Our Training Philosophy
Our training involves using positive, lure and reward based techniques in order build a trusting relationship between trainer and dog. When the trainers see a behavior they like or want, they reward it with small treats. If the behavior is not what they want, they redirect the behavior to what they do want and reward that behavior. It just makes sense. Rewarded behavior is repeated behavior. Whether you're a dog or a human. When a dog is able to process the learning experience, learn to think for himself without fear of punishment, he is more eager to learn and more successful in doing so.
Working with the Kids
The youth in our program are able to experience empathy, gain patience and anger management skills. They learn about responsible pet ownership and humane treatment of animals. And upon completion of the program, they receive a certificate of completion in Level 1 Dog Training
What is positive training?
The key to positive reinforcement training is to provide rewards for the behaviors we like - and would like to see again. To do this effectively, we start by getting to know the dogs. Each dog/handler team is considered unique. Each team may be motivated (rewarded) by something different. For the dogs, it all depends on what that particular dog finds rewarding. Treats should be small....the size of a raisin....so the dogs get instant gratification and can make a quicker association.
For most of our dogs, food is a powerful reward. That is, most dogs don't have to be taught to like food. Because of that, we typically use small food treats to reward most of the dogs in our program. So, if a dog sits instead of jumping on new people, we give that dog a tasty, chewy food snack (we do not use dry treats as they take longer to chew and the dog subsequently forgets what he is being rewarded for). After a number of repetitions, our dogs start to figure out that it is a really good idea to sit when new people come around. If I sit, good stuff happens. If I jump and bark, I don't get a snack. I should choose to sit.
This type of training works extremely well in that it not only boosts the confidence of insecure/shy dogs, but it also helps teach dogs to think for themselves without fear of physical punishment or pain. And for many of the dogs in the Teacher's Pet program, this is the first time they've been given a chance to think for themselves, bond with their handlers and truly enjoy working and communicating with people.
It helps our dogs learn to trust people again. For the young handlers in the program, positive reinforcement training teaches them to be patient with the dogs and to recognize/reward good behavior. Many of the dogs take "baby steps" toward the end result and simply need some encouragement to get there. The handlers learn the importance of noticing the good instead of focusing on the bad. Punishment/pain is never part of the learning process. The Teacher's Pet dogs are - fortunately - given a second chance to learn to bond with people through humane, positive training methods.