TOP FIVE TRAINING TIPS. Linda Michaels, M.A., — Del Mar Dog Training

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Picture 62Top Five Tips for Successful Puppy Training! It’s scientifically sound advice to be nice to your dog. So says the Journal of Veterinary Behavior, in a consensus article,Good Trainers: How to identify one (2006). The authors, esteemed veterinarians and experts in behavior, recommend positive training methods and tools, and warn against the use of punitive methods and tools. Intimation and pain-based methods can actually worsen your dog’s behavior.


Speak to your dog in a language your dog can understand!

The field of dog training has no “Do No Harm” ethic. Anyone can call themselves an “expert dog trainer “. How’s a well-meaning pet parent supposed to figure out what is really best for their dog?

Here’re some tips:

  1. Train early and practice often. Early training (at 8 weeks) can prevent many problems.
  2. Socialize, socialize, socialize. Socialization is the most important thing your dog will ever learn. Socialization skills with humans, other dogs and tolerance of moving objects are the most difficult challenges. Do it safely.
  3. Listen to what your dog is telling you. Your dog is “talking” to you all the time, through her body language. Learn to “read” dog body language: ears, tail, posture, facial expressions etc., and hear what your dog is telling you. Let this be the guide to your next move.
  4. Speak to your dog in a language your dog can understand. A common language is available to you and your dog to help you communicate clearly. Use easy-to-learn hand signals. Reward behaviors that you want repeated. You will be able to brag about how smart your dog is!
  5. You never need to hurt your dog, physically or psychologically, in order to train your dog. Remember, methods and collars that hurt can cause aggression. Redirect, don’t correct! Stick with the safest, most effective and long-lasting positive reinforcement training.

Both you and your dog can get what you want. Scientifically- endorsed Positive Reinforcement methods are the most effective, long lasting, and safest. Your pet is a member of your family, but will be “a two-year old for life.” Be kind. Be patient. Play daily.

Linda Michaels, “Dog Psychologist,” MA, and Victoria Stilwell-licensed Del Mar dog trainer and speaker may be reached at 858.259.WOOF (9663) or by for private obedience instruction and behavioral consultations near Del Mar and the San Diego Coast. Please visit us

Originally published in the U~T San Diego, Scratch n’ Sniff. Chris Ross, Editor.



Linda Michaels, M.A. Psychology, Del Mar Dog Training, serves clients in Del Mar and San Diego County from La Jolla to Carlsbad, plus Rancho Santa Fe, Hollywood, and Beverly Hills. Linda Michaels was recently rated one of the top ten dog trainers in the United States, by Top Ten Magazine. Linda has a master’s degree in Experimental Psychology (Hons), and is the creator of the Hierarchy of Dog Needs™ (HDN). She focuses on the psychological aspects of dog behavior that often mirror human psychological conditions, such as: fear, separation/attachment disorders, and aggression toward humans and other dogs. She also teaches private, customized basic manners/obedience lessons for dogs of all ages and every breed.

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