What and How I Teach

I teach using positive reinforcement. Early on, the reinforcers are often food. As behaviors are learned, and you learn to gauge what your dog finds truly reinforcing, you will learn to use a wider variety of reinforcers.

I have formal education and certification in how animals learn. I can teach you to get behavior you want and how to reduce behavior you don't want using positive reinforcement.  

When teaching a new behavior, I usually use an "event marker." An event marker is a distinct signal that helps the dog understand precisely what he did right and why he's getting that treat. One such marker is a little plastic noisemaker called a clicker. If use of the clicker is used precisely and always predicts something the dog finds reinforcing, it may reduce the number of repetitions needed to learn a behavior (PDF) and speed training. Once a behavior is learned, you don't need the clicker to maintain it.


Some of the main advantages of an event marker are that you can:
  (a) Use plenty of food for reinforcement without ever having to show the dog the food first;
  (b) Quickly take advantage of the many behaviors your dog actually already knows how to do (sit, lie down, stand, turn, wait, be quiet) to get him to do them when you ask or even under other environmental conditions;
  (c) Bridge the gap between the behavior and the reinforcer even when you are working away from the dog;
  (d) Help the dog understand very fine points of training.

Learning to use a clicker can also help a novice learn about the good timing necessary for effective training. 

I break down complex behaviors into small, achievable steps for both dog and owner—a proven way of keeping both of you engaged in and enjoying training and moving steadily toward your goals.

I train people. I want you to know how to communicate with your dog, and problem-solve after I leave.  

For more about how I teach, please check out my index of training articles