OUR TRAINING METHODS
Everyone has their own ideas about what works and what doesn’t work. The truth of the matter is what works very well with one dog might not work at all on the next dog. We use motivational training and try to get the most out of your breed. Treats are used in the first level along with lots of praise and encouragement. We research the breeds and try to find the best possible words and methods that would work for them. As an example, a border collie works better with WALK ON instead of HEEL.
All the methods out there today are a lot better and more humane than they were years ago when all training was fear based. We use gentle and kinder methods because they get the results that people want. Through our years of experience, talking to other professional trainers and watching people with their dogs, we have found several methods that work very well.
We have put together a 3 level program that helps you train your dog and earn their respect and trust. Every exercise has been carefully thought out to teach your dog almost every aspect of real life that they might run into.
Our methods have been very successful and have a couple of obedience champions with our training and those that are working toward their next level in trials.
As a side note, we also have experience in the conformation ring. We can show you how to show your dog, the proper standing positions and in general the performance that is expected of a show dog. As of this time, we have 3 conformation champions and two of those are rare breeds that are graded on their original purpose.
These dogs come with baggage for self preservation. Training these dogs takes patience, the ability to let go of their past and treat them for who they are. The object of this level is to re-create the balanced life they had before and re-assure the dog owner that they can come together and have some fun while the lessons are re-learned. We take you past the beginners commands, teach confidence, total respect and give the dog a very clear understanding of what is expected from him. The handler learns the things that motivate their dog, what they enjoy and how training can be fun instead of boring lessons that neither one of you like.
While we go through the lessons the dog is able to really understand the complexity of the exercises and they enjoy doing it right to please the owner and really look forward to the praise and the occasional treat. These dogs really seem to evolve to a different personality with a better outlook on the world.
Other problems become evident while we are training an older dog. They may have been trained with pain or not understood at all. We try to get them to show us what they know, what they understand and what things confuse them. We have never met a truly stupid dog that is incapable of learning. The degree that they can achieve is unbelievable if the owner and dog are willing to work with each other.
Most people like to have the older dogs because they think all the puppy problems have been dealt with. They have a picture in their mind about that dog we see everyday walking calmly and obediently beside their owner. What they don’t realize is that the picture has a lot of hard work behind it. If you really want that picture to become true, then let us work with you and your dog.
You started playing with him and he growls and barks and charges at you with a mouthful of very sharp teeth. You try to pick him up to cuddle and they return the favor with a bite on the nose or scratching your face to get down. When you call him he looks in the general direction of your voice and runs the other way.
We begin slowly teaching him that this behavior is not socially acceptable in our world. Puppies jump up to greet you in excitement, they jump on you as a form of control and because it really is fun for them. Puppies do not play like human children do. Our children play for fun, exercise and to laugh with someone else like them. Puppy play is the beginning of practice for the hunt, chase and kill.
As soon as you teach your puppy that these things are not acceptable, they begin to settle down and go back to being calm and loving. It doesn’t happen over night, but with each lesson they learn there are more fun ways to be silly than jumping and biting.
Trying to change certain behavior can be done with practice and the proper guidance. Some traits such as prey drive, that allows them to kill and eat their prey are harder to control. Dominance is a word that most people throw around and don’t quite understand the meaning. Small things like leaning on your leg, lying in front or behind you and jumping up to cuddle in your lap without the invitation are all the beginnings of dominance.
We train each dog to address their problem areas and reward them for better behavior. Each breed has their own idea of being a well behaved dog and we will show them why that attitude needs to be adjusted.
To modify a behavior is teaching the owner to understand why their breed does this thing and how important this activity is to the dog at that time. Once we can understand why the dog does it, we can find alternative ways to teach the dog that this is a better way.
A dog’s natural instinct is to follow a leader with no questions asked. We need to change our imprint on the dog and be the pack leader that he so desperately needs. By doing this, we are changing his behavior and bringing him back to his basic needs.
Training a puppy is working with a totally blank book. Everything you write in his book will change his life and ideas for the rest of his like. We want to make sure the imprints that we put there are all the right ones and ones that he can understand.
We start with the basic commands such as walking, sit and stay, down and stay and come when you are called. We take it further by adding turns, about turns and turns in place. We try to get the owner and dog working on the same idea at the same time. Through simple exercises we work together to get the two of you working together with patience and understanding. Our classes are 8 weeks long and at the end of the lessons you will have a good starting place to go further. Your dog will thank you and you will be proud of what the two of your have accomplished together.
Puppies have a very short attention span and tire easily. We try to get as much lesson in before the dog can’t focus anymore for that night. Even though it seems that the pup has learned nothing, it is there and now it just needs time, practice and patience before everything starts to work. The lessons give you an opportunity to spend time alone bonding with the puppy, showing him to be a great dog and rewarding his progress with praise and lots of encouragement every time.
Puppy training is so important and many people feel that is a waste of time because they will learn these things just by watching. There are so many areas that puppies need special help with because they can’t tell the difference between a learned, hard wired act and one that will help them out in our world.