Training Fundamentals Part 9: Rewarding your dog

9.) Rewarding our dog Now that we know how to motivate our dogs, let’s get to the rewarding part: The reward! One of the fundamental concepts behind positive training methods is that you want your dog to learn that it can get to a reward by voluntarily changing its behavior. When we see the desired behavior, we reward our dog. That sounds very simple, but there is a catch… Chances […]


Training Fundamentals Part 8: Motivating your dog

8.) Motivating our dog. Nothing goes without motivation. If you would not be motivated, would you get up at 7:00 a.m. in the morning and rush to work so you can spend the rest of your day in the office? For most of us, a paycheck is a very good motivation. The same principle applies to your dog even though his concept of a paycheck is somewhat different… Our dog’s […]


Training Fundamentals Part 7: How dogs learn

7.) How dogs learn Dogs change their behavior due to experience. What this essentially means is that dogs repeat behaviors that are pleasant or rewarding while avoiding behaviors that are unpleasant or painful. Studies with dogs in controlled environments have shown that it takes approximately 20 to 25 repetitions until a dog consistently remembered a trained behavior. The number of repetitions needed by dogs that are a lot more emotionally involved […]


Training Fundamentals Part 6: Communicating with your dog

6.) Communicating with our dog With a basic understanding of our dog’s postures and signals, it is time to get into how we can actually communicate with our dog. Dogs use a variety of signals to communicate with each other and this also applies to their interaction with humans. When we speak to our dog, he is not actually listening to our words, but he is paying close to the […]


Training Fundamentals Part 4: Underdogs

4.) Underdogs Fearful dogs with behavioral problems can be as dangerous as out-of-control alpha-dogs. This is especially true if small children are involved. If you are visiting this website and your dog is generally distrustful and afraid, there are a number of things you can do. First and foremost, if your dog has already bitten either you or someone in your family AND your dog has the physical ability to overpower […]


Training Fundamentals Part 3: Dominant dogs

3.) Dominant dogs If you are visiting this website because your dog displays some of the typical alpha-dog attitude (regardless of whether it truly belongs in the dominant category or not), you may be already in trouble. It is a lot more difficult to regain your position as pack leader in your family than it is to establish and maintain it in the first place. Some dogs are naturally born […]


Training Fundamentals Part 2: Pack Theory

2.) Pack Theory – or how our dog fits in. Dogs don’t practice democracy. Dogs are pack animals just like their ancestor the wolf. A pack is a social structure where some pack members rank above and, with the exception of the pack leader, below others. Your dog views your family as his pack. Generally, members of a pack fall into the following, basic hierarchy: Dominant dogs: Very headstrong dogs […]


Training Fundamentals Part 1: All Dogs are Different.

1.) All Dogs are Different. Let me start with a short story: Back in the days when my parents allowed me to get my first dog, I bought a nine weeks old German shepherd puppy from a reputable Kennel in Karlsruhe in southern Germany. Since the City of Karlsruhe is an eight hour drive away from my hometown in the north, I only had a few hours to select my […]


Training Fundamentals Part 5: Your dog's language

5.) Understanding your dog’s language. Just like in wolf packs, most of the communication between dogs happens on a non-verbal basis. Visual (facial expressions, gestures and body language), tactile (nudging and touching) and olfactory (smell) communication plays a much more important role for dogs than it does for humans. For example, dogs are able to utilize just their tail for ten different signals. Breeds like German shepherds, Rottweiler and Malamutes […]