Your Dog Wants to Learn!

Training will help your dog to take part in your life and be a safe and valued companion. If you give your dog plenty of companionship and exercise, training will be much easier.

photo: portrait of greyhound looking excitedly towards camera

Be Informed

  • Get your information from reliable, professional sources
  • Understand that dog training is a field of expertise within the sciences of dog behaviour and animal learning.
  • Dog training means teaching skills, not dominating.
  • Avoid taking advice from anyone without qualification just because they are 'good with dogs'.
  • When chosing a trainer or school, try to look beyond the marketing spin.
  • Make up your own mind. Don't allow anyone to railroad you into believing 'their truth'.
  • Ask precise questions and demand precise answers.
  • Know the myths and search for the facts.
  • The training methods you use greatly affect the relationship you have with your dog.
  • Beware that a dog may look well-trained but is in fact depressed and fearful.
  • Pain, fear and intimidation have no place in modern dog training.
  • Fear and anxiety are highly counterproductive to training and may even make it impossible.
  • Once your dog is fearful and anxious, it will be a very hard and long path to recovery.
  • Neither police nor army dogs have to be trained with forceful methods. Forceful methods do not make a dog 'tougher'.
  • Every dog can learn skills, no matter what age, breed or temperament

Be Mindful

  • Consider training as your dog's right. Don't deny them the chance for a better life.
  • Think about what you want to achieve with training and how this will impact you and your dog.
  • Think about how you can make life better for you and your dog.
  • Protect your dog and yourself from misguided advice and bad training.
  • Learn to fully understand your dog's body language, so you can better evaluate their reactions.
  • Observe your dog so you can identify problems early.
  • Enjoy training your dog.
  • Make sure your dog enjoys the training.
  • Avoid aversive techniques and equipment. It's unnecessary and can be highly detrimental.
  • Don't get angry or impatient. Know when to give your dog and yourself a break.
  • Have compassion, self-discipline and a training plan.
  • If well-meaning but unqualified people offer advice, smile and ignore.
  • If not so well-meaning people offer advice, smile and ignore.
  • Apologize if your dog frightens, startles or otherwise offends someone or their dog.
  • If anyone tells you aversive techniques are the only solution, take your dog and run.
  • If anyone tells you your dog is too stubborn, old or stupid be trained, take your dog and run.

Be Pro-active

  • Train your dog at least basic skills and/or get competent help training your dog.
  • Start training as soon as you get the dog. Don't put it off.
  • Invest time to research modern dog training methods and the science behind them.
  • If you have limited time, get a suitably qualified dog trainer involved.
  • Make training your dog part of your everyday life.
  • If your dog is a bully, train your dog to be more polite.
  • If your dog is fearful, help them with desensitisation & counterconditioning.
  • If your dog is overexuberant, train them.
  • If your dog pulls on lead, train them.
  • If your dog goes off at other dogs on lead, make them better.
  • If your dog attacks other dogs or people, do something about it.
  • If you have a puppy, take them to puppy class. Socialise, socialise, socialise!
  • If you have a dog with problems, help them.
  • If you have a problem with your dog, get help.
  • If you have successfully trained your dog without aversive techniques and equipment, tell others and spread the word.
  • Become part of the future of dog training.

Read more about dog training in the Dog Training section


American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior (AVSAB)

Australian Veterinary Association (AVA)

Dog Training Methods

Dog Training - Let Reason Prevail Over Force!, by Roger Abrantes

Why dog trainers will have to change their ways, by John Bradshaw

A Punished Dog Is an Aggressive Dog by Stanley Coren

The Weasel Files Part Two, by Jean Donaldson

What's wrong with this picture? Effectiveness is not enough., by Susan Friedman

What is Positive Training? by Victoria Stillwell


Animal Learning is not Breed-Specific, by Kelly Cottrell

How to Choose a Dog Trainer or Behaviourist

Finding the Right Dog Trainer - Harder Than You Think, by Anne Springer

How to Chose a Trainer, by the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior (AVSAB)

Dog Training Equipment

Dog training products. How to chose training gear by Pat Miller

Which types of collars and harnesses are safe, by Dr Sophia Yin

Electronic Pet Fences: What You Need to Know. Blog post on the risks of electronic fences by Eileen Anderson.

Websites of Interest

Companion Animal Psychology. The science of people's relationships with their pets.

Doggone Safe. Website dedicated to dog bite prevention through education

Family Paws. Resources for Parents

The Family Dog. Practical and fun solutions for the whole family.

ASPCA Dog Care. Useful dog training and behaviour info.

Best Friends. No-kill animal shelter in the US with lots of good info.

The Muzzle Up Project. Advocating the use of muzzles as important safety tools.

Eileen And Dogs. Blog by Eileen Anderson

Blind Dog Training. Enhancing the lives of blind dogs.

The Inquisitive Canine. Blog by dog trainer Joan Hunter Mayer

Your Pitbull and You. Website dispelling myths about pitbulls

Videos of Interest

Conditioning Your Dog to Love Nail Trimming by Kelly Cottrell

Jean Donaldson gets conditioned emotional response while fitting Gentle Leader

HELP! My dog ... pulls! by Bina Lunzer

Counter Conditioning Less Stress More Success. Walking leash-reactive dogs in urban environments by Urban Dawgs

Recommended Books

The Culture Clash by Jean Donaldson

Don't Shoot the Dog by Karen Pryor

The Power of Positive Dog Training by Pat Miller

Plenty in Life is Free by Kathy Sdao