Unlike other best dog training books on this list, this manual provides more of an understanding of the why and how of dog training rather than the “how to.” While I don’t recommend this book for newcomers to learn how to train dogs per se, it's useful for any dog owner to keep these things in mind and it's definitely a must-read for anyone looking to understand more about their dog’s motivation.

The most important concepts in dog training are positive reinforcement, repetition, and patience. You didn’t learn the alphabet in a day; it would be unfair to expect your dog to remember every command perfectly after only a few tries. End your training sessions before the dog starts getting bored or frustrated, and try again another time, and have fun! If you stay calm and positive, the dog will pick up on your attitude and learn faster.

Handlers should leave their dogs on a sit stay to the end of the leash. Once at the end of the leash they should turn and face the dog, on your command, they should call the dog by saying the dog’s name and “come.” They can guide the dog with the leash so that the dog will come with straight and with speed, stopping to sit directly in front of them.
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.
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.
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.
Modifying these can be difficult and it’s even more frustrating to teach your dog to overcome these instincts altogether, but you can also learn how to use them as a baseline for your training regimen. Professor Donaldson layers in modern psychological practices such as B.F. Skinner’s operant conditioning and Pavlov’s emotional manipulation to build conditioned responses in order to create a positive environment of action and reward, motivating your dog to overcome his instincts and to adopt the behaviors you want to instill.
How animals learn is one of the most studied phenomena in the history of cognitive science, and yet how to apply these learnings is not always clear cut. Much like humans, dogs carry embedded instincts and rich memories—from their evolution and the inherent drive for survival, to getting scolded for something they did but didn’t understand a mere week ago.
Socialization should begin as soon as you get your puppy and often this means at 7 weeks of age. Puppies naturally accept new people, other species and introduction to new situations during the socialization period which occurs between 7 and 14 to 16 weeks of age. This period provides an opportunity for a myriad of introductions that will provide positive memories that last a life time. Puppies are eager, exploratory and uninhibited during this period and it is important to take advantage of this enthusiasm. Be sure to protect your puppy during this period and ensure that all experiences are positive, fun and not fear evoking.

At first you are going to let the puppy see the food in your hand so that you will have her attention and can use it to guide her into position. As your puppy begins to comply more readily, you can start to hide the food in your hand, but give the command and repeat the motion or signal that she has learned to follow. Soon the puppy will come to expect the treat each time she performs the task. Then, signal and give the command, but when she performs the task, reward only with praise and give the puppy an affectionate pat. Next, you can begin to vary the frequency, giving praise with “good dog” and perhaps patting each time, but giving the food randomly, perhaps every 3 or 4 times. In time, the puppy should respond to either the hand signal or the command.


When you adopt a puppy or dog from a shelter, he comes with a history — not the least of which is being relinquished to the shelter. Keep in mind that the stress of this, along with whatever the dog has experienced in his past, can make him less than confident in new surroundings. Plan on giving him some time to adjust to his new home and family. Dogs can take anywhere from a few hours to several months to get used to living in a new place. During this adjustment time, do what you can to make your new dog feel safe and comfortable. Be patient while he adjusts, but also try to keep things consistent and predictable in his new environment.

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]
Feed your dog a high-quality diet with appropriate amounts of protein. If your dog spends most of his days lounging in your condo, don’t feed him food with a protein level that is ideal for dogs who herd sheep all day. The money that you will spend on feeding an appropriate quality food will often be money that you save in vet bills later on. I recommend you always check with your veterinarian for the right diet for your dog.
Konrad Most began training dogs for police work in Germany, and was appointed principal of the State Breeding and Training Establishment for police dogs in Berlin, where he carried out original research into training dogs for a broad range of service tasks. At the outbreak of war in 1914 he was charged with organising and directing the use of dogs to further the war effort. He headed the Experimental Institute for Armed Forces' Dogs during the Second World War, and afterwards ran the German Dog Farm, a centre for the training of working dogs, including assistance dogs for the blind. He played a leading role in the formation of the German Canine Research Society and Society for Animal Psychology.[8] His 1910 publication, Training Dogs: A Manual, emphasised using instinctive behavior such as the prey drive to train desired behaviors, advocated the use of compulsion and inducements, differentiated between primary and secondary reinforcers, and described shaping behaviors, chaining components of an activity, and the importance of timing rewards and punishments. The book demonstrated an understanding of the principles of operant conditioning almost thirty years before they were formally outlined by B.F. Skinner in The Behavior of Organisms.[9] While publishers of the 2001 reprint warn that some of the "compulsive inducements" such as the switch, the spiked collar and the forced compliance are unnecessarily harsh for today's pet dogs,[10] the basic principles of Most's methods are still used in police and military settings.[11]

Dogs like having a routine. A dog who has spent the last few weeks or more in a shelter or rescue may have been stressed out in part because his life had become so unpredictable. By establishing a routine for feeding, walking, playtime and bedtime, you can begin providing some stability for your dog. In most cases, this will help with his adjustment to his new home.


When you welcome a dog into your family, you may be excited about your new arrival but unsure how to train a dog to be obedient and polite. At Petco, we teach you how to speak your dog’s language through fun, informative classes that focus on encouraging good behavior and nurturing the bond between you and your pet. Our positive training classes can help new pet parents with kennel training, potty training, loose-leash training and obedience training. We offer a safe environment where pups can learn the skills they’ll need to thrive in real-world situations.
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.
A dog who knows how to sit and lie down can easily learn how to stay. To teach your dog to stay, begin in the sitting position. Then, hold your palm outward, as if instructing him to stop. Say the word “stay” repeatedly, for as long as your dog remains still. After a few seconds, move back to him and give him a treat for his compliance. Gradually increase the amount of time you wait before offering him the reward. With some practice, most dogs can learn to stay for several minutes. The down and stay commands are especially useful for calming an excited animal.

Punishment is operationally defined as an event that lowers the probability of the behavior that it follows. It is not "punishment" in the common sense of the word,[40] and does not mean physical or psychological harm and most certainly does not mean abuse. Punishment simply involves the presentation of an undesired consequence (positive punishment) when the wrong behavior is performed, such as a snap of the leash, or the removal of a desired consequence (negative punishment) when the wrong behavior is performed, such as the trainer eating the cheese that would have been the reward.[41] A behavior that has previously been developed may cease if reinforcement stops; this is called extinction. A dog that paws its owner for attention will eventually stop if it no longer receives attention.[42]

If you are looking to maximizing your dog’s natural abilities and have an obedient pet that you can control with ease, contact Nick White, Celebrity Dog Trainer. Your privacy and pet’s issues are protected. You are offered the utmost consideration to make sure your situation with your pet/s can be resolved without unnecessary publicity. Maintaining your personal privacy and pet’s well being as your dog completes the training process.


Set up his private den. He needs "a room of his own." From the earliest possible moment give your pup or dog his own, private sleeping place that's not used by anyone else in the family, or another pet. He'll benefit from short periods left alone in the comfort and safety of his den. Reward him if he remains relaxed and quiet. His den, which is often a crate, will also be a valuable tool for housetraining.
Food - Changing a dog's food abruptly can cause diarrhea, sometimes for several weeks. To avoid this, continue feeding the same food provided by the foster home, or mix the old with the new to gradually adjust your dog to a new diet.  Instructions on switching to a new food as well as guidelines on how much to feed your dog and how often should be on the bag itself, however most dog food brands also have this information on their website.

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]

Based on the principles of social learning, model-rival training uses a model, or a rival for attention, to demonstrate the desired behaviour.[65] The method was used by Irene Pepperberg to train Alex the African Grey Parrot to label a large number of objects. McKinley and Young undertook a pilot study on the applicability of a modified version of the model-rival method to the training of domestic dogs, noting that the dog's origins as a member of large and complex social groups promote observational learning. The model-rival training involved an interaction between the trainer, the dog, and a person acting as a model-rival, that is, a model for desired behaviour and a rival for the trainer's attention. In view of the dog, a dialogue concerning a particular toy commenced between the trainer and the model-rival. The trainer praised or scolded the model-rival depending on whether the model-rival had named the toy correctly. It was found that the performance times for completion of the task were similar for dogs trained with either operant conditioning or the model rival method. In addition, the total training time required for task completion was comparable for both methods.[66]
Every dog whether puppy or adult needs to be socialized. It helps them to be more accepting of new animals, people and places. The way that it is done is by gradually exposing the dog to new people, animals and experiences. You need to be near your pet when you do this, so you can stay in control. Your dog may have fears or phobias and it’s your job to put him at ease with these new encounters. Use a reassuring tone until your dog feels comfortable and talk to him. Let him know it’s alright. Exposure is the only way to socialize your dog. Use positive reinforcement to reward appropriate behaviors and firmness for negative behaviors including aggressive behaviors. Your dog will be more well adjusted if he is properly socialized. Some things that you can do to speed the process are to take your dog on regular walks where there are other animals and people, take hi to a dog par, enroll the dog in a doggie day care a few times a month or invite friends to come over and bring their dogs for a visit.
Most people don’t have a problem being very clear about when they are unhappy with their dogs, but, they often ignore the good stuff. Big mistake! Make sure you give your dog lots of attention when he’s doing the right thing. Let him know when he’s been a good boy. That’s the time to be extra generous with your attention and praise. It’s even okay to be a little over the top.
At first you are going to let the puppy see the food in your hand so that you will have her attention and can use it to guide her into position. As your puppy begins to comply more readily, you can start to hide the food in your hand, but give the command and repeat the motion or signal that she has learned to follow. Soon the puppy will come to expect the treat each time she performs the task. Then, signal and give the command, but when she performs the task, reward only with praise and give the puppy an affectionate pat. Next, you can begin to vary the frequency, giving praise with “good dog” and perhaps patting each time, but giving the food randomly, perhaps every 3 or 4 times. In time, the puppy should respond to either the hand signal or the command.
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