Training Dogs And Humans For A More Enjoyable Life Together

By Susan Smith, East Valley Dog Training

Answers to questions are based on the information provided. It’s always a good idea to have your pet thoroughly examined by a veterinarian when having behavior problems. Although I can give general information and management suggestions on serious behavior problems such as aggression, issues such as these can be a very serious problem and a certified dog trainer should be consulted.

How can I keep my boy out of the kitchen? He leaves when I tell him, but is always right back. I had to kick him out about ten times in the time it took to make a smoothie.

Dogs do love their food! Probably the easiest way to keep him out is to put up some kind of barrier, such as a baby gate. Alternatively, you can crate him while you’re in the kitchen. If you are willing to put in the time, you can teach him to go to a specific place (a dog bed, throw rug, etc.) and stay there until you release him.

Teaching a dog to station (another term for that is “go to your place”) is pretty easy, but it takes commitment. Simply take him over to the location, cue him to stay, then reinforce him liberally with food for staying there.

The frequency of reinforcement will depend on the level of training he already has – if he has a stay, you’ll be able to reinforce less often than if he doesn’t. The goal is to reinforce him often enough that he won’t be tempted to move from the mat. Also, don’t toss treats to him because you don’t want him to get up if a treat goes astray – take the time to take it over to him.

As he becomes better at the stay, you can increase the time between reinforcement, but don’t create a pattern, or he’ll figure that out. Eventually, you should be able to give him one treat at the end of the session, and that’s it.

If you have questions for the trainer, please send them to:

Susan Smith, CDBC, CPDT-KA, is a dog trainer in San Tan Valley, AZ, specializing in pet dog training as well as cat and parrot training—from obedience behaviors to serious problems such as aggression. She can be contacted at:

Sue is also the owner of Raising Canine, LLC which provides professional education to animal trainers.