Principles of Training

Mike Lardy's Training Tips

Updated Principles of Training
from the
Total Retriever Series and Retrievers Online

Training Principles and Guidelines


1. Respect and care for your dog is a primary consideration

-Proper care, diet, exercise and watering regimes affect response to training and stress.

-Proper nutrition and conditioning reduces injury and improves concentration and health.

-Violence is not acceptable. Confront your dog’s weaknesses - not your dog!


2. Effectiveness of training is due to: methods, effort, and resources

-Results depend on methods, time, effort, efficiency, grounds, equipment and help.

-Use a proven sequential program as a basis for advanced work.

-Be prepared for variables of tests, environments, and dog behaviour.


3. Work to achieve balance in training

-Training that enhances one aspect of training often diminishes another.

-Remember to maintain the ABCs; Attitude, Balance, and Control.

-For success, seek the all-around balanced dog with sound fundamentals.


4.Emphasize communication and teamwork: training retrievers is a “team sport”

-Consistency in commands and cues will lead to better communication.

-Communicate that a decision was wrong at the instant the dog makes the decision.

-Use praise wisely- at the instant of doing well.


5. Establish and Maintain Standards

-Dogs deserve and thrive on consistent rules.

-It is better to reduce the level of difficulty of the task than to reduce the standard.

-Avoid habits that will have to be changed later.


6. Don’t teach with the e-collar

-Attrition is a safe and first consideration tool.

-Use the collar to enforce the command after the dog has been taught.

-Always give a command before a correction.


7. The approach to using pressure is a critical aspect of training

- Dogs can thrive with reasonable amounts of pressure if they understand it.

- The dog should be capable of giving the correct response after the proper correction.

- Correct for a lack of effort not just a flawed decision.


8. Design your training for predicted outcomes

-Seek success more than failure.

-Be sure to teach before you test.

-Simplify after repeated failure.


9. Match the training to the nature of the dog

-Strive to make the dog the best he can be but not more.

-Recognize a dog’s strength and weaknesses and train accordingly.

-Basics and fundamentals don’t change but implementation may.


10. Training is an art as well as science- it involves communication, analysis and interpretation

-Learn to read your dog and respond to what you see.

-If the dog has a problem ask if and how you caused it.

-Exact methods may not be as important as the overall approach.



These Principles and Guidelines are derived from Total Retriever Training and Retrievers ONLINE

©-Mike Lardy and Dennis Voigt