Posted by: Ridley K9 Academy | December 29, 2010

Dog & Puppy Training: Teaching A Reward Mark!

The Reward Mark is the first thing you should teach your dog or puppy!

Reward marks are taught using classical conditioning. A reward mark is used as positive information that tells the dog the reward is coming. You can use a clicker, whistle or your voice as a dog training reward mark. At Ridley K-9 Academy dog training we use the word “Good” . However, some people use “Yes” as their mark. It just depends on what the perticular dog likes more.

To install a RM (reward mark) just say your word (in a upbeat tone) and give the reward immediately. Do this about 100 times. Do not ask for a behavior when you’re teaching the mark. When teaching the RM you can start teaching targeting along with the reward mark.

For more informaiton regarding reward marks or dog training in Sacramento, Roseville, Granite Bay, Folsom,  El Dorado Hills, Cameron Park, Shingle Springs, Placerville, Cameno or Pollock Pines contact us  or call 530-409-1879 today!


Puppy & Dog Training – The Importance of Having Goals & Rules for your dog!

Having goals & rules set into place is a very important step in dog training. Forming goals and rules will make training your puppy or dog much easier. Having goals for your dog gives you a clear direction to train your dog.  By having a clear direction to train your dog you can set up some clear rules to be followed in order to achieve your goal.

When you have your goals and rules set into place it is going to be very important that everybody dealing with the puppy or dog is on the same page. When everybody dealing with the puppy or dog is on the same page and can implement the rules and training your dog will be able to reach your goals very fast!

The secret is to be persistent & consistent!

When coming up with your goals and rules think about what you want out of your dog. For example your goal can be, having your dog walk politely by your side. The rule can be,  you must take treats with you every time you walk your dog on leash. This way you can reward them for walking politely by your side. If you are persistent and consistent with your training your dog will be walking politely by your side in no time.

If you have any questions or are having problems implementing rules and achieving your goals please contact us to schedule an evaluation. We can create a personalized training program to help you implement your rules and training to achieve your goals!

Happy New Year!

Posted by: Ridley K9 Academy | November 29, 2010

Are You Looking For A New Dog Or Puppy?

Are You Looking For A New Dog Or Puppy?

Here are some tips to help you pick the best dog or puppy for your home.

At Ridley K-9 Academy we understand the importance of picking the correct dog or puppy to live with you in your home. When we have a litter of Ridley American Bulldogs puppies we take it upon ourselves to temperament test the puppies at 8 weeks old. This allows us to better understand and pick the puppy for each owner.

We believe you can evaluate each puppy’s genetic temperament very accurately at 8 weeks old. Of course the puppy’s environment and training can and will change the dogs behavior. However, the temperament you see at 8 weeks old is going to be the same at 2 years old when the dog is fully matured.  No mater how good or bad the environment has been.

A temperament evaluation can also help you when choosing a mature dog. You do have to take into account the dogs past environment. When giving a grown dog a temperament evaluation there are things you cannot account for. However, you will be able to read the dogs emotion behind the behavior. This will help you determine what each dog’s temperament truly is.

 Below you will find temperament evaluation test for puppies and grown dogs. All tests should be given in a brand new environment and given by a stranger (you).

Puppy Temperament Evaluation:

  • Social Attraction: Degree of social attraction shows confidence or dependence the puppy is.
  • Following: Degree of following attraction shows how attracted and dependent the puppy is. Not following indicates independence.
  •  Restraint: Degree of dominant or submissive tendency. Shows how the puppy accepts stress when socially and or physically dominated.
  • Social Dominance: Degree of acceptance / forgiveness after being dominated. Shows how socially dominant the pup is. Shows if the pup is pushy for affection.
  • Elevation Dominance: Degree of acceptance, shows how dominate the pup is while in position of no control.
  • Retrieving: Degree of willingness to work with a human. Shows how much the pup wants to work for you. High correlation between ability to retrieve and successful guild dogs, Obedience dogs & field trial dogs
  • Touch Sensitivity: Degree of sensitivity to touch. Shows the dogs’ natural reaction to pain. Used to show what level the handler will need to correct (discipline) the dog. And what kind of tool you will need to use.
  • Sound Sensitivity: Degree of sensitivity to sound. (Also a rudimentary test for deafness) This test shows the pups nerves and tells you how the dog will react to loud sounds.(i.e. thunder and backfires and gunshots)
  • Stability: Degree of intelligent, curiosity, response to strange object. Shows startle affect and recovery time as well as nerves.
  • Sight Sensitivity: Degree of intelligent response to strange object. Shows if the puppy can overcome and recover from the fear of the stability test through drive. (this is very important for a working dog) Shows the level of natural prey drive in puppy.

 Grown Dog Evaluation:


  • Social Attraction: Degree of social attraction. Shows how confidence or dependence the dog is.
  • Leash test (following & restraint test): Degree of acceptance, dependence or independence. Shows how attracted and dependent the dog is.
  • Sound Sensitivity: Degree of sensitivity to sound. (Also a rudimentary test for deafness) This test shows the pups nerves and tells you how the dog will react to loud sounds.(i.e. thunder and backfires and gunshots)
  • Social Dominance: Degree of acceptance / forgiveness after being after having valuable object taken away. Shows how pushy the dog is for affection.
  • Reaction to Toys: Degree of play drive. Also shows how pushy the dog is with their toy.  
  • Possession test: Degree of acceptance. Shows how bad the dog wants their toy. This test will also show if the dog has possession aggressive over valuable objects.
  • Retrieving: Degree of willingness to work with a human. Shows how much the dog wants to work for you.
  • Sight Sensitivity: Degree of intelligent response to strange object. Shows the level of natural prey and prey aggression the dog has. Can also tell you if the dog will chase cats or moving objects.
  • Food Response: Degree of food motivation. Shows how willful the dog is to work for a treat. Makes it easier to train the dog. 

You will notice how the two tests look very similar but are slightly different. If the tests are given correctly you will be able to make an educated pick that is based on the true temperament of the puppy or dog. When you know the true temperament of a puppy or dog you will know you have brought the correct dog home and into your life.

If you’re looking for a new puppy or dog and you would like professional help giving the temperament evaluation Ridley K-9 Academy is here to help. If you are a dog breeder and would like to have your litter evaluated please email or call 530-409-1879 today!

Garrett Ridley


Posted by: Ridley K9 Academy | November 23, 2010

Dog Training Tips – Training The “Off” Comand!

Dog Training Tips – Training The “Off” Command!

At Ridley K-9 Academy we let our puppies jump up on us and other people until they know the “off” command. Especially if we know the puppy needs to have their confidence and arrogance built up. We like and want our puppies to be confident and social. Jumping up shows the puppy or dog has good social attraction and is confident. When giving a temperament evaluations this is the first thing I look for. I want to see if the dog or puppy has the confidence to jump up on me. It really shows how social (outgoing) the dog or puppy in question is.  

I understand dog owners want their dogs to come up to people and say hi confidently but politely without jumping up.  Do you think your dog will stay happy and confident if you knee or correct them for giving the correct social behavior, in the dogs mind?  This is why we believe teaching the “off” command is so important.You cannot expect your friendly social dog to give a human desired behavior without training. You must train your dog to give the correct (human) behavior.

The “off” command is very easy to teach.  Here are some steps for you to follow to teach your puppy or dog to learn the “off” command.  When your dog understands the “off” command thoroughly it can be used in several s where your dog is “up” on something.  (ie. people, counters, tables and what ever they can back OFF!)

Steps to teaching the “off” command:

  1. Get a bunch of your dog or puppies favorite treats.
  2. Hold some treats up close to your chest or face in a closed fist. (Your dog or pup should jump up on you for the treat)
  3. When your dog jumps up on you keep the treat in your closed fist until your dog back off you. On their own!
  4. When your dog backs off you say “Good Off” and reward them for backing off you. 
  5. You are now shaping the off behavior. After several repetitions you will start to notice that your dog would rather stay off you and sit in front of you so they get the treat faster. You are on the right track! Keep rewarding and shaping behavior!
  6. Now you just need to finish teaching the “off” command, by waiting until your dog sits in front of you  every time before you say “Good Off” and reward.
  7. Now just refer back to my training phases to finish your training.

Here is a short video to help you with the steps to teaching the “off” command. In the video you will see our 9 week old Ridley American Bulldog puppy Tank learning the “off” command for the first time. Tank is a perfect example of a puppy I want to build confidence in. He is a little more shy and I want him to know he can be social and confident enough to jump up on anybody and say hi. Building confidence and teaching at the same time.

If you are having problems with training the “Off” command I would be happy to help. To schedule an evaluation or a training session to teach the “off” command please contact me at or call 530-409-1879 today!

Happy holidays & happy training!

Garrett Ridley

Posted by: Ridley K9 Academy | November 16, 2010

Dog Training – Fixing Obedience Training Problems

 Dog Training – Fixing obedience dog training problems

Dog obedience can be frustrating when your dog is not listening to your command at home or in public. When I ask people, “What do you want out of dog training?” About 90% say they just want their dog just to listen to them.  As a dog trainer, I totally understand what they mean.  At one time that was all I wanted too.  However, that was easier said then done.

If you are trying to fix your dogs’ obedience problem it’s easiest if you know what phase of training your dog is in .  “What Phase” you ask? At Ridley K-9 Academy we rely on the 4 phases of dog training to help us train a dog from beginning to end. 

By knowing what phase your dog you will know exactly how far you will need to go back into your training. You may just need to back up one phase and finish it. However, starting from scratch may be the best alternative.  When in doubt start over from scratch.

4 Dog Training Phases:

  1. Learning Phase – Teaching your dog to respond to positively conditioned and associated behaviors and cue’s on command. You will be using classical and operant conditioning during the learning phase. Dogs learn incredibly fast when they are rewarded when they give the correct behavior on their own. If something works for a dog they will keep repeating it. If it doesnt they will not keep repeating it. By being proactive during the learning phase you are making it easier for them to learn your way is the best way. It also eliminates confusion and the need to correct.
  2. Correction Phase –The correction phase helps your dog to understand there are real consequences for disobedience (willful act to not listen to a learned command). During the correction phase you are also using operant conditioning to teach the dog to listen and be disciplined and committed to your cue (command).  When your dog gives an undesired behavior it must be followed with an unpleasant outcome. When starting the correction phase it must be done without distractions present.
  3. Distraction Phase – Also known as the proofing phase of dog training. Now that you have gone through the correction phase your dog should be listening to your command without distractions. It is because your dog is now disciplined you can start expecting them to be paying attention to you much more. It is best to start off easy with light distractions in a controlled environment. When your dog can handle that, increase the amount and intensity of the distractions. When they can handle that it is time to move out into the real world.If you have problems when in the real world you must do more training with distractions. You must know what most distracts your dog and Work up to that.
  4. Maintenance Phase – Only after you have taken your dog through the previous phases can you start to maintain your dogs trained behaviors. Keeping your dogs behavior maintained is a lifetime commitment. We like to maintain our dogs training every day by using life rewards. This way I can see what I need to work on. This way I can go back to the distraction phase and deal with the problem right away.

Now you will know what to dog if you ever find yourself having issues with your dogs obedience commands. You will know how to go back and fix the problem by using the 4 training phases. 

Visit our Training Tips Page to see a video on distractions!

If our are having problems fixing your dogs obedience training please contact me at or call me at 530-409-1879.  We offer basic through advanced obedience dog training programs. Visit

Happy Dog Training!!!

Posted by: Ridley K9 Academy | November 12, 2010

Dog Behavior Problems – Dominance or Arrogance?

Dog Behavior Problems – Dominance or Arrogance?

Over my years of dog training, I have come across quite a few dog owners who seem to get dominance and arrogance confused. Yes, the two can go hand in hand. However, true canine dominance is born and cannot be taught, while arrogance can be taught by inadvertent reinforcement and or raising a dog a certain way.

  • Dominance – High status in a social group, usually acquired as the result of aggression that involves the tendency to take priority in access to limited resources, as food, mates, or space.
  • Arrogance – Offensive display of superiority or self-importance; overbearing pride.

Yes, an arrogant dog can show dominant behaviors, and a dominant dog can show arrogance behaviors. However, if these two dogs were pushed by the same stress they would both act according to their true and natural temperament. The dominant dog does not & will not give up; it’s in their nature to use aggression to take back their social dominance. While the arrogant dog may use dominant behavior however, it’s only a show and display of superiority. The arrogance goes away and they eventually give up to dominance.

This is the reason it is so important to get an accurate temperament evaluation if you think your dog is truly dominant. I believe an arrogant dog can be changed with good obedience training as well as a good behavior modification program. But, a truly dominant dog needs very special handling, proper obedience training and constant behavior management.

If you’re having trouble determining whether or not your dog is naturally dominant or just arrogant, Ridley K-9 Academy can help. If you have any questions or comments we would love to hear from you!

Thank you for reading!

Garrett Ridley

Posted by: Ridley K9 Academy | November 4, 2010

Simple To Follow Puppy Training Rules!

Puppy Training Rules!

Building a proper puppy foundation based in positive puppy training methods is the most important training you can teach your new puppy dog. Ridley K-9 Academy believes you can start a puppy’s foundation training at 5 weeks old. Ridley K-9 Academy suggests you start foundation puppy training as soon as you bring your new puppy home.

As Professional Dog Trainers, we have a few puppy training rules we like to follow when raising & training a new puppy. 

  • Create a goal of how you want your puppy to act and behave as a grown dog.
  • Create a routine and schedule to achieve your goal then be persistent and consistent.
  • Properly socialize your new puppy with different types of people and animals. Introduce your new puppy to new & different environments & material to walk on. (Use treats to help puppies adjust to new people & environments)
  •  Be 100% Proactive with your new puppy. Control your environment and limit your puppy’s options so they are always successful.
  •  Teach Obedience & Manners by using motivational positive reinforcement methods.
  • Do not use physical punishment! Use your crate as a form of time out.

Remember your new puppy is learning every day whether or not you’re teaching them! Training A Puppy is about being 100% proactive as well as learning how to manipulate your situation and environment. By doing these things you will be able to drive your puppy into making a correct decision. Helping your new puppy think they made the correct decision all on their own. When your puppy thinks what they did was what you wanted they will remember it and repeat the behavior.

Ridley K-9 Academy dog training recommends following these rules for the first year your puppy is with you. By following these simple rules over the first year you will be able to avoid a lot of unwanted canine behavior.

For more information on Puppy Foundation Training or any other dog Training Tips visit our Dog Training Tips page.

By, Garrett Ridley of Ridley K-9 Academy

Puppy Training Rules

Posted by: Ridley K9 Academy | October 26, 2010

Dog Training Tips

New Dog Training Tips on Ridley K9 Academy Site

Here is the updated Tips page to my website.

Join Ridley K9 Academy on Facebook and ask me a quesition you would like awnsered. I will address it on Facebook and put it on the dog training tips page.

Posted by: Ridley K9 Academy | October 26, 2010

Ensure a Successful Outcome

When training your dog, make sure to ensure a successful outcome.

Shape and mold your dogs behavior! Reward your dog when they give you the correct behavior on their own. As a professional dog trainer, I feel the best way to ensure the outcome is by being 100% proactive in the way you handle your dog. Know what you want and what you are doing with your dog before you do it!

Have fun training!