Double Trouble

Training more than one dog at a time is lot easier said than done. Most times it can look like a chaotic three ring circus. I was trying to work with my new puppy, Sally, when my older dog, Ubu, kept nosing his way in on the training session. Ubu was always in on the fun if there were treats involved. It was like he was saying “move over, newbie, let me show you how to do it.” My poor Sally walked away in disgust. So much for that training session. What was I thinking? Face it, dogs can feel jealousy. Whatever Sally was getting, so was Ubu. It was time for me to take a step back and figure out how I could properly manage this eager beaver.

One of the easiest solutions in training two dogs at the same time is to work in a room with a closed door between the two dogs. Rotating the dogs every few minutes help over-anxious dogs wait their turn to train. To help mitigate the problem you can place a food puzzle, yummy chewy or a food stuffed rubber toy.

If a dog has been trained to enjoy his crate that dog can be crated when not training you can send one dog into his crate while you work with the other dog, and then switch dogs. Give the dog in the crate a stuffed food toy, or drop treats into the crate periodically as you train the other dog. No forcing the dog into the crate; he should be able to enter willingly.

You can separate the non-training dogs on the other side of a baby gate or an x-pen. If you have multiple dogs, it may be easier for you to work on the inside of the x-pen while the non-training dogs are on the outside. Remember to share a couple of treats for the non-training dogs.

This exercise requires huge impulse control plus plenty of training sessions beforehand. Call out one dog at a time by his name, while the other dog remains in a down stay position on a mat. The best way to train multiple dogs is first train them separately, then train them as a group. When training as a group just insert “all dogs" instead of individual names, then your cue. Training should always be fun. If you feel overwhelmed, please call a professional.

Submitted by Marion C. O’Neil CPDT-KA, CTDI owner and trainer of Molasses Creek Dog Training, LLC Quakertown


Train Your Dog to Take Treats Gently

By Marion C'Neil CPDT-KA, CTDI

Dogs who are highly treat-motivated can be very difficult to reward without losing a finger. Large dogs and puppies often don’t know their own strength. That’s why it’s critical that the very first thing any dog learns is how to take a treat gently. I tell my clients that treat delivery is important. If you bend your knees, then quickly pop the treat to the lips it will keep your dog from jumping to meet your hand. Teaching “be nice” is a very important command in training. Some people also say “easy”, “gentle” or “calm”.

A hungry dog rarely has the patience for learning (just like kids) if his stomach is grumbling. So feed your dog and then wait 30 minutes before trying to work with him. Hold a treat in the palm of your hand much like you would give a treat to a horse. The goal is to be able to cut off access to the treat quickly if he tries to snap it. Close your fist around the treat and let him sniff. The goal is to let him know you have a treat without officially offering it. Say “be nice” as you do so.

If your dog is highly food-motivated, he might lick or even “mouth” your hand - if he attempts to bite or snap at you, see below. This is a no-no. Simply remove your hand until he calms down. Once he has accepted that you won’t be offering the treat, you can show it to him again.

For Highly Treat-Motivated Dogs

Occasionally, you will find that your dog does not respond to the treat in hand trick or he might be more reactive than most dogs. If this is the case, you’ll want to take a different approach.

1. Put a bit of peanut butter on a big metal spoon, and then place the treat in the peanut butter.

2. Offer the treat to your dog and say “be nice.”

3. As soon as you see your dog becoming too aggressive in taking the treat, pull the spoon away. The peanut butter acts as a stabilizer so the treat doesn’t fall off when you offer it to him.

4. Repeat this activity using the “be nice” command until he has calmed enough to take it gently.

Training a dog to take a treat gently takes practice. The goal is for your dog to realize that he will not receive a treat unless he takes it gently.


 By Marion O’Neil CPDT-KA, CTDI

When I say that it's a nightmare when your dog gets skunked, that's the stinking truth. Now, multiply that by two, two Labs, that is. It happened when I let my two dogs out for their final pee that night; I had no inkling that there was imminent danger lurking in my back yard. I have learned a lot from my mistakes, my dogs… not so much. My silly Lab Sally got skunked twice. After Shadow gave her quick “woof” to let me know that her and Sally were all done with their business is when all hell broke loose. I opened the front door, but before I could say “good girls”, Sally barreled her way through the front door, almost knocking me over in the process. As fast as lightning she bee-lined it up the stairs. “Oh no, I didn’t” ran right through my brain as I got a whiff of that stench. I’m not exactly sure why, but Shadow didn’t seemed too fazed by the stinking attack from the pretty little kitty with the white stripes. Before that night the only skunk I had ever smelled was a dead skunk. Did you know fresh skunk smells very differently than aged skunk? Fresh skunk emissions smell more on the oniony side mixed with a pungent blast of burnt plastic or rubber. The more it ages it changes to that stagnant, but familiar, smell of roadkill. The Skunk is also known as a Pole Cat or the Latin word “mephitis” which means “obnoxious vapor.” The French Canadians called them enfant du diable or “child of the devil.” The Striped Skunk belongs to the mustelid family (weasels, ferrets and otters). These waddling varmints can top out at 10 miles mph. A kit’s (baby skunk) scent glands are fully functioning one week before their eyes begin to open. A skunk is armed with two nozzle-like scent glands just under the rectum. If threatened, the skunk will drum his front feet on the ground like a two-year old having a temper tantrum. He purrs (similar to a growl) while arching his back and can shoot an accurate 12-foot sulfuric oil based stream in any direction toward his predator. If that isn’t enough to thwart off a predator, he has enough reserved ammunition for five to six more sprays. If you find your pooch has been sprayed, these things won’t help you: plain water is impotent, soap is useless on its own, mouthwash, or the biggest old wives’ tale – tomato juice. The fact is that tomato juice doesn’t work. It leaves your dog stinking, but with a beautiful pink hue. If the remaining juice is not fully rinsed off, it could attract unwanted insects. There’s also a good chance your dog could shake the juice all over the bathroom. Yikes! I’m having visions of blood-stained walls from the scene in the horror movie “Psycho.” There are a couple of commercial skunk odor removers available at most pet supply stores: Nature’s Miracle or Skunk Off. We all know that skunks are nocturnal, so in your hour of need remember most stores will be closed. The best thing to do is be prepared ahead of time. Have a plan of attack by making a skunk kit now. You might want to save this article for future reference. Always talk to your veterinarian about your dog being sprayed. Skunks are known to carry different diseases, including rabies. By far the best remedy for skunk odor was created in the 90’s by Paul Krebaum, a chemist from Illinois. 1 quart of 3% hydrogen peroxide. It must be a fresh unopened bottle. ¼ cup baking powder 1-2 teaspoon of liquid soap, preferably Dawn for its grease-cutting properties. 1 pair of latex or plastic gloves. Combine the ingredients in an open container. Warning! Do not store in a sealed bottle or container, this mixture will explode. Keep the mixture away from your dog’s face and eyes (it’s a harsh solution). If your dog has been sprayed in the face, try a tricotine liquid douche concentrate or any over the counter douche. Also the eyes can be flushed with saline solution and mineral oil applied to the eyes to avoid stinging or redness from the bath. The mineral oil can be removed afterward by flushing with saline solution. The nostrils and mouth can be wiped with a paper towel or cotton balls soaked in the saline solution. Milk is reportedly an effective way to treat the eyes and face that were affected by the spray. Pet Advisor ( offers a nine step Plan of Attack. The Plan of Attack 1. Do not wait to clean your pet. The longer the skunk spray stays on your dog or cat, the more time it has to dry and seep in further. 2. Contain the stink! If your dog is outdoors and you are able to wash him outside, keep him there. If the pet is indoors, get him into a bathroom immediately. Use a leash and do not allow him to touch any furnishings. 3. Change your clothes into something you don’t mind ruining, and get the supplies and latex gloves ready. 4. Using paper towels, try to soak up as much of the spray as possible (cloth or cotton towels may retain the smell). Wipe only the affected area so the oil does not spread. 5. Mix the solution in an open container. You didn’t forget, did you? Never use a closed container. 6. If your pet’s collar is fabric or cloth and also affected by the skunk spray, leave it on for the bath. 7. Apply the mixture directly to the area most affected while avoiding the eyes, nose and mouth. Allow it to sit for at least five minutes. If your pet has long fur and it is possible to completely remove the affected area by cutting or trimming the fur, this is another option. 8. Rinse off the solution thoroughly with warm water and wash the animal with its regular pet shampoo. Rinse and dry. 9. Pour any remaining solution down the drain. Remember, do not store any leftover solution. If more treatments are needed, mix another batch of the solution for each treatment. Back to my skunk story. My night of havoc didn't end with a simple dog bath. I finally found my scared and shaking Sally in my bedroom under my bed. #$^%@)*! Not only did I have two stinky dogs I now had a stinky house, too! These suggestions may help to remove skunk odor from your house. If you can, open up the windows and turn on the fans. You can sprinkle baking soda on carpets and allow to sit overnight before vacuuming. Using several ceramic or glass bowls, fill with cotton balls saturated with real vanilla extract, bleach, apple cider vinegar (organic is best) or fresh coffee grounds and place the bowls around the house (out of reach of pets or children) to soak up the odor. Unfortunately, the lingering scent of skunk will resurface when your dog gets wet for several months up to a year after being sprayed. Skunks live everywhere, not only in a country setting. Even people who live in town might want to look under their decks or porches with caution. Try not to give a skunk a reason to come visit your backyard, or worse, take up residency. Remember to bring in outdoor animal or cat food at night. Skunks like to eat fresh fallen fruit or vegetables. Cutting back your overgrown shrubs or stacking firewood tightly will help fend off these critters. Garbage cans should have tight fitting lids. The next time you smell that skunk perfume in the air remind yourself it’s time to make a skunk odor kit. Submitted by Marion C. O’Neil CPDT-KA owner and trainer of Molasses Creek Dog Training.



At Molasses Creek Dog Training, we teach a lot of families with children. We really like to include the children in the training process because we want them to feel like they are a very important part of the process. Training games are perfect for encouraging controlled fun between dogs and children.

Paw Note: It is very important that an adult always teach games to the dog before including the children.


  •  Hide-and-seek

This game is a blast for both the dog and the children. One child or parent distracts the dog while the child hides and calls for him. The child hiding calls “Sparky, Come!" This also reinforces the “come when called” command, plus this cue can be an important lifesaver. When the child who is hiding is found, she gives the dog lots of praise and a treat. Once the dog gets the hang of the game, the hider can make it more challenging by hiding behind a door or under a bed while another child or an adult encourages the dog to "go find Aislen!" This game provides physical exercise and mental enrichment for your dog. This is a great game for that active dog or puppy that needs to blow off some steam and needs exercise when the weather is not cooperating or you are under the weather!

Paw Note: Remember that adult (active- not playing or talking on your smart phone, PC or folding the laundry) supervision is essential during play sessions since excitement can lead to over-arousal in either the dog or the children.

  • Fetch

The age-old game of fetch never gets old for your canine friend. The dog fetches a ball, a Frisbee, or a toy, brings it back and drops the fetched toy by your feet, and waits for you to throw it again. Start by getting the dog interested and excited about the toy that is in your hand. Now throw the toy a short distance away from you. Say “go fetch” or use any other cue you like. Encourage the dog back to you in a happy, upbeat voice with inviting body language (human squatted down with arms opened as to invite). If the dog brings the toy to you, cue him with “Drop it.” If your dog needs more encouragement to bring back the toy, you can increase your odds by having an identical toy appear in your hands as he returns. Most times the dog will drop what is in his mouth because he sees the toy in your hand. If the dog has the toy in his mouth and will not release it, offer a treat really close to his nose as you say ”Drop it.” The dog usually can’t have the toy in his mouth and eat the treat at the same time. The dog will eventually drop the toy if the treat is especially good. Always praise your dog when he drops the toy. You can eliminate the treats as soon as possible because continuing the game will be the reward for returning the toy to you.

Paw Note: You always start the game, and you end the game.

Do not allow your dog to play to the point of exhaustion. Always finish the game before the dog does; try keeping the dog always wanting more. You do not want the dog to teach you how to play the game! If the dog tries to engage in a game of tug of war or refuses to give up the toy, end the game by ignoring or walking away from the dog. Never chase the dog to get the toy! Count to 10 (one good dog, two good dog, three good dog etc.) before starting again. When the dog has the game down to a science, you can incorporate cues like sit or down before throwing the toy. Now you’re turning work into fun for you and your dog.

Paw Note: Any game that puts the strength or speed of the dog against that of the child could lead to over-excitement and even a biting accident. Adult supervision and proper training are essential.


  • Stay inside hula hoop (clicker game)


This is an advanced game for the family and dog. Place a large hula hoop on the floor and give each child a clicker and some small dog treats. (If you do not have a hula hoop substitute a rope or anything that will make a circle.) The child should toss a treat into the center of the hula hoop to get started. When the dog has eaten the first treat, the child should click before he steps outside the hula hoop and toss in another treat. The goal is to click and reward as often as possible while the dog has all four paws inside the hula hoop. Once the dog has the idea that the place to be is inside the hula hoop, the child can start moving around the room slowly, still clicking and tossing treats into the hula hoop. If the dog stays in the hula hoop, the child can get creative with movements like jumping or waving hands in the air.

Paw Note: Humans need to be patient while teaching their dog any game.

Do not be too distractive too soon. The idea is to keep the dog in the hula hoop. Play this game in different rooms of the house and then eventually outside. The dog will learn to go and lie down within the hula hoop. When that happens, you can take the hula hoop into any situation where you need to establish a boundary for the dog. A hula hoop game is easier and safer than using a rope to tie up your dog! Paw Note: A family that plays together stays together!


New Classes Starting:

Focus with Distractions    12/18 Mon. 7:00 p.m.

Puppy I Manners                 12/16 Sat. 12:30 p.m.

Teenrover/Adult-Manners   12/18 Mon. 6:00 p.m.

Novice Trick Dog (NTD)             1/13 Sat. 10:00 a.m  

AKC Canine Good Citizen   1/14 Sun. 1:00 p.m.       


Check the calendar for more scheduled classes!