The K9 Companion class began as an entry level training course for dogs that are 6 months or older. The concepts, however, can be used for all ages of dogs including puppies. The class introduces you to reward-based training techniques that will help you communicate to your dog a basic vocabulary of commands and will strengthen the bond you have with your dog to help make him or her a better house companion. Please review all the weeks because information in latter weeks make be useful immediately. Certainly there are various sequences in which the exercises may be taught and you should do what works best for you and your K9 Companion.

Adding NO in your Training


Have you ever had your dog look at you when you tell him to sit and then watch as he trots off to play with another dog or chase that squirrel? What your dog is really saying to you is, “I don’t think I’ll listen to you this time and what’s over there is way more interesting than you are’!

We’ve been positively training our dogs by luring them into position, marking that behavior with YES and rewarding with a treat. But there comes a time when we encounter willful disobedience and if you’re counting on "all positive" training to inhibit a dog's natural predatory behavior, for example chasing a rabbit, you’re likely to be disappointed, and your dog may be in jeopardy.

For several thousand years, people have been saying NO to tell a dog what not to do. Most of the time, the words are wasted and the dog continues to do the wrong thing. The primary reason for this lack of response is that it is not natural for a human to bark out the word NO BEFORE the actual punishment is applied. However, unless the word NO comes first, the dog will have trouble making the required association between the signal and the punishment. Once this association is made, NO acts like a negative YES, to identify which behaviors should be avoided.

Before you pass over the last paragraph, please be aware that probably 95% of people who attempt this process initially screw it up. That's because they say NO at the same instant they start moving to apply the actual punishment - or worse, they start moving BEFORE they say NO. If this happens, the dog will simply pay attention to movement and will never really learn the meaning of NO. So, when you say NO, repeat your full name, inside your head, before you move a muscle. In some applications, you may have to reduce this time-gap, but the main point is that the word must come first.

If It Doesn't Work:

No person is capable of knowing everything about behavior. If you apply punishment and it doesn't stop the behavior within three or four attempts - stop using it, there is something wrong. This is the time to reexamine your methods and whether your decision to use punishment was correct. Continuing to apply punishment without any noticeable change in the dog's behavior isn't training, it's abuse.

Last, but not least - you aren't finished until the dog's tail is wagging again. Every time NO is used make sure that you end on a positive note. If you’re heeling and expect attention and the dog looks away, say NO, pause, correct, the dog responds, YES and reward!!