Our Training Approach
I am not a traditional dog trainer nor do I consider myself a "professional" dog trainer. In my opinion, a professional dog trainer is someone who has gone to school and dedicated themself to studying and learning that profession. There are many professional dog trainers out there who have attended classes, seminars, trainings, conferences and such and have the certificates to prove it. I am a professional educator with the desire to help people understand and train their dogs. Most of my adult life has been spent in the classroom teaching. I have the degrees, training, conferences, seminars and such to prove it. I also have spent my entire life being a dog owner and personal dog trainer, meaning I have trained my own personal dogs. I train my dogs, compete with my dogs, do therapy work with my dogs, breed and raise my own dogs and do everything in my power to have a "really well trained dog". One of these days, I will reach my goal of having that perfectly trained dog! I have great dogs, but I'm constantly changing my own methods of training based on my personal and professional experiences. Each puppy/dog I raise, I do something different in their training because I learn from my mistakes and realize to have the dog I want in ten years, I have to modify my approaches with my 8 week old puppies. As the world of dogs constantly changes, my training approaches change as well.
In 2020, we have a better understanding of how a dog brain works. There are many outdated theories and techniques that are still being used to train dogs. Many of these techniques I have used in training my dogs from the past, but will not be used in training my dogs of the future. Yes, they work and yes, you can get good results from them...but, I realize there are many better ways that fit my teaching/training style. I have always said there is more than one way to tie a shoe. In the end, you get your shoe tied, but there are many different ways to accomplishing your goal. Dog training is no different.
The reason I have added this explanation is to just make my perspective clients aware of how I train. I technically don't train your dog, I teach you how to train your dog. I look at each dog as an individual with strengths and weakness (some based on inherited characteristics of their breed and some based on their experiences), I look at each owner as an individual with strengths and weaknesses, and I take into consideration what your goals and desires are for your dog. I try to understand where you are coming from and where you are wanting to go, and I try to give my rationale for why I think your thinking is correct or incorrect. But ultimately, it is your dog and I will help you train your dog in a manner in which you are comfortable. If your ways completely go against my ways, then I will be honest and let us part ways in a respectful manner. I know I'm not the trainer for everybody, and I'm okay with that!
When I first meet a dog and a client in an individual session, I spend time studying your dog. I let your dog move about my building freely. I am able to acquire a great deal of insight to your dog's personality. Are they confident? Are they nervous and unsure? Are they inquisitive? Are they dependent on you? Do they listen to you? Are they command dependent? Are they as friendly as you think? While your dog is becoming comfortable in this new environment (I'm big into making positive associations), I'm visiting with you to find out your goals for your dog, what you have already tried with you dog, what your understanding of how a dog learns is, and figuring out the best approach for you and your dog. It may not seem like much is happening as far as your dog being trained, but trust me...it is a very much needed information that I must gather in order for you and your dog to be successful.
I hope that I can continue to help people with their dogs for years to come. I also hope that you will give me a chance to explain my methods/approach and that in the end, you have a better understanding of how dogs learn and communicate so that you and your dog can have a great, long, positive relationship!