more duration while training until you have successfully  been able to train your puppy or dog to be in the crate calmly for 15-30 minutes.  MOST DOGS THAT CAN BE TRAINED TO BE IN A CRATE FOR 15 MINUTES WITHOUT BEING UPSET DO NOT DEVELOP SEPARATION ANXIETY.

STEP 10 Keep your puppy or dog calm when you come home by practicing the dog or puppy staying in the crate until it is calm and here the release command or cue of “OK.”  If your puppy or dog is more sensitive and prone to more anxiety when crated or left alone, begin to place your puppy’s or dog’s water bowl and food bowl in the crate along with your puppy or dog’s favorite toys.  this will further help to prevent and desensitize any potential anxiety.

Remember Practice Makes Permanent!  No one is Perfect!  Practice this 5 minutes a day and your puppy or dog will be crate trained in no time.  Review the Crate Training Video for further help.

Be sure to also check out our article on How to Potty Train a Puppy.

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Happy Training



Phoenix Dog Trainer Operant condition dog behavior science of how dogs are trained




how dogs learn operant conditioningHow dogs learn might be the most important question you could ask.  At Phoenix Dog Training, our  approach to dog obedience training is based on years of study. As one of the foremost students of dog behavior, our Phoenix Dog Behaviorist has seen firsthand the effect of a combination of Operant Conditioning, Positive Reinforcement and Negative Reinforcement, and has made these techniques the centerpieces of his training philosophy, which specializes in the elimination of aggression, fears, anxieties and phobias in dogs.


At Phoenix Dog Training we use about 90% positive reinforcement and about 10% negative reinforcement.  I also use negative punishment which is the removal of something the dog wants to decrease or stop unwanted behavior.  An example of negative punishment is to take away your kids WiFi password until they do their homework.  You are trying to stop or decrease the child’s procrastination.  With a dog it might be removing a treat or a toy.  This is one of the many ways how dogs learn.

I personally do not use positive punishment because I do not believe that how dogs learn has to be to experience fear, pain and intimidation to be taught. But I do use negative reinforcement, but in a unique way.

This being the case, Here at Phoenix Dog Training we are always eager to counteract the flashing red lights some people see when they hear the word “negative reinforcement.” Don’t let the term scare you, because in truth it isn’t negative at all! In fact it is non-aversive, as we don’t believe any dog should be trained with fear, pain or intimidation. As an example consider the following:

  • I am walking a dog and want to turn right
  • The dog wants to continue going straight
  • I tap the dog on the shoulder to get its attention so it can turn with me
  • I stop tapping on the dog’s shoulder when the dog performs the wanted behavior.


That is all there is to negative reinforcement!  People often confuse negative reinforcement with punishment.  the two are not the same.  Negative reinforcement increases and or strengthens behavior.  Punishment stops or decreases a behavior.

Traditionally, how dogs learn and the use of negative reinforcement has been to apply an unpleasant stimulus to the dog, and then help the dog to do the behavior in order to remove the unpleasantness.  The dog works to turn off the unpleasant stimulus, or to avoid it all together.  Different trainers will use negative reinforcement differently.  How unpleasant the stimulus is varies from trainer to trainer.

My experience and work with how dogs learn has shown me that negative reinforcement really does not need to be a true aversive.  To me when I think aversive, I think pain or unpleasant.  In fact, here is the dictionary definition of aversive:

” aversive. adjective. Causing avoidance of a thing, situation, or behavior by using an unpleasant or punishing stimulus, as in techniques of behavior modification.”

I have personally developed a system based on how dogs learn and the use of negative reinforcement that uses a non aversive tactile or touch sensation that is nuetral.  The tactile or touch sensation is not unpleasent, demonstrated by the dog’s behavior, there is no avoidance.  The tactile or touch stimulus becomes a tactile cue, prompt, or command that is paired with both auditory and visual cues, adding another layer of communication to both verbal commands and hand signals.  I use multiple modalities of communication with dogs for more complete understanding and clarity of communication. 

What the dog experiences is very light non aversive tapping on its neck while being given a verbal command along with a visual command (hand signal.) When the dog does the behavior, the light tapping stops.  Rather than being an aversive, it is neutral touch, or a non painful tactile touch.

I have seen mothers speaking to their children who did not respond to them, touch the child on the shoulder to get the child’s attention with light touch and to get them to follow through on what the mother was asking.  That is non aversive negative reinforcement.

Another example of non aversive negative reinforcement that people experience is the seat-belt indicator.  If you don’t put your seat-belt on, there will be a sound going off or a light going off until you fasten the belt.  Once you do the behavior, the sound goes away.  There was no pain, at most it was an annoyance.  


There are total positive reinforcement only trainers that can not conceive of non aversive negative reinforcement.  They like to say their way of training is scientific, but they fail to discuss ALL of the science.  The total positive reinforcement trainers want to claim how dogs learn is only with positive reinforcement.  They refuse to correct a dog. One of the reasons they can not conceive of non aversive humane negative reinforcement is because they have ZERO experience with it. They are giving their opinion on something that they have never done.

By combining all of the aforementioned aspects of how dogs learn, Phoenix Dog Training Dog Trainers are able to make their intentions clear to puppies and dogs. By opening the lines of communication Phoenix Dog Training is able to provide a low stress atmosphere for puppy training and canine training while getting lasting results in a fraction of the time of other Phoenix dog trainers.

We are committed to how dogs learn and providing dog training in Phoenix that offer the least amount of stress and the quickest results. Remember, we are training you as well as your dog, and the knowledge and insight you’ll gain into your dog’s mind and regarding the techniques with which to communicate your wishes will result in lasting good behavior and a more balanced home life. 

Thanks for reading and hopefully you have learned a little something about how dogs learn.

Phoenix Dog Training are the best dog trainers we have found in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area. Their Dog Behaviorist has personally helped us with our dogs as we had a tough case. Our dogs are doing great and we would never go to anyone else to train our dogs. The people, service and knowledge of training dogs is the best we have seen by far! I would recommend them to all my friends and family! Thank you!– Greg and Jody Fossen

Board and Train In Phoenix



Board and Train in Phoenix AZ Dog Training


PHOENIX DOG TRAINING was one of the first dog training companies in Phoenix Arizona to offer a Board and Train in Phoenix AZ. Back decades ago, I actually coined the term “Dog Boot Camp” for Board and Train type Dog Obedience Training. There has been a great deal of popularity in the dog training field to do what is called Dog Board and Train programs. Some might refer to these Dog Board and Train programs as Dog Boot Camp or Dogie Boot Camp.

There are basically 2 kinds of dog training programs that fit the definition of “Board and Train in Phoenix AZ.’

(1) Kennel based Board and Train in Phoenix AZ and

(2) In the Dog Trainer’s home for Board and Train in Phoenix AZ.


Dog Board and Train Dog Training Programs sound really great, but there can be many problems with this type of training, and sending your dog away for training.


Board and Train in Phoenix

Kennel Based Dog Board and Train is the worst!  Dog Training should happen at the home of the dog where the dogs training and behavior problems exist.  The best place for dog obedience training is at your home with in-home dog training working one on one with a dog trainer or dog behaviorist.

Most dog behavior problems will not be fixed in a kennel.  A kennel is nothing like the inside of a home, much less the inside of your home.  So if your dog needs potty training, is destructive and or hyper in the home, along with having other in home bad behaviors, there is a less that 30% chance they will ever get addressed because your dog is not able to misbehave in a kennel.  There is nothing to get into trouble in the kennel.

Most dog training kennels have many dogs, most with bad behavior, making your dog all the more freaked out and stressed being away from you, your home and everything that id familiar and feels like home.

Sending your dog to a kennel Board and Train in Phoenix AZ also means you subject your dog to illness and disease from other animals, a possible dog attack, and less than optimal living conditions.  One popular dog training company in Cave Creek Arizona even had 28 dogs die at their facility not too long ago. There are dangers with board and train

Dogs that are trained in a kennel based Board and Train program tend to revert back to their old behaviors within 3 weeks of returning home.  In some cases the behaviors are back as soon as the dog comes home.


Board and Train in Phoenix AZ Dog Training

 If you absolutely can not do in-home dog training with private dog training lessons, or dog obedience classes with your dog, you could opt for a Dog Board and Train in Phoenix program where the dog trainer takes your dog into their own personal home and have your dog stay with the dog trainer in their home like they are a member of the dog trainers own family.

The ONLY way the Phoenix Dog Training does any Dog Board and Train in Phoenix AZ is the type where your dog will live in my home with me as a member of my household.

Phoenix Dog training ONLY takes in ONE dog at a time to make sure your dog is getting the non stop 24/7 dog training and care you are paying for.   Always stay away from any kennel based board and train and go with the type of board and train program where your dog lives in a real home where real in home problems can be addressed.

Phoenix Dog Training only takes one dog at a time when and if we do a Dog Board and Train program typically we need one to two months advanced notice to check to see if we have availability.

Call PHOENIX DOG TRAINING at (602) 769-1411

Copyright Phoenix Dog Training 3724 E. Morrow Dr. Phoenix AZ. 85050

Dog Obedience Classes Phoenix Arizona



Dog Training Phoenix

Dog Obedience Classes, are they right for your dog? Dog Obedience Classes,  did you know this is the worst way to train your dog?

Dog Obedience Classes are typically the worst way to train your dog. Imagine a dog obedience class that has say 8 dogs with little to no training. Now imagine that those same dog obedience classes have say 8 unskilled and untrained owners. What you end up with typically are dog obedience classes that are an hour long of chaos and distractions with very little learning taking place.

About 70% of the dogs we train here at Phoenix Dog Training have been to previous dog obedience classes. What I typically here from clients is, “We went to a pet chain store for group training. “Fido” still wont listen, especially when there are distractions and things in the environment are excitable. When new people come over to the house, the dog is hyper and jumping and wont listen. I hear that there dog pulls like crazy on the leash, or is reactive towards other dogs or aggressive on leash.


Many dogs after attending dog obedience classes have behavior problems at home that have never been fully addressed and corrected like: stopping a dog from jumping, how to potty train a dog, stopping unwanted dog barking, preventing and correcting dogs from chewing destructively, how to stop puppy biting, how to crate train a puppy or a dog; the list can go on forever with any dog behavior problems that are specific to your dog’s home and your dog’s yard and neighborhood.

Every professional dog trainer knows that the best way to train a dog is with private in-home dog training at your home where you and your dog live. This is where the problems are happening. At home is where the training for your dog needs to be. Dogs learn new behaviors best when taught with lots of positive reinforcement and in the beginning in a place where your dog can be trained with little to no distractions.


There are three main phases in dog training. A professional dog trainer will teach you that the three phases of dog training are:

  1. The learning or teaching phase of dog training
  2. The correction phase of dog training, and
  3. The distraction proofing phase of dog training

There should be little to know distractions in the first phase of dog training when first training your dog for the first time new behaviors, or what to do.   By their very nature dog obedience classes are inherently very distracting.

First, you and your dog are doing dog training in an environment and a location that is completely new and novel. Second, you have all kinds of new people, new dogs, not just one, but many, all having the same experience. Dog obedience classes are way too distracting to start training your dog in a group dog training class. The distraction phase of dog training comes last in dog training, not first. All professional dog trainers know this, but many offer group dog training classes in Phoenix because it is very profitable to have the group volume of business.


Group dog obedience classes should happen last for polishing and maintenance of the dog training that you and your dog trainer worked on when doing private in-home dog training.

Here at Phoenix Dog Training, we offer Polishing and Maintenance Dog Obedience Classes. These group dog training classes are with dogs that have already had professional dog training at home with one of our Phoenix Dog Trainers. The benefit of having group dog training classes after previously private dog training lessons, are many. First all the dogs in our Phoenix dog obedience classes are trained and under control. These dogs have a strong foundation in dog obedience training while working with our Phoenix dog trainer at your home. Second, all the dog owners and dog handlers in the group dog obedience classes now have skills working with and training their dogs.


At Phoenix Dog Training, our group dog obedience classes take the dog training you and your dog learned at home with private dog training, and our Professional Dog Trainer, and take it to the next level with an insane amount of distraction proofing in dog training. Phoenix Dog Training provides the best of both worlds. Our Dog Training Company and Professional Dog Trainers believe a dog is not trained until the dog can listen and until your dog can behave when its crazy, when all heck breaks loose as far as excitement and distraction. If you want a reliable dog then your dog must be able to listen to your dog training commands even in the craziest of distractions. While you can definitely get the distraction in group dog obedience classes, you will not have the reliability and control that private dog training at home will provide you, then following up to polish your dog training skills and maintain your dogs training.

Written by Phoenix Dog Training. If you have a dog or a puppy in need of dog training or puppy training you can contact us at;


Address: 3724 E. Morrow Dr., Phoenix, Az. 85050

Phone: 602-769-1411





Canine Body Language Dog Training

Canine Body Language-Dog Aggression-Dog Anxiety

Canine Body Language For Dog Aggression and Fearful Dog Training

Phoenix Dog Aggrssion Trainers“Understanding Canine Body Language is critical to helping modify fearful and aggressive behavior,” states, Harvard Animal Behaviorist and Director of Dog Training Phoenix.  Here are bullet points and a crash course in understanding what calming and stress signals are.

Canine Body Language Signs of stress or arousal – taken in context and happen together or in groups. None of these happen in a vacuum.


  • Yawning Dog Training Phoenix Canine Body Language
  • Penis crowning – often around food or resources (can be toy, place or person), Stress is an arousal level. Sequence that leads to aggression. No female equivalent.
  • Teeth chattering – sign of arousal, sign of frustration or aggression. Can happen when excited to play.
  • Sweaty paws
  • Lip licking – happens in succession, sign of stress which is different than when hungry or after a meal. Repeated multiple times.
  • Stress vocalization – whining, dry shallow cough or part of high pitched, trill sound, dry pant
  • Tails – mean nothing, except when curled under body which is sign of stress. Must look at breed to know what normal tail looks like in order to tell if a sign
  • Chuffing – usually see in boxers. Cheek puffing or a blowing sound coming from mouth.
  • Dilated pupils – must be taken in contest of lighting in the room. Look for soft eyes with dilated pupils. “Whale eye” eye is dilated, hard can see a sliver of white in eye, usually followed by a bite. Whole body goes stiff and still, then Whale eye then bite.
  • Not eating – first signal that dog is in stress and should be alerted. If try to give a treat they don’t take it.
  • Urination – submissive urination, or marking of territory. They urinate on all things, including people, resources to feel comfortable.
  • Ears pinned back – again subject to breed of dog. “Bunny ears”.
  • Freezes – watch mouth. Body goes stiff, hard eyes, ears can go back/down along head, very still, mouth starts to close very slowly. Bite usually follows. This happens with a bunch of other stress. Lots of energy coming from animal.
  • Pacing – different than being interested in something. They quickly walk back and forth. Lots of energy being expelled by animal. Doesn’t have to be in a pattern, can be all over the place. Other stress signals accompany this like stiff body, vocalization, dilated pupils, pulling on lead.
  • Slow of little movement – looks like a lump. Non stressed dogs move around.
  • Stiff posture – excessive shedding. Example of this happening is when dog goes to vet.
  • Stretching – not normal I’ve just gotten up and need to stretch my bones/muscles, but happens in a sequence with other stress.
  • Trembling
  • Muscle ridge – hard to see but can watch it happen around top of orbital eye bone and at top of mouth.
  • Urogenital check out – during or just after a time of stress, dog will make sure all of the private parts are still there.
  • Excessive salivation – depending on breed or what is happening. Can happen in arousal state like waiting for food so must be taken in context. Part of other stressors.
  • Shallow or fast breathing – looks like holding breath and must be taken in context with environment

Canine Body Language Calming signals/appeasement signals/non-aggressive intent – Offer and acceptance signals Canine Body Language Dog Training Phoenix Teaches To Help Train Out Dog Aggression and Dog Anxiety

  • Look away – an active turn of head. Chin up and turn your head. Can be used for having dog not jump.
  • Paw raises – can be done either standing or sitting. I mean you no harm.
  • Sniffing – an area after a prolonged period in that area
  • Sneezing – really likes what you are doing, like training and they get so excited then sneeze in succession
  • Scratching – must be taken in context
  • Blinking – to calm themselves or others. We can use to show them we mean no harm
  • Shake off – most common calming signal. Can start at backside and goes all the way off. Very animated when it happens.

Canine Body Language Both calming and stress signals

  • Yawning
  • Lip/nose licking
  • Sitting or lying down
  • Pacing in an arc

Canine Body Language Distance increasing signals – back off, social distance, sub threshold that means you must intervene, read these signals before aggression begins.

  • Marking territory
  • Hard eyes – sharp line between pupil and iris
  • Showing teeth – C shape, molars not showing, antagonistic pucker, full frontal lip curl
  • Ears alert and forward – depends on breed
  • Tense body or face
  • Height posture height seeking – very significant, muzzle punch
  • Lowered head and neck
  • Excessive barking – low and fast. Not like the “you’re home” high pitched fast yipping bark or the alarm barking.

If you have a fearful or aggressive dog contact Phoenix Dog Training and Harvard Educated Dog Behaviorist for help Now toll free (602) 769-1411

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How to teach a dog to stay video by Phoenix Dog Training



I get asked all the time How to teach a Dog to Stay. Dog owners tell me they can get their dog to sit and their dog might stay, but their dog will not stay when there are distractions. The times when you need your dog to stay is when there are distractions.

  • Does your dog stay when there are heavy distractions?  
  • Will your dog run off or stop listening when there are a lot of distractions?  
  • Is your dog safe in a down stay command around traffic, children or other animals?
  • Will your dog maintain a down stay command when there is a lot of excitement and chaos going on in the environment?    

If you answered no to any of these questions this dog training video, “How to Teach a Dog to Stay” is a must see dog training video.


Call Now For Dog Training Help (602) 769-1411

A dog will always be more reliable in a stay command if the dog is commanded to stay when laying down.  I watch people start to teach stay from a sit command and I always tell them it is a mistake to start to teach stay from sit.  when a dog is in the down position they are more committed to stay by the nature of their body position and posture.

Start teaching the stay when the dog is in the down command or down position.  If your dog is standing or if your dog is sitting your dog is less likely to stay when there is a distraction.  To start to learn how to teach your dog to stay, we always make it the easiest and most successful for the dog and owner to succeed.  Starting to teach your dog to stay is best started in the down position.  

Once the dog can stay in a down command with heavy distractions, teaching your dog to stay in a sit command or to stay while standing is easy.  All the hard work and foundation work on how to teach a dog to stay is done from the down command.


How to teach a dog to stay


In the training programs for Phoenix Dog Training we never say the word or say the command “stay.”  “Stay” is a useless and unnecessary word and command. at Phoenix Dog Training all of our Phoenix Dog Trainers teach three commands as AUTOMATIC IMPLIED STAY COMMANDS.  The three commands that are taught at Phoenix Dog Obedience Training that are automatic implied stay commands are “Down,” “Place,” and “Sit.” “Sit” means to sit and stay, “Place” means to go to your place and stay.  “Down” means get in the down position and stay laying down.

How to teach a dog to stay does not happen with the words we use or the commands we use.  How to teach a dog to stay happens as a result of teaching a dog that staying with distractions has value for the dog in the form of a high value reward.

  • If you ask your dog to sit and stay, and your dog breaks from the stay command what would you tell your dog next?
  • If you ask your dog to go down and stay, and your dog stands up or walks away, what would you tell your dog next?
  • If you asked your dog to down and stay and your dog does not, do you say down again?  Do you say stay again?  Do you say down and stay again?  Do you say NO?


Phoenix Dog Training how to teach a dog to stay


Dogs think and learn in “black and white” terms.  Keep it simple and keep it consistent. In how to teach a dog to stay, use only one word for stay.  The one word to use for stay should be “Down.” “Place,” and “Sit.” Why would you want your dog to do anything else then what you just asked your dog to do?  If I command my dog, “down,” I expect my dog to be down.  If my dog gets up, my dog broke the “down” command.  What is clearest to the dog is to re command “Down.” Down was what was commanded.  Down was what is wanted.  When Down does not happen re command Down.

The dog obedience commands of “Down,” “Place,” and “Sit,” ARE ALL STATIONARY COMMANDS to begin with.  The use of the word or command stay with one of these three stationary non movement commands is redundant, unnecessary, and only adds to confusion when learning how to teach a dog to stay. 


Dog Training Phoenix how to teach a dog to stay


  1. When learning how to teach a dog to stay your job is to give a command that is stationary by nature such as the “Down” command.
  2.  The next step is to keep the dog in the “Down” command and reward with positive reinforcement the correct behavior of down.  
  3. The third step is to re command “Down” anytime your dog stops the down command and behavior.


When learning how to teach a dog to stay, the behavior is learned by creating distractions and rewarding the dog with positive reinforcement for not taking the bait of the distraction and maintaining the stationary command.  The behavior of staying when there are distractions is shaped by presenting the bait of a distraction and rewarding the dog if it does not take the bait.  The behavior of staying when there are distractions is also shaped by re commanding the behavior when the dog does take the bait.


Dog Trainer Phoenix how to teach a dog to stay


We have often heard that “communication is key.”  When communication is clear, precise, and can be predictive as to a certain pattern, you are “speaking dog!”  Dogs are dialectical in nature.  Dogs learn by classical conditioning and by operant conditioning.  

Classical conditioning happens when two things are paired or bridged together.  An example of classical conditioning is when your cell phone rings you answer it.  The behavior of answering your phone when it rings is learned because the phone ringing has been paired with answering your phone. The timing has to be just right to make the connection between two or more things when they are being paired.  for the example of learning how to teach a dog to stay, the word or command down and the behavior of going down are paired and matched.  the dog learns with the repetitive timing of the word down with the behavior of down, what “Down” means.

Operant conditioning is basically the use of well timed rewards and consequences to shape behavior to increase or decrease.  Behaviors that are rewarded increase.  Behaviors that have consequences decrease.  An example of Operant conditioning in the “Down” as an implied stay training exercise is when the dog gets a high value food reward for staying in the down position when their are distractions.  Another example is when there is the consequence of not getting a food reward, and getting some leash pressure and re command into “Down.” 

With well timed rewards and consequences and very “black and white” communication even difficult behaviors like how to stay when there are insane distractions can be taught with relative ease.

how to teach a dog to stay service dog training

If you are struggling with having your dog listen, pay attention, be obedient and respond to commands, Give Phoenix Dog Training a Call today at (602) 769-1411




Phoenix Dog Aggression Trainers



Dog aggression and how to stop dog aggression, and what to do to stop your dog from being aggressive, is what most of my calls are as a Dog Behaviorist. At Phoenix Dog Training, about 80% or more of the dog training problems we deal with is dog aggression. It can be heartbreaking to have a family pet that you love and that are great in so many different ways, but perhaps your dog is aggressive towards people, or your dog is aggressive towards other dogs. What can be particularly scary and heartbreaking about dog aggression is when you have multiple dogs fighting in the house. Our Dog Aggression Training Phoenix Rehabilitation Programs are the most successful aggression behavior modification programs in the country.

Phoenix Dog Aggrssion Trainers

There are various types of dog aggression. Here are just a few types of dog aggression.

  • Fear Aggression
  • Territorial Aggression
  • Dog on Dog Aggression
  • Dog Aggression Towards Humans
  • Food Aggression
  • Toy Aggression
  • Fence or Gate Aggression
  • Dominance Aggression

The most common type of  Dog aggression is fear aggression. Almost all aggression is fear related aggression. Animals, including dogs, only go into “fight or flight” when there is a perceived threat. Many of the above listed types of aggression have fear as their primary motivator. Some dogs are afraid they will loose their food. Some dogs are afraid they will loose a bone or a favorite toy. Some dogs are afraid that their space or territory is in danger or being threatened. Some dogs fear that their owners are in danger or may experience a threat.

In many cases of aggression it can be difficult to see any real reason for the dog’s aggression. There are about 3% to 7% of dogs with genetic and neurochemical contributing factors to their aggression. This type of aggression can be the most difficult to deal with. In this type of aggression there may be no “real” threat to the dog yet the dog feels there is a threat and becomes reactively aggressive.

The number one goal is to properly assess the type of dog aggression and all of the many contributing factors that might play a role in the dog’s aggression. Old school dog training used to just assume basically any dog that was aggressive was just trying to be “alpha” and was showing dominance. After many decades of scientific research and studies on dog aggression, today we know that is rarely the case. In over 30 years as a dog aggression expert and dog behaviorist who specializes in dog aggression and has worked with and helped some of the most aggressive dogs in the country and abroad, I can honestly say true dominance aggression is very rare, and todays science and studies on aggression in dogs concurs with what has been my experience.

As a result of the latest scientific studies and research on dog aggression, we know today that the last thing you want to do is punish, harshly correct with pain, fear or intimidation, or dominate your dog with an ‘alpha roll.’ These outdated old school dog training methods have never show any long term success in rehabilitating an aggressive dog with lasting results and lasting success. These harsh methods actually add more stress and pressure, along with adding more fear to the dog that is already experiencing something it finds threatening. We want to teach the dog that there is no threat, that the dog can be calm and safe. These old school correction based Dog Obedience Training methods that are harsh do the opposite. We often see other trainers have limited success for a week or two until the dog then snaps and becomes even more aggressive, and often times the dog can become aggressive toward the owner who has been wrongly taught to give a harsh correction to their dog. This is what for real serious cases of dog aggression you need a dog behaviorist.

Phoenix Dog Training has the highest success rate when it comes to treating and rehabilitating dog aggression anywhere in the country. A lot of what Phoenix Dog Training and our Internationally Acclaimed Harvard Dog Behaviorist do is fix and treat aggressive dogs that other dog trainers cannot rehabilitate. We have rehabilitated many dogs that some top trainers and celebrity TV dog trainers have not had lasting success with. Our approach and our system to treat and rehabilitate dog aggression is based in the latest science, and research on dog aggression behavior modification, counterconditioning, and desensitization, along with the latest science in canine cognition.   At Phoenix Dog Training our Harvard Educated Dog Behaviorist specifically studied canine cognition at Harvard University and used that knowledge and education to create what is today’s most successful dog aggression rehabilitation training system.

If you have a dog with an aggression problem call today to schedule an in depth 2-3 hour behavioral assessment and evaluation. After completion of our behaviorist assessment you will be provided with a treatment plan and behavior modification program that we can begin to work on that day to bring about the needed change in your dog’s aggression.

Call today to schedule your AGGRESSION EVALUATION appointment (602) 769-1411


Dog Training Phoenix



Even The Most Severe Dog Behavior Issues Are No Match For Phoenix Dog Training and Phoenix Dog Behaviorist

Dog Training Phoenix

There are few names as celebrated in the world of dog obedience training as that of Phoenix Dog Training. While the industry is home to many amateurs masquerading as dog trainers, Phoenix Dog Training has made the study of dog behavior and the development of a unique and proven canine training philosophy their lifetime’s work. Harvard-trained and world-renowned as an Applied Animal Behaviorist, Phoenix Dog Training have made a career of consistently rehabilitating dogs suffering from the most severe of behavioral problems. Issues such as severe aggression, fear-based behavior, anxiety and phobias often get the best of pet owners and even experienced dog trainers, but for Phoenix Dog Training and their Applied Animal Behaviorist, they are par for the course.

Our Phoenix Dog Trainer is a committed student of the true science of canine learning theory, dog aggression is not going to be rehabilitated and cured with positive reinforcement only, that is why our Phoenix Dog Trainers and Phoenix Dog Behaviorist use both positive and negative reinforcement for a balanced approach to dog training and a true understanding of the science behind learning theory. This has allowed our Dog Trainers in Phoenix to develop our patented Gentle Touch™ method of dog training. Based upon the principles of Operant and Classical Conditioning in order to deal with issues including:

  • Aggression
  • Fear
  • Anxiety
  • Phobias
  • Not listening
  • Potty training
  • Digging and chewing
  • Jumping on people
  • Defecating in improper areas
  • Jumping on furniture
  • Pulling on the leash
  • Dominance
  • Running away
  • Stealing things
  • Scratching doors
  • Begging and whining
  • Aggression in dogs
  • Fighting with other dogs
  • Crotch sniffing
  • Bad car behavior
  • Separation anxiety
  • Fearfulness and shyness
  • Marking
  • Chasing cars
  • Chasing kids
  • Chasing cats

Dog Training Phoenix believes that in-home private dog training is the most effective and fastest way to train your dog: after all, the problems that are occurring with your dog occur at home, so what better place to address these issues than where they take place? Another important aspect of the training Dog Training Phoenix provide is that you are being trained along with your dog. The goal is for your dog to work as effectively with you as he/she does when working with an animal behaviorist. You’ll learn how to communicate your intentions to your dog in a way that engenders understanding and results.

Canine training and puppy training need not be stressful or confusing for the dog involved: to the contrary, even when dealing with severe behavioral issues it can be a positive experience when based on a true understanding of dog behavior theory. Discover the true essence of proper dog training from Phoenix Dog Training and our acclaimed Animal Behaviorist.

For more Phoenix Dog Training Dog Behavior and Dog Training Articles, Visit our Phoenix Dog Training Blog.

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Should I Use Negative Reinforcement to Train My Dog?

There is nothing negative with negative reinforcement

Using negative reinforcement to teach your dog to not pull on the leash

My approach to Dog Training, behavior modification and dog obedience training is based on years of study. As one of the foremost students of dog behavior I have seen firsthand the effect of a combination of Operant Conditioning, Positive Reinforcement and Negative Reinforcement.

I have made these techniques the centerpieces of my training philosophy, which specializes in the elimination of aggression, fears, anxieties and phobias in dogs, as well as typical nusaince dog behaviors. 

 At Phoenix Dog Training we are always eager to counteract the flashing red lights some people see when they hear the word “negative reinforcement.”

Don’t let the term Negative reinforcement scare you, because in truth it isn’t negative at all! In fact it is non-aversive, as we don’t believe any dog should be trained with fear, pain or intimidation. As an example consider the following:

  • I am walking a dog and want to turn right
  • The dog wants to continue going straight
  • I tap the dog on the shoulder to get its attention so it can turn with me

That is all there is to negative reinforcement!

By combining all of the aforementioned aspects of training, Phoenix Dog Training are able to make their intentions clear to puppies and dogs. By opening the lines of communication he is able to provide a low stress atmosphere for puppy training and canine training while getting lasting results in a fraction of the time of other Phoenix dog trainers.

We are committed to providing dog training classes that offer the least amount of stress and the quickest results. Remember, we are training you as well as your dog, and the knowledge and insight you’ll gain into your dog’s mind and regarding the techniques with which to communicate your wishes will result in lasting good behavior and a more balanced home life. Contact us today for help with training your dog and correcting unwanted behaviors. (602) 769-1411

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Keri Grunert
Keri Grunert
05:11 18 Jan 18
Phoenix Dog Training is Phenomenal!! From the very beginning we knew we were in good hands. They worked so well with our whole family. Getting the kids involved in the training was brilliant. We would definitely recommend this company.
Tyler Thompson
Tyler Thompson
15:37 30 Nov 17
I recently called Phoenix dog training to train my out of control hyper Australian Shepherd. The training was excellent and the service was A+ all the way. I have used two trainers before that could not help with the pulling on walks when any dog came by and jumping on guests. Now "Molly" knows to go to her "Place" when the door bell rings. Walks are now enjoyable. I can even take her off leash and she stays right with me. I can not thank you enough.Tyler Thompson
Jose Rivas
Jose Rivas
21:11 25 Jul 17
My wife and I highly recommend Phoenix Dog Training. Our dog, a Labrador Retriever/German Shepard Mix, (Mr. Pickles) was trained last summer and we could not be more happy with the results. Mr. Pickles has been an excellent dog ever since his training. Everyone that comes in contact with our dog is amazed by his obedience and uncanny maturity even though he is not even three years old. He has acted perfectly on an international flight in-cabin, in the grocery store, restaurants and practically any situation one can imagine. My wife and I have Phoenix Dog Training to thank for training our dog to be the most well behaved dog we have ever seen or met. Phoenix Dog Training understands dog behavior and knows how to train a dog to meet the needs of their owners. Phoenix Dog Training utilizes empathetic, efficient, and effective methodologies in training dogs and we give them an emphatic recommendation!
Charles F Frost
Charles F Frost
20:30 21 Sep 17
I was referred to Phoenix Dog Training by our Veterinarian because of our Boxer Max, and his aggression.Phoenix Dog Training and their Harvard schooled Animal Behaviorist did an incredible job helping myself and my family bring Max under control. We realize we will need to manage Max's behavior for as long as he is with us, but now we have the skills and the tools to keep Max and everyone happy and safe. Thank you for all the great training help and support with our dog Max.
The German Star Lord
The German Star Lord
06:53 20 Sep 17
I have always trained all of my dogs myself. I have never had a dog I could not train. My current dog Jasper is the exception. I truly thought my dog had a mental problem. Thanks to Phoenix Dog Training I no longer think Jasper is mental. Jasper just needed his owner trained. I would recommend Phoenix Dog Training to anyone needing professional dog training.
03:45 17 Sep 17
I am so grateful I found Phoenix Dog Training. I live up in North Scottsdale and have a large yard. We get a lot of wild animals that come onto our property. Coyotes, Havelina, Bob Cats Mountain Lion, you name it. The problem I was having was my dog Skip would not come when called. No matter what we did he would not come when called. He would call me when there were no distractions. He would come when nothing was going on. But up another dog or another person or another animal is there, he will not come for anything! I have tried several other dog trainers in Scottsdale. They all promised me they could get my dog to come, and they did a great job getting my dog to listen to me when there were no distractions. But if there's another animal, they were not able to get my dog to come when called. Out of frustration and skeptical, I called Phoenix dog training. They said they had a money back guarantee. I figured if there was ever a time they would have to honor their money back guarantee it would be with myself and my dog Skip. To my absolute amazement, the dog trainer from Phoenix Dog Training was able to get Skip to come with the distraction of another dog he brought with him within about 3 minutes! It was absolutely crazy!!! No one had been able to produce any results, and here they have skip coming when called with another dog around, skip would normally go crazy. But this time he was coming when called! I would definitely recommend Phoenix Dog Training!!! They saved my dog from being eaten from a Mountain Lion I'm sure!!!
Paras Dhankecha
Paras Dhankecha
06:03 19 Sep 17
I really want to thank you guys. Phoenix Dog Training has made my dogs life and my life so much better. I get to finally enjoy my dog. Walks are now a pleasure. She sits and stays when I tell her. When I call her to me, now she comes. I love the "place" command and that seems to be her favorite command too. I'm looking forward to the Polishing and Maintenance classes that Phoenix Dog Training offers after our completion of our private at home dog training lessons. Thank you again.
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