What is holistic dog training?
Holistic dog training acknowledges that there is no one perfect system for all dogs. Instead, it looks at the dog, the owner, and the family situation to try and find the best mix of training techniques for each case. Training always starts with understanding your dog's behavior, because without understanding we can't change anything. Once we know what you're accidentally telling your dog, and what your dog is telling you, we will know what techniques to use. Techniques can range from positive reinforcement (clicker, treat, or praise training) to using corrections that mimic what one dog might do to another (body blocking, using the fingers to "nip" gently), to using tools (leashes and collars). While doing this we also work on building confidence and trust in yourself and your dog. One of the most important things about using dog behavior is that when your dog understands that you're the leader, they will try harder to please you, knowing that even in stressful situations you will protect them.
Can holistic dog training work for me and my dog?
I believe holisitic dog training works for all dogs, and all situations. It isn't a quick fix: the owner and family must be involved, but it is a permanent fix. If I can't help, I don't charge.
Do you use the same techniques for all dogs?
Nope! For instance, my dog Lily does best if I'm firm and fairly strict with her. She's happiest when I give her little praise and many commands. On the other hand, my dog Cash gets upset if I'm firm with him, and responds much better to huge amounts of praise and gentle reminders of his manners. As you can see, even two dogs in the same family might need different training techniques to bring out the best in them.
Can you just train my dog, instead of training me?
Yes, and no. I can show you how to do it, walk you through the steps, and start breaking your dog's bad habits for you. Once your dog is doing well with me, I can show you how to enforce it. You will still have to learn as well, but in that case I can do 80% of the work. However, if I do all the training and you don't learn as well, your dog will simply learn to obey me, not you. That won't help at all!
What's so great about holistic dog training, other that you have a larger back of tricks?
Holistic dog training teaches your dog to think. It teaches your dog to pay attention to you so that if you need to make up a command, your dog will be able to figure out what you're asking. It also makes the rules flexible; my dogs know that in some houses they're allowed on the furniture, and in others they're not. It might take them a few minutes to really understand, but the instant I start speaking they'll be trying to do as I ask, and when they finally do it right they'll know that, too.
In my opinion, this is the best part about any training: dogs who think. It makes for much nicer interactions with your companion! People regularly tell me that my dogs are so smart, when in fact their dogs are just as smart -- they've simply stopped thinking. No dog, however, is too old to start thinking again.
I've heard you use dogs to train dogs. Is that true?
Sometimes, yes. If a dog is dog-aggressive then, once we think we have him under control and we're ready to try it out, I bring in my dogs who have been socialized not to fight. If a dog has severe anxiety, sometimes it helps them to see other dogs that are happy, well-adjusted and well balanced. If a dog is having trouble learning something, sometimes it helps to have a dog who already knows what to do to model the correct behavior. Before bringing my dogs in, my client and I will discuss if we think it might be worthwhile.
My question isn't here. Where can I find it?
Haven't seen your question answered? Trying checking the "FAQ" tag on my blog, here, or feel free to contact me.