In this podcast episode, I discuss the start of training.  In my “in -person” lessons we all start out at the same place.  Whether someone just got a rescue dog a few weeks ago or whether they paid tens of thousands of dollars for a “fully trained” dog, we all start out assessing three things.  First, relationship, then basic “core” skills (including the one core skill that makes any dog a “good dog”) and lastly we address “policies”.  One of the challenges in starting with a new client is that everyone calls me with what I label a “policy disagreement”  with their dog. That is, their dog has one set of default rules and their owner would like them to have another. Before throwing down the new policy manual, (to be fair to your dog) we have to see if they have the basic “core” skills to do the kinds of policies that you want them to do and before we address basic skills,  we have to clarify the relationship. At the end of this podcast, I leave you with some “observational” homework so you can start assessing those three areas right away (relationship, basic skills, and policies).

In this session:

Email bag: I respond to a couple email questions that came in about food in training.


I have two goals in this session with you:

  1. Discuss the three step training process that I always go through:
    1. Relationship: clarify that your dog needs to look to you for how to interpret the world
    2. Skills: Coach the basic core skills that your dog needs to be functional (including the one “core” skill that makes any dog a “good” dog.
    3. Policies: determine what default rules your dog has come up with and which ones work for you and which don’t
  2. Discuss the two key principles that I always follow:
    1. Follow the natural learning process
    2. Keep the freedom/responsibility quotient balanced

Homework: In this session I give you some “observational” homework that may have you seeing your dog’s behavior a little differently (and may make training your dog easier).

Resources Mentioned in This Show

In the beginning of the show I reference a book by Stephen Covey (people training not dog training). Here’s a link to it if you’re interested in learning more about it here

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