Beyond Obedience: Embracing a Deeper Connection with Your Dog

Over the past several months, we have been conducting Listening Sessions on Dog Training Methodology with our community. These have been very enlightening as passionate dog guardians shared what they believe, practice, and hope for the future.

As a follow up to the Listening Sessions, a panel of five of our dog training partners tackled questions that were raised by participants of the Listening Sessions.

Our dog trainer panel included: Laura Gendron of Miss Behavior Training , Jake Belmont of Red Pointy Dog Training, Monica Allaire-McMahon of Barrington Barks & Behavior, Ashley Clark of You and Your Dog Training & Services, and Cindy Ehlers of Pawsitive Pet.

Key takeaways from the panel discussion included:

  • Evolving Training Philosophies and Techniques: Trainers have transitioned from traditional methods to positive reinforcement, influenced by personal growth, mentorship, and advancements in dog behavior understanding.
  • Importance of Certification and Continuous Learning: Professional certifications are crucial for trainers to remain knowledgeable. These certifications advocate for informed training practices through ongoing education.
  • Adaptability in Training Methods: Training must be tailored to each dog and owner, taking into account the dog’s background and the owner’s capabilities, to ensure humane and effective training.
  • Handling Challenging Behaviors: Addressing complex behaviors involves understanding underlying causes and fostering a safe learning environment, emphasizing trust and confidence building.
  • Transitioning from Aversive Methods: The panel discussed the negative impacts of aversive training and strategies for shifting to positive reinforcement, highlighting the need for patience and a tailored approach.
  • Role of Dog Trainers as Educators and Advocates: Beyond training, panelists see themselves as educators and advocates, emphasizing the importance of communication, education, and support to strengthen the human-dog relationship.
  • Community and Support: A supportive community for dog owners is vital. Providing resources, education, and a platform for discussions helps owners make informed training decisions, promoting a culture of compassion.

Finally, we rounded off our ongoing discussion with our partner Helen St. Pierre, who is the owner of No Monkey Business Dog Training, to further explore the evolving landscape of dog training.

Moving beyond conventional methods, our conversation focused on building relationships with our dogs through understanding and respect. All discussions with our dog training partners shared valuable insights into effective training practices that prioritize the dog’s wellbeing.

Additional takeaways from our conversation with Helen include:

  • Follow Your Gut: Trusting one’s intuition is crucial when training practices feel wrong.
  • Ask Questions: Engaging in open dialogue to better understand training methods ensures mutual agreement and understanding.
  • Advocate for Your Dog: Dog guardians must speak up for their pets’ comfort and safety, acting as their advocates.
  • Aversive Does Not Mean Abusive: Emphasizing the critical difference between aversive techniques and abuse, this principle promotes a balanced and respectful training strategy.
  • Build a Relationship: The essence of training lies in nurturing a profound connection with dogs rather than just demanding obedience, promoting a journey of cooperation and mutual understanding.

Members can access the Dog Trainer Panel Discussion and Having the Tough Conversation with Helen videos in the Library.

Connect with other dog lovers online in the Golden Dog Facebook Community.

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