My Training Philosophy
I am dedicated to the use of reward-based training to facilitate learning in my canine clients. Reward-based training (sometimes called “positive reinforcement” or “clicker training”) involves the use of anything a dog might find rewarding, whether that be food, toys, play, or praise, to elicit and maintain behaviors that we like to see in our dogs. Good training is all about timing, consistency, problem-solving, and learning how to communicate better with our dogs. I believe the process should be fun and low-stress for the dog (and the human!), and the environment should be set up properly so that the dog is unlikely to make mistakes or get frustrated. I do not use techniques or tools that are designed to hurt, cause discomfort, or scare your dog, as these methods often create more problems than they solve and can be detrimental to your relationship with your dog.
Through the use of positive reinforcement training, we can strengthen the human-canine bond, teach our dogs what we expect of them more quickly, better understand how our dogs communicate, and create a learning environment that is fun and engaging for all involved.
In Animal Assisted Therapy, the way in which you interact with your canine co-therapist can have a tremendous effect on your bond with your dog, your dog’s experience in his/her work, and the therapeutic environment for the client. If we advocate for kindness and non-violence when it comes to human interactions, why should our canine companions be treated any differently? By learning to treat our dogs with kindness and compassion, whether it be in training situations or just in daily life, we can become more skilled and compassionate in our interactions with other humans, too!