Our method combines the most effective aspects of communication best practices and positive reinforcement training.
Here at Well-Balanced Dog Training, we believe any training goal—no matter how ambitious—can be reached by following these eight principles. Each and every one is central to our training methods. For a successful training experience, we encourage clients to adopt them as their own and follow them religiously.
We get it. No one likes rules. We promise that we will help you work these into your training program in a way that’s feasible for you and your dog. We want you to reach your goals AND enjoy the journey.
If you don’t understand why something is important…just ask! The more you know, the more you and your dog can grow. We truly believe in this method and are here to answer any and all of your questions.
- Advocate for your dog.
- Dogs need crates.
- Leash walk in a heel.
- Dog parks are dangerous.
- It’s not the tool, it’s the handler.
- Intentions matter.
- Your words matter.
- Be a responsible owner.
Advocate for your dog.
Don’t let fantasy dictate what you think your dog should and shouldn’t be able to do or handle. Your dog is the way she is as children are the way they are. You wouldn’t ask your child to be like your favorite movie start so please stop thinking your dog should be like Lassie or Balto. Not every dog will like being pet by strangers or be able to handle hanging out when you have a bunch of people over at your house. Put them away, don’t let people touch your dog when they are uncomfortable, especially kids.
Dogs need crates.
Being in a crate is not a punishment, it’s not something you have to eventually get rid of and it’s not wrong to crate your dog for hours and hours each day. It is wrong to fail to crate your dog, (especially puppies). They need down time, they need to learn how to be away from you and you need to be away from them. You all can’t be in overdrive all of the time, that does create some serious problems like separation anxiety.
Leash walk in a heel.
Leash walking in a heel is better for your dog than a romp at the park. Taking your dog for a walk on a leash and prong, in a proper heel where they are held to a standard that doesn’t allow them to sniff, potty, bark, fixate or react to anything on the walk, is more exhausting and better for their mind then running around at a park with no rules or direction. Dogs need the accountability, structure and leadership. It makes them feel safe.
Dog parks are dangerous.
It’s rare to find a dog park with dogs that are balanced and with owners that are informed and able to correctly read their dogs and anticipate poor behavior. More likely you will go to a dog park and find very anxious dogs, dogs that guard toys/people/treats, people with good intentions, but an inability to read and understand their dogs. Many dog fights happen at dog parks because of ill-equipped owners. This tends to lead do fights and severely traumatized owners and pets.
It’s not the tool, it’s the handler.
When using a prong and E-Collar, people have been known to criticize and even call the handler abusive for using these tools. The facts are that any tool can be dangerous, it’s how you use it. When people attack based on the tool you use, it is probably coming from a lack of understanding. If you care about the relationship with this person, ask questions, inform them. Let them know that you are using these tools to communicate with your dog, in your dog’s language. Tell them you’re doing what works because you want your dog to be balanced. Or, don’t say anything at all. It is no one’s business what your do with your dog or how you do it. It’s always your choice. Remember it’s always your choice.
We all love our dogs, that’s why we are here reading this. Similarly to the tools rule, when you correct or punish your dog, the intent behind it has to matter. If you feel guilty giving your dog a correction or a punishment then you have to look at the why behind that, look very deeply. Why are you feeling guilty? Is it because you truly think you’re doing something wrong? Is it because you want to be the parent that is the friend and you think it will harm your relationship to give your dog (or human child) a punishment? The plain and simple truth is that all dogs and children need leaders. They need leaders before friends. They will face consequences on their own, whether good or bad. If they have a dependable leader, something to count on, someone who is able to be a leader when it’s hard and make the hard choices, it’s easier for them to cope in the world even and especially with their leader not around. When we give in to our dogs or kids being bratty, pushy, demanding, whiny then we are not being their leader. We are taking the easy way out and this will not help them, it doesn’t serve them.
Your words matter.
While working with your dog, be aware of yourself. If you start to get frustrated, start calling your dog a name that’s not very nice or using a tone that’s angry and aggressive then it’s time to take a break. Put your dog in their crate or ask someone else in the family to take over. Your dog knows how you’re feeling, perhaps before you do. And they are sensitive to it. Also, your words, meaning what you say to your dog when you’re communicating to them are important. If you are going to ask your dog for anything, you must follow through with it. If you’re too tired, busy, hungry, distracted etc and are not going to hold your dog to an appropriate standard, don’t ask your dog to do that command. Likewise, when you do ask them to come, even when you’re on the couch watching your favorite show, snuggled under the blankets or you have your dog in place and you’re focused on your computer and then you will have to get up from the couch to go get them or break away from your work to put them in place. Make your words count. Say way you mean, Mean what you say, don’t say it mean. If you’re too busy, put them in the crate. Chances are they do not get enough crate time anyway.
Be a responsible owner.
Even if you have an amazingly trained dog that comes when called, put your dog in a down-stay with your finger on the E-Collar button, or on leash when walking past people, especially if they have a stroller, kids, dogs on leash, are breathing, look like humans or aliens. The “OH, My dog is friendly!” As they run up to people with an on leash dog is an absolute lack of respect. You don’t know these people, they could be terrified of your dog running up to them, if they have kids your dog could easily hurt them. Yes, your dog, your sweet lovable dog could accidentally knock them over, or worse. Dogs do not view children the same way they view adult humans. They are more than not fearful and anxious around them. See rule one in advocating for your dog. Lastly, heed the signs. If the sign says only two dogs off leash per one adult human, do it. If it says trail open from dawn to dusk, there’s probably a reason. If we all do our part, we will be able to continue using these areas that we love bringing our dogs to.