Our Training Philosophy
Dog training is a lifestyle. It's about relationship. Relationships continually require: clear communication, boundaries, love, patience, and intentionality.
We help dog owners build clear, fair, and effective communication with their dogs that is unique to the dog and practical for the owner's day to day life. We focus on the dog's state of mind to help them live with peace and clarity about their purpose.
What is Balanced Training?
Discovering and utilizing the motivational methods that will be best for each specific dog in order to communicate as clearly and effectively as possible. Utilizing a means of positive association/motivation to shape, teach, and encourage wanted behaviors and utilizing a means of negative association/motivation to reinforce commands that the dog knows and to establish and clarify boundaries.
In order to communicate with dogs, we must implement
effective timing, motivation, and consistency.
In order to communicate effectively with our dogs, we must ensure that the results of their decisions are communicated within 1.3 seconds of their behavior.
If we have bad timing, our dogs will associate our rewards or corrections with something that we did not intend.
For example: If I ask my dog to sit and then hand him a reward and right as he takes the reward, he jumps up, I just rewarded him for jumping up rather than for sitting.
Another example: if my dog gets in the trash while I’m not looking and then goes and lays under the table and I correct him when I find the trash everywhere, he will associate my correction with laying under the table rather than getting in the trash. Timing is crucial to clear communication with our dogs.
Dogs have different levels of drive/desire for different things. Dogs make decisions because they are motivated to for one reason or another. Dogs learn from the consequences of their decisions, positive or negative.
We must find what motivates each individual dog and utilize that motivation to teach and communicate. What one dog sees as motivating, another dog may not. Motivation is a balance of Rewards and Corrections.
Rewards: Food/Treats, Toys/Play, Petting/Attention, verbal praise
Corrections: Body language pressure, verbal pressure, leash pressure and/or corrections with a flat collar, martingale/slip collar, or prong collar, ecollar stimulation
Consistency is achieved when we respond the same way every time to our dog's decisions. When we make obedience commands non-negotiable and provide "always or never" clarity, our dogs will live at peace knowing what is expected of them in any given situation.
Inconsistency is a fast track to dog anxiety. Dogs need to know what is expected of them in this strange human world.
An example of inconsistency: your dog jumps on you on Saturday morning and you hug and cuddle her and giver her attention then she jumps on you Monday morning with you muddy paws and you correct her. This will create confusion and most likely she will continue to jump because sometimes she gets rewarded for it.
An example of consistency: every time you open the front door, your dog must wait at the door no matter what until you say her release word and if she chooses to cross the threshold before you release her, she receives a clear and fair correction that communicates that's not what she should do. Key words here are every time... and I really do mean every time.
Markers help us bridge that 1.3 second timing gap and build our communication capacity with our dogs. Dogs do not innately know what these words mean, we have to spend time building association of them and giving them meaning and then they become very helpful clarifying tools in everyday life with our dogs.
GOOD - keep doing what you’re doing, I will bring your reward to you (usually food/treat)
NO - stop what you’re doing
YES - you are released from what you’re doing to go and get your reward (usually a toy)