Vacations can offer wonderful training opportunities

Missie, our 8 year old Black German Shepherd, spent a week 2015-11-03 10.08.47in Ocean City, MD and had lots of new experiences. She is definitely not a water dog so our beach time was limited to short sessions.

Nov 2015 bird watchingShe surprised us with her very calm manner on the board walk while bird watching. We took her pad so she would have a “place” to settle.


Of course shopping is a must with the Rehoboth Outlets andNov 2015 shopping Nov 2015 waiting patientlywaiting patiently can be difficult. Dress Barn and most of the stores were very dog friendly, however at times it was better to be outside with mom.

Nov 2015 horses at AssateagueWe took a short ride to Assateague and saw the wild horses. There really is a horse in the picture watching us but we didn’t want to get too close. They are wild and bite and kick. Missie didn’t know what to do and just watched.


After a busy day sight seeing, shopping, eating at outdoor Nov 2015 Our viewrestaurants and walking on the beach we enjoyed relaxing and just watching the bay.


Training Must Be Fun

Make Training Fun For Everyone!
This group of ladies and their dogs have been training with Rudy’s Friends for several years and most started with our Basic Manners Made Easy class. They then went on to Manners II which included the Canine Good Citizen test, our Advanced Manners field trip class and then enjoyed our K9 Detection/Find It class. We have become great friends and enjoy outings where our dogs can socialize and play Find It. We’ve been to parks, a winery and now this picture was taken at Frolick Dogs Gym in Alexandria. Training is an ongoing adventure so take your pups to class and then work with them in public places. These 9 dogs range from 1.5 to 12 years old and we are so proud of them and their moms.

Frolick group
From left to right we have Cody, white shepherd, 1.5 yrs; Jewels, husky mix, 3 yrs; Bodhi, Shiloh shepherd, 2 yrs; Woody, beagle, 7 yrs; Allie, dalmation, 12 yrs; Finley, lab, 2 yrs; Millie, ter mix, 12 yrs; Charley, lab, 6 yrs and our Missie, black shepherd, 8 yrs. Many of these dogs came from rescues and it’s wonderful to see them doing so well.

Introducing Rudy & Jewels LLC

The mission of Rudy & Jewels is to help people enjoy their dogs in social settings such as happy hours and doggy birthday parties. We continue to stress self-control and manners as we teach K9 Detection Work/Find It. We currently have 24 dogs in our workshops in the Orvis store on Rt 7 in the Tysons area and also at Frolick Dogs in Alexandria. Please check our FB page for January workshops.

sadie-and-tucker-waiting-to-playSadie and Tucker are waiting patiently while watching treats being hidden in cones.   Taking turns searching is very difficult and builds self-control.    Most anything can be used as a container but do not use your food containers such as Glad Ware or Tupper Ware. It is also a good idea to play Find It outside of the kitchen or dining area.

We often use Find It as a reward for stays as well as teaching other activities.


sadie-playing-find-it Tucker is trying very hard to wait his turn. This is such a fun activity for everyone and our pups respond to us so nicely when they are having a good time.      tucker-playing-find-it

Who’s the Boss???

There are many ways to help your dog understand that the people in his home are the ones in charge. It takes very little time but consistency is the key here.

Take your dog off of “puppy welfare.” Nothing is for free and all good things come from you. This will strengthen the bond between you and your dog and help to make him more obedient. Ask your dog to work for everything he values: going outside, coming out of his crate, having a meal, perhaps riding in the car if he enjoys it, playing with a toy, getting a treat. This can be as simple as a quick sit or as difficult as an extended stay. Make it easy at first and then add more  challenges as your dog is successful.

This exercise will even help children to be the ones in charge.

  • Don’t say anything. Pick up a food bowl and drop a treat or a few pieces dogs can thinkof kibble in the bowl.
  • Hold the bowl over the dog’s head and wait for him to sit. If the dog jumps put a leash on him and stand on the leash. You may want to use a harness if the dog is very excited. Children may need some help with this until the dog understands what is expected of him. We are not giving any commands so it may take a few tries.
  • After the dog sits begin to lower the bowl about 6 to 12 inches away from the dog. When he gets up just raise the bowl. After the dog sits try to lower it again. Take baby steps and feed the dog as soon as he is calm and still for a few seconds. Try to count out loud to 3 and then feed him.
  • The goal is to have the dog remain in a sit while the bowl is placed on the floor. Then you can work on stays. Just don’t go to quickly.

Whenever you work with your dog try to be calm and have patience. This is the time to wear your preschool hat and treat your pup as a toddler.

Angie’s List 2015 Service Award

                             Rudy’s Friends Dog Training, Inc. Earns                                Esteemed 2015 Angie’s List Super Service Award
Award reflects company’s consistently high level of customer service

 Rudy’s Friends  has earned the service industry’s coveted Angie’s List Super Service Award, reflecting an exemplary year of service provided to members of the local services marketplace and consumer review site in 2015.

We are very honored to once again received this award from Angie’s List!

“Only about 5 percent of the Pet Category companies in the Northern Virginia area have performed so consistently well enough to earn our Super Service Award,” said Angie’s List Founder Angie Hicks. “It’s a really high standard.”

Angie’s List Super Service Award 2015 winners have met strict eligibility requirements, which include an “A” rating in overall grade, recent grade, and review period grade; the company must be in good standing with Angie’s List, pass a background check and abide by Angie’s List operational guidelines.

Service company ratings are updated daily on Angie’s List. Companies are graded on an A through F scale in areas ranging from price to professionalism to punctuality.


 Angie’s List helps facilitate happy transactions between more than three million consumers nationwide and its collection of highly rated service providers in more than 720 categories of service, ranging from home improvement to health care. Built on a foundation of more than 10 million verified reviews of local service, Angie’s List connects consumers directly to its online marketplace of services from member-reviewed providers, and offers unique tools and support designed to improve the local service experience for both consumers and service professionals.

CCI DogFest Walk and Roll

Our trainers enjoy volunteering their time to work with Canine Companions for Independence especially since these servicearkin helping dogs are give to people with disabilities free of charge. We hold training classes for the puppy raisers who are also volunteers as they work with these young dogs for about 18 months. Then the dogs go to NY for more advanced training where they are paired up with their new handler.

Rudy’s Friends is once again sponsoring a team for the CCI walk on 9/12. Rudy will be in our hearts this year as we help to raise money for this very dedicated service dog group. It is estimated that it takes about $45,000 to $50,000 to raise and train just one dog. We are very pleased that the money the Capital Area raised last year allowed a veteran to have a free service dog. He will be speaking at the fund raiser in September.

Here’s the link to join Rudy’s team for the CCI DogFest:

Please join us in supporting this wonderful service dog organization and have fun with your dog at this great event. Contributions are always appreciated even if you can’t be there. Feel free to forward this to your friends.

DogFest ad

Why Teach the “Settle” Command?

My first response to this question is why not teach it! The settle command is one of the most useful tools for changing a behavior. It simply means go to a place and relax. Keep in mind that dogs often have difficulty doing two things at the same time so you are giving them another option. It’s nice to use a pad or bed which is easier to move around your home instead of a crate.

Our Rudy, an English lab, was a very reactive dog. He would bark at almost anything outside of the window. I would let him bark once or twice because that was his job and then I’d ask him to go to his bed. The bed was on the other side of the room from the window which worked well. He would go lie down, have a treat and relax. Of course it’s not quite this easy in the beginning and has to be trained.

This is an excellent skill to teach all ages. Little Shea is learning to stay on her bedShea with the dishwasher in the kitchen instead of climbing in the dishwasher. It’s great for counter surfers, those dogs who have learned to take things off of tables and counters. It’s always easier to prevent a behavior than to have to deal with it later. Our kitchens are dangerous places so wouldn’t it be nice to have your dog on a pad near you but not under your feet while you are busy preparing a meal?

Does your dog bother you while you are eating? Teach him to stay in his bed.

Does your dog jump on the furniture? Place his bed next to your chair and reward him for staying in it.


Cory and Lola

Does your dog charge the front door when the bell rings? The doorbell is an environmental cue and can be associated with a behavior similar to a verbal command or hand signal. These dogs are learning to relax on the step in the foyer when they hear the doorbell.

Do you have dogs who fight or perhaps one who chases a small child? Interrupt those behaviors with the bed command.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a visitor in your home and your dog would lie calmly in his bed next to your chair while you have a conversation?

Lost Dog Cafe lunch

In nice weather you may enjoy eating at a fast food outdoor restaurant. Take your dog and a towel to use as his place and teach him to be calm around strangers.

We teach the settle command during the first session of our training classes. Otherwise it would be very difficult for owners to get their dog’s attention.

Your imagination is the limit when it comes to the very many uses for this training technique. We love it!

Wild Dog Becomes A Teacher

We lost our Rudy on 3/20/15 at the age of 14 years 7 months. I wanted to share his story with an article that I wrote in 2010 for NOVA Dog magazine.

As a dog trainer, Rudy was one of my very most challenging clients. I met this beautiful yellow lab when he was only 3 months old and he’s quite a success story. Rudy’s first family was very nice but they had an extremely busy household which left little time for dog training. They found Rudy to be a difficult pup and we all know that young dogs can try our patience at times.

Rudy was on his way to the animal shelter when my husband, Gene, and I had therudy and his favorite toy opportunity to adopt him. Poor Rudy was one year old and had absolutely no house manners. We brought him home and he tore dollies off of the tables and knocked over lamps as he leaped over the furniture. He was a true “Marley” dog! All Gene could say was “Are you sure you want this dog!”  I fell in love with him when he was a cute little puppy so of course he was in our home to stay. There was also a bit of pride because after all, I was a dog trainer.

On the 2nd day of having Rudy in the family he laid me out in the back yard. I picked up a ball and he charged me from behind. Before I could do anything I was flat on my back with what was certainly to be a dislocated knee. Fortunately for me and also for Rudy, it was just badly bruised. Once again Gene asks “Are you sure you want this dog?”

He was so wild that we could barely get close to him. Rudy was not aggressive but just so uncontrollably excited to have any attention. I worked with my training mentor, Nick Kutsukos, and finally after close to a year Gene stopped asking me his almost daily question. Yes, I did want this dog and I had faith that he would eventually be our wonderful companion.

In an effort to help with Rudy’s socialization, many dogs were invited to our home to play. During that time I took a ton of pictures so Rudy and I decided to write a children’s book and we called it “Rudy’s Friends. The story shows Rudy playing with a great variety of dogs and talks about how wonderful it is to have friends who are different. Rudy didn’t care about the size, shape or color of his buddies. He just appreciated their friendship.

This little book was the inspiration for the name of my training company, Rudy’s Dogs and Kids 2Friends Dog Training, Inc. With Rudy’s guidance I also wrote “Be Safe With Rudy And His Friends” which teaches children the rules so they can have fun with dogs. Now Rudy enjoys going to schools and scout groups as we help children to understand the appropriate ways to handle various dog situations. After all, they have feelings too and yes, now Gene and I both love this dog!

Our boy will be sadly missed but we know he’s having fun now playing with Cooper, his brother, and his dear friends: Barkley, a labradoodle, Dingo, an aussie, and Buddy & Nellie, his favorite cockers.