Our dog training utilises a three-stage plan, which depending upon your goals and level of obedience required allows you to choose how many stages you wish to undertake.
…And by the way, what most people refer to as ‘dog training’ is in fact ‘owner training’. What you will learn at Positive Plus is how to train your dog. The training you do at home, between lessons, is what will deliver the results, alter unwanted behaviours and get you the awesome obedience you are after. The more you practise, the better your dog will be. Simple :)
This first stage of Positive Plus Dog Training is where all the basic commands are taught. We will teach your dog to be able to respond correctly to the spoken command with no body-language or hand-signal help. This is the first step to the reliability many are after, as most dogs will only learn the hand-signal or subconscious body-language and will not respond to the spoken command when offered in isolation. It is within this stage that we will also start working on your dog’s impulse control.
If you are not having any major issues with your dog this may be as far as you need to go.
This is where we start working on improved reliability. We will introduce low-level distractions and make sure you are communicating (in a way your dog understands) your intentions and desires effectively. This is also where we introduce the concept of saying ‘no’ to your dog (although never at the expense of positive reinforcement i.e. rewards: praise/treats/access to a valuable resource etc). Note: we don’t use ‘old-school’ style corrections to achieve this! Because of this feedback though, improved communication really kicks in and your relationship with your dog will flourish as they become more and more confident in the mutual trust you develop together.
Again, if you have no real issues with your dog but have obtained the reliability you were after, you may decide to finish your dog training here.
This is where heavy distractions begin. This stage requires 100% consistency from you, and perfect timing, but the rewards are worth the effort. We will control the distractions so that they increase incrementally and your dog is only ever training at a slightly higher level of distraction than it is used to. Note: at this point your dog will be technically very slightly ‘over-threshold’. This though, has two distinct advantages: 1) you can progress through levels of distraction more quickly, and more importantly, 2) you have practised working very slightly over-threshold. Only ever training under-threshold is one of the main reasons some dogs fail in real-life. When a dog is only trained, desensitised and/or counter-conditioned under-threshold, and you encounter a real-world, unavoidable stimulus that puts them over-threshold, they, and you, have a very limited chance of success. This is one of the many strategies we employ that allows us to desensitise/counter-condition whilst avoiding the need for harsh corrections, but at the same time, maintaining reliability around heavy distractions/stimuli.
It is within this stage that we can start to rehabilitate a dog’s aggression towards people/animals or address other serious behavioural issues.