Balanced Dog Trainers vs Hacks – What you Should Know.

The dog training industry is on the fringe of widespread regulation.  Infomercials, reality TV, franchises, and social media pop marketing are front and center to the public eye.

The widespread banning of training equipment, such as prong and E-collars, are becoming more common in developed countries as the public determines that such things should not be used.  It is not hard to determine how this is happening.  After all, who is front and center to the public's social media feeds and TV screens?  Is it the most responsibly trained professional trainers or the best professional marketers?

Purely positive, balanced training, Kohler method, and countless trademarked styles of dog training can be a lot for anyone to sift through that is in need of dog training.

To make matters more difficult, since there is no regulation, how does a person seeking help really know that the trainer they choose is knowledgeable enough to provide fair guidance and choices.

Unfortunately, marketing will prevail in an unregulated industry when there is no organization policing claims such as:

"Positive dog training. Best results without using pain or fear!"

"Happy and balanced off-leash trained dog in 10 days!"

"Aggression problems fixed in one training session!"

The video below will be of use to anyone who is confused by the marketing and perhaps desperate for training help.   The video talks about different "types" of trainers and also has an unedited group class.

Why did I put a whole unedited group class?  It is mainly to show that there is nothing to hide when a trainer is helping the public and their dogs responsibly.  After the video, I put a full playlist of EVERY major step we use in training a dog to "heel" off-leash from treats training to E-collar training. To show there is nothing to sell, the information is yours.  But, most of all, there should be nothing to ban when a trainer is not scared to show prong and E-collar training unedited.

If you are in the industry and you care about your profession, ask yourself who gives the industry a bad name?  Are they really looking out for the clients, their dogs, and the industry?  Who will get our tools banned?  In my opinion, it is the uneducated dog trainers on both ends of the spectrum.  Those that don't know how to use the tools bringing attention to those who also don't know how to use the tools but use them anyway.  Why not ban uneducated trainers from offering professional service if they cannot pass simple tests on canine behavior, husbandry, learning theory, and proper tool use?  How about a code of ethics that focuses on the humane treatment of the dog and the owner?

Most respected professions have some sort of industry standard for a real reason.  It is for the protection of not only the consumer but also of the hard working professional.  Without standards, everyday life would be filled with navigating through quacks and hacks.  At the very least it is a public safety issue.

If there is not a push for higher standards, the industry will implode and everyone suffers.  Educated professional trainers need to separate themselves from the hacks in the industry.  Please watch the video below. All reference material will be in links after the video:

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Some reference material below:

Criminal Acts by the Positive Dog Training Community

Operant Conditioning

Avoidance and Escape Conditioning

This is the best plan to learn about training "heel" using this site:

First, have a decent base about canine behavior and WHY your dog is disobeying.  You can read through the self-help area for this.  Please, at the very least, read carefully through the leadership section.

Then, learn some basics on how to handle the leash and "pump".  Anywhere in an older video where the dog receives wrist flicks or a slight bump on the leash is now replaced with slight pressure and "pump" :

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After, you have learned how to handle the leash be sure to practice the basics of "leash manners".  The technique can be used on a starmark or prong style with the technique below.  It can be modified by using slight pressure with halti-style collars:

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Do not start teaching the full rules of "heel" with any type of leash corrections unless you taught your dog what heel means and why it is good.  A big problem with this command is that most people do not give the command the same respect that they would give a "sit" or "down" command.

Most people will take their time to use the word sit and down to reward the dog before formally teaching in obedience, but people rarely do this for heel.  Instead, most people put the dog on the leash and try to wing it with leash corrections.  Watch our phase 1 video below and practice before doing the phase 2 heel.

A notable difference, to keep in mind, is that we prefer to no longer teach the automatic sit at the halt for various reasons.  Otherwise, the video is still accurate:

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The FIRST video on the post, featuring the uncut group class is best practiced at this point.  Normally, after I have trained dogs to about that level I will introduce "warning steps" to help teach the dog how to completely avoid leash corrections if the dog is truly trying their best.  If you watch this older version of heel, you will find the warning steps (and also how to use the halti for heel.)

Follow the footwork for heel that is taught in the group class, NOT the footwork in this video.  Also, DO NOT teach automatic sits on the halt. (We have fazed that out for various reasons).  When you halt the dog can stand.  If you want the dog to sit then say the dog's name, give the command, and give the dog  a fair chance to sit.  All else is accurate, ESPECIALLY the warning steps (conditioned punisher):

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Here is Phase 3 training, where we would use the ecollar.  These videos are about a decade old but we uploaded them to youtube recently from our archives.  They were filmed in our old stomping grounds at Dog Training Area 51, but still hold true to the style.  Sorry about the quality, at some point we will redo these old videos:

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Part 1 to heel

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part 2 to heel

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