What to Expect

What Can You Expect to Learn?

My training focuses strongly on managing dog behavior in the home and out. I rarely, if ever, have people come to me because their dog doesn't sit or lie down straight or quickly enough! More often, the "problems" people have with their dogs are management behaviors: pulling on the leash, jumping on people, barking, chewing up furniture, play biting.

Therefore, I focus the content of my lessons on:

  1. developing a clear communication system with the dog (Using a clicker or marker to tell the dog when it has done something correctly and will get paid.)
  2. socialization (In the dog world, this does NOT mean getting to know each other and playing and making friends. For dogs, socialization means "learning to IGNORE kids, new people, other animals, strange objects, noises, places, etc.
  3. preventing the rehearsal of undesirable behaviors (This is done through the use of baby gates, play pens, crates, leashes and house lines.)
  4. noticing and reinforcing desirable behaviors (Pay attention when the dog is lying quietly and chewing on appropriate toys)
  5. training the dog behaviors that promote self-control and calmness (Examples are: "Watch" = look at my face; "Bed"= go to a bed or mat, lie down on it and stay there till released; "It's Yer Choice"/"Leave it" = don't touch; "Reinforcement Zone" &"Hand Touches" = aid in training the dog to walk calmly and focused at our sides.
  6. teaching people about dog behavior and body signals (Knowing WHY your dog does this or that, helps greatly to influencing how often he continues the behavior)
  7. We also work on recall, loose leash walking and positions -- sit, down, stand

Am I the right trainer for you and your dog?

There are many different ways to train a dog - different philosophies and techniques – I am not interested in debating the merits of other methods. I do feel, however, that it is extremely important for you to understand the method and enjoy your training so that you stick with it for the life of your dog. Dog training is very much like fitness training: you can hire a coach or personal trainer to work with you for a few months and get into good shape, but if you quit after that, the benefits of your training and conditioning will fade. Your dog’s good behavior will also likely fade if you stop training regularly after a few courses. My goal is to show you how fun and rewarding training can be for you and your dog, so that it becomes a habit that you continue to practice for years to come.

I have successfully used these science-based training techniques for nearly a decade. I will be recommending that you purchase certain items that I feel are key to successful management and training: items such as an ex-pen, crate, front-hook harness and high-quality food.

I reinforce my dog’s training with food. Like most of us, dogs appreciate being paid for a job well-done. If you buy tasty, high-quality dog food for your pup, you can use that for training. Occasionally, you may need to use higher value treats for more challenging work. However, for most of the basic work, I recommend you simply do not feed your dog from a bowl, but rather measure out his food ration for the day and use it during walks and training sessions or stuff a Kong with some of it to use when you leave your pup alone.

People often ask “How long do I have to use treats to train my dog?” I might be so cheeky and present them with this scenario: “What if your boss came into your office and told you ‘You’re doing brilliant work, we are so pleased, we aren’t going to pay you anymore. You should just continue to do great work because we tell you to.’  I suspect your motivation might start to suffer.” Dogs are not very different. Of course, there are things we will do for our loved ones that we do not expect payment for, but appreciation and acknowledgement will go a long way to reinforcing behavior for years to come.

Positive reinforcement training using a clicker or marker signal is used not only to train dogs, but also humans  -- particularly athletes like gymnasts, but also surgeons! https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/positive-reinforcement-helps-surgeons-learn/

Positive reinforcement training has also been successfully used on animals as diverse as dolphins, killer whales, chickens, horses, cats, guinea pigs and fish to name only a few! It would be extremely difficult to use choke chains or prong collars on the above-mentioned animals to train desired behaviors. It is equally unnecessary for dog training. However, if you are unwilling to train with food, toy rewards and external rewards, then I am definitely not the right trainer for you and your dog.

The use of coercive training devices, such as prong-collars and shock collars is not only forbidden in Switzerland, but will not be used in any of my in person or online-courses.