I have been around dogs most of my life. My introduction to dog training started in the early 1980's when I joined a Schutzhund in Albany, NY. I was told that if I wanted to compete and earn titles, "traditional" training was the way to go. I was told that I had to be the "pack leader" because my dog was always going to dominate me. Really? Even at the tender age of 6 months old? Traditional training was not for me!
I looked into lure and clicker training. However, I decided that I didn't want my dog to follow the food and then be reinforced with it. When the lure is gone, often so is the behavior. I liked clicker training, but I wanted to be in control of when the behavior ends, not the marker.
None of these training methods took into account the dog's emotional state and as far as I'm concerned, that is the most important aspect of dog training. If your dog is not emotionally balanced, his learning ability or his performance will suffer greatly.
I have developed a training method that is extremely effective. No matter what dog sport you get into, if you use my foundation, you are going to have a dog that performs at a very high level.
I do not use corrections, suppression or force to train or clarify skills; I do not lure my dog into position, nor does my marker end the behavior.
Here are a few of the unique things I do.
I searched out positive trainers, reading their books, watching tapes and attending seminars. I utilized what I thought would be the most helpful to teach dogs, and ignored what I didn't believe in. The following is a shortened list of those who have influenced my training, but my best teachers have been the thousands of dogs that I have worked with over the past 30+ years.
AGILITY - Elicia Calhoun, Patti Hatfield, Stuart Mah, Guy Blancke, Jo Gauthier
OBEDIENCE - Chris Bach, Patty Ruzzo, Rita Susanto, Janice DeMello, Anne Marie Silverton
TRACKING - Sheila Booth, Sgt. Rick Kemner
BEHAVIOR - Chris Bach, Sheila Booth, Ray Coppinger, Ted Turner, Kevin Behan, Jean Donaldson, Patricia McConnell
NOSEWORK - US Customs Drug Dog Handler Mike Dugan, NYS Trooper Beattie, and other local law enforcement.