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PUPP Program: How to Operate Your New Dog

Thank you for adopting a dog and helping FOAC save lives. The PUPP program is so special to all involved. The inmates often turn their heads (so we can't see) and shed tears when the dogs are adopted. Our team dedicates endless hours to the training, care, and love for these dogs. Week after week the inmates work to set these dogs up for success. Someone put their heart and soul into your new dog. Please continue training and give your new dog ample time to adjust. Your dog has been trained using the techniques listed below. A well trained animal is like a fine tuned instrument, but you still have to learn to be a musician. Reach out for help sooner, rather than later if needed.


Remember, your dog will take time to decompress into your home. Please give the dog ample space to feel comfortable. Do not take a new dog (who is still decompressing) to a dog park or have the dog meet all of your friends and their dogs immediately. It is unfair to move too fast. The dog will need quiet time to learn where he or she fits in your pack. Give the dog time and space to feel safe and you will have a successful adoption. Put the dog in overwhelming situations right after you receive the dog and you will set the dog up for failure and teach the dog he or she cannot trust you. You may be very excited to have your new dog, but the dog was just taken away from its family, home, and security and needs time (weeks to months) to adjust to you and your new environment. Look up the 3-days, 3-weeks, 3-months rule for shelter dogs. Good luck with your new dog.



  • You get what you pet. Do not pet the behavior you don’t want to see (jumping, whining, anxiety, reactivity, possessiveness, fear). By petting, saying “it’s okay,” and coddling you are telling the dog “keep it up,” and that he is doing the right thing

  • Call the dog out of corners instead of going into the dogs’ space

  • Separate from other animals and people until decompressed

  • Absolutely NO high value items between your new dog and existing dogs (separate with a barrier or crate)

  • Do NOT allow children to climb on or pull on the dog's ears

  • Do not force affection, learn to understand dog signals (licking is often a polite way to ask for space, whites of eyes, a closed mouth, scratching, sneezing, yawning, appeasing and submissive body language) and when the dog asks for space, give space!

  • Practice patience

  • Go on relaxing walks. Do not do too much, too soon, with your dog who is getting used to a new home and family. You will set your dog up for failure. Take it slow. Slow = weeks to months, not hours to days

  • Engage your dog’s nose with smells and treats (sniffing reduces cortisol levels, reduces stress)

  • Avoid leaning over a dog

  • The dog should have rules and boundaries

  • Reward calm

  • Reward silence

  • Only pet calm behavior 

  • Do not judge the dog based upon his behavior right after entering into a new environment (your home)


The Canine Good Citizen Test. Your dog has passed this test (note, we only use a flat collar and leash, never a harness):


  1. Down Stay, we used the word “wait” and “hold”:


Video of practicing a Down-Stay with Dexter and Charlie. Please do as we do in the video. Your dog knows a down-stay:


Explanation of why the down stay is so important to continue practicing:


Down Stay, Separation Anxiety, Crate Training, and teaching a dog to self-soothe:

Do you have a routine? Does the dog follow you around while you get ready to leave? What antecedents to the crazy separation anxiety outbursts do you notice (keys, purse, brushing teeth, ect.)? How much mental stimulation and physical exercise does your dog get? How often do you practice leaving, or practice calm? Pay attention, gather data, and change up your routine. You can even hide treats around the house, and keep your dog on a leash, then release the dog as you go out the door so the dog starts to anticipate you leaving with excitement vs. dread. There are so many interventions to help a dog with separation anxiety. Practicing a down-stay is the best gift you can give your dog. 


If the dog loses his mind when you leave the dog is giving you data on where he is at. The dog needs some COPING SKILLS and to be able to self-soothe and tolerate stress. Exercise is great (and you should exercise the dog regularly); however, it is not actually addressing the problem and teaching him how to relax when he feels anxious. Imagine being afraid of public speaking at Madison Square Garden, going for a run, then not being afraid of public speaking (it doesn't work like that). The old saying “a tired dog is a good dog” is not applicable to all dogs. You may unknowingly create anxiety by constantly keeping your dog busy because the dog is not well practiced at being calm. So why the heck would he be calm when you leave? A Kong with peanut butter is great, but it is just something to keep the dog busy, and again, it's not teaching him coping skills to manage anxiety. He needs you to practice calm with him and he needs to learn to self-soothe and regulate his emotions.


Look up prolonged exposure therapy for humans. I am a therapist and a dog trainer, much of what we do to help humans can help dogs as well (though I do not anthropomorphize dogs). Look up ways to build stress tolerance and practice calm. You could start by teaching a really solid down stay, when you always come back, because it is not relaxing for a dog to be watching you constantly for you to release them from afar. The down stay is effective to teach a dog to self-soothe.  I NEVER CALL A DOG OUT OF A STAY, EVER. 


For a down stay to teach distress tolerance, you'll start by putting the dog in a down for time and square up at the dogs’ shoulder, and release him with chicken and a party, you'll start small (10 seconds), train for time, distance, and then distraction. Always come back to him (see in video), never call him out of a stay. He will go through cycles of feeling anxious for a few seconds, then soothing because he knows mom will always come back and have a party as a motivator (this will increase in duration as you go). You should eventually be able to leave the room, then out the front door and come back (baby steps). If he ever pops up before you release him just take it back a notch to the previous threshold he could handle (20 seconds back to 10 seconds). He needs to develop this skill over time. Only doing this a couple times a month is setting him up to fail. Practice a few 10-minute training sessions daily. Good luck. Give your dog a release command for everything and you'll have a dog who waits for a release command. Further, the greater the distance you are from your dog, the less likely it will be for him to pop up. See video of Charlie and Dexter. Check out the videos on superstitious behavior and practicing down time as well.


Videos to further explain how important continuing to practice a down stay is for your dog’s well-being:


Method K9:

Beckman’s Dog Training - Separation Anxiety:

Method K9 - Practicing Calm:


  1. Loose Leash Walking:

Your dog knows how to loose leash walk perfectly (even around distractions). However, you must learn how to ask your dog to loose leash walk. If you allow your dog to pull, your dog will pull. Do not allow pulling or you will create a new normal, one where your dog thinks pulling is normal. We used Beckman’s loose leash walking technique. There are several videos below. 


Loose leash walking - Beckman’s dog training. I would like you to always reward the eye-contact with five "good dogs" whilst walking backwards. I want the dog to cue into your body movements and to create a new normal, one in which having any tension on the leash is outlawed FOREVER. This technique WORKS! If you do not feel comfortable using a pop correction, whistle instead. If you have a fearful dog, you will modify this technique. Please speak with me; there is no such thing as a "one-size-fits-all” approach to dog training, ever. 

If you have a dog from the prison program, this is how we trained your dog to walk on a loose leash (unless you have been told otherwise and we used a different technique because your dog was fearful or very sensitive). Remember, do not stop to check if the dog is with you and correct at the same time, or pull the dog. Stop, keep a loose leash, and allow the dog to show you that he won't pull. The goal is to always have slack on the leash.

  1. Jumping:

I teach dogs to stop at a perimeter around me. Imagine a circle around me (the length of my arm as I bend forward). I do this by walking into the dog when it walks into me. With some dogs I can just say "stop."

Then I pay the dog with treats at that perimeter. Once the dog consistently hits that same distance (with lots of treats and without treats) I teach a hand signal for sitting quietly. My hands are together with a treat. I show the dog I have the treat and hold the treat (still with my hands together) at my chest. I call this "praying 🙏 for the dog not to jump on you.” I teach classes and this usually gets a good laugh out of people. Anyway, I simply wait the dog out. The dog will approach, hit the respectful perimeter, look at me and eventually sit. Once the dog's butt hits the ground I pay him. I reinforce this over and over. within a week you can hold your hands in a prayer without a treat and the dog will approach you politely at the perimeter and sit (instead of jumping) and within a few weeks you don't even need the hand signal.

Hope it makes sense. Works well with deaf dogs too ❤️ 🐾


Mouthy and jumping for treats:

Please, for the love of dog, quit flinging your hands, hiding treats up or behind your back, and giving space. When you do this you are luring the dog up to jump and encouraging jumping. Hands at your sides, walk into and move the dog, not your hands.


4. Recall:

You need to be more exciting than the environment. Also, pay attention to what he's telling you "mom, you'll lose me at whatever distance this is." If you're calling him from that far and know he ignores you (even some of the time), you are not only setting him up for failure, you're teaching him to ignore you (because that's what the game you're playing is). It's like you've moved onto XYZ when he has not yet mastered ABC. You can master it from a 2-foot distance first by being super exciting (slapping your knees, getting in a squat position, whistling, shaking a bag of treats, running backwards, ect.) in an area without distractions and increasing your distance as he hits 100% accuracy at each distance. Master, distance then distractions (practicing in the middle of a road helps, as there are fewer smells to distract). Also, in an emergency situation, if he ignores you, you can turn around and book it in the opposite direction. High value treats of course and saying "come" several times to keep his attention as he is learning.


5. Engage, Disengage. We used this for teaching your dog to handle any distraction. Please practice at home to continue to increase your dog’s ability to regulate his emotions around new stimulus:

Sit, wait, impulse control:



Watch video to find out the NUMBER ONE thing owner’s forget to do that causes problems with their dog. Are you guilty? You have got to pay the tax:) Actual rule: Try to forgive yourself if you mess up, you are learning an entirely new language and it will take some time for you to speak dog fluently. Be kind to yourself along the way, as this stuff requires an extensive understanding and perfect timing. It is challenging to learn to train your dog (and maintain your dog’s training). You will get there. You are doing great! YOU ARE THE SOLUTION TO YOUR NEW DOGS’ BEHAVIORAL STRUGGLES. I BELIEVE IN YOUR ABILITY TO CONNECT WITH YOUR DOG.  I AM HERE TO JOURNEY WITH YOU AS YOU GAIN CONFIDENCE AND IMPROVE YOUR SKILLS. PLEASE CALL, SOONER RATHER THAN LATER, IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS.


You are the Solution ♥


Full Document on Dog Behavior:

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