My training focuses strongly on managing dog behavior in the home and out. I rarely, if ever, have people contact 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:
For me, dog training is people training. If you and your family learn how to work with and communicate with your dog,
you will be able to get the behaviors you are looking for.
My goal is to show owners how fun and rewarding training can be, so that they continue to practice for the life of their dogs.
The enormous amount of information that most new dog/puppy owners need to learn and practice takes time to impart.
We can do that even if the puppy is sleeping. I charge for my time training PEOPLE! This “training” is every bit as important as anything we do together with the dog and I charge for that time.
Several factors can contribute to a lesson without a lot of “puppy/dog participation”:
· Issue: Often puppy’s bio-rhythms do not match the training schedules: Puppies are either ON or OFF and the younger the pup, the faster they “run out of gas.”
Solution: Try to schedule lessons when you know your pup is lively.
· Issue: Pain or malaise from
recent vaccinations or other causes.
Solution: Do not schedule lessons within 2-3 days of recent vaccines or if the pup is unwell or on medication.
· Issue: Puppy is exhausted from
too much attention/activity before the lesson.
Solution: Do not walk or play with the puppy in the half-day before the lesson.
· Issue: Puppy is not hungry.
Solution: Do not feed the puppy in the half-day before the lesson or only VERY little.
· Issue: Lots of
people-distractions during the session.
Solution: Ask family members to write down questions / issues in advance. Kids are welcome and encouraged to be present during the lesson, but this can often lead to lesson-plan deviations and overtime.
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 my clients to understand the method I use and enjoy their training so that they stick with it for the life of their 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 ask them to imagine 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 forbidden in Switzerland, and will not be used in any of my in-person or online-courses.