I have always loved training! I trained horses as a young person, growing up in rural Alberta, and started feeling itchy for training again while living up in Yellowknife. I joined the Rruff Diamonds, Dog Agility Club, learning and competing with my Border Collies, Parker, Koda, and Kessa, and while coaching new members, I realized where my heart was. I love training and coaching, and I love animals, and THIS is what I want to do when I grow up!
Dog Training is an unregulated field. As such, you never know what you are going to get, what experience the trainer has, and whether or not their methods are effective, safe for your dog, or lasting. So, I spent countless hours scouring the Internet to find the program that would give me the best possible foundation. I found the Academy for Dog Trainers after reaching out to the owner of Clever Canine, a trainer I had the pleasure of working with while in Victoria, BC. The Academy is one of the most comprehensive schools out there. Over the 2-year program, we covered everything from genetics, breeding, and canine history, to applied behavior analysis, obedience, and fear and aggression. It gave me the confidence to reeeeeallly get into it, in a professional way.
I train using dog friendly, science based methods. Quite simply, dogs do what works. So I make training work for them. Fear and intimidation, while certainly powerful motivators, are not the best way to train. You are far more likely to get lasting results and a happy, confident dog, when working a rewards based system.
Transparency is important in an unregulated industry! So, I encourage you to ask the following 3 questions of anyone you decide to work with! I will answer them for you here too!
1. What will you do if the dog gets it right?
Like I said, dogs do what works! When your dog gets it right, I will let them know with a reward! A tasty treat, a game of tug, some ear scratches, a ‘Good Dog!’, whatever positive thing your dog finds motivating, that’s what they’ll get.
2. What will you do if the dog gets it wrong?
I will let your dog know what behavior was unacceptable by saying ‘too bad’, and I will immediately follow up with a consequence. By consequence, I mean a time out (in a dog socialization lesson for example), a do over, loss of attention, or a delay in getting the reward. The same type of consequence I would use with my toddler. I will never do anything to hurt or intimidate your dog! One gets much more buy-in with kindness
3. And Finally, Is there a less invasive alternative to what you are doing.
Nope! So far as I (and those at the Academy) know, force free training is the most lasting, effective, and dog safe way to train!