Basic Training 101: Relationship and Foundation

Basic training 101This program is 3 private lessons at your home and covers:

  • Introduction to equipment
  • Daily Structure and household rules
  • Loose leash walking
  • Greeting people
  • Handling exercises (calmly accepting physical interaction from family members)
  • Revisiting the sit command
  • Coaching settling and recovery from stimuli
  • How to dissuade everyday behaviors we don’t want

Number of lessons: 3 one-on-one lessons at your home

Cost: $294

Everyone with dogs that are 7-months and older starts here.

In this program we cover basic indirect and direct relationship interactions that lead to a clear leadership relationship.

On some rare occasions, some people and their dogs have already achieved this competency and we’ll jump right into the “Core Obedience” program. That will be determined at lesson one by Sean.

NOTE: If you’ve achieved high competency in the Intermediate Puppy Program you may be able to test out of this program and go directly to Training 201 or 301

Frequently Asked Questions


What are the curriculum and competencies for this program?

  1. Introduction to equipment: We will teach you how to fit whichever collar is right for your dog and go over basic leash handling techniques so that you become proficient.
  2. Daily Structure and household rules: We will determine the right structure and give you a game-plan for how to achieve that structure, for your dog’s daily experience to help the indirect messages of relationship clarification. We will also, give you specific interaction exercises for your daily activities with your dog to promote clear, fair leadership.
  3. Loose leash walking: Your dog will walk on a loose leash as a default rule, with no command from you, around medium to high level distractions.
  4. Greeting people: Your dog walks up to people at the front door, or out on walks, at your speed, and calmly accepts petting without jumping or mouthing.
  5. Revisiting sit: Your dog sits on command (only saying it once) and holds a sit for 30 seconds until you affirmatively release them from the sit. Additionally, that sit can be performed with at least 6 objects of distractions being applied during those thirty seconds.
  6. Coaching settling and recovery from stimuli: Your dog shows the ability to govern their nervous system when there’s a change in their immediate environment.
  7. How to dissuade everyday behaviors we don’t want: This is a focus on dissuading basic behaviors like jumping and unwanted alert barking, and getting into things that a dog shouldn’t like the garbage can etc. This component of Training 101 is not intended to cover aggression issues. If your dog is dealing with those sorts of issues, see the course work that pertains to aggression rehabilitation.


How long is each lesson?

The first lesson is an hour and fifteen minutes and lessons two and three are one hour.


What method of training is used?

Sean teaches a relationship-based method that doesn’t rely on food as a primary training tool. The method of training relies on social cues, reading your dog’s body language, and social reward in training. The method relies on accurate positive reinforcement of what we do want and guidance, direction and correction with a leash following Sean’s “minimum threshold of effective communication” principle.

With some dogs, particularly dogs that have not had the advantage of any puppy training or socialization, may need remedial “puppy-like” introductions to the most basic of exercises. When this is required, we will revert to our puppy training methodology that relies more heavily on food during introduction stages.

What training equipment is needed?

In this entry level course, we will use a regular 6-foot leash, and some form of training collar. The type of collar will depend on the personality, breed and temperament of each dog, as well as the communications necessities of each person-dog combination.

The different collars we use are listed below:

  • Martingale collar
  • Chain collar
  • Starmark collar
  • Sprenger Prong collar

Does your method include correcting a dog?

In short, yes. It is, however, important to understand what a correction is and why it is used in all functional dog training. We use a balanced approach that includes, positive and negative feedback.

Methods of training that ideologically reject the idea of correcting a dog are known as “purely positive” methods of training. I was originally trained in a “purely positive” method of dog training many years ago. I saw a few dogs take to it and I saw that method fail a lot of dogs as well. Fortunately, for me, I was also working at shelters taking dogs out in small groups to exercise, socialize and train them before and after hours to help improve their adoptability. While there weren’t fights during the group play but I did notice that those dogs used balanced positive and negative feedback with each other all the time. They used forms of positive communication to essentially say, “that was great, let’s play chase again”, or they used negative feedback to communicate messages like, “don’t mount me” or “don’t nip me or jump up on me like that”. So, that’s when the “lightbulb” went off for me about dog behavior. The strange thought in my head was, “I guess dogs never read the ‘purely positive’ dog communication book? … because that’s not how they do it.”