Mind Your Manners

Me and My Fury Doing Attention Heel

It has come to my attention that maybe not everyone has the doggy background that I do when it comes to training and behavior. Be sure to click on all the many links in this article for help with the many things mentioned!

I do my best to write articles for the “masses”; you have to understand everyone from other professional trainers, people aspiring to train, to vets, to veterinary behaviorists read and share my articles.

I also have people who have NEVER owned a dog EVER to those who have had hundreds of dogs in their lives.

I try to work on all kinds of levels so that people at all phases can learn or share something, that way it is not always “basics” but it doesn’t always require advanced training either. .

I’ve written articles on everything from aggression to  how to make a nearly indestructible dog bed to everything in between (and sometimes many times over).  Be sure to like us on Facebook at thedogtrainingsecret.com to keep up with my bi-weekly writings.

I recently got “schooled” a little in our comments section because sometimes my responses are short and may rely on the person having more knowledge than they do.

Personally it is hard for me to tell, when I am asked a question, exactly how much experience the person has with dog training unless I am told.

And, if you are looking for help there is a search bar about a ¼ of the page down to the right, you can search for whatever subject you are seeking help with!

There are also grouped topics like barking, chewing, and potty training that will bring up lots of free articles.

And, I moderate sometimes hundreds of comments and questions a day.  Sometimes I just stick to simple, quick answers.  And, sometimes I have answered the same question numerous times in the same place, so I rely on people reading through previously asked questions in the same place.

Anyone who knows me or has taken one of our courses knows I am a kind and genuine person, but it is difficult to read tone or know much about a person from a quick response.

And, I will admit sometimes I probably do give people credit for knowing more than they know.  It is hard to do something for over 20 years and remember what it was like back in the day when I didn’t read dog behavior so quickly.

When you do something day in and day out it becomes second nature and like anyone else I suppose I take that for granted.   And I appreciate getting called out on occasion 😉 

This is good manners at my house

This is good manners at my house

So Let’s Go Back to the Original Question

My comment was “Put the dog on a leash and teach him manners”, I believe he was jumping for more on specific help with jumping click here.


What do I mean by manners?

A dog with manners is a dog that listens to your commands on the first command.

This usually requires basic obedience but doesn’t always!

I have seen dogs that can compete to a high level in obedience trials, or agility competitions, that still have no “manners” at home.  They jump on people, run through the house or jump on counters.    Although usually this is rare and mostly seen in dogs that live outside.

A dog with “manners” is one who doesn’t jump on counters, doesn’t jump on people, doesn’t steal and is what most people consider a “well behaved dog” or the Perfect Dog.

Think of it in Terms of Kids.

Kids with manners are quiet, soft spoken, and respectful of other children and adults.

Kids without manners are like tornadoes not listening to anyone or anything.  Recently while staying with friends and their kids with all 3 of my dogs (we were competing in dock diving).  The resident children were dropped off by a sports “mom” and three other tornadoes ran into the house.

2 of my dogs were crated; one in what looks like a wild animal crate (because he is a crate chewer) and the kids ran over and were getting ready and probably did to stick hands into crates.  It is hard to keep an eye on 3 dogs and 5 kids.

My dogs aren’t kid eaters but I don’t want them to feel overwhelmed by kids when they are in their crates; and I don’t have kids at home.

One of them is very territorial with other dogs in his crate making loud growling and barking if a dog gets too close.  I didn’t want him to have the same reaction with children (thank goodness he diden’t).

But the kids didn’t even listen to me; it was like I didn’t exist until I went over and got in their faces.  This was not good manners!  And, they had no respect for their mother either.

I suspect they don’t get a lot of regular training; just like naughty dogs don’t get a lot of training or the interaction they need!

Manners Come With Basic Training and Teaching

Winning!  Manners comes with Training!

Winning! Manners comes with Training!

Manners come with interaction and basic teaching and training.

And, basic obedience is all about what you need it to be; we are all different.  But essentially, sit, down, stay, come, offleave it  are all the basics of what I believe a dog should know.

So I make my dogs sit before they get fed.  They don’t get to act like imbecilic (flying around jumping, nipping) and then be rewarded by getting their meals.  For more on getting your dog to work for his food and why, click here.

I also make my dogs earn their privileges, and being free and off leash in my house is a privilege for more on that click here

So my dogs are never allowed to jump on people, or steal underwear or jump on counters.  They grow up being on leash and being taught what my expectations are, and they are rewarded for good behavior like laying down, sitting, giving me focus.

They have “manners” and when we visit other people’s homes they are crated or on leash to ensure that they have “manners” and so we can be invited back.  They don’t come off leash until I know for sure they will listen no matter what.

I never want to visit someone or have someone visit me and leave the visit thinking; “I never want to spend time with her again, her dogs are so ill behaved”.

I want them to think, “Wow, she has great dogs”.


I think exercise plays a HUGE role in manners.  This is what I mean by exercise. 

A tired dog is too tired to jump on people and he is getting what he needs physically.  Put your exercise and your training together and you’ll have the perfect dog! Read this for more on building excitement into your training program.

Manners Can Be Whatever You Want

Manners can be whatever you want it to be, it is your house and your dog, if you don’t like it train to change it!

You can train your dog as far as you want and achieve whatever goals you want.

The important key is that you work on the basics of what you desire in that environment regularly.

Dogs can’t learn well when they are distracted or when other people come over, train with them one on one BEFORE you insert other people as distractions and do it on a regular basis… at least daily for best results!  Click here for why expecting too much without the foundation is ruining your dog training.

Get out there and get training and exercising and you’ll see results with all the problems you are having!

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  1. Amanda says:

    My family recently took in a stray black lab. My parents are pretty strict, so punishing is usually a big technique (I know it isn’t the best, but Herky can be a little out of control). Herky came to us from a family that guessed he was about 6 months old, we’re now thinking he might be a little older. We’ve tried everything on the poor think, but he just isn’t getting it. I really liked your food technique- making him do simply commands before getting food. The little guy likes to eat, so I’ll definitely pass that on! What’s a way we can keep him from the digging the drain pipes out from underground at our farm? We usually tie him up right after he does, but he goes right to them!


    Minette Reply:

    he is showing bad behavior because he is young, he is a lab and he is hyper. He needs more exercise and stimulation. Digging is due to boredom read these





    Charlie Reply:

    My dog has responded well to training and not doing things he knows he shouldn’t……when I’m home. But the problem is that i am not home often during the day, and the neighbors have started to complain about my dog’s barking, even threatening to call the pound on me. How do I help him to realize not to bark when I’m not home as well as when i am home?!


    Minette Reply:

    Exercise him well enough in the morning before you leave so he is too tired to bark when you leave.

    So many people sleep all night with their dogs crated or also sleeping and then leave them all day… I can imagine they get bored and don’t want to sleep all day; so give him the exercise he needs.

    Also give him something like an elk antler to chew on and crank the radio so he can’t hear all the noises to bark at.

  2. Eileen says:

    Dear Minette,

    I’ve been a faithful reader for quite some time now and I agree with you that it is very important for owners to teach “manners.” In the past 5 years I have been focusing on working exclusively with people who have dogs with behavior issues, rather than obedience training. The reason being is that people don’t surrender their pet to rescue because they won’t sit/stay, 90% of the time it’s as a result of some type of behavior issue. I also know that I am preaching to the choir when I say how very important obedience is to have a great relationship with our pets. Most people run into problems because they fail to establish “respect” from their dogs, and so many people think gaining that respect means they have to be mean to the dog. This is just not so, but during the learning process(and beyond)it is critical that consistency with the rules are the key to the dog understanding that rule! Thanks for all the work and dedication you put in to your work as guardian and guide for all of us!


    Minette Reply:

    Thank you Eileen 🙂


  3. Maryann says:

    My little yorkie Rudy just turned. 3 & I still can’t get him to stop pulling when he is on his leash for a walk! I have a regular leash & a extendable one! Help please:)


    Richard Adams Reply:

    I have the same problem, but two yorkies. The 7lb. Yorkie will drag along while the 2 lb Yorkie will run ahead. One 10 ft behind and the other 2 feet ahead. What a sight! I tryed all the training recommendations whith no result.


    Minette Reply:

    You have to separate them for training I expect that is why they cannot learn. Read these http://www.thedogtrainingsecret.com/blog/train-dog-time-question-answered/



    Minette Reply:

    Never use an extendable leash unless your dog is already 100 percent leash trained or you are having them go out and go potty at a distance and read this http://www.thedogtrainingsecret.com/blog/top-5-reasons-dog-pulling-sputtering-choking-yanking-leash/


  4. Jenny says:

    Thank you for this article. I know that my dogs behavior is not really his fault it’s mine for “spoiling” him when little.
    Now I have to work harder and smarter (he’s a boarder collie) I know I have been successful when he goes and sulks under the tool shelves. (Which is bad manners for him)
    It’s great that I can search for answers, find them and understand how to do it. I feel that I can do it, it’s just getting my pup to understand and do it.
    Thank you for all your help and the brilliant job your doing.


    Minette Reply:

    Thank you for your comment and your kindness 🙂 I really appreciate that


  5. len houghton says:

    When a human gets excited,angry,hot,exercises,aggressive etc they sweat and give off an odor which can be interpreted by a dog the wrong way. They may retaliate. Does a dog have this problem. Sometimes a dog entering a dog park gets attacked and I believe in part it is because they are scared as to what they are getting into and show it or possibly give off a scared smell.
    What do you think


    Minette Reply:

    I agree scared dogs probably put off an odor and soooo many dogs have NO idea about regular doggy communication; they give off the wrong behaviors all the way around because they have never been socialized… I believe this to often be the case. Or some dogs give off very aggressive subtle behaviors when they enter and the playing pack can relate negatively.


  6. Mr Michael Chupich says:

    Unfortunately your dog aggression seminar was sold out by the time I was able to respond to the e-mail offer. I really need help to modify my dog aggressive behavior. My two-year-old Weimaraner Logan has food aggression issues. He is well trained and well behaved and all other aspects except for this aggression issue. He waits as his food is being prepared but once he is allowed to go get his food he begins to growl as he eats. I can get near the bowl but he wants to guard it and continues growl. He has not attempted to bite me but I fear it may happen sometime in the future. I have tried multiple techniques to modify his behavior some have worked for a limited time but the aggressive behavior has returned. Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated or at the least I would like to have the opportunity to participate in your next seminar. Thank you in advance.
    Michael Chupich


    Minette Reply:

    I can’t see him so I can’t give you real specific advice without putting you at risk. You need the help of a veterinary behaviorist so you don’t get bitten or mauled… read this and be put on the list for our next aggression course there is so much content in there and it runs in a fairly safe manner which is slow, http://www.thedogtrainingsecret.com/blog/?s=veterinary+behaviorist


  7. Rachel Robbins says:

    Hi. I love the manners article.The manners issue we are having is when our labs lick peoples legs or toes when someone walks into the house wearing shorts or sandles.Any ideas to teachthem that this is bad manners?


    Minette Reply:

    Read this http://www.thedogtrainingsecret.com/blog/caution-dog-control-licker/


    Minette Reply:

    And use a leash when people come over and give them something else to do like down stays


  8. Angela Smith says:

    Love your blogs and your courses. I have a kind of manners question. My dog has a bed inside, a bed in the laundry where she sleeps of a night and an outside off the ground hammock type bed. Can you call all these things “bed”. Will my dog recognize that different beds in different areas are all “beds”.


    Minette Reply:

    First work with just one thing. I often use a towel on top of something then I throw the same towel on the different beds. I can also take it to different places like friends houses.

    After a period of time they will know that all the places can be and you can take a towel or blanket with you when you travel.


  9. Frances Hutchins says:

    Minette, How do you transition from a Gentle Leader to a buckle collar?


    Minette Reply:

    This will explain how to use the two together and then wean from it http://www.thedogtrainingsecret.com/blog/utilize-gentle-leader-similar-head-halters-dog-training/


  10. Betty says:

    My Papillon is a sweetie, UNTIL you try to cut his nails! What can I do to teach him to have manners? Right now we have tried different methods to hold him and a second person cut his nails. He will growl, snap and just be a terror.


    Minette Reply:

    Read these two articles http://www.thedogtrainingsecret.com/blog/greatest-doggy-tip/#more-5084


    And, I always give my dogs a treat after as a reward for good behavior. Their first few nail trims are difficult… but then they learn to sit still and wait for their treat 🙂


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