Things to remember when training:

It's better to train several 5 minute sessions per day rather than one long session.

Set your dog up to succeed. Use fences, pens, or small rooms when starting out to limit your dogs options. That way your dog has less chance of guessing wrong about what you want him to learn.

Be careful to keep training sessions positive. Make the dog feel confident and successful, even if he's moving slower than you think he should.

Go back to the easy stuff and teach the whole trick again when you take the dog outside or even to new rooms.

DON'T TALK. In the beginning you must focus on teaching the dog only ONE sound, the marker.


Starting out

You must crawl before you fly, grasshopper!

Keep in mind: Dogs Without Any Training (DWOATs) will not work as hard or learn as fast as the dog in the video. For DWOATs, food has always just happened, without them needing to think or try anything. It will take some extra time for them to understand the playbook. Be patient! Have small goals and keep it short!

Eye contact is a simple first behavior to introduce the dog to markers and earning rewards.


When the lightbulb going on, you'll clearly see your dog making a deliberate effort to get the reward. It's a great feeling! In the next few days, try some other simple exercises to get your dog's "learning" skills warmed up.

Learning "leave it"


Learning to "sit"


As you probably noticed, up to this point, this has been a very quiet game. It's important not to add a lot of talk to a training session! Learning is hard enough without the dog trying to sort a mood or message out of your words.

When to use words!

Words that tell a dog which behavior to do are called "commands" or "cues. Don't use them until the dog already understands the behavior you want. Otherwise, the dog learns to ignore the sound because he doesn't know what it means.


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More training foundations