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How To Train A Dog

how-to-train-a-dogHow to Train A Dog in 3 Phases

You can train your food motivated dog in 3 different phases. It’s consistency and repetition that will get your dog trained.

Baiting Phase

Take advantage of the food motivated dog by using food or dog treats to get the dog into the position you are training. This is called baiting and you do this while giving a voice command. There is no better way to add a positive motivation then using the dog’s natural drive for food. Now with this said, a dog with a weak food drive would not benefit as well with this method. With all food baiting you keep the food treat in the palm of your hand with your fingers closed over the treat. You hold your fingers up against the dog’s nose “Baiting” the dog by the movement of your hand. If you want your dog to sit, you raise the hand with the bait over the dog’s head while commanding “SIT”. The dog will go into a sitting position and once the dog is in the sitting position you open your hand allowing the dog to take the treat. You should give lots of praise at the same time.

Food Reward Phase

This is similar to baiting except you withhold the food reward while giving the command and then deliver it to the dog when the dog is in position. In this phase the food is not used to get the dog into position, it’s used to reward for the dog getting into the position. This should be repeated for weeks using short under 10 minute dog training sessions.

Correction & Praise Phase

This phase eliminates the dog food and using a corrective method to get your dog into position on a single command. Each dog is different on which method you will use. When commanding Sit for example you will connect your dog to a leash and collar and pull gently on the collar in a vertical direction and command “SIT”, when the dog gets into the sitting position from you pulling up on the leash you praise your dog. Why is this phase necessary? If you skip this phase you get a dog that only responds to food or treats or only will sit when he/she feels like it. Each dog is different so their are different types of collars to get your dog into position without using too much effort.

In the end there are some rules to dog training that you should not forget.

Consistency: Make sure you are being consistent in the way you are training.

Don’t Give Up: If your dog is having trouble getting what you are teaching, don’t give up on him. You may have to go back a step to a previous phase.

Have Fun: If you are getting to the point where you are getting frustrated. Take a time out for you and then try again later. You want to stay upbeat and have fun with it.
Do you have a question for Ray?  Click on the Contact Ray link below to email Ray a question. Ray is always willing to communicate and answer dog questions.
razork9-dogContact Ray

(248) 977-8968

How To Potty Train A Dog


to download a printable version of this Potty Training Method.

The most important rules when potty training a  puppy is being consistent, using supervision, using confinement and using a drop zone.

Dogs are creatures of habit and will conform to any schedule as long as you are consistent.

100% supervision of your puppy is necessary to witness the behavior your puppy will display when it has to eliminate.

Using confinement in a location where the puppy won’t eliminate is a must when you are unable to have 100% supervision of your puppy.  The crate is the best tool to accomplish this as puppies generally won’t eliminate where they sleep. When your puppy is not confined, you should have 100% eyes on your puppy.

Have a designated location in the yard called the “Drop Zone”, which is approximately 6 feet by 6 feet square, clearly marked for your puppy by flags or decorative fencing.

Start your potty training routine with your puppy by confining your puppy in a kennel or crate when not supervised. This means anytime you are unable to have 100% eyes on your puppy. The crate should be just large enough for the puppy to stand up and turn around and should be located in an area that has easy access to the door you are going to use to go out for potty breaks. Using the same door to go outside every time is a must.

Let your puppy out of the kennel in the morning upon waking up and say “Do you want to go outside?” On a leash take your puppy to the door leading outside and pause again and say “Do you want to go outside?” Use the same door every time. (With young young puppies you will have to carry them to the drop zone as they will sometimes pee instantly after letting them out of their crate)

Have a command for instructing your puppy when it is time to eliminate such as “Do your business”, “Do your duty”, “Take a Break”, etc. (note: the command you choose means for your dog to eliminate in both potty functions- there is no need for two separate commands). Use the same command every time.

Once outside, quickly take your puppy over to the “Drop Zone” and command “Do Your Business” or “Take a break”. When your puppy does either of the bodily functions that you are waiting for, then praise your puppy with “ Good Boy” or “Good Girl” and reward with a small dog treat. Wait for your puppy to do its second function and also repeat “Do Your Business” or “Take a break” then reward with a food treat.

Your puppy soon learns that it is more beneficial to eliminate in the “Drop Zone” and get a food reward than in any other part of the yard and get nothing for it.

Only after your puppy fully eliminates then does he or she get any play sessions, walk around the block, etc. If for some reason your puppy does not eliminate when taken to the “Drop Zone”, then your puppy should be returned to its crate in the house and confined. Within 10-15 minutes you should repeat the above steps beginning with “Do You Want To Go Outside?”

Take the puppy to the “Drop Zone” once every 20-30 minutes if possible. Get your puppy used to going only outside so it becomes foreign to go potty inside.

If you actually witness your puppy eliminate in the house say “No! Outside and Do Your Business” as you quickly take your puppy to the door and then to the Drop Zone. Once outside, turn the situation into a positive and command “Do Your Business” in a nice tone and reward your puppy with a food treat in the “Drop Zone” if your puppy eliminates. REMEMBER! If your puppy makes a mistake and eliminates in the house, ITS YOUR FAULT! Your puppy was simply in the wrong place (in the house) at the right time (Had to GO).

If you DID NOT SEE your puppy have the accident in person DO NOT DISCIPLINE!!!!! It only will confuse and make your puppy afraid of you.

At the drop zone, pay attention to your puppy on how he/she acts just prior to eliminating. Some puppies sniff the ground and do a little circle, while others move back and forth quickly before eliminating. If you see this inside the house, you know your puppy has to go outside.

Make sure you are consistent with the feeding times too. Don’t leave food down all the time.  Have definite feeding  periods with a time limit. If your puppy does not eat after 15 mins. take up the food and offer again during the next feeding time. You can also feed the puppy in the crate. This helps if a puppy is distracted while eating or if you have other dogs in the home. If you don’t know when the food and water is being consumed by your puppy, how do you expect to know when your puppy is going to eliminate?

Most puppies will eliminate 10 to 15 minutes after eating or drinking.

How long does this take?  It’s different with every puppy.  Some catch on very quickly while others take a few months.

You will know when your puppy is potty trained when your puppy consistently gives you a signal to go outside to eliminate.  The most common signal is looking at you then walking to the door you have been using to go out to the drop zone.  Your puppy will look back at you to see if you are paying attention.

Do you have a question for Ray?  Click on the Contact Ray link below to email Ray a question. Ray is always willing to communicate and answer dog questions.

to download a printable version of this Potty Training Method.

razork9-dogContact Ray

(248) 977-8968

Razor K-9 Dog Leashes



The Razor K-9 Dog Leashes are special high quality hand-crafted dog leashes and they are made with BioThane® Coated Webbing which is used in numerous global markets where durability is essential. Some of these markets include; Canine, Equine, Military and Safety. They are low maintenance and the preferred option for professional dog trainers and handlers. Razor K-9’s uses only high quality made in the USA BioThane®. Each leash is machine sewn and double cap riveted for added strength.

Here are some of the comments I have received from customers and clients:

“It feels like leather but much smoother and more comfortable”

“We got the blue one and it is as good as it looks”

“The best Leash”

“It’s exactly as advertised”

“I was pleasantly surprised by the quality”

“The colors are so bright and they clean up easily with soap and water”


If you are interested you can use this link to purchase from Razor K-9’s website:

Do you have a question for Ray?  Click on the Contact Ray link below to email Ray a question. Ray is always willing to communicate and answer dog questions.

razork9-dogContact Ray

(248) 977-8968

German Shepherd Dog


The German Shepherd Dog is hailed as the world’s leading police, guard and military dog.  It is consistently one of the United States most popular breeds. The German Shepherd Dog is also a loving family companion, herder and show competitor. The breed is approachable, direct and fearless, with a strong, muscular body. The German Shepherd Dog is known to be Confident, Courageous and Smart. The German Shepherd Dog originated in 1899 at Karlsruhe, Germany. Derived from the old breeds of herding and farm dogs, the first German Shepherd Dog exhibited in America was in 1907. The fame associated with Rin-Tin-Tin and Strongheart, two members of the breed whose movies played on variations of the boy and his dog theme, shot the popularity of the breed sky-high.

The German Shepherd Dog was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1908. The German Shepherd Dog is Energetic and fun-loving, the breed is very fond of children once a relationship is established.

The first impression of a good German Shepherd Dog is that of a strong, agile, well muscled animal, alert and full of life. It is well balanced, with harmonious development of the forequarter and hindquarter. The dog is longer than tall, deep-bodied, and presents an outline of smooth curves rather than angles. It looks substantial and not spindly, giving the impression, both at rest and in motion, of muscular fitness and nimbleness without any look of clumsiness or soft living. The ideal dog is stamped with a look of quality and nobility – difficult to define, but unmistakable when present. Secondary sex characteristics are strongly marked, and every animal gives a definite impression of masculinity or femininity, according to its sex.

The head is noble, cleanly chiseled, strong without coarseness, but above all not fine, and in proportion to the body. The head of the male is distinctly masculine, and that of the bitch distinctly feminine. The expression keen, intelligent and composed. Eyes of medium size, almond shaped, set a little obliquely and not protruding. The color is as dark as possible. Ears are moderately pointed, in proportion to the skull, open toward the front, and carried erect when at attention, the ideal carriage being one in which the center lines of the ears, viewed from the front, are parallel to each other and perpendicular to the ground.

The neck is strong and muscular, clean-cut and relatively long, proportionate in size to the head and without loose folds of skin. When the dog is at attention or excited, the head is raised and the neck carried high; otherwise typical carriage of the head is forward rather than up and but little higher than the top of the shoulders, particularly in motion. Topline- The withers are higher than and sloping into the level back. The back is straight, very strongly developed without sag or roach, and relatively short. The whole structure of the body gives an impression of depth and solidity without bulkiness.

The shoulder blades are long and obliquely angled, laid on flat and not placed forward. The upper arm joins the shoulder blade at about a right angle. Both the upper arm and the shoulder blade are well muscled. The forelegs, viewed from all sides, are straight and the bone oval rather than round.

The ideal dog has a double coat of medium length. The outer coat should be as dense as possible, hair straight, harsh and lying close to the body. A slightly wavy outer coat, often of wiry texture, is permissible. The head, including the inner ear and foreface, and the legs and paws are covered with short hair, and the neck with longer and thicker hair. The rear of the forelegs and hind legs has somewhat longer hair extending to the pastern and hock, respectively.

The whole assembly of the thigh, viewed from the side, is broad, with both upper and lower thigh well muscled, forming as nearly as possible a right angle. The upper thigh bone parallels the shoulder blade while the lower thigh bone parallels the upper arm. The metatarsus (the unit between the hock joint and the foot) is short, strong and tightly articulated.

Do you have a question for Ray?  Click on the Contact Ray link below to email Ray a question. Ray is always willing to communicate and answer dog questions.

razork9-dogContact Ray

(248) 977-8968

AKC Community Canine®


To earn an AKC Community Canine award or title, you must have already obtained a Canine Good Citizen® award or title.

Here are the AKC Community Canine® test items.

1. Dog stands, sits or lies down and waits under control while the owner:

  • sits at the registration table and fills out paperwork, or,
  • if the test is done in the community, dog waits while the owner sits and has a snack or visits with
    another person (e.g., at a park)

2. Walks on a loose leash in a natural situation (not in a ring)–does not pull.

  • left turn
  • right turn
  • stop
  • fast and slow pace

3. Walks on loose leash through a crowd

  • at a show or in class, this item is tested in a real crowd, not in a ring
  • in the community, dog walks on sidewalk, through a crowd at a community fair, park, on a trail, through a busy hallway, etc.

4. Dog walks past distraction dogs present; does not pull.
This item may be tested along with #3 if there are dogs in the crowd, etc.

  • at a show or class, dog walks by dogs waiting in the crowd–dogs 2 ft. apart
  • in the community, dog walks by other dogs on a trail, sidewalk, in a hallway, etc.

5. Sit–stay in small group (3 other people with dogs).
Owners and dogs are in an informal circle/square while owners have a conversation.
Dogs are all on the owner’s left side, on leash; 3 ft. apart. (At least 30 seconds)

6. Dog allows person who is carrying something (backpack, computer bag, etc.) to approach and pet it.
“May I pet your dog?” (Item is placed on floor/ground before the person pets the dog)

7. “Leave it.” Dog walks by food and follows owner instructions, “Leave it.”
This can be food placed by the evaluator on the floor or ground in a food dish with a wire cover as in Rally.

8. Down or sit stay–distance (owner’s choice).
Dog is on 20–ft line, owner walks away with back to dog, picks up an item (e.g., backpack, training bag, clipboard, folder etc.) placed on the floor/chair/ground by the evaluator and returns to the dog.

9. Recall with distractions present (coming when called). Handler goes out 20–ft. (off center) and calls dog.
Dog is on the 20–ft. line from #8 above.

10. Dog will sit or stand stay (owner’s choice) while owner enters/exits a doorway or narrow passageway. Owner calls dog through door when ready.

Owner may also choose to 1) send the dog through first and have the dog wait for the owner, or 2) the owner may choose to have the dog go through the doorway at the owner’s side. Whichever method is used, the dog must not pull the owner and must be under good control. Think of the handler having the leash in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other.

Doorway or gate can be real or simulated with ring gates, two chairs, or a natural passageway (e.g., entrance to trail) in the community.

Training the Toys

Training the Toys can be challenging as they tend to be temperamental.  It’s important to recognize potential problems early and go to work on correcting them.  Lots of positive reinforcement helps build them up emotionally.  Get them out as soon as they are inoculated and have them meet lots of people and other dogs.  They are capable of being just as obedient as the larger breeds.

S.T.A.R. Puppy®


The American Kennel Club (AKC) S.T.A.R. Puppy® Puppy Training Program is a great way to get your puppy started in training.

20 STEPS To Success: The AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy Test

S ocialization
T raining
A ctivity
R esponsibility


1. Maintains puppy’s health (vaccines, exams, appears healthy)
2. Owner receives Responsible Dog Owner’s Pledge
3. Owner describes adequate daily play and exercise plan
4. Owner and puppy attend at least 6 classes by an AKC Approved CGC Evaluator
5. Owner brings bags to classes for cleaning up after puppy
6. Owner has obtained some form of ID for puppy-collar tag, etc.


7. Free of aggression toward people during at least 6 weeks of class
8. Free of aggression toward other puppies in class
9. Tolerates collar or body harness of owner’s choice
10. Owner can hug or hold puppy (depending on size)
11. Puppy allows owner to take away a treat or toy


12. Allows (in any position) petting by a person other than the owner
13. Grooming-Allows owner handling and brief exam (ears, feet)
14. Walks on a Leash-Follows owner on lead in a straight line (15 steps)
15. Walks by other people-Walks on leash past other people 5-ft away
16. Sits on command-Owner may use a food lure
17. Down on command-Owner may use a food lure
18. Comes to owner from 5-ft when name is called
19. Reaction to Distractions-distractions are presented 15-ft away
20. Stay on leash with another person (owner walks 10 steps and returns)

Classic Kong

Do you use a Kong?  They are a fun toy but for the higher driven dogs, throwing them is not such a good idea.  They bounce wild and I have heard of many dogs blowing ACL’s from trying to keep up with the unpredictable bounce.  A great toy to keep the puppies busy if you put a treat inside.


Do you have a question for Ray?  Click on the Contact Ray link below to email Ray a question.  Ray is always willing to communicate and answer dog questions.



razork9-dogContact Ray

(248) 977-8968

Trainer Credentials

Always check the trainer’s credentials………

Ray Kerimian, Professional Dog Trainer, pictured in a news article with trophies won at a National Police Dog Competition & Certification.

Other Notable Credentials Include;

  • Trained and certified as a Canine (K-9) Handler by the Detroit Police Department’s nationally renowned K-9 Trainer John Skalski in 1994
  • Completed special K-9 training and earned a Dog Trainers certificate from the Oakland Police Academy 2001
  • K-9 Handler of both Narcotics / Explosives Detection Dogs with the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department (WCSD) for 15 years
  • Department K-9 Trainer for the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department (WCSD) 2001- 2010
  • Trained the first Explosives Detection Dogs for the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department
  • Certified Police Dog Trainer with the United States Police Canine Association (USPCA)
  • Trained in K-9 First Aid
  • K-9 Instructor with the Michigan Municipal Risk Management Authority (MMRMA)
  • Personally developed the “First of its kind” K-9 Program for the El Paso Intelligence Center (EPIC) Instructing Agents / Officers the Proper use of the K-9 in Interdiction Cases
  • Previously Instructed for the El Paso Intelligence Center (EPIC) Interdiction Jetway Program and lectured throughout the United States
  • Executive Board Member with the United States Police Canine Association (USPCA) Region 19 Inc.
  • Member of the North American Police Work Dog Association (NAPWDA)
  • Continues to attend and participate in numerous K-9 Training Seminars throughout the United States and Canada
  • Contracted instructor for the Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Administration, (DEA)
  • American Kennel Club, (AKC) Evaluator for the Canine Good Citizen® and S.T.A.R. Puppy® programs


[box type=”warning”] FYI: In Michigan anyone can claim to be a dog trainer or animal behaviorist since there is no licensing requirement or state regulatory standard. Please be aware for the health and safety of you and your pet it is always prudent to research and verify the credentials of the dog trainer you are considering.[/box]

Find a good trainer

Where do you find a good dog trainer?  Your best bet is referrals from friends, neighbors, relatives and maybe your vet or pet store.  Make sure they fit into what your are comfortable with.  Check the trainers credentials and their training philosophy too.  It’s a good feeling when you end up with the right trainer for your dog.