Month: May 2023

Dog Training Principles

Dog Training Principles

Dog Training principles are important as a guideline to follow to get the best out of the dog and become a successful trainer. Having structure and sound principles will serve as a mechanism to adapt to any changes or problems thrown at the dog trainer/handler. The ability to adapt to change, and expect change is a quality of a dog handler and trainer must possess. For example, dog training 30 years ago schools were using old traditional methods such as choke chains and the alpha dog training philosophy. Current dog training schools are now being encouraged and it is advocated by dog training and behaviour associations in the United Kingdom to use only positive dog training methods. For instance, dogs like to work for a toy reward or food or even affection. So use it. Clicker training is an effective way to reward your dog once the owner/handler/trainer knows how to use it. It is all about educating the person to train the dog.

These are some fundamental dog training principles:

  • Have an aim for your training session and break it down into objectives, so it’s achievable and realistic. 
  • Each training session must be linked to the previous session and in a logical step working towards a training goal.
  • Consistency in your reward method and be fairness
  • Consistency in the handler’s voice and body movement so as not to confuse the dog.
  • When doing agility training or fun activities make sure the apparatus is safe to use Check for any hazards before or after the obstacle such as glass or sharp objects.
  • Keep lessons short and make it a successful session for the dog and learner.
  • Adapt the training session to the dog’s health needs 
  • Aim to promote teamwork: the handler & the dog: A confident team inspires to learn and develop to become stronger.
  • Check all equipment for the dog and handler prior to sessions for any faulty lead handling such as clipping up the dog to apply the correct lead. 
  • Make sure the dog is in good health and free from any minor or major ailments such as parasites or poor coat condition. 
  • The dog training program is set up and tailored made to the handler/owner and the dog.

There are a lot more dog training principles which we will cover later on in the book. This gives you an idea of how to conduct yourself when training or handling a dog. 

The Fundamentals

Puppy & Dog Training


Create a positive association & desire for the dog to learn. Intuitive in the dog training methods to bring out the best in the dog/s.Break down the task for the dog into small and logical steps. Have a goal to train and be realistic.

What do we need to teach the puppy?

The puppy is like a sponge ready to take on any new challenges. They’re inquisitive and learn new skills. It’s important the owner get it right from the start and is consistent in the training to help continue the puppy into adulthood. Some puppies will be motivated by food, fuss or both. To give the puppy a good start we need to teach some basic commands to help them understand what we expect of them and how they need to behave in certain situations.

Here are some basic commands we need to teach the puppy: Heel, sit, down, stay, leave, no & recall. 

When teaching the new commands use positive dog training methods to help build up the positive association with training such as using treats or a ball. Thus creating a desire for the puppy to work and for the owner. 

The cerebrum in the brain is responsible for association training. A part of the brain (the amygdala) can store negative associations (or experiences) so it can become a conditioned reflex. This helps when the puppy exhibits fight, flight, and freezes in a threatening situation. So it’s

important the puppy will be experiencing all new smells, sights,s, and sounds from newborns within reason. So don’t give the puppy a reason to be fearful of something or someone. For example, a young dog can be sensitized to children if not early introduced to them. Enhanced socialization around new places, people, and objects is important to prevent anxiety or  

Social Learning in Dogs

Why do we need to allow our puppy to watch others learn?

Social learning is an indirect method of learning. This is where someone watches another learn to do a particular task. For example, a puppy or a younger dog.

Sometimes undesirable behaviors can be copied or emulated. For instance, one puppy in a litter could observe the litter mates barking or playing and biting with human learning that’s acceptable. Or a puppy looks at an older dog who is aggressive and has learned that it’s normal to copy the behavior.

Projects have been done with police dogs whereby the offspring are allowed to watch the bitch work doing bite work, obedience, or a track. So by the time, the puppy comes to start the training for bite work, obedience, and search work. They have some good grounding.

two yellow labrador retriever puppies
Photo by Chevanon Photography on

Indirectly, the puppy sitting in a crate in a van, car, or at home is taking it all in via the senses. Working out what is happening in the environment. It is all an observation exercise and puzzling about what the world is all about from the puppy’s perspective.

Social learning happens with humans as some groups of people watch others before they do an activity to learn.

The puppies’ mind is like a sponge taking everything in via all their senses such as sense of smell, hearing, sight, and touch. The smell is the strongest, hearing second, and sight just to confirm a smell or sound.

Domestic Dog is a social animal and observes other puppies, people, and situations around them all the time. So social learning has an important part in developing the puppy.

We offer puppy training and you can view the pet training events and updates at the following address:

“Sometime undesirable behaviors can be copied or emulated”

Alistair Spinks, Manager Director, Animal Behaviourist

pack of dogs in sled harness resting in a park

Puppies have a desire to learn and want to please the owner/s. They will watch other dogs, littermates, and children to see what is out there in order to obtain their primary reinforcements such as food, water, and playing with a toy, or human affection.