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  • Writer's pictureCaryl Wolff

What is a “Clean” Dog Training Session?

Updated: Feb 14, 2022

dog carrying duster
I need clean dog training!

No, it doesn’t mean that your dog has to be clean! In order for training to stand out in your dog’s mind, your training session has to be easily differentiated from everyday life. A "clean dog training session" means that for a short period of time, your training session consists of only the words that you use when training your dog in an area free from distractions. You can later apply the training to where the distraction is. Simple concept?

Why is a clean training session important? It’s not fair to train your dog when there are distractions so he can’t concentrate! Would you rather learn how to play the piano in your living room or the middle of the busiest street in your city?

How to Do a Clean Dog Training Session

First, find that pristine area – maybe in a hallway where it’s pretty boring since there’s nothing for him to look at or to smell.

Next, get all your training equipment ready – leash, appropriate-sized treats, treat pouch, towel or mat, etc.

For two minutes before you start the session, totally ignore your dog – don’t look at him; don’t talk to him; don’t touch him. Then leash him up and walk to the training area. (The first couple times you do this, he may think he’s going for a walk, but he will learn that he’s going for training.)

During the training session, the ONLY words you can say are

  • His name

  • The command

  • Yes” or “good” meaning what he did is what you wanted him to do

  • “Good dog” which acts as a keep-going signal when you want to, for example, have him Sit for longer periods of time

  • Your release word

Unleash him. For two minutes after you end the session, again ignore your dog – don’t look at him; don’t talk to him; don’t touch him.

Why is this important? Because you want that training session to stand out in his mind and not be muddied up by extraneous words. We talk to our dogs all the time, and they have no idea what we’re saying. To them it’s blah blah blah. They’re trying to understand us, trying to understand us, trying to understand us, and then just give up. Then *we* get upset because our dogs aren’t paying attention! Here’s some examples of the dumb things we say during training:

  • “Why aren’t you doing this today? You did it fine yesterday.”

  • “No, I want you to sit, not look at me.”

  • “Pay attention to me and not the cat.”

  • “That noise doesn’t mean anything.”

  • “I never had this problem with my other dog.”

  • “I know you like my spouse better than me, but you’re stuck with me training you.”

  • Yada yada yada, blah blah blah.

If you make training easy for your dog, you’re making living with your dog easy for you because your dog learns so much faster!

Thanks for visiting Clean Dog Training Sessions. I make a small commission on any products or books I recommend.

Disclaimer: This article is for information only. It does not replace a consultation with a dog trainer, dog behavior consultant, or veterinarian and may not be used to diagnose or treat any conditions in your dog.

If you need help with puppy or dog training, we do both private in-person and virtual lessons via Zoom. Please contact us by calling or texting (310) 804-2392 or sending an email to . We look forward to working with you.


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