Dog behavior and handling workshops

The Dog Handling workshops are being updated. Information about the 2019 workshops will be posted here as it becomes available.

To register for the October 24 – 27, 2018 Fine Tuning your Dog Handling Skills, click here

At Best Friends, we use what we call "relationship-based" training. We work to build a relationship based on trust, kindness, and consistency. The simplistic explanation is we reward what we like and ignore what we don't.

Dog training workshops from Best Friends

We use clickers as markers and positive reinforcement - treats, toys, and attention as rewards (primarily treats). We also use negative punishment - taking away something the dog likes. For example, when a dog jumps up on you and you turn your back until four paws are on the floor. You take away your attention to decrease jumping up.

We also use counterconditioning (changing the way a dog feels about or reacts to a thing by pairing the thing that bothers the dog with "good things" like treats). We usually use counterconditioning with desensitization (gradually exposing the dog to the thing that bothers him, starting way below the threshold at which he will react badly).

During the workshops, we will cover classical and operant conditioning theory and clicker training skills. We also demonstrate different techniques to get behavior such as Luring, Capturing, and Shaping.

Fine-tuning your dog handling skills with common behavior challenges

In this workshop, there will be more hands-on training of dogs, as this is a smaller group of people working with two Best Friends dog trainers. Participants will select project dogs needing help with specific behaviors and will be coached daily by a Best Friends trainer on how to work with their project dogs. Prerequisite: Using Your Foundation to Develop Dog Handling Skills.

Though each session’s schedule is different, these are some of the topics that are usually covered:

  • Using dog training management tools (hands-on)
  • Barrier aggression exercise (hands-on)
  • Participants (in groups of 2-4) will choose a project dog to work with (hands-on with daily coaching from Best Friends dog trainers)
  • Group outings with Sanctuary dogs

To request more information on our workshops, please send an email to Or you can call 435-644-2001, ext. 4317. We look forward to seeing you here!