How to Feel More Confident in Private Lessons

Dog trainers often come to me for help with their private lessons. Commonly, a dog trainer will say,  “I have this client coming in in a few days, Their dog is (name the behavior problem of choice), I know the owner needs more foundation, but I’m not totally sure what to do next.” Have youContinue reading “How to Feel More Confident in Private Lessons”

How to Stop Dog Owners from Sabotaging Their Progress.

One of our biggest challenges as dog trainers is keeping our clients from standing in their own way. There are a hundred variations of how this can manifest, and in this post, I will be discussing two recent situations that were brought to me by trainers that I coach. The cases are different, but bothContinue reading “How to Stop Dog Owners from Sabotaging Their Progress.”

The Home Page Hack

There is one thing thousands of dog trainers have in common: They do not like sales and marketing. The good news is that all of us, even those who work alone, have at our fingertips a salesperson who has the potential to be highly effective. That salesperson is your website.  The bad news is thatContinue reading “The Home Page Hack”

How to 10X Your Board & Train Success Rate

Here’s the scenario: You had a dog in your board and train for 4 weeks. Today’s the day for the go-home lesson with the family. The dog has been spot-on, hitting every command for you, and you are feeling great. Then the time comes for you to have the owner give it a try. They say, “Come!”……..nothing, “Place”……crickets….


The essential task of the modern dog trainer

     Teach the dog how to behave naturally 

          In an unnatural environment

Master this

     The rest is easy

Is Negative Punishment Really More Positive?

I am the proud father of two. A daughter whose age at the time of this writing is measured in weeks, and a son who is roughly two and a half. Like most toddlers, my son experiments with many different behaviors, often to see what he can get away with. He is experimenting with theContinue reading “Is Negative Punishment Really More Positive?”

Counter Conditioning, Causal Relevance, and the Implications for Humane Dog Training

In 1972, Michael Domjam and Nancy Wilson tested an interesting hypothesis:  When creating a conditioned association between two events, do the types of events matter? To help illustrate this question more clearly, let’s take an example: You go out for dinner at a new restaurant. You eat a large meal consisting of salmon, and don’tContinue reading “Counter Conditioning, Causal Relevance, and the Implications for Humane Dog Training”

Cognitive Dissonance

I wish I could be a reward-only trainer. I don’t enjoy correcting dogs or putting any “pressure” on them. I love dogs. That’s why I chose this career. Unfortunately, because I specialize in helping dog owners to achieve success in real world situations, some amount of pressure/correction/punishment is often necessary. The reality is that evenContinue reading “Cognitive Dissonance”

Negative Reinforcement and the Curse of Sisyphus

Sisyphus was the King of Ephyra, and he had a reputation for defying the Gods and being a bit of a trickster. One of his best known exploits came at the end of his life when Hades, the God of the Underworld came to claim him, bringing along a pair of handcuffs. Sisyphus, in allContinue reading “Negative Reinforcement and the Curse of Sisyphus”

How to Defeat Self Doubt

We all know it, that voice in our head that plays on repeat phrases like: “Am I good enough?” “Is this unique enough?” “I don’t deserve this.” “I’m not ready.” Although it is easy feel that you are the only person who struggles with this type of negative thinking, the truth is that everyone aroundContinue reading “How to Defeat Self Doubt”

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