I don't think this will come as any surprise, but I'm a positive training kind of girl. My pets, my dogs especially, are family. I love the bond I share with them and would never want to risk it by using harsh training methods.
Although I don't post specifically about it often, training my dogs is something I really enjoy. Besides staying brushed up on the basics, and working on particular issues such as leash reactivity (I'll write more about this another time), I like to train my dogs to do tricks for fun. I'm currently working on teaching both Kit and Fen a new freestyle routine, and have started teaching Kit nose work. Since Fen is younger, we're still spending a lot of time on the basics. I hope that, eventually, he'll be able to pass the Canine Good Citizen test.
Despite not touching upon training that often on my blog, I do get a lot of requests for training advice. Most of the time I'll point my readers in the direction of some of my favorite dog trainers, who all have a lot more experience training dogs than I do.
Dr. Sophia Yin sadly passed away, but her Youtube channel has some great videos not only about training dogs, but about things like low stress handling, and even cat training. You can also check out her website for awesome information on training and animal behavior.
When I found kikopup on Youtube, I totally binge watched all her videos. I still go back and rewatch them often. Emily Larlham also has a website where you can purchase and stream training series. I bought her reactivity series awhile ago and feel that the techniques presented in her video really helped me improve the behavior of my reactive boys.
Victoria Stilwell has been one of my favorite dog trainers since before I even had a dog. I used to love watching her show "It's Me or the Dog". I feel like watching it even before I had dogs helped open the door to the positive training world, which really helped me start things off on the right foot when my fiance and I got Kitsune. Victoria Stilwell's site has an awesome section where you can search for positive reinforcement trainers in your area.
Which brings me to my next point. Reading articles or watching videos from popular trainers like the ones I mentioned is awesome, but it doesn't replace working hands on with an awesome, local, positive based trainer or animal behaviorist.
Taking your dog to a trainer is not admitting defeat or saying anything about your own training skills. Even if you've been training dogs successfully for years, it can sometimes help to get an outsider's view on whatever situation it is you're facing. They may notice something that you've been missing, know of a training trick that you haven't heard about yet, or just be that voice of reason there to offer support when you're feeling frustrated with your furry friend.
While there are many big name trainers that I think are awesome, I think my all time favorites are the 'underdogs'. The positive based trainers who will probably never have TV shows or book deals, but who will answer your call when you are at the end of the leash with your trouble making puppy, who will drive to your house on a Saturday morning because it's the only day you have off, who will walk with you in the rain to help teach your dog loose leash walking.
I also give a lot of credit to all the positive based owner-handlers out there. People who spend time researching training methods and animal behavior on their own. Owners who get to know their dogs inside and out, the good and the bad, and who can use that information to predict, sometimes with just a flick of an ear or a change in stance, how an animal is going to react to a particular situation and how to best make each encounter as positive as possible.
I'd love to hear from you, comment below! Who are some of your favorite dog trainers? Whether you have the help of a trainer or work on your own, what are some things you're currently working on training your pet(s) to do?