I’ve been training dogs for a very long time….27 years. I’ve logged over 11,000 hours of training to date. Early in my career I learned great dog training methods, and not so great methods. I used all of the methods I was taught because that is how you do it when you are a young dog trainer…you defer to your mentors and apply what they demand.
27 years later, I have more knowledge, more experience and I hope, a personality that isn’t STUCK in the tradition of “I’ve always done it this way, so this is how it’s done”. It is easy to fall back on training methods that once worked. Yet when I force myself stop to consider the dog’s perspective somehow I always find a better, more positive way to get the dog to work with me… No matter the breed, gender, age or background of the dog!!! This happened to me today with a large, adolescent German shepherd female that I started training. She is obnoxious, over-bearing and confident. She tested me at every turn and it would have been easy to “fall back” and let her know WHO’S BOSS…but I didn’t’. I stayed the course and kept things positive, motivating and clear. She is responding beautifully!!
I know this to be true: Dogs are emotional, sensitive to change and avoid conflict when they can. They have strong needs, love their people and have earned our respect!!! This is why I have moved away from compulsive and punishing forms of training. I choose to work with dogs and help them understand what I want instead of demanding their compliance through fear and intimidation. I will offer ‘correction’ when necessary, but it will be understood, fair and humane at all time…We all need to know when we’ve done something wrong…we just don’t need to be punished for it. I love what I do and I hope the dogs I work with and their owners benefit from my experience AND my ability to adjust my skill set for the dog’s sake…
My two cents worth….Emily
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