I Am Just a Dog Trainer
I often get asked what type of dog trainer I am. What style of dog training do I use. What are my methods. Am I a positive only trainer, force free trainer, compulsion based trainer, escape and avoidance based trainer, old school trainer, balanced trainer, etc. The truth is, I’m not any one of those.
I have a very open mind when it comes to dog training and nothing is really off the table for me to consider. I never completely dismiss something unless I’ve come to a conclusion based on my own experience with it. For people who like to label training, they would most likely label me as a balanced trainer and I would respectfully disagree.
I’m not a fan of labels as I don’t think any of them accurately describe me or any dog trainers that I have seen. I’m not a balanced trainer because I do not use an equal amount of anything in my training and that is why I believe the label is not fitting for me. It just isn’t the right word that describes me and I have not found one yet that does. There are many holes in those labels and I routinely see contradictions. Like the force free trainer that has a head halter, no pull harness, slip lead, or martingale on their dog. Like the positive only trainer that withholds food for mistakes or non compliance. Like the compulsion based trainer who praises his dog. Like the balanced trainer who refuses to use food reward in training. There are many examples and far too many to list here.
I use a ton of food reward in training. I’m also a big fan of toy reward once the dog is ready for that state of mind. My tools of choice are slips, prongs, haltis, e-collars, long lines, and flat collars. Hell, I even use retractable leashes in some circumstances. I believe in clear communication through a verbal marker system or a clicker. I believe that there is always an element of consequence in the learning process but that does not equate to abuse. And most importantly, I believe whatever consequence that is used in training must be taught first and the dog must without a doubt understand what they are being asked for before applying it. They must also have a clear understanding of what is in it for them when they make the desired decision.
I don’t judge training based on the process or the tools used. Show me the consistent end results for a variety of dogs with a variety of issues. Show me the happy well adjusted dogs in the end and I will want to know more of how you got them there – without any judgement – eager to learn and expand my skill set.
I don’t believe my training style or philosophy puts me in any one training camp or stereotyped label. Quite frankly, I don’t want to be and I wish they didn’t exist in the first place.
I am just a dog trainer.
Certified Professional Dog Trainer
I am a member of the IACP (International Association of Canine Professionals) and I adhere to their code of ethics.
The INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF CANINE PROFESSIONALS is dedicated to the education, development and support of dog training professional world-wide. The IACP provides a community where experienced dog trainers mentor, guide and cultivate members to their full potential. Our commitment to the highest quality training increases our members’ skills and abilities, develops professional recognition and improves communication on training best practices. We support our members’ rights to properly use and promote effective, humane training tools and methods to create success for each dog and owner, while expanding the understanding and cooperation among canine professionals and dog owners across the full spectrum of the canine industry.