How Do Dogs Learn

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How do dogs learn?

Dogs learn by using their instincts and memory, kind of like we do. They are basic creatures with three types of memories, positive ones, neutral ones, and negative ones.Dog Training

  1. Positive memories are when your dog will get something pleasurable for what they are doing. Think about what your dogs motivation is. How can you use positivity when dog training.
  2. Negative memories are when something happens to the dog that it does not like. For example, if a dog is biting someones pants and it is told “no” while being swatted on the nose, that is not pleasurable for the dog. The next time the dog will remember that when his or her instinct is to bite the pants and hopefully react on instinct alone.
  3. Neutral ones are neither positive or negative to the dog. They are just memories that it is okay to do something, but doesn’t get rewarded or punished for it.

Obviously, the more memories the dog has, the better. The less chance there is for misbehavior because their instinct and memories will work together for a well-behaved dog you can be proud of. Click here for more tips on dog training.

Tone of Voice

Dogs don’t understand what language you speak but they do understand the tone of your voice. When you say a certain word, you have a unique tone and there has a certain length to it. You must be consistent with the words you use for your dog training at home. Your dog will understand what you mean from their memories. Along with your tone and length of your words, your dog will know your mood, body language and facial expression. There is no need to yell your commands, just talk clearly and calmly.No Yelling

Note to self – When you are dog training at home, be short, concise and consistent in your commands. The more you talk is not better when training your dog.

Show your dog affection

Dogs love your affection. Affection is how you and your dogs bond grows stronger. The stronger the bond you two have the more safe and secure your dog will feel, the happier both of your lives will be. If you give your dog lots of praise and affection the more important your dog will feel. They will want that feeling to continue, so they will do what they can to please you. However, this goes hand in hand with training your dog to be well-behaved and well-mannered. Your dog needs to know there are negatives and positives to how they act.

Loving on the puppyIf you continue to correct the dog when he or she does something wrong, you are letting them know it is not okay to act that way. When you continue to praise your dog when they do something right, they will want to continue to do the right things just so they can get that praise.  Think about yourself, if you are getting praise for what you are doing, will you do it more often? Of course. Remember that when you are training your dog. The more positive memories you are making, the better.

Just remember, you will make mistakes. Look back at what you are doing and make a goal on how you want to make it right. You can check out my dog obedience page for more information and tips.  

Let me know what commands you need to work on with your dog in my comment section below.

I always look at it as, tomorrow will be better.

Lily Thank Goodness

6 thoughts on “How Do Dogs Learn

  1. Arief

    I had a dog but that was a million years ago. I agree that you have to be short and concise when teaching your dog. Long conversations don’t do anything to a dog but a confused face. LOL.

    But most of all, you must keep your posture calm. You can’t teach a dog if you are over excited or over-anything. Your dog just imitates your emotion when you teach it.

    1. Kelly Post author

      Definitely Arief. You dog needs you to be consistent each time so they can learn exactly what they need to do from their instincts and memories of the time before! Do you plan do get a dog ever again?

  2. Abdul

    Hey Kelly,
    I must say, the post is very informative and educating.
    I don’t have a pet dog, but I am planning to adopt one in the next month or so.
    I have been doing my research and I will frequently come here to read the
    articles and educate my self.
    Keep up the good work 🙂

    1. Kelly Post author

      Thats great Abdul. You will never regret getting a dog. They love you no matter what. Do you know what kind of dog you will get? Definitely check out my before puppy page first. That will help you get everything all set up for you! Good luck and keep me updated! I love to see pictures of peoples puppies and know how they are doing!

  3. Lynne

    Great post and I totally agree. Every dog I have ever had always just wanted to please me. It really is a beautiful relationship and I try and focus on positive reinforcement rather than negative.

    Just out of interest at what age do you think is best to start training a puppy?

    1. Kelly Post author

      Lynne, thanks for the comment! You actually need to start training as soon as you bring your puppy home. The youngest you can bring a puppy home is 8 weeks. They should never be taken away from their parents before then. Do you have a puppy dog or have you ever had a puppy dog?


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