A Guide to Dog Training

July 2, 2009
By AvrilLavignerocks BRONZE, Denver, Colorado
AvrilLavignerocks BRONZE, Denver, Colorado
2 articles 0 photos 1 comment

Through the generations, over four hundred breeds of dogs (members of the species Canis Familiaris), have developed, and through the generations, these dogs have required training from their loving owners. But not all owners hold the tactics needed to do this, so began the group of Dog Trainers.

As you know, dogs live around people; therefore need to be trained to behave pleasantly and safely in their presence. No matter the canine’s level of acquired training or their actual purpose, this is most owners’ desire; many of these owners, however, need help.

This guide presents one of the most efficient and humane ways to train and develop your family pet into your most desired canine.


The hardest part of training your pet is communicating with them. Not only do they need to understand you, but you should understand them as well. The more you understand your dog, the more he will understand you. Understanding the emotions of your dog is most necessary to direct your training the right way. If your dog is scared, nervous, or distracted, he will not learn as efficiently.

Dog Talk

There are some signals your dog can give you to communicate his emotions; I’m sure you already recognize some:

1. If a dog wags his tail, he is showing that he is happy or excited; putting in between his legs shows that he believes he is in trouble.
2. To show that he would like to play, he will stick his back-end in the air and his frond end will lower to the floor.
3. If he pricks his ears, he is interested in something.
4. Obviously, growling and baring his teeth means he is angry.
5. Becoming small and laying his ears flat while backing away can indicate fear.
6. If they desire something, they may stare at you or where the thing they want is located. (I.e. they may stare at their food bowls if they are hungry, or at a squirrel out the window if they would like to chase it.)
7. Rolling on their backs or sitting by you may indicate they would like to be pet or just want some attention.
8. Waiting by the door could mean they would like to go outside and/or go to the bathroom.
9. Lastly, they howl when they are lonely, normally calling to their owner.
10. If he is barking, it could just mean they heard a strange noise, someone’s at the door, or, as many dogs do, he is barking when there is a thunder storm. Another dog barking could also cause yours to bark.

Understanding these signals will help you to know what your dog would like to communicate to you, and training will be easier for the both of you.

Beginning to Train: the Basics

When beginning to train your pet, always start at home, where there will be fewer distractions to delay training and create stress. Remember, your dog just wants to make you happy, as he looks up to you as the pack leader, he never wishes to disappoint you. So be PATIANT! Trying to rush your dog to learn will only stress you out, and create your dog to become confused.

To alleviate stress and better train your pup, space things out. Fifteen minutes a day is perfect, as not to ware out your pet and create confusion. Too much practice can make training time seem like work. Keep in mind that this is supposed to be fun!

Positive and Negative Behavior

There are many methods on dog training, but this is one of the more efficient ways.

Praising your dog when he has done something good and ignoring or correcting incorrect behavior will help your dog understand better what is and isn’t wanted.
Praise can be anything from treats, playtime, or whatever your dog sees as a reward.
Correction can include words such as “off” or “no”.

NEVER HARM YOUR DOG! This will not help training to become any easier. It may stop the behavior in the short term, but it won’t stop him from doing it in the long term. Harming your dog will cause him to become scared of you and not want to make you happy, trying to avoid you as much as possible. No pet-owner relationship should be this way.

One way to correct your dog or stop what he is doing is using the Lead Technique. Say your dog jumps onto a passerby while you are on a walk. Try correcting his behavior by saying “off”, “down”, etc. If you are ignored, snap his leash from the side to rattle his collar. Never snap from above- this may harm your dog and create injury.

To train your dog, you need to communicate to him what behavior is desired and unwanted, and which ones will give him the most satisfaction to his natural instincts and emotions. Without this communication, your pet will not work well.

There are four important learning theories for messages that an owner can send to his/her dog:

Reward or Release Marker:
Correct behavior. You have earned a reward. Words like “okay” or “free” followed by a reward.

Keep Going Signal:
Correct behavior. Continue and you will earn a reward. Words like “good” are commonly used.

No Reward Marker:
Incorrect behavior. Continue trying. Words like “uh-uh” or “try again” are mainly used.

Punishment Marker:
Incorrect behavior. You have earned a punishment. Use words like “no”, or more specifically “off” or “leave it”.

Using these signals consistently will help your dog better understand what they each mean. Using the word “good” for a reward marker AND a keep going signal will confuse owner and dog.

You also always want to use a keep going signal before the reward marker and a no reward marker before the punishment marker, so your dog can associate them with each other and know when he is going to earn a reward or a punishment.

Failure to present your dog with a reward after a reward marker and your dog will not respond as well to the keep going signal because he knows he isn’t getting anything out of it. Therefore, the value of the keep going signal is diminished, and training becomes more difficult.


Using signals along with words using hands and body language will help your pet better understand what to do, although you do not have to do so. Clickers are also widely used. The method of training used should be the one that best fits the dog, owner, and situation.


Although your dog may know how to sit or come at home, they don’t necessarily know how to at the park or at the lake. Because of the more distracting environment, training may need to be done again in a different place.


The words used when training your pet should be short, clear words that others understand well so if needed, others can also handle your dog. These words should also be able to be said in the same tone every time so that they can understand well. (i.e. “cooomme” dose not sound the same as “come”.)


Tricks are a good thing to teach your dog because they keep out boredom, create a bond between you and your pet, and eliminate stress. Things such as shake, where the dog places its paw in the owner’s hand, or ringing a bell when they need to go to the bathroom are good examples.

Training your pet is supposed to be a great and fun experience for and dog owner when done right. The basic things you need to remember are to be patient, always reward your dog when necessary, and never harm your pet.

The author's comments:
i wrote this non-fiction piece because for a carrer, i would like to become a dog trainer. I looked up some information and wrote the article to help many people train their dogs in a more fun, healthy, humane, and less stressful way to do this. For questions, please comment. Thanx!

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