Plus, Minus and Equals - A Brief Study Guide

So, how can an MMA fighter help you with your dog training study?

A guy called Frank Shamrock, highly regarded as one of the best MMA fighters of all time, has a specific way he trains his students at his fight camps. It’s known as Plus, Minus and Equals.

In laymen’s terms, it is this – work and learn from someone who is better than you (plus), teach someone less knowledgeable about the topic than you (minus) and work with people at the same level as you (equals).

How does this all fit into dog training? Let’s discuss:


All of us who are on our learning journeys have learnt from someone better than we are. Whether you started off reading articles online to deal with your reactive dog, to attending your first class with a new puppy, or simply having loved dogs and changing a career path, we all have learned from people who have come before us.

One thing I don’t see people doing a lot, however, is actually asking people questions.

There are hundreds of dog trainers out there who would happily take questions regarding the quadrants, diet, training protocols etc. All you have to do is ask them! If there is a specific part of your revision that is stumping you, go and ask someone you admire and respect about it. I promise you they don’t bite.


There are some people in this world who aren’t as mad about dogs as we are. And that’s okay; they’re actually going to really help you! Whether it’s your significant other, children or friends, ask them to ask you to explain key concepts and training protocols. How would you teach a dog to go to a mat? What is classical conditioning? Can you name the Five Freedoms of Animal Welfare?

Even better, ask them to think up specific training scenarios for you to work through. This will give you the confidence and ability to revise in a way that doesn’t seem structured, and is a nice break from reading!


The people around you revising are in the same boat you are. Nervous, anxious and unsure.

Make sure you talk to them, offer them some help with anything they’re struggling with. Troubleshoot with them; tell them what is stumping you. Being able to discuss and debate concepts that you are both struggling with is good, because as opposed to just being told the answer, you are working with like-minded pet professionals to come up with it yourself! And even if it isn’t the right answer, who cares? You can ask a plus about that! Instead you have worked hard with the knowledge you had at the time to come up with an answer, and that’s a massive step in the right direction.

Keep working hard, and I promise everything will work out!

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