How do I choose a dog trainer?
Finding truly qualified and experienced trainers can be challenging to say the least. Many cite certain schools they’ve attended, professional organizations that they are paid members of and even place initials behind their names in which it appears they have qualified, hands on experience but just the opposite is usually true. Initials like KA stand for Knowledge Assessed. This reflects only an online test that someone passed, not necessarily their skills for applying that information correctly, executing leash skills correctly or ability to teach others.
What are their qualifications?
Attending a school or apprenticing under someone could have real value. The bigger question is Where or with Who and for How long? Receiving proper coaching and hands on experience for many years, under a watchful eye of someone who has many years of experience is a must.
Have they proven themselves inside an arena that allowed them to be evaluated and judged by a standard against other professionals?
When we speak of competitive obedience most don’t think of it in terms of something they need or want to do with their dog but it has great importance for the general dog owner who is looking for proven help with their dog.
The Am. Kennel Club (AKC.org) and United Kennel Club (UKCdog.com) created these standards as the dog worlds measuring stick for what constitutes a safe and enjoyable companion. The general consumer should use this as a staple to qualify who’s truly proven themselves capable by independent judges.
These standards asses things like, co-operation,trust, stability, responsiveness and teamwork which get tested and evaluated by highly trained, National judges. Are these not the things we need in the relationship with our pet dog(s) to achieve quality of life? How many times do you want to call your dog in order to prevent an accidental death? It should only take once; your dog might not get the second chance.
Having a trainer/coach who has achieved these standards themselves and with their students with a level of excellence is what insures you too will get real results.
- Do they offer you a complete basic obedience course-or one that leaves you and your dog with a fraction of what is necessary (reliability) for living in today’s society?
- Are they proven experts in solving the most common and basic canine behavior problems such as: aggression & inability to socialize with children, adults and other animals, house breaking, jumping, chewing, digging, bolting, uncontrollable leash walking and excessive barking?
- Are they proven experts with all breeds (not just a certain few) as well as being an expert with puppies?
- Have their methods saved the lives of hundreds of incorrigible, aggressive dogs who other experts deemed “untraineable and need to be put down”?
- Do they have a broad knowledge of many aspects of dog training i.e. Obedience, Service/Assistance Dogs, Field trial, and Tracking?
- Do their training methods, techniques and curriculum set the standard for any national Service Dog Program?
- Are their methods proven in official U.S. and international obedience competitions against other professionals?
Why The Thinking Dog System™?
SAFETY. Our program first and foremost was designed to keep your dog SAFE and ALIVE. We feel that if you have a safe animal and learn how to teach him to be safe, for when your not around, everything else you learn with us is icing on the cake.
Annually in the U.S., tens of millions of dogs are given up to local shelters or rescue groups, abandoned and ultimately euthanized with the number one reason being behavior problems. Somebody couldn’t live with them. If approximately two thirds of the dogs that land in shelters and rescue organizations have already been through some form of conventional dog training, then conventional training wisdoms and trainers are not working.
There are no current legal national standards to be met in order to qualify a person as a dog trainer. We need change and improvement in the form of a learning system that allows all dogs the opportunity to become successful, not an experiment. Bud Brownhills “The Thinking Dog” Learning System does just that.
When can I stop using a leash?
You can stop using a leash once you have moved through the proofing phase of the various exercises, under distractions. This means the dog must be able to make good decisions about entering streets, chasing other animals, and interacting with other people.
How old does my dog have to be to start training?
As soon as your dog comes into your home you should start a quality training program. The dog or puppy is ALWAYS learning. Understanding your roll and how to be part of that is essential. For puppies, they should or can start between 6 and 8 weeks. This learning is somewhat limited but most important to establishing good habits and behavior. It prevents you from having to go back and stressfully undo and re-teach desired behavior.
Can I keep my dog outside?
Many times I am asked the question, “Why should my dog not live out side?” The question should be, “Why is it important for my dog to live inside?” Over time, most dog professionals have evolved the school of thought on this subject. The key is understanding that dogs are social, pack animals, that require adequate social interaction with other pack members, human beings, to properly function psychologically.
When dogs don’t live inside, they have a much greater tendency to function as an extended pack member; more often they are their own pack and behave in a manner more like their counter part the wolf. Without contact with humans setting expectations your dog will develop his own patterns of behavior. Then when placed in seemingly normal circumstances of interaction like with kids, friendly strangers, unfamiliar friends, new family members, or other animals, they are so stressed and under skilled that they make mistakes in judgment and bad decision. At best these mistakes are little accidents or awkward situations, but often they result in injury to people, other animals, or the dog itself. They may bolt, only to be hit and killed by a moving vehicle, or ultimately this behavior will get them discarded, sent to a shelter.
Given the fact that they are social animals, they require social interaction and leadership to prevent behavior issues from being learned. When dogs live inside a home with their human partners, they have the proper rules, structure, and boundaries to become better companions and family members. When dogs don’t live outside on their own, they are not at risk for the social alienation that creates unwanted behavior, and they are taught the needed skills for functioning as the family’s companion. These skills are needed not only for reliable associations but also a good quality of life for your pet.
The list of reasons of why it is important for your dog to live inside could go on and on. The bottom line is, you chose to bring a dog into your life and with that decision you made a commitment to enter into a relationship and fulfill the other party’s needs beyond food, water and shelter. If you love this entity, and if the dog is actually going to have an opportunity for a decent quality of life beyond your back yard, living in the house is a necessity. Otherwise the dog is merely living to exist.