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Training Philosophy

I feel like this is the place most trainers won't lay it out for you. Clear cut communication is always best. You're here looking for a trainer for your family member, I want to make sure we start out with clear communication as well. So, I will lay out my philosophy on training. 

 

I am considered to be a "balanced trainer." Basically, I think life should be made very clear for dogs as far as what is acceptable and what is not.

 

Big picture:

Yes, I like this behavior.

No, I don't like that one. 

I believe in telling dogs "no" when they're doing something naughty, but, I also think it is crucial to tell them when they're doing the right stuff too... and reward them for it! 

General

The "yes"

Now, in the beginning, there's a lot of "yes." I use a lot of shaping in order to teach dogs new behaviors; if they are figuring out themselves with me to guide and reward them for the good stuff, it will hard wire faster.  

When the dogs are making good choices and following through with commands, they should be rewarded, or at least acknowledged. It is kind of like if your kids do the dishes without being told to, and you don't at least mark the behavior with a "good job" or "thank you"... You KNOW it will never happen again! 

The next question will be how do we reward your dog.. Some dogs like food, some like toys, some like a scratch behind the ear. Whatever is motivating, we use that as payment!

The"No"

I do believe in telling dogs "no" when they're doing something inappropriate. The whole ignore the bad reward the good scenario doesn't seem to work in most species... However, everyone wants to be the "yes man" and never have to be "bad guy." Well, I think we would all love to live in a world where consequences aren't needed, but we don't. And neither do our dogs. 

The "no" should be applied with some kind of consequence, or correction. The most important question, is how do you tell your dog no?

My answer,  it is dog dependent and situational. I do not like to limit myself to one skill set, one type of training style, one type of equipment. Just like people, every dog is different, and communication styles will likely be as well. 

Key take away: Corrections should not be angry, and they should not involve any type of hitting or abusive behavior. However, dogs do not reason, you can't sit Fido down and say, "Now, Fido... You must stop barking at the neighbors and peeing on the ficus. Otherwise, there will be no MilkBones before bed for a week." So, using tools and/or pressure to apply a correction is necessary in most cases.

Remember: tools are there to aid in communication, but at the end of the day it is about you and your dog figuring out who to read each other. You'll have to trust me to find the right tools and methods of communication. I will help guide you!

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