Updated: May 22
As dog trainers we get asked all sorts of questions, one that is always being asked "What method of training do you train?” This is a good question.
I have always lived with dogs, my first dog growing up was a German Shepherd. At 5 weeks old he came to our house to meet us, and he was the most hyper puppy you'd ever meet, but the breeder told my parents that as he matured he will calm down. He came to live with us a few weeks later and Bingo was his name.
NOW, Bingo wasn't your normal puppy, he would eat his way out of everything. My dad then started training him with the help of the breeder, but I remember all the training was forced! If he was told to sit, immediately he was pushed down into a sit. If he was being told to stay, and he moved, he would get a correction with a pop on the leash. Until one day the training stopped... because the dog was "too crazy" or "too stubborn" to learn.
Dog's are not stubborn or crazy... we have to think about the education we are providing for our dogs. Ask yourself these questions, Is this training teaching my dog how to make good choices or just do as I say? Is this training strengthening the relationship between my dog and I? How is my dog behavior during and after our training?
The method of training we prefer is one that trains the dog handler how to properly communicate with dogs and how to teach their dog (whatever breed, size or weight) the behaviors that are expected of them. We understand that dogs (like a new born human) need time to process these new behaviors that are not normal to them. We break down the training into steps to help our dog succeed and truly learn without micromanaging their every move.
Training Tools: do we use them? YES! Because we are educated on how to properly use them, but our VOICE is our number one tool. We always have it with us. When training a dog handler we like to emphasize that their voice should be their number one tool and everything else will help make the process easier.
We don't make a dog handler feel bad if they need to use a prong collar or e-collar, BUT we most certainly will teach them how to use these tools correctly and effectively. Training tools are meant to be used in specific ways and if you don't take time to educate on how to use them, your dog is more likely to be injured by one of these tools.
Picking out a dog trainer should be as diligent as picking out a day care facility for your children or grandchildren. You want the trainer to know how to teach with compassion, patience and consistency.
How do YOU like learning? In easy to understand steps with encouragement so that its easy to remember (Force-free) or being told what to do and told how lazy or stubborn you are for not remembering what is expected (Force training)?
My favorite quote of all times, “Tell me and I'll forget, show me and I may remember, involve (TEACH) me and I'll learn.” - Albert Einstein
How true is this for everyone, including our dogs!
Teaching our dogs should be an event that brings the dog and handler team closer together, no matter the tools. We want canines that are confident and trusting in their handlers (so they don’t feel the need to make decisions on their own) because their handlers are their Advocate.
Animal House Academy Dog Training