25 Dog Training Guides To Teach Your Dog Manners Using Positive Reinforcement
Step 1 of 33 in the Dogly Manners Channel
with Cory & Jane of Dogly

Dog training is a huge concept that covers a lot.

Potty training, crate training, obedience training, clicker training, puppy training, and those are just a few of the pieces to the training process puzzle.

What if you just want to teach your dog basic commands so you can enjoy your life with your well-trained dog?

First of all, you've come to the right place - Dogly. And second, you'll rarely hear us use the "command" word. We use "cue" instead. You'll learn why in the Manners Channel here on Dogly through our positive reinforcement dog trainers we call Training Advocates. The Advocates are constantly sharing new training skills and how to teach them to your dog in all of our Training Channels.

A few of the dog training skills you'll learn in the Manners Channel are how to help your dog overcome unwanted behaviors like when your dog jumps, steals food, or barks at new house guests.

The Manners Channel on Dogly helps you understand your dog's behavior and get started training:

  • Basic Manners
  • Teaching "Stay"
  • Teaching "Go to Mat"
  • Food Manners
  • Public Manners
  • Holiday Manners
  • Travel Manners

We'll go through an overview of the training sessions in each of the Manners Channels below and you can decide which desired behavior you want to start training with your dog. Links are included throughout the overview so you can easily jump to and get started with any new behavior you'd like to teach your dog.


Here's what dog trainers recommend when teaching your dog manners

Every dog trainer will tell you, manners are the bedrock of a well-trained dog. Without them, pet parents have a very hard time doing any type of proper training with their dog. Luckily, teaching your dog manners doesn't have to be a challenge. With the help of positive reinforcement dog trainers, like those you'll find in the Dogly Manners Channel, you can easily teach basic dog commands or cues as we prefer to say, to help keep your dog safe and improve your dog's life and your own while you're at it.

Let's make training your dog as easy as possible and start with basic manners training. Here's how:

Dog Training Guide 1: How To Change Unwanted Behavior

What does that even mean? It means instead of trying to get your dog to stop certain behavior problems you don't want, focus on what you DO want. For example, if your dog is jumping up and greeting new house guests with enthusiasm, focus on the good behavior you want like teaching how to greet someone new properly.

When you focus on the desired behavior, your dog is more likely to listen and do what you're asking of him or her. Dogs are much more likely to respond to positive reinforcement than negative punishment. So, instead of saying "No," or "Stop it," when your dog jumps up on someone new, try using a cue to get your pup's attention and have your dog focus on you.

Want to start with this guide? Go here to get started with your dog and force-free trainer Tressa Fessenden-McKenzie.

Dog Training Guide 2: Why & How to Teach Your Dog "Touch"

"Touch" is one of the very first behaviors trainers teach dogs. Why? Because it's a foundational cue that connects you and your dog that's useful in so many situations. You'll find it's your go-to cue in everything from getting your dog to focus in on you to using it as an alternative behavior when your dog is reacting to other dogs, bicycles, etc or even as a quick recall.

Positive reinforcement trainer and Dogly Training Advocate Melissa Dallier takes you through the 5 simple steps to teaching "touch" to your dog. You can jump into the full guide and video here where you can also watch Melissa demonstrating teaching "touch" with her dog.

Dog Training Guide 3: How to Teach Your Dog to "Drop It," Even Food!

The "drop it" cue is one of the most important cues you can teach your dog. Not only is it a life-saving behavior, but it's also a great way to prevent your dog from getting into things they shouldn't.

Teaching your dog to "drop it" is a two-step process:

  • First, you'll need to teach your dog the cue.
  • Second, you'll need to practice with different types of objects.

When you're ready, you can start training your dog to "drop it" by following the steps in this guide here.


Dog Training Guide 4: Teach Your Dog to "Go Say Hi" Rather than Jumping on People

If you have a dog who loves to jump up on people when they come into your home, you're not alone. It's actually one of the most common behavior problems for most dogs. There is a solution and it starts with teaching your dog an alternate behavior like "go say hi."

"Go say hi" is an easy behavior to teach because it doesn't require any extra equipment and can be done in your own home. To start training your dog a little self-control with the verbal cue to "go say hi," follow the training steps force-free trainer Melissa Dallier created for you here.

Dog Training Guide 5: Teach your dog to "stay" and hold it

Teaching your dog to "stay" is broken down into four parts in the Manners Channel here on Dogly. Why? Because it's important your dog learn each level of the "stay" command or cue before you can move on to the next level of your solid stay behavior. One of the reasons dogs aren't successful in more advanced training is because they were rushed through the basics instead of being allowed to gradually learn. We're here to help you not make this mistake!

The "stay" cue is one of the most useful and valuable cues for the real world, so learning how to do it correctly is crucial. Think about all of the times it would be beneficial for your dog to have a reliable "stay" cue. This four-part guide from positive reinforcement trainer Tressa Fessenden-McKenzie helps you achieve that. When you're ready, check out the first guide detailing the 5 steps to teaching your dog to "stay" with duration here.

Dog Training Guide 6: How to Teach Your Dog to "Stay" While Turning Your Back

Once you and your dog have your "stay" with duration down, you're ready to add the first element that makes it feel more like real life: turning your back while your dog holds the stay. You'll learn why it matters to be able to look away or turn your back - and the 5 steps to practice with your dog to make this new element have no effect on holding stay in the full guide here.

Dog Training Guide 7: How to Teach Your Dog to "Stay" with You at a Distance

The second of the 3 D's you want to add to your dog's "stay" is distance. There will be many times in real life your dog won't be right next to you and you'll want your pup to stay. That's where having learned and practiced the 5 steps to staying with distance will come in exceptionally handy. You and your dog can learn how to add this element in the full guide here.


Dog Training Guide 8: How to Teach Your Dog to "Stay" with Distractions

Finally, the third of the 3 D's to establish your reliable stay cue: staying put with distractions. You'll learn the different types of distractions so you can get to know which ones are usually more compelling to your dog. Then Tressa takes you through the 4 steps to adding distractions to your dog's "stay" successfully. As always, take your time, go at your dog's pace, and practice, practice.

Once you and your dog are comfortable with the first three parts of learning an unshakable "stay," you can add distractions to go to most real-life level with the full guide here.

Dog Training Guide 9: How to Teach Your Dog the Difference Between "Stay" and "Wait"

Did you know there's a difference between "stay" and "wait?" If not, you're in good company. The two words are often used interchangeably, but they actually have different meanings. "Stay" means your dog should remain in the position he/she is in until you give a release cue to move. "Wait," on the other hand, means your dog should stop what he/she is doing and give you full attention for a short period of time.

Teaching both behaviors is crucial to having a "good dog" when you're out and about. If you've already gone through the four-part guide on teaching your dog to "stay," now you're ready to teach your dog to "wait" here.

Dog Training Guide 10: Train your dog to "go to bed/mat"

"Go to bed/mat" is another multi-purpose cue you'll be thankful you and your dog have in your skill set. It tells your dog to go to his or her designated safe place. It's a great behavior to teach for several reasons. First, it gives your dog a specific place to go when he or she needs to settle down and relax. Second, it can help prevent your dog from being underfoot when you're cooking or kids are playing, or any number of everyday situations.

To teach your dog to "go to bed/mat," you'll need a place that's designated as your dog's spot. Once you have that ready, you'll start training by following the same process with the "3 D's" again plus a few more tips. This is invaluable training for young puppies and older dogs alike. With lots of food treats and verbal praise, your dog will learn each step, and I promise you will use this A LOT in your daily life together.

When you're ready, you can start this six-part training class to teach your dog to "go to bed/mat" here, guided by positive reinforcement trainer Tressa Fessenden McKenzie.


Dog Training Guide 11: Answers to Common Questions when Teaching Dogs "Go to Mat/Bed"

Once you and your dog have some experience learning and practicing your basic "go to mat" behavior, you may have some questions that popped up in the process. Tressa takes you through the most common questions dog parents have and gives you answers - plus some troubleshooting and things to try if you get stuck at any point.

You can get answers along with pro tips here to support you and your dog as you strengthen your "go to mat" skills. Next you'll be adding the 3 D's to your "go to mat," starting with duration.

Dog Training Guide 12: Teach Your Dog to "Go to Mat/Bed" and Stay There

The main idea behind "go to mat" is to have your dog go to and stay on that safe, comfortable spot throughout whatever it is you're doing until you're ready to give your release cue and invite your dog back into the center of the action. Tressa teaches you two different ways to build duration as you practice your "go to mat" skills. Once you and your dog are comfortable with your basic "go to mat," jump in here to add duration.

Dog Training Guide 13: How to Add Distance to Your Dog's "Go to Mat/Bed" Skill

Now for the second of the 3 D's as you build on your "go to mat" skill: distance. It's one more important layer of practice to make this behavior more useful in everyday situations. In real life, you're not likely to always have your dog "stationing" (another trainer term for "go to mat" behavior) right next to you. That's why, in this guide, you'll learn the 3 types of distance and the simplified steps to teaching your dog to be comfortable on the mat with you at a distance. You can learn each step, try the exercises, and take advantage of the troubleshooting tips by going to the full guide and video here.

Dog Training Guide 14: How to Teach Your Dog to "Go to Mat/Bed" with Distractions

It's always best to teach a skill first without distractions to establish a solid base, then to be truly ready for prime time, real life, eventually add distractions into the mix. Tressa shares how to prepare your dog for real-life distractions (other dogs, people, doorbells, etc.) and gives you exercises with various distractions so your dog learns staying on the mat is a highly rewarded behavior he or she is happy to do. You can jump into this guide and video here.


Dog Training Guide 15: 5 Benefits of Teaching Your Dog to "Go to Mat" BEFORE Baby Arrives

If you happen to have a baby joining your life soon or anticipate having young children around, you'll be thankful you've learned and practiced a solid "go to mat" with your dog well in advance. In this guide, Tressa, who in addition to being a Dogly Training Advocate is also a certified Family Paws Parent Educator, brings her experience with dogs and families together in the final guide in this series to share how to use your dog's "go to mat" behavior to keep everyone safe and happy.

You'll learn why having a dependable "go to mat" matters around small children, plus exercises you can do to test and strengthen your dog's skills in a range of likely situations. You can find the full guide and video to get started here.

Now that we've covered Basic Manners, "Stay" and "Go to Mat" skills, let's move to an overview of what you can expect from the Food Manners training classes in the Manners Channel here on Dogly.

Dog Training Guide 16: Teach Your Dog to Not Steal Food with this Game

One of the most common problems dog owners face is a dog who steals food. Your dog's nose can smell the irresistible tasty treat on the table. And once your dog learns how easy and delicious it can be to steal food, it's hard but not impossible to change that behavior.

The good news is, there's a game you can play with your dog to help your pup understand there are more interesting things than stealing food. The game is taught in 3 steps:

  1. Learn the hand signals to make yourself more interesting than food.
  2. Step it up by changing the item and presentation.
  3. Teach your dog stationing when begging for food (or use your just-learned stationing/'go to mat" skills).

When you're ready to learn this game with your dog to stop food-stealing, you can get started with the full guide and video here.

Dog Training Guide 17: Teach Your Food-begging Dog to Not Steal Food in Real Life Situations

If you've taught your dog the game in the previous guide and your pup consistently gives you eye contact when shown a handful of food, hurray! You're ready to take that behavior and begin teaching your dog to generalize it to other tempting situations. (If your dog doesn't have the game down yet, go back and practice it first.) To transition your dog's NON-food-stealing behavior from the game to different scenarios successfully, you'll learn 3 simple steps to share with your pup. When you're ready to go from game to real life, check out the full guide and video here.


Dog Training Guide 18: Teach Your Dog Stationing to Stop Your Dog's Begging Behavior

When you use "stationing" as an alternative behavior to preempt begging opportunities, you're teaching your dog that begging doesn't get the anticipated reward but "stationing" or staying put on a mat or bed sure does. If you've already been through the guides on "go to mat" (aka "stationing") starting with Guide #10 above, you and your dog already have this skill. You know we promised you would find it infinitely useful in so many situations - enjoying mealtime without a begging dog is certainly one of them!

Tressa takes you through the steps to teach stationing (and also encourages you to go through the multi-part series on stationing/go to mat here if you haven't already) and gives you exercises for practicing stationing in potential food-stealing situations. Check out the full guide here to use stationing to curb your dog's enthusiasm for food stealing.

Now that you and your dog have established a good base of mannerly behaviors from basic to food manners, it's pretty tempting to want to get out and about with your pup. The next three guides help you do that and keep everyone calm and comfortable while you're at it.

Dog Training Guide 19: 9 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Taking Your Dog to Public Places

Who doesn't want to take their dog with them everywhere? ! It's a good idea to make sure it's something your dog wants too and that you'll be able to set up your dog for success and feeling secure wherever you decide to go. Dogly Advocate Melissa Dallier shares 9 questions to ask yourself before you go public together and what to do next depending on your answers.

You'll also get a refresher on body language and how to anticipate signs of stress. You can dive into the full guide here to know whether you and your dog are ready for public appearances yet and how to plan for them.

Dog Training Guide 20: How to Teach Your Dog to Settle Anywhere

The secret to helping your dog settle in anywhere is one you already know (if you and your dog have been following along with the previous guides). Yet another example of the value of a dependable "go to mat"!

Taking your dog to a public space with unpredictable distractions (a busy outdoor cafe for example) is the essence of putting your "go to mat" with distractions to the test. If you already have a solid "go to mat," the simple steps in this guide will be a nice refresher. (If not, you can learn how to teach "go to mat" in the in-depth, 6-part series starting here.) To learn more on how to teach your dog to get comfortable and settled anywhere, check out this full guide here.


Dog Training Guide 21: How to Help Your Dog Calm Down Outside

Does your dog go into wild, woohoo! mode as soon as you set foot (and paw) outside? You can bring calm and safety to each outing and still preserve your dog's joy with a few pro tips and practice. In this guide, certified force-free trainer and Dogly Training Advocate Karen Chapdelaine shares 5 tips for setting your dog up for success for happy outdoor ventures that are mannerly at the same time. Karen also walks you through a simple outdoor exercise you can do with your dog that teaches how to enjoy relaxing (and wonderful bonding) time outside together. You can learn how to keep your dog calm and happy outside in the full guide and video here.

Now that you've learned how to train your dog in Basic Manners, Food Manners, and Public Manners, let's see if your pup can apply those learnings around the holidays in Holiday Manners in the Manners Channel here on Dogly. Holiday Manners covers what you need to know to keep your dog calm and safe during the holidays, including a few additional tips on food stealing to improve your Food Manners training.

Dog Training Guide 22: How to Prep for the Holiday Season with Your Dog

The holidays are a busy time of year, which presents unique challenges for pet owners. To help you make sure your dog is as safe and happy as possible during the holiday season, certified force-free dog trainer Tressa Fessenden-McKenzie shares a few things you'll want to keep in mind. Tressa takes you through it all - from how to see your home through a safety lens (holiday lights/cords, holiday plants, etc) to handling guest arrivals to managing mealtimes to planning how you'll handle kid/dog interactions, and more. You can see the full guide and video here to get started on a safer, less stressed holiday time.

Dog Training Guide 23: How to Make Dinner Parties Easier when Your Dog Is in Attendance

Holidays are full of family and friends and food - and, of course, we want our dogs to be part of it all. We also want to keep everyone stress-free and safe. Using Thanksgiving as the ultimate dinner party example, holiday or anytime, certified force-free dog trainer Tressa Fessenden-McKenzie shares 7 tips to enjoy safe festivities with your dog.

A quick look at what you'll learn:

  1. Have a plan
  2. Prep enrichment
  3. Burn off steam
  4. Set up safe greetings
  5. Don't forget management during mealtimes
  6. Guide interactions
  7. Reward your dogs by giving praise and treat for good behavior

To go deeper on any or all of these tips, click here to get started on the full guide. Yes, these tips outline the desired response for our dogs around the holidays but they apply any time you have guests over!

With all the manners training you've made part of your dog's established behavior now, are you ready to take it on the road and travel together? Positive reinforcement trainer and Dogly Advocate Melissa Dallier tells you how in the next two guides.


Dog Training Guide 24: How to Prepare for Travel with Your Dog

Traveling can be stressful for both you and your dog, so it's important to plan ahead and make sure you have everything you need to make the trip as smooth as possible. Travel Manners in the Manners Channel on Dogly is here to help you do just that. You'll find all the information you need about traveling with your dog, from what to pack in your dog's travel bag to how to keep your pup calm during the car ride.

Check out the full guide here on how to best prepare for a road trip with your dog from certified force-free trainer Melissa Dallier.

Dog Training Guide 25: What to Expect Traveling on the Road with Dogs

Your bags are packed (including the must-packs from Dogly Training Advocate Melissa Dallier's checklist in the previous guide) and you and your dog are ready to hit the road. Woohoo - smooth sailing from here! Well, almost.

Even with humans-only travel, we all know surprises happen. To help set you and your pup up for a stress-free trip, Melissa anticipates unexpected developments for you, details how you can be prepared in advance to avoid them, and what you can do to keep things stress-free and comfortable for your dog (and you). Jump in here for the full guide - and here's to fun on the road with your dog!

You can always ask any of the Dogly Training Advocates questions you have along the way and watch the videos they share in each guide.

Recommended Products

That's the Manners Channel here on Dogly!

If you've gone through each guide in the Manners Channel, your dog should be well on his/her way to good behavior. Congrats! If you're just getting started, that's ok too! Start with teaching your dog to stay in Basic Manners, followed by how to teach your dog to settle anywhere, and then teaching your dog not to steal food in Food Manners.

Manners is just one of many channels here on Dogly. Be sure to check out the other channels like Dental Health in Wellness or Home-cooking in Nutrition to learn everything you need to know about your dog's training, nutrition, and overall wellness.

And, as always, you can speak with or work with any of the Advocates on Dogly if you ever need more personalized help. Don't go through stuff alone with your dog - we're here for you!

Cory & Jane of Dogly

Dogly started with our own dogs and quickly became about yours. We want our dogs to live long and we want them to live well, to go where we go and do more together with us. That’s why we created Dogly. To help you live well with your dog.