Training Philosophy
training those paws so you can praise 'em

Having graduated from the SF SPCA Academy for Dog Trainers, my approach to dog training and behavior modification is science based.  

Here’s how the behavioral model approach differs from the traditional dog training model:

  • The behavioral model emphasizes the dog's actual behavior and teaches the dog what to do in order to get rewarded. It is based on science.  Through this model, we have more opportunities to say "Yes, that's what I want" rather than "No, stop that." It all comes down to a simple philosophy: Dogs do what works.  That may mean peeing on the carpet when you are not around- because it works!  They get relief from a full bladder- it works!  If the dog jumps on the counter and gets a bite of the Thanksgiving turkey- Yippee!! The dog learns that jumping on the counter means great food- it works!  Through behavior modification, we modify the consequences to the dogs actions.  We increase the probability of the dog getting good things when the dog gives us the behavior we want.  It's fun for the dog and it's fun for you!  This model is kid-friendly and parent approved.  No strength or stomach required.

  • In contrast, in the traditional model, the trainer typically interprets what a dog is thinking, their motives and their status within the pack. If you are working with a traditional dog trainer, you might hear such comments as “The dog if feeling guilty because he peed on the carpet,” or “He is being dominant.”  We have no scientific evidence to suggest that dogs have a pack hierarchy.  The traditional method often uses pain (through choke collars, shock collars or otherwise) to teach the dog what not to do. The traditional method does work, albeit with potential negative side effects, like fear.