Prior to the 1980s, Karen Pryor was a marine-mammal trainer who used Skinner's operant principles to teach dolphins and develop marine-mammal shows. In 1984, she published her book, Don't Shoot the Dog: The New Art of Teaching and Training, an explanation of operant-conditioning procedures written for the general public.[23] In the book Pryor explains why punishment as a way to get people to change often fails, and describes specific positive methods for changing the behaviour of husbands, children and pets.[33] Pryor's dog training materials and seminars showed how operant procedures can be used to provide training based on positive reinforcement of good behavior.[23] Pryor and Gary Wilkes introduced clicker training to dog trainers with a series of seminars in 1992 and 1993. Wilkes used aversives as well as rewards, and the philosophical differences soon ended the partnership.[34]
The ideal time to begin toilet training a dog is when they are 3 to 4 months of age. Younger pups generally haven’t mastered bladder control before this time. Older dogs are more difficult to train but not impossible. Isolate the dog in a smaller area which could be a room, a spacious crate or placing them on a tether. The area can be enlarged as they begin to understand where they are to evacuate. Establish regular mealtimes while toilet training. Offer regular opportunities to go to the bathroom starting about fifteen minutes after the meal is eaten and then every 30 to 60 minutes throughout the day.
If you ever become frustrated with training your puppy, don’t get angry with him. Just quietly end the session and try again later in the day. Many dogs become nervous and will stop paying attention to their trainers if they are yelled at. They can become scared of training and decide that following directions is not for them. Stay calm and relaxed so that your puppy will learn in a positive environment.

Professor Donaldson is positive and encouraging, reassuring you the whole time that training may not go perfectly. Some lectures may need to be reviewed and repeated as you learn how best your dog will learn. As a bonus, she also helped create the guidebook for this course, which will give you detailed training plans for all the behaviors once you’ve gone through the course.
Professor Donaldson reveals the fascinating evolution of dogs that provides insight into why dogs do many of the things they do. This foundation gives you the background to help train, or un-train, certain actions. You'll uncover fight/flight instincts, canine social structure, courtship and reproductive behaviors, and the characteristics and styles of dog play. x

Praise the dog by telling him “good boy” every time he toilets outside. Make sure that he knows this is behavior that is pleasing. Choose a location and keep taking your dog to the same spot for toileting and be consistent with this every time in the beginning. He will quickly learn to recognize the scent and understand that this is where he takes care of business. Remain with your dog until he is done.

Discourage him from biting or nipping. Instead of scolding him, a great way to put off your mouthy canine is to pretend that you're in great pain when he's biting or nipping you. He'll be so surprised he's likely to stop immediately. If this doesn't work, try trading a chew toy for your hand or pant leg. The swap trick also works when he's into your favorite shoes. He'll prefer a toy or bone anyway. If all else fails, break up the biting behavior, and then just ignore him.
While this may seem to be an opposite of positive reinforcement, it is an important word that every dog and human needs to understand. Sometimes the answer is no, and it is for their own good. When your dog misbehaves, use the word “no.” Use a disapproving tone of voice and be quite firm so they understand that their behavior is not acceptable and that you will not tolerate it. Yes, dogs can be put in a time out, just like toddlers. In fact, they are very much like children when it comes to learning. They have a desire and need to learn and grow in their personalities and it’s up to the owner to guide them in the process.

The foundation of training should be based on positive reinforcement. Positive reinforcement is the process of giving a dog (or person!) a reward to encourage the behavior you want, like getting a pay check for going to work. The idea is not to bribe the behavior but to train it using something your dog values.  Avoid using punishment such as leash corrections or yelling. Punishment can cause a dog to become confused and unsure about what is being asked of him.  It is important to remember that we can’t expect dogs to know what they don’t know – just like you wouldn’t expect a 2-year-old child to know how to tie his shoes. Patience will go a long way in helping your new puppy learn how to behave.

Use these training tasks as you integrate the puppy into your life. For example, ask your puppy to “sit” prior to receiving her food, “sit” before you let her in or out the door, and “sit” before you pet her. These are times when your puppy wants something and is more likely to comply. In this way, you are training your dog all the time, throughout the day and also establishing predictable rules and routines for interactions and helping the dog to learn who controls the resources. Training your puppy prior to getting each requested necessity, helps to prevent problems. Having your puppy sit before getting a food or treat prevents begging, while teaching your dog to sit before opening the door can prevent jumping up or running out the door. Be creative. The time you spend training your puppy now will pay off when you have an adult dog. To have a well-trained dog, you need to be committedto reinforcing the training tasks on nearly a daily basis for the first year of your puppy's life. The more you teach and supervise your puppy, the less opportunity it will have to engage in improper behaviors. Dogs do not train themselves, when left to choose their behavior they will act like dogs.
This first step of the stay will be done without leaving the dog. The handler will tell the dog “stay,” move their hand in a quick motion in front of the dogs face, and move out in front of the dog leaving with the leg furthest from the dog. The handler should be standing directly in front of the dog with little space between them. The handler should hold the leash directly above the dog without any slack (don’t choke the dog or pull too tight), then after a count of 10, the handler should walk all the way around the dog while keeping the leash tight; stop in the heeling position. After a count of 10, call exercise finish.
Konrad Lorenz, an Austrian scientist who is regarded as developing the foundations of ethological research,[14] further popularised animal behaviorism with his books, Man Meets Dog and King Solomon's Ring.[15] Lorenz stated that there were three essential commands to teach a dog: "lie down" (stay where you are), "basket" (go over there) and "heel" (come with me).[16]
Animal behaviorists assert that using dominance to modify a behavior can suppress the behavior without addressing the underlying cause of the problem. It can exacerbate the problem and increase the dog's fear, anxiety, and aggression. Dogs that are subjected to repeated threats may react with aggression not because they are trying to be dominant, but because they feel threatened and afraid.[70]
Handler should walk off with the leg closest to the dog while clearly and loudly saying the dog’s name and “heel.” Dog should heel at side with lead in handler’s left hand, unless the dog is hard to handle. If this is the case, the handler would put the lead in the right hand and have the left hand placed on the leash a few inches away from the chain.

Here’s an easy technique to get started: hold a treat in your hand so the dog can see it. As the dog approaches you for the treat, move the treat up and over the dog’s head, so it is forced back into a sitting position as it follows the treat with its nose. As soon as the dog starts going into a sit, say “Sit!” and give it the treat within five seconds (this is the critical window for the dog making the association between sitting and getting the treat). Be sure to pet and praise the dog in a happy, excited voice. Repeat this over and over for as long as the dog stays interested. If the dog doesn’t seem interested in the treat, try a tastier one- bits of cheese or hot dog usually do the trick. Remember, the treats should be small, no bigger than your fingernail. Dogs value quantity over size, and we don’t want Fido getting too pudgy! As the training progresses, start raising your standards. Start rewarding only for brisk, neat sits. Carry some treats with you on walks or at the park and have the dog practice sitting in different environments. Soon the dog will not even need the treats for reinforcement and will gladly sit when you ask.


Classical conditioning (or Pavlovian conditioning) is a form of learning in which one stimulus, the conditioned stimulus, comes to signal the occurrence of a second stimulus, the unconditioned stimulus.[43] Classical conditioning is when a dog learns to associate things in its environment, or discovers some things just go together. A dog may become afraid of rain through an association with thunder and lightning, or it may respond to the owner putting on a particular pair of shoes by fetching its leash.[44] Classical conditioning is used in dog training to help a dog make specific associations with a particular stimulus, particularly in overcoming fear of people and situations.[45]
Say hello to Hetty! 👋 This little cutie has just started her training to become a hearing dog, and will one day transform the life of a deaf person in need. We wish Hetty the best of luck on her hearing dogs journey! 😁🐾 #hearingdogs #hearingdogsfordeafpeople #puppyofday #puppy #cute #instapuppy #instadog #dogsofig #assistancedog #puppytraining #dailybarker #puppylove #cutepuppy #labrador #labrador #labsofinstagram #labradorpuppy #chocolatelab #chocolatelabpuppy #chocolatelaboftheday #labradorable

People often say they don’t see their dog’s true personality until several weeks after adoption. Your dog may be a bit uneasy at first as he gets to know you. Be patient and understanding while also keeping to the schedule you intend to maintain for feeding, walks, etc. This schedule will show your dog what is expected of him as well as what he can expect from you.
The Monks of New Skete, who were breeders and trainers of German Shepherds in Cambridge, New York, published How to Be Your Dog's Best Friend: A Training Manual for Dog Owners in 1978 and it became an immediate best seller. Despite advocating a philosophy that "understanding is the key to communication and compassion with your dog,"[29] they endorsed confrontational punishments which were later shown to elicit dangerously aggressive responses in many dogs.[30]
HEALTHY PETS DISCLAIMER: This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your own veterinarian or doctor. Dr. Karen Becker cannot answer specific questions about your pet's medical issues or make medical recommendations for your pet without first establishing a veterinarian-client-patient relationship. Your pet's medical protocol should be given by your holistic veterinarian.
Once home, take him to his toileting area immediately and spend a good amount of time with him so he will get used to the area and relieve himself. Even if your dog does relieve himself during this time, be prepared for accidents. Coming into a new home with new people, new smells and new sounds can throw even the most housebroken dog off-track, so be ready just in case. Need more housetraining tips? Check out our Dog Housetraining section.
Puppies can begin very simple training starting as soon as they come home, usually around 8 weeks old. Always keep training sessions brief — just 5 to 10 minutes —and always end on a positive note. If your puppy is having trouble learning a new behavior, end the session by reviewing something he already knows and give him plenty of praise and a big reward for his success. If your puppy gets bored or frustrated, it will ultimately be counterproductive to learning.

In considering the natural behaviours of specific breeds of dogs, it is possible to train them to perform specialised, highly useful, tasks. For example, Labrador retrievers are the favoured breed for the detection of explosives. This is because of a combination of factors including their food drive which enables them to keep focused on a task despite noise and other distractions. Most working breeds of dogs are able to be trained to find people with their sense of smell (as opposed to their sense of sight). Cocker Spaniels are able to be trained as part of a termite detection team. Their relatively small size enables them to fit into small spaces, and their light weight allows them to walk on areas of ceiling which would be dangerous to anything heavier. In fact, although unusual, termite detection dogs are much more reliable at detecting termites than humans who rely on a basic system of tapping and listening. Because of their ability to learn signals by sight and for their energetic and athletic natures, German Shepherds are able to be trained for work alongside search and rescue teams and human apprehension teams.[79]
Laying a solid training foundation will make life with your dog easier and more fun. If you’re not sure where to start, sign up for an in-person obedience class; there’s no better way to train your dog than to practice with an expert IRL. You can also follow any of the helpful links above, and check out our blog archives for additional tips and tricks.
I am so grateful to Richard for his expertise with teaching me how to gain respect from my dog, showing him I am the leader and by doing so we are loving each other a little more everyday. My GSD is a rescue and he is approximately 2 years old. This is not my first GSD but my past fur babies have been mine since puppy so this has been a challenge....
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I recently completed Andrea Arden’s Adult Basic class with my newly rescued Wheaten Terrier. Over the class my dog’s behavior improved immensely, as did my knowledge of how best to train her. Andrea Arden Training uses reward-based training and my dog LOVES it – she now will spontaneously do obedience moves in the hopes that I will give her a treat. Our class was quite small (just 3 dogs), so it was almost like having 1 on 1 training. It was very helpful to see the trainers demonstrate the techniques. Additionally, many of the Andrea Arden trainers have also rescued dogs, so they have a good understanding of the different training issues rescued dogs face. Two paws up!

When you pick the dog up, everyone must remain calm. It can be tempting to greet the new family member with excitement, but this is not the time to do it. Accept the dog into your space, but do not give more than a minimum of attention or affection yet. You’re about to remove the dog from a place that’s become familiar and take her to somewhere entirely new. And remember: This step must remain in effect through the entire process.
Dr. Laura Sharkey, KPA CTP, has owned and led WOOFS! since 2002. An accomplished, certified professional dog trainer, Laura regularly presents to her peers at professional training conferences across the country. Her strong science background—including a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from Georgetown—informs her choice of the modern, humane, rewards-based training methods used at WOOFS!
To train your dog to come when called, start on leash in a quiet area. Back away from your dog while enthusiastically telling her to “come!” Only give the command once, but be enthusiastic, and keep your body language relaxed and open. You can show your dog a treat to encourage her to head your way. Once she starts towards you, say “yes!” (or click) and reward her with a treat.

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Treat your shelter dog the same way you would a new puppy coming into your house. Assume he has never had any training. Even if he has had obedience training in the past, he may need a refresher after all he's been through. Your best bet is to expect that he knows nothing. This way you'll be pleasantly surprised if the dog already knows some basic commands or is already housebroken, but you won't be setting him up for failure with expectations that are too high. Be sure to train your new dog using positive reinforcement. Keep training sessions upbeat and low-stress.
Treat your shelter dog the same way you would a new puppy coming into your house. Assume he has never had any training. Even if he has had obedience training in the past, he may need a refresher after all he's been through. Your best bet is to expect that he knows nothing. This way you'll be pleasantly surprised if the dog already knows some basic commands or is already housebroken, but you won't be setting him up for failure with expectations that are too high. Be sure to train your new dog using positive reinforcement. Keep training sessions upbeat and low-stress.
Learned helplessness occurs when a dog ceases to respond in a situation where it has no option to avoid a negative event. For learned helplessness to occur, the event must be both traumatic and outside the dog's control.[51] Family dogs that are exposed to unpredictable or uncontrolled punishment are at risk of developing disturbances associated with the learned helplessness disorder. Punishment which is poorly coordinated with identifiable avoidance cues or response options, such as when punishment takes place long after the event, meet the criteria of inescapable trauma.[41]
For the first few sessions, pick a room in the house that’s large enough to move around. When your dog figures out what you want him to do, take your training lessons outside, preferably to a fenced-in area, or keep him on a leash when you are in an unfenced area. Distractions will vie for your puppy’s attention, so you’ll need to become more interesting than the street noise, a fast-moving squirrel, or the scent of newly mowed grass.
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