It’s a question that comes up a lot in my experience. You may feel your dog doesn’t listen or pay attention, and so feel that training for them, is impossible.
I want to tell you now that there is ALWAYS hope. It is 100% possible and I’ve seen it work first-hand, hundreds of times, with hundreds of different dogs.
I really want to challenge your thinking process here.
You might have been told by friends, family or even previous trainers, that there is ‘no hope’ for your dog. These people may have given your dog labels like ‘too far gone’, ‘reactive’ or ‘difficult’ You may have even given your dog these labels yourself and felt like giving up.
Labels are useful for us to work out where your dog’s weaknesses are, but it certainly doesn’t DEFINE who they are.
Let’s get rid of those labels.
Have you have tried other trainers, feeling like you are at a loss and not making progress, and reached ‘the end of the road’? That simply means you have reached the end of THEIR road. Do not put THEIR limitations, onto you or your dog.
As a dog trainer, I never put limitations on my training knowledge. There is always new research and new learning to take on board. Any good trainer will openly admit to that. A trainer that is stuck in their ‘old fashioned’ ways, is certainly a trainer to avoid at all costs!
When there are no limitations, it means there are ALWAYS options. That applies to ALL dogs for ALL behaviours in any given situation. Don’t put limitations on your dog – because I wont.
BREED SPECIFIC BEHAVIOURS
Have you ever been told that you will never get your Border Collie to stop chasing things like cars, people or bikes? Or perhaps they are snappy because its ‘bred’ into them? Maybe you’ve been told, or you assume, that you’ll never get your ‘sniffy’ Spaniel to lift its head off the ground? Whilst it is true that some breeds can have specific types of behaviours, it doesn’t mean we should put limitations on our dogs or their training journey.
Lets scrap those breed specific limitations aswell.
OKAY SO HOW?
This is where the real science comes in.
Your dog’s brain is made up of different concepts, like self-control, calmness and optimism. These shape your dog’s personality and in turn, in certain situations, they will perform a certain behaviour based on how those concepts are formed. If your dog is not very optimistic for example, and a bit of a pessimist, they may see that dog across the road, feel quite anxious and so bark or lunge.
Most trainers will get your dogs training IN that situation. This is quite probably going to make your dog feel a lot worse.
With concept training, we first of all work on strengthening those concepts, helping your dog to become more optimistic, build more self-control, and practice more calmness. We do this by playing games (YES GAMES!) that re-shape these concepts, which in turn re-shapes your dog’s brain.
We avoid putting your dog INTO those situations, whilst training FOR the situation.
When you think about it, it makes sense right? Training that changes how your dog thinks about the world around them.
All of my classes are built on this foundation of concept training with a ‘one size DOESN’T fit all’ approach. Everything is taken at a dog’s individual pace of learning, taking their behaviour and personality into account.
If you are struggling right now, and just need someone to talk to about your dog’s struggles, or want some more information about classes, then please do get in touch. I have had many students in the exactly the same boat as you over the years, who are now absolutely thriving with their dogs. It really is never too late.