Dog Training 101

with Melinda Benbow

Melinda Benbow smiles while crouching down and bonding with her two dogs
Melinda Benbow,

Orvis Ambassador, is the owner and operator of Urban Uplander Pet Care LLC in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Building the Bond


The secret to training your dog? Good communication, consistency, and trust. From the basics to field training, laying the foundation for success is about more than just obedience—it’s what bonds us and our dogs for life.


Melinda Benbow is a certified professional dog trainer and the owner/operator of Urban Uplander Pet Care, LLC in Indianapolis, Indiana. Through her services, she has been able to help the pet owners of her local community achieve balanced, well-socialized, and enriched dogs while fostering the dog-and-owner bond. In this video series, Melinda shares her best advice and training methods to help you and your dog achieve this balance and work together as a team.

Melinda and her dog snuggling outdoors

The Foundations of Training

Why and How We Train (Episodes 1-4)

A woman kneeling on the grass next to her white puppy

Communication—Bridging the Human & Canine Communication Gap

Episode 1

Training is best described as building a bond and a new line of communication with your dog. It’s not about party tricks or impressing your friends. Rather, we are helping them develop life skills that will aid them in being great canine citizens in their human world. 

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A woman giving her puppy a command in a field

Vocabulary & Basics for Starting Training

Episode 2

What does ‘prompting’ or ‘capturing’ mean in dog training? Melinda explains common terminology used in this series and in standard dog-training practices, and also shares some helpful tips while starting out on your training journey. 

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A woman's hand holding out a treat

Classical Conditioning—Building Positive Associations

Episode 3

Classical conditioning is all about making associations–understanding that two things are linked and that one predicts the other. No matter what a dog is doing, they are always making associations, regardless of the behavior.

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A dog running toward a woman outdoors

Operant Conditioning—Consequence-Based Training

Episode 4

Operant conditioning is consequence-based learning, in which the pleasant or unpleasant consequences of the dog’s behavior create the learning opportunity. It is broken into four quadrants: positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement, positive punishment, negative punishment. 

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The Melinda on the grass giving her dog a treat

Putting the Foundations to Use

Essential Commands & Behaviors (Episodes 5-10)

A woman in a field teaching her dog to sit

Teach Your Dog “Sit”

Episode 5

In basic obedience, one of the first skills we teach a dog is to sit. It’s a great start to creating impulse control and teaching your dog an alternate behavior to jumping up and begging for attention.

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A woman holding her hand up asking a dog to wait

Teach Your Dog “Wait”

Episode 6

“Wait” essentially means don't cross the line or hold on. This is a good foundational skill to teach impulse control at a door or threshold. 

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A woman teaching her dog to lay down on a dog bed

Teach Your Dog “Down”

Episode 7

Teaching your dog to lay down means teaching them to relax their body on the floor and hold it. It is a great tool to have when guests come to your home or when you’re in a new environment. 

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A woman treating her dog that's standing on a platform

Teach Your Dog “Place”

Episode 8

Place training is teaching your dog to stay in a dedicated spot without being restrained in any way for an indefinite amount of time. This is a great foundation skill to build towards more advanced behaviors, but a beginning practical use is teaching your dog to lay comfortably on their dog bed to relax and find a safe space.

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A woman kneeling down next to her dog who is in a crate

Crate Train Your Dog

Episode 9

Supervising your puppy is important for their health and safety as well as training. If you are not watching your young, developing puppy, then you are missing very important training moments. Your dog is also missing out on having a den that will act as a safe space. 

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A woman crouching on the green grass teaching her dog to come

Teach Your Dog Recall

Episode 10

A reliable recall is a highly valuable skill to get your dog back to you when off-leash. A solid recall can also help you manage and avoid potentially dangerous situations. As dog owners, we often see different dangers in environments that our dog is possibly not aware of, and being able to call them back to us will help us avoid these scary situations. Besides the dangers we can run into, it’s also nice knowing that when you let your dog off-leash, you can easily get them back.

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