Struggles into Strengths
Years ago, when my first dog was young, I went to sign up for dog training lessons. When we walked into the only training facility in my small town, however, I quickly realized that was not what I wanted for myself or my dog.
Stern voices and choke collars may have gotten the results they wanted, but I was afraid of the costs to my dog and to our relationship. We stayed away from organized dog training and created a system that worked well for us.
When my first Australian Shepherd was a puppy, I decided to try again. I took her to a clicker-based training class. We both loved it, and she learned voraciously.
The behaviors we studied there lasted her a lifetime, and she even won a prize at a local “leave-it” competition when she was 12 years old.
After she died at 15 and we adopted a new puppy, I researched local facilities and thought I found a nice one.
I attended the first night with my family, clicker, treat bag, and puppy. My four month old puppy already knew sit, down, stay, and leave it, having been clicker training since I brought her into my home.
Unfortunately, the training situation I walked into was much the same as the one in my home town years before.
My kids reacted much as I had, and I still disagreed with the heavy-handed methods. This time, however, I knew there were other options. I searched until I found positive, rewards-based lessons.
Inspiration, not Deprivation
Science demonstrates that training methods based on force, dominance, and pack hierarchy are outdated and unnecessary.
Having fun with your dog and developing a close relationship based on love, trust, and shared experiences is more fun and yields wonderful results. But don’t take our word for it … try it yourself.
It’s okay if trainers disagree with each other about their training methods, but make sure you know what you are exposing your dog to before you join a training class and don’t let trainers tell you that their methods are the only way to train. Our training is based on the following beliefs.
I Believe Training Should:
- Be fun for the human and the dog
- Make daily life with your dog easier and more enjoyable
- Enhance the relationship between dog and human
- Be based on respect
- Acknowledge dogs are individuals and have unique blends of personalities and experiences
Four years ago I started fostering dogs for a rescue organization. I began reading training books and studying training methods in more detail.
I joined an ongoing agility class with one of my dogs and took several online courses, including one designed by Karen Pryor, a pioneer in clicker training.
One foster dog was a unique challenge, and through my search for help dealing with his issues, I discovered an innovative games-based training system in England designed by Tom Mitchell, a vet/behaviorist and Lauren Langman, a dog trainer and dog sport athlete.
This system feels exactly like the one I would love to have used with each of my special dogs. It is based on some of the same principles I have looked for over the years (left).
After studying with Absolute Dogs through their Training Academy, I decided to join their certification course because I believe that their methods will form the basis for the future of dog training.
Their system deserves to be shared widely and enjoyed by as many people and their dogs as possible.
I am excited to bring this system, along with the rest of the knowledge I’ve gained from my years of study, owning, and fostering to you, to your dog, and to our community!