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Trainer’s Toolbox

Foundation course focusing on a scientific approach to animal training.

Agnieszka Janarek Agnieszka Janarek
Start: 01 Jul 2023
Next: TBA


  • Duration: 6 weeks.
  • Learning materials: Written lessons with video tutorials.
  • Access to other Premium members' threads for additional insights.
  • Certificate of attendance upon completion.
  • Lifetime, 24/7 access to course materials.
  • Join the vibrant Tromplo community.
  • Earn 4 loyalty program points.


  • Earn 15 loyalty program points.
  • Personalized attention: Instructor analyzes 12 minutes of your training videos weekly.
  • Engage in interactive learning with homework and daily feedback.

No premium spots available

Teaching animals is a skill that combines science and practical techniques, and in this course, you will embark on a step-by-step journey to master the foundations of training. No prior experience is required – this course is designed for anyone eager to learn more about effective animal training.

Too often, trainers find themselves in the dual role of teacher and learner simultaneously, lacking the opportunity to develop their mechanics, clicker skills, and delivery patterns before working with their animal learners. This course aims to bridge that gap by providing you with a comprehensive compendium of knowledge and practice in animal training.

The course is built upon the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and how they align with our interactions with animals. You will delve into the mechanics and techniques of teaching behaviors, equipping you with the essential skills needed for successful training.

Who would benefit from taking this course?

Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced student, this course offers valuable insights and discussions that will help you become a thoughtful and proficient trainer. Get ready for engaging practical exercises, in-depth exploration of the animal training world, and lively discussions with fellow learners.


This course is a must-have for anyone passionate about scientific dog training and eager to become the handler their dog truly deserves. Join us for six weeks of immersive learning and transform your training approach. In addition, you can work with multiple animals throughout the course, with weekly opportunities for video submission (up to twelve minutes per week). We welcome all species, making this course a truly multispecies-friendly experience.


What will you learn from this course?

Over the span of six weeks, you will cover a wide range of topics, including: 

  • clicker training mechanics, 
  • essential skills for trainers, 
  • errorless learning, 
  • behavior chains, 
  • adding stimulus control, 
  • luring, 
  • shaping, 
  • structuring training sessions, 
  • achieving fluency, 
  • managing frustration and errors,
  •  raising criteria, 
  • molding behaviors, 
  • embracing loopy training concepts, 
  • and planning effective training sessions.

This course is a must-have for anyone passionate about scientific dog training and eager to become the handler their dog truly deserves. Join us for six weeks of immersive learning and transform your training approach. In addition, you can work with multiple animals throughout the course. We welcome all species, making this course a truly multispecies-friendly experience.

Are you ready to embark on an exciting journey of discovery and skill-building in the realm of animal training? Enroll now and unlock the potential for meaningful connections and impressive progress with your animal companions.

Course Testimonials

This is one of the best course I’ve ever attended. It gives you an insight into all the amazing tools a trainer has to teach with passion and quality. What I love the most is the presence of videos that explain what it’s written inside the lesson, they really make everything clear! I found some teaching methods that were not in “my toolbox” and I thought that maybe they were not suitable for me and my dog… I was wrong. I just had to go out of my comfort zone and follow Agnieszka’s guidelines! Agnieszka is an amazing trainer, what a pleasure to watch her videos!! She is really supportive, she helps you but, at the same time, she gives you the chance to develop your potentials. She is a real pro, I love the fact that she incorporates science in her lessons, it is indicative of her professionalism. Having said that, let me tell you the only problem you have to face… you can get addicted to this course!! :)))

Arianna Tomassoli

June 30, 2023

10/10 This is the best dog training course that Ive ever attended to. Everything that I learned here is based on the scientific evidences and highly ethical. The feedback was always very good and really helpful, so I definitely recommend buying the premium access.

I can’t wait for next courses with Agnieszka and the team.

Alicja Użarowska

June 30, 2023

Trainers toolbox
I would change the name of the course “Handler’s must have toolbox”  😀
This course is soo much packed with knowledge content as well as practical homework tasks that I really feel I improved my practical and theoretical understanding of Teaching, learning, methods and how to apply them into practise. I am super interested in dogs training methodics and science behind it and Agnieszka have a great gift for explaining it. Every lecture was very interesting, nice to read and easy to “digest”. What was super important for me- theory met the practise. There was lots of movies when Agnieszka presented exercises, methods, so I could see how things works.
As a premium student I had the pleasure to work directly with Agnieszka on homework tasks as well as tasks not covered directly in homework- as always course was very much individualised and adjusted to our needs. I must say this course was not easy- required lots of effort from me- many things I needed to practise before without Fredzio…and another gain was that I understood the value of my-trainer skills and mechanics.
Writing from my perspective and previous tromplo courses, this one was perfect continuation of “attencion please”.
I truly recommand both!

Janina Gmiter

June 30, 2023


  • Week 1 22 Apr 2024

    • Welcome!

      Read this before proceeding to the first lesson!…

    • Education of choice and science.

      When crafting the introductory lecture for this course, I realized the importance of explaining my approach to dog training. I…

    • Basic terms

      Before delving into practical techniques for teaching behavior, it is important to establish a foundation by discussing key terms related…

    • Behavior and its contingencies (practical homework)

      Learning is defined as changing your behavior based on experience with consequences. The process of learning happens in the form…

    • Consequences

      Consequences are stimuli that occur after the behavior. The ones that are interesting for us are those that change the…

    • Marker cues

      Marker: A marker is a stimulus that has become a secondary reinforcer by the process of both classical and operant conditioning.

    • Behavior profile

      When embarking on the journey of teaching behavior, it proves invaluable to construct a comprehensive profile for the desired behavior.

    • Luring

      There are various approaches to teaching behaviors, and in week 2, we will delve into specific techniques and analyze their…

  • Week 2 22 Apr 2024

    • Handler’s technique

      “The skill to deliver reinforcers at the right moment, in the right place, and with the right speed is not…

    • Moulding by contact

      When we talk about moulding through contact, we might recall traditional dog training methods where an individual in camouflage barks…

  • Week 3 22 Apr 2024

    • Shaping

      Shaping, one of the most popular techniques for teaching behavior, can also be one of the most challenging to master.

    • 2. Cue for shaping – explored (Free lesson)

      Shaping, in essence, involves reinforcing successive approximations of a target behavior. It is important to note that shaping is not…

    • Outcome versus result. Does it matter?

      Before we go deeper into the main topic of this article, I would like to address a few theoretical matters…

    • Examples of shaping

      “If you don’t know how to start a behavior, don’t try shaping it. If you can’t predict your dog’s behaviors,…

    • Frustration

      “Happiness is a function of reinforcement, depression is a function of punishment, and frustration is a function of extinction.” –…

  • Week 4 22 Apr 2024

    • Handler’s technique – helper

      Our dog’s skills reflect a large extent, our skills. We tend to devote too little time to honing our training…

    • Schedules of reinforcement

      Understanding the Impact of Reinforcement Frequency on Behavior By now, you’re familiar with the importance of timing, location, and type…

    • Fluency

      When can we consider a behavior to be performed with fluency? What does fluency mean, and how can we recognize…

  • Week 5 22 Apr 2024

    • Antecedent arrangement

      The antecedent arrangement can greatly simplify your life and have a significant impact on behavior. Allow me to share a…

    • What about emotions?

      The topic of emotions is a complex one, encompassing various perspectives from behavior analysts, psychologists, neurobiologists, and psychiatrists. As a…

    • It’s okay! Communication fog and it’s relation to cues in training

      Our reliance on intuitive communication often leads us to assume that animals will understand our verbal language. I vividly recall…

    • Error – end of the world? Not so much!

      “Errors are not necessary for learning to occur. Errors are not a function of learning or vice versa nor are…

    • Raising criteria

      Handlers often face the challenge of determining the right moment to raise criteria. If criteria are raised too early, it…

  • Week 6 22 Apr 2024

    • Structure of training session

      Can we find the formula for a perfect training session? Is there a universal formula that can unlock the…

    • Behavior chains

      When working with dogs you often hear the term ‘behavior chain’. We will start with the definition. “A behavior chain…

    • Fading out

      Quite often, we use various prompts to teach behaviors. These can include targets, platforms, target sticks, hands, and many more.

    • WTF?

      WTF? That is… WHAT’S THE FUNCTION? A striking phrase that Dr. Friedman employs to center our attention on one of…

    • Poisoned cues

      You already know what negative reinforcement is. The general idea is that we avoid using negative reinforcement when working with…

    • Final Thoughts: Celebrating Achievements and Continuing the Journey

      Farewell and Keep Moving Forward! Mega Cheers…

Free Lesson

Cue for shaping – explored

Shaping, in essence, involves reinforcing successive approximations of a target behavior. It is important to note that shaping is not about waiting for the dog to randomly offer behaviors from which the trainer selects the desired ones. This approach is ineffective and not true shaping. However, the question arises: Do we need a cue for shaping?

When teaching behaviors that involve objects, such as going around a cone or targeting a paw, the object itself serves as a cue for the dog to interact with. With the addition of verbal or visual cues, we establish stimulus control, and the object alone no longer triggers the behavior.

The challenge arises when shaping behaviors without specific objects. In such cases, the dog relies on environmental cues, such as the trainer’s body language or location, to initiate the behavior. Even after introducing verbal or visual cues, the dog may continue to perform the behavior “without a cue,” or at least that’s what we may think. This is especially true if we are unaware of the environmental cue the dog has associated with the behavior during the shaping process. The presence of the old cue, chosen by the learner during shaping, can still evoke the behavior.

As trainers, it is crucial to be mindful of what we teach our dogs. Have you ever observed a dog spinning or turning their head as soon as the handler holds a clicker, sits on the floor, or begins a shaping session differently? These behaviors are often labeled as impatience, frustration, or difficulty in shaping. However, the reality is simpler. If we don’t add a deliberate cue to the shaping process, the dog will select their own cues based on what they perceive as relevant. Adding an object to the environment that predicts the behavior being shaped helps both the trainer and the dog differentiate between behaviors. This object can be placed next to you or a specific location in the room dedicated to shaping a particular behavior. It becomes easier to remove this cue once stimulus control is established. Otherwise, your dog may associate unrelated cues, such as the way you sit, with a previously shaped behavior, leading to difficulties in teaching new behaviors.

Awareness of these cues is crucial. By reinforcing the default position and adding a visual cue during shaping, we can prevent unwanted associations and behaviors. For example, if a dog associates sitting with crossed legs as the cue for backing, it can be challenging to shape new behaviors when you sit in the same manner. The dog may persistently offer the previously reinforced behavior in similar situations.

To illustrate this concept, consider the example of Gacek, who shaped the backing behavior without deliberate environmental cues. Gacek, being smart, picked up cues on his own, but not necessarily the ones desired. In this case, he associated the trainer sitting with crossed legs as the cue for backing. Even after adding a verbal cue and being able to perform the behavior while the trainer stood or sat on a chair, Gacek would still back up “without a cue” when I was on the floor with crossed legs. This is because the crossed legs had become a powerful, reinforced cue over an extended period. With awareness during shaping, the trainer could have prevented this association by reinforcing the default position or adding a visual cue that could later be removed, thus preventing the undesired behavior from occurring.

In a video demonstration, Gacek is shown responding to different cues. When I sit on the floor with crossed legs, the default behavior is backing. Although I cue other known behaviors, Gacek consistently adds a few steps backward, not out of impatience or frustration, but in response to the cue he associated with backing. However, when I add a blanket used for shaping the behavior of laying on the side, without changing my position, the visual cue of the blanket becomes stronger for Gacek – it has longer reinforcement history than sitting with crossed legs.

Consider the difficulty I would face if I attempted to shape another behavior while sitting on the floor with my legs crossed. It would be a challenging task, especially since I am now aware of the unintended cue associated with backing. However, imagine the situation if I hadn’t realized this cue’s significance and proceeded to shape another behavior in the same context. What do you think would have happened?

When embarking on shaping new behaviors, it is essential to carefully consider the cues involved. Think about what might become relevant to your learner. Remember that the cues that evoke a behavior for your dog may be different from what you expect or perceive. By being mindful of these cues, you can set yourself and your learner up for success in the shaping process.