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WE’VE GOT A PLAN, DO YOU?
NEVER BEFORE HAS THERE BEEN AS ORGANIZED OF A PLAN FOR TRAINING DOGS, DOG OWNERS AND DOG TRAINERS,
AS "OUR PLAN".
We need to be flexible enough to address unique issues with some dogs, dog owners and dog trainers, while having a consistent and understandable program that provides positive results. Our Plan is only going to focus on the common characteristics of dog training, owner education and awareness. We want to acknowledge that sometimes there is a need for specialized training and even medical assistance from a veterinarian for some dogs, recognizing some dogs do not fit into this “common area of dogs and training” outlined in Our Plan. We can and do provide specialized training for dogs requiring it, however most of the information you will find here, is directed more toward the common areas of dog training. If your dog requires medical attention from a veterinarian, we encourage you to contact one immediately
In our view there are 4 common forms of training. First the “NO TRAINING” method. This method is often used by people who think their dog was born understanding everything said to them…..NOT!!!!!
The second method we call “THE HAND ME DOWN” method. This is a much, much better method than the first one because it at least is an attempt to teach the dog wanted behaviors. This method is basically…..”when we were kids we used to have dogs in our house all the time and we never needed a professional dog trainer to help, and most of those dogs ended up being pretty darn good dogs”.
These first two methods, especially the first, are major contributors to having unwanted behaviors to the degree that dogs are given up to humane societies and potentially destroyed.
There are two more methods of training that have proven to provide better results for a companion dog living a long happy life with their human family. Without going into details here about the controversies between supporters of one method versus the other, we will focus on the positive contributions both methods provide. Both methods share the belief there is much more to owning and training a dog to co-exist with humans in a desirable fashion, than what many people might believe or even understand. And, both methods seem to agree the dog owner needs equal if not more training than their dog.
The third method is the oldest method going back hundreds of thousands of years, and can be very successful when utilized properly. The downside of the method is far too many individuals/trainers do not use the techniques properly, sometimes hurting and even injuring the dog in the process, thus sparking opposition and debate. The third method is “CORRECTION & DISCIPLINE.” It focuses mostly on correcting a dog’s unwanted behavior by using varying degrees of discipline. The degrees of discipline are often associated with the level of unwanted behavior as well as the trainer’s assessment of the dogs disposition toward accepting discipline. The biggest problem with this method are the miscalculations by the trainer which could seriously negatively affect or even injure a dog. Also, modern scientific evidence suggest dogs learn faster and better with a less stressful form of training.
This brings us to the Fourth method. This method is a relatively new method compared to the Third method. This fourth method uses modern scientific statistics to back up its soundness while appealing to most people at the same time. The fourth method is “POSITIVE REINFOREMENT” focusing on rewarding wanted behaviors and ignoring all unwanted behaviors. Initially it ties a direct link between the dog’s brain and its stomach through treated rewards for performing any wanted behaviors. You wouldn’t think there would be debate against this method, but many old school trainers scoff at this method mainly because they feel a dog needs to be taught what is unwanted too, rather than ignoring it. An example is, if a dog runs into the street, that unwanted behavior can’t be ignored, and if it is ignored then the dog may learn the lesson the hard way by getting hit by a car. Also, many old school trainers feel trainers using the positive reinforcement training method are only providing half the needed training with a method linked to rewards versus a method the REQUIRES a dog to perform because it has been taught to, pure and simple. They believe rewards are tangible and if not provided, the dog will not respond. Some science supports this theory, indicating the lack of tangible rewards can cause a dog to lose focus on performing wanted behaviors if those dogs aren’t weaned off treats properly.
As stated before, it is the positives that methods 3 and 4 bring to the table that we want to focus on which is how we came up with “OUR PLAN.” You Could Say Our Plan Is A “FIFTH” Method Of Training. While the foundation of it may not be completely unique to us, we believe the degree of detail that we take it to, is.
To begin with, we combine and use the positive aspects of methods 3 & 4 to create the foundation of our method. We call it “DOG PSYCHOLOGY AND MINOR BEHAVIORAL MODIFICATION, (DPMBM)”. Whenever possible, Our Plan focuses on teaching the “human” dog owner first….and then after that we invite dogs into our training program. Our view is, dogs with unwanted behaviors usually are not born with bad behaviors, their bad behaviors are usually fueled by and environment of uninformed owners who often times don’t realize the things they are doing or not doing is the reason for the dog’s unwanted behaviors. Remember, as stated earlier, there are always unique circumstances as well as dogs suffering with medical issues that can cause unwanted behaviors, and those dogs should receive the appropriate professional attention…...we are not referring to those dogs or those unique situations, here.
Back to Our Plan…...we have a two pronged program or plan. The first prong, the “human-dog awareness and ownership program” is best utilized before a person buys a dog, but will still work well if they’ve already gotten one. This human training portion of Our Plan is in 3 stages. The first stage or introduction stage is designed to assist owners with an understanding of how a dog thinks. The second stage is designed to assist owners with an understanding of the different breed tendencies. The third stage introduces owners to one or two other dogs enrolled in our program at different stages of advancement, so the future dog owner or new dog owner can actually feel what it’s like to hold on to a leash with an untrained dog as well as one that that is nicely trained. This experience combined with the owners newly acquired knowledge from the first two stages of this portion of Our Plan should give them enough information, confidence and coordination to move forward with their decisions. After going through the 3 stages of the first part of Our Plan, many dog owners want to proceed with additional training within our program. The second portion of Our Plan is a complete 4 stage dog training program utilizing mostly Positive Reinforcement Training, supported by Dog Psychology And Minor Behavioral Modifications.
The American kennel Club (AKC) has 2 programs open to all dogs, mixed breeds and purebreds. The first is called Canine Good Citizen (CGC) and the second is called Community Canine (CC). The basic goals of these programs are to encourage dog owners to train their dogs to be well behaved in the home, in public places and with other dogs. These programs are designed to inspire dog owners to help their dogs, our favorite companions, become respected members of the community. These programs and subsequent tests are non-competitive and the dogs are not required to perform with the same precisions required for formal obedience tests. All of the dogs passing the tests are listed in the AKC records and owners may order an official certificate from the AKC.
Our Plan uses the formats of the CGC and CC as a guide in our training. Our hope is an owner would consider taking their dog through all four of our training stages, however we understand that may not be your intended goal. So, owners can elect to take one, two, three or all four of our training stages, whatever is preferred. The details of our four stages are outlined on the page entitled “7 STAGE PLAN” which is a group training offered over a series of weeks.
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The first stage is called the “BRONZE PLAN” it consist of six sessions each lasting about 45 minutes. Its intended for puppies 8 to 12 weeks old as well as older dogs with little or no training. This stage addresses basic obedience for several of the most common wanted behaviors.
The second stage, called the “SILVER PLAN” also consist of six, 45 minute sessions, offering a slightly more difficult tier of wanted behaviors from our dogs. Both the Bronze and Silver packages are designed for you to take your dog home and happily enjoy each other’s companionship for many, many years. However, these The Bronze and Silver Plan will prime your dog to be able to advance comfortably into our “GOLD & PLATINUM PLANS”, if so desired. These last two stages each consist of five, 45 minute sessions. The Gold Plan covers all the wanted behaviors needed to successfully pass the Canine Good Citizen Certification, (CGC) and includes the test and documentation of success. The Platinum Plan covers all the wanted behaviors needed to successfully pass the Community Canine Certification (CC) and includes the test and documentation of success.
As stated before, you decide how far you want to go with your dogs training, you are not required to go any further than you want. However if you did decide to continue through all 4 stages of Our Plan, you should have a nicely trained dog, loved and respected by everyone in your family as well as your neighborhood.