Training Tips


The relationship you build with your dog should be the main focus of any training program. When teaching something new, if your dog is failing repeatedly here are 6 steps to remember.

1.Take a training step back to something a little easier where he was successful.

2. Your dog should succeed at a specific behavior at least 80% of the time before you ask for something additional. For example, say your dog does a perfect stay for 30 seconds but then you move the duration up to a minute and a half with poor results. Go back to the 30 second stay, and when you have consistent success, raise it to 45 seconds, and then 60, etc, with success at each step before moving on.

3. Be sure to highly reward positive outcomes consistently and ignore mistakes.


Some really good articless are by Dr. Ian Dunbar, a veterinarian, animal behaviorist, and writer. He received his veterinary degree and a Special Honors degree in Physiology & Biochemistry from the Royal Veterinary College (London University) and a doctorate in animal behavior from the Psychology Department at the University of California in Berkeley, where he spent ten years researching olfactory communication, the development of hierarchical social behavior, and aggression in domestic dogs. He has been lecturing to veterinarians and dog clubs for over thirty years. In fact, since 1986 he has conducted over 800 days of seminar and workshop for trainers and veterinarians around the world. There are very few educated trainers who have not been strongly influenced by Dr. Dunbar's fun & games, from-the-animal's-point-of-view, dog friendly dog training.

Dr. Dunbar has played a major role in helping develop the dog training and behavior field over the past 25 years. I am grateful that Dr. Dunbar gave his permission to reprint some of his articles here.

For more Ian Dunbar (and other great trainers and behaviorists) articles and videos, go to

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Training Library


VIDEOS: Dog Body Language & Behavior
Click here

ARTICLES: Training & Behavior:
(click on title, below)

What is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA)?

10 LIfe Threatening Behavior Myths

10 More Behavior Myths

10 Tips for Problem Behaviors

Is Your New Baby Ready For Your 4-Legged Baby? By Dr. Lisa Radosta

Pet Meets Baby ebook

Resource Guarding

Possessive Aggression

Across a Threshold (Does your dog sometimes “lose it” or shut down? Understanding his “thresholds” will help you teach him to stay calm and happy.)

Creating a Calmer, Less Aroused or Reactive Dog

Boredom Busters - Enrichment is Key

Capturing Your Dog's Focus

Moving Control

Puppy Biting by Dr. Ian Dunbar

Why Puppy Classes are Critical by Dr. Ian Dunbar

Before You Get Your Puppy by Dr. Ian Dunbar
(2.6 MB E-book)

Is Your Puppy Safe in Class? Frequency of Canine Parvovirus Infection in Vaccinated Puppies that Attended Puppy Socialization Classes. A scientific study from the Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association

Socialization is critical in your puppy's emotional development. Here's how to do it right. (Video)

Your Adolescent Dog By Dr. Ian Dunbar

Reinforcement and use of Rewards

Training for a better relationship

Sneak Dog Training Into Your Life: Practice "Clandestine Training"

Why Punishment Fails

Do Dogs Feel Guilt? - A fascinating study

Feuding Fidos by Dr. Sophia Yin What to do when your dogs don't get along.

Dog Tricks for Calm Behavior by Dr. Sophie Yin


AKC Canine Good Citizen Test

How NOT To Greet A Dog

Train Quicker With a Clicker

What is Clicker Training?

Getting Started with the Clicker- 15 Tips

PLAY! What is it anyway, and what is it good for?

Playing Tug is Great But Teach the Rules

Agility! Getting Started

What is Dog Agility? (video)

Be Prepared: Evacuation Checklist & Emergency Kit

Training Your Dog Using The "Luring" Method (video)

Teaching the Down (video)

Capture a Behavior: Teaching Your Dog "Down" (video)

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