What Style Of Training Do You Utilize
Masters of Mischief strongly believes that dogs benefit from learning experiences designed to make them successful, which is accomplished by utilizing force-free (positive reinforcement) training. This means no squirt bottles, prong or choke collars. Learning is accomplished by breaking learning down into small slices, increasing the difficulty only when the pup is ready. Pups are always set up for success instead of being punished for something they haven’t learned yet.
BUT, Masters of Mischief takes this concept a bit further. A huge focus is placed on rewarding dogs for their good choices when placed in scenarios designed to make them successful. Humans are encouraged to take a step back and let dogs think for themselves. As a result, pups retain knowledge longer, develop real impulse control, and enjoy learning. Furthermore, these empowered pups bond with their humans in a deeper, more meaningful manner producing a relationship both human & pup will value for a lifetime.
There is no place in any learning experience for force or punishment in any learning experienced. That being said, there are consequences for all actions (not all consequences are bad!) Alas, humans spend an extraordinary amount of time telling our dogs what they are doing wrong, acting surprised when this undesired behavior continues to occur. This isn’t due to a difficult or stubborn dog, rather it is proof that your dog hasn’t learned what a better action would be. Let’s focus on creating dogs who, empowered with tailored learning, are capable of making good decisions for themselves.
How do I choose a dog trainer or behavior expert?
Good question! This field is entirely unregulated. You could wake up tomorrow and decide to call yourself a dog trainer. There are many third-party organisations who provide certification for trainers. You should look these places up and learn about the qualifications required to become certified.
Certification is certainly no guarantee of a trainer’s skills & quite a few excellent trainers I know are 100% self taught. Ask them if they are actively attending learning symposiums, classes, etc. pertaining to training or behavior. Who have they mentored under?
Behavior is even more tricky. First, a behaviorist is a person who has gone through a Masters degree or P.hD program focused in animal behavior. Many trainers simply like to designate themselves as behaviorists when they are not. Always ask your trainer about their background in behavior. How did they attain the knowledge they possess? Modifying the behavior of a troubled dog truly does require extensive experience and education. Take the time to understand your trainer’s background.
Positive reinforcement means I’m giving treats for life, right?
Nope! Treats are given during the learning process simply to increase the likelihood that a pup will offer the desired behavior we are working on. Once you are satisfied with how well your pup performs a behavior, we begin to wean them off of treats.
My dog doesn’t like treats.
I believe you, but, I also have a few tricks up my sleeve. That being said, reward based training doesn’t mean that treats are the only way in which to reward your pup. Dogs value many things, from sniffing the grass, to getting attention, to having a ball tossed.
Will you teach me how to be an Alpha?
Nope. The theory of Alphas and Submissives came from a pre-WWII report written by the US Department of the Interior which studied wolves in captivity. Years later, the author of this report would retract his findings with a new found clarity that wolves in captivity have nothing in common with domesticated dogs.
In fact, dogs have been around humans for so long that their social hierarchy is identical to our. They are social creatures. Some times they like another dog. Sometimes they are just two hot-headed guys outside a bar after a long night of drinking. Making your dog wait while you go through a door first communicates nothing about your place in their pack. Dogs are smart enough to know you aren’t a dog, but, they are compassionate and caring enough to love you anyways.