A Better Companion Dog Training
Same dog, only better!
One of my favorite quotes is:
"To have different results, we have to have different behavior. We must change!"
Training is making lifestyle changes in ourselves as well as in the dogs so that together we can get different behavior. If we want to change our dogs we must change how we interact with them. Through the course of your training program we will develop a foundation for communication to re-establish ground rules, behaviors and leader/follower skills. However as owners we can not go back to the same way of doing things that we used to do or we can only expect a re-emergence of the same bad behaviors in our dogs. Training is a lifestyle change.
When I was in elementary and middle school and even in high school I learned all about multiplying and dividing fractions. I'm sure you did too. I was really good at it and assumed that my amazing skills would never be forgotten. Recently I was teaching my daughter how to multiply and divide fractions and boy was I in for a rude surprise! I found that I had almost no idea how to do fractions anymore and had to humbly look it up in the math book and practice until I was good enough to teach it to my daughter. I realized that no matter how awesome the skill, without continual repetition and mental refreshing we all get rusty.
Training your dog is like that. Whether you choose a residency or a private lesson plan with us, your dog will finish the program knowing what you expect him to do in regards to his commands and basic house rules as we've already put in weeks of practice showing them how to do it. However just like me and fractions, your dog will also need you to keep him refreshed on what you expect. We do this by being consistent and being firm in our minds on what is expected and accepted. If we ask for a command, we expect it to be obeyed and if it's not then we correct and then make them to do it right.
Dogs are also opportunistic by nature and will do whatever they find enjoyable or comfortable as long they think they can get away with it just like people. It might be likened to speeding in your car. Most of us speed, some more, some less and I admit that I'll often go 5 to 10 over the limit myself to get there just a little faster. Most of us also have a comfort zone where a speeding ticket is effective or not. For example, I'm a fairly soft dog in terms of tickets with a twenty dollar ticket being an effective deterrent to get me to not speed even when late unless I'm on my way to the hospital (bigger distraction value). I also know people who will typically speed, pay a $300 ticket and keep speeding until they get either a $500 dollar ticket or points on their license. I also know people who are just lucky and haven't gotten caught yet believing they never will get caught. So in essence each person (or dog) needs a different level or type of correction depending upon their personality, prior experience or distraction value (like going to the hospital).
As trainers and owners it's our job to find the appropriate type and level of correction that is right for our dog at that instant in time. If we always give a certain level of correction but the distraction value changes how can we expect reliable obedience?
Yes, training works if we accept that we must change as well as our dogs and continue to work at it.
Serving the Centreville, Chantilly, South Riding, Fairfax, Manassas & Surrounding Areas of Northern Virginia