Don’t name it til you love it

Don’t name it til you love it

If you are in a foreign country and you don’t know the language, no amount of repeating the same word to you is going to make you understand it.

You would need to be shown what it means by pointing at an object or using a translator.

Remember too that your dog speaks a different language to us.

When they aren’t listening to something it is often because they don’t yet know the translation and need to be taught what the word means.

While repetition is the key to learning, this doesn’t mean repeating a word over and over and hoping that your dog will eventually get it.

It means repeating the behaviour until the dog knows that this behaviour leads to a good outcome.

And THEN we introduce a word, the new language.

That’s why you’ll often hear me say, “don’t name it til you love it.”

While I’m training something new to a dog, the owner often asks me, “why aren’t you saying a command?”

I’ll often start out saying little other than praise words (your dog needs encouragement).

But if I say the command before the dog knows which behaviour I want, the chances are they won’t get it right, which means they are being set up to fail AND as a human, my next step would be to start repeating the word.

When we repeat the word without meaning with it, it becomes less meaningful and easier for your dog to ignore.

So repeat the behaviour before you repeat the word, and don’t name it til you love it 😉

Woofs and wags


PS Whenever you’re ready, here’s 3 ways you can improve your dog’s behaviour today:

  1. Browse the free lessons in the Dog Matters Academy
  2. Sign up for Academy Premium and take the full training program that will improve any behaviour you’re struggling with with your dog
  3. Read my free ebook, The Good Dog and submit a question for me to answer within the same module area
Why not put a muzzle on your dog?

Why not put a muzzle on your dog?

Why not try muzzle training for your dog?

You may say, “I don’t need to – my dog isn’t aggressive.”

But could there be other reasons to teach your dog to accept a muzzle?

There’s a stigma around muzzles and people are put off from trying them, even if their dog does show some aggression. 

So why would we want to muzzle a dog who doesn’t really need it? 

It’s true – not every dog really needs a muzzle – but on the other hand, you never know when you might need one. 

Click here to view my video on muzzle training and why you might want to muzzle train your dog whether they are higher risk or not. 

It could be another useful training skill to have up your sleeve.


PS If you want to learn more about how to train this, or you want improve your dog’s training skills, you can log into the Dog Matters Academy here and start free, or sign up for premium to get it all.

Transform your dog with the basics

Transform your dog with the basics

So often trainers over-complicate things but really, so much of the gold results is in getting the foundations right.

When you’re facing a problem you would like to solve, ask, is there anything in the foundations that we haven’t kept up with? The answer is often there.

I think the most important foundations are:

– Come when called
– Have a communication system that is clear
– Place training and stay
– Focus. Because with focus, anything else becomes easier.

Do you have these foundations in place? What do you need to work on the most with your dog?

Woofs and wags


PS If you’d like to work together to improve the relationship with your dog in the new year and beyond and teach them to really listen, you can sign up for the Dog Matters Academy for all my content. You can start free or take it to the next level with a cancel any time subscription.



Do you use markers in training? How many? Or are you reading this asking, “Tenille, what the heck is a marker?!”

In today’s quick video I explain three types of markers we use in training and what they mean to your dog. Why use markers? Clarity! It’s the best way to make it clearer to your dog what you want them to do.

Click here to watch the video and comment if you have any questions

Marker training is used in zoos, aquariums, circuses, training facilities and research centres around the world. And it’s no coincidence – it really does help with our communication with our animals (not just dogs!) immensely.

Woofs and wags


PS If you want to learn more about marker training and how to apply it through different skills and challenges, you’ll want to get into the Dog Matters Academy. Start free or get stuck right into premium for one low monthly fee, cancel any time. See all the details here

Who your dog needs?

Who your dog needs?

Do you want to know the psychology behind any dog behaviour so that you can use it to solve any problem behaviour your dog might come up with?

When it boils down to it, if a dog is performing a behaviour, they believe that there is something in it for them. (Kind of like us.)

They might not even be correct in their beliefs, but the belief is there all the same, affecting their behaviour (kind of like us…..)

So with that in mind, we can make the whole concept really simple for solving behaviour problems.

Read more in this article and see how you can apply this tweak to the way you live with your dog.


PS If you’re ready to take your dog training to the next step, check out the Dog Matters Academy – you can even start with free video lessons to get you started –

Be prepared

The video I want to highlight for you today is all about how times are changing and how you can be prepared for the new dog training regulations that are spreading around the globe.

It may contain satire and a new invention (remember the Fixer?)

Click here to watch on Youtube – How You Can Be Prepared For New Dog Training Regulations –

Or you can share the Facebook version here –


Woofs and wags


PS If you want to grab some common sense dog training that really protects your dog you can start free with the Dog Matters Academy here.

The two biggest obstacles to training success…

The two biggest obstacles to training success…

There’s a couple of things I see come up over and over that prevent dog owners from reaching their training goals with their dogs. But above all else the one thing everyone needs more of?


It’s easy to get excited when you first start training and see some wins right away. Often the dog picks things up quickly. But that doesn’t mean that the end goal will be met so fast. Usually the end goal involves making it through some challenges that are much harder for the dog (and the owner) to work through.

After seeing some quick wins in the beginning, it can be discouraging when progress slows down or when you hit a snag along the way and things get harder.

This is the time to push on, not give up!

Often when you feel ready to give up, success is actually right around the corner, you just have to keep going.

At the time it might feel like it’s taking a long time or is all too hard. But I promise, if you persist, you’ll get there. And in the end when you look back, you’ll feel like it wasn’t such a long time after all in the scheme of things.

Now that I think about it, maybe this doesn’t only apply to training your dog 

Whatever you’re working on and wherever you are, celebrate each tiny win, move on from each failure and don’t give up! You could be closer to your goal than you think.

If you want to try out something new that you can get some quick wins with, try place training! Access the free video on place training here in the member vault.