In the kennel with … Terry Ryan

Clickety Clips interviews top dog trainers


Terry Ryan CPDT-KA, KPA CTP Faculty
Terry has been a dog training class instructor since 1968. She teaches pet dog classes, writes books, presents national and international seminars and workshops, hosts interns, and does consults. She was the Coordinator of the People-Pet Partnership, College of Veterinary Medicine, Washington State University from 1981 until 1994. Terry has also been a competitor and American Kennel Club judge. She was on the American Humane Society’s advisory board for humane dog training.

CC-vsmll-logo-pple How would you advise owners on the best way to bond with their dog?

TR: Be patient, realistic and learn to read what your dog is trying to tell you

CC-vsmll-logo-pple What would be your 3 top tips for owners wanting to be a good dog trainer?


  • Look at things from your dog’s point of view
  • Remember the Law of Effect*
  • Concentrate on heavily reinforcing an arsenal of behaviors incompatible with the unwanted behaviors

*Thorndike’s ‘Law of Effect’ states that “behaviors that are rewarded increase in frequency, intensity or duration.”

CC-vsmll-logo-pple And your advice on 3 things owners should never do when training their dog?


  • Don’t train while angry
  • Don’t train for more than a couple of minutes at a time
  • Don’t have fuzzy expectations (criteria)

CC-vsmll-logo-pple In your experience, what do owners find most difficult about dog training?

TR: Owners often find it difficult to analyze the parts of a behaviour, in order to then achieve their goal by training piece by piece.

 CC-vsmll-logo-pple And, finally, what do you envisage the greatest challenges will be for pet dogs – and their owners – over the next 10-20 years?

TR: Establishing mutually effective communication channels with each other.


You can visit Terry Ryan’s website at She has written many popular books about dog training, including the bestseller The Toolbox for Building a Great Family Dog


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