How Dogs Learn

Congratulations on your decision to train your dog by participating in Bark No Evil’s group obedience class. We will be using dog-friendly, people-friendly positive reinforcement training methods. Proper training creates happy well-mannered dogs and fosters effective communication between you and your pet.

You will be sent home after each lesson equipped with the “tools” you need to accomplish this goal.  This class will be geared toward exercises that are practical in everyday life.

Trained dogs can be allowed more freedom and interaction with you and others. I want to help you create a stronger bond with your dog that’s built on respect and trust.

Last, but not least -

Have Fun!


The three branches of government are nothing compared to the big three of dog training:  Timing, Consistency, and Motivation.  Armed with these three principles you can train a dog to do just about anything. If you are ever having difficulty in training, or it seems the dog is confused, ask yourself if you have fully observed the BIG three.

  1. Timing – A dog has a period of about one and a half seconds in which to associate a cause with an effect.  This means that the old adage, “you’ve got to catch them in the act,” is absolutely true.  To correct a dog for breaking a sit “stay” five seconds after the fact is meaningless to a dog.  A dog believes he is being corrected, or rewarded, for whatever he is doing at the moment.  Dogs live in the present.  The importance of timing has a great implication in training.  It means you need to watch closely enough that you see mistakes or successes exactly when they occur and can either praise or correct them instantly.
  2. Consistency - There is no gray area for dogs.  Your training must be very clear.  A rule is always a rule.  For example, if you do not want your dog to jump up on you, you must consistently reinforce that principle. Say I happen to get a promotion at work and am in a great mood. I come home and let Fido jump on me because I am so happy. I scratch his head and tell him he’s a great boy. The next day, Smitty, my archrival from accounting, parked in my spot at lunchtime, and I had to walk from the very back of the lot.  On my way back to my car I stepped in grape bubble gum whose smell overpowered the interior of my Yugo on the way home. Then as I walk in the door Fido jumps on me. I am in a terrible mood so I get angry with him for jumping up. Now poor Fido doesn’t know whether he’s coming or going on the issue of jumping up. You must be clear, black and white, in your training. You must be 100% consistent. This will result in a dog that feels safe and trusting within very well defined rules. And, by the way, you can teach Fido to jump on you on command, but save that for later.
  3. Motivation/Reinforcement – You communicate to your dog while training (and all other times as well) with praise and rewards when they are doing well. As a result, the behaviors you reward will start to occur more often. You communicate with corrections (verbal, leash, sound, etc.) when they make mistakes, or are breaking your clearly defined rules. Both rewards and corrections must be motivational to the dog. Your communication must be meaningful. That means your praise or reward must be good enough that the dog is inspired to strive for it in the future. Your corrections must be unpleasant enough to decrease or extinguish a behavior that is undesirable.
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