Training the Human
We call ourselves dog trainers, but the real training starts with the human. The time that your dog spends with us, whether a private lesson or group instruction, is relatively insignificant in the dog’s life. The time that YOU spend with us is a complete learning period. After a session with Good Dogma, you will take with you individualized homework instructions to practice and reinforce the lesson.
Below is a list for you, the trainer, to think about each day that you live with and train your dog:
Always ensure that your dog’s physical/psychological needs are being met: Leadership, exercise, food, shelter, trust, connection.
Remain in the “Leadership” zone (calm and assertive) at all times – change the balance/dynamics of the relationship, let the dog know that you, the human, are in charge of the pack.
Your dog is always keeping tabs on your “energy” (stressed, calm, excited, nervous, etc.) and reacting to that energy.
A Purebred dog is still a dog. See them as dogs, not as breeds – but do consider the special needs of the breed (eg border collies, viszlas, beagles, etc.).
Training is “superficial”, focus on the “big picture”. The goal is to have your dog respond to you as a leader utilizing your energy, vocalizations and body language Vs. the sound of a “command”. Alpha dogs “train” their packs this way. It’s about energy and leadership.
It’s critically important to understand the way your dog thinks. We recommend books by Dr. Ian Dunbar, Jean Donaldson and Dr. Bruce Fogle. Pay attention to the dog’s body language to understand and to anticipate behaviors so that you can preempt them before the fact. It’s always easier to stop a behavior before it happens than to manage it once it happens.
When you say, “We’ve tried everything”, think about this: did you use dog psychology or human psychology? Anger, frustration and punishment are not part of a dog’s psychology. The dog fails when the human fails.
Don’t make excuses for your dog’s behavior…train for new, more desirable behaviors.
Focus on your goal(s) for the dog, try not to get distracted by the dog’s behavior in the moment. Think long term and be patient with younger dogs.
Lack of structure, routine and schedule creates chaos for you, your family and the dog.