I feel like the biggest difference between Off Leash K9 Training and other dog trainers, in general, is our philosophy of not approaching training with an ideological bias. There are many training methodologies, and an owner can quickly get confused while researching how to approach a behavior problem while searching the web or even asking other trainers, who will all give different answers. The thing is, all these methodologies exist because they work with specific types of dogs or a general percentage of dogs. However, our stance is that every dog’s temperament and traits need to be considered to avoid mistakes. Instead of focusing on one methodology, we apply the entire spectrum of pressure vs reward (operant conditioning) based on a dog’s specific temperament and behavior issues.
50% of our clients have already been through training programs…and have been unsuccessful.
In general, around 50% of our clients have already been through training programs, even board and trains, and have been unsuccessful. Many of these have focused only on reward, which can lead to specific behavior issues but in general, the biggest problem being the dog simply won’t listen in the presence of any type of distraction. We also receive clients whose dogs have been worked strictly with pressure. In most of these cases, the pressure has been applied too heavy-handedly and we now have a dog with a confidence/anxiety issue. This is why it’s critical to have an experienced handler guiding owners through any type of pressure work.
We avoid these types of issues by taking each dog’s specific temperament and drives into account. For some dogs, a treat as a reward is pointless as the dog may simply not have drive for the treat, and you’re left standing pleading with the dog while they chase a squirrel (competing motivator) across the road. That same dog may get extremely excited by a tug, ball, or even simply enthusiastic praise! On the other hand, when working with pressure, you may find one dog is extremely strong and confident and just doesn’t respond, while another dog will wilt if you simply give a strong look. Additionally, a dog in a relaxed environment may respond to very low levels of pressure, but in the case of the squirrel above, will require much higher levels of pressure to minimize the effect of that particular distraction.
We approach every issue from the dog’s perspective
You can see many examples, before and after, of client dogs that we have trained (another point that sets us apart in my opinion) on our YouTube channel. We do these videos to show our results rather than just talk about them. I feel like our results speak for themselves. We approach every issue from the dog’s perspective and never try to hammer a circle into a square. Obviously handling skill is a huge factor with these results, but equally, it just boils down to work ethic and dedication. We work with a lot of tough behavior issues and it can take blood, sweat, and tears to achieve a breakthrough. That said, the more work a handler puts in, the more rewarding it feels when that breakthrough comes.
Finally, it’s our motto to address every issue, above all else, with the dog’s best interest at heart. I think that fundamental approach is not only a major factor in our results but really shines through with our clients as you can see in our many reviews and testimonials.