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Subject: rec.pets.dogs: Training Your Dog FAQ
This article was archived around: 21 May 2006 04:22:04 GMT
Last-modified: 19 Mar 1998
There are many FAQ's available for this group. For a complete
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Training Your Dog
Cindy Tittle Moore, firstname.lastname@example.org
What _is_ Training?
There are multiple meanings to the term "training." It's important to
understand that when deciding what you need to do with your dog. Here
I offer my distinctions:
First, there is "behavior training." This is the kind of training in
which a dog is taught to be a "good citizen." Typically this includes
housetraining, good behavior around other people and dogs, reasonable
leash manners and other small things that make a dog a much more
pleasant companion. A well behaved dog attracts no special notice from
the public (aside from amazing some with their good manners).
There is "obedience training," which is generally teaching the dog how
to perform specific activities. This can include traditional
"obedience" exercises such as heeling. The emphasis here is on prompt
and precise performance. While there can be many overall benefits to
such training, the training is usually for the training's sake and not
necessarily to improve the dog's behavior. Dogs that have been
obedience trained will perform specific tasks when their owners ask
them to do so. (And as a matter of fact, some obedience trained dogs
may well _behave_ poorly; an excellent herding dog that nonetheless
barks quite a bit for no apparent reason would be an example.)
"Activity training" refers to training for specific activities -- this
includes hunting, herding, Search and Rescue, lure coursing -- any of
a myriad number of activities designed to showcase the abilities of
the dog and his handler, particularly in activities for which the dog
has been bred to do. These days, such activity also includes "sports"
such as frisbee, flyball, agility and so on.
Of course the lines tend to blur between all of these distinctions. A
certain amount of obedience training will help with behaviors. For
example a dog that is heeling will not pull on the leash. Still you
want to keep this in mind when selecting a training class so that it
best matches your needs. For many pet owners, the behavior oriented
classes are the best way to learn how to understand and control your
dog. For those of you who want to enjoy a sport or compete in an
activity with your dog will need to move along to more complex
You need to be aware of whether your dog needs behavior modification
(where you will have to find out the underlying reason why your dog
digs and not just put chicken wire over everything) or obedience
training (to understand commands). Certainly, the two may be related:
a dog that digs because it is bored may become less bored with
obedience training and stop digging. It is important, however, to
understand that the dog stopped digging because it was no longer bored
than because it now knows how to heel. You will need to modify your
approach, or select a trainer to help you, with behavior vs. training
So much for the type of things being taught... another factor to
consider is that there are many _methods_ for teaching any of these!
Help! Which one is the right one?
There really is no right or wrong. There are methods that are more
effective under certain circumstances than others. Things to take into
consideration when choosing the most effective method for you and your
dog include: your personality, your dog's personality, your goals,
your abilities as a trainer, and your experience as a trainer.
For example, if you are not happy with a particular method of
training, for whatever reason, then it is unlikely you and your dog
will do well with this method. Your dog will pick up on your
reluctance and either share your dismay or take advantage of the
situation to do as he pleases.
If your dog is the strong, take charge type, a method that does not
deal with this trait will result in his walking away with the training
sessions, getting very little done. Conversely, if your dog is very
sensitive, there may be a variety of methods you can use so long as
you are very careful about how you correct him. Or, a very submissive
dog may need a particular method that emphasizes learning something
new very thoroughly so that they may be as confident as possible when
doing it. You have to observe your dog closely and figure out what his
strengths and weakenesses are.
Your own abilities as a trainer come into play, as well. Some people
have a natural sense of timing and an almost instinctive understanding
of what their dog is thinking and how to react to it. Most people do
_not_ have this ability but can learn it to some degree over time.
Others just do not. Recognizing your particular strengths and
weaknesses will let you use each more effectively. Another ability
some people seem to just have, others can develop, etc. is the ability
to "read" a dog; that is correctly guess what the dog is thinking or
feeling during training. This ability is valuable as it allows you to
make appropriate adjustments on the fly to increase the effectiveness
of your training.
Some methods are very effective but can be abused if the wrong person
uses them. For example, the Koehler method of dog training worked very
well on many dogs, in the hands of its originator. Koehler reportedly
had an astute sense of timing and a keen awareness of how to present
something fairly to a dog, but the "Koehler Method" as applied by
others was so often abusive that today this method of training dogs is
Obviously, therefore, a good trainer is one who helps YOU figure out
how to train your dog. A good trainer helps you learn to observe your
dog for important clues to his behaviors and actions. A good trainer
watches you and your dog work together and helps you learn where you
are letting your dog down. A trainer's job, in short, is to teach you
to become a trainer of your own dog. It is not a trainer's job to
teach your dog. Typically, you only see your trainer for one hour a
week. Training requires short, daily sessions. YOU are the one
training your dog. (Sending a dog away to be trained is a separate
consideration, with its own set of potential problems.) A good trainer
has several methods under their belt and helps you figure out which
ones work best with your dog.
Don't worry, there _are_ some constants in dog training. _Consistency_
Theory of Learning
Let's start off with an examination of current theories behind
learning. Most training methods actually use a little of everything
even if they are weighted toward one method or another. And some
teaching methods are actually making use of the same principles even
if they appear to be widely different. So it's worth going over this.
The principles of classical conditioning were worked out early in this
century by Pavlov, and thus is also called Pavlovian conditioning. In
the original experiments, a bell was rung, and the subject (as it
happens, a dog) was given food; eventually, the dog began to salivate
on hearing the bell, apparently anticipating the arrival of the food.
This is pure stimulant-response stuff, since the signal (the bell)
always comes before the reinforcement, and the dog doesn't do anything
to make the bell ring.
So we start with:
1. trainer rings bell (stimulus)
2. dog gets food (reinforcement)
And end up with:
1. trainer rings bell
2. dog drools (response)
3. dog gets food
How can this be used? A great way to use classical conditioning is to
teach the dog secondary rewards. Let's say you want to use a
particular word or even a particular sound (such as a click) as a
reward just because it is simpler than whatever your dog's best
primary reward is. So train your dog by saying the word or making the
sound and then treating him with a primary reward. He'll start to
associate the two quickly and your alternative will become a suitable
interim reward for your dog. You'll need to refresh the association
from time to time, of course, but it does expand your possible
repertoire for telling your dog "You done good!"
If you're observant, you'll also notice that most dogs are classically
conditioned. If you say "Sit!" and they sit, that is a stimulus-
response sequence no matter how the sit itself was taught.
B.F. Skinner outlined the principles of what he termed "operant
conditioning." In contrast to classical conditioning, in operant
conditioning the reinforcement cycle starts with some action on the
part of the trainee (in Skinner's language, the operant). Operant
conditioning is therefore _always_ dependent on behavior, whereas
classical conditioning is _not_. We have:
1. dog does something (operant behavior)
2. dog gets food (positive reinforcement)
Under this theory, if we control which behaviors are reinforced, we
should be able to get the dog to offer those behaviors more often. If
the dog gets good stuff in association with a particular behavior,
he's likely to repeat it; if something bad happens, he's less likely
to repeat it. In practical training terms, this means that if Andy
picks up his dumbbell (step 1), Andy gets some turkey (step 2); if he
doesn't, he doesn't get the turkey. The result should be that in the
long run, Andy will grab the dumbbell eagerly, even if he isn't a
Combining elements of each
In contemporary dog training, a lot of attention is paid to operant
conditioning -- "clicker training" is nothing more or less than the
real-world application of one small part of Skinner's research. But
classical conditioning is almost always present, and should be kept in
mind: think about the dog who hears the bell -- his drooling
represents the kind of happy anticipation that we want in a working
dog. Classical conditioning, in its practical application, is all
about training for attitude. If he associates good stuff (positive
reinforcement) with training situations (think of that as the bell
ringing) he'll show the same kind of eagerness that you'd expect if
you extrapolate from Pavlov's droolers. In addition, even with operant
conditioning on a dog, you will eventually associate a command with
the behavior, so that you can elicit the bahavior from a stimulus!
Such a sequence would be:
1. dog offers behavior (say a sit)
2. dog is rewarded
3. cycle continues until dog continually offers behavior
4. trainer now says "sit"
5. dog sits
6. dog is rewarded
which combines elements of both operant and classic conditioning.
Rewards and Corrections
Keep these firmly in mind:
* _A REWARD results in an increase in the selected behavior_.
* _A CORRECTION results in a decrease in the selected behavior_.
Well that seems obvious enough, why did I bother putting those down?
Because all too often, obvious as they may be, an astonishing number
of people ignore them. How many times have you seen someone call their
dog over and over and over again while the dog blithly ignores them?
How many people wind up automatically rewarding their dog all the time
until they find that the dog is either bored and wanders off, or won't
do a thing unless the food is held in front of them? How many people
smack their puppies when he soils in the house but never wind up with
a housetrained dog?
Let's examine each of these scenarios in detail. The person who calls
their dog repeatedly without doing anything is in fact teaching their
dog that the "Come" command is meaningless. The dog is neither being
rewarded for the correct behavior nor being corrected for the unwanted
behavior. Therefore "Come" has no particular meaning for this dog.
If you consistently reward the dog no matter how he performs the
selected behavior, you will have two things happen. First, the
behavior will never _improve_ as the dog has no feedback on which is
"better". Second, the dog learns that he always get rewarded, so the
incentive to keep working (unless the dog is _very_ food motivated)
will decrease. Or, if the dog is strongly food motivated, he may flat
out refuse to do anything the moment he realizes that he will not get
food. In this latter case food has stopped being a reward and is now
an entitlement and no longer will increased selected behavior.
A puppy that is smacked for soiling in the house has no way of
associating the correction with the action, particularly if it happens
well after the act. Furthermore, hitting a dog is interpreted by the
dog as aggressive rather than corrective and so will not reduce the
Back to rewards. Rewards should be given in such a way as to increase
the behavior in question. This means, to begin with, that it should be
something your dog enjoys and is motivated by. For some (many) dogs,
food will do. Toys, squeakies, tug toys, tennis balls, are often good
bets. A few dogs seem to be motivated by verbal praise, although to be
honest, not so many as people would like to think. In most cases dogs
learn to accept verbal praise as a secondary reward, through
association with a primary reward. You can also use multiple reward
methods, especially if that interests your dog.
(A _primary_ reward is something that is _inherently_ rewarding to
your dog -- food, petting, toys, etc. A _secondary_ reward is
something that the dog _learns_ is a reward. For example "Good Dog!",
a click, clapping. The technical term for a reward is _positive
When you reward a dog, it should be directly associated with the
selected behavior. A reward is ineffective if you apply it at the
wrong time. However, the most common problem with rewards is that
people will inadvertantly reward a dog for unwanted behaviors. Here is
an example: Your dog growls or barks when he sees other dogs. Since
you think he is afraid, you pet him to calm him down. "It's OK," you
say. "Nothing bad is going to happen." OK, so what happened? The dog
growled, you rewarded him. He's no dummy; he'll growl again in the
hope of a reward next time.
Corrections are equally full of pitfalls. First of all, what
constitutes a correction? That's even more difficult to answer than
for rewards. For some dogs, the tone of voice will do it, for others
they'll never notice it. Many typical corrections are really secondary
(eg, learned) corrections. And, many typical corrections really don't
do anything other than make the dog afraid of you, or, when applied
inconsistently, cause the dog to lose trust in you. Here is another
classic example. Your dog is on the far edge of a field, and you call
him. He doesn't come. You call him again. He doesn't come. No matter
how often you call him, he doesn't come, so you march over and start
to correct him. Or, he finally comes over and by this time you're so
mad you correct him. So what happens? In the first instance, the dog
may well have no idea what you're mad about. If he's never learned the
"come" command (even if you think he knows it) then going over and
popping him a couple of good ones will teach him that it's really bad
when you go near him! If he _did_ come over to you and you popped him
a good one, what do you think he'll remember next time you call him to
come? That's right, you just applied a correction to a behavior
(coming to you) in order to _decrease_ it!
People very frequently misuse rewards and corrections in this way
because many people seem to think that dogs really do know which are
good and bad behaviors and will correctly associate one behavior (out
of several) with the punishment. This simply is not the case. Dogs
will association what they _most recently did_ with the correction or
Comments on Training Methods
As I've pointed out, there are a number of different training methods
available. None of these methods are perfect and none are guaranteed
to work on your dog (regardless of what it says on the cover).
People frequently disagree over which methods are "good" and even
which are "best." This kind of argument is fairly pointless, as the
effectiveness of each training method is subjective. Find one that
works for _you_ and don't worry about criticisms. On the other hand,
suggestions to help overcome specific training problems may be what
you need and you shouldn't reject it out of hand because it's not in
the method you chose.
A good trainer will be aware of many different ways to teach a dog how
to do something. The best trainers can read their dogs and pick out
the best match for that dog to teach him something. Not all of us are
brilliant, but a willingness to drop something that is not working and
try something else still lets us take advantage of finding the right
way to teach a dog something. Over time with a particular dog, you
should find that you are more likely to choose the right way to
present a new concept to this dog.
Good results in obedience training require large doses of consistency,
good timing, and patience. You must be consistent: use the same word
for a particular command every time (e.g., don't use "Come" sometimes
and "Come here" other times). You must develop a fine sense of timing
when introducing new commands and later correcting behavior on learned
commands. Patience is needed: losing your temper is counterproductive.
Get the whole family to agree on the commands, but have only one
person train the dog to minimize confusion for the dog.
Establish a daily training period, preferably just before dinner. It
can be as short as twenty minutes, or longer. Establishing a routine
Don't expect overnight success. It can take up to two years of
consistent work, depending on the dog, for a properly trained dog.
(This is where the patience comes in!)
You must praise often and unambiguously. A smile won't do it. Give
abundant verbal praise, scratch your dog on the head, etc.
Try making the command word part of a praise phrase. In this case,
whenever your dog is in the desired heel position, you could say
something like "Good heel!" in a praising tone of voice. Note that you
only give the command _once_ but that the command word is repeated in
the praise phrase for reinforcement. That seems to satisfy the
objective of the proponents of repeating the command (i.e. letting the
dog hear the command often) without actually repeating it as a
command. Further, because it is being said when the dog is doing it
right rather than during a correction the dog doesn't create any
negative association with the command as the latter is likely to
If you have a puppy -- don't wait! Enroll in a kindergarten puppy
class once its up on its shots. Don't wait until the pup is 6 months
old to start anything.
Training before "six months of age" is fine if you see the puppy
having fun with these lessons. Just remember to keep the lessons
short, don't loose patience when your puppy suddenly forgets
everything it ever knew, and give it plenty of time just to be a
puppy. In the long term, the time you spend with your puppy exploring,
playing together and meeting new people is probably more important
than your short "training" sessions, but both activities are very
* Make it fun _for the pup_.
* Expect setbacks. Just because the pup understood what you meant
yesterday, doesn't mean he'll remember it today. This means _lots_
of repetition. Teach the basic commands: sit, stay, and come for
You may find it well worth your while, especially if you are new to
training dogs, to attend obedience classes. Most places have local
training schools. Be sure to check up on these places. Call the Better
Business Bureau and your local SPCA for any specific complaints
registered with them. Especially check carefully places where you ship
your dog out to be trained: many of these places are suspect, because
YOU must also be trained to handle your dog. Beware of advertising
that claim LIFETIME warranties on the training, GUARANTEED solutions,
etc. It is best for you and your dog to go through obedience training
together, so that you both learn from each other.
No matter what kind of class you're looking for: from basic puppy
kindergarten for your little puppy to basic obedience for an older dog
to more advanced training for a dog that's already done some work,
you'll want to pick the class out carefully.
First and foremost, pick out a class where you are comfortable with
the methods and the trainer. If you don't start off with this footing,
learning anything positive from the class simply won't happen.
Next look at the size of the class and how much time the trainer
spends with each person. Ideally, the smaller the class the better,
although for puppy classes you want at least four or five dogs since
socialization is an important part of the class. Does the trainer
allocate time outside of class for questions (either an extra several
minutes before or after class or giving you her phone number for
class)? What sort of guarantees do they offer? If they say your pooch
will be trained in six weeks permanently, no questions asked, run do
not walk away from this outfit. If, however, they offer followup help
after the class is over or offer a few extra classes for specific
problems after or during the class, this is a good outfit.
Check out what their policy is with aggressive dogs in class. It does
happen that one of the dogs attending the class frightens and
intimidates the other dogs. There should be a clause for dismissing
such a dog (or better yet, going into private training with it), or
having it muzzled and otherwise restrained to minimize disruption to
An important aspect of obedience training is getting your dog's
attention. Your dog will not perform as readily if he isn't paying
attention to you. There are a number of things you can do to get his
attention, and you should be sure to praise him for paying attention.
Attention goes both ways. In turn, YOU must pay close attention to
your dog. Many dogs will stop being careful if they know you're not
paying attention. If there's one piece of definitive advice about dog
training this must be it.
Put your dog on a medium-to-short leash and tie him to your belt. Now,
go about the house on your ordinary business. Do not pay attention to
the dog. It will quickly learn to pay attention to you to determine
when you are going to get up and walk around, or where you are going.
This is an especially effective exercise with puppies and also lays a
good foundation for learning to heel later. Start with short periods
of time, say 15 minutes, and work up as your puppy gets older and more
familiar with this exercise.
If you look up and catch your dog watching you (this is different from
the staring contests mentioned above because the dog is not "staring"
at you when he is watching you move around), praise him.
Food in your mouth, spitting it at your dog
An excellent exercise for teaching attention. It gets the dog to
concentrate directly on your face, not your hands or pocket. Do this
as a separate exercise, until your dog understands that he must watch
your face. Also, DON'T let them pick up the food from the floor or
ground. If you do, they will learn that they don't have to catch the
treat. They can just wait and pick it up. And don't let them come back
later to clean up.
Talk softly to your dog. He will have to pay more attention to you.
This is especially effective when younger, and is a good habit to get
Attention as part of the exercise
Integrate attention into the exercises themselves. For example,
heeling is not just keeping to your side in the proper manner, it's
also *paying attention* while heeling. Demand this attention as part
of the heeling exercise, and your dog's heeling ability should
You should never correct when you yourself are upset, angry or
downright mad, especially at your dog. Good correction depends on
timing, a keen awareness of what the dog is thinking, and quick
switching between correction and praise, all of which are difficult
when you are upset. Stop the exercise until you regain your
equilibrium. You will have much difficulty training your dog if you
continually get mad while doing it. In fact, if you always or often
get mad when training your dog, someone else should train him. You
will get absolutely nowhere yelling at your dog.
The dictum "don't train before 6 months of age" doesn't make any sense
unless you're talking about the _correction_ involved in formal
obedience training. If you think about it, you train your dog all the
time whether you realize it or not. Dogs are great at picking up your
body language and tone of voice. Even if you're not trying to train
them, they're "training" themselves using the clues we give them (and
many "problems" are classic cases of the dogs misunderstanding their
If possible with a young puppy it is best to use the "correction" of
distraction. When you deny the puppy something, try to replace it with
a positive activity rather than just being negative and oppressive all
the time. Otherwise, limit your corrections to a verbal "no."
Most dogs at some point will refuse to do something that he knows how
to do. this is independent of how he has been trained. Striking out
for independence appears to be a semi-universal mammalian trait,
judging from the behavior of human adolescents. However, you must be
prepared to enforce the idea that the dog does not really have an
option about doing what you tell him to do. Otherwise the dog will
increasingly choose whether or not to obey you and become unreliable.
You do have to know the dog you are training and be able to tell the
difference between confusion and refusal. Correcting a confused dog is
quite detrimental. Learning how to tell the difference is part of
being a trainer. While no one can really teach you this skill, you do
have to learn it.
Always praise the dog immediately when he listens to your corrections.
Again, this gives the "jekyll and hyde" feel to dealing with your dog.
But it is very important to immediately praise your dog for listening
to you. This helps build confidence and keeps the dogs from having
that "hang-dog" look when performing.
Proofing is a method where you make sure your dog understands a
command, _after_ you have taught the dog the command. It isn't fair to
proof a dog on a command when he is still learning what it means.
For example, you teach your dog to stay. After making him stay in a
relatively distraction-free environment, you step up the pressure. You
throw balls up in the air and catch them, squeak toys, have someone
stand near your dog and talk softly to him. If your dog gets up,
gently put him back. If after doing this for a while, the dog still
gets up, then you start putting him back less gently, i.e. taking your
dog roughly by the collar and putting him back, escalating to picking
your dog up by the collar so that his front legs come off the ground
and VERY slowly putting him back in its place, escalating to picking
the dog up by its skin so that him front legs come off the ground and
VERY slowly putting him back. Some dogs get the idea more quickly than
others; stop your correction when he stays down.
When your dog passes this step, increase the pressure by throwing
balls all around him, bouncing them on the ground, etc. Also, someone
else should try to offer him food, make strange noises such as
clapping , barking like a dog, meowing like a cat, using toys or
things that make strange noises.
When your dog passes this step, increase the pressure by putting him
on a stay and having someone shout in a loud voice "ROVER, COME!" (do
not use your dog's name), "OK", "DOWN" (if doing a sit stay). If at
home, put him on a stay and go and ring the doorbell. It should take
several months (6-8) to work through all of these distractions and
care must be taken to not blow the dog's mind by putting him in a
situation that he is not ready for or by never letting the dog "win"
(i.e., successfully perform an exercise).
Always let the dog "win" on the last exercise in the session. That is,
end the sessions on positive notes, with much praise. This keeps your
dog interested in the work.
The use of food in training dogs has a long and contentious history.
Many people dislike the use of food, feeling that a dog should do
things because YOU ask him to, not in hope of a reward. They point to
dogs that will refuse to do things when they know they won't get food
for it. Others advocate the use of food in training, saying that for
many dogs it is the best reward to use, that the use of food is a much
more humane method of teaching dogs, and that it is an excellent way
to motivate a dog.
Certainly each side has some valid points. For example, the repeated
use of food as a _bribe_ will quite often result in the dog refusing
to do the expected exercise without the bribe being held out. However,
this is considered and incorrect usage of food by food advocates.
There is a difference between _bribing_ with food and _rewarding_ with
food. Under the latter system, the dog never knows whether or not it
will get food as a result of performing the exercise; the rules of
variable reinforcement mean that the dog will try harder and harder
for that reward. The problem is that many folks don't know how to
reward intermittently, and it's also true that rewards are more
frequent while the dog is learning the exercise and taper off when the
dog understands it. Many people fail to notice the dog's progress, and
fall into habits, and hence into bribery.
On the other hand, not every dog becomes an enthusiastic performer for
verbal praise or toys along. With some exceptions, almost every dog
will view food as a good reward and modify his behavior accordingly to
get more of it.
The controversy is really rooted in more philosophical considerations
than in actual performance (or not) from the use (or not) of food.
Some people just plain don't like the idea of rewarding with food, and
others do not mind using it.
The bottom line is that, food or not, most dogs need a reward, a
motivator, in order to put on their best effort in training. And the
trainer needs to understand (and observe) how to apply the reward most
Training and Corrective Collars
There are several kinds of collars. There are the plain flat buckled
ones for everyday use available in a wide variety of colors, sizes and
fastners (from buckles to quick-release).
Note that puppies do not need corrective collars.
For training purposes, there are choke collars (also called training
collars), pinch collars and prong collars. Used properly, there is
nothing wrong with any of these collars, although they often look
rather alarming. The point is that these collars are for control, not
for pain infliction. Yanking savagely on these collars is
counterproductive; firm corrections get the point across without
injury. Try this experiment: wrap each of the collars around your arm
in turn and have someone experienced with corrections give a
correction to your arm.
To prevent your dog from injury from corrective collars, do not leave
them on when you are not around. Its usual collar should be a plain
flat buckled collar; save the choke and prong collars for actual
training and when you are around.
It is, of course, beyond the scope of this article to discuss any more
advanced obedience exercises in any kind of detail. However, there are
many resources if you are interested in further obedience training.
There are many, _many_ books out there on training. A sample includes:
Behavior Training, Shaping
Benjamin, Carol Lea. _Mother Knows Best: The Natural Way To Train Your
Dog_. Howell Book House, New York. 1985. ISBN 0-87605-666-4. $15.95
She uses praise, contact, play and toys to motivate puppies, but
she does not recommend food training a young puppy. She does
recommend crate training and she also recommends sleeping in the
same room with the puppy. She provides methods to teach no, OK,
good dog, bad dog, sit stay heel, come, down, stand, go, enough,
over, out, cookie, speak, take it, wait and off to puppies. She
talks about canine language and talks some about mental games you
can play with your dog such as mirror games, and copying your dog
and having him copy you, chase games and even playing rough with
your puppy. Most training methods rely on the foundational
relationship between an owner and his dog, and this book provides
some ideas on establishing that relationship while the puppy is
Brahms, Ann and Paul. _Puppy Ed._. Ballantine Books. 1981.
Describes how to start teaching your puppy commands. This is a
thoughtful book that discusses in practical detail what you can and
cannot expect to do with your puppy in training it. They stress
that by expecting and improving good behavior from the start,
later, more formal training goes much easier.
Pryor, Karen. _Don't Shoot The Dog_
Baer, Ted. _Communicating with Your Dog_. Barron's, New York. 1989.
ISBN 0-8120-4203-4 (oversized paperback).
Heavily illustrated with color photos. A sensible approach to
laying a good foundation for extensive obedience training (even if
you don't take the dog any further than what's outlined in here).
Simple instructions for teaching a 20-word language, with emphasis
on understanding and building on previous work.
Bauman, Diane L. _Beyond Basic Dog Training_. New, updated edition.
Howell Book House (Maxwell Maxmillan International), New York. 1991.
Emphasis is on training a "thinking" dog rather than a
pattern-trained dog. Extensive manual on obedience training.
Communication and understanding are discussed. A well known and
often recommended book.
Burnham, Patricia Gail. _Playtraining Your Dog_. St. Martin's Press,
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010. c1980. ISBN 0-312-61691-0 (trade
An excellent book that describes how to use play to motivate your
dog through obedience training. She focuses on how to teach each
exercise in the AKC Novice, Open, and Utility classes. Her
philosophy, though, lends itself to any type of training. Well
written and informative. For you greyhound lovers, all her dogs and
inside photos are of greyhounds.
Dildei, _Schutzhund Obedience: Training in Drive_.
This book actually has far more applications than simply to
Schutzhund, which is a three point German
Protection/Obedience/Tracking program. This book discusses
extensively how to increase your dog's drive and motivation for the
activity at hand.
Lewis, Janet. _Great Dogs, Brilliant Trainers_, 1997.
This book explains all about learning theory, operant conditioning
(both pos. and neg. reinforcement and pos. and neg. punishment),
and classical conditioning. It's not a "how to" book in the sense
that she doesn't explain how to teach a specific exercise. Instead,
Janet uses dog training examples to illustrate the concepts of
different schedules of reinforcement, when to use them, why
positive and negative reinforcement work, when classical
conditioning is helpful, etc.
Front and Finish
P.O. Box 333
Galesburg, IL 61402-0333
Obedience related information.
There are several mailing lists for the person interested in obedience
Training Your Dog FAQ
Cindy Tittle Moore, email@example.com