Our Dog Training Methods

Positive reinforcement training

At Crossbones, we are proud to be positive dog trainers.

This means we use the most effective, modern, and dog-friendly training techniques possible. We believe training should be enjoyable for dogs and owners.



Our training methods are scientifically proven to accelerate the learning process and result in lasting behavior change.

In plain English, this means we can solve behavior problems and teach your dog new things.



The scientific field of animal behavior is constantly making new discoveries.

As dog owners, we can either ignore this information and keep using outdated training methods, or we can embrace it and use it to enhance our relationship with our dogs.



Your dog will enjoy the training process and everything that is associated with training – that means you!

When you use punishment-based training techniques, your dog associates you with the negativity and pain. That’s not a side-effect we think is acceptable, so we don’t train that way.

What’s the training like?

We’re glad you asked! In our training program, you will learn how to use a clicker – an inexpensive noisemaker – to mark your dog’s behavior. Research shows that clicker training speeds up the learning process. You’ll get results fast! (And don’t worry – you don’t need to carry a clicker forever!)

Each time you click, you’ll follow that up by giving your dog a little treat as a reward. In a nutshell, we’re using positive reinforcement – rewarding the dog each time she does a behavior we’d like to see her do again.

Clicker training can be used to teach literally any skill your dog is physically capable of performing. But generally, we use it to teach basic manners, like walking at your side on a loose leash, sit, down, stay, coming when called, quietly accepting body handling, and greeting new people without jumping.

What we don’t do

If you’ve come to us because you’re uncomfortable with the methods other trainers use, you’re in the right place. Here are the techniques we do not use in our training program.

  • Electronic collars (shock or citronella)

  • Prong/pinch collars

  • Leash corrections (“popping” or jerking on the leash)

  • Throwing things: “throw chains,” bags/cans of pennies, etc.

  • Spraying water at a dog/in the dog’s face as a punishment

  • “Alpha rolls” or otherwise forcefully flipping a dog on its side/back

Why not use those methods?

Why don’t we use these things? Because they are, in all circumstances, unnecessary and not required for eliciting long-term behavior change. In some circumstances, they make the undesirable behavior worse. Studies have shown that aversive training techniques elicit aggressive responses from dogs.

If you’ve used these things in the past, don’t worry! Most dog owners try them at some point. Our training program is a judgement-free zone, and we will not make you feel bad for having used these things.

Every day is a new day. If you’re ready to train without pain and get results, we’re ready to help you do it! Contact us today to get started.