I wanted to discuss my go-to style of dog training. Dog training is not "one size fits all", and different dogs need different training methods. The best thing to have when starting to train a dog is an open mind. Just like people, every dog is different. Some dogs respond well to treats or toys. Some dogs are not treat motivated at all. You have to find the right training method for the dog at hand.
Balanced dog training uses all methods of training i.e. clicker training, lure treat training, pressure training, and corrections. In short, I make sure the dog understands the words "yes" and "no". I start out by using dog treats and/or positive associations with a command until it stops working. When the dog decides that their behavior is more rewarding than the treat I am offering, I start using another approach because I want the dog to listen to my commands in real life situations.
I ALWAYS build a strong foundation in basic training with commands like sit, stay, down, come when called, and heel. Once the dog understands all of these commands and then chooses not to listen, I can start introducing corrections with either a prong collar or a remote collar. Now, a correction is not the same as punishment. I do not yank them with the prong collar or hurt them psychologically. Balanced dog trainers do not use these tools to make the dog submissive, but instead as a form of communication.
The remote collar is always introduced with the recall command (come when called). I personally use “HERE”, as it travels farther than come. This teaches the dog that when pressure is applied by the remote collar, it is time to check in with their owner. In addition, the goal is to find the lowest working level on the collar for the dog we are training. Dogs as small as 5 lbs can benefit from remote collars. It gives owners complete control over their dogs in everyday situations - on and off leash. Also, did I mention collars are water proof?
Keep in mind that remote collars are NOT like the shock collars that were used by trainer’s when they were first introduced into the dog world. A remote collar is a muscle stimulation tool, like the ones that are used by physical therapists.The technical term for them is a Tens Unit. I want to reiterate that there is NO electrical shock occurring. When I emailed Garmin (my preferred brand of remote collars) regarding the technology behind the unit, they responded with “it is muscle stimulation”. Just like any other tool in dog training, it has to be used properly. When deciding if a remote collar is right for you and your dog, I highly recommend consulting a professional dog trainer in your area. As always, feel free to contact me with questions or concerns!
Until next time, Happy Tails!