What is Balanced Dog Training?
Balanced Dog Training is an approach that uses a whole toolbox to work with each dog. It uses concepts of both pure positive methods to reinforce wanted behaviors and utilizes corrections for unwanted behaviors. It allows for a wider range of behaviors to be trained in a shorter amount of time.
What training tools do you use?
Just like humans, dogs do not do well with a “one size fits all” approach. We use many different tools with dogs we train; daily kibble, long leads, toys, verbal praise, affection, and socialization to name a few. There is some controversy regarding two of these, namely the prong collar and the E-Collar. Can both of these tools be used incorrectly or abused? Yes. Are they inherently bad or wrong? Absolutely not. As with anything in life, safe and correct use is essential to prevent harm. Prong collars and E-collars are communication tools in the same way praise and affection are ways to talk to your dog. We stress the importance of getting familiar and practicing with the tool before using it and will show you what this looks like before taking your pup home.
Can I use my mom’s friend’s dad’s old dog’s shock collar so I don’t have to purchase a new one?
We’ll pass, thanks. We only use high-quality E-collar Technologies mini-educator remote collars. These are not the shock collars of the old days. With the ability to toggle easily between levels 0-100, we can get incredibly specific to your dog’s working level to clearly communicate in all sorts of situations. When used correctly, E-collars are the safest way to have your dog off-leash allowing for more freedom and integration in your family activities.
Will my dog have to be on place all the time?
All the time would be quite extreme. Yes, your dog will be working very hard on learning to calm their mind despite all the distractions taking place around them. Some folks refer to place command as doggy meditation. It’s a great visual for anticipating what is expected of your dog while they are on place (we won’t be requiring them to be saying any mantras, though). Place is another foundation of the structured environment you will be practicing with your dog when they return home. Does this mean your pup will forever have to be in place command to hang out around you? No. It does mean, though, that until your dog is able to have a calm mind – meaning, no pacing, barking, counter surfing, begging – while out and about, they should be in place command. Your dog will be set up for success knowing what is clearly expected of them while enjoying your company.
Where will my dog sleep during the board and train?
Your dog will be sleeping in the crate during their time while training. This is something that will be part of the structure in your follow up plan upon return to your house. Dogs do well with structure and being in a kennel at night is a great reinforcement. Crating your dog is not a punishment, but a place where you know your pup is safe and your pup knows it’s time to relax and unwind.
What does their day look like?
A typical day at Du Nord starts with supervised potty breaks and a training session while working with their morning breakfast. All training dogs practice good leash manners on a solid walk before spending time in the crate for the day. While both trainers for Du Nord have kept their day jobs, no training dog will be in a kennel longer than six hours a day. We understand that some owners are not comfortable with this and it would mean Du Nord is not the right fit. However, for most of the owners we work with, this mimics what a typical day looks like for them – whether that’s daily for work or on the weekends for a trip to Grandma’s. Dogs finish up with another active training session at night, passive training with place duration work, and practicing real-world scenarios to proof what they have learned before sweet dreams in their kennel at night. Weekends bring more training and fun in terms of hikes, sparsely attended dog parks, and harassing the geese in the nearby field. TGIF!
What is required of me after training?
We are here to set a foundation for you and your dog. It will be up to you to reinforce this training when you get home in order to ensure success. Dogs are smart creatures and will have associations about what they were allowed to do prior to coming to Du Nord. It will take time, effort, and patience on your household’s part to create new relationships with your dog upon their return home. Success for your dog includes asking yourself a lot, “Does this benefit me or does this benefit my dog?” Re-establishing a relationship where you are the leader requires implementing practices that feel counter-intuitive to what many of us have learned is beneficial towards our dogs. One of our favorite phrases in the business is, “You pet what you get.” If your dog is panting, anxious, and stressed out, this is not the time to be cuddling them on the couch. While you may feel good about ‘reassuring’ your dog, what your dog is learning is that anxious behavior is rewarded with affection. Training is often about the little moments and opportunities throughout the day. We will go over all of this and more tips for post-training success in weekly updates and at the go-home session. Du Nord will be available for follow up questions and support to help you through this transition.
What do I need to do to prepare for training?
One of the most lacking things we see for dogs that we train is consistency among those in the household. To best prepare for training, every member who interacts with your dog needs to get on board with the new expectations and skills they are going to learn and implement. Additionally, it is important to have a crate for your dog to come home to, patience to know that you will not be perfect, and consistency when you get home. When your dog returns from the board and train, they will know how to do what is asked of them, but they will not do it if the family is not consistently reinforcing that. While your dog may go away for boarding, it is not a “One and Done” training – the majority of the work is in the owner after the fact. Preparation for training is understanding this and being ready to implement it when the dog returns.