unleash your dog's spirit 


Wednesday, 18 June 2014 00:00

The dogma of Dog Training: Three Important Traits of an Effective Trainer

Rate this item
(0 votes)

There are many important skills that are important to being effective in your training with your dog. These include your handling skills, controlling your own body language, understanding your dog's body language and many other essential traits/skills. However, when you are first starting training, or even if you have been training for some time, this post will cover what we consider to be essential to gaining success in training your dog.


It can be a frustrating and challenging time for us during training, especially with a new or young dog. There are many factors that contribute to this, primarily the miscommunication that occurs between us and our dogs. Dogs communicate mainly through body language and we do so verbally. It presents many challenges. As well, they are learning (and often so are we during this time!). We need to remember this and understand that they are on a learning curve. The behaviour is not going to change over night. Think of it as the same as learning a new sport. Let's say you are learning to skate. At first you learn how to balance on skates and then progress from there. With our dogs we often forget this during the training. We expect that once they learn a skill they should be able to understand and apply it in all situations. We must be patient. There will be frustations, but we must remind ourselves about this and show patience while we teach them.


Dogs require consistency to best understand what is expected of them. We struggle with this as we rely on our verbal language. For example, we can say that you can do something this time because... For dogs we cannot do this. They do not understand that they can jump on us today because we are as happy to see them and are wearing our casual clothes, but they cannot do it another time when we are wearing our nice clothes or their paws are muddy. We have to be clear and teach them rules are always the same. This makes things much more clear for our dogs and less frustrating for us. Another example( and one we see frequently in class) is when an owner may ask a dog for a sit, the dog lies down and the owner thinks the dog is just so darn cute and is trying so hard, so deserves a reward. As a result, the dog hears sit, lies down and gets a treat. They then don't understand when they may do it again and the owner gets upset with them. Consistency is critical and will ensure faster and better success in your training!


By having good timing, we are able to tell the dog exactly when they have performed a requested behaviour. In our training classes, we primarily use a 'yes' in the foundation classes, but this would be the same as using a clicker (both of these are referred to as reward markers). This marker is used to let the dog know they did something good and is another tool that ensures training progresses faster and effectively. It proves to be a key part of communication in training and your timing is important. For example, you ask your dog to sit and they do, then you go to get a food reward and in this time your dog scratches his ear and lies down. You give him the treat when he lies down, so in his mind, he has learned he gets the reward for lying down when he hears sit. However, if you use a marker such as 'yes', you can achieve better timing. In the above example, if you use your 'yes' as soon as the dog's bum hits the floor, you provide the dog correct feedback at precisely the right time.

A reward marker is also a key part of removing food in your training. If you introduce it and associate it with good things early in your training, this allows you a way to still offer a reward once your dog understands a skill. For example, a two year old dog has responding well to a sit cue for most of its life. At this time, the owner no longer offers a food reward to the dog for the sit, but still provides the reward marker to communicate to the dog they did something good!

How we behave and interact with our dog is critical to our training. There are many things to keep in mind, but by paying close attention to these skills, you will begin to see continued success!

Read 65513 times


  • Comment Link Gulden cashback Sunday, 21 January 2018 20:48 posted by Gulden cashback

    I know top Blog professionals would really like your blog. You have a good head on your shoulders. You always know just what to say. I truly appreciate this page. Neat post.

  • Comment Link Maisie Sunday, 21 January 2018 16:11 posted by Maisie

    Sustaining your local animal food.

  • Comment Link Gulden cashback Sunday, 21 January 2018 14:56 posted by Gulden cashback

    There are some attention-grabbing cut-off dates in this article however I don’t know if I see all of them heart to heart. There may be some validity however I will take maintain opinion until I look into it further. Good article , thanks and we would like extra! Added to FeedBurner as well

  • Comment Link Jerilyn Sunday, 21 January 2018 10:41 posted by Jerilyn

    GSA Browse Ranker is the most detailed tool that assists you to get all the Search Engine Optimization component of job done.

  • Comment Link Russel Sunday, 21 January 2018 06:24 posted by Russel

    I'll right away seize your rss as I can't to find your e-mail subscription hyperlink or e-newsletter service.
    Do you've any? Please let me realize in order that I may just subscribe.


  • Comment Link Kate Sunday, 21 January 2018 04:06 posted by Kate

    Howdy! Do you use Twitter? I'd like to follow you if that would be ok.
    I'm absolutely enjoying your blog and look forward to new updates.

  • Comment Link Edgar Saturday, 20 January 2018 06:50 posted by Edgar

    Wow, amazing weblog layout! How lengthy have you
    been running a blog for? you made blogging glance easy.
    The entire glance of your web site is fantastic, let alone the content!

  • Comment Link Hassan Saturday, 20 January 2018 03:55 posted by Hassan

    Hello, i think that i saw you visited my weblog so i came to “return the favor”.I am
    trying to find things to enhance my site!I suppose its ok to use some of your ideas!!

  • Comment Link Mittie Friday, 19 January 2018 17:53 posted by Mittie

    Howdy! I know this is somewhat off topic but I was wondering which blog platform
    are you using for this site? I'm getting fed up of Wordpress because I've had problems with hackers and I'm
    looking at alternatives for another platform. I would be great if you could point
    me in the direction of a good platform.

  • Comment Link Aurora Friday, 19 January 2018 09:29 posted by Aurora

    I really like your blog.. very nice colors & theme.

    Did you create this website yourself or did you hire someone to
    do it for you? Plz answer back as I'm looking to create my
    own blog and would like to know where u got this from.
    many thanks

Leave a comment

Make sure you enter all the required information, indicated by an asterisk (*). HTML code is not allowed.


Megan’s Musings are by Megan Armstrong, Owner/Operator of dogma

Megan became one of Calgary's only Certified Pet Dog Trainers (CPDT-KA) in 2005. The CPDT designation means her programs are based on humane training practices and the latest scientific knowledge about dog training. In other words, Megan's dog training expertise is grounded in a thorough, extensive education and examination process. 

View Megan's bio