The 20 Principles All Animal Trainers Must Know

with “16 More Principles For The Advanced Animal Trainer” and “Best Practice”

"The 20 Principles" cover.

“The 20 Principles All Animals Trainers Must Know”

This is the first edition of “The 20 Principles That All Animal Trainers Must Know.” This booklet is in a way a super concentrated course in animal learning and, although only 28 pages long, it will take you time to read and digest. Don’t rush thru it.

I wrote “The 20 Principles” in plain English so it should be accessible to all readers. Of course, I use technical terms, but they shouldn’t pose any problem for any reader because I define them all carefully and with examples.

I will update this booklet as necessary. Come back regularly to check if there are any updates.

v. 3 uploaded 09.03.13: clarification of the difference between conditional/unconditional and conditioned/unconditioned.

v. 2 uploaded 04.03.13: new cover and back cover, minor text improvements to improve clarity.

First edition v. 1 uploaded 04.02.13

Enjoy your reading!


PS—This is a free e-book for you to read on your computer. Please, don’t ask me for the possibility to print it, for as much as I love books, I also care for the trees of our planet. We’re planning versions for iPad and Kindle to be available soon.

Click the full-screen view icon for better reading. Zoom in and out as you please.


Sorry, this book is no longer available here. Please, visit Ethology Institute’s Online Bookstore.

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32 comments on “The 20 Principles All Animal Trainers Must Know

  1. Hi Roger,

    I am having trouble figuring out how to open the book or read it. I looked for the full screen option you mentioned in the text part your blog, however that option does not show up anywhere. I really, really want to read the mini-book. If possible, could you direct me to where or how I could, please?

    Thank you greatly!

    Lori Smith, CPDT-KA Certified Professional Dog Trainer-Knowledge Assessed Kennel Manager Caring Hands Humane Society Newton, KS Are you 60+ and a resident of Harvey County? Ask me about our OAPA Program today!!

  2. omg…i have so many books to read about dogs and dogs behavior, and general about animal behavior and here we are next grate book to read…well Maybe i`ll never go sleep…:) thank you thank you and…thank you Roger for this book

    • Hi Anita,

      Yes, I did, sort of. Well, anyone had to do it since as things were it was the total confusion. Now at least, we know what we’re talking about when we say “signal,” “cue,” or “command.” The Merrian-Webster defines “cue” as “a slight or indirect pointing to something,” which agrees pretty well with my definition of the term in animal training.

      Enjoy your day,


    • Hi Ivana,

      If you can’t see the book below the text and the cover picture and interact with it, it is because you don’t have flash installed. Please, install it and you’ll solve your problem. Enjoy!


  3. I understand and appreciate that you ant to save trees, but why can’t we download your awesome little booklet onto e-readers? I’m not a very patient pc reader:) thx!

    • Hi Alina,

      Because the companies have all decided to use different formats. Right now, my booklet is in flash format. We’re working on making it available for other platforms as well, but as the booklet is free and everything else costs money, we need to investigate all possibilities first.


  4. Fabulous! And thank you for saving trees too! I do love a paper book for many reasons but will sacrifice willingly so that I can have oxygen, less global climate heating, shade, homes for forest creatures, and the billion other things that trees provide!

  5. Pingback: So you want to be a good dog trainer! | Roger Abrantes

  6. I care about trees… but I also care about my eyes and the computer screen is not the best platform to read. Is there any way to download it so I can read it in my E-book?. If not, I’ll read it in the computer anyway. Thank you very much.

  7. Pingback: “Los 20 Principios que todo entrenador debería conocer”, de Roger Abrantes. | El caballo y el clicker

  8. Hello everyone,

    Thank you all for your comments. To those who wished they could print or read the book using different platforms, I can say that we’re thinking on making it available as an e-book (which, then, won’t be free).

    This is not an easy issue because companies (Apple, Kindle, etc…) use different formats (very annoying). We need to investigate it properly before committing to any format because all of them will cost us money.

    For the time being, I hope you enjoy this free version.


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  10. I would be glad to pay for an e-book if I could print it out, or download to an e-reader. It is very hard to read something with a lot of content like this on the computer screen. Besides, I like to make notes in the margin, especially when I want to study something. Please let us know when you create this in another version. Thank you.

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  13. Hello again, Roger–I tried to go on the Ethology Institute website as the inside cover of your e-book said the most current version of SMAF would be there. I clicked the link for the EI website that was in your e-book. However, that did not get me to the website; instead, I got a blank page with this message: “hacked by Hmei7.” I just thought you would like to know about this.

    Please let us know when your new book will be published–thanks.

  14. I should have clarified this–the link that led me to the page saying it had been hacked was in the second page (inside cover) of your SMAF e-booklet.

  15. Pingback: 為了讓你跟狗狗可以快樂地在一起 “16件別再這麼做的事情” | Roger Abrantes

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