Being Nice to Your Dog is Good Science!

All living things thrive on positive feedback – people, dolphins and very importantly, your dog! Positive training for companion animals is fast becoming the preferred method of dog training. One of non-aversive dog training's most prominent advocates, The Journal of Veterinary Behavior (2006) in their article, "Good Trainers: How to Identify One",  recommends dog-friendly dog training because it is effective, humane and leads to the lasting behavior you’ve been working so hard to achieve with your dog. To get started, reward the behaviors you would like to see repeated, and ignore, prevent or manage the behaviors you’d rather not have repeated. In addition to short training sessions, pay close attention to your dog’s behavior and actively identify and reward the behaviors you like that she already does on her own, such as Sit or Down. Behavior can be "captured" in this way.

Positive does not mean permissive, however, so remember to set some household rules, draw boundaries, establish routines and make it all doable for your dog by being consistent.

How are you being a "Good Trainer" with your dog? We'd love to hear from you!

Linda Michaels, “Dog Psychologist,” MA, and Victoria Stilwell-licensed Del Mar dog trainer and speaker may be reached at 858.259.WOOF (9663) or by email: [email protected] for private obedience instruction and behavioral consultations near Del Mar and the San Diego Coast. Please visit us at
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Positively Expert: Linda Michaels, MA

Linda Michaels is a VSPDT trainer, dog training columnist, and owner of Dog Psychologist On Call in Del Mar, CA. Linda holds a Master’s Degree in Psychology with research experience in Behavioral Neurobiology. She is a Behavioral Advisor for the Wolf Education Project (WEP) in Julian, CA and Art for Barks in Rancho Santa Fe, CA.


4 thoughts on “Being Nice to Your Dog is Good Science!

  1. Haapa

    I started to write a comment but it became quite long. Instead of publishing it here in the comments I published it in my blog at

    In short our training methods are working together in the same ways, exercising enough, praising the dog and give her treats when she does good, be patient, punish with “gentle punishment” like isolating, ignoring, distracting and and saying no, and familiarize her with new things like sounds with a gentle and safe ways. We don’t do much “formal training” or have “training sessions”, the training is continuous part of our everyday life. As a result we have a dog who is alert, loyal and trusts us, is a great traveler (she sleeps in trains and buses) and is friendly to everyone who she meets. I’m pretty happy with her and she seems happy too.

  2. sherry

    i have to pits one is 2 half years old one is 1 year old i need help on how to tran them but cant aford to take them to some one they are loveing but need help with everthing eles will you be comeing to dauphin pa any time soon please i need your help thank you and keep up the good work you do love your show

  3. Renee

    I agree that positive reinforcement is the way to go! I actually have a blog going about being a first time dog owner. Many people do not realize what they are getting into when they adopt their first pup, so in my blog I am talking about what it has been like owning my first put, and the importance of training, and positive reinforcement!! A happy dog makes for a tired dog 🙂 Take a look at my blog if you get a chance. I appreciate any comments and feedback. Be it from personal experience or maybe someone you know has shared a story with you!
    Thank you Victoria for all of the help you've given me! Your show has helped me and my wild and crazy pup Willie!! 🙂

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