Want to know the secret to successful dog training? The secret is not to try to train your dog until you know you control the outcome.

In other words, choosing the right time to train is important. When you are in the middle of something and your dog misbehaves, you may not have time to train. In these situations, INTERRUPT your dog and quickly MANAGE the situation.

Rather than trying to “train” your dog in front of your guests, dedicate time each day to creating TEACHING MOMENTS where you practice exercises that teach your dog expected outcomes.


This kind of Zen Dog Training encourages dog owners to understand when they should MANAGE and when they should train. Training means taking time to set up an environment where you can teach a lesson or prevent bad behaviors from happening in the first place.  Once you control the outcome, repeat exercises over and over (in a controlled setting) so your dog understands your rules.

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Essentially, you want to teach your dog they get praise, treats, and love for making good decisions, but you also want them to learn they get ignored, interrupted, or controlled if they make a bad decision.

At Zen Dog Training, we recommend you set up situations – every day – where you teach your dog the rules with repetition.  Create TEACHING MOMENTS by using the right MANAGEMENT TOOLS.


Teaching a dog to stop jumping is a good example that illustrates how using the right MANAGEMENT TOOLS helps you incorporate training drills and training in the moment.

Start by having your dog wear a DRAG LINE (or indoor leash). Put the DRAG LINE on before visitors arrive, or put one on when they start chasing the cat, and you will level the playing field for training.

With your dog wearing a leash inside the house you can more quickly INTERRUPT when they act out, or you can step on the leash and have everyone IGNORE your dog if they start jumping. Even better, the LEASH STEP will give them a mild INTERRUPT every time they try to jump up.

With almost no effort, every time a visitor arrives or you say hi to someone on the street, you can use the LEASH STEP to set-up a situation where your dog cannot successfully jump and, at the same time, gets lots of opportunities to be rewarded with praise, attention, petting, even treats for sitting quietly.

Once your dog starts to understand the rules, you introduce distractions, increase the difficulty, and mix it up to make sure your dog “gets it” in different situations.


The Secret to Zen Dog Training is getting the humans to think like a dog, and understand what truly motivates their dog. Training comes from a place of mutual understanding where you set your dog up to succeed, and even fail, in training scenarios that reinforce the rules of your house.

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