Head of the Class Dog Training offers classes to help the busy modern family have a well-mannered family pet. I use positive reinforcement techniques to create a strong bond between the human and canine family members. Classes are family friendly and fun; including fun for your dog. Your dog can be taught humanely and gently all the expectations and social skills he needs to navigate his human world successfully.
How Does It Work?
As a member of the Professional Pet Trainers Guild, I have made a commitment to use force-free training methods to bring out the best in your pet.
I strive to create an environment that is relaxed and fun for the entire family to learn. Learning should be enjoyable, so your dog and you want to continue “playing”.
Though you and your dog don’t speak the same language now, you can create clear communication to build trust gently and respectfully, so he is willing to try new behaviors. We do this using the principles of operant conditioning. Simply put, animals willingly repeat behaviors that are rewarding. They learn best when the consequence is paired exactly with the behavior. Animals also learn fastest when the rate of reinforcement—reward—is fast.
Why Does It Work?
Dogs that are afraid of being punished, especially when they don’t have a clear understanding of why they are being punished, often shut down and don’t even try new behaviors because it is too confusing.
Since the timing of the consequence has to be so precisely accurate, there is a huge risk of dogs making an incorrect assumption about what is causing the punishment, and this can make the behavior worse, or cause other undesirable problems.
They may show they are stressed by turning away, pretending they can’t hear you, and may avoid future training situations. They appear "stubborn" and this results in a frustrated owner and only makes the problem worse!
As a professional educator for over 22 years, I saw the same thing in several middle school classrooms. Kids who were afraid to raise their hands or get called on learned very little except how to hide so the teacher wouldn’t notice them to not get laughed at.
On the other hand, in the class where incorrect answers were accepted, explored, discussed, and evaluated with kindness, students were willing to share, and those students were better engaged in class and learned much more! If a mistake was made, it was an opportunity to try again with no penalty, and those students were eager to get a "do-over" to celebrate what they knew.
This is the same behavior we want in our dogs. Dogs willing to work—and work quickly, eagerly, and consistently for their rewards. To be focused on their owners. Not only to finish each training session excited and happy to do more, but to repeat their good habits in daily life and behave calmly and confidently.
Did You Know?
The human and canine brains have the same biological structures, and the impact of emotion and stress on ability to learn is the same in both species. While dogs can’t reason and humans can, the principals of classical and operant conditioning work for both.
Not only will your dog learn the basic skills you want him to know now, you will learn to educate, motivate, and communicate with your dog for the rest of his or her life!