I have come to believe that dogs deal with their world much the same as we humans do. Basically, they do what works for them. A fearful dog may run away from what scares them because distance helps them to feel safer. A dog afraid of strangers may also bark and lunge at unknown people because that behavior has worked to keep people from coming closer. Many dogs, when confused, will just sit – because in their experience good things happen when they sit. When we look at things from a dog’s perspective, training becomes easy. It’s really all about communication.
Although I love training dogs, I have been surprised to discover how much I enjoy teaching people. I train my own dogs, but I am actually coaching others how to train their own dog. My goal is to help them better understand each other and to have fun in the process. My training techniques focus on building a strong relationship between dog and handler.
Once people begin to understand how their dog views the world, we begin teaching the dog that people are fun, safe, and that they control most of what the dog wants in the world. My training relies primarily on positive reinforcement and rewards come in the form of food, toys, verbal praise, and life rewards.
Through a combination of management, training games, and problem solving techniques dogs learn that training is fun. They are happy when they learn to communicate with their humans. They also learn to develop focus and attention on their handler, build self-control, and acquire polite manners. We teach our dogs how to act, instead of re-act, and develop good habits for a life of happiness.
~ Carolyn Ross