Elllie’s Training Philosophy

Underneath the veneer of domestication in dogs and cats lie the instinctive behaviors which allowed them to survive for centuries before domestication. They are wild animals which have been bred to live with humans. If humans were taken out of the equation our dogs and cats would quickly revert to natural instinct behavior to survive. Hunting and scavenging are natural for them and would very quickly reappear, as would pack behaviors in dogs. Pack ranking struggles, fights, fear aggression towards unknown animals, territoriality, and guarding behavior are all instinctive.Though the dog has been bred to interact with humans for hundreds of years these behaviors continue to be inherent in our pets.

With this in mind, as responsible owners, we need to set our animals up for success in our world! It is our job as their guardians to train healthy behaviors and correct inappropriate responses. If we are not  the dog’s boss, will we be able to succeed in stopping inappropriate or aggressive behavior if and when it erupts?

All dogs are driven by natural instincts; therefore, any dog will fight and any dog will bite if pushed into a difficult enough situation.  It is our job as owners and handlers to set them up to succeed.

I believe that dogs are individual much as people are: their personalities, energy levels, stubbornness, motivations and stressors are all individual. No single training technique or method works well and gets the best result with every dog.

A good trainer needs to be flexible and employ many training techniques. I use classic conditioning, operant conditioning, counter conditioning, negative correction, imprinting, and a variety of other techniques to teach and restructure dog behaviors.

In my experience, the most valuable tools a trainer can have are understanding dog behavior, the ability to “read” dogs, and good communication skills with dogs and people.

How I am different

While many trainers teach you in a class environment where there are numerous distractions, I find it more effective to teach with little or no distraction first.  When you know the dog knows what you are asking and you can get it every time, I begin to add distraction. I find this to be effective both in teaching the dog  and in creating a team between dog and owner once the dog understands his or her commands.

A dog will work for you for one of two reasons: love or fear. We always want to create a loving bond between dog and owner, while maintaining a healthy pack ranking. People often remark on how much more loving their dog is when he comes home from one of my training camps.  Dogs, like humans, appreciate having clear boundaries. Your dog learns to respect you during training here…remember there is no love without respect among people and it’s the same with dogs. If a pack leader isn’t present in their world dogs will naturally gravitate to that position.

If you would like further information about training, please contact me.