Stages of learning: acquisition, fluency, generalization and maintenance
We believe in a balanced, common sense approach to training. The training system we use is a science based approach that works with any dog. We show them the way to work within our system, and then we ask for what we want under the gradual introduction of distractions and in a variety environments until it is reliable. Most behavioral issues are caused by lack of clear communication and lack of structure. We create the framework for that structure and give you the ability to communicate clearly with your dog.
Communication is essential throughout all phases of the learning process. With a new line of communication open between owners and dogs, life is easier. We use marker training to create this new language between you and your dog. We believe in telling dogs when they are right, and telling them when they are wrong. Many years ago, in the dark ages of dog training, dogs were taught with lots of pressure. When dogs complied, pressure ceased, or this was the idea anyway. This heavy handed type of training only worked for certain types of dogs, usually dogs bred specifically for this type of training. Many hunting dogs and protection dogs would be in this category. This type of training was fraught with many problems – dog/handler relationships often suffered, dogs with softer temperaments shut down during the work, and the dog's motivation often lacked. Fast forward to recent times, we now live in the day of treat based training with no corrections for dangerous behaviors. This type of training is fraught with just as many (if not more) problems as traditional training. Dog/ handler relationships suffer due to lack of leadership; anxious dogs are created from lack of structure; and because the training is unreliable, dogs and people are put in danger. This type of training only works for certain types of dogs, and even when it works, it only works some of the time. For example, a dog in full pursuit of prey will very rarely be stopped with a cookie. A dangerous situation is created because the reward you have is less valuable than when the environment is providing.
The answer lies in a common sense approach to training that takes each dog's need into account. Most dog breeds were created for a specific type of work. This means that most of the time, dogs need jobs and a very clear picture of what they can and can not do within that job. Under the structure of this work, they thrive and are the happiest versions of themselves. As the majority of pet owners no longer utilize their dogs for work, we need to think of creative ways to incorporate jobs into the lives of our pets. By assessing your dog's specific drives, we can tap into the best type of work for them. Harnessing this drive to work is the way to create motivation in your dog. Motivated work is both mental and physical stimulation for your dog. This work leads to a happier, healthier lifestyle. It may be as simple as a daily game of fetch with practicing some obedience in between throws. It may be a bit more involved, your dog holds the answer.
The most effective training is also customized to the dog's owner and family. If a trainer tells you what you need to do for your dog and it's unrealistic for you to do it, the training isn't helping anyone. Creative solutions in household management, training and exercise are critical when assessing individual needs. Balancing the natural desires of the dog and the needs of his owners is the key living harmoniously together in the world we share.