by Toni Drugmand and Fred Hassen
Editor’s Note: We had the pleasure of watching Toni Drugmand and her group of happy, well-trained dogs at the Arizona’s recent RV show at the Civic Plaza. It occurred to us how much more pleasurable it is for boaters, RVers, and anglers to have well-mannered dogs as their “Good Company” on outings around the state. Consequently, we at AZBW decided to share a bit about Sit Means Sit with our readers.
Dogs give so much to us and touch us so deeply. They bring us such comfort and joy; they deserve to have the best we can give them in terms of happiness and freedom and safety and security.
Dogs show happiness when we come home, when we say nice things to them, and especially when we spend time with them. They seem to express sadness when we are gone or get upset, and they even seem to sense when we are not feeling well.
It is hard to imagine that they really don’t know how to behave in our world of circumstances. Nevertheless, their world. of communication, though it shares similar virtues, is very different from ours.
The training decisions you make of course are your personal choice, and you have the freedom to select what makes the most sense to you. The outdoor recreational lifestyle that hikers, campers, horseback riders, boaters, anglers, and RVers love to enjoy are only enhanced when the family pet is able to be a part of the experience.
Having a well-mannered pet ensures the pleasure and enjoyment that both dog and owner get to experience together.
Dogs Are Social Critters
Because dogs are naturally social beings, they want to be with us. Often referred to as pack animals, dogs have an instinctive need to be part of a pack or group of other dogs.
To ensure survival, dogs in the wild have a very strong need to have order and boundaries. If they don’t, their ability to survive is weakened.
This innate ingredient makes them easily trainable. It also provides us with a strong case for training because having order and structure is something the dog naturally needs.
The dog we are talking about is a canine wonder, but no one told him the mail carrier shouldn’t be chased down the block, or Granny should be treated with gentleness and not jumped upon with love, the lovely garden that mother just planted needs to stay earthed, and the sprinklers are not something to be killed.
So there you are with your dog at your side. To get anywhere, you have to step past the plethora of theories and methods, each of which claim to be the Holy Grail.
Your dog, with all his/her creative exploration of behavior options like the counter surfing, chasing cars, chewing your favorite leather shoes and so on, is really just looking for a job, and if he/she doesn’t find one is sure to create one.
He is looking for someone to show him about how things are, to keep him safe, to prepare his meals and most importantly, someone to spend time with. All he really wants to know is what the boundaries and rules are.
If he can’t find them from your direction, then he might just have to invent them! Dogs of all types, temperaments, and breeds fall into this category.
Training your dog gives your canine friend a job and helps him understand what his boundaries are. It provides him with a sense of safety and security, and it allows both of you freedom and the enjoyment of your companionship because of it.
Our Training here at DOG-ON-IT Training! uses the No Limitations system of dog training developed by Fred Hassen. This dog-training approach utilizes a remote-training collar (www.sitmeanssit.com).
This allows us to train our dogs in a very effective, quick, and gentle manner because of the instant communication we are able to share with our dog. Our clients all receive a free training demonstration so they can see the initial response of their dogs first hand in the face of distractions and make their decisions based on what they see first hand. We call this real world training.
We ask our clients to feel the collar. Many clients express that the pulse feels like a Tens Unit they have experienced or like other electronic pulse treatments used by physical therapists, chiropractors, and other medical professionals. In fact, recently in a conversation with a Tens Unit Sales representative, I was told that our remote dog training collars were not as strong as the feel of the portable Tens Unit he was selling.
Innovation has always brought about controversy, and the idea of using a collar that promotes an electronic pulse can be an emotionally loaded and controversial subject for some. The controversy however, should pale, in comparison, to the results our training is known for.
Much of the opposition to this method is based on a genuine lack of education and the assumption that the training collar is harsh punishment. Innovation usually faces unfounded criticism.
After all, the bicycle was deemed an instrument of the devil, for example. The airplane was thought to surely stop your heart, and the automobile had as many concerns as well. Today we all know those criticisms are absurd.
Making the Right Training Decision
One of the first questions a person new to dog training asks is “Where do I start?” It can be overwhelming.
There are as many “experts” in the field as there are breeds of dogs. All you have to do is pick up one of the dozens of dog-training books.
If you really do some homework, you will check out the Internet and all other obvious sources for information. It can be overwhelming, a bit confusing, and full of contradictions.
When someone represents themselves to you as an “expert” in the field, it can mean that they have years of quality training experience, or they might have recently put up a sign that reads “dog trainer,” or “animal behavior specialist,” without much experience at all.
Titles and certifications for trainers are not standardized. You may also find that everyone you know, friend or acquaintance, has an “expert” opinion.
Equipment, more varied than ever, has also become the subject of heated controversy. Some people love head halters others think they are crutches. Some swear by clickers; some swear against them. Some people hate pinch collars, or any collar at all, and insist on a harness.
There are “no- pull” harnesses, pulling harnesses, soft muzzles, basket muzzles, martingales, British slip leashes, Flexis, leashes that emit a noise when the dog pulls, leashes made of Bungee cord, and the,list goes on and on. If you use food in training, you might be told that you must have the right treats, and be vigilant in your quest to find them.
Your toy better be motivating, or you need to buy another one and try again. You could also be told that in order to motivate your dog to do what you need of him, you must withhold food from him until he gets hungry enough to listen.
Eventually if he wants to eat he will work for his food. Someone else might tell you this is a mean thing to do to your dog.
The language that defines exactly what dog training is can be as slippery as it is emotionally loaded. Moreover, it still does not define the art of talking to your dog in a way that he learns what you want him to know.
Not surprisingly, the multitude of approaches and of tools has led to as many cautionary tales as success stories. How can a beginner get anything done when so many people are telling you so many contrary things?
Remember the safety and security of training your dog will go along way to help ensure a memorable and relaxing time on your outdoor adventures. If you are interested in a free training demonstration at DOG-ON-IT Training! or in simply receiving more information, call (602) 992-8743 or visit either www.nomoreleash.com or www.sitmeanssit.com.
Reprinted from AZ Boating & Watersports, April 2006