PHILOSOPHIES & METHODS

 

Dogs learn by cause and effect.

For example, if a dog has learned that behaving aggressively makes the other dog or person go away, the aggression will increase. By using positive methods to teach the dog that aggression just doesn’t work anymore we can change the dog’s emotional response. Dogs are good at figuring out what does work and what doesn’t, by controlling the dog’s consequences you’re able to control the dog.

All dogs are different — some learn faster than others, some are more sensitive. By letting the dog set the pace, not pushing the dog past its limits and ensuring that all interactions are pleasant we can set the dog up to succeed!

 

What is Positive Reinforcement?

Positive reinforcement means adding something pleasant to increase a behaviour. For example; you ask your dog to sit, you reward him with his favourite treat. Not only does the reward reinforce the preceding response it increases in frequency and increases the likelihood that the behaviour will be repeated in the future. The dog realizes, “Wow when I sit I get a treat!” This is by far the most effective, efficient, enjoyable and humane way to train your dog.

All dogs are food motivated, some more than others (like our super duper food motivated labs!). By putting your dog on a feeding schedule, getting him to earn everything of value and controlling your dog’s resources you’ll make food and other rewards that much more valuable to him and will make training a lot easier.

In order to have a well trained dog it's important to figure out what motivates them. Find something they will willingly work for. Treats, toys, games, playtime, attention, etc are all things that may motivate your dog. Using these as rewards when teaching your dog a new behaviour will make training enjoyable for both of you and will ensure quicker results.

 

What is a clicker?

A clicker is a training tool used to mark a behaviour. Also known as a reward mark, it must be paired with treats or something valuable to the dog for it to have any meaning. After a few parings the dog realizes that the noise means good news. Once your dog understands what behaviour you are asking for, its time to fade out the click and treat by rewarding only certain responses then replacing them with real life rewards such as, walks, cuddling, games, etc. Training using positive reinforcement methods will strengthen the bond between you and your dog. It enables us to teach our dogs almost anything without ever touching, punishing or using physical force. Now doesn’t that sound friendly?

 

Socialization

An adult dog's temperament and behavioural habits (good and bad) are shaped during puppy hood. It is a lot of hard work at first but, it's worth it for you and your dog. Dogs that are friendly and well socialized make the best companions and you’re able to bring them anywhere with
you! I can’t stress enough how important it is to socialize your puppy from day one. Be thorough and positive, make every day count because your puppy’s socialization period is done at 16-20 weeks of age. Make each introduction to anything and everything you can think of as pleasant and positive as possible. Puppies go through critical periods of development starting at about 3 to 7 weeks of age. It is very important for the pup to remain in its litter during this time since this is how they learn how to communicate with other dogs. They also go through two “fear imprint periods,” one at 8- 10 weeks of age (the most critical one) and another one at about 5 months of age. After the socialization period is up anything your dog has not been exposed to or has had a traumatizing experience with may create a fear induced reaction, worst case scenario, reacting by fear biting.

97% of all dog bites are fear induced. Prevention is always better than the cure but rebuilding confidence in your fearful or fear aggressive dog can be done at your dog’s pace, with minimal stress.

 

Why Punish?

Here is a list of some NORMAL, NATURAL DOG BEHAVIOURS that are frequently punished by owners:
Chewing
Barking
Biting
Resource guarding
Stealing food
Digging
Chasing
Jumping up
Fear/aggression
Etc.

 
How would you feel if you were constantly punished for talking to other people, eating pizza or listening to music? These are all normal, natural human behaviours.

If someone tried to punish you for behaviours you knew were necessary to live or behaviours you know are normal and natural would you stop doing them? Or would you wait until no one is around to do them, realizing that its only safe to do these things when you are alone?
The key thing to realize is that these behaviours are normal and natural to dogs and punishing them for it will not help. It will most likely make the problem worse and show dogs that humans are not to be trusted. Using punishment or physical punishment techniques usually puts fear in the dog and destroys the human canine bond. Isn’t that why we all have a dog or dogs in the first place, for companionship? As well as all the other obvious reasons — they are cute, cuddly, playful and hilarious.

Understanding that these behaviours are necessary for their survival, teaching your dog acceptable behaviours and setting the environment up so it's impossible for the dog to get into trouble is a much better route to take. Providing outlets, re-directing undesirable behaviour and rewarding good behaviour teaches the dog what he can do. There is no need to punish or physically punish your dog.

You and your dog will have a much more enjoyable life together and the bond between you and your dog will develop to the fullest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Your puppy or dog is very smart!
They can show you through positive training!

 


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