Dog training can be incredibly rewarding, both for you and your dog if you do it the “right way”. Interestingly, the “right way” in dog training seems to be a moving target. Ask five dog trainers the same training related question and there is a good chance you will get five different answers. This can be really confusing, especially if you are completely new to the realm of dog training.

If you are thinking about training your dog, you probably do this because you care about your dog. So how can it be that the first order of business for so many dog trainers is to show you how to use a choke collar, or even worse, a prong collar for “correcting” your dog. If you don’t know better, you are likely to follow such advice right down the historic path of ancient training methods without even realizing it.  This website is all about positive dog training methods. This means in essence that you want to teach your dog how to succeed instead of punishing him or her for failure.

How it all started

When I decided to get back into the Schutzhund sport here in the United States, I wanted to take a fresh look at my past experience as a competitive dog handler, rescue dog trainer and pet owner. I was interested to see if there have been new approaches to dog training and I also wanted refresh my memory so I don’t make any (major) mistakes with my new German Shepherd Dog puppy “Andy“. I ended up buying countless books on dog training (most of them in Germany) and I started to compare different training methods to build my own individual training program for Andy.

After all, I view him as my “pal” and not just as a means to achieve sports results like many others in this field unfortunately still do. After several weeks of reading through all kinds of training related materials, and after visiting a number of dog clubs here in the US and in Germany, it became clear to me that there was no “new standard” for training dogs. What I found however was a huge philosophical rift that had split a lot of dog trainers and handlers into two groups.

The first group still trains their dogs the “traditional way”, a way based on the common “jerk and pull” training methods that I was once taught as well more than 20 years ago. As for the second group, they no longer condone these methods which they consider mindless torture more than anything else. Their methods are primarily motivational: Teach your dog how to succeed instead of what happens if he fails. I always found it unethical when I saw other handlers resorting to prong collars just to teach their dog some basic obedience. These were the methods of the past, and there was no way that I would continue down this path in the future.

Andy’s training program is completely based on “positively reinforced operand conditioning”, and our results are simply outstanding. That’s what this website is all about. Whether you train your family pet, competitive Schutzhund or a rescue dog, this training method results in a happier and more confident dog with lots of motivation and drive. So does all of that make me an expert? Certainly not, but I wonder if there truly is one even though may claim to be one. All dogs are different and training methods change. That makes it important to keep an open mind – and to question methods that are recommended to you by the so-called experts if you think that these methods are not right for your dog.

Thanks for visiting!

Steve

“I’d like to be half the man my dog thinks I am”

 

 

 

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