Company of Animals

How dogs learn

How Dogs Learn

Dogs do not automatically link a punishment with the crime as they do not possess the same reasoning abilities as a person. With this in mind, any praise or punishment needs to be delivered as quickly and consistently as possible so your dog can learn the correlation between behavior and outcome over time. After all, good training takes patience.


It’ll become very clear what motivates your dog to exhibit certain behaviors. For many it’s treats! Others it’s praise, attention, or a game. Whatever it is, you’ll need to make sure you have them on hand for good behavior along with a consistent praise word to use every time. This praise word should be something the whole family decides on and uses consistently such as “yes”, “nice” or “good”. Once you and your dog have mastered a command using their favorite reward and praise word each time you should be able to get the desired behavior using just the praise word.


Here at the Company of Animals we would NEVER condone physical punishment. However, simply not giving a reward when bad, embarrassing, or unsafe behavior is exhibited will not work and other training is needed. By introducing a consequence, you can stop bad habits from generating early on and set a standard. More often than not, the removal of your dog’s desired outcome or your attention will do the trick.

Removing your attention

Top tips

If you need further advice, contact our Training School

Fiona Whelan ~ Pet Behaviourist

Fiona has been working at the Training and Behaviour Centre as a behaviour specialist since 2002, and previously ran her own training and behaviour establishment in Lincolnshire for seven years so has a wealth of experience as a behaviour counsellor.