The 3 Components of Positive Reinforcement Training

Inside this free dog training presentation, Jean Cote, founder of Success Dogs and the Dog Trick Academy breaks down the three main components of Positive Reinforcement Training.

  • CAPTURING: Capturing a behavior that your dog is already doing. Example: Yawning.
  • LURING: Putting a treat in front of your dog's nose and moving it until a specific position is achieved. Example: Turning Around.
  • SHAPING: Breaking down complex behaviors into simple components / steps.
  • PLUS... You will discover our unique dog training formula L+B+M+P=CT

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About the Author

Jean Cote is an animal lover and the founder of the Dog Trick Academy. For more than a decade, he has served as a coach to thousands of dog owners around the world to better train, communicate and forge a stronger bond with their dog using positive and force-free training methods.

  • Johanne says:

    Thank you so much for making this video. We’ve been learning how to train our 8-month old lab and this has been very helpful. We will try the yawn trick as well as the luring method you’ve demonstrated. Thank you again for such a great video and I look forward to learning more about shaping. I do have one question however, does the type of food that I use matter? Or can I use anything to train my dog? Thanks! Johanne

    • Jean Cote says:

      Hi Johanne, the best type of food to use is the one that your dog loves most. I cover this in the eBook “The Power of Positive Reinforcements”. But you should also make sure that the treats that you give are very small, about the size of a pea so that you can deliver many treats in a 5 minutes session without your dog getting stuffed. You can also use a portion of your dog’s rationed dinner as training treats.

  • Margaret Harrison says:

    Dear Jean

    Thank you so much for your video. It is all as we learned in training classes but our family know we have to go back to basics some times and it was a great refresher. Look forward to the video on shaping.

  • Donna Ekins says:

    Very informative video. It is clear and easy to follow. Looking forward to next one.

    FYI-Capturing is the correct spelling , not caputering.

    • Jean Cote says:

      LOL Yes I know, I was in the moment and didn’t want to re-shoot the video for a minor spelling mistake. 🙂

  • Nick says:

    Dear Jean!

    Thank you very much for giving the book, thank you for training video. The fact that you present your really should accept and enjoy. Wow is worth it.

  • Sara says:

    This is a great and sample video to follow, I have a 6 month Cockapoo and following these methods it great ti see him doing all sorts of tricks.

    Thank you and look forward to the next one.

    • Jean Cote says:

      Absolutely! Please give me a few days to record and to edit the videos, as making them takes quite a while to do (I’m a solo team). 🙂

  • Laurel Flanagan says:

    Helpful Video—

    Turn around has always been the first trick I have taught to every dog I’ve owned. It is always their favorite.

    I’ll be watching my Bichon to catch her in a yawn.

    Keep the good stuff coming!

  • Jenny says:

    Thanks for the video.

    You do NOT have one second after the behaviour to click or otherwise mark. I always tell my students to think of the “click” or other (marker) as the shutter of a camera. You get what you click, and an awful lot can happen in one second.

    • Jean Cote says:

      Hi Jenny, thank you for your feedback. Yes, the marker must be given as close as possible to the behavior. What I meant was that it must be given “within” one second. I will try to make it clearer in my next videos. 🙂 Thank you.

  • David says:

    Hi Jean, thanks for the book! Would you be able to demonstrate the exercises from the book on video? I would find it much easier to follow along if you did it real life instead of seeing snapshots … especially the roll over and figure eight tricks. Thank you in advance. Best wishes, Dave.

  • Kristin says:

    Thank you for your site, book, and videos! I’m a new dog owner with a 13 mo old bullmastiff mix and he is always looking at me waiting for something to absorb. I’m trying every day to improve my handling skills and work his mind. This is a great help to me!

  • Thomas says:

    Very cool. Simple and easy to understand. I will definitely use these methods and am anxious to get the Shaping video.

    Thank you for sharing.

  • Sandi says:

    Thank you for taking the time to share your knowledge and experiences! I liked your presentation very simple concepts and easy to follow and understand. I have two old english sheepdogs who don’t consistently come when called which I am working on! Thanks again for sharing, I’m looking forward to the next video.

    Thanks Jean!

    • Jean Cote says:

      You are very welcome! 🙂

  • Darlene Kerr says:

    Excellent presentation. Thank you. I have done what is perhaps shaping with my dogs for a few years, everyone of my dogs have learned to lie down with this method. I begin by simply waiting until my dog begins to lie down..then I calmly say “lie down” as soon as they have completed the action of lying down. I praise them with a calm “well done” or “Good dog”. I haven’t used treats for this..but I have had success..however it takes a long time..since I am not actually using treats to encourage or lure them into this behaviour. But I do think this is likely what you mean by I correct? I do know that if I were to say yes and reward them immediately upon lying down..they would learn this more quickly. I enjoy your methodology very much 😉 I will be putting this to use.

    • Jean Cote says:

      Hi Darlene,

      Yes, you can speed up the learning process by creating more desire (giving treats) and marking the behavior that you want (clicker/yes).

  • Jenny says:

    Thank you a very informative and easy to understand dog training with almost math formulas which grabs the attention.

  • Gina says:

    Dear Jean,

    Thanks for a great lesson! Dog training has been a long-standing hobby for me and I am a firm believer in positive reinforcement. As a classroom teacher and school administrator, positive reinforcement is a critical skill to have in helping people meet success as well. My question for you is… At what point do you introduce the verbal command for the desired behavior…e.g. once you’ve “caught” your dog in a yawn or “”lured”” him to perform a figure eight and both marked and reinforced these behaviors with a treat or toy, isn’t there a verbal command such as “yawn” or “figure eight” that you’ll want him to recognize so that you can have him do these behaviors on cue?

    Also, I can’t help but tell you that as a veteran educator who has observed and evaluated countless teachers (part of my job as a school administrator), you are a natural teacher! Your presentation is clear and easy to follow. Whether you know it or not, your presentation incorporates multiple learning styles…a marker board and multiple colors to write key terms down (visual learning), clear and succinct explanations (auditory learning) and actual demonstration (tactile learning). In other words, you are helping those who view your video to learn these skills on many levels with the end result being success!

    Thank you for the time and care you put into your work. I downloaded your ebook on Positive Reinforcement and found it helpful, both confirming things I do and giving me new ways to look at how I do them. I look forward to future videos!

    God bless,

    • Jean Cote says:

      Hi Gina,

      Thank you very much for the nice words, I do try to make it as simple as possible. I plan on making a detailed video for associating a cue/command to behaviors – keep an eye out for it in your inbox.

      But in the meantime, I do it in two ways:

      Capturing: I reinforce the behavior a dozen of times or so until my dog has it completely down path. Then I wait and just before she’s about to do the behavior, I cue it with a word. You can usually tell when the dog is going to do the behavior after a few repetitions.

      Luring: I usually cue lured behaviors with hand signals first, then I do it with a command. So I would do a “fake lure” with no food in my hands so that it becomes a hand signal. And once the dog has mastered the hand signal, I would say my command just before I gave my hand signal. Works great but it’s a little hard to explain in text.


  • Susan E.W. Copp says:

    Haven’t seen it yet. I am using s mobile device and it would not allow me to download/view it…

    • Jean Cote says:

      Sorry that you are having technical problems. I have tried it with my iPhone and it works, which mobile are you using?

  • Julio says:

    Thank you for sharing this. It sure is very helpful.

    • Jean Cote says:

      No problem! You are very welcome.

  • Sharon Stoves says:

    Thank you, this is wonderful, i love it. it has been very informative and helpful. I will get on with practicing with my two dogs and see how i go. Thanks Sharon

  • Tristen says:

    A great refresher. I’m glad you covered offered and lured behaviours I like to use both.

  • Patsy Jones says:

    Thank you I already knew most of this through many years of training but you reinforced many things. A good clear video.

  • Butch says:

    Thank you for the video. I can now start the fundamentals for my 5 month old German shepherd. Although i have started teaching some basic obedience and have positive results. My only concern is that she always plays with slippers and other thing and bring them all around the yard. How can i control this behavior? Thanks – Butch

  • Alan Hardman says:

    Excellent demo. Easy to understand. Well done!

  • Binamra Bhatta says:

    Thank you so much Jean it helped me a lot. You are wonderful!!

    • Jean Cote says:

      That’s awesome – glad that I could help. 🙂

  • Cindy says:

    Thank you for the lesson . I will try this with my beloved Oscar . Do you have any tips on my house broke dog to not follow another dog that is not house broke ? This is a shock to me . He knows better and just started doing this I’m assuming that since he was there first , he’s marking his territory however this is untollerable behavior . Your suggestion is welcome and appreciated!

  • Judi says:

    Wow, what a wonderful help in training my new toy poodle. She is only nine weeks old, but I surely intend getting her on the road to success straight away. I look forward to your next video. Thank you so very much Jean. Sincerely, Judi…..Bali.

  • Darlene Rowlands says:

    Thanks Jean. My dogs train easily but I never knew I was using your method! Most interestingly, once they start to respond this way, they even figure it out for themselves and start a reverse procedure and train me. For instance, now when my Peke 12 year old Sprinkles wants a drink in the middle of the night, she wakes me by softly whining in my ear and then she looks at the water bottle and when I ask her if she wants a drink, she nods her head up and down. No is a slight turn of her head to the left. I did not teach her this, she just figured it out on her own. Going out in the middle of the night is slightly different. She again will wake me, but instead of looking at the water bottle she moves to the right corner of the bed and waits til I get up to carry her outside. So, she’s trained me to do what she wants. My positive reinforcement is her obvious appreciation, a happily wagging tail. My Black Russian terrier wants no part of this. He prefers to sleep in the living room protecting the front door as all good Black Russians should. They both do the usual sit -stay- lie- down-come -heel and dead dog, but they both hate dead dog! What I found works best is small bits of hot dog which I only use for training purposes so they know that they are going to learn something new!

  • Lyne says:

    Thank you for your help. I’m reading your ebook right now and just watch the video. It’s very grateful of you help without asking anything in return. It’s something that’s happens less these days. I rescued a 18 months old pittbull 4 months ago and i tried a couple of methods that doesn’t really work. He has so much confidence in me that i don’t want break it with hard methods. He likes treats so it’s easy for me use that method, and with the clicker it such a plus. I don’t want a circus dog but just a well behave dog that i can enjoy doing activities such as biking, flyball, agility and maybe free dancing. He just loves to do things with me and for me. An amazing, intelligent dog. Do you have tricks though to help me desensitized him for chasing cats and being scared of noises outside? Thanks in advance and thank you again.

    • Jean Cote says:

      Yes, there is a process called “Counter-Conditioning”. Basically you increase the distance between your dog and whatever is stimulating (say, a cat) until your dog can be calm. Then you slowly and gradually reduce the distance and you reward your dog for remaining calm. If you sense your dog getting anxious or trying to get to the cat, then you need to increase the distance. It’s a slow process but it does work.

  • Sharon J Dunn says:

    Hi Jean. Really enjoyed watching your presentation. You are very relaxing to listen to and deliver the capture and lure neatly and easily. I like your style and smiley face. Look forward to watching the shape presentation.

    • Jean Cote says:

      Thank you Sharon! It was a pleasure to film the video and answer everybody’s questions. 🙂

  • Lily Astels says:

    Thank you for the free dog training help and so much of it! I was skeptical when i downloaded the ebook and started it must i must say I am impressed! My young Northern mix always lies down when i try the turn trick, have you ever run into that problem and do you have any suggestions?

    Your Husky is beautiful btw.

    • Jean Cote says:

      Hi Lily,

      No problem. I think that is humane nature to be skeptical of things on the internet, especially when you have to give away your e-mail address. 🙂

      You might want to reward your dog for partially turning, and letting go of the treat before your dog lies down. So you could lure your dog 1/4 turn and let your dog eat the treat before he lies down. Then gradually increase the distance that your dog has to follow the treat (while making sure you only reward him while he’s standing up). It will take a little longer, but it should work.

  • Dottie says:

    This is great! Thank you for the book and video. Started training my chocolate lab to roll over yesterday and she’s almost perfect already! Of course she will do almost anything for food! Can’t wait to teach her more!

  • Emma says:

    Hi thanks for sharing film an e book. I’ve just recently gotten a Siberian husky he’s only 7 weeks old do u think he is to young to start as he is more obsessed on biting an mouthing things he shouldn’t be like my hand I’ve tried given him his fave toy instead to chew on but doesn’t seem to help.

    • Jean Cote says:

      Your puppy is still very young, it will take a couple of weeks before he learns what is acceptable and what isn’t. Make sure that you STOP giving him all attention when he bites you. You might also pretend like it really hurt you. There’s a whole bunch of different techniques that you can use to train a puppy. You may want to go on the DTA forums in the puppy section to ask these questions. 🙂

  • Heather says:

    Thanks for the sensible and easy to follow tips on dog training, which I hope to incorporate in my daily routine with my dogs.

  • Claudia says:

    Thank you so much for this video and your book!, I’m gonna be practice with my 5 years Westie, Tabata.

  • Pauline says:

    Along with you free book too this is very helpful and informative . So thank you very much and retraining is underway with my selective hearing border terrier lol

  • Janet Walsby says:

    A great video and training guide. Our 6 year old Bichon Frise bitch is a rehome dog whom we have had for one year. She was blind from birth with cataracts but last year we had the op done and now she can see very clearly. Her main problem is that she is frightened of other dogs so has been going to training classes to get socialized. Mitty is now ok with small dogs but still frightened of large ones and barks incessantly when she meets one. What do you suggest I do to help her. She is also afraid of traffic and cowers and stops walking when a car passes by. Unfortunately this week we have had to have our older second re homed Bichon, Tilly, of 11 yrs put to sleep. They had always been together and Mitty relied upon her close friend for support when she was blind. Fortunately Mitty has become very independent since her cataract op and was taking over as number one dog. Mitty has a calm disposition and is very close to me. I would appreciate any help you can advise re other dogs and traffic.

  • Karen says:

    Really helpful. Have taken sky to first training class and she learns quick with food. Only one i cant get is the stand, she goes straight into the down position. Have you any tips?

  • Anushka says:

    Thanks for all the info. My puppy is 13 weeks and I wanted to ask you advice on walking with her. Every time I take her out she pulls on the lead.I have not had success getting her to heel. Some guidance and advice would be fantastic. Look forward to hearing from you.

    Thanks Anushka

    • Jean Cote says:

      Hi Anushka, in my eBook “The Power of Positive Reinforcements”, I talk about the reinforcement zone and how you can build value for your dog to staying at your side. Also, you should take extra time to curb this habit now as your puppy is still quite young. Here’s what you should do, as soon as your dog goes to the end of the leash and starts to pull – turn around and go in the opposite direction. You could also stop and wait for your dog to slack on the leash before walking any further. But the key point is to reinforce the good choice of walking nicely on a loose leash, that is where the reinforcement zone comes in.

  • Ella says:

    Thank you very much for the video, it really helped me and my dog. The only problem is that when I use the luring method, she is so food motivated that she doesn’t really care what she’s doing before she gets the treat as long as she gets it! Also, when using luring, when do you introduce the spoken command? Thanks! Ella

    • Jean Cote says:

      Hi Ella, thank you for your comment. That’s a good thing that she LOVES food, it will make your training easier. 🙂 It takes time for your to learn the process of luring, ideally you’d want to start with a very basic behavior (like turning around) and only let your dog eat the treat once she has COMPLETED the required behavior.

      You can only associate a command once the behavior is mastered by your dog (I will send you another video with more details on this).

      You might also want to practice Shaping with your dog – you can even play a game of “It’s your choice”. Place a bunch of treats in your hand and put it at your dog’s eye level. Let your dog sniff it (she’ll probably sniff, lick, paw, and perhaps even bark at your hand), but the goal is to reward your dog for sitting quietly (without any of the annoying behaviors). Basically, you are offering your dog a choice, either you sit quietly and get a reward, or you can try to get it and get nothing. I should probably make another video of this to make it clearer. 🙂

      • Ella says:

        Thanks Jean, I’ll definitely try out those techniques. About the luring, my dog will only do the trick if I have the food in my hand, so how do get her do to, say a figure of eight in and out of my legs if she will only do it for food? She would do it without if she knew, but how can I teach how to do things like that if the only way she knows what to do is if I have some food in my hand?

  • Lori Tremblay says:

    Jean I love my ebook and the videos and emails you send me I was talking to someone about it and I’d like to share it with them. Could you please send me the link for them to sign up? Thanks


    • Jean Cote says:

      Hi Lori,

      I assume you mean you’d like them to subscribe to my newsletter, where I can send them these videos and other useful dog training tips? Just tell them to go to this website and download my eBook, they’ll automatically be added to my newsletter. You can also just click on the social sharing icons and tag them in your Facebook or Twitter post. Thanks!

  • Penny says:

    Hi Jean, Brilliant video, and thank you so much for the e-book. I am new to dog training and wish to compete in Rally-O at some stage with my Collie. I’m sure with all the helpful tips from you we will do well. Cheers, Penny.

    • Jean Cote says:

      Hi Penny, thank you very much for your comment. Rally-O is very cool, you should definitely try it! 🙂

  • Luba says:

    If you don’t do this professionally – you should!
    Great job

  • Brenda says:

    Hello and Thank you so much. I along with all the other responses thank you so much for your time and for assisting us folks who just love our dogs to pieces. Dogs can be demanding and as you break down each issue it does help with us understand the theory in the behavior of our beloved dogs. Do you have any comments on aggressive or assertive dogs? It is my understanding some very smart dogs have a assertive behavior issue that can be challenging to deal with. Please keep me on your email list and I will look for help as I enjoy all your tips. Thanks again for your love of dogs and for assisting us with our needs. Brenda

  • Dee says:

    Dear Jean!

    Thank you very much for you training video. I’ve been trying to learn how to train our rescue German Shepard and this has been very helpful. I will try the yawn trick as well as the luring method you’ve demonstrated. Thank you again for such a great video and I look forward to learning more about ShapingI

    Thank you again.

    • Jean Cote says:

      That’s awesome Dee. Have fun with the trick and the new training methods, they are the stepping stones for all the tricks I’ve ever taught my dogs. 🙂

  • Jackie Dugas says:

    Great videos!!!!! My Golden Retriever has already improved in the last two days.

    Thanks!!!! Can’t wait for more videos.

    • Jean Cote says:

      Glad you like it Jackie, the next videos will be even better! 🙂

  • Amkeiana says:

    Awesome lesson..thanks!
    This will really help.

    • Jean Cote says:

      You are very welcome!

  • Jo Morley says:

    Hi there, I hope you don’t mind me messaging you, but I’m new to this game… well relatively new!!!! i have a 12 year old collie who is so well behaved and I trained her from a puppy, from the day we got her, and as you know it takes a lot of dedication, time and effort!!! However that was over 12 years ago now!! And last week we got ourselves a new border collie who’s not had the best start in life!! She’s 10 months old and we’re her third set of owners, her first was an old lady who had her from 8 weeks to 8 1/2 months, and in most of that time the lady was in hospital, so friends and family went round to the house and fed her and let her out in the garden to do what she needed to do, then they left her! So for the first 8 months she was on her own and hardly went out! She was then rescued by a couple who are big in the agility world and who had 10 other dogs, she was with them just over a month!!! and she was kept out in kennels, but because Lucy never fitted in and didn’t like agility…. That’s what they said…. They wanted rid of her…. Hence she came to us!!! And what can I say, she’s sooo pretty, and absolutely loving but she’s unruly!!! Big time!! She sits and that’s all!!! So I was wondering if you could give me some pointers on how best to train her!! I’ve read up on the subject and there’s soooo much conflicting information!!! I think I like the whole positive reinforcement idea….. But really have no clue where to start!!! Could you recommend a good book, website, anything please!! I’m not bothered about her doing all the wonderful tricks.. Well not at the moment lol! But I would like to have a well behaved happy dog, and one that enjoys what she’s doing!!!!! And not one that chased our post lady up and down the street for 20 minutes like Lucy did yesterday…. she just got out and wouldn’t come back. she wasn’t aggressive she just wanted to play!!!!!! but its embarrassing and i don’t like it!!!!

    Anyhow, ill stop rabbiting on now! Thank you so much for reading this long drawn out ask for help, lol! I look forward to your reply!!

    Many thanks.

    • Jean Cote says:

      Hi Jo,

      Positive reinforcement training will do wonders for you and your dog, but it’s not instant, it takes time and dedication on your part. I highly recommend that you study the four quadrants of operant conditioning to get started ( ) and then work on the fundamentals. Work on relationship building games, crate training, potty training, loose leash training, name recalls, obedience commands ( sit/down/stand ), physical examinations and anything else you might think is necessary.

  • Tiffany says:

    I’ve been in a lot of dog training classes for my dogs and your video summarized it all. Very cool, very simple to understand and follow. Thank you for your input. Looking forward to more videos.

    • Jean Cote says:

      Thank you Tiffany. 🙂

  • Pam Cartledge says:

    Is there a way to save these videos to my computer so I can watch them later. This one video took over an hour to download and I just don’t have the time to wait that long for it to load, then another 15 minutes to watch it. I’d love to be able to save them on my computer and then watch them when I have the time.

    Thanks in advance for your reply, cheers, Pam

  • Karen Whitchurch says:

    A very enjoyable video, and after all, isn’t that what training’s all about? So many people are flat, unenthusiastic and, yes, plain BORING when training their dogs, forgetting about the fun bit.

    I would actually like to see you demonstrating simple reinforcement with an absolute beginner dog, though: more of a ‘before and after.’ And whilst a dog is a dog is a dog, I personally have had more success in working with what I suppose you’d call ‘breed-specific traits’, such as teaching a vocal terrier to ‘speak’, or a tactile Schnautzer to give ‘high-fives’. This isn’t to say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, just that some, for instance, don’t get retrieving and never will!!

    Looking forward to the Shaping video!


  • Erin Dixon says:

    I love your method. Breaking the trick into steps is a great way to ensure success.

    Thank you! I hope to be able to take my pup to hospitals and schools to do therapy work. He is 10 months old now so possibly in the next 6 months. We taught him to ring a bell to go outside, fetch a ball and bring it back, and to shake. I noticed in the video of your dog yawning, you did not speak. How did your dog know what you wanted him to do?

    Erin Dixon

    • Jean Cote says:

      Hi Erin, you just wait until your dog offers your something “close” to what you want. Reward the behavior and it will be repeated. Then you can refine exactly what you are asking from the dog until you get exactly the trick/behavior. Ignore any other behaviors you don’t want, especially barking.

      • Erin Dixon says:

        Hi Jean,

        I am eagerly awaiting your next video, which will help progress the skills of my dog and I. If I wanted to get you book in print, would I be able to find it at my local bookstore?


        • Jean Cote says:

          Hi Erin,

          Unfortunately the book is only available online. I looked at getting it published however the cost was too much, and I think it is more practical having it digitally so that I can reach people from all across the globe with it. 🙂

  • Jazz says:

    Hi Jean good luring will try this on my dog. How can I train him to listen to me?

  • Jeffrey says:

    Thank you so much for the great video!

  • Bob says:

    Tried the come command and the Puppy responded very fast, she is only 9 weeks old. Hoping to try other tips that you are showing.

  • Valentina says:

    Love the video very straight forward, thanks!

  • Mary says:

    Mr. Cote you are TERRIFIC!!!! I’m so grateful you provide this valuable information for free.

    Although our GSD has been trained, from your valuable video he can learn so much more!!!
    I wonder if you could give us some guidance on personal protection and barking at
    strangers training.

    Many & Very Special THANKS!!!!!

    • Jean Cote says:

      You are very welcome! Thank you for watching. I usually help dog owners with the opposite problem, helping them to STOP barking. 🙂 I guess you could encourage the behavior, but then how do you turn it ON and OFF? You might need to look more into protection dog training…

  • Judith says:

    I like the simple and strait forward instructions you give, thank you.

  • Valen says:

    Thanks for the video very inspiring.

  • Sibyl Spruill says:

    I need to to thank you for this fantastic read!! I certainly loved every bit of it. I have you saved as a favorite to look at new stuff you post.

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