Paws n Motion Dog Training Mission & Values
Dog training is a vast and varied (and pretty unregulated) industry with many polarizing and complicated issues. For example: the ethics of using e-collars, what is Operant Conditioning or “instinctive drift” for that matter, what constitutes a “trained dog”, and did Skinner have it right, or is extrapolating his observations about rats learning in boxes a far cry from solving the difficult behavior problem for the “wolf in your living room?” And most importantly, what does all this mean for you and your dog?
To try to make a complicated issue as simple and relevant as possible to you, our mission at Paws n Motion is to help your dog “keep his home”. Because the very tangible reality for a lot of dogs, even with not-so-serious behavior problems, is that they risk being brought to a shelter or being euthanized by frustrated, heartbroken, exhausted, sometimes scared owners.
Whether you’re experiencing a mild behavioral frustration or an all-out battle in your home, we will help identify what needs to be done to help you “keep your dog in your home”. Most cases of behavior modification and rehabilitation include these elements:
- Assessing the severity of different issues and enacting a plan that not only keeps everyone safe, but ensures the dog can no longer continue to successfully practice “bad” behavior while trying to learn good behavior.
- Understanding and assessing what you’ve done in the past to try to address the problems, and then doing something different going forward.
- Improving the relationship between the dog and the human family members: getting the dog to listen to and find it worth his while to engage with the owner.
- Creating an effective way to communicate (communication channels both ways).
- Establishing, communicating, and teaching clear expectations.
- Helping owners become empowered with knowledge of dog training tools and techniques, and the confidence to put that in action proactively with their dog, whether or not the trainer is present.
- Finding the right balance between obtaining results on the right timeline and working at an intensity and with tools that the owner and dog are comfortable with.
What we Believe about Dogs and Dog Training
What Dogs Are:
- Dogs are intelligent beings that are capable of learning and making decisions as opposed to organisms that can only be conditioned to respond in a certain way.
- Dogs are capable of emotion—they can feel and project affection, loyalty, devotion, frustration, joy, and sadness.
- Dogs are not children—they are amazing beings in their own right with a very special place beside their human companions.
- Dogs are the domestically-evolved cousins of wolves. While they have been tamed and are attuned to our human world, they still operate on a basic set of drives, and often unbalanced drives are the origin of behavior that we consider to be problematic. These drives include: social/pack drive, defensive drive, prey drive, and fight drive. Drives must be accounted for in training and proofing in order to be successful.
- While dogs are loyal, they do not have a code of honor. They are opportunists. This is not a judgment statement, it’s a simple fact.
- Dogs need a trustworthy and consistent leader that is worth following.
How to Train:
- Give a full range of feedback, including letting the dog know when he’s right and when he’s wrong and be able to correctly identify what is needed in a given situation for both the dog and trainer to be successful (short and long-term).
- Training is only as good as the dog’s ability to perform in the real world. Performing commands with no distractions is of little value for most people.
- Training tools are given values by humans, not dogs. Any tool can be used to either help or harm a dog. It’s not the tool, it’s how effectively or expertly it is used in a training program to help achieve the final objectives of behavior modification. Some trainers are better with certain tools, some owners are better with other tools, different dogs respond differently to different tools. Finding the right combination for a dog and owner may be an important part of success.
- Training the human is between 50% and 90% of the challenge. Most dogs are ready to feel balanced and to understand expectations, if not happily comply. It is usually the humans that need to be reminded how to change their interactions with their dog to effectively elicit and reinforce the behavior they want.
- A good training plan has clear objectives, effective tools, and a timeline for training and transitioning the dog off of those tools, otherwise, it’s management.
- Management is not necessarily a bad thing—lots of people are more comfortable “managing behavior into oblivion” as opposed to training. As long as there are not negative repercussions for the dog, this is okay.
- Training should always be productive and positive, but it is often-times stressful as well. That’s okay. In fact, most of us wouldn’t bother trying to learn or do anything new or different if we were comfortable all the time.
How to be a Good Trainer:
- A good trainer is always learning and incorporating new information, techniques, and tools into their program in order to serve more people and provide better results.
- A good trainer is honest.
- A good trainer doesn’t make anyone feel guilty for what they don’t know or what they’ve done in the past, but motivates them to do better in the future.
- A good trainer empowers a dog owner to work with their dog without ongoing service over a prolonged period of time.
- A good trainer is able to recognize quickly what is needed in a particular situation and apply it, then explain it to the owner and help them put it into practice.
- A good trainer is an effective teacher to both humans and canines.
- A good trainer does not sacrifice a dog’s well being for results. A good trainer does not sacrifice results to adhere to their training dogma.
- A good trainer recognizes when they are not equipped to deal with a certain behavior or dog, and does not take on that client if they don’t know that they can help.
- A good trainer is a great problem solver.
- A good trainer acts as advocate and mediator on behalf of the dog, when necessary.