What qualities make a good trainer? We’ve all seen someone who makes training a dog look simple and effortless. What is it about these trainers that sets them apart?

  • Good trainers reinforce correct responses rather than punish incorrect ones.
  • Good trainers raise criteria gradually.
  • Good trainers split behaviour into tiny slices instead of trying to teach large complex lumps.
  • Good trainers learn to observe what the dogs are doing and how they are responding.
  • Good trainers are prepared to go back a step or two if the dog is not succeeding.
  • Good trainers keep their rate of reinforcement high in the early stages of learning and are careful about the timing of their responses.
  • Good trainers consistently give the dog feedback.
  • Good trainers know that undesirable behaviour only happens because it has, in some way been reinforced, either inadvertently by themselves or members of their families, or by something in the dog’s environment.

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