Sue Eh’s Rules of Training

Jul 20, 2020 | Training

Trust the Force (or, in this case, the lack of it).

Don’t be afraid, just do it.

Don’t be afraid to say NO!

When the teacher is doing more physical work than the student, the student is not learning, and neither is the teacher. Mental work is another story entirely.

Control the mind to control the head.

Control the head to control the body.

Control the situation to control what the dog learns.

You must be physically and mentally comfortable to teach.

The student must be physically and mentally comfortable to learn.

Be aware of your own tendency to blame.

Be aware of your own tendency to punish.

One job of a teacher is to balance the student between bold and shy, between respectful and trusting.

If you don’t want a willing partner, don’t clicker train.

Never allow other people to set your priorities.

Clicker training is contract training. You get what you want, then the dog gets what she wants.

Control the resources or sell the dog and take up knitting.

It isn’t about whispering. It’s about speaking clearly with your body and mind, and then listening to the answers.

Teach the animal to target.

It is not my job to control the animal. It is the animal’s job to control herself.

It is my job to put the animal in a situation where she can learn what I want her to know as quickly and easily as possible.

Rewards are defined by the student, not the teacher.

Learning is defined by the student, not the teacher.

Work where the animal is, not where you expect her to be or where she “should” be.

If this animal is mine, I am the one who is responsible for what happens to her.

If this animal is mine, I am the one who is in charge of what happens to her.

When the student is ready, the teacher appears. Nobody loves a missionary.

Self-control reduces fear and stress.

Work for five minutes, then quit. Leave the animal interested in you coming back.

The leash is to keep the animal from getting hit by a truck, not to control, punish or teach.

Plan once, train twice. Or plan twice, train once. The choice is yours.

Keep records that will mean something to you.

Break it down. The smaller the behaviour you’re teaching, the greater your chance of success.

WHY is not nearly as important as WHAT. Teach yourself to see what the dog is doing rather than worrying about why he does it.

WHY is not nearly as important as HOW. Teach yourself to see how the dog is being rewarded for a behaviour you don’t want. Then you’ll be able to see how to stop the behaviour.


Stop & think.

Stop & evaluate.

Stop & re-evaluate.

Stop & get out of the situation.

Stop & renegotiate.

Stop & change SOMETHING.

Give the animal a chance to think.

Explain clearly and then let her sleep on it.

Look for the startle.

“My dog won’t…” and “My dog can’t…” should be followed either by an alarm bell or a training plan.

Of course there’s a better way to train this. We just haven’t thought of it yet.

Never go for duration with a really hungry puppy.

It’s all tricks, relax.

Sit back and enjoy the ride.