As we never stop learning this page will never be finished.
MY METHODS I believe in patience and using positive reinforcement. I teach my dogs, manners, self control and mutual respect.
I do not, and I believe there is no need to use any aggressive methods, nor do I use any inhumane equipment such as prongs, electric shock, choke or even half choke collars, water sprays, tins full of gravel or rolled up newspapers etc. My aim is not to suppress a dogs unwanted behaviour, but to simply change the way it behaves and thinks, by explaining to the dog what it is we want it to do. Teaching it respect, self control and good manners and thereby naturally removing any bad behaviour.
I was first inspired by a book called ‘The Dog Listener’ by Jan Fennell, based on all dogs ancestors the wolf. I brought it when we first got Bess as a pup and it completely blew me away! And inspired me to learn as much as I could, to help me train my dog, however I soon learned that a dog is as far from a wolf as we are from chimpanzees. I went on to buy several books but found most of them to have conflicting and confusing information until I found "It's Me Or The Dog"by Victoria Stilwell, and then I discovered Dr Ian Dunbar. The methods used in my diploma course were ‘classical and operant conditioning’ and taken from the R.S.P.C.A's, 'New Complete Dog Training Manual' by Dr Bruce Fogle. My final thesis for my diploma was on Ivan Pavlov and his use of Classical conditioning, which basically means that dogs, or indeed almost any animal (including humans) will respond to a stimulus, such as food, as reward for performing a task, and learn associate that task with a reward. I also covered 'Thorndike’s law of effect'on 'Operant conditioning', which expands punishment / reward training behaviours, and states that 'satisfying consequences tends to be repeated and those that produce unpleasant consequences are less likely to be repeated'. All sounds so obvious now but ground breaking stuff in its time. I am happy to report that I passed with distinction. It was during this time that I discovered Victoria Stilwell and her technique of 'Positive reinforcement', I was hooked, she put all the pieces into words and helped me express what was all mixed up inside my head and became my idol (but don't tell the wife). I have had the honour of meeting Victoria several times now at various National Dog Conferences, and have also been privileged to have met the great Dr Ian Dunbar, having taken and passed several of his courses and would recommend visiting his web site http://www.dogstardaily.com/
The next thing was to take a diploma in dog psychology and the information for this course came from Professor Bonnie V Beaver's book ‘Canine Behaviour’. My final thesis for my psychology diploma was on ‘Stress behaviour in dogs’ (catchy title I thought). This one was really hard work but I am happy to say I once again passed with distinction.
I never really thought about teaching, until people who had heard of my efforts began to ask me for help and advice with their dogs. For the first two years I did not charge but simply asked for a donation toward my petrol (there were a few who gave nothing) but the experience was the most valuable reward. Eventually things grew and I had to tell the tax man. I would like to thank all the wonderful owners I have met over the years that have unwittingly caused me so many headaches and sleepless nights while I read, surfed, watched and studied, doing my research the night before I met them and their pets to ensure I gave them the right advice. I hope they were, and still are, blissfully unaware of the terror within me, at the massive, responsibility I always feel before I open my mouth and change the way they, and their pets, could possibly live the rest of their lives together. I am happy to report that I have, so far and to the best of my knowledge, been successful in identifying and understanding the problems presented to me, and after a lot patience and perseverance we have had some fantastic results, well done to all of you that persevered and were rewarded.
I enrolled for the Academy of Dog Training and Behaviour (ADTB) instructors course, and passed all 6 modules in under a month with an A+ for each one. I am now an approved instructor for the ADTB, and am, and always will be, eternally grateful to Jenni for her support.
Currently I am still doing lectures by Dr Ian Dunbar on dog training and dog behaviour.
I am now interested in the importance of body language in animals, and am learning to read and understand what it is that dogs are saying to us. I am now starting studying this in more detail.
ANYWAY! I'm sorry I know I do waffle on as these subjects do get me fired up, so here it all is in a simple list of the basic knowledge you may need that I think would help you train your dog, but don't worry I will explain clearly and demonstrate all you need know during my visit.
· Understanding dog behaviour
· Genetically inherited memories
· Classical training techniques
· Classical conditioning
· Thorndike’s law (Operant conditioning)
· Dog psychology
· Body language
WHAT YOU MUST HAVE THOUGH IS:
MORE PATIENCE (yes I know and make no apologies for saying it twice)
Please note: I mentioned in my rambling earlier the word ‘PUNISHMENT’!
The only form of punishment I will ever use is no reward for bad behaviour.
Your dog is a part of your life, and for any dog whether in training, or in daily life, they are working with you for a reward and because they love you! That reward can be food, vocal praise, a pat on the head or even simple eye contact, so if you take these away when you dog does not do ask asked, you have punished it enough, there is simply no need for physical punishment! (Thorndike’s law).