Nanaimo K9 Training Methods and Philosophy
Nanaimo K9's methods of dog training are based on both Operant and Classical Conditioning. Operant Conditioning involves modifying voluntary behaviours through the use of consequence (reward, removal of reward, undesired stimulus, removal of undesired stimilus). Classical conditioning involves modifying involuntary behaviours by associating an involuntary response to a new stimulus or "trigger".
Since not all voluntary behaviour can be taught or diminished solely using positive reinforcement (reward for desired behaviour) and negative punishment (removal of reward for undesired behaviour), we utilize ALL of the concepts in our training programs including correction through positive punishment (application of an undesired stimulus) and negative reinforcement (removal of undesired stimulus). Our dog's know and understand this theory well - often knowing it much better than we do. A good demonstration of this is when a dog nudges you repeatedly. The dog's intention is to annoy you until you do something (positive punishment). Once you give in and give them what they want the annoying nudging stops (negative reinforcement). That dog has just applied an undesired stimulus to you and then removed that undesired stimulus once a desired behaviour has been received from you (and worse yet trained you to reward them for it)! Through experience, we know that reward based training only goes as far as a dog's motivation for that reward. A correction can be necessary when the dog is more motivated by the inappropriate, incorrect or dangerous behaviour than by the reward itself. We also know that reward based training has it's limitations. Think again of that nudging dog. What would rewarding them when they are not nudging accomplish outside of confusion as to what they are being rewarded for. A stern "No" with even the mildest correction (positive punishment) would likely be far more effective in this situation.
To get the results that Nanaimo K9 has a reputation for, we use a balance of rewarding the behaviour we do want, correcting the behaviour we do not want and treating each dog on an individual basis. Using this proven formula we can achieve long-term results quickly as the dog will have a clearer understanding of what is desired behaviour and what is undesired behaviour. Learning how to differentiate has saved many dogs from certain euthanasia - which usually results from a simple miscommunication in the dogs training.
We are Balanced Trainers versed in a multitude of techniques which allow us to help every dog in every circumstance without exhausting our methods. The main reason why a trainer helping a dog can fail is not because the dog is un-helpable but because the trainer has not exhausted all of the possibilities available to them.
Nanaimo K9 Training and Rehabilitation believes that all dogs regardless of breed or behavioural issue can be rehabilitated and should not be given up on!
Dogs learn based on association and consequence. An example of an association: A leash may represent a walk (something pleasant), or in some cases it could represent something unpleasant, such as being tied up.
An example of a consequence: Sitting patiently results in praise from the handler, while jumping up results in no attention given. By using this formula you can correct a number of behavioural problems.
Dogs have their own language and it certainly is not English! They communicate using their bodies, sounds, and mental energy. They follow a certain set of rules. Unlike wolves, who are always looking to assert dominance, the majority of dogs do not want a leadership role. We, as their owners, can make this decision very hard for them. We can end up forcing our dogs into becoming the leader when we don't understand how to claim it. Even though we are completely unaware that we are doing this, it is incredibly obvious to the dog.
It is important for dog owners to assert themselves as the leader of the pack in order to prevent unwanted canine behaviours. With proper leadership, you will be rewarded with a happy dog in return. Here at Nanaimo K9 we will help you achieve that leadership role and help you build a one of a kind relationship with your best friend.
Training is important not only to build reliability in your dog but also to mentally stimulate your dog. Imagine your life having no purpose - it would become very boring and you would feel unmotivated and unappreciated. This is the same for any dog. Training is giving your dog a job and allowing yourself to have a well-balanced and happy canine companion.
"Obedience training is teaching the dog to speak our language whereas behavioural modification is speaking the dog's language."
- Hilary Douglas
From my experience, a truly dominant dog is very rare. Dogs become dominant based on social situations, availability of resources or when the leadership role has not been claimed by anyone. Dog aggression on the other hand may or may not be motivated by dominance. Aggression is a symptom of an underlying issue. e.g.: fear, resources, dominance, hunger, panic, pain, and other canine emotions (not to be confused with human emotions).
There are certain breeds stereotyped with unfair labels, primarily with being aggressive. It seems that every decade the stereotype changes among the breeds. In the 1970's, the Doberman was the villain, the 80's it was the German Shepherd, the 90's the Rottweiler, and today it appears to be the Pit Bull Terrier. Although genetics can play a large role in behaviour among humans and animals, this alone does not determine the fate of the dog. Breed is merely an outfit and with proper guidance, leadership, socialization and exercise any predisposed aggression may never occur. There has been far more humans 'attacked' by small breed dogs than the above stereotyped breeds. Honestly, how likely are people to report Pomeranian 'attacks'? Unfortunately, when large breeds bite, the results can be more dramatic making these events more widely publicized.
Tricks are a wonderful way to build a strong bond with your dog. He/she does not look at tricks as "tricks", but as another way to work for what they want, such as food, toys and affection. What a perfect way to spend time with your dog and have fun together!
What to bring:
- Treats that your pet really enjoys (I suggest the Pure Bites freeze dried liver treats)
- 6 Ft Leash
20-30 Ft Leash (Intermediate Only)
- Poop Bags
- A tug and squeaky toy
- Vaccination Records
- Clicker (Optional)
- Lots of energy!
- A flat collar or correction collar (no harnesses)
Each class will run approximately 45 minutes to 1hour in length.
You will be standing the majority of the time so please wear comfortable shoes.