I love kids, especially those who are keen on training dogs, so when a 10th grader named Finya sent me some wonderful positive reinforcement dog training questions for a school assignment, I said, “Let’s go!” Today I’m answering her questions about shock collars, eCollars, other aversives in agility training, training dog sport champions using only positive reinforcement, plus the importance of mentors, empathy and why dog trainers should keep egos in check for our students. You’ll also hear three critical tips to troubleshoot your positive reinforcement training plan when stuck.

In the episode you'll hear:

  • My answers and advice for an aspiring positive reinforcement trainer and agility competitor.
  • The benefits of positive reinforcement dog training over other methodologies.
  • Why we don’t punish or unleash frustration when dogs make mistakes.
  • My thoughts on which dog training tools and techniques constitute abuse.
  • Why some people perceive dog agility training as animal abuse.
  • The importance of empathy for the plight of all sentient beings.
  • My thoughts on those who employ shock collars, prongs and other aversives.
  • Why making people feel judged shuts them down to learning.
  • My checklist for when dog training doesn’t go as planned.
  • The importance of having a respected and trustworthy dog training mentor.


  1. Podcast Episode 175: Food Luring VS Shaping In Dog Training: How Science Changed How I Teach Dogs
  2. Podcast Episode 205: The Hidden World Of Reinforcement For Dogs And Why You Need To Know
  3. YouTube Video: How To Get Your Dog To Listen Outside Off Leash (Step By Step Guide)
  4. Podcast Episode 102: Transitioning Your Dog Training: From All That Is Wrong To That Which Is Right
  5. Podcast Episode 78: How to Train a Rescue Dog with Behavior Problems
  6. Podcast Episode 214: England Banned Shock Collars, Here’s Why That Could Be Sad News
  7. YouTube Video: Puppy's First Training with Susan Garrett: Shaping, Targeting and Collar Conditioning
  8. Podcast Episode 89: Why Dogs Should Not Tug: The Truth Revealed
  9. Podcast Episode 217: Understanding Emotional Regulation In Dogs To Create Calm
  10. Podcast Episode 69: Clicker Training: Will It Work For Every Dog?
  11. Podcast Episode 197: Outsmarting Distractions: How To Use Environmental Reinforcement in Dog Training
  12. Blog Post: The Top 10 Reasons Agility Dogs Drop Bars
  13. Podcast Episode 34: Time Outs for Dogs: Does Your Dog Need One?
  14. Podcast Episode 142: Giving And Receiving Constructive Feedback About Your Dog Training
  15. Podcast Episode 134: How To Teach A Dog Stay WITHOUT Luring, Collar Pops Or Using The Word “Stay”
  16. Podcast Episode 136: Help Your Excited Dog Calm Down And Stop Barking, Lunging, Spinning, Nipping
  17. Podcast Episode 133: Become Your Own Dog Training Coach With This Video Strategy
  18. YouTube List: Planning Your Dog Training with Susan Garrett
  19. Podcast Episode 218: Puppy Development Stages And Your Dog’s Behavior
  20. Podcast Episode 172: How To Teach Your Dog Anything With My Training Plan
  21. Podcast Episode 99: When Reinforcement Based Dog Training Doesn’t Work
  22. Podcast Episode 203: Reactive, Unmotivated and Fearful: Finding Resiliency For This! Beyond Dog Training Part 1
  23. Podcast Episode 204: Dog Behavior And Diet: Recovery For This! Beyond Dog Training Part 2
  24. Watch this Episode of Shaped by Dog on YouTube