Categories: Animals & Pets

Jamie Johnson

dog training vocabulary

As a pet parent, having the right dog training vocabulary is essential for communicating effectively with your pup and setting them up for success. Especially since understanding the fundamentals of proper training can be a challenge, it’s important to know the common terms used in dog training so that you can understand and follow the instructions of your trainer. In this blog post, I’ll be exploring some of the key concepts of dog training, including common terms used in dog training, basic principles of dog training, and positive reinforcement. I’ll also discuss crate training, obedience schools, introducing a new puppy into the home, and training an older dog. Finally, I’ll explore the option of hiring a professional dog trainer. By the end of this post, you’ll have a better sense of the dog training vocabulary and techniques that you can use to help your pup learn and grow.

Common Terms Used In Dog Training

Would you love to become a more confident dog trainer? Do you need help mastering the complex terms and language associated with dog training? Perfecting your understanding of dog training vocabulary can help you have better conversations with trainers or quickly identify challenges you might be facing in training your pup. Fortunately, there are a few key words and phrases all canine owners should become familiar with.

Obedience Training

When starting obedience training with your pup, there are a few essential terms and concepts you need to understand. One such term is the “sit” command. This is the most basic command to teach your pup and requires minimum effort. In addition, another important term to learn is the “stay” command, which is great for teaching impulse control. You can use it to ask your pup to stay in one spot until you release them with the word “okay”.

Basic Dog Commands

In addition to obedience training, there are a few other commands you’ll need to teach your pup in order to successfully train them. One such command is “leave it”, which teaches your pup to ignore and walk away from items that might be dangerous. You’ll also want to learn the “come” command and practice different recalls. A recall is simply a way to get your pup to come to you when you call their name and reinforce them with a reward for following the command.

Clicker Training

A great way to incorporate positive reinforcement into your training is with clicker training. Using a clicker helps mark the exact moment your pup obeys a command for you to reward. Then, a bridge word is used to let them know what behavior you’d like them to do next. This helps strengthen the bond between you and pup and encourages your pup to understand which behaviors they need to demonstrate.

Positive Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement is one of the most commonly used forms of dog training. This technique focuses on rewarding behaviors you’d like to see with treats, toys, and verbal praise. It’s important to avoid punishment and instead use positive reinforcement to get the desired results. The combination of clicker training and positive reinforcement provides a safe and secure environment for your pup to learn and grow.

As a canine owner, it’s important to have a good grasp of the common terms associated with dog training. Knowing the meanings of “sit”, “stay”, “leave it”, “come”, “recall”, and “clicker training” can help you become a more confident dog trainer, as well as understand how to use positive reinforcement to get the best results from your pup.

Lens on a Dictionary

Basic Principles of Dog Training

Dog training is an important part of pet ownership, and understanding the fundamentals of how it works can be beneficial for both you and your dog. This article will explain the basics of dog training vocabulary so you can use the right terms when discussing training with other pet owners.

Clicker Training

Clicker Training is a type of reward-based training that uses a “clicker” as a way to communicate with your pet. The clicker is a small, metal device that makes a clicking sound when pressed. Whenever your dog performs the correct behavior, you click the clicker and immediately give them a reward. Over time, your dog will learn to associate the click and the reward, and will eventually do the correct behavior just for the click.

Clicker training is often used by professional trainers, as it is a very effective way to train behaviors without the need for verbal commands. It can also be used in combination with a verbal reward system, as you can click and treat the same behavior each time it is completed correctly.

Positive Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement is a powerful tool used in dog training. It works by rewarding your dog whenever he performs a desired behavior. For example, if your dog sits when asked, you can give him a treat as a reward. This will help him learn to associate sitting with receiving a reward and will help him remember to do the behavior in the future.

Positive reinforcement can be used in combination with a verbal reward system, as you can give verbal praise as well as a physical reward. In addition, positive reinforcement for commands can help build trust between you and your dog.

Negative Reinforcement

Negative reinforcement is another type of reward-based training used in dog training. It works by removing a reward when your dog does something wrong. For example, if your dog jumps on you, you can remove the reward (say, a treat) that you were giving him as a reward for sitting when asked. This will help him learn to associate jumping on you with not receiving a reward.

Negative reinforcement can be a very effective way to modify behaviors, but it is important to use it in conjunction with positive reinforcement. It is also important to be consistent with your negative reinforcement so your dog understands what is expected of him.


Corrections are one of the more controversial aspects of training your dog. They are used to make your dog aware of when they are doing something wrong, and may involve a verbal warning or physical gesture.

Corrections should be used sparingly and it is important to be consistent with corrections when training your dog. Corrections should always be done in a calm, assertive manner and you should never use physical punishment as a way to correct behavior.

Verbal Commands

Verbal commands are often used by dog owners and trainers to communicate with their pets. Verbal commands can be divided into two categories; stay and come.

Stay commands are used to ask your dog to remain in one spot or position. This is useful when your dog needs to remain stationary for a task or activity.

Come commands are used to ask your dog to come to you or follow you. This can help owners keep control of their pet in different environments or when off-leash.

Tools for Training

Tools are widely used by trainers and owners to help train their dogs. Leashes, collars, and harnesses are generally used to help maintain control of the dog during training sessions. They can also be used to help train your dog to walk on a loose leash.

Clickers are also commonly used in training, as they provide an audible cue that can help reinforce desired behaviors. They can also help your dog learn to associate certain behaviors with a reward, such as a treat or verbal praise.

Training Techniques

There are several different training techniques you can use when teaching your dog simple commands and habits. For example, lure-training is a common technique used to train commands such as sit and stay. In this technique, a treat is used as a reward when the dog performs the desired behavior.

In addition, house-training and crate-training are two common training techniques used to teach dogs to eliminate themselves in the correct areas. These techniques involve using a puppy pad or crate to set boundaries for your dog and teaching them to only relieve themselves in designated spots.


Rewards are an important part of reward-based training, as they help reinforce desired behaviors and teach your dog what is expected of them. Treats, toys, verbal praises, and physical affection are all common rewards used during training sessions. It is important to use rewards properly, as they should only be given when a desired behavior is completed correctly and they should never be used as a punishment.

Woman with Dog Sitting Beside Lake in Mountains 

Positive Reinforcement in Dog Training

Dog owners can benefit from learning about positive reinforcement when it comes to training their furry friend. Positive reinforcement is an animal training technique that uses rewards to increase the desired behaviors of a dog. This method is not just beneficial for dogs, but for their owners as well.

Benefits of Positive Reinforcement

Using rewards-based methods can improve the relationship between the trainer and their dog due to the positive engagement during training. Furthermore, it is likely that the positive reinforcement technique is faster, safer, and more effective. When dogs receive rewards for their desired behaviors, they start associating those behaviors with joy and satisfaction.

Additionally, positive reinforcement not only helps to teach your dog basic commands, but it also assists them in developing their problem-solving skills by taking cues from their environment. Some trainers also say this approach is the best way to promote happiness, health, and well-being in the dog.

Examples of Positive Reinforcement

When deciding how to use positive reinforcement, it is essential to understand that the reward should coincide with the desired behavior. Clicker training, verbal cues, and treats are all popular examples of positive reinforcement that can be used to incentivize a dog.

Clicker training is a method where an owner will use a small, handheld device that produces a distinct sound to mark a desirable behavior that their pet has exhibited. For example, if a dog is fetching a ball, an owner may use the clicker to let the dog know that they are doing the desired behavior, then deliver a treat as a reward.

Verbal cues and commands are also effective positive reinforcement techniques. When an owner speaks a command, such as “sit”, and their dog obeys, they can offer a reward. However, verbal cues can also be used to prevent behaviors. For example, if an owner notices that their dog is about to jump on someone, they can quickly call out their name, or use a command such as “off” to give the dog positive reinforcement for not jumping.

Finally, treats are one of the most common forms of positive reinforcement. When a dog performs a desired behavior, they should be rewarded with a treat. This not only reinforces the desired behavior; it also strengthens the bond between an owner and their pup.

Comparisons to Negative Reinforcement

While positive reinforcement can be a very effective tool for animal training, it is essential to know that it differs from, and is superior to, negative reinforcement. Negative reinforcement is an animal training technique that encourages desirable behavior by punishing or avoiding undesirable behaviors.

For example, while positive reinforcement rewards a dog for performing the desired behavior, negative reinforcement punishes the dog for performing the undesired behavior. This can lead to aggressive behaviors, anxiety, and feelings of mistrust between the pet and its owner. Thus, it is important to be aware of the differences between the two training methods.

Successful Dog Trainers Who Utilize Positive Reinforcement

One famous example of a successful individual who uses positive reinforcement with his clients is Vic Fields, a renowned dog trainer with more than 30 years of experience. Vic believes that rewards-based methods are the optimal way to train a pup.

Some of the behaviors Vic commits himself to teaching include loose lead walking, recall, leaving items, and table training. He also helps owners troubleshoot issues like resource guarding, reactivity, and anxiety.

Vic believes that using positive reinforcement will lead to a stronger, healthier relationship between the pets, their owners, and the wider environment. His methods have proven to be successful and successful with many satisfied clients.

Positive reinforcement is a powerful tool that dog owners can use to help make their pet a better companion and member of the family. This method has proven to be faster and more effective than traditional punishment-based dog training techniques, and many renowned trainers have achieved successful results with its implementation. When used together with praise, it can make dog training easier and more enjoyable for both dog and owner.

Full body optimistic young female with curly hair smiling and teaching Beagle dog beg command on sunny summer day in countryside

Crate Training Your Dog

Crate training is one of the most important steps of dog training when it comes to a well-behaved, happy dog. It is often used as a form of confinement, especially when traveling or crate training a puppy. It is even considered an important part of housetraining a dog. Crate training has many benefits, both for the dog and their owner, but it is important to understand the terms associated with crate training.

Terms Associated with Crate Training

When it comes to crate training, there are three important terms to understand: Kennel, Crate, and Crate Bed.

A Kennel is typically a larger, wire mesh cage or pen you would use to house two or more dogs, or for a larger single dog. A Crate is a smaller, enclosed box or cage you would use for smaller breeds or puppies. Depending on its size, these crates may also be referred to as carriers or carriers. Finally, a Crate Bed is a soft, comfortable pad that is placed inside the crate, kennel, or carrier for extra comfort.

Different Types of Crates

When it comes to crates, there are several different types to choose from. Many types of crates will come with a removable divider panel, allowing the crate to be adjusted as the puppy grows. The most common types of crates are plastic and wire crates. Plastic crates are usually fairly lightweight, semi-transparent and easy to carry, while wire crates are sturdier and offer more ventilation to the dog. Some crates, like the Soft Sided Crate, are made of a combination of both plastic and a soft fabric, making them suitable for more sensitive and anxious dogs.

Steps to Crate Train a Dog

Crate training is a relatively simple process, but it is important to remember to always be patient and consistent. The first step of crate training is to get your dog used to the crate itself. Start by letting your dog explore the crate and letting them become familiar and comfortable with it. You can also reward them when they go into the crate by giving them treats or toys.

Once the dog is comfortable with the crate, start the actual training process. This should be done in small increments of time, with the goal of gradually increasing the length of time the dog spends in the crate. If the dog attempts to leave the crate, calmly tell it to stay and reward it with a treat when it complies.

Tips to Make the Training Easier

Make sure you have the right size crate. A crate that is too small may cause discomfort, while one that is too large may encourage the dog to use it as a toilet.

When you want your dog to stay in the crate for a longer amount of time, make sure to give them toys and treats to keep them busy and happy.

When placing the crate around the house, it is important to make sure it’s in an area where your dog won’t be disturbed. This can help reduce anxiety.

Crate training is a beneficial tool, but it is important to remember to provide plenty of social interaction to your dog throughout the day, even when the crate door is closed.

Personal Experience with Crate Training

I recently crate trained my dog, and it was an extremely rewarding experience. Before starting the training, I made sure to get all the necessary supplies, including the right size crate and toys, and I also placed the crate in an area of the house where my dog wouldn’t be disturbed.

Once I had everything prepared, I started the actual training process. I began by letting my dog explore the crate and rewarding him with treats when he went in and stayed there. Gradually, I was able to increase the length of time he stayed in the crate. I also made sure to take breaks to provide my dog with social interaction and playtime.

Important Things to Remember

Once you start the crate training process, it is important to remember to always be patient and consistent. It is also important to make sure the crate is the right size and placed in an area of the house that won’t be disturbed. Make sure to provide your dog with toys and treats when in the crate, and also provide plenty of social interaction throughout the day. With patience and consistency, crate training can be a very successful and rewarding experience for both you and your dog.

Dog Sitting in Front of Wooden Dresser

Obedience Schools for Dogs

Dog obedience schools are formal training programs designed to teach dogs specific commands and behaviors. These programs can be offered locally, virtually, or through online video trainings, and they equip pet owners with the tools needed to train their dog successfully.

Positive Reinforcement Training Techniques

At obedience schools, experienced professionals teach pet owners how to use positive reinforcement and reward-based techniques to get the desired results from their pet. This type of training is preferable as it encourages your dog to do the right thing instead of focusing on punishing bad behavior. Training techniques include verbal praises, treats, and consistency.

Types of Commands Taught

At dog obedience schools, dogs are taught specific commands and behaviors such as sits, downs, stays, recalls, and friendly greetings. Dogs learn from repetition and repetition is key to achieve mastery of these commands and behaviors.

Levels of Obedience Schools

Depending on the trainer, obedience schools may offer programs at different levels such as basic, intermediate, and advanced. Basic obedience generally covers basic commands such as sit, stay, and come; while advanced obedience focuses on more challenging behaviors.

Example of an Obedience School’s Success Story

One example of obedience school success stories is a three-year-old border collie that went from destructive behaviors to the mastery of basic commands such as sit, down, stay, come, and leave it. This example highlights the effectiveness of obedience schools.

Benefits of Attending Obedience Schools

Attending obedience schools can provide numerous benefits to pet owners, both in terms of understanding training methods and mastering commands. Obedience schools help build trust and strengthens the bond between pet and owners, potentially preventing and solving certain behavioral issues.

Shallow Focus Photography of Adult Black and White Border Collie

Training an Older Dog

Training an older dog is a lot different from training a puppy. But with some patience, dedication and the right tools, it’s possible to help and older dog learn new things. Here, we’ll discuss some of the best ways to train and old dog, including positive and negative reinforcement, clicker training, praise and rewards, shape training, and distractions and redirections.

Positive and Negative Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement is the act of rewarding our dog for displaying a certain behaviour. Treats, praise, and playing games are all examples of positive reinforcement. Negative reinforcement, on the other hand, involves withholding attention or giving verbal reprimands when a behaviour isn’t desired.

Clicker Training

Clicker training is a type of behavioural training where a sharp noise, the “click”, signals reinforcement each time the dog performs a desired behaviour. This form of training is especially helpful for older dogs because it accurately identifies good behaviour and helps establish better communication between dog and owner. Plus, it encourages enthusiasm and eagerness when your pup does something right.

Praise and Rewards

When it comes to rewards, it’s important to distinguish between a reward and a bribe. A reward is a natural behaviour from the dog that you decide to reinforce, whereas a bribe is behaviour that you’re eliciting from the dog with the promise of a reward. As far as the reward itself goes, tasty treats are always a good choice, and verbal praise and playing games are great ways to reward an old dog. However, it’s important to avoid scolding, physical punishment, or withholding rewards when disciplining our pup.

Shape Training

Another great training method for older dogs is shape training. This involves teaching your pup to associate certain shapes with desired behaviours. To implement, repeat the same shape (object or hand signal) each time you want your unique pup to perform the behaviour. With some keen observation and dedication, you’ll soon be able to phase out the treat and start rewarding with a treat only occasionally.

Take Abel, for example, an 8-year old Beagle. Abel was reluctant to go for walks until his pawrents implemented shape training. By associating a certain hand signal with a desired behaviour, they were able to quickly and easily train Abel to walk confidently and happily.

Distractions and Redirection

Of course, it’s not always easy to train an older dog. Sometimes, things like distractions or redirection can come into play. Distractions and redirections build trust, prevent discomfort, and can even teach the old dog new tricks. To use, simply draw your pup’s attention away from negative distractions and redirect the behaviour to something positive. Suggested distractions are responding to commands, offering eye contact, nose downs, and simple things like sit and stay.

Let’s look at Oscar, a 12-year old Golden Retriever, as an example. Whenever the neighbourhood kids cycled by, Oscar showed signs of stress. So, his pawrents used distractions and redirections to prevent him from displaying negative behaviours. Each time Oscar noticed the kids, his pawrents asked him to do a different trick like sit or give paw—reinforcing positive behaviours instead of focusing on the negative.

Overall, it’s important to remember that, with a bit of time and patience, older dogs are capable of learning the same behaviour as puppies. Just keep in mind that, due to their age, older don’t have the same cognitive or physical capabilities that puppies do. Thankfully, there are plenty of training methods that you can use to ensure your pup remains healthy, happy and lives a full, long life.

Adorable dog in life jacket swimming in water

Introducing a New Puppy into the Home

As an enthusiastic pet parent, you’ll want to make sure your puppy is properly trained and well-behaved from the start. To help you do this, it’s important to become familiar with the common vocabulary used in dog training.

Two important terms for introducing a new puppy into the home are habituation and socialization. Habituation is the process of getting a puppy adapted to their new home and the various sounds and smells they’re experiencing. Socialization is the process of getting a puppy used to the people and other animals they will be interacting with while learning to be comfortable in their environment.

Cue Words

Cue words, also known as commands, are words used to help train and control your puppy. They can range from simple “sit” and “stay” commands, to more advanced commands such as “down”, “off”, and “come”.

Cue words should be given in a calm, clear and authoritative manner, and it’s important to be consistent in the commands you use. Start by repeating the cue word and then providing a reward each time your puppy complies. This positive reinforcement will help your pup learn to obey the commands, and soon enough he’ll start to associate the word with the desired action.

Positive Reinforcement and Rewards

In order for your puppy to learn quickly and effectively, positive reinforcement should always be used. This means providing vocal praise and treats whenever your pup does something correctly. Also, make sure to provide plenty of playtime and exercise to burn off energy and help tire your pup out.

Using positive reinforcement will encourage your puppy to continue to follow the commands and maintain his good behaviors.

Crate Training

Crate training is one of the most effective methods for introducing a new puppy into their surroundings. The crate should be seen as a safe space for your puppy and should not be used as a punishment. When leaving the house, crating your pup will help keep him safe and secure while also helping him to learn not to soil the house.

It’s important to note that crate training should be done gradually by leaving the door open and allowing your puppy to enter the crate when they feel comfortable. If you’re introducing a puppy into your home, the crate training process should be started as soon as possible.

Clicker Training

Clicker training is another method used to effectively train puppies. A Clicker is a small, handheld device that emits a clicking sound when pressed. This sound is used to reward behaviors and let the puppy know that they’ve done something correctly.

When using a Clicker, you should provide verbal praise, a treat, or some playtime after the clicker has been used. This will reinforce the behavior and show your pup that they’ve done something good. Clicker training is also a humane way to train puppies, as it does not rely on physical or verbal punishment.

Socialization Opportunities

Socialization is an important part of puppy training, as it helps them become comfortable with people and other animals. To ensure that your pup is properly socialized, set up safe, positive socialization opportunities. This can include puppy playdates with family-friendly dogs, supervised trips to the dog park, and signing up for puppy classes at a Petco or local pet store.

These activities should always be supervised and should also include plenty of verbal praise. Doing this will help your puppy become comfortable in their new environment and better adjust to their new home.

By understanding common dog training vocabulary, using cue words to teach your puppy commands, using positive reinforcement and rewards, crate training, and providing socialization opportunities, you can ensure that your puppy is well-trained and healthy. Proper puppy training will not only make life with your pup easier, but also make the bond between you stronger.

dog training vocabulary

Hiring a Professional Dog Trainer

Owning a dog is a beloved part of many people’s lives. And, since all good things in life come with challenges, hiring a professional dog trainer is one way to discover the joy ofdog ownership while also gaining knowledge and understanding of your pup.

What are the Benefits of Hiring a Professional Dog Trainer?

Hiring a professional dog trainer provides many advantages. One of the key benefits is the one-on-one attention your pet receives. A professional dog trainer can attentively observe and diagnose any problem areas while also providing a custom-tailored training plan to meet the owners’ needs.

Using reward-based training, positive reinforcement techniques and other training methods that align with owners’ values, a professional trainer can help teach a dog the basics of good behavior and obedience.

What Questions to Ask When Hiring a Professional Trainer?

When asking for references or interviewing potential trainers, it is important to inquire about their qualifications and certifications. Make sure your trainer is properly licensed and insured, and look for any additional certifications or specialty areas of experience.

It is also important to ask your trainer about their vision for your pet’s training and their methods of training. Ask potential trainers to explain their approach to working with your pet and discuss what type of techniques they will use in the training. If possible, ask for examples of their previous training experiences to better understand the method of teaching they use.

Example of a Training Program

Many training centers offer comprehensive professional dog training programs for dogs at all stages of development. This kind of training includes in-classroom and board-and-train sessions. This working style provides each family with a tailored plan to properly teach owners the best way to effectively train their pup. A successful program means both the trainer and owners can work together to keep the lines of communication open to ensure a successful training outcome.

What Type of Training Does a Professional Dog Trainer Offer?

Professional dog trainers understand that each pup is different. That is why they offer a variety of training methods to properly train any pup. Various techniques can include reward-based training, positive reinforcement techniques, vesr

ive and non-aversive techniques, clicker training and more. It is crucial to sit down with a potential trainer and discuss what type of techniques they use while also understanding the values and beliefs of the owners.

Overall, hiring a professional dog trainer is a great way to help both you and your pup become successful with training and obedience lessons. Take the time to talk with potential trainers and ask about their qualifications and certifications for the best possible outcome. Once you choose the right trainer for you and your pup, the two of you can discover the wonderful world of dog training together!

Red Shiba Inu Sitting on Floor


After reading this blog post, I hope you now have a better understanding on the various topics related to dog training vocabulary. I have given you some general information about the common terms used, the basic principles of training, the theories of positive reinforcement and crate training for dogs, the various obedience schools for dogs, how to train an older dog, how to introduce a new puppy into the home, and how to find a professional dog trainer.

I also provided some helpful tips to remember as you navigate through the dog training process. Remember to be patient and consistent when training your pup, and use positive reinforcement techniques to encourage wanted behaviors. Also remember that if you are ever in doubt, you may want to consult a professional dog trainer for help.

Dog training can provide you and your pup with years of fun and bonding, and with a few helpful tips, I’m sure you can be successful in training your pup!

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