Management vs Training

Management vs Training

March 21, 2021

Some people say they don’t want to manage misbehavior; they want to train to eliminate the misbehavior. So what is the difference between management and training?

Management = Controlling your dog’s environment to stop behaviors you dislike from happening. Management means the probability of correct behaving occurring is improved.

Training = The process of teaching or developing the skills and knowledge related to specific valuable skills (the behaviors you want.)

So management is training!

Because we know your dog’s behaviors today become its habits of tomorrow, through the process of management, you increase your dog’s probability of practicing only the behaviors you desire. And those behaviors get stronger and more likely to occur while the behaviors you dislike fade away.

What you are doing is limiting rehearsal of what you don’t want – so you have the opportunity to reward good behaviors. Management is training. What your dog does not do today is less likely to happen tomorrow and the next day. And the day after that.

For example, if Hooley puts her feet on the counter today, she is more likely to put her feet on the counter tomorrow. But if instead, she does not put her feet on the counter today, plus she gets rewards (things she likes) while her feet are on the ground, she is more likely to keep her feet on the ground.

Management is about not throwing your dog in the deep end and setting it up for failure. Being set up to fail; doesn’t feel pleasant! None of us like it.

Every week, we get calls from people who have been socializing their dog, but their dogs are a wreck because it has been practicing barking, lunging, and maybe even fighting and biting.  They need a training program that includes only practicing the emotions and behaviors that are desirable, and that is the beauty of management.

Think about how you can help your dog practice only the behaviors you like.

It might be you:
1 at times use some confinement (crate, exercise pen, baby gate)
2 work to keep your dog’s home environment more entertaining (food toys, rotating toys and chews, enrichment activities)
3 teether your dog to you or furniture (while you supervised it.)

Don’t let them rehearse the things you don’t want. Repetition grows skill. When your dog is doing something, are they growing skills you like or don’t want?

Is there a situation, you don’t know how to prevent?  If so, tell me about it in the comments section.


Marie Daoust on Mar 21, 2021, 7:39 PM
How to limit barking at strangers that come in ( like a repairman )?

Debbie Schaefer of The Well-Mannered Dog replied on Mon, March 22, 7:12 AM
Management for this problem needs to be started well in advance of strangers arriving. First, we need to teach our dog that it can be alone and can relax in a room without us present.  We do this when we don’t have people over.  When that is well established, then you can use it as a management tool by putting them in the room prior to admitting strangers.  They can have a wonderful, safe chew to occupy them and keep them happy.


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Author – Debbie Schaefer

Debbie has been successfully teaching dog lovers how to rambunctious, rude, disobedient dogs into Well-Mannered companions since 1987.

That means there are few bad behaviors Debbie can’t tame or troublesome pups Debbie can’t help turn into well-mannered dogs.

With training, your dog can be a great companion, a fun part of your life.