Q. Why should I bring my dog or puppy to Annie for training?
A. I see training as something that should be fun and effective for both the humans and the dog. Many of us spend a great deal of time with our dogs and they should be a very enjoyable part of our lives. It gets un-fun to be around a dog that is always jumping on you or your guests, or a dog that nearly pulls your arm out of its socket on a walk.
I think it is only fair to humanely show our dogs what we expect of them. Dogs are not born knowing what “sit” or “don’t jump on me!” means and it is our responsibility to teach them good manners.
Q. What Kind of Training Do You Use?
A. I teach dogs through the use of a powerful, fun and pain-free tool: the clicker. I use clicker training as it is the fastest and most accurate way to show our dogs what we expect from them. It’s also the most humane teaching tool available to dog owners.
Clicker Training can be used on any animal and it has been used to train marine mammals (often with a whistle instead of a clicker), sheep and even chickens. That’s right, I said chickens. 😉
Q. What is Clicker Training?
A. Author and trainer Karen Pryor describes it best: “Clicker training” is an animal training method based on behavioral psychology that relies on marking desirable behavior and rewarding it.
Desirable behavior is usually marked by using a “clicker,” a mechanical device that makes a short, distinct “click” sound which tells the animal exactly when they’re doing the right thing. This clear form of communication, combined with positive reinforcement, is an effective, safe, and humane way to teach any animal any behavior that it is physically and mentally capable of doing.”
You can start reading up on Clicker Training through Karen Pryor’s excellent website. She is the top clicker guru in the country:
Q. Will I always have to carry around that clicker and treats for the rest of my dog’s life?
A. Clicker Training is used to teach new behaviors to dogs and puppies; once the dog has learned the new behavior, we fade the clicker and we can fade out the treats too.
For example, I live on a ranch near here and I have trained my 4 dogs to walk with me off-leash and to come when I call them and to stay away from potential trouble. I trained them each to first come when called individually with the clicker. I faded the clicker dog by dog as they learned what the word “come” meant. I still often reward my pack for coming to me in large open fields because it’s hard for a dog to choose a human over the great things they encounter outdoors. I want that recall reliable and it is. My 4 dogs stay out of trouble and most importantly, stay with me on off-leash walks.
Q. Can you help me with my dog’s behavioral challenges? For example, what if my dog hates going into his crate or barks all day long?
A. Yes, I can help with behavioral issues and I am happy to do so.
In my 20 years of dog rescue work, I have trained dogs that come from every Central Texas shelter and that have had just about every imaginable behavioral issue that a dog can possess. I have many tools in my trainer’s toolbox to help you help your dog. Behavioral issues usually don’t develop overnight and they take more time to correct than do simple obedience issues, so please be prepared to work at home with the dog-friendly techniques that I will teach you.
On average, I give clients enough knowledge to handle their dog’s behavioral issue(s) within three private lessons – assuming that the owner does do follow-up work at home with their dog.
Q. Can you help a dog that is aggressive to other dogs or people?
A. Yes! I use some of the most cutting-edge, successful behavior modification training that exists for dog owners. Owning a reactive/aggressive dog can result in a lot of heartache and stress for you and for your dog. New training techniques give dogs the peace of mind they need to be able to behave in the presence of other dogs or people.
Q. Will you help me with my “bully breed” dog?
A. Yes! I have a real affinity for dogs such as Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, German Shepherds and the like. I think Pit Bulls too often get a bad rap and they can be outstanding dogs, with the right owner behind them. I had a Rottie for 12 years and he taught me so very much about Rottweilers. I have had German Shepherds most of my life and I am a huge fan of the breed. I’ve worked with countless Pit Bulls and I really love pits too. Okay, there isn’t a breed of dog out there that I don’t like but I especially like strong, bold dogs.
I do feel that if you own a strong dog – no matter what its breeding – you REALLY owe that dog a commitment to leadership that is humane and effective.
Q. Will clicker training work for my “bully breed” dog?
A. Yes! I think sometimes it might work best on a bully breed. It also does wonders for the feisty breeds such as Jack Russell Terriers. The beautiful thing about the clicker is that it works with all dogs, all breeds, and all temperaments. It fixes behavioral problems and creates obedience stars.