Our training method is much based on the science of ‘behaviourism’ as defined in the middle part of the last century by the work of B.F. Skinner and Ivan Pavlof.
In understanding this science, we can use a combination of building an association (such as the sound of clicker or word preluding the arrival of food), which is known as classical conditioning, and then using this association as a reward, and steering our dogs to work for this their reward, operant conditioning.
This is commonly referred to as ‘positive reinforcement’, ‘r+’, ‘reward based’ or ‘force-free’ training. We prefer the term ‘force-free’, as our training philosophy is much based on a holistic outlook, and we look to encourage owners to see training as much as a means of better communicating with their dogs than simply a means of getting them to do what they are told.
Good communication is key for this to be effective, and good communication comes with trust and understanding, so as well as learning how to teach your dog to listen to you, we aim to teach you how to listen to your dog by looking at how they communicate with us and each other. There’s a great deal more to it than the waggy tail!
To this end, we will:
- Always set our dogs up to succeed in any task we are working to teach.
- Always start teaching new skills at a level that your dog is confident and able to achieve.
- Never ask a dog to do more than it is capable or happy to comply with.
- Never shout, pull, push or use intimidation or physical force to make a dog do anything, but for using leads appropriately to prevent dogs from being able to make wrong choices.
All of the above also applies to our approach to owners too!
We want everyone, four legged, two legged and even three legged to look forward to coming to our classes and hope that in doing so you will not only further understanding and interest in all things dog-kind.