Dog training glossary
Our Dog Training series is here to support you and your dog as you embark on your training journey together. However, we want to make sure all the terms we’ve used throughout our training series are clear and easy to follow – which is the reason we’ve created our dog training glossary!
Training your canine companion from home should be a wonder-fur-l experience, and understanding the terminology is an important part of the process. So, let’s explore some of the most widely used dog training terms…
Appeasement – is most often shown when your dog is worried but can often be mistaken for them showing a lot of affection. This can be displayed by a dog jumping up, licking or sniffing excessively, nudging you, rolling over to expose their belly or urinating on greeting. Some dogs may also present a toy or object on greetings.
Bite inhibition – is your canine companion’s ability to control the amount of pressure they use when biting or mouthing something. Through careful, positive training, you can teach your dog how to behave around people and other pets; visit our article about mouthing and jumping up for more information!
Body language – your dog can’t speak, so, they use body language to communicate with you instead. To gain a better understanding of exactly what your dog’s body language means, take a look at this helpful guide to canine communication.
Body touches – it's important to prepare your pooch for all sorts of important situations (like nail clipping, grooming, vet visits, etc.).
Clicker training – works in the same way as marker word training! If your dog does something correctly, you use a clicker as you give them a treat (or a toy, or praise) to reward them. Repetition is the key to success with clicker training.
Correction – is a negative training method that uses punishment to stop a dog from continuing unwanted behaviour, e.g. sharply pulling on a dog’s lead to prevent them from barking. Positive techniques, like clicker training, are kinder and more effective than correction.
Cue – a signal that lets your dog know they’ve done something well. For example, you could choose a vocal cue for your training (e.g. “nice”, “yes”, or “good”) as a marker for good behaviour. Alternatively, for dogs who are deaf (or respond better to visual cues), you could choose something like a ‘thumbs up’ gesture as your positive signal. Sometimes, pet parents prefer to use a whistle as their dog’s training cue!
Flexi lead – is usually a retractable, extendable lead with a plastic case handle; we don’t recommend using a flexi lead to train your canine companion! Not only is it easy for a flexi lead to slip out of your hand, but the sounds of plastic casing dropping to the ground may spook some dogs.
Flooding – an ineffective, unsafe training technique that involves exposing your dog to a stressful situation with a view to desensitising them to it. We don’t recommend the use of ‘flooding’ as it isn’t a suitable training method. Instead, we suggest visiting our article about positive reinforcement, to discover more positive ways to train your canine companion.
High value reward – this could be a specific treat or toy that motivates your dog to try their best during training sessions.
Long line – during those first few steps on the recall training journey, we highly recommend using a long line to train your pooch. A long line is a very long rope that’ll allow your dog to travel a large distance, while still staying safely under your control.
Loose lead walking (a.k.a. ‘LLW’) – means being able to walk with your dog by your side as their lead hangs loosely, instead of your dog pulling so much that there’s tension in their lead.
Marker – whether it’s a clicker sound, vocal indicator, or visual cue, a ‘marker’ refers to something you do that lets your dog know they’ve done well! Whenever we say you need to ‘mark and reward’ in our series videos, you should be giving your marker cue and rewarding your dog for following instructions. Your chosen marker is usually given at the same time as your dog’s favourite reward, so they understand their action was correct, thanks to positive reinforcement.
Mouthing – while they are teething, and learning about the world around them, your puppy might chew or nip at you and/or your clothing. Although mouthing is natural but undesirable behaviour, the good news is you can teach your pup how to manage their impulse to chew! Check out our mouthing and jumping up training video for expert advice on dealing with undesirable behaviour.
Negative reinforcement – from shouting at your pet for failing to follow your instructions to withholding a reward because they didn’t do as you asked, negative reinforcement training includes a wide range of techniques. Trainers could do something unpleasant, like pinch a dog’s ear until they drop whatever’s in their mouth, to teach them to repeat a desired action on command. Despite many dog trainers opting to use negative reinforcement methods, here at Animal Friends, we’re passionate about the use and benefits of positive training techniques!
Positive reinforcement – when your dog is rewarded for doing something correctly, you’re helping them learn by creating a link between correct behaviour and a reward. Visit our article all about positive reinforcement training to find out more!
Praise – an important part of training your dog – at any age! Providing your canine companion with plenty of praise during the training process will help them quickly pick up new skills. From cuddles and snuggles to cheerful words and pleasant sounds, you can praise your pooch however works best for you both.
Punishment training – involves a negative reaction to undesirable behaviour, e.g. spraying a cat with water for jumping on a kitchen counter or rubbing a puppy’s nose into the carpet for peeing there. While we understand that training your pet might get a little frustrating at times, please don’t use punishment as a training technique.
Recall – your dog’s ability to return to you when you call them. Reliable recall skills are vital for your canine companion’s safety!
Redirect – shift your canine’s focus from something that’s unhelpful or distracting, to help them concentrate on your training session. Once you and your pup are ready to venture to a busier environment (e.g. a park) for training, you’re more likely to encounter distractions, like squirrels, footballs, and picnics! So, it’s useful to work out how to redirect your dog’s attention onto you when they’re distracted at the start of your training journey. Finding the right high value reward can help to redirect your dog’s attention when needed.
Repetition – is the key to success in dog training. So, you’ll have to be prepared to practise all training exercises time and time again, to help your dog build a great foundation for their future. Remember, practise makes ‘pawfect’!
Reward – as an essential part of positive reinforcement training, the reward you choose for your canine companion has a big impact on the way they learn! It’s vital to reward your dog when they do something well. Praising your pup using something they love (like a treat, toy, or extra cuddles!) during training can make all the difference in helping them remember what you’ve taught them. If you’d like some ideas for rewards to try with your pooch, visit our article about finding the right reward for your dog.
Separation anxiety – dogs who dislike being left alone may display unwanted behaviour while their pet parents aren’t home or out of sight. While it’s impossible to stay with your dog 24/7, there are many ways to ease their separation anxiety. Listen to our podcast episode all about separation anxiety, for Joii vet Sam Webster’s top tips on managing destructive and distressed behaviour whenever you leave your pooch home alone.
Trigger – is anything that causes your dog to react. Sometimes, a trigger can lead to unwanted behaviour, e.g. the doorbell ringing might trigger a dog’s barking.