Saying goodbye in stressful times

Hello,

I am Jennifer Williams certified dog trainer and I killed my dog… Please read the full story.

I know it has been a long time from my last post.  Ranging from aggression cases, pet sitting, dog walking and regular dog training classes it has been hard to sit down and do a decent post.  I ended up coming to a quick stop in January when I ended up in a car accident and a car on top of me breaking my back.  I had moral support from family and friends but once again my amazing dog Nyssa who had work beside me (In dog training) became an emotional support dog.  When my PTSD kicked in during the night she would wake up and come to my aid until I was able to fall back to sleep.  When my fiance had to go to work she kept a watchful eye on me.

Nyssa was helping me just as she had always helped everyone who she ever meant, she was more than just a dog she was my daughter.  Some dog trainer’s may tell you not to look at your dog as a family member like a human I am here to tell you do so!  You will form a bond stronger and know that you have a dog that will always be with you and willing to work their hardest to please you without being in fear.  You will get to know your dog in more detail than those who just view them as lower being.  Dogs are amazing, and when you view them in a higher light they become even more amazing and are able to reach higher goals you have for them.

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Within a week of me returning from the hospital, in a back brace and stuck in bed Nyssa all of the sudden took a turn for the worst.  She would still be willing to go outside and go to the bathroom and eat, but as soon as she was done she would come in and lay down and go to sleep.  The joyful playful five year old Golden was now sleeping more than our 8 year old Golden.  It was like something had sucked the life force out of her.  The first vet had no idea what was wrong and my fiance was sent to the CAVES emergency room.  It was there she ended up having an ultra-sound where the vet saw liquid in her heart sac.  That liquid was crushing her heart, they stated they can drain the liquid and there was a good chance that this was a fluke and would not fill up again.  As soon as they removed the liquid from the heart sac she was back to herself but the vet wanted to keep her over night just to make sure she was stable.        20150223_143508

It was at this point the hell weekend began, her heart sac would keep filling and they would have to re-drain the sac.  we were waiting for another expert to come in on Monday to see what a spot was on her heart.  Most of the vets believed it wasn’t cancer and my fiance and I wanted to know what was going on before we decided what to do next.  She was comfortable and mostly stabled with a few dips here and there.  For some god unknown reason this emergency vet did not have on call ultra-sound readers for the different body parts.  To me, they should always be on call, after all emergencies do not just happen during the week.  Monday came, and we were still waiting to hear what was going on with Nyssa, half of the day was gone and we finally called getting sick of waiting.  We wanted our girl back home with her family.  Once they had finally finished reading her scans we got the phone call.  It was the hardest phone call I have ever had to take.  I was informed that the spot was cancer, and it was a rapid form of it.   It wouldn’t have even matter if we had brought her in a month ago the tumor wouldn’t have even shown up.

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We asked if there way anything that could be done.  The vet said, yes a $10,000 surgery to remove and repair the heart, then chemo, and radiation.  This would give her at most 6 months to live three of which she would be trying to heal from the surgery and cancer treatments.  It was at this point I had to hand the phone over to my fiance as I felt like someone had stab me in the heart.  Once we got off the phone, I got help out of bed, got my back brace on, and went out with my walker.  I did not care about the pain ranging from the car ride to even walking I was going to see my daughter.  Once we got there we waited in a private room and the vets brought Nyssa to us, she was having a good moment, and had enough energy to run up to me and give me a lick on the face.  We talked to the vet some more making sure that what they stated was true, and there was no other way.  We were told to take our time, which then we asked if we could take her for a walk around the building outside.  She loves walks, it was a freezing cold day in January but Nyssa loved the winter.  While my fiance walked her on leash I trailed behind with my walker, once in a while taking a few pictures and videos of the two of them together

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  After the walk we went back inside to warm up in our private room and spent a few more hour with Nyssa.  We told her how her older sister was doing, what was happening at the house.  We also made her some promises.  When I was in the room with her by myself I told her what an amazing dog she has been and I only wish that we had more time together.  We started to noticed she was loosing energy and we knew from what the vet told us she was losing too much blood at this point.  When I looked at her gums they were white and I knew it was time before she had a heart attack.  We called in the vet, and while I wasn’t able to get down on the ground with her my fiance held her close and we said our goodbyes.  The vet told us we were doing the right thing, and her honestly would not put her own dog through the treatment that she told us about.

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I can’t tell you how much those final moments seemed to slow down.  The vet with the needle, I wanted to scream and stop her before she did anything to Nyssa but  I knew if I did I would only cause  Nyssa more suffering in the long run.  It would be selfish of me to keep her going only to have the cancer come back somewhere else in her body.  It would be selfish for me to put her through a surgery after going through four tappings (to remove the liquid) and then chemo and radiation only to have her last few months feeling sick from the treatment.  This form of cancer was the worst from what they told us, and easily travels around in the blood system just to find a new location to grow.  My mind was spinning in those final moments, those moments where she cuddled into her daddy and those moments where her ears perked up as I said her name and that we loved her.  It was so unreal, and then just like that her body became still and heavy in her dad’s arms.

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It was at this point we both lost it, we lost Nyssa and there was a huge hole left in our heart.  We left the vet’s with her collar.  We came home, Aya her older sister seemed to look for her which was the hardest thing to see.  I couldn’t eat for a solid week and could not stop crying for close to a month.  It just seemed unfair for the universe to take her during the time we needed her the most.  And it was hard to accept that she was gone for all of us in the family.

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So how do you deal with the loss of a family member?

A lot of people have asked me this over the years.  Each person is a little bit different and each person takes a different amount of time to saying goodbye fully.  I started to realized that even though she was physically gone I knew I had all those great memories we shared.  I focused more on those memories instead of the “Oh we never got to…”  For myself I found it very helpful to have her ashes, as well as have a photographs placed on canvas.  Too often have I seen families lose a dog, then it almost seems as if that dog never existed.  If we have photos of family who have passed away why can we not do this for our k-9 family members.  Next to her picture we have her collar hanging up and her CGC medal on the other side.  I want to remember she was here and I want others to know she was here on this earth, and she did make a difference to my family and others.

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Other ways I have seen people deal with their passing is having a tree planted with a little name plate next to it.  This is a lovely way of remembering your dog as the tree grows.  Others I have seen make facebook pages for their dogs to share photos and memories.  Do not let anyone tell you or push you to “get over it, its just a dog”.  This person has no idea what you family member meant to you and it is clear that they have never had the connection you had with their dogs.  Like I said before it is ok to take time to deal with the loss.  The biggest thing you have to remember which took me a while to accept is that I did do the right thing for her.  I made sure she wasn’t suffering in the end.  Most of all if you are having such a hard time you can not function get help from your Doctor, it has been proven the humans bond with their dogs in the same way and level as they do with human children.  It is understandable if some suffer from depression just don’t stay alone in that dark place.

1625780_207117620261_1525527_n(Nyssa with Aya when she was a pup)

Is it ok for me to get another dog?

Yes, it is ok.. for some it may take months, years, or even weeks once again it depends on the person.  Myself I waited until I felt some peace with what had happen.  It was also true with how quiet it was we felt we needed some new life in our home.  On top of that we knew Aya was becoming depressed being alone, matter of fact she went from a solid red color to whiting out on her face within a month of losing Nyssa.  We waited until we got the right feeling about a litter and did our research.  Once we brought her home we had a whole new set of challenges not just potty training and training in general.   We started to catch ourselves trying to compare our new family member to Nyssa.   Catch yourself ahead of time and understand this is a new life and soul.  There will be differences and there will be things that are the same but this is a new family member.  Remember that they are just starting out in life with a blank background and are learning from the beginning do not freak out or be disappointed because dog A used to be able to do this but our new dog B is not.  When you let go putting down your new puppy or dog this is when your relationship will start to grow and learning with take place for the both of you.  You are starting a new dance with a new partner in this life and you both got to support yourself.

Always remember your past family member would want you to be happy and that they will always be watching over you.

To read more about what has happened to Jennifer Please go to my Gofundme page:

http://www.gofundme.com/Jenniferwilliams

We love you Nyssa and we miss you.  You will always be part of our family!

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“Good Girl!”

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Please help even a 1.00 goes a long way. If you can not donate please share! Nyssa’s Emergency surgery

Hello,

Nyssa is a English cream Golden.  She helps out her mother during dog training in aggression cases as well as a demo dog.  She also helps with educational sessions with young children.  Before her emergency she was learning how to work along side her mother during a massage session to help out clients who are in physical and mental pain.  Any amount would help out and even sharing would help as well.
For more information about Nyssa please go to her Gofundme page:

http://www.gofundme.com/jj490k

Once again thank you  and happy new years!

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Puppy proofing- It goes beyond the puppy stage.

I often talk to my clients about a certain thing I call puppy proofing.  If you have you a puppy out and about the house without a leash attach to yourself and the puppy, it is up to the pet parent to make sure the house itself is a safe place.  It is also up to the pet parent to set up your puppy for success.

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Dogs are natural opportunistic  scavengers.  Add on top of that Pet parents who must leave their dogs alone 5 plus hours a day for work it can easily set a dog up to failure.  Often times we as humans tend to forget to leave something behind that keeps dogs stimulated which in turns helps to stop puppies/dogs from getting into trouble.  We also tend to have the bad habit of keeping the “no no” items in reach of wet noses.

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Items that most pet parents forget to put out of paws reach:

  • News Papers
  • Magazines
  • Trash cans (that are over flowing, easy to open)
  • Trash bags left out in the kitchen
  • Shoes
  • Socks
  • Food items on table and countertops
  • Cords
  • Couch area

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While the list can change depending on the dog what should we do as humans.   This issue doesn’t just stop at puppy hood which is why I tell owners to keep puppy proofing to increase the chance of the extinction behavior.  No matter how well we teach “Leave it” we are not home 100% of the time and thus we need to work on the behavior stated above.

Extinction behavior is observed in both operantly conditioned and classically conditioned behavior. When operant behavior that has been previously reinforced no longer produces reinforcing consequences the behavior gradually stops occurring.

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In basic terms we make sure your dog can not practice that behavior even if you are not at home.  They do not earn the reward (chewing, eating and so on) of the items that are the no no items.   When we limit this chance of the dogs to practice the unwanted behavior it slowly fade away.

Example:
Emma the dog when out of her crate home alone would pull down magazines and rip them to shreds when the owners were at work.  This allowed Emma, to reward herself with the feeling of the paper being ripped it also doubled the reward allowing her to deal with the boredom, stress and loneliness.  And the finally reward herself even though it was negative and not pleasant was in the form of attention from pet parents(pet parents come home and yell at Emma).

So how do we fix this issue with Emma.  One rout is the crate, while this would lower the work for humans its not much space for the dog for 8 hours a day.  Most pet parents wish to allow their dog a larger area to stretch and walk around during the day.

The main rout to go is to remove the magazines away from the normal area, and even make sure they are higher than Emma can jump in case she finds the new location.  Next, what do we have to offer to stimulate Emma’s mind to keep her from getting bored?  While having a bunch of toys out for your dog to access if you have the same toys out all the time they will get bored of them.  So change out the toys you have out for your pups/dogs, this will make it like a birthday every other day for your dog.  Puzzles, know how I mentioned that does were scavengers?  Make them work for their food while you are away (great for single dog homes  if more dogs in home have multi areas with treats in different puzzles.  Feed them their normal morning meals before you leave.)  Frozen Kongs are always a great way to keep your dog busy while you are away.

By giving them items to keep busy one you wear them out and two they do not have to look around for items to keep them busy.

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Another way to go at this if you do not want a crate but wish to keep your dog out.  Pick an area in your house where there are no items you wish them not to touch.  Block this area off with a baby gate.  This is your dogs area, its larger than a crate they can walk around, and still reach all their safe toys.   If a baby gate is too small making a nice inside fence area can be made easily .

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Using nice wood and black heavy grade chicken wire you can make a tall fence in area you wish your dog to stay in.  You could even make it with hinges that will allow you to close it up once you are back home.

When it comes down to it take the time to puppy proof even as they age.  Set your dog up to succeed while you are not home.  If you have to do a quick walk around the house the night before right before you go to bed.   Then once more right before you leave the house.  Yelling at a dog when you get home will not change the behavior as they will not associate being yelled at with the item that was destroyed.

How to Train your Dragon 2… Educating future generations to change the treatment of dogs

how-to-train-your-dragon-2-poster1-690x1024Often times we go to animated films and expect some form of a lesson for all who is watching the movie.  It is often a lesson of being brave, heroic and most of all never to give up.  I was surprised that there was a hidden message for the children to see and hopefully pick up and use throughout their life.  As I started to watch the movie my dog trainer feelers started to twitch.  The dragons all started to show different behaviors we often see in our K-9 friends.  This range from paw lifts, lowering head, the need to please their human, tail chases, sniffing other dragons in certain places and so on.  While it was cute they related k-9s to the dragons there was also something else developing.  It was how the characters of the village trained their dragons.  There was even talks about the “alpha” which now we know is outdated for even wolves let along dogs.

81AjuXCw9UL._SL1500_We see the village has grown and accepted the dragons, and in turn they taught the dragons how to work and live along side the humans.  No force was used and all Positive reinforcement was used by the village folks.  We ended up seeing is what most Positive Reinforcement trainers see, the fact the dragons enjoyed working for their human side kicks.  It was also true that the dragons work harder and longer for the people of the village. The village people often used food or even play for the dragons to keep them motivated and to let them know they were doing something right thus increasing the desired behavior.   The movie was showing people that you do not have to rough up your dragon which could easily be symbolic for dogs.   By working along with the dragons and educating them what was needed or wanted it allowed for a stable relationship between the humans and the dragons.

httyd  I was happy to see so far in the movie it was more up to date training methods.  However, what really almost shot me out of my seat was when the bad guy of the second movie appeared and how he “Trained” his dragons.  It was at that point my skin crawled and a few t.v trainers popped into my head as I watched him interact with the dragons he had under his control.  We saw a huge tone change as the bad guy (Drago Bludvist) enter the scene as he was gathering up all dragons to create a dragon army.

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Needless to say his methods of controlling and training a dragon was that of Dominance and a use of an Alpha to try to control all other dragons.   He used methods such as kicking, using his staff on dragons, and even stepping on a dragon’s face to make it clear that he was the dominant animal.  We watch as he steps on one dragon’s nose, only to have the dragon literally shut down in front of our eyes (learned helplessness).  It was at this point the dragon gave up, as these forceful methods were used.  We also saw him hiss, and at times growl at the dragons to make sure that they all believe he was the top dog err dragon that is.    While his dragons “worked” you could tell there was something missing, it wasn’t that they wanted to work more that they had the fear of god in them.  After all he was called the “Dragon god”, very close to a certain dog whisperer as his methods played out.  In the end we all knew what was going to come about working your animal to the ground and not teaching them what you want from him.  Bullying only goes so far in the training world and often times blows up in a lot of human faces.  A good chunk of my training time is often to help owners move away from these outdated methods often times they come when the damage has already been done, and we spend a long time just trying to get their dogs back to normal working creature.

Screen-Shot-2014-04-10-at-4.38.56-PMBy the end of the movie, we see which bonds are closer, which group is willing to work harder for each other.  And at the end just like any movie the bad guy is defeated and the normal life can continue to go on in the village.  I am just happy that the movie could take a little life lesson that all Positive reinforcement trainers know and that science knows to be true and help educate the future generations.  We do not need fear, physical punishment, intimidation to get the behaviors we want.  We know our dogs or dragons are working hard because they want to- not because they are afraid of the outcome if they do not do something correct.  We do not need dogs who have develop learned helplessness and shut down to learning we crave dogs who are looking to learn and are exited to learn and most of all  we our bonds with the dogs we work with to stay intact and often times even stronger than what they were before.

So thank you dreamworks for the work you did in this movie, not even sure if you realize what all the lessons you had in your story world but they were great ones.

In home house sitting- The better rout to go?

Spirit of the Okmai ended up adding in home house sitting for dogs as well as other pets for the last six years.  This allows pet parents to have a even greater ease of mind when they go away for vacation or any other trips.

 

The days where Pet parents feel safe about sending their pets away to kennels have ended as more speak out about the treatment that has been given to their pets while they are away. Treatment such as bark collars armed with shock or spray placed on a pet that would have never had this done to them in their own home.

 

Jennifer worked for one Kennel in which the owner painted a wonderful vacation spot for dogs.  Jennifer soon quit when she found out the owner of the business even after she told Jennifer that she didn’t use such collars started to place these collars onto dogs.  Many which were highly stressed while being away from home.  These collars would go off as the other dogs in the kennel barked.  Meaning the poor dog with the collar on was getting shocked or sprayed for doing nothing.

 

The owner of this kennel did not tell the pet parents that these collars where used to keep the dogs from barking.  And often would tell owners’ their dogs may act out of it but it was only due to the playing that had occurred during their stay.

What really had happened was the dog had shut down from the traumatizing stay at this kennel.  We are not saying all kennels do this but, when you drop your furry family member off you never know what could happen.  This owner of the kennel would even take the pet parents on a tour however, never opened the closets where she stored the collars.

 

With in home care you do not have to worry about:

Shock collars

Prong collars

Dog bites

A dog who is stressed from being left alone and then placed in a different place to stay

Sickness such as pink eye kennel cough and even worms

Another client used to get her dogs home only to find out their dogs had pink eye.  This was due to the fact that any dog could really go to the kennel as long as their basic shots where up to date.

 

News reports are popping up even more so throughout the last couple of years.  One video is below:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dzTA_hGRdDg

 

 

Breed Specific Legislation- A warning for all breeds.

First of all you will have to bare with me as I am posting this as is.

Over the years different countries and even different states have been hacking away at the rights of dog owners.  The worst of the attacks is Breed Specific Legislation.  While this tends to be aiming at the Pit Bull breed and ripping them away from their families to put them to death, it doesn’t mean it will stop there.

Many fears about the Pit Bull breed is unfounded and is due mainly from uneducated people(and in some cases even owners).  Yes there has been Pit Bull attacks however, there has also been: Lab, Goldens, Poodles, Corgi, as well as any other breed under the sun has bitten humans.  Any living thing here on earth can bite and cause some damage to the human body.  What it really comes down to is the education that is provided to the owners as well as the dogs themselves to make them socially accepted by society.

Education is the key:

With no laws needed for education most owners tend to grab the first dog they see.  And then many do not find the help thinking they know how to raise a dog.  Many owners may take outdated tips from T.V shows who hosts are not really educated with up to date information about dog behavior.  This can leave owners in believing that they must dominate and use force on breeds such as Pit Bulls.  Aggression and force only creates a ticking time bomb as the dog can become aggressive or even afraid due to the training methods used on a dog.  Using more up to date methods such as Positive Reinforcement correctly makes a stable dog who will respond to cues every time he or she is asked.  As there no fall-outs(other than the dogs loving all the positive attention) from this way of training the likely hood of an aggressive dog coming from a Positive Reinforcement home is highly unlikely.

Educating the breeders:

Ranging from Pit Bulls to even doodles- breeders need to understand that they must breed in care of the personality they wish to pass onto the puppies.  The likely hood if they breed two dogs who are highly aggressive to have some aggression in the later line of blood is most likely going to occur.  This has happened in cases of humans when two people have children who have anger issues.  While training can help curve and teach new behaviors we want the dog to perform the puppies will have a better chance if they come from a responsible breeder who takes in count the health of their breeding stock as well as the emotional state of the parent dogs.

Tough look is over rated:

Sadly there are some owners who should not own Pit Bulls as they use them as a status tough guy (or girl ) look.  A dog is not something to add to your looks a dog is a living breathing thing that becomes part of your family.  A large issue with the image of Pit Bulls is thanks to thugs who think the dog makes them look tough and in turn raises a dog who is not socially accepted.  Understand each time you own a Pit Bull YOU are responsible for the rep the breed gets and in turn are the reason of the high death rate in Pit Bulls (I understand there are families who raise Pit Bulls correctly I am talking about the other half who don’t).  Your Pit Bull doesn’t need spikes, chains, chokes, prong, shock, or anything else spiky to make them a Pit Bull or to make them look tough they do not need that image.  Pit Bulls need to be seen for what they really are which are loving caring family pets who more than once have saved their loving family.

Some maybe asking why would a Golden Retriever lover be so worried about a Legislation against Pit Bulls.  I love all breeds of dogs, Pits are no different… I plea with people to get education because if that is in place, bite rates for ALL breeds will go down.  Lets face it, this law should scare all dog owners as any one of our breeds could be next in this Holocaust against dogs.  Take a stand do not allow this to happen…Be an example for your breed, get the education from a force free trainer and understand that you and your dog can make a difference.   Vote those out of office who would tell you who can and can not be part of your family.  The Breed Specific Legislation is unethical and inhumane to put into practice… Punish the deed not the breed.

I hope the many dogs even those who were not Pit Bulls but were called one due to their looks made it safety over the rainbow bridge.  Lets stop this barbaric practice.  Killing breeds will not make a town, city or country safe… Education is the key.

Information for Pit Bulls:

The prototype of the breed originally sprang from crossing the old type of Bulldog with most likely

the English smooth Terrier.  Sadly the way they made it to America is due to their dog fighting skills in the 1800s.  During this time is how they gained their common name today “Pit Bull Terrier”.  Along with that name they were also know by: American Bull Terrier, and Yankee Terrier.  Americans focused more on a bigger size of the dog while the English version was smaller.  As time went on the two blood lines ended up diverging and in 1936 the ACK recognized the breed as Staffordshire Terrier.    As breeders where breeding the dog they were aiming for a loving trusting dog which at times was misused.

Temperament: Typically docile and playful with family, if socialized correctly they are also friendly with strangers.  While this dog breed is good around children NO dog should ever be left alone with a child.  Nor should a child be allowed to rough house with any breed.

Bullies come in all forms and all walks of life.

I’ve been called a fluffy, cookie pusher/treat dealer, briber, wimp, and the oddest of them all a hippie pot smoking trainer, among other terms, but those were the ones that stood out in my mind.  I have been told our methods (positive dog trainers) are CRAP right to my face (as well as had people laugh at me, and belittle me), or have people state my line of work is a wish wash of a method that only works if you have a treat in hand….I have been told that dogs forget our training methods after a short time and never remember the command. And also that our methods only works on certain dogs. I have been bullied around because I am a Positive Reinforcement trainer (Online and offline).  I have even had people try to claim I do not understand dog behavior due to the fact I use Positive Reinforcement, even though I have gone through school for it as well as working towards my PhD in animal behavior, not to mention years of hands-on experience.   Yet I for some reason do not know a thing because I decided to go with up to date science when it comes to dog behavior. But you know what? When it comes down to the truth, it’s about a lack of education for those who would call positive reinforcement any of the previously mentioned statements. But that can be remedied.

I would like to point out some quick facts/statements about Positive Reinforcement:

1: It DOES work with all dogs… if it did not work you are doing it wrong.  This even means aggressive, fearful, man eating dogs can be worked with and become a better member of society.

2: Dogs do NOT forget everything you train them with Positive Reinforcement.  There have been award winning dogs in competitions that are only trained with Positive Reinforcement.

3: No I do not need a treat every time I ask for a command.  Treats (could be a toy praise or yes even food) are weaned off from the dog over time and eventually the dog responds to the command without the treat.

4: When we compare dogs to humans we are not saying the dog is a human or should be treated as such.  We are referring to the fact that science has PROVEN dogs have the brain power of at least a child of 2-4 years of age.  We then ask owners/ trainers to ask themselves how do you educate a being with that kind of thought power and have the best results with no fallout issues. With dedication, that intelligence can get to that of an adolescent human.

5:  We are not telling owners to let their dogs walk all over them.  Positive Reinforcement doesn’t mean you be a push over.

6: Positive Reinforcement is working towards getting your dog to think on its own, to work out the issues and gain a reward for figuring it out.  Out in the wild dogs will avoid pain, and other harsh things that are used in pack theory/negative Reinforcement, but dogs will WORK HARDER and longer to gain something that increases something good such as a food reward… Think of it this way; you go to work to get paid so you can feed yourself, cloth yourself and so on. This same theory works for all dogs.

7:  There is a difference between a leader and a bully; a Leader shows and teaches a dog what to do, while a bully uses force and pain in many forms to get what they want.

8:  Your dog does NOT view you as another dog. Do you look like a dog? No, thus your dog will not be eyeing you as a “Pack leader”.  Dogs are also social groups, not pack groups. They have different learning styles and living styles than that of a wolf pack.  Your dog looks to you for guidance and to show them what behavior you want out of them. This is the leader they are eyeing you to be.

9:  Positive Reinforcement has been around for a while now, sadly there are some “celebrity” T.V trainers who are unable to get with the times and the science so they can spread the word worldwide of what truly is fact.  It is stated that it can take 10-20 years for newer theories to catch on with the general public, for that theory to be general knowledge.

10: Yes, science has backed us up and will keep on backing us up. Science is the mainstay of our modern world for finding out all the answers of the world and the lives in it, including behavior. There is no sense in denying it.

11: We are NOT saying negative training does not work (shock, prong, choke), it’s more so the execution of the method that matter’s most, as well as the outcome.  On the surface it works, but at what cost?  Health issues have been linked to these types of training methods as well as massive fall outs in behaviors leading to aggression, fearfulness and feelings of helplessness.   There is no real fall out if I miss a click with my dog clicker or miss a food treat, but giving a nice shock or “pop” will give a negative association to whatever you were trying to train the dog with in negative terms.  It is easier to retrain a behavior if a client or I messed up with positive methods rather than the opposite, where we could end up getting a dog that is willing to bite my face off for it.

12:  Have I been bitten? No, does that mean I must suck as a dog trainer?? NO, it means I do not push the dog over its limit when it comes to their flight or fight mode.  I have known trainers or even dog walkers to state they have gotten aggressive dogs to bloom and they have the “Bites” to prove it.  If they had updated their education they might have been able to get the same results if not better and without getting bitten.  Is there a chance I could get bit?  Yes, but most likely that will be because it was an off day and I was not paying attention to what the dog was trying to tell me.

13:  We understand your dog is a living breathing thing and as such you cannot find a quick cure/rout when it comes to educating your dog.  Yes, shock collar trainers can get your dog to stick around (though I have seen dogs run away from their owners … (wouldn’t you run away?)- But a lot of times when a shock collar trainer or owner removes the collar the dog couldn’t give a rat’s ass about the human, owner or otherwise.  However, with Positive Reinforcement we have dogs coming back to us because they want to.   Yes, we are able to train for snake avoidance and deer avoidance and that is not using slave like training methods.

14: Are our dogs perfect?  No, and nor are the negative trainers’ dogs… Once again they are living beings; they have their off days just like humans.  No human is perfect, but nor is any other dog. There will be those days where a behavior that needs changing keeps on happening, but then you just need to refresh the training of the behavior you want (and yes that happens with the negative training methods as well.. if you don’t use it you lose it).

As a trainer and as a human being I want people to know that yes we do keep up with the science that is WHY we are Positive Reinforcement trainers.  We believe the human race is or at least should be evolved enough to move pass using painful methods when there are OTHER methods out there in the world proven to work.  And most of all we are here because we care about animal behavior and want to encourage a healthy education for your dogs.  Positive Reinforcement does not mean passive.  We work hard and we get the results.

So please bullies, whether you are an owner or a negative trainer don’t waste your time on bullying me; go read a book that has updated education about dog training.  I don’t need to hear you yell or even type yell as you try to force your outdated methods down my throat.  This doesn’t mean you can bully the people who are trying to cross over, or has started off right away with Positive Reinforcement.  We are no less of a trainer because we may use clickers, toys, or some form of reward to initially mark a behavior we want.  And our results are no less than the results you are getting by kicking, hanging, popping, shocking, rolling and god knows what else you use in your “tool box”.  I am happy that Positive Reinforcement is getting more of the spot light and the more it does bullies/negative trainers will have to catch up with the times or be left out on the side lines.

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