Swan Family Dog Training's

3 Step Training System




Every dog should want to work with you as much as you want to work with them. In order to create complicated behaviors dogs must be motivated. One of the very first things we do is assess drive and work on building motivation.


Clarifying roles between dog and human is essential for maintaining a healthy balanced relationship. After all; we are dog’s advocates in a human world. We need to be able to help them navigate around our expectations and rules. At this stage we work to systematically leverage all resources both known and perceived.




Just as in all human relationships communication is key. It is through our use of language that we clarify our boundaries. Clarity is essential for maintaining healthy and balanced relationships with our dogs. Whether we are working with a 3 month old puppy or a human aggressive dog we always need to be able to communicate effectively with either verbal or synthetic markers.


Specific sequences of verbal and non verbal cues paired with verbal and non verbal markers set the stage for comprehensive learning on the part of the dog.




Every owner who has ever had a dog has experienced a moment where even though the dog knows the rule he/she chooses to break it to achieve some type of reward or avoid some kind of displeasure. Example: You open your front door and your dog pushes past you and acts like an inmate who just escaped prison. You shout his name and say come (which he does so well in the back yard) but instead of turning around and heading back toward you he keeps galloping around. This isn’t a communication problem- this is a status issue. The dog doesn’t respect you in this situation.


Once our training dogs have met our standards of applying context and have learned our communication system we then layer in pressure into the sequence. Pressure can be experienced through how we use our bodies, applying it through tools such as leashes and remote training collars and many other forms. Our criteria for selecting which tools we use lays in the versatility of the tool. In other words we want to be able to be soft enough on the aversive levels early in the conditioning stages but also be able to get higher on the aversive levels for the more easily aroused dogs post conditioning.

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