Dog Training 101

Course No. 9418
Jean Donaldson, Expert Dog Trainer
Academy for Dog Trainers
Share This Course
4.4 out of 5
179 Reviews
79% of reviewers would recommend this product
Course No. 9418
Video Streaming Included Free

What Will You Learn?

  • numbers 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.
  • numbers Learn why many training approaches are not successful and debunk common "pack status" myths.
  • numbers 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.

Hide Full Description
24 lectures
 |  Average 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

Clone Content from Your Professor tab

What's Included

What Does Each Format Include?

Video DVD
Instant Video Includes:
  • Download 24 video lectures to your computer or mobile app
  • 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

Enjoy This Course On-the-Go with Our Mobile Apps!*

  • App store App store iPhone + iPad
  • Google Play Google Play Android Devices
  • Kindle Fire Kindle Fire Kindle Fire Tablet + Firephone
*Courses can be streamed from anywhere you have an internet connection. Standard carrier data rates may apply in areas that do not have wifi connections pursuant to your carrier contract.

Your professor

Jean Donaldson

About Your Professor

Jean Donaldson, Expert Dog Trainer
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
Also By This Professor


Dog Training 101 is rated 4.3 out of 5 by 184.
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great step by step demonstrations I bought this and am so glad I did. It has given me new ideas for training my dogs and they are working.
Date published: 2020-08-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from have not had time to watch the video yet,but planning on it soon the book that came with the course seems to have the right sources that we need,but the print is so small to read it.
Date published: 2020-08-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great way to learn The best part of The Great Courses is they offer two formats for learning. I chose video which allows me to access the course at my own pace and when I have time. This dog training course is very easy to follow, the trainer provides excellent tips.
Date published: 2020-08-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Dog Training 101 Well I have two Standard Poodles that I took classes with and trained. While I have not finished the classes I have learned some ways to deal with some problem's where one of my dog's is weak. He has been thought to be hard headed (per my wife like his owner). The presentation is great, the view is good, the dialog and the art work makes sense. If you are a new dog owner or have years of experience you will benefit from this program.
Date published: 2020-08-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A great way to train a dog This is a great (basic) dog training methodology for those who do not want to use negative reinforcement (think shock collars) to train a dog. The instructor was very enthusiastic and knowledgeable and kept things interesting.
Date published: 2020-07-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Helpful for new trainers Please with what I have read and how it is valuable for training my Border Collie-Aussie
Date published: 2020-07-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very complete examples and knowledge of presenter I have already used what I learned to train my dog
Date published: 2020-07-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Love this course I bought this about 1 month ago and I am very happy. I love the way this professor approaches this as I have taken the in person dog training courses and really felt like I wasn't being taught. Her approach is great - it works. My current pup is a rescue, was trained somewhat prior and was also traumatized. After this course, I understand better his behaviors, his personality and get a lot further with the training. Take this course, I highly recommend it!
Date published: 2020-07-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Thorough and Interesting I am a certified dog trainer in Ontario, Canada and this course was suggested by a friend. I am only on Lesson 3, but I am very impressed with Jean's methods of training. She is through and explains thing in a logical way. Some terms she uses I find a little confusing, but I just rewatch the lesson. I look forward to putting her theory and lessons to use especially with a willful husky I am currently working with. I think this course is a great addition for any dog trainer or the person who is looking to train their dog in a positive manner.
Date published: 2020-06-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The best!! Jean Donaldson is an amazing teacher. She is patient, knowledgeable and her methods are evidence based. I’ve gotten amazing result with my dog!!
Date published: 2020-06-25
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Dog Training I may be too used to technical presentations but I am having a very difficult time getting through my first Great Course as the pace seems glacial.
Date published: 2020-06-10
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Very Informative! Enjoyed course. Would suggest putting the challenging behaviors such as barking and house training at the beginning since most owners want to deal with the really difficult behaviors first.
Date published: 2020-05-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great instructions, Easy to follow I purchased this course 2 weeks ago. The lessons are easy to follow. I love that Ms Donaldson breaks the training down into micro steps that make it easier for the dog to follow. We are getting a puppy in a few weeks. I feel much more confident about training our new little guy. The instructions are simple and straight forward enough that my 11 year old son will easily be able to train our puppy as well!
Date published: 2020-05-25
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Simplistic, good for basic information Simplistic, good for basic information... as for the Fear and Aggression lecture, she offers no solutions only go hire a professional trainer, there are not many professional trainers out there who actually know what they are doing.
Date published: 2020-05-25
Rated 1 out of 5 by from It could not keep me interested We are getting a new puppy so I bought this course to be prepared. I thought it was deadly dull and after I quit as soon as I finished the first hour. Poor production, boring delivery. Sorry.
Date published: 2020-05-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from good dog training classes I'm only 1/4 the way thru the lecture series, but I am impressed by the logical and effective training methods presented in this series. My dog really enjoys the trianing sessions.
Date published: 2020-05-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Fascinating I have only watched 6 lectures in the series and find the content challenging. As a retired college instructor, I am enjoying learning about the topic far outside of my area of expertise. I am a big believer of life long learning. At the age of 77, I continue to realize how much more there is to learn.
Date published: 2020-05-13
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Poor service done to important topic I thought this would be a good course to help me learn how to train my puppy, since both it and the trainer came highly recommended. The disks themselves are of very poor quality considering they were made in 2018. They don't have a way to select individual segments for easy review, which is very important when learning about animal training since going back to rewatch easily would be very helpful. I just want 1 segment to play and then stop and return to the menu when that segment ends. The video quality is extremely pixelated. I have much older DVDs with better video quality and plays only episodes. The first disk is pretty useful and the sequence of how to slowly build is clear, mostly though how to progress through more advanced levels is not clear for some. The second disk is even worse, and she goes through some very important behaviors without much explanation. She clearly knows what she's doing but she doesn't do a good job explaining everything. I have quite a bit of experience training many different kinds of animals, so I was a bit surprised at just how obtuse her explanations can be. I was hoping for extremely clear step by step information and demonstration. Combining how fast she moves without much explanation and all the jargon she uses makes things quite confusing. I also thought she'd be using a wider variety of dogs to demonstrate on, and she seems to remind us a bit too much this was Lulu's first time. My puppy catches onto new things really fast, so how Lulu picks up on things seems normal (or even slower than my puppy). But the number of times Jean keeps reminding us this was the first time the dog did the behavior plus only using this one dog really makes me question whether this was really Lulu's first time. I wish I hadn't been sick when I got this, otherwise I would've returned it immediately.
Date published: 2020-05-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Perfect title I have been implementing the dog training lessons and am thrilled with the results. Great course!
Date published: 2020-04-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Genius Dog Trainer I simply watch and learn and see how I’ve doing it all wrong ... it’s so easy to have an amazing companion after learning to speak Dog.. it’s so worth it to learn what they are about .. I’m having amazing and connected relationships with my dogs .
Date published: 2020-04-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very clear teaching, videos and high quality I bought this last year and have recommended it to all my clients (I'm a dog trainer) Lots of easy to understand theory with loads of demo videos to complement the learning. From how they learn, the why and the what - great structure to how to approach training. I see some of the poor ratings were from people who listed themselves as advanced in this area yet were unable to understand the basic principles which are laid out so clearly in the learning.
Date published: 2020-04-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent explanations and demonstrations Currently have watched 22 of the 24 episodes. We've been doing two per day and the information is excellent. Jean Donaldson is clearly well qualified to teach this course and her pacing, explanations, demonstrations, and real life-examples are superb. We see where we could have improved upon things when training our dogs.
Date published: 2020-04-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Well paced - practical We bought this to watch with our 12 year old and found it to be well paced, practical and a reference we'll come back to as our dog progresses. It also covered useful issues that we can refer to in the future such as digging in the back yard, etc.
Date published: 2020-04-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful course - so thankful for it! I am about half way through the course, which my family is watching in preparation for getting a puppy. The course is brilliant, and has far exceeded my expectations. The instructor does a wonderful job of both explaining the theory of behavioral dog training (which I find fascinating) and combining it with demonstrations with three adorable dogs. I was reading two books on dog training, but threw them out after "living" the concepts through this wonderful course. Bravo to the the instructor and to the Great Courses for making this a reality.
Date published: 2020-04-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Dog Training 101 Best information I've found to date - not what I should do but the why behind it! This is so educational
Date published: 2020-03-11
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Dog Training 101 The course itself was good. Lots of good information that I have used and will continue to use. Wasn't real impressed with her always using a dog as her test subject that had already been trained. That part didn't really show what I should expect. I bought the CD and online version. I have yet figured out if I can download the online version. It says I can, but doesn't give me the option. I thought this would be nice to listen to as I was traveling. As far as the CD version, it doesn't come with a menu startup or at least I can't find it. I thought it would boot up with a menu so I could pick the lesson that I wanted, but it doesn't. Not happy with that. But like I said at first, the content is good.
Date published: 2020-02-26
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Very extensive I bought this a few weeks ago. My biggest disappointment is that I cannot refer to the manual while taking the course unless I print the 244 pages. My printer could not handle that.
Date published: 2020-02-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very informative and easy to follow. Very informative and easy to follow.Once the background is explained it becomes easy to understand what professional dog trainers are doing. She explains it clearly and demonstrates what she’s doing, and fortunately I can replay the sessions when needed to appreciate the nuances of her commands.
Date published: 2020-02-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great course I have taken many dog traing classes. This class is informative, entertaining and helpful. Having the dog present to demonstrate is excellent!
Date published: 2020-02-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Program This dog training class is terrific. The instructions for teaching your dog are clear and easy to follow.
Date published: 2020-02-13
  • y_2020, m_10, d_26, h_16
  • bvseo_bulk, prod_bvrr, vn_bulk_3.0.12
  • cp_2, bvpage2n
  • co_hasreviews, tv_18, tr_166
  • loc_en_US, sid_9418, prod, sort_[SortEntry(order=SUBMISSION_TIME, direction=DESCENDING)]
  • clientName_teachco
  • bvseo_sdk, p_sdk, 3.2.0
  • CLOUD, getContent, 56.13ms

Questions & Answers

Customers Who Bought This Course Also Bought