Pillar Four: Clear Communication

Having clear communication means that you can reliably pass and receive information to and from your dog to achieve a reliable outcome.

Having clear communication means that you can reliably pass and receive information to and from your dog to achieve a reliable outcome.

Do you have clear communication with your dog? The truth is, sometimes it can be hard to tell, especially if you're just beginning to train your dog. One of the questions I ask during my phone consultations to gauge this is, "When you tell your dog 'No,' what do they do?" In most instances, the owner has the realization that they haven't reliably taught their dog what the word 'no' actually means.

Next, we must take a look at some of the tools we can use to communicate with our dogs. Below is a list of standard training tools:

  • Verbal Markers
  • Leash
  • Food
  • Flat Collar
  • Prong Collar
  • E-Collar
  • Body Language
  • Crate or Kennel
  • Flexi-Leash
  • Slip-Lead
  • Clicker

Are you using any of the tools I listed?

If so, are they useful in your training? If not, make sure you are using them correctly. A common and unintentional mistake many owners make is misusing communication tools. Furthermore, it is imperative that you accurately teach your dog what they mean; otherwise, they are futile and can be counter-productive.

Resources for using tools:

  • For using a leash and prong-collar, I recommend checking out Tyler Muto's conversational leash work.
  • For using verbal markers and clickers, I recommend Pat Stuart
  • For using food and toys, I recommend Michael Ellis
  • For creating structure, I recommend Ed Frawley
  • For e-collar usage, I recommend Larry Krohn
  • For using a flexi-leash, check out Jay Jack