Tips on good behavior from U.S. Navy Seal Jim Bruno

By / 7 years ago / Dog Behavior, News / No Comments
Tips on good behavior from U.S. Navy Seal Jim Bruno

Jim Bruno, retired US Navy Seal

I’m not one to really behave all that well but I’d probably listen to this guy.  Southern California-based retired Navy SEALs K-9 trainer and expert, Jim Bruno has served as a K-9 handler/trainer and manager of the working dog program for the U.S. Navy for more than two decades.

Jim Bruno recently retired as the kennel operations supervisor for the U.S. Navy SEALs and now offers expert advice to dog owners on, a social network where hobbyists, including animal lovers, can connect, share, and learn from one another. Bruno is an expert in animal behavior and has trained more than 200 dogs, from basic level obedience to advance level obedience and tactics.

Here are three of Mr. Bruno’s tips – listen up soldiers! 

Picking Out Your Pup

Many understand that certain dogs require more training than others, but apart from learning all you can about the breed you desire, how can you choose the right puppy? Use what I call the “bucket test.” If you want a highly trainable dog, this test helps separate the leading from the lazy.

Take a small bucket filled with a little food and attach a string. Introduce the bucket to the litter of puppies. They will all go crazy to find out what is inside. Take the bucket on a tour and see how the puppies follow the bucket around in different environments (grass, gravel, upstairs, through different rooms). Not all of the puppies will continue with this test very long. Those who do will usually be the puppies with the most drive, are easily trainable, and will most likely make the best pets.

The Domain for the Dog

Dog owners-to-be need to ensure their puppy is trained to use and enjoy its kennel. Make this a positive experience and not a source of punishment. Eventually, you want your dog to find comfort in his kennel, where he will wander in alone and want to stay. The size of the kennel is also important. It should be large enough for the dog to stand up, but don’t go overboard in size. Despite what most people think, dog kennels are the domain for the dog, and they enjoy the feeling of being contained in their own small space. This training can start immediately and continue throughout the dog’s life.

Baby Steps

The dog needs to understand the word “no” before actually understanding why he gets corrected. Therefore, it is incumbent upon the owner to reinforce desired behavior and withhold the reward when an undesired behavior is observed. This is a slow process in training and is referred to as successive approximation, or in other words, “baby steps.”

As an example, to battle the beast of chewing, remove all objects that you don’t want your dog to chew. He needs to understand that the items you give him are the only items he’s allowed to chew. This needs to start immediately, no matter the puppy’s age.

Finally, all pet owners should have patience when training their dogs. Consistency is the key to success. Choose from the many “how to train” books for your particular breed as a foundation. Have a plan and don’t give up if the dog doesn’t perform the task right away. Be positive and reinforce good behavior. Stay consistent and train, train, train; you will soon have a responsive, well-behaved tail-wagging companion for life.

Jim Bruno is passionate about helping dog owners understand the basics to improve pet behavior and improve the quality of life for both owners and their pets. He lives in San Diego with his wife, children and three furry companions: Ben, 6-year-old full-blood Basset Hound; Diesel, an 18-month-old American Bulldog and American Mastiff mix; and Boss, his 7-month-old Maine Coon cat.

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