Hey everyone, you’re going to start seeing more updated posts soon – I have been working on the new updates for the command performance training system – the working title is going to be “Command Performance 2: Bring the Dog.”
This is a hell of a lot of work putting the system together – the hardest part is knowing what to throw out that usually has most people giving up on dog training and how to leave in only the things that get the most results in the least amount of time.
In honor of the new system, I figured that I should have a some kind of a signature vehicle that exemplified the spirit of my training program. The idea that a well–trained dog is a dog that you can take anywhere, and enjoy life more because of it. If you’re buying all of this, great. The bottom line is I thought it was a cool idea and I wanted to have the most sick looking bright red vintage bike that anyone had ever seen – plus I wanted to bring honey along!
For that reason, and because I’m kind of a design guy, I flex my designing muscles and built the Ultimate Bring the Dog vehicle. I love vintage retro stuff and so this bike and trailer combination was a real labor of love. Here is Honey and I attending a custom motorcycle show a few days ago.
I’ll post more pictures of the design publications and construction later because this is one beautiful piece of machinery!
Greetings from Camp David.
So you want to be a Dog Trainer–Are you sure?
Or, are you just like most dog owners with busy lives, careers and families who want a dog that is trained to come when called, Stay where he is put until you release him, and able to be under control in any situation so he can accompany you and your family anywhere you go (on or OFF the leash)?
Here is why I ask, and how I can help you get what you really want:
I am going to be collecting consultation data from working with people just like you with all sorts of dog issues they are trying to solve after abandoning the clickers, prong collars, and yelling until they are so hoarse they are “whispering.”
The problem is, that a book on any subject that requires a skill set acquired through years of practice can rarely be learned from a canned program or book.
I have personally trained of clients and their pets (not just Dogs either–that is a whole other article). [Read more...]
I want to get dog training away from the corporate “certified” (by the pet super mart) dog trainers and academics, and back out into the real world where it belongs.
What I am seeing out there today are more and more people in “dumbed down” obedience classes at the local pet super-store who are spending the money, and investing the time, and then not really getting anything in the way of real results [Read more...]
I just got off the phone with my Friend Diane Bauman, one of the worlds most respected Dog Training Authorities.
Diane is on the US World Team in Dog Agility Sport, and has spent several decades sitting atop Dog Training’s “A” List, winning some of Competitive Dog Training’s most coveted titles with an assortment of dog breeds that most other professionals would dismiss as unsuitable for obedience competition. While the other pros are tuning up the typical assortment of top bred Golden Retrievers and German Shepherds, Diane is showing up with an unlikely assortment of Afghan hounds, Cocker Spaniels, Pomeranians, Keeshonds, and walking away with the trophys!
And did I mention these champions were once “throwaways” rescued from local animal shelters?
This morning is about as good as it gets. Beautiful sunrise, birds singing, cool and slightly overcast after an overnight shower with the rain smell still in the air. I’m sitting outside my local coffee shop in the beautiful Country Club Plaza. I was here early enough to snag my favorite table, and I’m relaxing in a comfortable chair, a steaming latte, and enjoying being up before most everyone else for some quiet “me” time after a busy week. My girls are stretched out at my feet on their mat. Honey is people watching, and Baby is stretched out on her back napping. I kick off one of my Sanuk Sandals and feel the soft warmth of her fur as my foot rests on her tummy.
I’m lucky. I get to have lots of these moments. I get to share them, too.
You notice things when you bring your dogs. People are happier. Almost everyone walking past breaks into a smile. an involuntary “Awww!” Or at least a knowing glance at me. It is an unspoken understanding between dog people, and it is almost irresistible for them not to stop and share this moment. So we meet. We talk. They ask to pet the dogs (if they have kids, its a given). There are stories, more smiles, holding them–more hugs and petting for the girls from our new friends.
I hear the same things: “We have a (fill in the breed) at home–I wish we could bring her with us like this…” (Usually after they see me go in to get another coffee and leave the girls waiting patiently on their mat while people bustle by–some struggling to manage dogs that have noticed the girls, and are now “in tow” whining and straining against tight leashes ).
It is at these moments, that I am thankful that I can bring my dogs almost anywhere, and how my life wouldn’t be the same without them.
Often, while holding one of mine, looking at their innocent little faces, or receiving a lick in the face , I see them get emotional remembering a dog from their past, or just missing the ones waiting at home. I see their eyes misting as they recall a special memory. This stuff sneaks up on you–and it can be triggered by being close to any dog. Anyone who has experienced this precious bond isn’t a bit surprised that the people clearing their throats and turning away with something in their eye are usually grown men. When I am in another country or far from home without my girls, I am that guy too.
It makes me feel good about what I do– sharing the methods for people and their dogs to have richer, fuller lives. Here is the real gift: The gratitude that comes with the discovery that we need them more than they need us, and that life is better when you bring the dog.
There is a new marketing movement in dog training that promises results (did I say what kind?) and many times the time and effort to get them. Do a search for Dog Trainers and 90% of copy you will read will have to have the word “Positive” in it, and some will even take the really high road claiming exclusively “Positive Only” Dog Training. And who wouldn’t want that?
“Positive Only” has become the new buzz word for Dog Trainers who are marketing their services to the uninformed public, and it sounds absolutely wonderful.
The Freakanomics of this Positive Only scam is as natural a win/win for the dog trainer/behaviorists as fully leaded Coca-Cola and Captain Crunch cereal is for the dental profession. [Read more...]
If you were to get several dog trainers into the same room, within minutes they would be arguing about the right and wrong techniques for how to properly train your dog. I stand back and watch scenes like this and I’m always amazed at how different all their approaches sound–and sometimes I am really surprised to see that they actually are different. Most of the time though, the actual physical actions are almost identical! I think I have decided that to keep my sanity, and to not end social situations on awkward terms with people I don’t need to communicate on a deeper level than purely a fleeting social “Hi-how-are-you” basis, that I will refrain from delving into the finer points of dog training, politics, and Religion. Along with Child Rearing, Dog training should be one of those subjects that is considered off-limits in a social gathering. Especially for a dog trainer.
If you are talking to another trainer, they are usually criticizing another training method, and thinking that only what they are doing is the right thing and all the other tools or methods every one else is doing are stupid, harmful, or abusive. Or, there is the non-trainer who because he is knowledgeable in his field is now trying to explain his “theories” about how he has trained his own dog to understand his every word. (The dog is usually never there, of course–and if the dog is there he is usually oblivious to the owner because “he get’s so excited when other people/animals/(You chose a reason)are around.”)Reality is funny like that. And that is why I designed a training system that takes reality in to account when expecting results. I just thought it would be a good thing to do. Instead of tons of specifics that eat up weeks of time and give you little utility, I focus on the few vital things that your dog needs to know and to be able to do in any circumstance to be with you out in the Real World. Notice I didn’t say win a dog show, or that you can only expect to work in the privacy of your living room, or the attentiveness you get right before you set his food bowl on the floor. I am talking real life people, places, traffic, noises, screaming kids, crosswalks, offices, parks, other dogs, and squirrels galore.
The real world that I live in is full of things happening that I can’t always plan or control. And if I don’t think that my companion can take my directions in those times, being together in my world is going to be really stressful and even dangerous for both of us. That is why most dogs spend the majority of their brief lives confined in kennels, back yards, or left at home. A great fulfilling life for a fellow “Social Creature” like ourselves, huh?
Don’t worry if you’re not a Dog Trainer. I’ll let you in on a little secret; Some of them are no better off. In recent years, with the emergence of new training methods wary of being labeled abusive, they swung the pendulum to the other extreme, ideologically committed to an unrealistic view of reality, they limit their training to certain “Positive Only” parts of a complete and balanced approach. This all looks good on paper, and conjures up all kind of warm feelings. Some people think that because the dog learns how to do a command using treats as primary motivation in an otherwise stimulus free environment (Read: the living room) They are then expecting him to DO what he learned out in the real world. There is a big disconnect between what they learn and actually doing what they learned.
Half of a Good Approach is Not Enough
I described this common error as using the “Positive Only” part of a balanced approach. . You may want to believe it will work, and you’ll spend lots of time and energy “Training” for it to work, but it rarely delivers better results than if you had skipped the training altogether and spent the time doing something productive–like going for a walk. I am no stranger to the frustration that comes from investing time and effort into something and come away from it feeling like you wasted your time–if you doubt me take a good look at my hair. I digress…
I have no argument with treats. I love them too. You want me to help you move a chest of drawers or a sofa, offer me some jerky and see what happens. I get it. I use treats all the time to teach new behaviors. I use every tool I have available. My point is that my “tool box” has lots more in it than milkbones, and if it didn’t, I couldn’t have created the only method out there that delivers these kind of fast results to people with no previous experience in dog handling.
As H. L. Mencken put it, “For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.”
But back to reality. There is a part of dog training that takes place in a Learning Phase. There are well intentioned people out there who never move out of this Phase and call it “Positive Training.” It makes a good warm fuzzy feeling inside the dog lover, but the results are not so good. They have elevated a small piece of the training puzzle to a complete training methodology, and the end results are not living up to the hype. The Human equivalent of this approach would be the “Self Esteem” movement back decades ago that was first implemented in the California School Systems. Everything was Positive. Every answer was Right (in its own way). The students didn’t sit and listen to to the teacher, they were encouraged to speak about what they thought about the subjects before they even knew the subjects. They didn’t want to damage the healthy self esteem they thought they were fostering. Examples include changing testing standards for economically disadvantaged children or eliminating valedictorians from high school graduations. Two plus two equaling Five was not Wrong, it was just a different and original way to approach the problem! Very impressive Johnny! You get the idea…
Not only did it not give kids better self esteem , it planted the seeds of the biggest educational decline in our history. Now instead of having top flight universities now full of young Americans who were prepared to lead the world in science and technology, we have those top universities full of kids from China and India who will lead the world. But what about the Positive only results? The result in this example are kids whose test scores can barely scrape the bottom of the list of all developed countries, and even though they are testing out at levels that are barely literate in science and math, studies show that if you ask them how they rate in comparison to other students from around the world, they unabashedly tell you that they they are #1! Go USA!!
This isn’t self esteem. It is ignorant false confidence. It is lack of awareness born of delusion and false perception. We have let these kids down just as we have our dogs by shielding them from everything but the fun and positive, and the result is a clash with reality on a grand scale. Don’t end up like the people who have wasted years of stuck in the kindergarten stage of a partial training program and still can’t bring the dog into their daily life.
The Real World. That is where Command Performance Dog Training System has delivered the goods for over 20 years. These are real people using a simple (too simple) method that works every time. Just you, the dog, some comfortable shoes, and 10-20 minutes. If you have never experienced the program, feel free to read the reviews of those who have.
Nothing I have ever tried since gives the level of results gained for the few minutes invested, and that is why people still swear by this method. After 20 years, I think we still may be onto something.