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Teaching & Training

The T is for Teaching & Training
  • Consequence Learning, e.g. "sit"

  • Association Learning, e.g. "helping that scary thing be not-so-scary"

We will use the words teaching and training interchangeably at times. Most of us are very used to the word training as it relates to our dogs -- we are training them to do something. But, we like the word teaching so much better! Why? Because teaching seems bigger -- think teaching a dog that the world is safe. That's not really a training task. Either is teaching a dog how to live peacefully and happily in our human environment. We like to go beyond training a task - that's why teaching is important.

About Training

Training is a form of both education & enrichment, but it is such a large portion of what people seek with dogs, that we gave Training its own section. The overall plans written by your trainer will include training plans.


Dogs learn through consequences and associations. Consequences are things like treats and praise given after a dog does a sit when prompted. An example of association type learning is when your dog sees your trainer for the second time and wags like crazy – Trainer = Awesome Things are Coming!. 















We will focus on consequence learning first.  Reviewing these links in order will make the most sense:


Consequence Learning

Consequence learning follows the flow of behavior then consequence. There is also something that prompts the behavior. You may have heard of this referred to as an antecedent. Many times we don't know what the antecedent is,  but many times we provide the antecedent in the form of a cue like "sit." After the behavior happens, there is a consequence.  At WBA we use consequences that your dog likes. When we do this, we make the behavior more likely to occur again because your dog liked what happened.

Preparation & Background Information

We use both verbal and hand signal cues as an antecedent for our dog's behaviors. We also use marker signals immediately after the desired behavior to tell the dog the precise moment they earned the desirable consequence. When teaching a dog new behaviors, running a training plan using the rules below makes for fast learning!

Hand Signals: 

Marker Signals: 

Rules for Running a Training Plan: 

Foundation Behaviors

These are some of the behaviors we teach every dog. We use consequence learning for these behaviors. 


Watch me: 

Find It:

Leave It: 


Association Learning

Association learning is a bit more tricky than consequence learning. Dogs are learning all the time - they learn to predict things from their environment. We can't always be in control over everything in our dog's environment, and we certainly can't control how our dogs perceive things.  Sticking to an always kind approach will help, but if your dog already has some associations that worry you, call us. This includes things a dog may perceive as scary,  like people, other dogs, loud noises, or being alone. 

For puppies, socialization is all about associations.  We want to help puppies know that the world is safe, kind and that new things predict great things. 

If you have a fearful dog, we will add some specialty tools to our toolkit. Here are some background links:

Positive reinforcement in dog training
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