The Inside Scoop

How to say “I love you” in dog language

Dogs don’t actually speak the English. We talk to our dogs all the time, but since we also talk to our friends, neighbors and family in front of them, our dogs mostly hear the teacher from peanuts…

Telling your dog you love them has to happen in their language! Dogs, much like humans, enjoy physical affection, food, pampering and adventure. Show your dog love by meeting their needs. This can be walks, feeding special treats, ear rubs, or snuggling on the couch.  

That being said, your dog (especially your brand new rescue dog) probably does not want you to hug him. Physical affection in the form of leaning or snuggling next to you is much more their speed. 

Or you could always try “woof”. 

Why our pups need to obey the “no” command

All of our 80’s babies remember the infamous “because I said so”. These words could cause immediate rage in the heart of every child. Unfortunately, “because I said so” is exactly why our dogs have to listen to the “no” command. 

As humans, it is our job to keep our pets safe and well – sometimes this means telling them “no” to something they want. No, you can’t have chocolate / countersurf / harass your cat sibling / eat all my underwear / pee in the house / chew on that nasty dead animal. “No” is VERY useful and necessary. 

“No” is a neutral term. It doesn’t mean your dog is bad, or that they deserve punishment – it just means that whatever they’re doing is not the behavior you are currently looking for. 

Check out this video for how, when and why to say “no”! (FF to 00:53 to skip the sponsor)

We will leave you with a quote:

“I am trying to keep things in perspective. My dog wants a bite of my peanut butter chocolate chip bagel. I know she cannot have this, because chocolate makes dogs very sick. My dog does not understand this. She pouts and wraps herself around my leg like a scarf and purrs and tries to convince me to give her just a tiny bit. When I do not give in, she eventually gives up and lays in the corner, under the piano, drooping and sad. I hope the universe has my best interest in mind like I have my dogs. When I want something with my whole being, and the universe withholds it from me, I hope the universe thinks to herself: ‘Silly girl, she thinks this is what she wants, but she does not understand how it will hurt'”

― Blythe Baird

Why does my dog circle before they poop?

A 2013 study claims that dogs circle before they poop because they want to line themselves up on a north-south axis (please bring your compass with you on your next poop excursion to confirm this theory). Actual scientists with very expensive college degrees spent two years watching 70 dogs go to the bathroom 7,475 times (Dawg House employees have seen far more poop). 

Slightly more believable theories include: checking for snakes in the grass or predators lurking in the bushes, tamping down grass or rough footing, and attempting to spread their scent. 

Whatever their reasoning is, it’s currently cold and we wish they would hurry up.

The importance of the “Stay” command

Impulse control is a concept that a lot of dogs struggle with, and the “stay” command is a good way to enforce it. 

“Stay” teaches your dog to wait patiently for your signal. It’s also a good way to keep them safe – when you drop a glass in the kitchen, while crossing roads, in stores and at the end of the driveway. “Stay” also makes cooking and clearing the table easier (does anyone else have a dog who races in front of them to the kitchen, then comes to a sudden stop and clearly hopes for disaster…or is that just Blue?).

So how do we teach the “stay” command? 

Start with your dog on a loose leash. 

Ask them to sit. 

Hold your hand flat in front you, facing towards the dog, in the “stop” position. 

Say “stay”

Take two steps backwards. 

Take two steps back to your dog.

Give them a cookie and praise them! 

If your dog moves before you step back to them, ask them to sit again and start over! Try taking only one step back. 

If your dog completes the exercise, do it again! 

On your next try, add an extra step backwards!

Check out this quick video on teaching “stay”!

Cars and cold weather (keep your pup safe)

All of our Dawg House clients know better than to leave their dogs in a car during hot weather. But have you ever considered the cold? Dogs can develop hypothermia when their internal temperature reaches 99° (your dog’s normal temperature is 101 – 102.5). That’s only a 2° – 3° fall! 

Some dogs are built for cold weather! Siberian Huskies and Alaskan Malamutes are famous for refusing to come inside….and for convincing neighbors to call the police by looking pitiful. These dogs don’t want to waste perfectly good frigid temperatures by laying in front of the fireplace, but that doesn’t mean you should leave them in your car for hours, either. 

Will your dog survive while you run into CVS to buy Tylenol on your way home from the park? Yes, probably. But they definitely do not want to wait while you go to Costco. 

Check out this link for more from the AKC on dogs and cold weather!

Why trick training is good for your dog

No one has a party and says “Hey, look at how good my dog is at begging”. If you’re going to show off, it’s going to be something fun!

Trick training is a great way to bond with your dog. It’s even an AKC title category! Trick training gives their brains something to think about, improves your dogs balance and muscle tone, stretches their problem solving skills and improves your dog training abilities. It also helps alleviate winter boredom for both of you!

Check out these videos from the AKC for some simple (and fun!) tricks to teach your dog. Master all 10 of them to earn your novice trick dog title! If your dog is already a Canine Good Citizen, you only need to learn 5.


Get in a Box

High Five


Paws Up

Push Up


Sit In A Box

Spin & Twist


Keeping your dog active

We get lots of people who come to Dawg House looking to increase their dogs’ activity levels. The idea seems to be that if you could just get that critter to run all day, surely they will be calm and mellow at home. For some dogs, this is absolutely true. A day at daycare, 30 minutes of fetch or an hour-long hike could be enough to encourage your dog to take a nap and relax so that you can focus on human things. 

For others (I’m looking at you, border collies, cattle dogs, labs and shepherds from any country), physical activity is not enough. For high energy and high drive dogs, exercising their brains is an important part of the puzzle. These dogs require just as much mental stimulation as physical. So how do we make them work their brains as hard as their feet? 

First, you can teach your dog to play a game. This could be hide and seek, find it, or the three cups game. All of these require your dog to use their brain and their nose!  

Next, you can set up a dog puzzle. There are many for sale on Amazon, or you can make snuffle mat from old t-shirts or fleece. Check out this link to see how! Dog puzzles and snuffle mats are useful because they only require the human to set up – after that you just let your dog (and their nose) go to town. 

Last, but not least (and definitely the most obvious), is to engage your dog through training and play. The time you spend teaching your dog how to interact with you is the most valuable time in your relationship. This can be fetch, tug or basic commands. It can also mean things like agility classes and obstacle courses. You can see some good in-home obstacle course ideas here!

When you’re wondering why your dog won’t relax (or why he is eating your couch) – work their brain!

The benefit of a well trained dog 


Training your dog is supposed to benefit both you and them. It should be a bonding experience that makes the two of you work together. 

If you’re doing it right, you will have a dog that fits into your life and understands what is expected of him. 

“Well trained” is a subjective term. Some people think that to have a well trained dog it needs to sit, stay, come and bring them a beer. Other owners are happy if their dog doesn’t jump on visitors and magically shows up in the kitchen at dinner time (or at the sound of a cheese wrapper). “Well trained” will mean something different to each owner, depending on their lifestyle needs. 

At Dawg House, we think it is important to prioritize having a stable, well socialized dog. These dogs are usually given lots of exposure to the world around them, they learn to ignore distractions and to stay engaged with their person. Dogs develop stability through their humans leadership. 

A stable, well socialized dog will:

  1. Be able to ignore other dogs in public or greet them politely when necessary. 
  1. Sit and wait when asked, even with distractions present. 
  1. Walk calmly on a leash

Dogs who can do these three things will see multiple benefits. They will be safer in public, easy to handle, and they will have faith in their owners ability to make decisions. A dog who believes in their person is a happy, stable dog. Humans who teach their dogs these three things will also benefit. If you have a confident, stable dog, you have spent lots of time with them – taking them new places, working on basic commands, and exposing them to people and animals. All of this time invested means developing a deep, mutually beneficial relationship with your dog. You will have something that you can be proud of – that you love and loves you back. Like anything else in life, you get back exactly as much as you put in. Training your dog is good for your soul. Their souls need no improvement.