Body of Knowledge Animal Learning Dog Works Training Company

Body of Knowledge | Animal Learing

Body of Knowledge is the collected wisdom, experience, processes and facts that both inform a profession and provide the solid foundation for which continuous improvements and innovation can occur. 

Dog Works Training Company’s Body of Knowledge consists of the information, knowledge and functional skills we have identified that all dog trainers should posses. 

The Body of Knowledge is built on the foundation of the six core competencies as outlined by the Association for Pet Dog Trainers.

1. Animal Learning

2. Human Learning

3. Canine Behavior

4. Health and Nutrition 

5. Business

Laws and Regulations

The goal of this Body of Knowledge is fourfold:

1. To serve as the foundational benchmark for which DWTC and APDT education is aligned to ensure offerings are well-rounded and through

2. To serve as a standard by which professional dog trainers assess their own ongoing education

3. To serve as the guiding content which all provides of dog training and behavior-related educational rescues will strive to provide

4. To inform the clients of DWTC of our willingness to provide professional dog training and behavior-related services to the best of our ability through our continued effort and maximizing our knowledge and information and staying abreast of the current resources in the industry. 

Learning Theory

Develop and understanding of, and skills in, learning theory as it applies to animals. 

Knowledge Of:

  • Fundamentals of animal learning theories and practices, including but not limited to:
    • Classical conditioning
    • Operant conditioning 
    • Non-associative leraning
    • Animal cognition
  • Extrinsic and intrinsic influences on dog learning including but not limited to:
    • External environment 
    • Socialization
    • Handler’s emotions and attitudes
    • Distractions
    • Prior training methods used 
    • Prior experiences 
    • Reinforcement history
    • Punishment history
    • Context
    • Age
  • Techniques for proofing, including, but not limited to:
    • Building distance
    • Duration
    • Resistance to distractions for trained behaviors 
    • Putting behaviors on cue
  • Animal learning terminologies
  • Dog training methods 
  • Meaning of various dogs’ reactions
  • Recognize, respond to and adjust training based on the dog’s reaction to specific training techniques
  • Techniques of response prevention, response substitution and education or elimination of undesirable behaviors
  • Safe activities to enhance bonding for all age groups and dogs
  • LIMA philosophy 

Skills In: 

  • Applied learning theory 
  • Identifying and utilizing the appropriate theories and practices 
  • Mechanical skills in leash handling, timing
  • Applying appropriate methods of training language and communication
  • Attention to detail 
  • Problem solving 
  • Observing body language 
  • Identifying and responding to signs of stress
  • Building distance, duration and resistance to distractions
  • Managing and conducting training
  • Adjusting training based on the dog’s reaction to specific training techniques 
  • Recognizing and responding to various dogs’ reactions 
  • Managing undesirable behaviors 
  • Identifying key issues 
  • Assessing situations
  • Analytical and critical thinking 
  • Practicing safe techniques to enhance bonding between humans and dogs
  • Following LIMA guidelines

Tools and Equipment 

Develop a familiarity with various training tools and equipment.

Knowledge Of:

  • Dog training equipment and tools, including but not limited to
    • Collars, head halters, body harnesses
    • Leashes, leads
    • Various marker options (audio, visual, tactile)
    • Toys, puzzles, games
    • Various dog sport equipment
  • Pros and cons of various training equipment 
  • When, where and why not to use each 
  • Sources for purchase

Skills In: 

  • Identifying the appropriate training equipment for an individual dog
  • Using various training equipment 
  • Fitting, swing, adjustment of leashes, collars, harnesses, etc.

Training Techniques 

Develop a familiarity with and understanding of various training techniques, modalities, and concepts in order to:

  • Better instruct and advise clients
  • Compare and contrast differing techniques to explain to a client why or why not to use a method
  • Provide sound recommendations to clients 

Knowledge Of: 

  • Learning theory and how it applies to current best practices 
  • The evolution of training techniques over time

Skills In: 

  • Identifying the appropriate training techniques for an individual dog
  • Using various training techniques 
  • Identifying key issues 


Mechanical Skills

Develop an understanding of mechanical skills in dog training such as body movement, leash handling, etc. 

Knowledge Of:

  • Fundamental mechanical skills of dog training 
  • Dog training methods including but not limited to: 
    • Luring
    • Capturing 
    • Modeling 
    • Shaping
    • Timing of consequences
    • Schedules of reinforcement
    • Target trainings
    • Correction/compulsion
    • Steps to take before considering correction or compulsion 

Skills In: 

  • Applying mechanical skills in dog training 
  • Identifying and utilizing the appropriate theories, practices, and training techniques 
  • Analytical and critical thinking