Why does my dog need Foundations training?

Foundations is the first set of lessons that your dog will learn when working with Companion, before starting to work on basic obedience behaviors like sit or down. In Foundations, your dog will learn important lessons, including how to interact with Companion, understanding when she did a behavior correctly, and building training stamina. Foundations training sets up your dog for a successful learning experience with Companion.

What does Companion teach in Foundations?

Foundations focus on developing the essential skills that are going to make your dog successful at training.


The most crucial part of Foundations is to make sure that your dog is comfortable with Companion. We call this acclimating to Companion. To make sure that your dog likes Companion training, a human trainer might stay in the room with her at first if she still needs help to find and eat treats launched by Companion. The trainer will then slowly phase out their presence so your dog gets used to working independently. Some dogs don’t need help from a trainer and will skip this step altogether. She will still spend at least 2 sessions on Foundations to learn the marker word “yes”.

Marker word

When a dog is comfortable with her training area and interacting independently with Companion, the next step in learning is getting used to what we call a marker word. In Companion training, this will always be the word “yes”.  Your dog will learn that the word “yes” means “I did the right thing”, which means “a treat is coming”. This is a word that you can also use at home to indicate to your dog precisely when she is performing the behavior you expect from her. Just remember to back it up with a tasty treat to maintain the value of “yes”.


Over the course of Foundations training, you may notice that your dog might come home a bit more tired than usual. Training takes a lot of brain power and physical energy! But lesson after lesson, your dog will build up their attention span, which will allow them to train faster with Companion, and also to be more attentive to you when you practice training at home!

How to practice foundations at home?

Practice at home to get the best out of Companion training.

1. Set up

Take a small handful of treats in your pocket or your treat pouch. 

Sit down with your dog in a quiet, familiar room with your dog and make sure he doesn’t need to go potty

2. Say “yes” and feed

Every 10 seconds or so, say “yes” in a happy voice and hand a treat to your dog

3. Use in daily life

In your daily life, use “yes” to communicate to your dog that they are doing the right thing.

It is important to use “yes” to mark exactly the behavior you are looking for. For example, when your dog sits, you want to say “yes” right as your dog’s butt touches the floor.

Don’t forget to frequently pair “yes” with a treat, so it retains its value for your dog.


Need more pointers to practice foundations at home? Explore our tips!

Treat Shower

Start your session with your dog with 10 quick treats, delivered to their mouth or tossed on the floor, in...

Find It!

Companion rewards your dog by tossing a treat on the floor of the training area, so try and play “Find...

Go on a Field Trip

Take your dog someplace new! Explore a new street or go for a drive. Exposing your dog to new things...

Treat parachute

Hold a treat a couple of feet above your dog’s head. Slowly bring the treat towards your dog. If your...

Clockwise treats

Start by putting a treat at your nose. Reward your dog when they look at you and the treat. Slowly...

Say Please

Wait for your dog to look at you before giving them something they want. This could be going out the...

Reward Attention

Any time your dog looks at you, give them a treat. It might seem silly, but you’ll quickly see that...

Pet parents trust Companion.