When Good Training Goes Badly: Troubleshooting Your Training Sessions

We all have “off” days sometimes. We find ourselves noticing that a training session isn’t going as well as we had hoped. Perhaps the dog is distracted, unfocused, or simply wanders off. Perhaps he just stands there staring or barking at you instead of offering behavior. 

If your dog had been making progress in a given training session, and you start noticing displacement behaviors such as yawning, lip licking, scratching, or sniffing the ground, he is probably stressed in some way. Aside from some of the non-training reasons why a dog might be stressed, including temperature, injury/illness, and fatigue, there are several reasons why training sessions tend to go “off the rails.” The good news is there is help to get you back on track.

In this 45-minute Session, Karen Pryor Academy Director Lori Chamberland takes a look at some of the most common factors that can derail training, and offers solutions to each one.

Lori Chamberland

Lori Chamberland is the director of Karen Pryor Academy for Animal Training & Behavior (KPA). KPA offers online and blended-learning courses for aspiring and experienced trainers. Lori oversees all of KPA's courses and programs, curriculum development, faculty, and staff.


In her prior position as curriculum development manager for KPA, Lori was responsible for leading the development and launch of three new KPA courses: Dog Trainer Foundations, Puppy Start Right for Instructors, and Shelter Training & Enrichment.

Lori taught group dog-training classes for several years. Currently, she offers private, in-home training lessons on a limited basis. Lori enjoys educating pet owners and fellow trainers about the joys and benefits of clicker training. She has a special passion for helping new puppy owners set up their puppies for a lifetime of success.

Lori lives with her Labrador, Zam, and her border collie, Blink. She enjoys participating and competing in canine sports, including Treibball, agility, and K9 Nose Work, and has many titles on her dogs in those sports.