Polite Puppy Dog Training Class
4.0 (65 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
1,011 students enrolled

Polite Puppy Dog Training Class

Training your puppy for home is not hard once you know how. This dog training course will make your puppy a housemate.
4.0 (65 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
1,011 students enrolled
Last updated 10/2017
English [Auto-generated]
Current price: $11.99 Original price: $49.99 Discount: 75% off
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This course includes
  • 1 hour on-demand video
  • 2 articles
  • 4 downloadable resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
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What you'll learn
  • Learn how to use clicker training to teach your dog the following useful behaviors:
  • Eye contact, name response

  • Sit, Down, and Stay

  • Touch (Hand Targeting)
  • Go To Your Mat
  • Crate Training
  • Doggie Zen (Leave It)
  • Boundary Training / Prevent Door Dashing
  • Address Barking Problems
  • This course is designed to help owners train their dogs to be polite in the house. Serious behavior problems (aggression, etc.) are outside the scope of this course.

Want your puppy to be a model housemate? Enroll in our online Polite Puppy training course and teach your dog proper house manners. By taking our Polite Puppy program you will be preventing and/or solving the following in-home problem behaviours: door dashing, counter-surfing, incessant barking, and other rude or pushy behaviour. With your dog’s refined house manners not only will they be better behaved in your home, they may even be invited to someone else’s.


Who should take this dog training course?

Dogs and owners that are new to positive reinforcement / clicker training. Perfect for your new puppy, or recent adopted rescue.

What will you learn?

  • Clicker training basics – Sit, Down, Hand Target and Name Response
  • Go to Your Mat/Settle
  • Stay
  • Doggie Zen/Leave-It
  • Boundary Training/Wait patiently by the door
  • Crate training
  • Barking: Resolve any issues with barking

Format of the course:
Your Treatpouch puppy training course is presented through video and online content. You’ll get direct coaching and feedback from us via questions you post in our discussion forum. We are committed to your success! You are not just buying access to view a course, but instead, interact with two professional dog trainers.

What's Not Included

Please note, that the scope of the course is limited to the syllabus. We will answer questions related to the exercises that are covered in this program, not every possible dog training question that might be out there.

About Treatpouch.com's Trainers

Julie Posluns

After graduating from a correction-style dog training program in 2003, Julie got a new puppy – a Pug Beagle X (Puggle) named Tyson. At 8 months Tyson started barking and lunging at people, at 10 months he became leash reactive towards dogs, by 1 year he had full out aggression towards puppies. When Julie realized that she had not learned proper techniques to deal with aggression – punishing Tyson for his behaviour made him lash out with greater intensity, she started looking for new ways to help her dog. Clicker training brought a new light to Tyson’s aggression and gave Julie a skill-set to manage his behaviour. This inspired Julie to learn about positive reinforcement training and set her on the path to becoming a professional positive reinforcement dog trainer.

Julie is a Certified Pet Dog Trainer, Knowledge Assessed (CPDT-KA) through the Certification Council for Pet Dog Trainers (CCPDT). As the owner of a successful dog walking company in Toronto, Julie sharpens her training skills daily when she is out on her group walks. When she’s not dog walking you can find her teaching tricks to her own dogs.

Both her dogs have titles in Rally Obedience and Freestyle but her greatest accomplishment is being able to bring her Puggle out with her on group walks. Treatpouch.com is her way of sharing with the world both the power of positive reinforcement training and the joy that comes from working with your dog.

Julie is currently pursuing her Master's degree in Animal Behavior, at Memorial University, in St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada.

Andre Yeu

Andre’s passion for dog training began when he rescued his beagle, Duke, who suffered from on-leash reactivity and dog-aggression. Andre quickly discovered clicker training and the power of positive reinforcement, and through patience and care was able to help Duke overcome his fear and dislike of other dogs.

Duke’s success gave Andre the confidence to volunteer and foster with a number of animal rescue organizations in the city. While each foster dog presented new challenges every dog could be helped through clicker training.

In 2009, Andre decided to open When Hounds Fly! in Downtown Toronto, to make positive reinforcement training convenient and accessible to members of the community, and to improve the quality of life for dogs and dog owners in the downtown core. With the success of his school and the transformation he’s seen in the neighbourhood dogs, Andre decided that it would be a worthy cause to offer people the benefits of positive reinforcement based training regardless of where they live. Through Treatpouch.com Andre hopes to improve the lives of dogs and their people all over the world.

Andre is a Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner (KPA CTP), a Certified Pet Dog Trainer, Knowledge Assessed (CPDT-KA), and a Truly Dog-Friendly Trainer. He grew up in Vancouver, has a bachelor’s degree in commerce, with honors, from the University of British Columbia, and lives in Toronto with his partner, Hyedie Hashimoto, and their rescue beagles, Duke and Petey.

Who this course is for:
  • All dog owners who wish to learn how to use modern, force-free, science-based dog training techniques to improve their dog's in-home behavior.
Course content
Expand all 40 lectures 01:15:29
+ Unit 1 - Learning and Polishing the Basics
13 lectures 21:13

This section will teach you what you need to know in order to be successful in training your dog through clicker training.

Preview 04:38

Objective: To teach your dog that it is fun and rewarding to look at the handler.

Benefits of this behavior

  • To build value for his name so that he’s eager to respond when you call him.
  • To teach your dog that his name means disengage from what he’s into and turn back to looking at you for direction.
  • A beginner step for helping a dog with problem behavior by teaching him to look away from his trigger.

Exercise: Reinforcing Eye contact
  1. In a quiet room in your home, have your clicker and treats ready.
  2. Observe your dog. Click, then treat, the moment he makes eye contact with you.
  3. Feed away (treat on floor) from your dog so he disengages.
  4. Wait and observe your dog. Click, then treat, the moment he comes back to make eye contact.
  5. Walk around the house with your clicker and treats. When you catch your dog looking at you, click, then treat.
  6. Continue to practice the exercise in more distracting environments, in your yard, on your walk.

Exercise: Building a Name Response

When your dog is giving you lots of attention and eye-contact you can start to practice his name response.

  1. Toss a treat to disengage your dog. When he turns to look back at you cue his name simultaneously.
  2. Repeat step one gradually saying the cue BEFORE he is about to turn around and slowly building up the distraction level.
  3. Your goal is that every time you say his name, he turns and whips his head towards you.

• My dog doesn’t give me any attention!
Check that your the rewards you are giving your dog are high enough value. Make sure you practice when your dog is hungry. It is a bad habit to leave your dog’s food out all day for him to pick at because it devalues his food as a reward. Only put his food down for short periods of time and reserve a portion for training so that you don’t overfeed him.

Preview 00:51
Objective: For your dog to sit in front of you with the verbal cue ‘Sit’ Exercise: Sit Cue your dog’s name to get his attention. Observe your dog and click, then treat, if he offers a sit. If your dog does not offer a sit, raise your left hand upwards over his nose so he targets your hand with his g…

Objective: To teach your dog to lie down with the cue “Down”.

Exercise 1- Down Luring Method

  1. Cue your dog’s name to get his attention and cue Sit.
  2. Use a food lure for this behavior. Hold the treat by his nose and slowly bring the treat down and towards the ground, in between his two front paws.
  3. Initially, if he looks down, click then release the treat.
  4. Continue to click, then treat for small movements towards the down position. This could include bending elbows and/or sliding forward.
  5. Raise the criteria for increasingly deeper paw reaches/slides into downs.
  6. Once your dog goes into the down position 5 times with the lure, repeat the process but with an empty hand – phase out the lure. Click, then treat, correct responses.
  7. Feed away from your dog so he must break his down and get up to eat. This resets him for another trial.
  8. You can also try luring him into a down directly from a stand. This way your dog can learn the down behaviour from either position.

Exercise: Down Capturing Method
  1. Have your clicker and treats ready but instead of starting at your dog attentively, have a seat on the couch or at the table and pretend to ignore him. Out of the corner of your eye you are watching his behaviour.
  2. Wait until he gets bored from your lack of attention and  lies down, click then toss the treat so he has to get up and you can reset the session. Repeat the exercise.
  3. When you are sure he understands that lying down gets him a click you can start to focus on him and repeat the exercise.
  4. Now add duration to the down but extending the time slightly before you click.
  5. When your dog is reliably lying down in one part of your house,  change rooms and start over.
  6. Only add the verbal cue ‘Down’ when you can reliably predict that he’s going to lie down.
  7. Gradually begin to say the cue earlier before he begins the action.

Troubleshooting the Down
When I move the lure my dog gets up?

  • Keeping the lure close to your dog will prevent him from standing. If the lure is too far forward, he may  get up to follow it.
  • You can use your your leg as a guide. Here’s a short video demonstrating this technique.
  • If your dog gets up in a stand, move the treat away, cue “sit” and lower the criteria so you can click your dog for being successful.
Preview 02:06

You can use your your leg as a guide. Here’s a short video demonstrating this technique.

Start with your dog on one side of your outstretched leg. Bring the treat under your leg and towards his nose. Use the lure to guide him down. You may need to break the behaviour in small steps so that your dog doesn’t give up. Click and feed for a few easy steps building up to the point where he lies down to go under your leg to take his reward.

Video - Down - Troubleshooting with a Channel

Download this PDF with all the training plans written out for easy reference.

Unit 1 Training Plans
70.5 kB
+ Unit 2 - Management
9 lectures 17:10
Go To Mat

Go To Your Mat

Objective: To teach your dog to go to his mat when you cue “Mat”.

Benefits of this Behavior

  • You can teach your dog to go to his mat anytime you need him to stay put. Whether you are answering the door, eating dinner, or have a guest over, having your dog stay on his mat is an excellent way to manage his behaviour.
Exercise: Go To Your Mat
  1. Make yourself comfortable on a chair with your treats, clicker and attentive canine student. Toss the treat 10 ft straight ahead of you, we want your dog to run and grab the treat and return back to you.  
  2. Once you’ve warmed up your tosses and your dog has practiced moving away and towards you, set the mat down in front of you so that it intersects his path on the way back. Toss the treat and as he return click when he steps on the mat and toss the treat that he earned across the mat. Repeat several times building speed and confidence in the action.
  3. Think of your dog’s bed as a clock. Your initial tosses should be straight ahead in the direction of 12 o’clock. As you raise criteria you are going to toss the treat in the 1 o’clock and 11 o’clock positions. Instead of returning straight back to you, your dog has to find his way back to the place of reinforcement. Do several repetitions.
  4. Continue to slowly raise criteria by tossing treats to 2 o’clock and 10 o’clock, working up to 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock.
  5. Back up your chair a few feet from the mat. We want to make sure your dog understands to go to the mat and not to you. Begin tossing the treat at 12 o’clock again to make it easy for you dog to grasp this new skill. Then work around the clock again varying the position where you toss the treat, like you did in the previous exercise.
  6. Once your dog is reliably going to the mat from all angles and at a distance away from you, you can now have him sit on the mat. This time when he reaches the mat, cue “sit” at the exact moment that you previously were clicking. Do several repetitions until your dog is automatically sitting on the mat and you no longer have to cue him (see below for further instructions).
  7. Now wait for your dog to sit and, instead of clicking, cue him to “down”. Work to the point where you dog goes to the mat, jumps the cue, and lies down automatically on his own (see below for further instructions about getting an automatic down).
  8. The final stage is adding the “Mat” cue. As your dog approaches the bed, cue “mat” or whatever you want your verbal cue to be. Wait for him to lie down and click, then treat.
  9. Gradually begin to say the cue earlier before he begins the action of going to his mat.  
  10. To increase the duration he stays on the mat, extend the time before clicking and treating.
To get an automatic sit or down practice several repetitions asking the dog to do the behavior on his mat until he is proficient at it.  Now, toss the treat away. This time when he returns to his mat wait 3-5 seconds and see if he offers the behaviour on his own. If not, cue him to do it and try withholding the cue again the next time.

Some general training guidelines:

  • After every 10 treats take a short break and grab another ten treats. This will give your dog a little break
  • Training time in total should be short (between 5-15 minutes). Short sessions throughout the day is better than one long session.
  • You are ready to raise criteria when your dog does 5 correct behaviours in a row.
  • Where you feed your dog is important. If you want to reinforce your dog to enjoy being on their mat, feed them one treat on their mat and then toss a treat so that you can set your dog up for a new training opportunity.
Video - Go to Mat


  1. Cue your dog to do a Sit or Down.
  2. Wait one second, click then treat. If your dog gets up after you click to get his treat that’s ok. If your dog gets up before you click bring him back to where you started and make it easier by clicking sooner.
  3. Repeat steps one and two, building up time until your dog can remain in position for 5-10 seconds.
  4. Introduce a release word. After you click, say “release” and toss a treat so your dog gets up. Then lead him back to your starting point.
  5. Once your dog can hold his sit or down for 10 seconds, start to take a small step back, return to your dog, click then feed your dog in position, release your dog and and toss a treat. Remember that we want your dog to be successful so if one step back is too challenging, try just lifting your leg slightly at first.
  6. For each new session increase your distance a little bit although occasionally throwing in an easy one to keep your dog’s confidence high.
  7. When you can get 5 steps from your dog start to work on your duration. Delay the click a few seconds. Return to your dog, click, then treat and release.
  8. Slowly build up the duration up to 2 minutes.

If your dog is really impatient, try clicking and feeding quickly in the begining (rapid fire reinforcement) or increasing your reward to higher value. It’s your job to convince your dog that being in a sit or down is a worthwhile endeavor.

Adding in a verbal cue.
Because we are using a release cue we technically don’t need a verbal cue for stay as we are basically telling the dog to stay in that position until your are released.

In week 4 we will discuss teaching your dog to “settle” - a long down stay.  We will also be adding in distractions to proof the behaviour.

Video - Stay
Crate Training

Part 1 - Crate Training
We want to teach your dog that good things happen when he is in his crate. Regardless of whether he willingly will go in his crate or not, we are going to make the crate a positive experience so that he will learn to enjoy going in there.  

  1. Leave the door open. We never want to force a dog to go into his crate. We want it to be your dog’s choice to go in there.
  2. Start by tossing treats into the crate. Feed and allow him come out. Repeat this exercise using a portion of his meal. If his regular meal isn’t working you might need to start with some better treats.
  3. Throughout the day, walk by his crate and toss some treats in there. Let him find the treats as a surprise.
  4. Put a kong with some cookies in his crate and see if he will lie down and eat it in there.
  5. If your dog goes in his crate on his own, make a big deal about it, showering him with praise and tossing a cookie inside.
  6. When you find your dog going in his crate on his own or relaxing in there, you are ready to shut the door.  Shut the door for one second.  Open it and toss a cookie in.
  7. Repeat this exercise building time SLOWLY. Don’t be discouraged if it takes a while before your dog is relaxed when you shut the door. In the beginning it is hard to build up time but once you reach 5 minutes, then getting to 10 minutes is a lot easier. If your dog seems stressed (see note below), make it easier. We want this to be a positive experience.  
  8. When your dog is comfortable waiting for the door to open and he will Sit or Down in the crate, you are ready to move to part two.

Some dogs do not enjoy being confined and get extremely panicky as soon as you shut the crate door. If you notice your dog doing any of the following: ignoring food, panting, salivating, pawing at the door, anxious barking, open the door and allow your dog to leave and come back on his own terms. Start fresh by pairing the crate with good things.

Video - Crate Training Part 1

Part 2 - Crate Training
The goal of Part 2 is to build duration.
We want your dog to learn that being in his crate is a good thing.

  1. With your dog in his crate with the door closed, start by intermittently dropping treats in there for him.
  2. Take one step back, return and drop a treat in the crate
  3. Take 2 steps back, return and drop a treat in the crate.
  4. Keep repeating the exercise until you can take several steps back.
  5. To increase duration, sit down in a chair, wait a couple of seconds, get up, return to the crate, drop a treat and repeat.
  6. Slowly build up the amount of time your dog stays in the crate with the door closed by eventually leaving the room and then returning to reward him.

While you are working towards having your dog crate trained, I’m sure there are times when you need to leave your puppy unattended. Use a small room (laundry room or bathroom) to confine your puppy. Leave his crate in there with the door open. Forcing him into the crate and shutting the door will only serve to make him dislike their crate.

Video - Crate Training Part 2

Download this PDF with all the training plans written out for easy reference. 

Unit 2 Training Plans
103.6 kB
+ Unit 3 - Doggie Zen
10 lectures 17:18
Doggie Zen 1

We are going to focus on exercises to teach your dog patience and combat pushiness.

Exercise 1: Closed Hand

Teach your dog to back away from a treat in your hand.

  1. Start with a cookie in your closed hand. Let your dog sniff, lick and investigate your hand.  As soon as he turns away from your hand or takes a step back, click then toss the treat.
  2. Continue to practice this exercise in different parts of your house so he generalizes the behaviour.
  3. Add the “leave-it” cue. See below for instructions.

If your dog is scratching at your hand too hard consider using a less tantalizing treat, or walk away and come back and click BEFORE he has a chance to mug your hand.

Exercise 2: Open Hand
Teach your dog to wait patiently in front of an open hand with a treat.

  1. Bring an open hand with a treat resting on it, high out of your dog’s reach. Click then toss a treat for him if he remains ‘zen’ (no jumping or lunging at the treat).
  2. Lower your hand slightly, click then toss a treat for his zen-like behaviour.
  3. Continue to lower your hand while clicking and tossing treats.
  4. Add the “leave-it” cue. See below for how to add cues.

If your dog tries to jump at your hand, walk away and come back when you are ready to start a new session. Bring it out for a split second, click then treat before he has a chance to jump or lunge. You want to teach him that being patient is what gets him his reward.   

Exercise 3: Treat to the ground.
With a treat in your hand, lower your hand to the floor.

  1. Place a treat on your open hand eye-level with your dog.
  2. Lower your hand slightly. Click then toss a treat.
  3. Repeat the above exercise but this time lower your hand to the floor. slowly, clicking and treating for your dog being successful.
  4. Once you hit the floor you can drop the treat there. If your dog tries to get the treat cover it with your hands or your foot if you are standing.
  5. Add the “leave-it” cue. See below for how to add cues.

More advanced exercises:

Exercise 4: Treat on the table

  1. Place a treat in the middle of the table. Click, then toss another treat for your dog remaining controlled around the presence of the cookie.
  2. Move the treat around closer to the edge to make it slightly harder. Click, then toss a treat for your dog noticing it but not going over to it.
  3. Continue to move the position of the treat or add in some different treats. Reinforcing your dog for being successful and remaining “zen”.
  4. Add some duration. Click then treat for your dog remaining controlled around the presence of the treat for longer periods of time.
  5. Add some distance. Click then treat for your dog remaining controlled around the presence of the treat while you walk away a couple of feet.
  6. Add the “leave-it” cue. See below for information on how to add cues.

Exercise 5: Walking by a treat on a floor.

  1. Have your dog on a leash.
  2. Set out a bowl with some cookies in it.
  3. Walk your dog on a leash close to the cookies. Click, then treat. when your dog turns away from the treats and looks at you.
  4. Continue to practice this exercise in different environments.
  5. Add the “leave-it” cue. See below for information on how to add cues.

Troubleshooting: My dog won’t turn away from the treats.

  • Stand further away from the treats.
  • Try treats that are not as high value.
  • Make a clicking sound to get his attention the first couple of times.

Adding the “leave-it” cue
Only introduce the Leave-It cue when your dog is already backing away from the treat. We don’t want to introduce the cue unless the dog is already offering the behaviour. When you introduce the cue say it in a calm, happy voice. Cues are not meant to be intimidating. Practice the cue for many repetitions so that your dog is successful before you take it outside in the real world. Once your dog is responding to the cue, you can start to use it earlier to tell him to back away from something.

Video - Doggie Zen 1
Doggie Zen 2

Can you get eye contact in the presence of a treat?

  • Draw a treat away from your dog’s face and click then treat when he looks in your eyes.
  • Put a treat on the ground- click, then treat, when your dog breaks his focus on the treat and looks in your eyes.

Can you place a treat on your dog’s paws?

  • When your dog is in a down put the treat on the ground and click, then treat, when he looks at you. Move the treat closer and closer to his paw until you can rest a treat on it.
Doggie Zen 2 - Bonus Exercises
Video: Leave It
A word on being fair to your dog.... Sometimes we want our dogs to follow a treat in our hand (a term called luring). But this seems contradictory to the work we are doing in teaching them to back away from treats. How can we make it clear to them that it’s ok to lure when we need them to? Dogs are…
Luring vs. Doggie Zen
Tug of War and Drop
Boundary Training / Door Dashing

We are putting their lives at risk if we let our dogs dash out of open doors.

Objective: To teach dogs the following:

  • To wait for a release at an open door.
  • To wait in their crate when the door opens
  • To wait in the car when the door opens.

Exercise 1

Wait for a release at an open door.

  1. Have a leash on your dog.
  2. Approach the door. Wait until your dog offers a sit (make sure you don’t ask him to sit we want this to be automatic). Click then treat when he sits.
  3. Touch the door handle, click then treat for your dog remaining in the sit.
  4. Open the door slightly, click then treat for your dog remaining in the sit.
  5. Repeat this process building up the distraction level by gradually opening the door wider.  Click then treat each time your dog remains in the sit position while you open the door. In these sessions, the dog is not going outside but instead being rewarded with a treat for sitting in the presence of an open door.
  6. If he gets up, shut the door, turn around and restart the session making it easier.
  7. For the sessions where you are going to go outside. Approach the door, wait for your dog to sit, open the door, click and RELEASE him to move forward (in this case, the reward is a life reward – the opportunity to go outside).
  8. Choose your release word carefully so that it is unique. Words like “OK” are used too often in our vocabulary. Words like “Break”, “Release”, “Go Free”, “Let’s go”, are a better choice.
  9. Build up the distraction level. You can put your dog’s toy or some treats on the other side of the door. Make sure you always have a leash on your dog to prevent him from dashing during your training.
  10. Build duration – keep the door open for longer periods of time while your dog waits patiently.

Exercise 2 - Crate training

In lesson 2 we addressed some crate manners. The crate offers lots of training opportunities as well as combat pushiness. We can teach our dogs to wait patiently when we open the crate door.

  1. Put your hand on the door if your dog starts fussing wait and don’t open it.
  2. As soon as your dog is calm open the door, toss a treat and shut the door.
  3. Repeat several times until your dog learns that you opening the crate door is not an opportunity for him to barge out, but instead an opportunity for him to get a reward.

Exercise 3 - Car Door

Ideally your dog should be in a crate in the car for safety purposes or wearing a harness seatbelt. If he is free to roam in your car practice door manners so that he doesn’t charge out when you open the car door.

  1. Wait for your dog to be calm
  2. Open the door, toss a treat, close the door
  3. Repeat, until your dog expects his reward
  4. Open the door ask for Sit, Feed, Close the door
  5. Repeat
  6. Do a couple of sessions where you open the door, ask for a sit, release your dog out of the car.
Video - Boundary Training / Door Dashing

Download this PDF with all the training plans written out for easy reference. 

Unit 3 Training Plans
72.5 kB
+ Unit 4 - Barking
8 lectures 18:33
Fence Barking / Territorial Barking
Bark and Quiet

Exercise 2 - Teach your dog Bark and Quiet

Why should you teach your dog to Bark on cue and to be Quiet on cue?

  1. If we teach the dog to bark when we ask for it, and reinforce that behavior, the dog will be less likely to do it unless it’s requested.
  2. Teaching a Quiet cue allows us to stop barking, and dogs learn behaviors quickly if we can teach them in opposite pairs (in this case, Bark, and Quiet)

Steps to teaching Bark and Quiet.

  1. Prompt Behavior First. Setup the environment such that the dog is likely to bark. In the case of Elaine, I knocked the wall to prompt a bark, and clicked then treated for the bark.
  2. Wait for the Behavior to be Offered. After a series of repetitions, I stopped knocking and waited. I wanted to see if Elaine would offer the behavior and bark on her own. As soon as she did, I clicked then treated.
  3. Shape the Behavior. Elaine’s offered bark ranged from a low growl, to a quiet bark, to a loud, piercing bark. I want the finished behavior to be a loud bark, so I simply stopped reinforcing low growls or quiet barks. I only clicked loud, piercing barks.
  4. Add the Cue. Once Elaine was offering a bark of a volume I liked, I added a cue. I cued a “talk-talk” hand gesture just as Elaine was about to begin barking. Then, I progressively cued earlier and earlier, until when she was silent, I could cue the “talk-talk” hand gesture, and she would bark after it.
  5. Work on Stimulus Control. This is a very important part of training a useful Bark cue! It is important that Elaine only be reinforced for barking when cued (the “talk-talk” hand gesture). I intentionally allowed Elaine to offer a bark (uncued), and intentionally did not click then treat for it. After a moment of silence, I gave the cue, and then clicked then treated the resulting bark. The dog must learn that reinforcement only comes from this behavior when it is cued.
  6. Quiet Cue through Classical Conditioning. Teaching a quiet cue is easy with classical conditioning. Simply give the cue for quiet (I am using a “shhh” hand gesture), pause for half a second, and then give the dog a treat. With the consistent pairing of the quiet cue to the delivery of a treat, the dog will start to anticipate the delivery of a treat once the cue is given. It is very important that during this process that when you give the quiet cue, you give a treat. Using classical conditioning to train behaviors means that once you give the cue, you PROMISE to give the treat, no matter what the dog is doing… including when they continue to bark. In the following video, on the last trial, you will see Elaine look down at the floor when I cue quiet. She’s looking for the treat.
  7. Closing Thoughts - Quiet as an Operant Behavior. After enough repetitions of pairing the Quiet cue with a treat, you should observe that upon giving the Quiet cue, the dog stops barking and eagerly anticipates (or scans) for delivery of a treat. At that point, you can move to using operant conditioning to reinforce that behavior. Give the quiet cue, observe silence of a short duration, then click then treat for silence.

Bark and Quiet as Paired Cues
Training Bark and Quiet together makes a lot of sense! Cue Bark, and once the dog barks, cue Quiet. When the dog is quiet, click then treat.
For dogs that find barking a reinforcing activity in itself, you can actually cue your dog to be quiet, and then after they have been quiet, reinforce them by cueing them to bark! Permission to bark is the reinforcer for quiet!

Video - Bark and Quiet
Barking at Doorbells and Visitors

Go to your Mat or Crate.

We’ve already covered "Go To Your Mat". This exercise is extremely helpful for teaching proper door manners. If you dog is sensitive to the sound of knocking or the doorbell have your friend text you when they arrive. Then you can cue your dog to go to his mat and answer the door. Practice "Go To Your Mat" until you can reliably cue your dog from all parts of the house. Have a friend help by doing setups and knocking on the door. The same applies for teaching your dog to go to his crate.  Both are excellent ways to manage your dog if they are uncomfortable with visitors.

Grab a Toy.

If your dog has a hard time staying on their mat because what they really want is to great visitors but they get too barky and exuberant you can teach them to grab a toy. This is a perfect example of teaching your dog a behaviour that is incompatible with the problem behavior that occurs. Your dog can’t bark if he has a toy in his mouth.

Exercise: Hear a knock - Grab a Toy

  1. Start with a game of fetch.
  2. When you dog is reliably going after the toy start to add the cue “take it”.
  3. Leave the house come back in and cue your dog to “take it” .
  4. Leave the house, knock, and cue your dog to “take it”.
  5. Repeat until you can open the door and your dog automatically grabs his toy.
  6. Make sure to have a designated spot for your dog’s toy so he doesn’t have to search for it
  7. Practice doing setups with a friend by having them come over and knock.
  8. Take it one step further and combine the cues "take it" and "go to your crate/mat" so your dog takes his toy and goes and lies down.
  9. Make sure you also reward your dog with a fun session with the toy. We want him to love grabbing his door when visitors come over.
Video - Barking at Doorbells and Visitors
Long Stay

Download this PDF with all the training plans written out for easy reference. 

Unit 4 Training Plans
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