It is a very important that you know what kind of training a trainer does before you commit to training with them. We want you to understand our training, but it is something you must experience to fully understand it because our approach to dog training is unique and innovative.
You may or may not know that the dog training world is divided. There are two training camps that dog trainers usually belong to. We can name these camp Punishment and camp Reinforcement.
If you belong to camp Punishment, it means that you use Positive Punishment as the secret sauce in your training program. It doesn't matter what other methods of training you do, or the results of your training, if you use Positive Punishment as the secret sauce in your training program you belong to camp Punishment.
If you belong to camp Reinforcement it means that you use Positive Reinforcement as the secret sauce in your training program. It doesn't matter what other method of training you do, or the results of your training, if you use Positive Reinforcement as the secret sauce in your training program you belong to camp Reinforcement.
Your secret sauce is everything in the dog training world. The results don't matter. People only care about the secret sauce that you use to get your desired results. In fact, people don't even care about the dog. Shocking, right? Trainers that belong to camp Punishment don't change their training sauce for different dogs, and trainers that belong to camp Reinforcement, don't change their training sauce for different dogs. They both chose dogs and clients that will buy into the sauces that they like to use. When a trainer belong to a training camp they use a method for training. It is a method that they have perfected and that they can and will package and sell their clients. People pick a trainer based on the camp that they say they belong to.
So which camp does IDTE belong to? Camp dog! I do not have a problem with any of the dog training camps. However, I didn't find the help I was looking for from either one of the camps. I've been professionally working with dogs since I was 18. My first job was as a dog bather. I have had many dog related jobs and each job required a different skills set. Dogs never changed, but I was constantly having to build my skills to work with dogs. I was training dogs, long before I knew I was training dogs. I got interested in dog training because I had so many people calling me their dog trainer, but I had some training issues with my own dogs so I thought if I was going to be a dog trainer I needed to seek help from a professional dog trainer to find out how to resolve my own dogs problems. I almost didn't become a dog trainer because I was told I had to do what other trainers were doing. I didn't like it though. The Universe had other plans because organically I became a dog trainer and I do it my way. When I was in the third grade, I wrote a paper for school saying when I grew up I wanted to be an animal trainer. At the time, I was planning on being horse trainer, but it turned into being dogs where I found I was most helpful.
As a dog owner, I had a lot of animal experience. I had done most of the training on my dogs myself, but I had some kinks that I didn't know how to work out with my dogs. Those kinks got worse when I turned to professionals for help, terrible right? I realized that I was the problem. I didn't believe in the trainers or their training methods. I needed to find my own answers. I grew up around animals. I had always got untrained animals, so figuring out how to train them was part of animal ownership in my mind. Before I got into dog training, I trained horses. The horse world is very divided too. I did not feel like I belonged in the horse world because everyone belonged to a camp and I didn't fit in with any of the camps. Ironically, in the 6th grade when I went to camp with my school I didn't fit in with that camp either.
One of my personal strengths is I am an observer. I'm that person that goes to a bar and hardly drinks but sits and watches all the drunk peoples behaviors. Weird I know, but behaviors have always been fascinating to me. What I noticed about all these camps, horses and dogs, is they are filled with dominating people. They like control, they want control, they need control. It doesn't matter if your camp Punishment or camp Reinforcement you are always training for control. Both disagree with the others methods because agreeing would mean giving up control. Both camps will turn away dogs if the clients don't buy in and agree to use their training methods. Sad, right? Both camps will suggest rehoming or euthanasia before they will agree to use the other camps methods or to trust their clients decisions.
I believe that dog training is about engaging with your dog and learning skills that will help you navigate the world. I had done a lot of traditional obedience training with my dogs. I was taught corrections, and I had my mouth stuffed with hotdogs to spit out to my dogs (yes, that really happened), but these things failed me when I needed them. Skills open up doors for me and and my dogs. I know a lot of dogs that have great obedience training but they live in a very small world because they don't have other skills for engaging and dealing with life. I know a lot of dog trainers that train circles around me but they cannot leave their dog with anyone (except for other trainers) because their dogs don't have the skills to handle themselves around people who are not robotic with them. When I was struggling with my own personal dogs back in the 80s and 90s it was clear to me that me and my dog were missing some important skills. I couldn't believe that it took me 15 years to find a trainer that had a toolbox of knowledge and skills to share with me. I am so grateful to my mentor because very few trainers have so much to offer both dogs and humans. I am grateful I had so much time with her and I now have a full toolbox as well. People care more about methods than they do about the dogs. I care about dogs and I want to empower them with lots of skills for life because life is hard. To do this, I must empower people with lots skills. Skills are hard, training is hard, but boy is it worth it if you do it because doors will start flying open for you and your dog. The exciting thing is you can build skills at home. If your dog is sitting in the yard, or lying around the house this is great, but you can strengthen your dogs mind and your relationship between you and your dog in the comfort of your own home while building skills that will help navigate life. Skills come in all kinds of forms.
Training should build a dog up. It should never break a dog down. Training should always empower a dogs ability to think. It should never force them into suppression or submission. Dogs should be confident, happy, engaged and motivated, and clear headed. They should be good thinkers and listeners. They should be able to preform different behaviors. They should have social skills and be able to be safe around others. They should have coping skills, and conflict resolution skills. They also should be able to be relaxed and calm. Owners need good handling skills so that they make their dogs feel comfortable. They need to understand dog behaviors and understand why their dog behaves the way it does. They need to understand training, how it works, and how to teach it to their dog. They need to understand how dogs treat each other and what the dogs social structure looks like and why. Owners need to understand the difference between the dog world and the human world and how both effect their dog. These are some of the things that we focus on at IDTE. As doors open, we learn more and more because dog training is addicting for many of us!