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Is it really possible to train a dog in just 1 lesson?
The idea behind dog training is that the owner knows how to work with their dog once the trainer leaves. Many dog trainers don't teach this way so, when your training is complete, your dog knows how to listen to the trainer but not to you. The K9 Mentor works with both you and your dog so your dog understands what is expected and you know how to make those good behaviors stick once your trainer leaves. In just one lesson, you'll have the tools necessary to continue to work with your dog. And, if you ever get stuck or have questions, we offer free support by phone and email.
What will we cover in the lesson?
We start off with a detailed discussion about dog psychology. It covers the three ways that dogs correct each other and how we turn those three things into a correction that is both humane and understood by your dog. We also cover praise which is the MOST important part of training a dog. Next, we learn about a training exercise called "The Alpha Walk". It is not a normal walk but rather a technique that teaches the dog that humans are alphas, not dogs. We then go outside and do The Alpha Walk together. Both the trainer and you will do it and you'll then continue to do the exercise for one week. Finally, we'll sit down and go over all of the issues that are specific to your dog so that you'll know how to handle those problems when they come up. Since the lesson is custom, we go over all of the issues that your dog has and not waste time with things that don't apply to him.
What are some of the more common things that you train for?
Since our lessons are custom, we only go over the issues that you feel your dog has. Some common ones would be housebreaking, jumping, play biting, stealing food, begging, aggression, digging, barking, getting on furniture, sit, stay, come, lie down, go to bed... The list is only limited by yours (and your dog's) imagination!
Why don't you use treats when you train?
There is nothing wrong with giving your dog treats! That's part of the fun of having a dog. But in a pack of wild dogs, food is brought to the alpha dog. So if you tell your dog, "do something" as an alpha would, but then give him food, you just erased the message you tried to give him and have now told him that he is the alpha. Dogs want to live in harmony with the alpha so, instead of treats, our method focuses heavily on praising the dog. So much so, that we praise the dog after every correction and we always give more praise than we gave correction.
Does your method use positive reinforcement?
Yes, we always follow up every correction with praise. ALWAYS. Your dog then starts to understand the behaviors that earn him your praise and which behaviors result in a correction. Because of this, most dogs will work hard to earn your approval and avoid your consequences. This results in praising the dog very often and minimal corrections.
Are doggie boot camps a good idea?
Almost always, no. They sound great - You send your dog off for a week or two and he comes home perfect. However, within a few days, most dogs say, "Hey. You weren't there. You don't know how to control me. You're not an alpha!" Once they realize this, they go back to their old ways and your wallet is quite a bit thinner.
Are group lessons a good idea?
There are multiple problems with group lessons. First, your dog will be distracted during the training. The other dogs, the new environment, the different smells all tend to steal his attention from you. Like a child, an unfocused student tends to not do well compared to one who is focused. If your dog has aggression issues, then the embarrassment and risk of being in a group is never a good idea. For an aggressive dog, having a lesson in a group is like having an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting in a bar. Training at home means that your trainer can see the dog's environment and make recommendations specific to him and where he lives. Also, during a group lesson, your time is divided among all of the students. So if your lesson lasts one hour, and there are 10 dogs, then on average you'll only get 6 minutes of training. Multiply the 6 minutes by the 6 weeks of the class (assuming you attend all of them) and you're only getting 36 minutes of instruction. Finally, if the issues the other dogs are having don't match your dog's problems, then that time is wasted.
Is my dog too young to begin training?
We believe that for a dog to really understand the training he needs to be 16 weeks or older. It is also important that you have had your dog for at least 2 weeks before starting any training program (so that he is comfortable with you) and that he has been walked on a leash at least 10 times or more (even if he is terrible at it). Other dog trainers may be willing to work with your dog before his 16 week birthday but usually all they're going to do is some very basic stuff that we can teach you over the phone. So, if you have a dog under 16 weeks, give us a call and let us know you'd like our FREE advice on how to get off on the right foot with him. Then, if that free advice is all you need to communicate with your dog, your training will have cost you a total of $0!
Is my dog too old to learn how to behave?
Not necessarily. We've all heard, "you can't teach an old dog new tricks" but it simply isn't true. The problem is that as a dog ages, he gets more used to things being the way they are. To change his outlook on what "normal" means, you have to be more stubborn than he is to get him to realize the rules have changed. If you are, you should be able to get through to him though it probably will take more time than if he was younger.
Can you cure my dog's aggression?
Nope. There is no cure for aggression. It is like alcoholism - It can be controlled but can't be cured. A dog with aggressive tendencies, no matter how big or small, may decide when something bothers him that he's going to go back to his old behavior in that moment. And that behavior can be dangerous. While we have had a lot of success controlling aggression, no trainer should ever mislead a client and tell them they can cure the problem. But, if your dog shows aggressive behavior again later, you'll know how to best handle it.
Do you offer support?
Yes we do. All of our clients who we provide in home training for receive free lifetime support by phone and email.
Can anybody do this training?
A vast majority of our clients have no trouble doing the training. It isn't difficult but it does require that you change how you view your dog. He is a loving member of your family but he is NOT your child. Dogs, like kids, must be humanely disciplined for any bad behavior. To do so in a way that your dog understands involves being firm, NOT mean. So long as you can learn to use a soft, calm, slow, sweet praise tone of voice for praising and a firm, authoritative tone of voice for correcting plus you can physically walk and can squat at least partially to come down to the dog's level to praise him, you should have no problem doing this. If you have concerns or questions about what is involved, please give us a call. We also encourage your kids to participate in the training so long as they are old enough (8 years or older is a good average), can focus during the lesson and won't be distracting for you. If you don't think your kids can do this, then we suggest that you teach them what you feel they need to know once the trainer is gone.
I have more than one dog. Does that mean it will cost me more to do training?
Not at all. We will cover all of the issues that all of your dogs have during the training session for the same price. However, when we do the hands-on portion of the training, it will be done with just one dog to save time and therefore save you the cost of buying a set of lessons for each dog. Since we offer support, if you get stuck with any of your dogs after we are gone, you can call or email us for help. By the time we leave, you'll know how to handle the issues that come up with all of your dogs.
Does dog training break my dog's spirit?
No. Most dogs don't want to be the alpha dog and to have all of the responsibility that goes with that role. So by taking away that stress and pressure and by giving him more praise than correction, you'll find that your dog is quite happy with his new role.
My dog has aggression issues. So should we meet at a dog park?
Nope. If you were addicted to Blackjack, we wouldn't meet in a casino. Instead, we'd work on addressing your problems in an environment where you are comfortable and not tempted. Once we got your problem under control, you might be able to drive through Las Vegas without giving in to temptation. But, if you did, you could call your sponsor for support. The same is true with dog aggression - We first work on the problem and then you should be able to put your dog in the middle of an environment where his problems were at their worst. If you then need support, you can call us or email us for assistance.
What questions should I ask a dog trainer when I interview them?
First, you want to make sure you are comfortable with the trainer. Do they sound confident? Concerned about your dog's issues? Capable and skilled? If so, ask them if they are insured. Most dog trainers are (we carry a multi-million dollar insurance policy) but some are not. Those who are not should be avoided! Next, ask how many lessons their average client needs. If they won't tell you, then run as they probably are going to try to keep you as a client for as many lessons as possible. Finally, if they try to sell you a package of lessons, move on! Trainers know that they can sell you a bunch of lessons up front with the odds being excellent that you won't use even half of them. It's an easy, almost shady way of making more money off of their clients. We CAN and WILL teach you everything you need so you can keep working with your dog in just one lesson.
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