Yea, you have made the decision to add a new furry member to your household. And you know you want to go to a few training classes so you and your new furry companion can communicate to each other. And you also know you want to work with someone who trains in a positive manner.
With all of the information that you can get on the Internet, it might be confusing to you, as to what to look for in a positive dog trainer. You already know that a positive trainer should be teaching you to reward your dog when they get something correct. But what happens when the dog does something “wrong”. Does the dog trainer teach you to ignore the incorrect behavior and either wait for the desired response or redirect the dog to the desired behavior? Or does the trainer teach you to intimidate or harshly reprimand the dog?
In my opinion, being a positive dog trainer, means rewarding the desired behavior and ignoring the ones you do not like. If a trainer is teaching you to push or pull on your dog, speak to them harshly or unkindly reprimand them, they are not a positive trainer. I only teach with positive rewards and I ask the dog to use their brain and think of a better behavior if they are doing something I do not like.
A really good example of this is a dog jumping on people when they greet them. In my classes as well as out in public, I allow a dog to jump on me, however, I do not acknowledge them, pet them or speak to them. I want the dog to realize they are receiving no reward for this behavior but instead, if they have “4 on the floor” they will receive lots of treats and/or attention.
I proved that this works the other day while I was out shopping for dog food. As I entered the store, I saw a dog and her human and knew I recognized them but could not remember their names. When I asked the lady, I realized they had been in one of my classes over a year ago. The sweet dog remembered me when I spoke to her and as she came forward to me, very excited, she started to jump up on me to greet me. I could see the light bulb go off in her head and she quickly changed her mind and ran up to offer a sit at my feet, without me saying a word to her. She remembered that if she greeted me with all paws on the floor, I would be happy to praise her highly, offer lots of pets and attention as well as maybe a treat or two.
How amazing is that?! Even after such a long period of time, she remembered and knew, to use her brain and her best manners to gain from me what she wanted. Lots of love and attention.
For me, that is what positive training is all about. Allowing your dog to use their brain, and figure out the best response to gain what they really want. Smart Dog!!
So when you decide to look for positive dog training classes, make sure the dog trainer is only using positive rewards. No adverse corrections or jewelry allowed.