WHAT ARE OUR QUALIFICATIONS AS DOG TRAINERS?
We have over 40 years of experience among our staff, so we have encountered just about every conceivable training and behavioral problem that a dog could have. This gives us the ability to quickly zero in on the correct solution to almost any problem. We have trained tens of thousands of dogs and there is no substitute for that kind of experience.
We work with several different municipalities as experts (including status as expert witness) in evaluating dogs that have been rescued from abusive situations. One of the things we do in this capacity is to determine how successfully a rescued dog can be placed with a new family. Being consistently correct in our evaluation is evidence that we understand dogs very well. We must be able to interact with an abused dog for a short period of time and determine what is needed to successfully rehabilitate them. We are regularly called in to do this by the veterinarians, representatives of the ASPCA and prosecutors that are also involved in this type of case.
We are also recognized by the courts as expert witness for cases in which we are testifying for individuals.
We are an originating member of the Canine Behavioral Training Association. The CBTA is dedicated to the education of humans in the truth about dog behavior and training. Much of the conventional wisdom about dogs is incorrect. The clear evidence of this is that so many dogs lose their homes because of easily corrected problems.
Also, if you have ever read a variety of books on dog training you have already discovered that they have diametrically opposed opinions on how to handle and train a dog. Most of the time this is caused by perpetuation of incorrect conventional wisdom.
When trainers truly study dog behavior with an open mind, they inevitably end up coming to the same conclusions. This is the essence of Behavioral Training. Unfortunately, most professional trainers are locked into a “method” of training and they look no further. This is why so many dogs trained by Method Trainers end up with unsatisfactory behavior. As Behavioral Trainers our success rate is very high (almost 100%) because we have the skills and knowledge to adapt to the individual dog.
We also recognize that no matter how good we are at training a dog, if we can’t teach the owner it doesn’t do the owner or the dog any good. It’s necessary for the dog to work well for the trainer, but that’s not the ultimate goal, is it. When the process of training is complete the dog must work for their owner as well, if not better, than for the trainer. This is why we don’t judge our success on how well the dog behaves with us, but rather on how happy the dogs' owner is. Training a dog and teaching an owner are completely different skills and a good trainer must have both.
Many veterinarians in Metro Atlanta and the northern half of Georgia refer their clients to us exclusively and have seen the results. They know we won’t embarrass them. Many of them are very familiar with our training and trust it because we have worked with their personal dogs.
Though there are many names we could drop (we have worked with many well known people) we will only drop one name. We can’t think of anyone that would have had better resources to insure we knew what we were doing. After checking us out very carefully, the then Governor Zell Miller used us to train his Labs.
HOW DO WE CORRECT A DOG?
This is a question many people are hesitant to ask bluntly and it shouldn't be. This should be a very real concern. You never need to hit or cause pain to correct a dog. Causing pain is cruel and counter productive.
All correction should be based in an abrupt action. That sounds like a catch phrase, but it’s actually a description. This can manifest itself in many ways. The most common (about 95%) is a quick tug on the leash. It sounds simple, but the subtleties of when and how a correction is delivered makes a huge difference. Each dog is different and we must adjust to the dog's needs.
A steady, skilled hand is what’s needed in training. You should never become angry or frustrated. The moment you let this happen you lose the ability to praise the dog and observe behavioral responses objectively. In other words; all praise is based in honest affection for the dog and all correction is based in acting.
MY DOG IS VERY STRONG. WILL I BE ABLE TO HANDLE THEM?
Absolutely! We don’t use strength to train. We use technique and timing. Dogs are much too strong to overpower, and their instinctive response to physical restraint is to resist. That is why we correct rather than restrain. Once you have learned the proper handling techniques you will be amazed at how easily your dog will respond to you.
HOW DO WE REWARD A DOG?
With praise. We seldom use food in training. Though you can get quick results with “Food Training,” it limits how much you can do with your dog, and it is not dependable. As soon as the dog is aware of something more interesting than the food, it will no longer follow your instruction. All “Food Training” does is teach your dog, food gathering behavior. It’s the same type of learning experience a wolf puppy might go through when learning to let the rabbit get closer before he springs, or the rabbit gets away. It has nothing to do with pack interaction. Praise (affectionate social interaction) on the other hand is the foundation of pack structure. In fact, 95% of all interaction with your dog should be some form of praise. Remember, the only reason to correct a dog is to change their behavior so you have the opportunity to praise them.
DO DOGS BECOME UNHAPPY BECAUSE THEY ARE TRAINED?
Not at all. With Behavioral Training we provide your dog with a clear social structure and expectation while improving communication between you and them. This is what a pack animal craves. Dogs reserve their deepest affection for pack members that hold a higher social rank. Training strengthens the bond with your dog while making them more confident and comfortable in your family.