True professional trainers should do much more than just take money for teaching an animal to do a fancy trick or an unusual behavior. They should be someone with extensive knowledge about the animals they work with. A professional needs to study the animal's natural behaviors, cognitive and communication skills and social dynamics. A qualified trainer should combine this knowledge with their own experiences and skill in modifying behavior. Even the most accomplished behaviorist is not automatically a good trainer, and a trainer certainly cannot be their best without a deep understanding of the biology of their animal.
My training mission is to help you build a healthy and strong relationship with your dog based on methods that use positive reinforcement and incorporate your dog's mind and body.
I understand that dogs are thinking, feeling, sentient beings that deserve and depend on humans for their care and well-being. I do everything in my power to see the world through a dog's eyes. I know that our relationship is based on mutual respect, trust and understanding. I believe it is unacceptable to use pain, fear or force in the name of training. The treatment of our dogs reflects the moral character of ourselves and the character of humanity as a whole. These are things I believe in to my core and I want to help you set this type of foundation in your relationship with your dog. A relationship that will last for their entire lives.
What are my rules? What are my training ethics? How do I interact with dogs and other animals that I work with? What are my teaching methods? Those should be some of the first questions you ask a prospective trainer. A trainer is someone you are going to trust; someone that will teach you how to interact with your dog. These answers will tell you about your trainer and tell you what kind of a trainer you want to be.
I believe we build our relationships with our dogs based on trust, patience, fairness, and consistency. I think our hands should be kind and gentle, not harsh and used for punishment. I believe a good trainer works WITH their dog, as a team. You are the teacher and he is the student. Dogs are not machines, made to sit and move and jump at our every whim. They are thinking, feeling, interacting, intelligent creatures. Training dogs is about cooperation and working together for a common goal.
Dogs are part of our families; they are our companions, our partners, our kids. We invite them into our lives and our homes. The world is full of fun places for a well behaved dog. And, because they are a pleasure to be around, we want them around more and more. Training can be one of the most rewarding and bonding things you can do with your dog. Positive reinforcement rewards your dog for correct behavior and concentrates on what your dog is doing right. So, you start paying attention to the good stuff. You begin to notice all the great things your dog does, and your dog does tons of great stuff!
Training your dog isn't something you have to do, it is something you get to do! It is not a bad dog or dumb dog that needs to be trained; all dogs need to be trained in order to live in safety and harmony with humans. As a child we needed to learn how to read and write, how to ride a bike and swim. Dogs also need to learn things such as walking nicely on a loose lease and sitting for attention. They need to have good, gentle, fair teachers just as we did. Remember, training is teaching. Teaching means there are shared experiences between trainer and animal. I believe this is of utmost importance to the attitude that the trainer brings to the lesson.