The Mannerly Dog Philosophy

What if training your dog could feel more like teamwork than tug-of-war?

I’ve spent the better part of the last three decades learning about the science of behavior. My biggest takeaway has been this: we don’t have to scare animals into doing what we want. Just like people, animals learn better when they’re actively participating in and enjoying the training process. That’s what I teach at The Mannerly Dog. 

My mission is to improve the quality of life for dogs and their humans. That’s why my training philosophy is rooted in care and respect for animals. 

Teaching the value and science behind positive, force-free training methods is my true passion. I’ve learned from the best trainers and behavior scientists in the industry (check out my resume here) how to apply the principles of behavior modification to dogs and other species.

That may sound like a specialized skill, and it does take dedicated practice—but I can teach you how to do it, too. 

How we change your dog’s behavior

Dogs learn by association and through consequences that are contingent on their behavior. It’s not only dogs who learn this way; most animals will repeat behaviors with desirable consequences and avoid behaviors with undesirable consequences. Dogs, raccoons, and bears will all raid garbage cans if they can consistently get food as a result. (If you’re interested, behavior scientists call this form of learning operant conditioning. If you’re not, don’t worry—you don’t need to know what it’s called to use these techniques effectively.) 

There is a wealth of research on this type of conditioning and the other ways dogs learn. All of it helped inform my positive, force-free training methods.  

I will work with you to: 

  • Evaluate your dog’s behavior and contributing factors: What environmental triggers contribute to their behavior? 
  • Implement management techniques: While your dog is unlearning a challenging behavior, I’ll teach ways to help manage or prevent it. 
  • Skillfully reinforce the behaviors you like: We’ll reward your dog for being calm at the right moments, paying attention to what you’re asking of them, etc.  

Here’s how it works:

Before we implement a training plan, we will evaluate the behavior of everyone in your home, including kids, partners, and other pets. This helps create a picture of all the contributing factors that might affect your dog’s behavior, both in positive ways and ways we don’t like. 

These factors might include: 

  • The stress levels of other pets in the home 
  • Foundational skills already in place, like leash training, impulse control, and other skills 
  • Inconsistencies in human behavior that can be changed to help your dog understand what you want 

 I’ll work with you to create a training plan that achieves your most important goals and gives you the tools to keep your mannerly dog’s skills sharp. I am committed to using documented canine learning theory to guide our training, which produces consistent, reliable, and lasting results. 

Owners always have the final say in what we train and how. After all, the plan has to work for you and your lifestyle—otherwise, it won’t be effective! But producing lasting and reliable behavior change does take effort, so be prepared to spend committed time every day with your pup. 

A note about force 

All of my methods are force-free. We will never use a prong collar, e-collar, or similar instrument to punish the dog. Instead, we will set them up to succeed by teaching them which behaviors we want and motivating them to prefer those behaviors over the undesirable ones. 

Oh hi there!
It’s nice to meet you.

Sign up to receive dog training tips in your inbox monthly and a FREE e-book!