• Courtney Bray

    April 17, 2018 at 1:13 pm

    Hi Zee,

    Yes, sorry, that was quite a long response. Take your time absorbing.

    Sorry to hear about your last GS. That’s no fun.

    BOOT CAMPS: Rgd ‘boot camps’. I am sure it is POSSIBLE that dogs might better know sit, down, come, leave it, etc, after a boot camp. The main problems I see with boot camp (they can certainly vary) are:

    1. What happens when your dog comes ‘home’? Do you know how to work with your dog? (and that is all hoping that the boot camp people were working in a balanced way with your dog in the first place). Do YOU know how to be a leader? How do you know what to do next on your own?

    2. How long are they actually spending with your dog while they are being boarded? Is this going to stress your dog out and cause more problems?

    I’ll give you an example.

    I had an acquaintance who got a second GS. Her first was adopted/now elderly, but fully trained from a previous owner and ‘easy’. I kept gently reminding her (she already had issues early on with reactivity, which, for a GS, is relatively ‘normal’) she should do some training/get a handle on that. It wasn’t until her dog bit a friend before a group jog that it finally hit home.
    A few things happened.
    She considered needing to put the dog down. Considered going to a boot camp to quickly ‘fix’ her dog. She thought about taking her time in private lessons/basically follow my advice on how to proceed, what she needed to do, what to work on.

    Before making her decision, I suggested she get more information about the boot camp. It turns out that the one she looked into would only be spending 1 hour a day training her dog. The rest of the time, he was crated or in a small area.
    To me this is a no-brainer.

    What did she do? She’s been working with her dog for some months now with me, off and on, considering life schedules, they are doing fantastically! We met once a week, sometimes with a 2-week break or more if she was too busy for a lesson, etc. Am I good at what I do? Sure! But SHE put the time in at home, the other 6 days a week, over and over again.
    We just recently went downtown working heel together. That’s the kind of patience that pays off. It’s a beautiful thing to see a previously lunging, barking, growling, howling dog on-leash chilling out in a sit in a very busy parking lot like an old pooch with his body all relaxed. It’s also the coolest thing to see the dogs ‘happy’ because they are working and want to work with their owners.

    YOUR TRAINING: The reality of re-training or training is that the time YOU put into training with your dog and developing your bond and relationship with your dog, this is what gets you to where you want to be. Help IS realistically needed with reactive dogs if one doesn’t have any experience. But, the time you spend slowly, every day, and maybe an assisted lesson a week, that’s what trains your dog.
    Better to take 4-5 months+ to learn obedience, a lesson once a week (ish), than to go for thousands of dollars in 7 days. There is a ‘creature’ limit to learning over a short period of time. If you ‘gave’ your dog to a trainer to live with, say for 4-5 months, sure, that will work. Will cost you likely $4-5,000 if you can find someone reputable, and YOU would still need to be trained a good amount after that. Those are pretty much the only fair options for a dog, and, in my opinion, options that actually work.

    Ok boot camp lecture over! ha!

    Rgd your training interest:

    LOCATION: Where are you located? Mike (D’Abruzzo) who runs this website offers a training program for trainers or for people who simply make it a priority/are interested in learning the Foundation Style Training methods. You just need to see if he has some openings. It is done ONLINE unless you happen to be local. It progresses as quickly as you are able (and his schedule allows).

    This is a VERY comprehensive training, extremely research-based (the most current) as well as his contributing years and years of practical experience, and it is quite a bit of information to plow through.
    I highly recommend it if you are seriously interested in understanding dog behavior, being educated on training methods that actually work, but are also fair, gentle firm, and predictable with the dogs.

    IN PERSON/HANDS ON? Now, if you want to do some things ‘in person’ with your own dog and others, I would also touch base with Mike. I went with a dog for a month last year, as I wanted to attend all of the local classes (Carmel, NY) in person. I’m very hands on, wanted to soak up the vibe of a group of reactive dogs in training, and wanted to see how things have evolved (I mentored with Steven Kessler/Brooklyn Dog Whisperer who also mentored with Mike years ago). That was great and invaluable in person.

    So it sort of depends on what you are shooting for and interested in.

    Of course, you are always welcome to come to Bainbridge Island, WA and work with me here… 🙂 We could also get some work done online to a certain point. Bottom line though, it’s all about location. Mike also has his other Foundation trainers here and there across the US. So you could inquire about that.

    PLAN: If it were me? I would see if Mike has a spot free and begin the course. It takes awhile to finish it. You would have an idea about what kind of further in-person training you might like to do in the summer once you begin the online course and get your feet wet. The sad reality is that there is NO STANDARDIZATION of dog training in the US. This leads, frankly, to a whole lot of bologne being taught.

    WHO TO TRAIN WITH: The way I look at it is: Will I reach my goals working with this trainer? (sometimes one needs to also discover if the goals are realistic). Is my dog in pain/yelping/flighting for any period of time during the training? Is my dog enjoying working & training? Am I enjoying teaching my dog? Is my dog able to increasingly learn in a bigger and bigger distraction level or is is my dog just giving me the bird most of the time? Am I able to find the proper motivational level in order to achieve what I want, not what my dog might appear to want? In other words… does this bloody work and is my bond with my dog getting better/more enjoyable and is my dog ‘psyched’ to go to train? That usually tells you all you need to know :))

    This topic reminds me of Gandhi quote. Permit me one literary digression rgd the bewildering amount of training ‘noise’ out there, with a quote from Gandhi’s book “All men are brothers”. The quote (MM,17) is prefaced by:

    “What… is Truth? A difficult question; but I have solved it for myself by saying that it is what the voice within tells you. How then, you ask, different people think of different and contrary truths? Well, seeing that the human mind works through innumerable media and that the evolution of the human mind is not the same for all, it follows that what may be truth for one may be untruth for another, and hence those who have made these experiments have come to the conclusion that there are certain conditions to be observed in making those experiments….. ”

    The part I love is this next sentence:
    “It is because we have at the present moment everybody claiming the right of conscience without going through any discipline whatsoever that there is so much untruth being delivered to a bewildered world.”

    DOGTRAINING.WORLD AS A RESOURCE: Use this website as a resource. There is the open community forum as well as a gazillion videos to get you started in the “Phase I” training. There are a few of “Phase 2” (that gets more complicated solely on your own) training. If you are doing the Foundation Style training method course, you additionally have other trainers comparing notes and experiences. It might be enough for you now until you REALLY get the bug. 🙂