The Human Element in Dog Training

The human element in dog training encapsulates a shift from solely focusing on training dogs to also educating humans, thereby promoting successful human-canine partnerships. This shift acknowledges that both humans and dogs contribute to the dynamics of their relationship, and effective training outcomes necessitate educating both parties.

Evolution of Dog Training Philosophies

If you decide to bring in a new Spoodle, Border Collie, or any new breed of dog into your home, it forms one half of the new relationship, with the human forming the other half. Traditionally, the focus was predominantly on training the dog, but modern approaches recognize that just training the dog improves only one side of the partnership​​. 

This realization has led to a paradigm shift towards more positive methods in dog training, moving away from negative reinforcement methods previously used. 

The Modern Dog Trainer: Beyond Dog Training

A modern dog trainer’s role extends beyond merely training dogs; they also educate humans on how to train their dogs. This necessitates that dog trainers possess good people skills, as their job involves teaching their clients how to carry out the training themselves​​.

This human-centric approach in training not only enhances the effectiveness of the training regimens but also significantly improves the dog-human relationship. Training helps in preventing or managing dog behavioral problems, which are often cited as reasons for relinquishing or euthanizing dogs. Well-trained dogs are better companions, and their human owners derive more benefits from bonding with them​​.

The Impact of Human and Dog Characteristics on Training Success

The correlation between the characteristics of dogs and their owners and the success of training programs has become a subject of keen analysis in recent studies. Understanding these dynamics not only enhances the effectiveness of training but also underscores the symbiotic relationship between humans and their dogs in the training process.

Dog Characteristics

One study found that among dog characteristics, age, sex, and neuter status did not significantly predict training success. However, owner-rated levels of disobedience were linked to the completion of the training program​​.

Owner Characteristics

On the human side, the same study aimed to determine which characteristics of both dogs and owners predicted success in completing the American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen training program. Before the training commenced, owners completed surveys evaluating the behavior and cognition of their dogs and themselves​​.

The Interplay of Human and Dog Education:

This study highlights that educating owners on how to train their dogs is a critical part of ensuring the health and safety of both dogs and people​​. This suggests that the human element is indispensable in achieving desirable training outcomes.

Impact on Behavior Modification:

The relationship between owner personality, owner-dog attachment, and canine behavior was explored in a study, which found that within six months of veterinary consultation, trainability of the dogs increased, while undesirable behaviors like chasing and separation-related behavior decreased. The treatment outcomes were associated with both canine and owner variables, indicating a reciprocal relationship in the behavior modification process​​.

These studies show that both human and dog characteristics play pivotal roles in the success of training programs. By understanding and leveraging these dynamics, dog trainers can tailor training programs to cater to the unique needs and capabilities of both the dogs and their owners.

Better Trainers Are Better Dog Owners

All this just underscores that owning a dog is not merely about having a pet, but it involves a commitment to creating a conducive environment for the dog to thrive while also ensuring the safety and comfort of people and other animals in the community.

Educated Owners, Well-behaved Dogs

A well-informed owner is more likely to have a well-behaved dog. When owners are educated on proper training techniques, dog psychology, and behavior, they are better equipped to address behavioral issues promptly and effectively. This education also helps in nurturing a strong, positive relationship between the dog and the owner, which is a cornerstone of responsible dog ownership.

Enhancing Public Safety

By engaging in comprehensive training that caters to both the human and canine sides of the equation, dog owners contribute to creating safer public spaces. Well-trained dogs are less likely to exhibit aggressive behaviors or engage in unwanted actions that could pose risks to others. Moreover, educated owners are more likely to adhere to local regulations such as leash laws, which further enhances public safety.


Modern dog trainers are leveraging insights on human learning to enhance dog training outcomes. By incorporating human education into dog training programs, trainers are facilitating better understanding and communication between humans and dogs, leading to more successful behavior modification efforts and enriching the human-canine relationship.

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