Dog Training 101

Course No. 9418
Dog Trainer Jean Donaldson, Founder & Principal Instructor of the Academy for Dog Trainers
Academy for Dog Trainers
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26 Reviews
96% of reviewers would recommend this product
Course No. 9418
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What Will You Learn?

  • Discover which action patterns-instinctual behaviors built around fight, flight, feeding, and reproducing-your dog has inherited for its own survival and what makes unlearning" them so challenging."
  • Learn why many training approaches are not successful and debunk common "pack status" myths.
  • Look at common modern psychological practices such as B.F. Skinner's operant conditioning and Pavlov's emotional manipulation to build conditioned responses.

Course Overview

There are so many books out there about “successful” dog-training techniques, methods, and schools. The amount of information can be overwhelming, and, to make it worse, it’s often contradictory.

Give your dog compliments and positive reinforcement. Show your dog who is boss. Whisper. Talk loudly and sternly. Use clickers. Use your hands. Reward with treats. Never use treats.

We love our dogs and we want to do right by them. While there are numerous benefits to owners in having a well-behaved, obedient dog, there are surprising benefits to the dog as well—one of which is the potential of a significant improvement in both the quality and length of your dog’s life. Good training is enriching, mentally stimulating, and gives them a sense of control over their environment. But how do we know which training path to take when there is so much conflicting advice? How do we make sure we’re not doing more harm than good?

You will come out of this course knowing how to teach your dog the most commonly desired obedience actions; understand the complicated and fascinating world of dog behavior; grasp the fundamentals of dog communication; and have a strong foundation in the principles that underlie modern dog training philosophies. You’ll learn how dogs learn, act, react, and connect, opening the door to better interactions and a new world of trust between you and your dog.

Training by a Trainer

They say if you give a man a fish, he eats for a day, but if you teach a man to fish, he eats for a lifetime. This course teaches you techniques, training you how to train dogs with the basics, but opening doors to train for more advanced behaviors.

The benefits from learning from a trainer of trainers are numerous. Rather than focusing on one training method and hoping for the best, Professor Donaldson has worked with numerous approaches, so she is well aware of the frustrations and concerns that come with the trendy training methods—especially since many of them are based on old “pack status” assumptions that have been debunked. Instead, Professor Donaldson has honed a data-driven technique that has been validated by current behavior science. By taking a holistic approach and grounding her methodology in current research around how dogs think and react, you get a unique and accessible approach that works for both you and your dog.

Professor Donaldson is positive and encouraging, reassuring you the whole time that training may not go perfectly. Some lectures may need to be reviewed and repeated as you learn how best your dog will learn. As a bonus, she also helped create the guidebook for this course, which will give you detailed training plans for all the behaviors once you’ve gone through the course.


How animals learn is one of the most studied phenomena in the history of cognitive science, and yet how to apply these learnings is not always clear cut. Much like humans, dogs carry embedded instincts and rich memories—from their evolution and the inherent drive for survival, to getting scolded for something they did but didn’t understand a mere week ago.

As Professor Donaldson notes, when you are training, you need to be cognizant of what came before you. There are “big ticket” action patterns—instinctual behaviors built around fight, flight, feeding, and reproducing—that your dog has inherited for its own survival.

Dogs descended from a wolf-like animal with a standard predatory sequence. Through that sequence, we can recognize behaviors in our modern-day companions:

  • Search: Usually olfactory-based, this might involve trailing a prey item for hours or even days. Those neurotic or “OCD” dogs who won’t stop chasing a tennis ball are simply working from hard-wired instincts.
  • Stalk: A stealthy approach where the dog remains as close as possible to a prey item to increase the likelihood of acquisition and to reduce the energy expended with chasing. This provides some insight as to why your dog always seems to be under your feet—especially at feeding times.
  • Rushing and biting: This is typically not a “go-for-the-throat” approach you might see with big cats who hunt. Group-hunting canids will use rushing and biting to wear a large prey down, which may be why modern dogs sometimes nip.
  • Killing and eating: From an evolutionary standpoint, dogs don’t see a massive distinction between beginning to feed and an animal dying—once the prey is no longer fighting or fleeing, eating begins. Therefore, we often see dogs practice the application of a clean dispatch via pressure or the “grab and shake” with toys, ropes, or other items they find.

Modifying these can be difficult and it’s even more frustrating to teach your dog to overcome these instincts altogether, but you can also learn how to use them as a baseline for your training regimen. Professor Donaldson layers in modern psychological practices such as B.F. Skinner’s operant conditioning and Pavlov’s emotional manipulation to build conditioned responses in order to create a positive environment of action and reward, motivating your dog to overcome his instincts and to adopt the behaviors you want to instill.

Sit. Stay. Learn.

In addition to the insights that you’ll gain about how your dog thinks and behaves, you’ll learn practical tips to master the basic obedience practices. Dog Training 101 is rooted with training behaviors “in,” which means instilling behaviors such as:

  • sit
  • wait
  • come
  • proper walking on a leash

However, for those of you who have dogs with established bad habits, you’ll also explore training behaviors “out,” which means uprooting unwanted behaviors including:

  • chewing (the wrong things)
  • eliminating in the wrong places
  • excessive barking
  • territorialism

Lastly, you’ll learn tips and tricks to help build a sense of trust between you and your dog that will open the door to advanced training techniques and a better relationship. These include:

  • heel
  • sit pretty
  • distance drop
  • techniques for sitting during teeth brushing, eye drops, and other care
  • crating

Professor Donaldson relies on the human ability to learn through observation and packs the course full of active demonstrations, so you can see how to put the lessons into practice as well as plans you can take with you once you’ve learned the basics of the training.

With Professor Donaldson by your side providing invaluable insights, these step-by-step, field tested training plans will teach you how to become a competent trainer, able to teach any dog—young or old, of any breed or variety—basic obedience, troubleshoot training problems, solve common behavior problems, and more accurately interpret behavior. Once you and your dog have finished this course, you’ll each have a better understanding of and a stronger relationship with your best friend.

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24 lectures
 |  31 minutes each
  • 1
    The Principles of Dog Training
    Get an introduction to the importance of training dogs, both for owners and the dogs themselves. Through some powerful analogies, Professor Donaldson will put you in the mindset of your dog to show you why certain training methods don't work and others do. Learn the three key principles of dog training that will provide the foundation for every lesson moving forward. She'll also recommend some important tools to have on hand. x
  • 2
    Getting the Behavior: Training Mechanics
    Dig into the “software your dog comes bundled with” and discover how common psychological practices can help us train dogs to overcome their instinctual behaviors. Professor Donaldson defines terms you’ll be using throughout the training such as prompting, capturing, and shaping. Master the first basic obedience commands: sit and down. x
  • 3
    Getting the Behavior: Sit and Down
    Professor Donaldson provides alternatives for dogs who have trouble with sit and down. She then continues with fundamental obedience through recall, or coming when called, using classical—or Pavlovian—conditioning. She’ll also review the importance of choosing and using the appropriate verbal cues. x
  • 4
    Getting the Behavior: Prompting and Premack
    Get some valuable reassurance and reinforcements about continuing your training in a consistent manner as you take on the challenge of getting your dog to go down from a sit, down from a stand, sit from a down, and sit from a stand. You'll also tackle station and watch and evolve your recall from Pavlovian (rewards) to Premack (positive reinforcement). x
  • 5
    Getting the Behavior: Verbal Cues
    Reinforce the same obedience behaviors your dog has already learned but move from verbal cues to hand signals. Professor Donaldson will also introduce toggling to help your dog avoid getting stuck in a behavior pattern. x
  • 6
    Understanding Your Dog's Behavior
    Professor Donaldson reveals the fascinating evolution of dogs that provides insight into why dogs do many of the things they do. This foundation gives you the background to help train, or un-train, certain actions. You'll uncover fight/flight instincts, canine social structure, courtship and reproductive behaviors, and the characteristics and styles of dog play. x
  • 7
    Impulse Control: Leave It, Wait, Leash Walking
    One of the best ways to curb instincts in your dog is to instill impulse control. Professor Donaldson teaches you how to teach dogs to cool their jets with sit-stay, down-stay, leave it, wait, and loose leash walking. She'll also cover the three most important parameters in down-stay and sit-stay: distraction, distance, and duration. x
  • 8
    Impulse Control: Increasing Generalization
    Take your first set of impulse control trainings to the next level by adding in distractions and increasing the distance or duration. Professor Donaldson also provides some alternatives if you find the loose leash walk to be challenging. x
  • 9
    Impulse Control: Deepening Obedience
    Building on the previous two lessons, expand the impulse control techniques even further with more difficult distraction, distance, and duration challenges. x
  • 10
    Impulse Control: Cold Trials and Finishing
    By now your dog is figuring out that “good things come to those who wait” and is starting to work on impulse control without being told. At this point in training, your dog has also figured out that obedience is The Strategy to get what he wants. This empowering realization means your dog understands he can take charge and control the situation to get the outcome he wants, overcoming some of the basic instincts that used to guide his behaviors. x
  • 11
    Fear and Aggression Prevention
    Professor Donaldson defines fear or aggression versus just being upset and teaches you how to recognize these traits in dogs. She outlines the five mechanisms that drive fear and discusses a classification system that covers aggression to strangers, resource guarding, and intolerance of body handling, as well as suggestions for handling each behavior. x
  • 12
    Proofing Behavior across Contexts
    Start the proofing process, which means your dog will be proving he knows behaviors even in different conditions or environments. Professor Donaldson demonstrates how taking the same training regimen on the road can have different results and what to do to get over obstacles such as competing motivation, distractions, or problems with generalization. x
  • 13
    On the Road: Training in Public Spaces
    Professor Donaldson shows various techniques out in the field as she puts the wait command to the test at a dog park. Watch and learn as she adds in distraction, distance, and duration for more of a challenge. She provides valuable tips to help transition practicing the same lessons in an unfamiliar environment. x
  • 14
    Verbal Cues: Developing Discrimination
    Despite our best endeavors, dogs don’t understand our words—they guess. Learn how to overcome your dog’s attempt to guess what you want in order to get treats by recognizing and leveraging aggregate or cumulative reinforcement, recency, the order of events, or his own preferred behaviors. x
  • 15
    Tricks: Wave, Take a Bow, Spin, Heel
    Examine the difference between tricks and obedience. Explore why teaching tricks can be beneficial to your dog as you work through three types of trick training: non-transitive or simple actions, transitive, and behavior chains. By using the foundation of obedience training you've already established, you can teach old (and young) dogs new tricks. x
  • 16
    Tricks: Distance Drop, Frisk, Sit Pretty
    Professor Donaldson spends an entire lecture demonstrating how to train tricks including distance drop, fugitive frisk, and sit pretty. She explains that, from here, you can string these tricks together to make a chain of tricks, or use the same principles to train your dog to do any trick he is physically capable of doing. x
  • 17
    Building a Conditioned Emotional Response
    After a brief review of how respondent conditioning, also known as classical conditioning or Pavlovian conditioning, works, Professor Donaldson reveals tips for using this method to train your dog. She shares the rules for using conditioning and demonstrates how it works by conditioning a dog for having his teeth brushed. x
  • 18
    Husbandry: Handling and Object Conditioning
    Husbandry refers to the physical care we give our dogs such as feeding, grooming, health monitoring, medical care, and more. Professor Donaldson shows you how to use training to prep your dog for some of the aspects of care that he may not enjoy. x
  • 19
    Husbandry: Limb Handling and Toothbrushing
    Professor Donaldson helps you prepare your dog for unpleasant care, such as ear drops and working with their feet. In addition to helping your dog remain calm and allowing someone to examine his sensitive areas, this sort of exercise helps your dog learn to trust you. x
  • 20
    Puppies and Senior Dogs
    Contrary to the old cliché, you can teach old dogs new tricks—and new dogs old tricks. Professor Donaldson reviews the ages and stages of dog maturity and has tips for which training to start your puppies with and how to choose the right puppy socialization class. She provides insightful instructions on training older dogs as well, including how to consider any physical ailments they may have. x
  • 21
    Housetraining, Chewing, and Digging
    Professor Donaldson debunks a common myth about dog behavior. She discusses in depth the reasons dogs may have accidents and provides several ways to train your dog out of this behavior. She covers a number of techniques to curb common bad habits such as chewing and digging with distraction or alternatives. x
  • 22
    Crating and Alone Training
    There are many benefits to using a crate. They can aid in separation anxiety and give your dogs a place of their own to feel safe. Professor Donaldson demonstrates the benefits and reviews the options for choosing a crate and for getting your dog accustomed to one. x
  • 23
    Managing Barking
    Did you know there are five kinds of barking? Professor Donaldson examines the various reasons dogs bark and provides suggestions to train your dog out of this behavior. She also explains why this is one of the more frustrating areas to train, but by understanding the motivation for barking and applying consistent methods, you can more effectively and efficiently learn to work with ways to stop it. x
  • 24
    Training Challenges and Solutions
    When it comes to training, you must define what is keeping your dog from picking up what you are teaching; defining if your dog has what problems or why problems can alleviate frustration. Professor Donaldson explains how to motivate a dog and adjust your rate of reinforcement for these and a number of other common obstacles that may stand in his way. She also provides tips for transitioning out of training mode and into integrating what your dog has learned into common behaviors. x

Lecture Titles

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What's Included

What Does Each Format Include?

Video DVD
Video Download Includes:
  • Ability to download 24 video lectures from your digital library
  • Downloadable PDF of the course guidebook
  • FREE video streaming of the course from our website and mobile apps
Video DVD
DVD Includes:
  • 24 lectures on 4 DVDs
  • 248-page printed course guidebook
  • Downloadable PDF of the course guidebook
  • FREE video streaming of the course from our website and mobile apps
  • Closed captioning available

What Does The Course Guidebook Include?

Video DVD
Course Guidebook Details:
  • 248-page printed course guidebook
  • Photos and illustrations
  • Suggested reading
  • Training plans

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Your professor

Jean Donaldson

About Your Professor

Jean Donaldson, Founder & Principal Instructor of the Academy for Dog Trainers
Academy for Dog Trainers
Jean Donaldson is the founder and principal instructor of the Academy for Dog Trainers, which has trained and certified more than 700 trainers in evidence-based dog behavior, training, and private behavior counseling since 1999. Ms. Donaldson is a four-time winner of the Dog Writers Association of America’s Maxwell Medallion. Her books include The Culture Clash; Mine! A Practical Guide to Resource Guarding in Dogs; Fight!...
Learn More About This Professor


Dog Training 101 is rated 4.8 out of 5 by 26.
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Simply the best!!! This course covers EVERYTHING you need to learn and know about positive and systematic dog training! The training demonstrations, explanations on how dogs learn and how to apply it to training, and the accompanying document, are outstandingly well done. You can take as little as you want from it to effectively train your dog, or go further, and truly learn the most interesting things on animal behavior and learning! Highly recommended!!
Date published: 2018-06-26
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Disappointed Far too m8uch technical jargon plus she used already-trained dogs in the videos making it impossible to understand what to do with your own untrained dog. Returned it for a refund
Date published: 2018-06-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from I learned and so did my dog Even though my dog is quite well behaved, I feel that learning more about him and his motivations will make me a better Mom. The professor is very informed on the latest in dog training. However, things have changed before and they will again. So, if you have some positive method that worked in the past, stick with it, if you want. I have met LOTS of dogs and there are some that at least appear to want to please. Of course, treats are still very necessary, but a lot of pooches deserve more credit for being good out of the kindness of their hearts and their bond to their human pack.
Date published: 2018-06-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Dog Training 101 Instructor is methodical and impeccably detailed in her presentation of training exercises, although her presentation style is a bit flat. The material is, by nature, repetitious and so more energy would be welcome or more "sidebar" presentations included to add variety to the sessions. Her results-based training method is unlike any training course you've ever seen. Some is based on the most recent research on canine cognition, but the watchphrase here is: Give your dog time to solve the problem himself without nagging repeat corrections. Proper voice, posture, touch, timing, breed considerations and other key topics receive their due. Suggest you buy the streaming version instead of the DVD set. TGK has become occasionally lax in the manner they pack digital media. Some scratches on new product are common, and are even worse on individual replacement discs. If you use a streaming service such as Roku, it's especially convenient to use at home, or in the field using the TGK app. The app is beautifully programmed and easy to use.
Date published: 2018-06-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from dog training 101 I have watching this for the past week. It is a step by step process. I love it! The instructor is great! I have had significant progress with my dogs. I have a 7 month old and a 10 year old. Both are learning new tricks.
Date published: 2018-06-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Clear, intelligent and enjoyable We are loving this course! It’s enjoyable, entertaining, and instructive. We love that Jean explains the theory behind the training, and she somehow anticipates any questions we might have before we can even express them to each other! The whole training process is loving, and Jean’s interactions with the dogs are delightful to watch. Our rescue of less than one week has made enormous strides, which we attribute to these practices.
Date published: 2018-05-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent in Every Way This is the best Great Course yet. The instructor explains dog behavior and demonstrates how to manage it in a clear and thorough manner. This course has my highest recommendation.
Date published: 2018-05-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from This works! I'd tried other training methods, but this one made a wonderful difference in my rowdy puppy because it focused on several studied and proven methods to show her what to do right and earn approval. Problem solved. Using the methods that emphasize hierarchy and dominance had turned my spirited and stubborn puppy into a resentful, willful pup that was really hard on my old dog and our quality of life in general. I watched these sessions and made notes, then well stocked with treats, we started practicing a few minutes a couple times a day most days and worked on being consistent in all our interactions. Within a week the difference was so striking and our ability to relate keeps improving. She has the basic commands down now, and more importantly has learned to play gently with my 2year old and the old dog, not to destroy random things and come when called.
Date published: 2018-05-19
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