BUILDING THE BOND
The first element we want to develop is the bond between the dog and the owner. A lack of solid bonding can be easily identified, such as if the dog frequently disobeys commands, does not come when called, or runs away from the owner at the slightest opportunity. This behavior can upset owners who feel the dog is not loyal.
Increasing the bond is best developed through effective communication. Sometimes just the act of incorporating training techniques with your dog will increase the bond, with the ultimate purpose to develop a relationship based around trust and mutual respect.
There may be individual issues at play that have interrupted the dog’s bond with the owner. For this reason, it’s important for an experienced trainer to diagnose what the issue may be. Some culprits could include a lack of positive affirmations, accidentally rewarding bad behavior, or not incorporating important trust-building exercises or games with your dog.
One of the first steps of our training process is teaching our dogs how to learn, as well as teaching them the behaviors and positions we want them to perform, such as Sit, Down, Stay, Heel, etc. We accomplish this through verbal marker training, leash pressure techniques, and, luring with high value food rewards.
There are many questions about this phase; the most common is the issue of how long a dog needs to be in this phase and how we know if the learning phase is done. The answer is that it depends on the dog, handler/owner, task that is being performed and the situation (environment).
It takes roughly 30-60 (sometimes more) repetitions for our dog to learn simple commands. Once our dog knows and shows a fluency in their response (the dog is showing that he understands the verbal command by performing the asked action) we then move onto the next level.
The proofing phase of our training system is actually a continuation of the learning phase of our dog training method. During this phase we would like to help our dogs generalize the behaviors they learned by taking our dogs into new environments in order to practice these learned behaviors over and over again.
Think about it like this, just because you ask your dog to "Sit" in the kitchen and he performs this without issues hundreds of times, it does not necessarily mean that he will be able to generalize the same behavior at the park or inside home depot. The bottom line is that we must bring our dogs anywhere and everywhere to proof what we have taught them.
Correcting your dog at this stage would be wrong because your dog would not be disobeying; but simply having trouble associating newly learned skills to a new “picture”or "place".
During this phase of our training method is where we start to introduce distractions as well as corrections as needed.
Distractions are inevitable in everyday life and for this reason we need to change environments and change distractions as often as possible. Our goal is for our dogs to succeed in any situation and therefore we must build distractions gradually. (start from a greater distance and move closer towards the distraction, etc.)
Corrections are the last step that we introduce in our dog training system. However, there are different levels of corrections and different situations. Normally we try to avoid this step as much as possible, but in everyday life there will always be situations where our dog may show certain types of behaviors that will depend upon corrections for that behavior to be stopped, and not to reoccur.
Unfortunately, due in large part to the many other dog obedience schools that give out “diplomas” upon completion, many dog owners get the wrong impression that once their dog obedience training is done that’s it; their dog is set for life.
The truth is very different. You will actually need to practice and exercise with your dog for the rest of his life. Why? Simply because anything that we are training our dogs isn’t natural for them therefore if not maintained it will “disappear” from their minds, very similar to us in some ways.