The Koehler Method Of Dog Training Review: Does it Work?

Last Updated on July, 2024

Considering To Train Your Dog With The Koehler Method Of Dog Training?

Please read this article before doing so. Bruno, My Labrador Retriever, he constantly digs Barks excessively and needs some obedience training.

Due to his barking habits, my neighbors were not happy, and they wanted me to do something about it.

So I tried to hire a Professional Behaviorist, but My Uncle, who had this “Koehler Method Of Dog Training” book lying around for decades, gave it to me.

I thought, why spend thousands of dollars for trainers and decided to try out this book.

And my oh my! This book is ridiculous and, at the same time, a bit funny too. Keep Reading To Know Why! 

Quick Summary

The program is considered to be abusive by many people, and it is not recommended for any dog.

The program is considered to be abusive by many people, and it is not recommended for any dog.

There are many alternative programs that use positive reinforcement methods which are a better option for training your dog.

TLDR: The Koehler Method of Dog Training is a book that is considered to be one of the best-selling dog training books ever. However, many people criticize the book for being cruel and harsh. If you decide to train your dog with Koehler’s methods, you might want to get help from a professional trainer because of some methods. A great alternative to the Koehler Method of Dog Training is Brain Training for Dogs.

Who is Koehler?

William Koehler is one of the well-known people in the dog training industry. (1)

He worked for the War Dog Training Center and used to train dogs for the army during the WWII Era. Even today, many dog trainers follow his training methods.

He has worked with Walt Disney Studios for over 20 years and has trained dogs for movies like (Shaggy dog, The Incredible Journey, and Big Red “), plus he has also trained dogs for TV Shows too.

This shows how talented he was. Koehler was the chief trainer for Orange Empire Dog Club, one of the largest dog clubs in The USA.

Koehler was a writer and has published around 6 books along with this “Koehler Method Of Dog Training,” which was published in 1976 and was an immediate hit due to his state of the art philosophy of dog training.

William koehler Dog trainer

Even today, this book is considered as one of the best-selling dog training books ever. (2)

Throughout his life, he has trained over thousands of dogs, and many of which were abandoned by their owners and were left for dead. At the age of “79,” William Koehler passed away due to a heart attack.

All About The Koehler Method of Dog Training

Now that you know about the author, now it’s time to take a look at his methods of training.

The basic principle of Koehler’s method is “punishing the dog whenever he makes a mistake,” and that is exactly what this book is all about… don’t get me wrong, it really is that way.

Every method here in this book at least has something that you don’t want to do to your furry friend.

To be honest, some parts were great, for example, “the Leash Training Techniques” even though they were harsh, they did the job.

Koehler states that “Dogs themselves should be responsible for their bad behavior” and further quotes, “when the dog makes the right decision, treat him, and if he doesn’t punish him.’’

The goal of this training is to teach the dog the consequences of his actions. What he says is excellent, but when it comes to showing off those in action, you would want to back off.

koehler method of dog training book

Below are some lines that are straight from the book (“I could not upload the images because the book was in a bit of an awkward condition, and if I upload it here, you wouldn’t be able to read it”).

This line about “what you should do when your dog digs a hole” is straight from the book and 100% original. I Did not edit a single word from it (I’m highlighting this because this was one of the issues I was facing).

“If You come home and find your dog has dug a hole, fill the hole to its brim with water. With the training collar and leash, bring the dog to the hole and shove his nose into the water; hold him there until he is sure he’s drowning. If your dog is of any size, you may get all of the action of a cowboy.”

Would you dunk your dog for digging a hole in your backyard?

Some may do that… but I would never do that for my dog; think of doing it for a pug 🙁 There’re tons of training programs that can help get humanely rid of this problem; this is simply not the way to address a dog’s behavior.

And because of the fact that this book was written back then, some of the training looks pretty outdated. There are even more abusive to straight-up awkward training methods that you’ll experience throughout the course of the book.

One other situation I came through is while reading the book is: If your dog chews everything, then take a piece that he loves to chew and put it in the back crossway of his mouth and wrap the mouth with adhesive tape.

When I read this line, I laughed my ass off!! From there, I’ve had enough of this and stopped continuing further.

However!! Here are some other techniques used by Koehler in this book(3):

  • Electric Shocks.
  • Throw Chain.
  • Slingshots.
  • Suspending the dog off the ground.

This whole book will take at least 13 to 15 weeks to fully complete. If you’re going to buy this book, it’s not cheap by any means. It costs $93.12 on Amazon.

Pros and Cons of Koehler Method of Dog Training

Even though the program seems a bit abusive, some things are great.


Some techniques are great and very effective
Works best with aggressive dogs


Harsh Training Methods
Much expensive than it should be
It can take a bit more time than mentioned to fully convert the dog to a perfect companion

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  1. The online dog trainer 5 golden rules
  2. Brandon McMillan training methods
  3. Petsmart dog training classes reviews

Is the Koehler Method of Dog Training Good for My Dog?

not recommended tag

I would say it’s not suitable for any dogs. Some may say you can modify the training and stuff but to be honest, I don’t know how to do those things, and I’m pretty sure it would take even more time.

I’m not the only person complaining about his methods and philosophy. Many criticize this for being cruel and harsh. By today’s standards, the book seems a bit old too, and some of the passages in the book might be hard to understand.

And these types of training can lead to behavior problems in the future, plus your dog might even get scared of you because of what you’ll be doing to him throughout the training.

If you decide to train your dog with Koehler’s methods and don’t know anything like me, you might also want to get help from a professional trainer because of some methods, anyone with basic knowledge in dog training might find it hard to pull off.

Even Though these training methods were effective back then, using them now can lead to all sorts of trouble for your dog. If you want to train your dog, there are tons of other positive reinforcement training programs that can produce the results you need.

From what I’ve seen throughout the program, I would never recommend his program for anyone who’s looking to train their dog.

Even if the dog itself has major aggressive problems, I will not recommend this because it can only worsen the situation even more.

A Great Alternative to the Koehler Method of Dog Training

However, if you’re in an immediate search for a good dog training to train your dog at home, you can opt for online dog training, which is a go-to for dog training these days.

After I decided not to continue the book anymore, I started to research some other books that use positive reinforcement methods on the internet.

And once I landed on quora, many people were talking about an online dog training program called “Brain Training For Dogs(BT4D)”, and after more research about this program, I thought, why not!!

brain training for dogs review

It was so cheap, only $67, and the contents you get for it is simply astonishing. It includes a mammoth load of contents to eliminate any behavioral problem that your dog has, and below I’ll list some of those.

First and foremost, BT4D is an ebook. However, you’ll get access to 21 high-quality dog training videos, tons of trick and behavior training.

Trick Training:

  • Take a Bow
  • Cover his Eyes
  • Rollover
  • DanceHowl
  • Play dead
  • Shake hands

Behavior Training:

  • Digging
  • Chewing
  • Jumping
  • Whining
  • Barking

There is more to check out. Make sure to read the full review of Brain training 4 dogs here.

I’ve been training my dog with this program for the past 7 weeks, and I can see some pretty significant changes in him; and what’s more important is that he has completely stopped barking.


I hope this look at The Koehler Method Of Dog Training helped you to get an idea of the book. As you can see, no one these days will not even consider using those methods; they are cruel, harsh, and can only do bad for your dog.

However, we’re not short of alternatives, thanks to alternative programs, which is a great way to train your dog in a humane manner.

Brain Training For Dogs
brain training for dogs review
Ease of Training




Overall Score


Extremely Inexpensive
Easy To Follow
Positive Reinforcement Training
Professional Dog Trainer
Money-Back Guarantee
Get the BEST PRICE valid until the end of July
Tons of Reading Involved

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William Careddu
William Careddu is a professional pet sitter and has been taking care of animals for over 10 years. He has a degree in animal science and has experience with all types of animals. He is a responsible and reliable pet owner.

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