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The Perfect Pup

The Perfect Pup

By Devin Stagg from Pupford

Being a dog parent is tough. Between vet visits, picking the right food and treats, and of course, training a well-behaved dog, it can be OVERWHELMING! Our goal with this podcast is to give you actionable, easy-to-understand, and well-thought-out tips and advice to make your daily dog parent life easier!

We cover topics like how to keep your dogs cool, figuring out what the h*ck impulse control is (and why your dog might be lacking it) and how to prepare your dog for each season and holiday!

And all of that will hopefully help you build a better relationship with your pup!
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Separation Anxiety Overview with Amber Aquart CPDT-KA

The Perfect PupMar 09, 2021

Train the Dog in Front of You - The Missing Piece to Improved Behavior [final episode]

Train the Dog in Front of You - The Missing Piece to Improved Behavior [final episode]

This is the final Perfect Pup Episode (at least for the foreseeable future). Thank you SO much for all of your support over the years!

The world is full of conflicting information and methods for obtaining “success and happiness”.

And in terms of dog training and behavior “success”, the conflicts and arguments of how to get there will make your head spin.

The term and ideology to “train the dog in front of you” can be a grounding principle to help you make the best, most informed decisions for how to raise and train your dog!

In today’s episode, we’ll dive into what this phrase means, and how it can improve your outlook on your dog’s behavior to ultimately lead you to the strongest bond and connection with your dog as possible!

The term ‘train the dog in front of you’ can mean different things for different people (that’s kind of the point in and of itself).

In its broadest sense, this term/theory is meant to remind us as pup parents to drown out all the noise, competing opinions, and varying techniques out there and focus on what our specific dog needs at any given moment.

In other words, just because something works for one dog, doesn’t mean it will work for your dog.

Our dogs are unique individuals with varying strengths and weaknesses. Effectively raising a well-mannered pup is less about teaching specific behaviors, and more about adapting principles of learning to meet your dog’s needs.

When we learn about dog training techniques and tactics, it’s important to reframe them through the lens of what your specific dog needs at that moment in their behavioral journey!

No matter how many competing opinions or ideas you’ll hear from people, you ultimately have the make the best decision for your dog and your current situation.

As we strive to not just train, but LOVE the dog in front of us we can better meet their needs and help them live more enriched and healthy lives.

My hope is that you can focus on your dog’s individual needs on a daily basis and find training tactics, games, and methods that will help you unlock your dog’s best version!

If you haven’t already, be sure to sign up for 30 Day Perfect Pup. It’s a 100% free online course that can help you better tune into your dog’s needs, make a training plan, and help improve your pup’s behavior and manners. Sign up for free here!

What’s a unique trait or strength your dog has that you’ve incorporated into their training? Tell me in the comments!

Jun 13, 202312:04
Beyond the Clock: Vital Lessons Learned from the Slowest Dog at WKC Agility

Beyond the Clock: Vital Lessons Learned from the Slowest Dog at WKC Agility

The caliber and talent of dogs competing at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is top-notch. Most of these dogs (and their humans) practice, compete, and work for months (and indeed, years) to get to this pinnacle of dog competition. On a warm spring day in Queens, I learned firsthand just how important our relationship with our dogs can be. Especially when times get tough. Surprisingly, these lessons were taught by the “slowest” timed dog at the agility trials… And I want to share these lessons with you because we all need some reminders about what really matters with our four-legged friends. 👇 Our group of friends decided to attend the WKC Dog Show, the first dog show of any kind for our entire group. We entered with zero expectations, except that we would hopefully be able to pet some pups. As we explored the grounds at Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York City, we were in awe. From start to finish. Dogs of every size, shape, and breed trotted around the grounds, of which many breeds I’d never personally seen (besides on the internet). The dock diving was unparalleled. Happy pups leaping to their fullest ability, just to get their favorite toy. The obedience trials were jaw-dropping. Dog and handler communicating with ease to follow the exact cues and directions at each step. The breed meet and greet lived far beyond our expectations. Giving belly rubs to the biggest Great Danes & Newfoundlands we’d ever seen, then scratching the chins of the tiniest Papillons & English Toy Spaniels just a few feet away. It was a dog enthusiast’s dream come true. Read the full recap and lessons learned on the Pupford blog (will be published on 5/31): And sign up for 30 Day Perfect Pup for free here!

May 30, 202315:24
How to Clean a Puppy Without Bathing: 3 Effective Techniques

How to Clean a Puppy Without Bathing: 3 Effective Techniques

There are many instances where you need to learn how to clean a puppy without bathing!

Maybe they’re scared of water, they have a wound that can’t go underwater, or you just aren’t in a location with a good bath option.

No matter the reason, we’re going to dive into how to clean a dog without a bath. And, these tips will even help you keep your pup smelling clean between baths! These tips are for dogs of all ages.

And at the end of the article, we’ll also let you in on a little-known secret for helping your puppy enjoy grooming!

Let’s dive into it. 👇

Note: Puppies generally shouldn’t be bathed before 8 weeks old due to their inability to regulate body temperature.

When you’re in a pinch and need to clean your dog without a full bath, it can feel daunting…

Kind of like when you realize you need to leave the house but don’t have time for a shower and find yourself spraying body spray or Febreze on yourself, or maybe even rubbing your car’s air freshener on your clothes for a quick smell boost. 😜

No rubbing air fresheners on your puppy, so let’s look at some real solutions.

Generally speaking, you have a few main options for cleaning your puppy without bathing:

1- Dog wipes

2- Bucket/spray/spot cleaning with a rag

3- Dry shampoo

Trying to clean a puppy (or older dog) without bathing can feel complex at times.

Hopefully this article has helped you learn new ways to keep your puppy clean and smelling fresh, even between baths.

As a recap, here are 3 main ways to clean your puppy without bathing them:

1- Dog wipes

2- Bucket/spray/spot cleaning with a rag

3- Dry shampoo

Be sure to snag a bottle of our Dry Shampoo today. It’s made with unique ingredients formulated to remove excess oil and dirt, freshen your dog’s coat, and leave them smelling AMAZING!

Shop Dog Dry Shampoo here!

How else do you clean your dog without a bath? Tell us in the comments below.

May 16, 202307:33
How to Train a Dog Faster: 5 Daily Hacks for Quicker Learning
May 02, 202314:52
How to Clean Dog Paws: After Walks, Muddy & Before Coming Inside

How to Clean Dog Paws: After Walks, Muddy & Before Coming Inside

The most important way I’ve kept my house clean (with multiple dogs) is by cleaning my dog’s paws after each walk.

While it may sound like a lot of work, it takes just a couple of minutes and can significantly reduce the amount of dirt, germs, and bacteria that enter your home!

Plus, by handling your dog’s paws after each walk you get the chance to check for any issues like thorns, cracking, or other paw concerns.

Here’s what we will cover in this video:

-Why cleaning your dog’s paws is important

-5 ways to clean your dog’s paws

-Extra paw care ideas & tips

Here are 5 ways to clean a dog’s paws:


-A wet rag with soap

-Dog cleaning wipes

-Teaching your dog to wipe paws

-Using the bath (not a full bath)

My recommendation is to read the article, try out different methods with your dog and see what works best. Remember to raise, train, and love the individual dog in front of you. Every dog is unique!

Our dogs' paws can get seriously gross after walks, hiking, and exploring the world around them.

By washing your dog’s paws you can reduce dirt in your home, protect their paws, and have an overall happier pup (and home).

Here’s a recap of 5 ways to clean your dog’s paws:


-A wet rag with soap

-Dog cleaning wipes

-Teaching your dog to wipe paws

-Using the bath (not a full bath)

By far, the most effective way is the MudBuster. Be sure to check it out here!

And don’t forget to proactively moisturize and protect your dog’s paws with Butter Up. Shop here!

Do you clean your dog’s paws after walks? How do you do it? Tell us in the comments below.

Apr 18, 202312:35
Dog Recall Training: 7 Tips, Games & Techniques for a Strong Recall

Dog Recall Training: 7 Tips, Games & Techniques for a Strong Recall

Focusing on a dog’s recall training should be at the top of every pup parent’s to-do list!

Not only can it keep your dog safe and give you peace of mind, but it ultimately gives you and your dog greater freedom and adventure in the long run.

Whether training a puppy or an older dog, this article is going to break down everything (seriously) you need to know about recall training. And it’s not gonna be a boring “call your dog back and reward” type article, we’re gonna dive into some pro tips, necessary tools, and even fun recall games to play with your pup!

Here’s what we will cover:

-What is recall?

-Why does recall matter?

-How to teach a dog recall

-7 tips, techniques & games for teaching a strong recall

-Additional FAQs about recall training

Alright… come! Let’s dive into recall. 👇

I want to dive into 7 tips that have helped me secure a solid recall with my dogs. And of course, we will look at some things not to do!

Here are 7 tips, games, and techniques to keep in mind when teaching a dog or puppy recall:

-Use a long lead

-Start inside with no distractions

-Use varying reinforcers

-Don’t ask too much of your dog

-Every recall should be a positive experience

-Play fun recall games

-Find the right “recall word” or cue for your pup

Recall training is one of the most important behaviors you will teach your dog. If you have a puppy, I recommend devoting time to teaching recall every single day.

If you’re looking for a basic introduction to training recall, sign up for the 100% free online class 30 Day Perfect Pup! It covers behaviors like recall, stay, leash walking, and more. Sign up here!

If you're ready to take your dog’s recall to the next level, including transitioning to off-leash behavior then sign up for the Recall Mastery Course. It breaks recall training down into 11 different “levels” and even includes bonus recall games. Get access here!

What was the most effective way you found to teach your dog recall? Tell us in the comments below!

Apr 04, 202322:11
Dog Euthanasia at Home: A Complete Guide & Personal Experience

Dog Euthanasia at Home: A Complete Guide & Personal Experience

This is truly the last topic I want to write about, but I know how important it is and hopefully, it can help at least one person in this painful process. I want to provide my complete experience and answer common questions/concerns about dog euthanasia at home.

The passing of a dog is extremely painful. I’d argue it’s personally one of the most challenging experiences of my life.

In this article, I want to dive into all things in-home euthanasia because choosing this route for the passing of my dog, Buddy, was the best choice I could have made. I hope that if you’re nearing this part of your dog’s life you can find solace, comfort, and a small sense of hope by understanding what in-home euthanasia entails.

This will be a long article because there are SO many questions and concerns around this topic and I want to help you make an informed decision for your dog.

Here’s what we will cover in this article:

What is at-home euthanasia

-How do you know if it’s time to put your dog to sleep

-At-home euthanasia pros & cons (there are many)

-How does in-home euthanasia work, what is the process like

-Ways to memorialize a dog

I’ll also let you know about one of the most challenging parts of the experience that NO one told me about beforehand.

While I will only choose at-home euthanasia in the future, I want to dive into the pros and cons of in-home euthanasia for your dog.

Before we dive into each benefit or drawback, a quick overview.

Here are some pros & benefits of at-home euthanasia:

-Around your other dogs for closure

-Familiar & comfortable environment, just like someone coming over

-NOT the vet office, some dogs have real fears

-Feels more like a beautiful send-off

-You have control over the situation

And of course, here are some cons and disadvantages of at-home euthanasia:


-A lasting memory/visual reminder of where your dog passed away

-It can be painful to be in the room as it happens


Nothing will replace your dog, it’s that simple. But, there are some creative ways you can choose to memorialize your four-legged friend.

Here are some dog memorial ideas:

-Keeping ashes to spread at favorite places and keep in a decorative urn

-Shadow box with a paw print, fur clipping, picture, etc.

-Artwork, mugs, clothes, etc.


-Photo album

-Necklace or other jewelry

The passing of a dog is a terribly challenging and painful experience. I hope that this article gave you some insight as to why choosing in-home euthanasia can be a great option for your dog’s end-of-life care.

While the cost can be higher than euthanasia at a vet’s office, the peace of having your pup’s final moments take place in the comfort of your home is priceless.

Whatever decision you make, do your best to build a support system around you during a challenging time like this. Losing a pet is a dark time and having friends and family (and mental health professionals) in your corner can give you light and hope on the dimmest days.

Time makes the pain more manageable, but our dogs stay forever in our hearts.

Have questions about dog euthanasia at home? Please leave a comment (on the blog) and I’ll do my best to help!

Mar 21, 202325:28
Should You Let Your Dog Sleep in Your Bed? 3 Pros & Cons of Co-Sleeping With a Dog

Should You Let Your Dog Sleep in Your Bed? 3 Pros & Cons of Co-Sleeping With a Dog

Stumble into any community or group of pup parents (online or in person) and you’ll likely hear the debate about whether you should let your dog sleep in your bed!

Some of us LOVE having our dogs sleep in the bed.

Some of us HATE the idea of our pup potentially disturbing our sleep.

While we won’t come to a complete resolution, because it’s a personal decision, my hope in this article is to clearly explain 3 pros and cons of letting your pup sleep in your bed. After that, it’s your life (and your bed). 😀

Oh, and of course, we’ll cover what the research and data have to say about this co-sleeping dilemma!

Here’s what this article will break down:

-3 pros of letting your dog sleep in your bed

-3 cons or drawbacks of letting dogs sleep in the bed

-Tips for safe co-sleeping with your dog if you decide to do so

Before we dive into all the pros, cons, and data about having your dog sleep in your bed, let’s look at some fun survey results we got back from our Instagram!

Of course, this is self-reported and our followers on Instagram surely skew toward the ‘dog lovers’ type of pet parents.

We asked, “Do you let your dog sleep in your bed?” and got 312 votes. 

30% of people said their dogs sleep in their beds.

We also asked, “Does your dog sleep in your room?” and got 310 votes.

76% said their dogs sleep in their bedroom.

I truly found these statistics interesting, I thought more of our Instagram followers would let their dog sleep in their bed.

Beyond “I just like having my dog in my bed”, there are some strong arguments for having your pup sleep in bed with you.

Some of these arguments have data to back them up. Here are 3 main reasons you may want your dog to sleep in your bed:

-Comfort, relaxation, and strengthening your bond


-Protection and security

I personally love sleep. I recognize it as something that can play a huge role in how I feel, think, and act on a daily basis (research does as well).

The thought of “bad” sleep scares me.

Here are some of the main drawbacks of co-sleeping with your dog:

-Noise & movement can negatively impact sleep

-Disrupting intimacy

-Diseases, cleanliness and potty accidents

If you decide you want your dog to sleep in the bed with you, there are some tips to follow! These will not only help keep your dog safe but also keep you and your bed protected!

Here are 7 tips for safe co-sleeping with your dog:

-Potty & crate training first

-Wash your sheets and pillowcases frequently

-Invest in a waterproof mattress cover

-Practice proper dog hygiene

-Teach your dog boundaries, an invitation should be required

-Provide a dog bed or crate near your bed

-If you have a really small dog, consider not co-sleeping

There is no perfect answer to whether you should let your dog sleep in your bed.

Some studies show almost no change in sleep quality between co-sleeping vs not.

Other studies show an increase in night wakings when co-sleeping with a dog.

Overall, we need more data and research to understand the effects of sleeping with dogs in our beds! There is a swath of data for human co-sleeping, but not so much for dogs. 

With the large increase in the number of households with dogs, we should look to improve our understanding of the human-dog co-sleeping arrangement.

Mar 07, 202316:27
How Much Freedom Should a Puppy Have? 3 Examples to Help You Decide

How Much Freedom Should a Puppy Have? 3 Examples to Help You Decide

When wondering how much freedom a puppy should have, remember this…

The more freedom you give, the more opportunities you give a puppy to make mistakes.


That’s things that aren’t really your pup’s fault (more on that later), but things we would see as problem behaviors. Things like destructive chewing, potty accidents, biting and nipping at kids, you name it!

So to put it another way, your puppy should only have as much freedom as you’re willing to allow destruction and other problem behaviors to occur.

I’d argue that the single biggest mistake pup parents make is giving too much freedom to their puppies!

So your next question is probably when you can give your puppy freedom. At what age can you start to let your pup explore a bit more?!

The simple answer, is probably later/older than you think! Here’s why. ⏬

When you can let your puppy have more freedom is a 100% case-by-case situation. There are many factors to consider when making this decision. Here are some:

-How much trouble/problem behaviors could the specific situation allow for if I decide to give more freedom than I usually do?

-Does my dog understand proper behavior when it comes to where and when to go potty?

-Is my puppy teething? If so, this can lead to even more destruction!

-Has my dog shown, for a consistent period of time, an understanding of what items should and should not be chewed?

See how complex each answer might be… That’s why there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer for when you can give a puppy more freedom!

Some puppies catch on very quickly and can be afforded more freedoms as young as 6 months or so.

Other puppies frankly haven’t had enough training and may not be ready for a heavy helping of freedom until they’re about 18 months old.

And further, some dogs just can’t handle freedom. While that can be from a combination of a lack of training, breed tendencies, or even a history of problem behaviors, the fact remains that some dogs can’t handle freedom.

Some dogs may never be able to have the full freedom of being off-leash in a non-fenced area. And that can be okay!

What’s more important is that as pup parents we are aware of our dog’s individual strengths and weaknesses and raise them accordingly. And of course, work to provide proper training and teaching so that the “weak” behaviors can become the strong ones. 💪

As a general rule, it takes most puppies about 12-24 months of age, paired with consistent learning and training, to be ready for more freedom. But again, each dog is unique and you shouldn’t rush it!

If you’re unsure, I’d recommend finding a local dog trainer in your area who follows LIMA protocol and abides by positive reinforcement-based methods to give you specific advice.

Important note: I want to be clear, it is not okay to not train your dog and then completely limit their freedom because they haven’t been taught how to behave. We have a responsibility as pup parents to teach our dogs how we want them to behave and to do it in a humane and effective manner!

If you need extra help with training, please sign up for the 100% free class 30 Day Perfect Pup. It covers topics like leash training, recall, potty training, and even limiting your puppy’s freedom. Sign up free here:

Feb 21, 202315:23
LIMA Dog Training and The Humane Hierarchy, Explained with Examples

LIMA Dog Training and The Humane Hierarchy, Explained with Examples

There are two principles and concepts that completely changed my understanding of training and raising a well-mannered dog. LIMA dog training and The Humane Hierarchy.

The two are very interconnected and provide a framework for changing dog behavior in a thoughtful, humane, and effective manner.

While these principles stand as an ethos and methodology for professional trainers and behaviorists, familiarity with the concepts will help you, the pup parent, feel vastly more confident and comfortable training your puppy.

Plus, these principles can guide you in choosing the right trainer for your dog!