Tag Archives: animal behavior college

Professional Dog Trainer and Behavior Analyst – How To Become A Pet Care Provider

Join The DogSmith® Team and become:

A Professional Dog Trainer & Behavior Analyst, plus the skills to be:

  • A Professional Pet Care Provider
  • A Member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers
  • A Certified Dog Trainer An AKC “CGC” Evaluator A Business Owner
  • A Pet Nutrition Expert

The DogSmith ® Offers Unrivaled Pet Care!

We Provide:

  1. On-site training in learning theory
  2. Unlimited one-on-one training & business support The Dogsmith® marketing program and tactical plan Weekly marketing support and accountability calls Weekly financial training and support
  3. Peer group support from the DogSmith team
  4. Purchasing system
  5. Website, toll free call access & business management software
  6. Continuing educational units for DogSmiths
  7. Web seminars
  8. Media and Public Relations support
  9. Practical Dog Training Skills

FREE consultation and no obligation

Call Our Franchise Development Manager Now!

1-888-364-7648   www.DogSmith.com

Become a Better Dog Trainer by Understanding Canine Motivation

The study of motivation concerns why dogs do what they do. Motivation can be described as the direction and persistence of action. Common characteristics of motivation are typified as an individual phenomenon and are usually described as intentional and multifaceted. The purpose of motivational theories is to help predict behavior.

Motivation is the driving force within a dog that causes them to attempt to achieve a goal. Performance can be described as the result of the dog’s ability and its motivation, if a dog has ability and no motivation then it will not exhibit a behavior. Alternatively if the dog is motivated and lacking the skill then this also restricts the performance of a behavior. The dog’s level of motivation is also affected by its emotional state given the context it finds itself in. A dog’s emotional state and its feelings will facilitate or inhibit motivation. The key canine need and thus the drive that motivates the dog, is the need to survive, not just as an individual but as a species. 

If a dog’s motivational drive is blocked before reaching a desired goal there are two possible sets of outcomes. One outcome is the constructive approach. This approach would result in a dog problem solving. The dog will attempt other avenues or behaviors to achieve the desired goal. The second outcome is frustration behavior. Frustration behavior will result in aggression, regression, fixation or withdrawal. Dogs that have had a positive learning and reinforcement history are more likely to attempt a constructive behavior approach when their motivational drive is blocked rather than reverting to aggression, regression or withdrawal.

There are several factors that influence the level of frustration a dog may experience when you are training them. The level of frustration they experience is dependent on the level of need the dog has to perform the skill, the degree of attachment the dog has to the goal and the strength of the dog’s motivation. If a dog’s motivation is blocked the level of frustration exhibited will also be dependent on the perceived nature of the blocking component and the personality of the dog.

As dog trainers it is important that we effectively structure our training sessions to prevent high levels of frustration developing. We need to supply ample amounts of reinforcement, communicate effectively with the dog, encourage their participation and understand their individual perception of the learning environment. A professional dog trainer will moderate the task difficulty and take personal responsibility to ensure that behaviors are tested before moving to new, more difficult behavior criteria. A professional dog trainer will also give clean and unambiguous feedback to the dog they are training and the trainer will use innovation in their training approach to ensure the dog is continually challenged at an appropriate level given their skill and motivation levels.

In summary, the underlying concept of “motivation” is where some driving force within the dog, by which they attempt to achieve a goal in order to fulfill a need or expectation. To become effective and efficient dog trainers we need to recognize the importance of using appropriate rewards during the learning stage of each behavior, clear directions and effective, fair and humane training procedures. As dog trainers we need to use clear, concise communication systems with consistent verbal cues, physical prompts and lures so that we minimize undesirable outcomes.

We also need to train dogs in an environment that facilitates them moving into a constructive approach and not a frustration approach when their motivation drive is blocked. When dogs move into a problem solving scenario we have the opportunity to capture, shape and develop some very neat behaviors.

Dog Training Philosophy and Methodology- What it takes to be a Professional Dog Trainer

Welcome to the DogSmith and an overview of our training philosophies and methodologies. If you are embarking on a dog training career or if you just want to further educate yourself and your dog then you are about to commence a fascinating journey into the world of interspecies communication. What exactly does that mean?  Well, to train dogs we first need to understand how to communicate with them.  As we all know, we speak human and they speak dog.  We are primates and they are canines. Of course the other side of the communication coin is that we need to understand how they communicate with us using their bodies and vocal tones. In addition, we need to understand what they are physically capable of doing and of course we need to understand what motivates them.  To motivate a dog to do something it is physically capable of doing we need to accept that dogs are a predator and an opportunist and every behavior they display is designed to support their survival.  There are millions of dogs in the world.  Biologists consider the canine species, because of their numbers, to be hugely successful. There are more dogs than wolves and there are more dogs than almost any other animal so domestication has been a critical component of their success.  Yet domestication means dogs rely on us for much of their needs.  We humans are in a position of control and power in relation to our dogs and we are necessary for their ongoing wellbeing and survival. 


If we put all of this together then the only thing stopping us from training dogs to do anything they are physically capable of doing is the training mechanics employed and our personal training approach, methodology and training philosophy.   As with everything else in life, there are many ways to train dogs ranging from whatever the current fad is to scientifically researched and proven techniques. Methods range in their effectiveness as well.  Some methods are inhumane, cruel and abusive while others are just plain ineffective. At The DogSmith we work toward a world where people and their pets live together to the mutual benefit of each and where, by our efforts, we can significantly reduce the number of unwanted pets and provide abused, neglected, and abandoned pets an opportunity to find their “forever home”.  Our mission exists to enhance the lives of pets and their owners by improving their relationship and the quality of the life they share through:

1)      Providing professional support and training to pet dog owners,

2)      Supporting and assisting animal shelters and rescue organizations to minimize the number of unwanted animals, and

3)       Offering affordable and professional care to family pets so that pet ownership is never a burden.

Our vision and mission is guided by some very stringent values. First, we seek to do no harm.  Secondly, we emphasize a ‘holistic’ approach to pet care by attending to the physical, emotional, and environmental well being of all pets and, thirdly, each DogSmith  will support, through its  deeds, efforts and sponsorship, animal shelters and rescue organizations to promote and implement the “no kill” animal philosophy.


How did the DogSmith training methodology and training philosophy evolve? Having spent considerable time researching and studying psychology while working with pet dogs and their owners, we recognized that dogs learn in two ways. The first way dogs learn is from their environment (acquisition learning).  This type of learning is going on all the time.   In the ‘pet dog world’ examples of this include learning that takes place in and around the home on a daily basis whether under supervision or not, at the dog park, at their day care or when they are out and about with their owners.  Dogs do what works for them and what brings them rewards in their daily life. It is not hard to imagine how dogs pick up and develop unwanted behaviors when owners unknowingly and repeatedly reinforce the wrong behaviors exhibited by their dog.  The other way dogs learn is in a formalized learning environment such as a dog training class or during periods when you specifically work with your dog to train them on a particular skill or task. This learning is more structured and formal. This is learning derived from education rather than from the accumulation of experience. With formalized learning the pet dogs are  involved and active in the learning process. 

 Because we at The DogSmith recognize that dogs learn in two ways, we found it necessary to develop our MTR approach to Dog Training. This is a tool that guides us in our approach to helping pet dog owners with their four legged family members. MTR© refers to the three critical and key components of learning: Management of the dog and their environment, Training with the dog and the dog’s owner and the Relationship that a owner and their pet dog share.  It would be pointless to invest in dog obedience classes with a pet dog if the dog is then left unsupervised to pick up bad habits from its environment.  Alternatively, it is not possible to train and manage a dog’s environment correctly if the relationship between dog and owner is lacking trust and mutual respect.

The DogSmith approach to the actual training and the philosophy that drives our methodology is the DogSmith ARRF© methodology. The ARRF© methodology of dog training and behavior modification was developed by The DogSmith  Training Center and provides the most effective training system possible for the pet dog and its owner.  By understanding and using the most current scientific learning principles applied to pet dog training, The DogSmith ensures that learning will be humane, effective, reliable, fun and easy.  DogSmith Trainers are skilled at developing objective learning criteria, applying positive reinforcement and establishing training guidelines to ensure desired behaviors are frequently practiced in a variety of contexts. Most importantly, DogSmith Trainers fully engage pet dogs and their owners in the learning process by creating a fun and highly motivating environment ensuring active participation is sustained by both students (dog and human). ARRF© stands for

A = Active Involvement. Active involvement in the learning process is critical. When the student is actively participating, rather than passively observing, greater learning takes place.  This applies to both the dog and its owner.

R = Repetition. Newly acquired skills need to be repeated frequently in a variety of contexts to ensure they are robust. This means the skills you and your dog learn will be effective everywhere. Frequent repetition in various scenarios ensures the skill is truly ‘owned’ so the student can not only generalize its behaviors in new situations but can also discriminate when appropriate.

R = Reward. Positive reinforcements, in the form of rewards for accomplishing skills successfully, are far more effective to ensure learning takes place. Rewards such as food and toys are then quickly replaced by life rewards, such as attention and petting, when behaviors are under cue control.  

F = Finite Objectives. Clearly defined and attainable objectives make it clear to student and instructor what is to be learned and taught. With clear objectives the student and instructor can easily recognize when a particular skill has been mastered and during the process we ‘train – test –train’ to ensure our objectives are met.

The DogSmith does not condone or use harsh corrective training methods that seek to only punish unwanted behaviors rather than reinforce suitable and searched for behaviors. When we address behavioral problems we use functional assessments to identify the drivers of the unwanted behavior and then work with sound scientific principles to modify inappropriate responses.  We do not use flooding techniques that further suppress behavioral problems or accelerate learned helplessness. These methods are in direct conflict with our vision, mission and values. We believe that “violence begins where knowledge ends” and we recognize that coercion has major consequences that our not conducive to the relationship we believe people want with their pet dogs.

At the other end of the training continuum,  The DogSmith also recognizes that training  methods that use food and only food with no plan to remove the food lure early on in the training process can be as ineffective, though not as damaging or as harsh, as compulsion training methods.  The DogSmith methodology addresses this by replacing food lures and reinforcement with play, petting and motivational dog toys early in the training process.

For more information on the DogSmith Training philosophy and methodology you can contact the DogSmith Training Center at 1-888-Dog-Smith or to find a local DogSmith visit www.888DogSmith.com. Copyright Niki Tudge 2009