The Basics

How to Discipline a Dog: 5 Non-Violent, Actionable Tips to Try

How to Discipline a Dog: 5 Non-Violent, Actionable Tips to Try - How would you like to train your dog in a well thought through way, ensuring both your rewards and your corrections leave you with an obedient dog? And yet, your partnership would be unbroken and your dog even happier about you. Read at

How would you like to train your dog in a well thought through way, ensuring both your rewards and your corrections leave you with an obedient dog? And yet, your partnership would be unbroken and your dog even happier about you.

This means no yelling in frustration. No roughing up your puppy or dog. No misunderstood doing nothing, leaving your dog without a clue on how to act. No feeling like a failure because you can’t see any results just yet. No insecurity. No doubt.

In this blog post I’ll go over the following:

Learn How Your Dog Learns

The Four-Step Framework for Teaching Your Dog Anything

How to Get Your Dog Back on Track Without Shouting or Roughening Up

The Right Mindset

The Best Way to Discipline a Dog: Summing It Up

Do you know the saying, “
Everybody wants progress; nobody wants change”? Well, in much the same way, the question of how to discipline a dog apparently is filled with contradictions when it comes to positive-based dog training. None of us wants to roughen up our dogs. Some barely tell their dogs “no” when their dogs do something wrong. Our dog is a family member and most of us feel a deep love for her, and we would never do anything to harm her.

However, our dogs don’t speak human. And we don’t speak dog. I know, sometimes we think we do, but really we don’t. So how on earth do we tell our dog what we want and what we most certainly don’t want? Stick with me and be patient because first I’ll go over how dogs learn. This is for you to better understand why your puppy or dog reacts as she does and how you can train her based on this. Then I’ll share with you my own “game plan” for training, or, as I call it, my four-step framework for teaching a dog anything using positive reinforcement.

If you’d like a visual presentation that goes even more in-depth I’d also recommend this workshop by Dr. Alexa Diaz (PHD).


Having the ground rules set for how to train your dog, you’ll see how I get my dogs back on track without yelling or roughening them up when they fail – and they do, just like all other dogs. Only, it is not their fault when it happens, and I know it. And, I know how to deal with it. 

So stick with me and I’ll tell you how to avoid feeling frustrated and being at your wit’s end. Instead of you always telling your dog what to do, you’ll learn how to set boundaries and teach her to figure out herself how to behave. And best of all, you’ll actually be better friends because of it.

Learn How Dogs Learn

How to Discipline a Dog: 5 Non-Violent, Actionable Tips to Try - How would you like to train your dog in a well thought through way, ensuring both your rewards and your corrections leave you with an obedient dog? And yet, your partnership would be unbroken and your dog even happier about you. Read at

Before you can make your own game plan on how to train and correct your dog, it’s important that you, like any trainer, focus on who you’re teaching. So prior to teaching and training your dog, you must understand how your dog learns. Then you’ll need to learn how to put this knowledge to good use to better teach your dog all she needs to become a gentle, happy and well-behaved dog you’ll be able to bring anywhere.

Instinct Vs. Experiences

Puppies lean on two main assets when developing from puppy to dog. On the one hand, they lean on their instincts. An example of this could be how newborn puppies instinctively search for their mother’s warmth and milk in order to survive. But their instincts only guide them so far, so when most puppies sit beside you looking adorable while you’re eating, it’s not their instinct kicking in. In this case, they’re leaning on the experience that often this behavior will ensure a bite comes their way. 🙂

So when faced with a choice, the dog will either follow her instinct or do what her experiences tell her is right – what is most rewarding in this situation. However, in the beginning, your dog will have no experiences to draw on. So, in order to get some experience, she will try whatever challenges she meets if her instincts don’t hold the answer. And if what she does pays off, she’ll solve this job the same way the next time, as well, building on her experiences.

Choice Based Training: My Way of Training

You can use this knowledge of how puppies and dogs learn to train your dog because when the dog has a choice to make, the choices the dog has made previously, as well as the consequences of these choices determine if she will choose this action again.

That means the way you, as the trainer, handle and react to your dog’s choices determines if she’ll do it again. I find this to be true because it is my strong belief that our dogs want to please us. Us, their trainer and human. So when your dog makes a choice you really like, you must praise and reward her, so she associates a good consequence with the right choice. And this way, she will be more prone to make that same choice again in the future.

Of course, she might choose wrong. If this happens, there will be no praise and no reward from you. However, she might find her behavior rewarding in itself. So, to avoid this, you need to be able to control her or/and the environment – more about this later on.

You can say this way of training lets her use her mind to find the right thing to do to please you. In my view, this is much more useful than you telling your dog what to do all the time. However, for her to want to please you, you must be a human of importance to her.

To be this kind of human, you must engage with your dog. It’s important that you are her anchor. So, you must be the one person from whom she looks for praise and treats. But, before you do anything else, make sure to train her to pay attention to you. All exercises where your dog must look at you or wait for your permission are attention exercises.

You must build a bond and have a deep relationship through play and training. And also you need to speak the language of consequence, love, and perseverance. This means that you need to be ready to react to your dog’s choices, good or bad.

If you do this, if you have a good game plan, you will set your dog up for success – and that means that you will praise and reward most of the time.

How to Mark the Right Behavior – Praise at the Precise Right Moment

For the dog to know that what she did just now was the right thing to do, it’s extremely important you praise her at the precise moment she performs. You can’t praise her before or after, but at that moment, she does what you want her to do. So the better your timing, the easier it is for your dog to associate a certain behavior and choice with the positive consequence of praise or treats. For this reason, the better your timing in praising and rewarding your dog, the faster she will learn.

How to Make Sure Your Dog Succeeds – Make Sure You Control the Environment

Now, there can be instances where the bad behavior itself will be rewarding for your dog. This might be in the case of your dog pulling, where actually just getting closer to sniffing an interesting piece of grass or getting to the dog park faster will enforce the pulling behavior. We cannot change this behavior only by withholding praise – since the behavior is reinforcing itself.

In these cases, you have to control your dog or control the environment to make sure she will not find a reward for this behavior herself. In relation to pulling, this comes down to making sure that she doesn’t get what she wants by pulling. This might include standing still whenever your dog pulls on the lead, thereby making the dog get to the interesting point more slowly, or even going back. There’s much more on this subject, here.

Or you can have a dog that jumps on you to get your attention. By understanding that yelling at your dog is also giving her attention, you will know it is not the answer. Instead, your dog must experience that jumping doesn’t get her attention – quite the opposite. So, you must make sure not to give your dog any attention when jumping. There’s more about how to avoid jumping, here.

I know it can sound impossible to control your dog or what surrounds her. I’ll give you some examples of how I do this in the section on how to get your dog back on track.

Why Your Dog is Never “Testing” You

So in short, your dog will always choose to do what she thinks is the most interesting and/or rewarding for her. And always remember, your puppy or grown dog is never testing you. The odds are, she is quite inattentive of you if she is “misbehaving.”

Instead, you must realize it’s up to you as her trainer to make her want to choose right. And that means the choice you want her to take must be the most rewarding and interesting one. And at the same time, it’s up to you to make sure all the “wrong” choices don’t pay off but leave her with no reward.

If you are a good leader to your dog, she’ll do her best to please you. And that means you’ll spend most of your time rewarding her for good behavior and quick learning. So, keep reading and I’ll tell you about my four-step reinforce-based framework for training my dogs new skills.

The Four-Step Framework for Teaching Your Dog Anything

How to Discipline a Dog: 5 Non-Violent, Actionable Tips to Try - How would you like to train your dog in a well thought through way, ensuring both your rewards and your corrections leave you with an obedient dog? And yet, your partnership would be unbroken and your dog even happier about you. Read at

The four-step framework for teaching your dog anything outlines the four universal stages of dog training. This is the backbone of training new behaviors, as well as strengthening these behaviors, so your dog makes the choices you want her to at all times. To me, this is the best way to discipline our dogs – by teaching them what to do.

And knowing these four stages will allow you to teach your dog absolutely anything. The following framework for teaching your dog anything is simple:

Step 1: Manipulate Your Dog to Do What You Want

When first teaching a new behavior, it can be tough to know where to start. How do you praise and use positive training methods with your dog when you can’t get her to do what you want in the first place?

The answer is that you manipulate your dog into doing what you want her to the first time.

This works best in an environment without disturbances, like when you’re alone in your living room or kitchen. Never force your dog into the position you want her to. Much like humans, your dog must figure out on her own what the right thing to do is. So, help her with your body language and presenting cookies, if necessary.

Step 2: At the Exact Moment She Succeeds, Praise and Treat Her

There must be no doubt in your dog’s mind that what she did was right, and it made you happy and proud. Remember, you must praise her at the precise moment she does the right thing. Reinforce the praise by giving treats, either food or play.

This will help strengthen the association between a certain choice and a positive outcome in your dog’s mind, which is what you really want. And then, repeat step one and two a lot of times until the behavior is consistent.

Step 3: When You’re Sure Your Dog Will Repeat the Action, Cue It

Now that the behavior is consistent, apply a verbal cue to the behavior you want. Also, continue to manipulate and praise/treat when she succeeds but simply add the verbal cue, as well.

Adding verbal cues allows you to rely solely on the verbal cue without having to manipulate your dog into doing the behavior you want first. But, wait to attach a verbal cue until you see a fairly consistent behavior. The reason for this is that you want your commands to be sacred. And that means there’s no doubt in the dog’s mind what you want when you use a certain command.

Step 4: Start Adding Distractions to Reinforce the Behavior in All Situations

As your dog learns how to behave in a certain situation and is willing to do it on your verbal command in a distraction-free environment, it’s now time to make it more difficult. But, don’t rush this. Give your dog time to learn this behavior without any disturbances. The behavior must be consist and swift, and without hesitation.

Life will put you and your dog in many distracting and therefore difficult situations. But, puppies and dogs have no logical sense. They don’t know that what’s right to do in the kitchen is also the right thing to do in the yard. Or the right thing to do when people are present.

This means that, to your dog, changing the environment and therefore the distraction level equals setting a whole new scene. So, it can seem to be a new problem, even if you ask for the exact same thing.

Examples of adding distractions can be moving the exercise to a new location. Or, it can be adding people or a new toy to the mix. I would love to tell you what distracts your dog but it is dog-dependent. So you are the only one who knows and can act on it. What helps the most is to keep a list of your dog’s top 10 distractions in a ranked order at all times.

You may remember, for your dog to be successful, you should use most of your time praising and rewarding. But, to make sure this happens even when you add distractions, the first distraction has to be a small one. A good place to start is simply moving the exercise from one room of the house to another. Or, you could move it from your backyard to the sidewalk.

Although you must challenge your dog, she must have the chance to slowly reinforce the behavior in a less challenging environment. So give her the possibility to climb the “distraction-ladder.” If the distraction is too big, she won’t be able to make the right choice and she will fail, learning nothing.

Even worse, this will start diluting the verbal command, which you purposely delayed introducing to keep this from happening. Therefore, to build up your dog’s skills by adding distractions, first determine what is a small, a medium, a large and a huge distraction. And when you do this, you must expose her to them in the right order, which is from the bottom and up.

If you’d like a visual presentation that goes even more in-depth I’d also recommend this workshop by Dr. Alexa Diaz (PHD).

How to Get Your Dog Back on Track Without Shouting or Roughening Up

Using my four-step framework, you’ll be able to teach your dog anything. However, she’ll figure stuff out herself, as well and I have never met a dog trainer who has not had the need to get a puppy or dog back on track – myself included.

So, how do you do this? Well, the backbone of my training methods are still the same: The dog must make a choice herself. I don’t want to tell my dogs everything they should do. I prefer they use their head, doing what is right for them, and then I influence this choice by responding accordingly.

How to Discipline a Puppy Vs. a Dog

Before I give you my five tips on how to discipline a dog, let us talk a bit about how to discipline a puppy differs from how to disciple a dog. And it does a bit. However, all of the following five sections are as important to puppies as to grown dogs, although the fifth one, “using down and wait,” requires some training prior to using it.

Often, these five tips are much easier to establish when you are working with a puppy. This is because it is much easier to become a human of importance to a puppy, to connect to them and to get them to engage with you. This is due to the fact that their world is not that big yet, so they stick to what is close by and what is working.

And they love whoever is bringing them food. So, keep the day’s food ration in your pocket and give almost all of it to her while training. It’ll create a stronger bond than if you just gave her the food “for free”.

Exaggerate your praise and play with your puppy to reward her. Remember that she loves to learn. So, make it easy for her by setting up the stage for her to perform. Be patient if the puppy doesn’t “get it” the first time. Try again and again, from another angle or by going back one or two steps. Start your training session by trying something she has learned already.

In my mind, you never really need to discipline your puppy. You just need to rethink how you yourself should react to her. For example, control the environment by training inside or control your puppy by using a long line when outside.

Use the five following tips to discipline a puppy, but combine them with patience. Also, be sure to train your puppy without any distractions. And then repeat, repeat, repeat – it is so much better to prevent than repair.

How to Discipline a Dog: 5 Non-Violent, Actionable Tips to Try - How would you like to train your dog in a well thought through way, ensuring both your rewards and your corrections leave you with an obedient dog? And yet, your partnership would be unbroken and your dog even happier about you. Read at

1. How to Become a Human of Importance

Moving on to the first of my tips, I believe my dogs must know I’m the most important human in their lives. Not in the sense that I’ll tell them what to do all the time, but it is important I’m the one they want to please. I establish my leadership by training and playing with my dogs. I also take them away from what I don’t want them to do and say “no” in critical situations. If my dogs are standing by the road, I’m not going to wait to see what choice they’ll make. However, if you use “no” all the time, the word will lose its meaning. But “no” from you, as an important human, said the right way will definitely get your dog to stop.

I teach puppy class and some of my students come to my courses with dogs that don’t think of their human as the most important one in their lives. I know this is not a conscious strategy from the owner and absolutely not something they do to be mean to the dog, on the contrary. But not knowing how to connect and bond with their puppy means having a puppy who doesn’t care or pay attention to what her human wants. And so these puppies don’t know when they do right or when they do wrong.

So the first thing I do with these dogs is to connect. I get them to engage with me, no matter if it is a puppy or a grown dog. I play and spend time with them until I feel that we connect.  And then I “ask” for something.

The puppies I manipulate to a “sit” or “down” successfully receive loud, happy praise from me. I exaggerate my praise and play with them to reward them. Then I “ask” or manipulate again, patiently waiting for the puppy to figure out what I want. I don’t allow them to be disturbed by anything else at this point. So, if another puppy comes up, I’ll go away with “my” puppy or send the other away. I control the environment and the puppy.

When we talk about adult dogs, my behavior differs. This is because dogs who haven’t learned to pay attention to the human handling them have other habits. They have habits of seeking enjoyment from elsewhere – perhaps other dogs or sounds and smells that surround them. And their world is so much bigger than that of a puppy. So you need to get them to focus on you. You must show them that you are worth their while. 

So, after having connected to an adult dog I start asking for something, demanding her attention. I don’t allow her to have her head down or not wanting to walk with me. I’ll give the line one or two quick pops and make her look at me by saying something.

As soon as I have her attention, I praise and walk on as long as her attention is on me. If not, I stop to make her feel the difference in the pace and seek me for an explanation. If this doesn’t happen, I pop the line again, perhaps turning away from the dog at the same time.

Most importantly, I’m never mean. The dog is never hurt, but I’m determined and I don’t have much patience awaiting their choice at this particular moment. After doing this for a while, the dog turns her attention towards me, trying to figure out what to do to make me praise and reward her. She lets me take the lead and allows me to be the one in charge.  

The funny thing is that both puppies and dogs, young or old, love me for this treatment. They accept me as a sort of leader and want to please me. So, be sure to show your dog that you are the one, she should please.

However, never do this by hitting, shouting or abusing your dog. Be fun yet predictable, so your dog or puppy knows when to expect rewards. And be generous, both with love and rewards. You want your dog to respect and love you, not to fear you.

2. How to Give Your Dog the Chance to Choose and Respond to It

How to Discipline a Dog: 5 Non-Violent, Actionable Tips to Try - How would you like to train your dog in a well thought through way, ensuring both your rewards and your corrections leave you with an obedient dog? And yet, your partnership would be unbroken and your dog even happier about you. Read at

So back to the choice-based training, if my dogs don’t do what I want, they’ll neither get praise nor what they want. So, if they don’t sit and wait for me to allow them to run out the door, I won’t open the door. If they don’t wait in a sit for the food, I won’t serve it. If they don’t wait patiently for me to allow them to get in or out of the crate, I will close the crate door again and again until they wait for it.

You see, it is a mindset thing. For every challenge you give your dog, you must find a response to show her she has made the wrong choice. And then by allowing her to make a new choice, you get the possibility to reward her when she finally gets it right. On her own, without being told what to do. You’ll see me work with my dogs here:

You’ll notice my dogs try to figure out what to do for me to allow them to eat. This is what this training is all about – dogs trying to figure out what to do by offering different behaviors. Of course, no training gets easier when there are more dogs involved, but it is possible.

3. This is How You Ignore Your Dog or/and Favor Others

As mentioned above, a dog that jumps often does this to get attention. Even if you turn away or say “no,” you’ll give her attention. The obvious response is to not pay attention, keep doing what you are doing and not let her feel you are annoyed. You can do this by grabbing the collar and simply holding your dog away from you, check out the video to see.

However, even in situations where it’s not obvious that your dog wants your attention, ignoring her can still show her she has made a bad choice. This summer, I worked with a young hunting dog that didn’t want to retrieve on command. We showed him how to and praised him for it, and he knew what to do. Although he might do it, he was not at all consistent about it.

So, what we did was to bring my dogs to the training. The dog not wanting to retrieve on command got the possibility to do so. But he didn’t – he just played around instead. So, the trainer called him back and put him in a “down” and “stay.” She didn’t offer a reward or kind words but didn’t use any harsh words, either. She just put him in a “down” while she used neutral body language while not responding to him.

Then I asked one of my dogs to retrieve. And she did so willingly. All the way back, she was praised loudly, and not only by me but also by the other trainer. When she delivered, she got lots and lots of praise and treats, also by both of us.

The dog not wanting to retrieve became jealous. He tried to move closer but was brought back to a down by the trainer, still with neutral body language. We repeated the exercise with another of my dogs. And we got the same result. The dog who didn’t want to retrieve was jealous and keen to become part of our “play.”

Finally, he had a chance to retrieve. This time, he got it right, as he also got lots and lots of praise and treats. We stopped for the day but repeated this a couple of weeks later. Soon, he became more focused on the job at hand and now retrieves without hesitation.

So what do you do if you want to ignore and favor another, but only have one dog? Well, you can favor your husband or your child, a cat or even a teddy bear. It doesn’t matter what you pay attention to, as long as it’s not your dog.

4. Use Timeout as a Tool in Your Training

You might have tried to train your puppy or young dog and all of a sudden she appears indifferent about what you say, even if she normally respects you and wants to please you. She might want to run, play, bite or do something completely different from what you’ve asked for or want. Even if you ignore her and pay attention to someone else, she doesn’t care because she is over-excited.

One solution is to crate her, put her behind a grid or put her in another room, away from you. It is a way to ignore her and let her know, she is not behaving as you want. However, it is important that you give her a second chance to offer you a new behavior. So, give her the possibility to make the right choice after spending a couple of minutes in the crate.

If she behaves more calmly and how you want when you let her out, praise her and let her stay. If she doesn’t, put her back in her crate for another three to five minutes. It is quite possible you will have to let her back in the crate more than once in the beginning before she figures out she has to behave or not bite or whatever she is doing wrong. So, you need to be patient and consistent.

So every time she misbehaves, she must go back into the crate. However, it is equally important that you are consistent in giving her the opportunity to make another choice. Remember, this lesson is about time-out and not the crate. So before you can use the crate as a place for a time-out, you must teach your dog that her crate is a happy place. Check out this blogpost for more information on how to crate train your puppy.

5. How to Correct Your Dog Using Down/Wait

How to Discipline a Dog: 5 Non-Violent, Actionable Tips to Try - How would you like to train your dog in a well thought through way, ensuring both your rewards and your corrections leave you with an obedient dog? And yet, your partnership would be unbroken and your dog even happier about you. Read at

One of the most useful tools in your toolbox is the down/wait command. However, it is only helpful if you have trained your dog to do so without holding or touching – and at a distance. You can teach down at a distance when your dog knows how to do it close up. And you can teach that using the four-step framework above: manipulating, praising, repeating, cueing and adding distractions.

So, when your dog lays down on your cue, start asking her for a down as she is coming back to you. In the beginning, say down and use your arm to show her what you mean when she is right in front of you. When she does so without hesitation, start training her do lay down on your command, even if she is not next to you or right in front of you.

Call her, and when she comes towards you and is one to two meters or three to six feet in front of you, take a step forward, raise your arm and tell her to lay down. If you have repeated “down” again and again, it is likely that she’ll just lie down and wait for your praise and a treat.

And you should give her both if she lies down. If not, go back to train “down” without adding distance. But when down is working at a short distance you can now work on adding distractions, not further distance. But, first be sure she’ll lie down close to you where you can easily get back to her before she stands up.

If she doesn’t stop at your command but takes one or two steps too many before her down, you must lead her back on the leash to where you asked her to lie down. It’s important she lies down immediately after the command and that she stays until you tell her otherwise. Next, add distractions and when you find it works in every situation, then start adding more distance. Remember to be super-consist to make it easier for your dog to learn.

When this is working, you now have a perfect tool for stopping your dog, even at a distance, if she doesn’t do what you ask of her, like come when you call her. If you need more help with your recall, visit this page.

Also, you can do the same with “sit,” if this is easier for you. I prefer down, as the stay is more stable, in my experience. However, the principle is the same.

What About Using E-Collars?

Using an E-collar might seem the easiest way to correct a dog. Some people view it as a way to add consistency to your training, ruling misbehavior out. And it might be a perfect tool for that; however, in my opinion, it’s also a dangerous tool.

I live in Denmark where E-collars are forbidden. You can’t buy them, and you are not allowed to use them. Why? Because many people don’t know how to use this kind of collar, so they use it wrong and hurt the dog. Although I don’t agree with the ban, I understand why they issued it.

This collar will, if not used properly, hurt your dog and on top of this, it can form a behavior you don’t want. None of us want to hurt our dogs. And it is perfectly clear to me that you should not use the collar if you are inexperienced or don’t have a plan for how to do it. But if you are allowed and if you study hard on how to use it, it might be a tool worth considering.

Not knowing enough about them, I have read about using an E-collar. And if you are considering using an E-collar, I’ll strongly recommend you read the book “Everything You Need to Know About E-Collar Training” by Larry Krohn, at the least. If you want to use this tool, you need to know exactly what you are doing. So read, study and ask a professional, if at all possible, don’t just read the instructions on the package. I don’t get a commission for recommending the book by Larry Krohn, but I feel that he sees both the good and the bad about the tool. So, if I was to use this tool, I would seek out someone like Larry Krohn to teach me how to use it.

In Denmark, you can buy collars with sent to make the dog stop barking. I’ve never tried these, but when the dog barks, they release a small scented spray to distract the dog to stop barking. I live in the country and have had no use for this, but I can see the value if you live in the city. However, I’m no fan of stopping dogs from communicating and this is easy said, living where I do.

Also, you can buy collars that vibrate and make noise you can control from a distance. However, I fail to see how it will correct a dog and tell her no. So, please help me to understand if any of you have tried this.

What Not to Do When Training Your Dog

You must never hit your dog. Never kick or abuse your dog or use force. It will destroy your relationship. Your dog will feel insecure and will fear you. This means that she’ll hide from you and run away when she can. And when she can not run away, she’ll turn to what reactions left when afraid and insecure – aggression.

Beating a dog is not disciplining or teaching her anything. Instead, you’re showing the dog that you should be seen as a source of pain. So, never, ever do this.

How to keep your dog on the right track

To make sure your dog stays on the right track and stay well-mannered I suggest you use your daily walk to confirm your leadership. Of course, the backbone of my training methods are still the same: The dog must make a choice herself. Going for our walks I don’t want to tell her what to do all the time. As always, I prefer she uses her head, doing what she thinks is right, and then I influence this choice by responding accordingly.

So during our walks, I start out having her attention. This sounds quite simple but if you have ever had a dog who loves her walk you know it is far from simple 🙂

I need my dog to focus on me and I use many tricks to get there. However, the most effective is just standing still, waiting for her to calm down. If you do this always she’ll soon know to calm down every time you stop. 

This is probably the most effective, non-violent way to get your dog to focus. And when she is focused we can start our walk.

As I see it the daily walk is the best way to remind your dog to stay focused and pay attention to you. If you want to learn more about how to teach your puppy or your dog to walk nicely on the leash you’ll find more on this important topic here. 

The Right Mindset

How to Discipline a Dog: 5 Non-Violent, Actionable Tips to Try - How would you like to train your dog in a well thought through way, ensuring both your rewards and your corrections leave you with an obedient dog? And yet, your partnership would be unbroken and your dog even happier about you. Read at

So now you know how to react both to good and not so good behavior from your dog. What’s absolutely important for this to succeed is your mindset. Having the right mindset as a trainer plays a major role in ensuring your dog training success.

In a way, training is a lot like life. You need to keep a cool head because life is going to throw both big successes and heartbreaking setbacks your way. You can’t control what happens to you, but you can control how to react to things.

And it’s almost the same in dog and dog training. So, it’s vital that you know that you can and you will experience setbacks, as well as successes. This will make it easier for you to remind yourself that dog training is a marathon, not a sprint. Also, it will help you focus on the big picture, which leads us to the next point.

Training is a Process: Look for Progress, not Perfection

Dog training is a journey you are on, not a destination. It’s a process in which your dog gets better and better, but it might not happen in a straight line. As you probably know from learning new things yourself, it’s hard in the beginning, so you might fail once in a while. It doesn’t matter as long as you’re still getting better over time.

Instead of looking for perfection, look for progress. Be ready to go back a bit to be able to move forward. I know this can cause frustration for two main reasons:

First of all, teaching a dog new behaviors, especially complex behaviors such as loose leash walking means you‘ll have to break down the overall goal into mini-behaviors that build on top of each other.

An example of this with loose leash walking is teaching your dog to pay attention to you while walking, staying on your left side, and that pulling the lead does not cause the walk to go faster. Making sure each of these mini-behaviors is solidly in place requires a lot of repetition before you go on to the next mini-behavior to build on what your dog has already learned.

What you’ll discover is that every so often your dog, concentrating on the new mini-behavior, suddenly does not master the old skill. This is normal. So, go back and do the old exercise a couple of times before moving on again. And, always remember that your dog does the best she can. So, accept her needs for repetitions and going back to a known exercise once in a while.

Second of all, the fact that your dog’s learning is not linear makes it tough to judge your progress. But, all you have to do is be patient, calm and consistent.

If you’d like a visual presentation that goes even more in-depth I’d also recommend this workshop by Dr. Alexa Diaz (PHD).


A Piece of Final Advice: Never Train When You’re in a Terrible Mood

And finally, be honest with yourself. If you are in a terrible mood, don’t attempt to train your dog. If you are feeling upset with something, you could transfer these feelings to your dog, especially if she does not behave perfectly. In this situation, it’s important that you don’t train because you exaggerate your reactions.

Actually, it is much better not to react than to respond too harshly and lose your dog’s trust. So, if you are feeling upset, spend time with your dog, it might lighten your mood. But don’t train her. As we have just talked about, training is a long process and can sometimes be a frustrating one. Make sure to only work at it at times where you are ready for this bumpy ride.

The Best Way to Discipline a Dog: Summing It Up


How to Discipline a Dog: 5 Non-Violent, Actionable Tips to Try - How would you like to train your dog in a well thought through way, ensuring both your rewards and your corrections leave you with an obedient dog? And yet, your partnership would be unbroken and your dog even happier about you. Read at

In short, it is completely up to you to make your dog a well-behaved member of your family. And you can do that by rewarding the good behavior and ignoring or keeping your dog away from what’s not.

The key to success is to make a plan. Think before you train. Know how to respond to whatever might happen and be conscious to respond at the precise right moment. Also, remember to be curious and keep on learning.

The better the trainer, the better the dog.

Will You Help Me?

I’m curious and would love for you to place a comment below if you have found value in this article and also if you have improvements. So, please let me know and please share if you like my blog posts

Thank you 🙂


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  1. Shirley Nielsen

    November 9, 2018 at 2:28 pm

    Once again I must thank you for all the great info you have provided I find that my Dog Bear is coming along pretty good still have some issue with his jumping up but now that I know what to do thanks to you I sure I will have a better chance at of resoling this problem. Thank You

    • Lene Kaufmann

      November 10, 2018 at 6:27 am

      I’m glad you find value in my articles. Please get back to me if Bear keeps on jumping up, we’ll solve it together. Thank you so much for your feedback 🙂

  2. Kate

    November 13, 2018 at 5:01 pm

    Very informative and compassionate advice. Thanks.

    • Lene Kaufmann

      November 15, 2018 at 8:05 am

      Thank you so much for letting me know 🙂

  3. Joanne Gill

    November 30, 2018 at 2:43 pm

    Really useful information thanks. I had learned some of these tips simply through trial and error, but you have set out all the dos and don’ts really clearly. Most important was the rationale on why to do or not do something, as you may be inadvertently reinforcing an unwanted behaviour.

    • Lene Kaufmann

      December 4, 2018 at 5:27 pm

      Thank you so much for your feedback, I’m so glad you found value in this 🙂

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About Me

My name is Lene Kaufmann and one of my biggest passions in life is dogs and dog training. I’m a professional dog trainer, having personal offline courses in Denmark where I live, as well as writing this blog, making online courses and online coaching to help train puppies and puppy owners all over the world. My training philosophy is using positive choice based training methods to make your puppy regard you as the most important in life. I believe that dogs can be the greatest source of happiness and fulfillment, and it all starts by building the right foundation with your young puppy. I would love to help you do this!