Person-to-person communication is key with trainers, but words matter only so far as they can be translated into action. “Any kind of woo-woo language, about ‘energy,’ ‘packs,’ ‘leadership;’ anything that sounds very non-concrete, where you come away thinking, ‘O.K., but what’s actually going to physically happen with my dog here?’; any attempt to obfuscate — that is a huge red flag,” Ms. Donaldson said.
The first method is called capturing. Stand in front of your puppy holding some of his dog food or treats. Wait for him to sit – say “yes” and give him a treat. Then step backwards or sideways to encourage him to stand and wait for him to sit. Give another treat as soon as they sit. After a few repetitions, you can begin saying “sit” right as he begins to sit.
Training clubs that run the Kennel Club Good Citizen Dog Scheme - the largest dog training programme in the UK are a sensible place to begin. Here you will learn about every aspect of dog ownership from the Puppy Foundation Courses through to Bronze, Silver and Gold award levels. Go to GCDS Training Clubs in your County to find one near to you or email the GCDS Team (gcds@thekennelclub.org.uk) or call 0207 518 1011.
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The University of North Texas in Denton’s Department of Behavior Analysis is offering graduate and undergraduate courses on behavior modification through positive reinforcement shaping. Students do their hands-on research at zoos and animal shelters and at home. Training a pet is a course requirement for graduates and undergraduates alike. To learn more about this and other university programs that involve modern animal training, visit the Department of Behavior Analysis at the University of North Texas.

Ready for advanced obedience training and want ideas for what to do next?  Let’s look at one option:  Fenzi TEAM Titles (http://fenziteamtitles.com). TEAM stands for Training Excellence Assessment Modules, and is made up of 6 levels of video “tests” for foundation through advanced obedience training skills.  Levels 1 – 3 are Sport Foundation, and build… Read more »
Dogs have become closely associated with humans through domestication and have also become sensitive to human communicative signals. Generally, they have a lot of exposure to human speech, especially during play, and are believed to have a good ability to recognize human speech. Two studies investigated the ability of a single dog that was believed to be exceptional in its understanding of language. Both studies revealed the potential for at least some dogs to develop an understanding of a large number of simple commands on the basis of just the sounds emitted by their owners. However the studies suggested that visual cues from the owner may be important for the understanding of more complex spoken commands.[77]
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.
This is a straightforward, well-written guide about how to train your dog. The methods described are based on military innovations, proven in practice, and are presented in how-to fashion, with advice on common mistakes and how to avoid them. All methods use positive reinforcement with suitable rewards (for example, food, kindness, praising). Among other things, the book covers how to give reinforcements, physical impacts upon the dog of stroking, clapping, hand pressure, and jerking the leash; training to the nickname, use the special equipment (collar, leash, muzzle), and common commands (come, heel, walk, sit, down, stand, speak, fetch, stop). Each command is described separately with instructions on how to train the dog and possible errors one might make and what not to do. After reading this how-to do it right guide, I wish I’d had access to it many years ago when I brought my first puppy home and tried to get him to do some of these commands. I got him to recognize his name and come, but that’s as far as I got.
A Hungarian dog training group called Népszigeti Kutyaiskola use a variation of model-rival training which they describe as the Mirror Method. The mirror method philosophy is that dogs instinctively learn by following the example of others in their social sphere. Core to the program is including the dog in all aspects of the owner's life and positive reinforcement of copying behaviors. Mirror method dog training relies on using a dog's natural instincts and inclinations rather than working against them.[67]
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.
When you’re a new dog owner, people will begin to give you advice on the “best” collar to use for training. Using positive reinforcement means avoiding choke or prong collars which can cut off the air supply or cause pain, and possible physical harm to your pet. There are lots of different collar styles that are safe, but still give you control. Smart collars are a new innovation that uses technology to track the health, fitness and location of your dog through GPS. They are useful for some types of training.

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


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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.
When it comes to training, you must define what is keeping your dog from picking up what you are teaching; defining if your dog has what problems or why problems can alleviate frustration. Professor Donaldson explains how to motivate a dog and adjust your rate of reinforcement for these and a number of other common obstacles that may stand in his way. She also provides tips for transitioning out of training mode and into integrating what your dog has learned into common behaviors. x
One should realize that a “certificate” from a particular training school is simply that: A certificate for completing one of the numerous training courses available. Many individual businesses will also be happy to charge you a fee and “certify” you. If you choose to attend a “dog training school,” do your homework. Investigate the program and how it fits with your needs. If you’re interested in a true national certification, please contact the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers.
Ask your dog to sit. Then say “Stay” and start backing away slowly. As you take a step back and the dog stays in a sitting position, toss it a treat. Set your standards low at first: toss the treat after one step back for several repetitions, then after two steps back, and so forth. It will probably take many, many practice sessions, but soon you will be able to walk into another room and the dog will still be sitting patiently.

Researchers have described several reasons why the dominance model is a poor choice for dog training.[71] First, a relationship based on dominance is established to gain priority access to scarce resources, not to impose particular behaviors on the less dominant animal,[72] so the dominance model is irrelevant for most of the behaviors that people want from their dogs, such as coming when called or walking calmly on a leash.[71] Second dominance-submission relationships, once established, are constantly tested and must be regularly reinforced.[73] Thus people, particularly children and the elderly, may not be able to retain their rank and are at risk of being injured if they attempt to do so.[71] Third, dominant individuals gain priority access to resources, but only while they are present, establishing dominance over a dog does not guarantee its behavior when the dominant individual is distant or absent.[71]


If you're adopting a puppy rather than an adult dog, expect an adjustment period for yourself, too! Adopting a puppy is like having a baby. There will be lots of potty breaks because their bladder isn't yet fully developed. Expect to get up a couple of times during the night for potty breaks. If you work, plan to come home everyday at lunch to let your puppy outside to potty. If you can't come home, consider hiring a pet sitter. Or, use an X-pen instead of a crate and set up a potty area on one side. Just know that a puppy HAS TO potty several times a day and plan accordingly. We recommend writing down every time the dog goes potty (both outside and accidents) so you can begin to see their patterns and how frequently they need to go out.  Puppies will also chew on everything available, so don't make anything available that he shouldn't chew on.
Once your dog can stay in a sit for several seconds, you can begin adding distance. Place him in a sit and say “stay,” take one step back, then step back to the pup, give a treat, and your release word. Continue building in steps, keeping it easy enough that your dog can stay successful. Practice both facing him and walking away with your back turned (which is more realistic).
Positive reinforcement lets your dog know that you are pleased with him, and he will repeat that behavior the next time. Rewards can consist of food, toys, or petting depending on what your dog responds to best. Once he gets it, reward him with food, toys, or petting only some of the time (but verbally praise him every time). This way he’ll work hard to please you, hoping that he’ll receive a reward.
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