If your pet currently lacks basic obedience, is anxious, is aggressive, or demonstrates other behavior problems, you are not alone. We believe that dog training is about deepening your relationship with your dog. All good relationships are based on trust, mutual respect, and love. Our relationship with our dogs should be no different.
Our Dog Training Philosophy
Elevating, enhancing, and cultivating a strong bond with your dog forms the cornerstone of our dog training services. Our program focuses on assessing and building upon the relationship between you and your canine companion. The key distinction between a lacking and a robust, respectful dog-parent relationship is evident in your dog’s response to you. A weak relationship is reflected when the dog doesn’t comprehend your requests, while a strong and respectful bond is demonstrated when the dog responds promptly and joyfully.
Our dog training services recognize that all training is rooted in the parent-dog relationship. As this relationship flourishes, we emphasize two aspects of training: teaching your dog what to do (obedience training) and what not to do (behavioral modification). We prioritize addressing the “whole dog” rather than just focusing on specific problems that may arise. While our primary focus is on basic manners training and behavioral modification, each consultation includes a comprehensive discussion covering the dog’s overall quality of life, including aspects such as nutrition, exercise, and enrichment.
Our commitment extends beyond just training your dog; we take pride in providing you, the true dog trainer, with the knowledge and tools to address issues beyond our dog training services sessions. Using clear and accessible methods, we educate dog parents on the principles of how dogs learn and empower them to utilize this knowledge to elicit the desired behaviors.
At the core of our approach to dog training services is not only shaping your canine companion’s behavior but also equipping you with the understanding and techniques to address and modify behaviors independently outside of formal training sessions.
Obedience training (or command training) is the beginning of a long and happy training relationship that works best when it is continuous and evergreen. That means:
⦁ Establishing a voice and presence that signals to your dog “we’re working now.”
⦁ Including high quality (amazing smelling) treats that are only used during training.
⦁ Offering treats in a way that shapes behavior to a desired end, such as “down.”
A well-trained dog is a pleasure to behold but the real benefits are the effect of the training on the relationship between pet and owner.
This behavior can include an overreaction to other dogs or even to people. Believe it or not, your dog can learn to be comfortable and well-behaved around other dogs, family, friends, and even strangers.
Reactivity can be anything from resource guarding a food bowl to reacting toward dogs or other people who are going by on a walk. Not only is this behavior stressful for you, but it is also stressful for your dog. The misbehavior stems from the dog’s feeling that it has no control of the situation or that the handler has little to no control of the situation and that action is required.
Our trainers work to help the dog and the owner establish and communicate a sense of control in these problem situations. Basic commands help to give you and your dog a form of communication. Using this set of skills, you can help your dog to understand that there is no need to react, everything is handled and safe. The owner and trainer work together to develop new routines that give a sense of safety.
Leash pulling is a behavior that can be annoying and potentially dangerous. This behavior can ruin a nice walk for both the pet and the owner. If your dog is big and manages to pull you down or get away from you, you or your dog could get injured. Your dog could also injure himself by pulling on a flat collar or harness. The walks eventually become associated with unpleasant experiences for everyone involved, so walks just don’t occur. The dog becomes increasingly sedentary and all that pent-up energy comes out sideways. Any way you look at it, learning beautiful leash manners pays dividends far beyond the simple pleasure of a nice walk.
Bad Manners and Lack of Self-Control
Manners are what we refer to when we are talking about a dog’s everyday behaviors. This includes things such as keeping all four paws on the floor when meeting someone new or just understanding how to walk on a leash. Unfortunately, dogs don’t come with built-in manners and self-control, they have to be taught. The best age to start basic manners training is around 6 months to a year. Learning manners allows your dog to understand how it should act in any situation, by giving them a foundation of commands and someone to look to for direction.
Special-request training sessions are often built around resolving any number of behaviors, including:
- Nuisance barking
- Crate Training
- Chewing on furniture
- And many, many more!
Anxiety in dogs is very common. Separation anxiety is when your dog cannot be left alone, even in a crate or safe environment. Submissive peeing is when your dog gets so overwhelmed that they pee. Anxiety in a dog is something that can be worked on by giving the dog self-confidence. This refers to the dog being able to handle a situation and not being scared. Good confidence often flows from basic command competency. The more your dog understands what you are saying, the better and safer they feel.
Potty training is one of the very first things you should do with your puppy when you bring them home. It’s usually done with a crate and a schedule. Potty training goes hand in hand with crate training and they are both wonderful ways to form a bond with your new puppy!
Types of Dog Training
The dog training world is filled with very strong voices about what singular type of dog training is the best and only way to train a dog. We believe two things:
- There is more than one way to train a dog.
- Different dogs may require different methods.
You have to do the training that is right for you and your dog.
Positive reinforcement training uses a reward (treats, praise, toys, anything the dog finds rewarding) for desired behaviors. Because the reward makes your dog more likely to repeat the behavior, positive reinforcement is a powerful tool for shaping or changing your dog’s behavior. In fact, every time you want to teach your dog to do something (anything), you will use positive training. It works!
Achieving the desired training outcomes often involves a blend of encouraging your pet to perform specific actions while discouraging others. In our comprehensive dog training services, we embrace a balanced approach where handlers teach dogs desired behaviors through a combination of reward-based techniques and corrections. Corrections, which are pressure-based, are introduced once the dog has associated a behavior with a command. It's crucial to note that pressure does not equate to pain.
Similar to how riders use pressure with horses to signal them to stop or go faster, balanced dog training employs pressure through the leash or collar. This pressure serves as a means to interrupt the dog's train of thought and redirect their focus to you, the handler. Importantly, with consistent practice, dogs come to understand that their choices are directly connected to the application of pressure, fostering a well-rounded and responsive training experience within our dog training services.
Dogs do like to push boundaries but they are also willing to accept and obey your commands. The same dog that will “sit” happily may become assertive or overstimulated when they are around or with other dogs and people. If there’s no consequence for ignoring commands or for engaging in bad behaviors, they will simply carry on doing these behaviors until there is a consequence. The undesirable behaviors may include but certainly are not limited to:
- Ignoring commands
- Jumping on people
- Pulling on the leash
- Dog to dog aggression
- Dog to human aggression
- Running away
- Prey drive such as chasing and killing
- Territorial aggression
- Resource guarding
Due to the notion of “correcting” a dog and the use of prong and/or e-collars, balanced dog training receives a lot of criticism and negative attention. People have the misconception that
- Balanced training is not based on science
- Tools like prong and e-collars are cruel or cause pain
- Aversive and abusive mean the same thing so you can never correct behavior
- Dogs don’t have fun in balanced training
- Dogs only comply because they are afraid of the consequence or the trainer.
If the technique is not understood or deployed correctly, these criticisms could indeed be true. When used professionally, however, these misconceptions are completely false. The goal is to communicate effectively with the dog through commands, rewards, and consequences.
Which is the Best Method for my Dog?
In our comprehensive dog training services, we determine the most effective method based on the observable results. If positive-only training proves insufficient in addressing certain behavioral issues, we recognize the potential need for a more balanced approach. It’s important to note that both positive and balanced dog training styles within our services:
- Encourage play
- Utilize reward-based methods
- Incorporate recall games
- Teach boundaries
- May involve the use of clickers
- Value praise
- Integrate marker training
- Utilize motivation and drive to shape behavior
- Emphasize relaxation and calmness
It’s crucial to understand that not all dogs require corrections in training. Consider the analogy: Training, using rewards alone, primarily focuses on teaching dogs what to do (e.g., sit, down, etc.). On the other hand, behavior modification, which includes corrections, concentrates on teaching dogs what not to do (e.g., leash pulling and aggressive behavior). Recognizing the uniqueness of each dog and situation, our dog training services tailor approaches to best suit individual needs.
Dog Training Services: Our Process
This will be the first step toward dog training. Our trainer will visit your home to discuss your goals, prior experiences, and preferences. This time will help you determine an appropriate starting point for you and your dog.
Follow Up Sessions
After your dog’s evaluation, our team will make recommendations based on your needs. Usually this involves a number of 30- or 60-minute sessions between you, the trainer, and your dog. These sessions are done in the home.
We recommend the Control Unleashed series by Leslie McDevitt.