The Dog’s Way Video Training Course

A Different Approach to Dog Training Videos

The Dog

When I started the preparation process for making the video course, I watched tons of dog training videos to see what was out there (yes, there are just about literally “tons” of dog training videos out there). I noticed that almost all of them had a few things that I didn’t like.

In many of these “quick tip” type videos that I watched, the dog that the professional trainer demonstrated with seemed to “get it”, often though, the trainers didn’t really cover “why” they did what they did or what to do if it didn’t work out exactly as they showed you on the quick video. In short, many of these videos didn’t really give you the reality of what you might experience when you try the same thing with your dog. I wanted you to see people going through the process of taking their dog from untrained to trained. I wanted you to see the trial and error and adjustments that they had to make along the way, so that you get a better feel for what it might be like when you take your dog through that process.
This was important to me precisely because there’s so much information out there about dog training (and, as you might have realized by now, not all of it works for your dog). To help cut through all that, I’ve found it’s crucial to your understanding, and your long term results, for you to understand the “why” behind “what” you’re doing. To do that, I spend a good amount of time in our video course teaching you underlying principles and theory, so that you have a good foundation to carry you through the barrage of advice you’re getting from your friends, neighbors, (and virtually everyone you know that has a dog). By the way, this isn’t just to help you understand the material either; It’s really to help you create more consistency in your interactions with your dog. Dogs thrive on consistency, and if we keep “bouncing” all over the place trying different unrelated pieces of advice, sometimes, dogs can get confused and frustrated.
I totally get the food treat training notion, that’s how I was originally trained back in the 1990’s. I’m not here to knock that sort of training either. If that training works for you then great! Those techniques can be helpful for some dogs. There are even situations where I take advantage of the benefits of food in training (like with puppies for example). I’ve simply found that there are a whole bunch people and their dogs, (the majority in fact) who have tried food treat training and been frustrated with a lack of ‘real world’ results.
I wanted to you to see how I coach people to teach their dogs that they were “the leaders” without having to “come down on them like a ton of bricks”. Now, there are times with some dogs where you really do have to communicate, “Whoa! That’s totally out of bounds behavior!!” BUT the vast majority of the time we want to finesse the relationship (which is how dogs arrange the relationships with each other, by the way). When you watch dogs interact with other dogs at the park, they don’t run around and pin every dog to the ground with their teeth to show them “who’s boss”. Instead, they finesse the relationship to indicate that they want to be “in charge” (if that’s what they want). In the video course, we go through the three step process of relationship, skills and then policies to help you finesse your leadership, teach basic skills and then craft default rules that apply all the time.

For Dogs Over 7 Months Old

  • 12 lessons

  • 15 reminder cards to take with you on your walks andhomework sessions as a reminder of key “Do’s” and “Do Not’s”
  • Bonus and problem solving video lessons on the “students-only” website
  • A workbook that follows along with each lesson.
  • Access to all courses online

The Workbook Includes

  • Specific homework assignments
  • A quick quiz on each section to solidify your theory learning
  • Detailed competency self-assessments to track your progress

The Dog’s Way Video Training Course $49.95

The Dog

Use the course online for a year. Gain access immediately and save money!Gain access right away to The Dog’s Way Video Training Course and start training today! This option gives you 1 year of access to the whole video training course.

  • Download the workbook
  • Download the reminder cards
  • Access the video training course right away online

Frequently asked questions about the course and the style of training

It’s important for me that the course is a fit for you. Here are some questions that folks have emailed me that represent the bulk of questions that I get (and my responses to them). If your question isn’t answered here, feel free to email me.

  • Walking on a loose leash
  • Sitting
  • Staying
  • Walking next to you in a controlled way on a shortened leash
  • Leaving certain things alone on command (leave it)
  • Leaving other things alone ‘permanently’ with no command required
  • Coming when called
  • Staying in a down for 10 minutes and longer
  • Understanding temporary boundaries (stopping them from entering a room on command)
  • Understanding permanent boundaries (for example: never bolting out the front door again)
  • Staying quiet
  • Settling down
  • Meeting people
  • Meeting dogs

There are other specific scenarios and lessons that are covered in mini-lessons on the “student learning library” on the log-in part of the website. For example, there are mini-lessons on things like:

  • Getting your dog comfortable with bathing
  • Learning to trim your dog’s nails without having to wrestle them to the ground
  • Teaching your dog to accept brushing calmly
The length of time it takes is really based on your situation. Regardless of how long it takes you to get through the whole course, though, people who have bought the course have told me that they start experiencing changes in their dog’s behavior within the first few days of training. However, to answer your question about how long completing the course takes, I can give you some ball park ranges. During filming the folks that are in the video did everything in 5 weeks. I’ve had people tell me they’ve gone through the whole course in less time than that, but I’d guess that the average is that it may take you a little longer than 5 weeks to finish. Each section is competency-based and I give you assessment goals in the preamble to each lesson so you can track your progress. Also, if you have two or more dogs, it will take a little longer. (There’s a video mini-lesson that gives people in multiple-dog households some additional info on how to take your multiple dogs through the video course.)
The Course Includes:

  • 12 step-by-step lessons on 5 DVD’s
  • 15 reminder cards to take with you on your walks and homework sessions as a reminder of key “Do’s and Don’ts”
  • Bonus and problem-solving video lessons on the “students-only” website
  • Your workbook to follow along with each lesson to make sure you’re getting all the info in each lesson.

The workbook includes

  • Specific homework assignments
  • A quick quiz on each section to solidify your theory learning
  • Detailed competency self-assessments to track your progress
Yes, we offer a 30-Day, Money-Back Guarantee. If you don’t like the course and you feel that you didn’t learn a lot from it, contact me and I’ll arrange for your refund.
While there’s a wide variety of situations in different dogs and different household scenarios, I think the best way to answer this question is to show you some before and after results and let you hear what some of the folks who have gone through the training had to say about it. You can go here to see those short videos.
Yes. While there are certainly breed-specific differences in many dogs, this course relies on the underlying commonalities in all domestic dogs to follow a leader and a desire to exist in an environment with consistent rules.
In short – no. It would probably be a better “sales pitch” to simply say, “hey, use this video course for every dog situation no matter what”. However, it’s sort of a pet peeve of mine (no pun intended) when someone watches a TV show, or reads a book (or watches a video course) and tries to rehabilitate a dog dealing with aggression issues. It’s not that much of the content and exercises aren’t potentially helpful and similar to how we go about working with clients in person in these situations. It’s really that some aggression issues are potentially very dangerous, and it’s my recommendation that anyone that had a dog that is exhibiting aggression should consult with a trained professional so that a behaviorist or trainer can assess your dog and determine what level of risk is associated with having people or other animals around a dog dealing with these issues.
One of the challenges with this determination is that the label “aggressive behavior” is fairly subjective. Also, there are many different scenarios in which aggression manifests so it’s sometimes hard to determine whether the “general label” of “aggressive dog” applies. This is also a challenge, I’ve found, because it’s often tough for people to label their own dog (who, after all, is frequently very nice to them) as aggressive. While there isn’t a “formula” that I can give you to assess this, I can give you a couple “rules of thumb” and dispel some inaccurate info that might help. The first myth, about the label “aggressive dog”, that I can tell you about, is that “aggressive dogs are dangerous all the time”. While there are dogs like this, this is almost never the case. Even for dogs that have killed other dogs, and bitten and injured people seriously, there are scenarios in which they display like “nice, friendly dogs”. So, many dogs that are “normal” 90% of the time can still display intense aggression towards particular people or animals (or types of people: ie: people with hats, backpacks, uniforms, men, children, etc.) Likewise, there are scenarios in which “normal” dogs who act nicely towards people, much of the time, can change their behavior dramatically in certain situations (like around feeding, particular toys, or on their home territory)So, keeping in mind the idea that “problem dogs” are not perpetually displaying “bad behavior” and may sometimes look very normal, I can give you a couple “rules of thumb” that may indicate that you’re dealing with an issue that you should see a professional about. If you’ve begun to change your behavior (i.e.: changing the time you walk your dog, putting your dog away out of concern for other people or pets ) even if your dog hasn’t caused harm yet, then you may be correct in assuming some potential danger and you should get your dog assessed. Likewise, if other people have started to change their behavior around your dog (i.e.: instructing their children to stay away from your dog, keeping a clear distance from you when you walk past them in the neighborhood etc. ) then they may be picking up some signals that your dog is communicating while interacting socially. As I wrote earlier, these aren’t “ironclad” rules for how to assess a dog but are good “indicators” of a potential issue. If you’re experiencing any of these scenarios, or you have any question about your dog’s temperament, I highly recommend that you get your dog assessed by a trained professional, rather than buy our video course, a book or watch a TV show, to try to rehabilitate your dog on your own.
For dogs over 7 months old, I don’t use food as a primary training tool. I use treats with puppies all the time and use food in some scenarios in training when it helps get the best result. The video course work is 98% without treats. My bias in training now (even though I originally was trained in food-treat training in the 1990s) is what I call a naturalistic bias in training. I’ve noticed over the years that dogs communicate pretty well with other dogs. The glib way I describe this notion is, “if your dog ran up in to the hills and found a real pack of dogs to live with they wouldn’t train your dog into the rules of their pack by flipping him food treats – they’d, instead, interact socially with him.” That’s sort of the notion with my training now. We start by clarifying that your dog needs to be in the “follower” role (that is, looking to you for how to interpret things, rather than just deciding for themselves how every scenario should be handled). Then we work on coaching basic skills (like attention span and learning to recover from stimulation in the environment, as well as some basic obedience skills) and then we work on default rules or policies that are in effect all the time ( like, don’t ever jump up, or pull on the leash or run out the front door)I found that when I was experimenting with food-treat training, dogs (at least the ones that had enough food motivation to be trained with food) frequently would do “behaviors” for food and get conditioned fairly well … unless they had a greater interest in something else. I found that for many dogs the food-based conditioning just didn’t produce solid enough real world results for my liking.By the way, if you’re still wanting to hear more about why I transitioned from “positive only” food-treat training to a more naturalistic training philosophy, I talk about that in Session 1 of The Dog’s Way Podcast here.
The reality is that balanced training with a leash is not inhumane at all. I’ve never seen a dog hurt in our training, and I’ve seen hundreds helped with consistent, balanced training that involves both positive and negative feedback to a dog. Could someone, if they are inconsistent, unfair and unbalanced, abuse a dog with a leash, or any other object or piece of equipment? Well … yes. I’ve seen people be cruel to dogs that aren’t wearing any training collar or leash at all, and I’ve seen people be completely fair and consistent using a prong collar. It usually has more to do with how you use any particular piece of equipment.This is certainly a very emotionally charged topic, and there have been many controversial statements made about dog training methods involving a balanced approach of using positive as well as negative feedback. I frequently hear “positive-only trainers” say things like, “you should never use negative feedback with your dog, and certainly don’t physically stop your dog from doing anything, because it’s abusive!” The thing that is confusing to me about this sort of statement is that well-socialized dogs don’t even follow that advice when interacting with each other. When dogs interact with each other, they use both positive and negative feedback all the time. Why would we remove half of the communication style that dogs healthily use with one another in order to train them?I think some of this controversy comes down to the wide variety of opinions about how to define certain words. For example, I’ve heard some trainers say that you shouldn’t even “look disapprovingly” at your dog because that constitutes “psychological abuse”. Without being presumptuous, I think I’d be safe in saying that’s probably not most people’s definition of “psychological abuse”. Likewise, I don’t think the vast majority of people would consider giving a quick, finessed “pop” on a leash to alert a dog to a mistake that they’ve made in training to be “abuse” either. I would simply say that I respectfully disagree with these sorts of definitions of “abuse”. I’m very happy to have people try anyone’s methodology of dog training. I don’t demand that everyone train dogs in the way that I do. Further, I’d recommend trying the positive-only approach and assess for yourself how effective you feel it is for you. I frequently say to my clients, “don’t take my word for it – assess the results for yourself.” The bottom line for me is that I’m a big fan of people thinking, and assessing, for themselves.
There are lots of “positive-only” trainers that label trainers that don’t train their way as “unscientific”. It’s really a form of criticism of “non-food treat oriented” training and trainers. Sometimes, you’ll hear the slightly more finessed and stealthy criticism framed this way, “Well, you see food treat (positive-only) trainers are ‘modern’ dog trainers and everyone that doesn’t train our way is “old fashioned.” It’s a clever framing of the issue, to be sure. It’s designed to depict people who train with food treats as; good, smart, humane, scientific, new etc. and people who don’t use food as a primary part of their training as; bad, dumb, inhumane, unscientific and old fashioned (and I almost forgot – abusive).The good stuff about operant conditioningNow, let me say that operant conditioning (that’s the fancy name for what has become ‘positive only’ food treat training) certainly has a scientific basis to it. It was developed by a researcher named B.F. Skinner, who popularized this form of conditioning decades ago. Also, I should say, that I’m not “anti”-operant conditioning. Operant conditioning is a very useful tool in many venues. Use of this sort of conditioning has transformed the zoo keeping industry by allowing keepers to condition zoo animals to feeding times, enclosure cleaning procedures, as well as many veterinary procedures. In addition, there is a lot you can do when training some dogs (and cats and rats or gerbils for that matter) with operant conditioning. Further, I use operant conditioning with puppies under six months old as a primary form of training. It’s only once a puppy gets to that 6-7 month stage of development that we start to form a more mature social relationship with the pup.  Further, there are some specific tasks and behaviors with dogs that I find conditioning like this to be really useful.The weakness of ‘positive only’, operant conditioningIn any “scientific” approach it’s important, if you’re careful, to not over-state the conclusion. It’s important to know what the weaknesses, and limitations are in any conclusion. With regard to positive only operant conditioning, the weaknesses that I see are two-fold:

  • The effectiveness of the conditioning is proportional to the motivation that the “reinforcer” (or food treat) provides. For example, I have many clients that simply say, “We were told our dog isn’t trainable because they’re just not interested in food treats or toys.” This is solved in dog training classes by telling clients to “get better treats” or “don’t feed Sparky on the day of class” This sort of advice comes straight from B.F. Skinner himself. To solve this “motivation issue”, Skinner kept the rats and pigeons (Skinner was never a canine researcher) that he did his studies with at ¾ of their normal body weight, literally starving them, to ensure when he brought a subject out for an experiment that they would be “consistently motivated” by the reinforcer. Since most of us feed our dog regularly and aren’t willing to keep them at starvation levels to improve training, this solution becomes problematic for most people.
  • How motivating the “reinforcer” (food-treat) is, or how reliable the conditioned response is, when exposed to other environmental stimuli (distractions around your dog). Another set of clients that come to me have said things like, “Our dog could do the obedience command in our house or in the training room by himself. But if there were other people around, noises or any sort of distraction (like on a walk), none of the food-treat conditioning or food-luring worked!” This problem was dealt with by Sinner as well. In fact, he became famous (or infamous, depending on who you talk to) for his Skinner box. He conducted his experiments on rats and pigeons in highly controlled enclosures or boxes. In this way, he could control outside (distracting) factors and ensure an animal’s focus on the structured task in front of them. Skinner became intrigued with this idea of a highly controlled environment and even extended his ideas to child raising. Skinner raised his own daughter in a Skinner box ( which was a sort of rolling crib) that was completely enclosed with a glass window as the child’s only interaction with the outside world, with the exception of the several times a day where a child would be changed and fed. He marketed these “boxes” in the 1940s as “baby tenders” to “alleviate the inconveniences of mothering young children”. They didn’t sell very well because many mothers weren’t willing to keep their babies in a box 90% of the day.

There’s no doubt that some dogs can be trained to some level of “functionality” using a food treat based “positive-only” methodology. It’s probably important to define the word “functional” too. I’ve had many clients that competed in agility, competition obedience, rally, and other “sports”. They came to me because, while they were able to be “conditioned” to the tasks of their “sport”, they couldn’t perform very well when going to the beach, picnic, and park or be sane when someone tried to use a vacuum cleaner. So, I’m not saying don’t do “positive-only” training. In fact, my first exposure to training was in these methods. If that training works for you, then I’m happy for you. Again, I’m not on a mission to make everyone train dogs the way I do. I just don’t want people, who are continually frustrated living with their dogs, who have been told that their dog “doesn’t learn very well”, to believe that they have no other option. In my experience, using my method that takes a balanced approach to training and takes into account a dog’s natural communication style, works well for the vast majority of dogs.

What the course is

What the course isn’t

Some people have sent in a lot of questions asking what the course is all about. In response, I did a couple of little videos telling you what’s is in the course and (maybe more importantly) what’s not in the course. Hope these help.

Why Choose The Dog’s Way?

  • The program helps you establish a clear relationship with your dog so your dog naturally looks to you for how to do things.
  • The training doesn’t use food as a primary training tool, so you’re not stuck hoping the treat in your hand is more important than everything else your dog wants to do.
  • It provides a more naturalistic approach that taps into your dog’s desire to follow a leader rather than relying on treat rewards.
  • Because every dog is unique and starts at a different level of competence, The Dog’s Way teaches you how to figure out where to start training with your dog to make learning easy and natural.
  • You can watch real untrained people and their dogs progress through the lessons with Sean so you can learn from their mistakes and challenges.
  • You will learn to avoid common mistakes, such as inadvertently telling your dog that you want her to be the leader and encouraging the exact behaviors that you want your dog to stop.