red dog and grey bar

We’re Positive about Dog Training

Dog training works – and scientific research has proven that positive, reward-based dog training works best to resolve most common dog behavior issues:

  • We get real results with praise, treats, and positive associations – and never use potentially painful tools like choke chains, prong collars, or remote shock collars
  • Many of our clients who’ve tried more “traditional” training methods found they didn’t work – and sometimes had unintended negative side effects that required retraining
  • We train dogs with reward-based communication techniques – while teaching people to train their own dogs using these positive methods

I base my dog training approach on the same positive reinforcement learning theory used by dolphin trainers. But while they blow a whistle and toss a fish, I click a clicker and hand dogs small treats. This click-and-treat method reinforces whatever behaviors you want your dog to learn.  I switched the order of stimulus and reward because, in actual training, you click the clicker first, then give the treat for the correct response.

The dog training techniques I use include:

luring, shaping and capturing

Luring involves passing a small pea-sized treat over your dog’s head so he looks up and pays attention because he wants it. His rump automatically goes down in reaction to his nose going up – and look, you lured him into a sit! Clicking or giving a verbal cue such as “good” or “yes” and handing out a treat within seconds of his rump hitting the ground reinforces this positive behavior and makes your dog more likely to actually sit the next time you say “sit.”


Shaping is training based on successive approximations. In other words, taking small steps in the general direction you want to go instead of trying to correct your dog’s behavior all at once. Start with a small step, and once your dog has mastered it, he’s one step closer to changing his behavior. For example, we can shape a “high five” by reinforcing (clicking and treating) a small paw lift. Gradually reinforce slightly higher paw lifts, and soon enough you’ll be getting enthusiastic “high fives” that you can then build on to shape more complex behaviors.


Capturing is rewarding your dog for doing something good (say, a sit or down) without a verbal command. The more closely you observe your dog, the more opportunities you’ll find for reinforcing the good behavior he already has. This works best for changing behaviors you see frequently enough to capture, and is particularly powerful because these moments occur constantly in the course or daily life. This tells your dog that using what he learns in the “classroom” brings good things anytime, anywhere.

Most things are easier said than done – and dog training is no exception. The philosophical principles are simple, but applying them takes practice, patience, and persistence. That’s why there is no substitute for professional dog training. Once you get a taste, you’ll not only find it fun, but wonder how you ever got along without it.

Give us a call today! You’ll be glad you did!