Our Dog Training Philosophy

Our philosophy of dog training is to treat every dog like a fellow-creature. We help them learn in the most fun and effective way possible.

Having a dog in your life is one of the most wonderful experiences. Like any happy relationship, it goes both ways. Your dog gives you unconditional love, loyalty, companionship, and so much more. Your dog brings you joy, happiness, and puts a smile on your face. In return, we need to give our dog what it needs to be happy.

"Great dog trainers have broad skills, not inflexible ideologies." - Ralf Weber

It's All About the Relationship!

When you have a strong relationship, your dog feels safe and follows your lead. Not because it is made to, but because it wants to. It's the kind of relationship where your dog listens because you are the center of its universe. Not because of fear. Most dogs do much better with a kind training approach. If a dog doesn't listen it isn't necessarily disobedient.

In our philosophy of dog training, there are only three reasons a dog doesn't perform. First, your dog may be confused, is trying its best, but just doesn't understand what you want yet. Second, your dog may be unable to do what you are asking due to an ailment you missed. Or third, your dog has no motivation to cooperate. In all cases, the fault does not lie with the dog. We can help you and your dog be in harmony, no matter where the confusion comes from. We understand your dog and can help you:

Our Dog Training Philosophy - The Canine Model

The Importance of Genetics

“The fundamental issue among knowledgeable animal behaviorists is, that anthropomorphization with animals is generally the appropriate tactic unless you have reason to doubt it. Because there is continuity between us and animals rather than discontinuity. The idea that anthropomorphization of animals is inappropriate is something derived from 1950s behaviorism.” - Dr. Jorden B. Peterson

In our philosophy of dog training genetics matter! Dogs have emotions and are motivated by their preferences and desires. They are born with innate skills and learn and improve those through training. Dogs have strengths and weaknesses and things they are confident about and afraid of. Just like we do. That doesn't mean dogs are human, but it means we must acknowledge them as individuals. One-size-fits-all solutions rarely work.

In our work, we honor your dog. Not by pretending it is a person, but by understanding its nature and individual motivations. We always design the most effective training plan possible and work with you and your dog—not against you. In our philosophy of dog training, we see you as a team, not opponents. Yes, your dog needs you to be its leader in our human world. But it also needs you to be its friend, companion, protector, advocate, and partner. There is no conflict between being a leader and being kind. It's one and the same. Our guiding principle is best captured by the following quote from an amazing dog trainer:

"If the dog does not perform well, living a good life, being well-fed, and with social interactions, the training system is flawed." - Ivan Balabanov

Our Approach Follows Our Philosophy of Dog Training

What method do we use? Whatever makes the most sense for YOUR dog. Our team is well-versed in learning science and skilled in working with all appropriate training tools. We can work with your dog gently and effectively, regardless of breed, temperament, or age. You and your dog will be a happier and more harmonious team. Our trainers are very skilled, knowledgeable, and experienced but we never rest on our laurels. Happy Dog Training's philosophy of dog training includes that learning never stops. Ongoing education is mandatory for all trainers. We continuously hone our training skills further. Never hesitate to refine our methods as needed. And we are never afraid to try something different when a dog needs a fresh approach. Whatever your canine buddy needs, we can help.

You'll love working with us. We explain in detail what training we recommend for your dog and how it is the best approach. While working with us, you gain a deeper knowledge of your dog's psychology (hint: it's not really different from ours). You will understand your companion better, as well as key concepts of canine learning that underlie all we do. Our training approaches are scientifically sound and based on the latest research in canine learning. This is how we train, and we love sharing our thinking as we work. Here is another quote that factors into our philosophy of dog training.

"Be firm in all you do. Be gentle in how you do it." - Chad Mackin (adopted from Buck Brannaman)

Including you in the training process is our preference but we offer board and train solutions for the super busy. We love helping you understand your dog better. Learn how to speak 'woof' with us. Don't worry, it's not as hard as it sounds.

Related Articles: Build Your Dog Up!  |  Play is the Way  |  Clarity in Dog Training  |  The Canine Model

If Your Dog Could Talk

If Your Dog Could Talk is a straight-forward guide to understanding your dog.
If you ever wonder what your dog is thinking, this book is for you. Dive inside your dog's mind and read in plain English how your dog sees the world and you—its family pack.
Learn what it means to be a dog and how dogs relate to other animals and the people around them.
Understand how dogs learn, how their minds function and the foundation of all dog training and behavior modification.
If Your Dog Could Talk helps you understand your dog like never before!
Ralf Weber is a Training without Conflict™ Certified Professional Dog Trainer, a certified, professional member of the International Association of Canine Professionals (IACP-CDTA) and an AKC evaluator for the Canine Good Citizen and Community Canine certifications.

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