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How do we teach?

Through clear and effective communication and generous rewards.  Helping our dogs understand what we want and building strong, reliable behaviors using techniques that do not rely on harsh corrections to get there. 

Positive doesn't mean permissive.  We will help you train to high standards of performance and reliable responses, while maintaining a trusting relationship and enthusiasm for learning.


There are many ways to train a dog.  

Dog training is an unregulated field.  While the woman who does your nails had to pass certain tests and is regulated by specific laws to provide that service, it is not true of dog trainers, groomers, day care providers, boarding kennels, or dog sitters.  ANYONE can hang out a sign and take your money to do whatever they want to your dog in the name of training. Do your homework.  Choose wisely.


Our Certified Professional Dog Trainers have attended hundreds of hours at behavior and training seminars and instructor courses to expand their knowledge so they can stay on the cutting edge of positive, dog-friendly training techniques.  "Founded in Science, Ruled by Ethics" is the tagline for the term coined by trainer Emily Larlham to describe this type of modern training:  Progressive Reinforcement Training.  Go here to read "the Manifesto."

The American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior released their updated Position Statement on Humane Dog Training.  Read it here.

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Building healthy relationships.

"We liked everything about it. We especially like that it is about positive reinforcement, and that the trainers are very knowledgeable and understanding about dogs (and owners!) coming from different places/backgrounds/experiences. " - E. Billing

Positive doesn't mean permissive.

​Diamonds in the Ruff is a reward-based, force-free training school.  There will be rules and boundaries.  Rather than focusing on stamping out bad habits, we will focus on shaping strong and reliable good habits that will replace unwanted behavior, rather than focusing on correcting and punishing. 


Whenever you think about changing your dog's behavior, rather than focusing on what you DON'T want:


"I want him to stop jumping on me." 


Focus on what you DO want instead:


"I want him to sit and make eye contact whenever he wants something.  I want him to learn how to control his excitement in order to earn access to what he wants." 


Changing how you phrase your words will be a challenge at first.  But when you do, you will find yourself teaching from a place of help and direction, rather than punishment and correction.

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"I'm reading "Inside of a Dog" [by Alexandra Horowitz] and the current class format provides practical examples of what the book states about learning about the "inner dog," something that many owners unfortunately never learn." - F. Puschak

What is "no force"?  No pushing, shoving, kneeing, pinching, or yanking on leashes.  No electric shock or painful collars.  No intimidation, threats, harsh commands, hitting, hanging or alpha rolling.  No dominating and making them submit.  No setting the dog up so you can have the opportunity to make corrections.

Article: "Hands-off dog training beats physical manipulation" by Sylvie Martin

               "Why is a Cue not a Command?"  by Carol Byrnes, CPDT



It was such a treat having you visit our home today and watch you model the kind of behavior us as dog owners should emulate. My learning curve is steep, but I am so much more confident and happy after today and being in your classes. Having you has made this journey much more enjoyable!


Thank you from the bottom of my heart.  - C. Wendle

Discipline means to teach, not to punish.
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What equipment do we use? - and what don't we use?  Click here.



"Fallout from the Use of Aversives" by Eileen Anderson

"The Science Behind Punishment, Learning & Reinforcement"

Why we don't use choke chains, prong collars or shock collars -


Article: "Choke and Prong Collars"

Position statement from the Pet Professional Guild on "The Use of Shock in Animal Training"


ARTICLE:  "Dominance and Dog Training" - the Association of Professional Dog Trainers



Who are our favorite speakers, trainers and writers? 

There are so many amazing trainers ... this is our "short list":

Karen Pryor, Terry Ryan, Kathy Sdao, Jean Donaldson, Patricial McConnell, Suzanne Clothier, Pat Miller, Alexandra Kurland, Ken Ramirez, Grisha Stewart, Kay Laurence, Emily Larlham, Susan Garrett, Denise Fenzi, Rise VanFleet, Diane Garrod, Sophia Yin, Karen Overall, Susan Friedman, Colleen Pelar, Virginia Broitman-Dare, Chirag Patel, Michael Shikashio, Ian Dunbar, John Rogerson   ...  Oh, the list of goes on. 


If you are looking for great dog books and videos, visit, and



Clicker Expo 2015

These two amazing women shaped our journey to positive reinforcement training.

Dana and Carol with the always gracious Karen Pryor.

Carol with the wonderful Terry Ryan. 

2016 - The Ruffian crew with Grisha Stewart, champion of empowered animals and people.

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With the amazing Temple Grandin at Whitworth University in 2016.

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Our wonderful Ruffian crew with the inspiring Suzanne Clothier, amazing trainer and author of many books, including "Bones Would Rain from the Sky."   June 2024

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