DOG TRAINING PHILOSOPHY
ITS NOT JUST ABOUT THE SIT
While formal obedience commands such as “sit,” “down,” and “come” are important, learning these commands are just the tip of the iceberg. Our dog training philosophy believes that good dog training creates harmonious relationships between humans and dogs more than just commands. A well-trained dog knows how to make choices and offer behaviors even when not told what to do. A well-trained dog also knows to comply when the formal commands are given under all types of distraction. Formal obedience commands are of limited value if your dog only listens in the house when nobody is around. Finally, none of this training has any value if YOU, the owner, does not also learn.
OUR BOARD & TRAIN PHILOSOPHY: A COMPREHENSIVE APPROACH
The founder of Cosmic Canine started this business out of a love of dogs and passion for training as well as a first hand understanding of what people need when they seek training help. To be successful, a board and train program has to have these three parts:
PART 1: Training the dog
PART 2: Training the owner
PART 3: Creating a management plan for dog and owner
Most board and train programs only focus on the first part, training the dog. Only training the dog will not bring lasting success and harmony to your home. Both the dog and owner must be trained and a management plan created to manage any problem behaviors and issues.
Twenty years ago, our founder had a first-hand experience with board and train programs that shaped how we approach the training programs today. She learned, the hard way, that board and train programs that just train the dog (PART 1) do nothing to help the real problems at home.
PART 1: TRAINING THE DOG
All the dogs who participate in our training programs go through three basic stages: (1) learning behaviors (2) learning to offer behaviors and (3) proofing behaviors. We do not cut corners and rush training as many many of our competitors do. We do not sacrifice quality of training for just "slight-of-hand" superficial results that might look good at first, but do not hold long term.
When your dog arrives at Cosmic Canine, we immediately start to get to know your dog and learn his personality. For some shyer dogs, this is a stress-free settling in period with focus on confidence building- we don't want to rush! Some of the more outgoing dogs we will start simple obedience training right away, it all depends on how your dog adjusts to being in a new place and working with new people. As the training continues, each day gets more challenging! We progress from working your dogs in a quiet, low stimulating environment to more difficult scenarios such as outdoors with people and dogs walking by.
TEACHING THE BEHAVIORS
Learning how to do behaviors such as sit, down, recalls, loose leash walking are taught with lots and lots of positive reinforcement. Many rewards and many repetitions. As part of our dog training philosophy, our trainers use techniques such as luring and shaping to motivationally teach the dogs the commands as well as learn to enjoy learning and interacting!
We encourage dogs to try to offer behaviors they have learned to see on their own how to earn a reward. This means dogs will offer sits, downs, eye contact, and any number of other things they know in an effort to get what they want! This also teaches dogs to offer what they know is an acceptable behavior in lieu of a bad behavior. For example, a dog that knows how to offer a good behavior will know that doing a sit or a down when told “NO” to something else is an acceptable replacement for an unwanted behavior. Dogs who learn to offer behaviors can also learn to do many things easier than dogs that do not.
There comes a time in training when many dogs know the commands very well and know they get rewarded for doing them, yet under certain distractions, the reward you have (food/toy) is not as exciting as what they would rather do (chase squirrel/run after cat). What do you do then? This is where the part of our dog training philosophy called proofing comes in. Dogs are still rewarded for making good choices, but NO is introduced for making the wrong choice (e.g. breaking out of a down to chase a squirrel). There are some commands that can make the difference between life and death for a dog. If your dog is off leash and you are able to either down him or recall him in case of emergency, this ability can save his life!
PART 2: TRAINING THE OWNERS
Teaching the humans is always the hardest part! When you come to pick up your dog, your dog is trained and understands many new things. Now it is your turn to learn! We teach you (1) how to maintain your formal obedience training and (2) how to properly interact with your dog when not doing formal obedience and (3) how to properly use the training tools you are given.
(1) We teach you to be your dog’s trainer for life! We teach you how to continue to maintain your dog's training and even move forward on your own.
(2) You are constantly communicating and training your dog whether you like it or not. Formal obedience has it place, but you must also learn how to communicate with your dog and understand your dog the rest of the day. This is where the real world training comes into play. You will learn simple techniques and concepts that will help you and your dog live together successfully!
(3) Training tools are as good or as bad as the person using them. Leashes, clickers, and training collars all must be used properly. We show you in step-by-step lessons how to correctly use the tools your dog understands.
PART 3: TEACHING PROPER MANAGEMENT/CREATING THE PLAN
Learning proper management for your dog is extremely important and key to lasting success in our dog training philosophy. We explain to you what is fair and reasonable to expect from your dog based on your dog’s breed, temperament, and energy levels, and how to manage your dog’s day to set them and you up for success.
After your dog’s training, we develop a management plan based on your specific challenges and your dog’s specific temperament, energy level and needs. When you pick-up your dog at the end of the program, we give a management plan and instructions for you and your dog.