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Training Philosophy

I take a balanced approach to working dogs. In a nutshell, this means that I’m fully capable of modifying a training program, method or technique to better fit the dog, his/her issues, and the owner.

I started out in the industry using a purely compulsive methodology: check chains and 6ft leashes. Little to no food was used, and training was invariably harsh and inflexible. Dogs didn’t really enjoy the process and neither did their owners, but the results were consistently good in one respect: their obedience and ability to comply with instructions in the face of distraction was fantastic (though they often did so slowly and begrudgingly).

After starting a bachelor’s degree in animal science, I crossed over into a purely rewards-based approach. This was far more enjoyable for everyone involved, and the dogs performed with much more enthusiasm and pizazz. However most dogs seemed to struggle with the more advanced training steps which included the need for them to work under distraction.

This was an unsolvable problem, and I soon discovered that it was one that was common amongst purely rewards-based trainers; the dogs they trained couldn’t consistently perform under the pressure and chaos of real life. At least not to the level that I was used to when working with compulsion.

This led me to learn all about balanced training, which is the study of combining both rewards and compulsion together in such a manner as to ‘fix’ the deficits of both. For a time, I was very strictly a ‘rewards-based balanced trainer’; meaning that I leant towards setting a foundation with rewards and finished the training with corrections to make the behaviours reliable.

And this was good! However, the more dogs I worked with the more I realized that this was extremely inflexible and often at odds with what the individual dog was bringing to the table in terms of motivation and learning history. As much as I’d love it if every dog I worked with had an insatiable appetite and an intense work ethic, they don’t! By trying to fit every dog into the rewards-first mold, I realized I was doing them a disservice and often delaying any progress.

So now, I’m simply a balanced trainer: I use my eclectic background in training to assess each individual dog, their problem, the desired result, and the owner’s capability to determine the exact approach to take. That might mean purely compulsive or purely inducive, or anywhere in between. 

There are no tools I don’t know how to use, and no method or technique that I’m not at least vaguely familiar with (mostly because of my obsession with reading and researching the history of dog training). Any questions or concerns from clients are met with no judgement. After all, we’re both on the same team and both trying to do the best for your dog!

Our Team
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