Feedback for Basic Dog Obedience

In my opinion the most important aspect of balanced dog training that I learned from this course is to understand and read your dog. A person can understand the steps it takes to train a dog, but unless they understand the dog and how the dog learns they will have a difficult time training the dog (not to say that they can't... because enough time and consistency and the dog will learn).

Every dog is going to learn differently. From the tools you use to train them to the high value rewards that they receive. It is up to you as a trainer to determine what works for your dog. Every dog will respond differently to a food treat VS a toy treat. The same can go for corrections, sometimes a firm No will get the dog’s attention, other times you might need a quick pop of the prong collar.

As a balanced trainer you understand how to get your dog motivated and engaged with you. You know what reward to deliver when they perform the command. You proof these behaviors/commands until you are certain the dog knows the behavior that is expected of them from a given command. You practice the behaviors in a variety of environments and distractions. Once you are 100% confident that your dog will listen and that they understand you will correct them if they chose to ignore the command. But you always give the dog the chance to listen to you. But most of all you know and understand the dog.

- Kayla

Overall, I have learned that consistency and repitition in every aspect of training works wonders. Making communication with my dog black and white with markers, key gestures, and voice commands is helping me and my family. Our puppy is now 7 months, and is on her way to becoming a well-behaved, obedient, well-trained dog. I could not have done it without Leerburg articles, videos on demand, and this new course in basic dog obedience.

- John

I especially liked week 3 with the commands and the detail of accomplishing the tasks. Even though much of this I have been taught in the past the detail involved was a great reinforcement. I also enjoyed the touch and look commands in everyday situations out on my walks. I have been doing these and they work great. I have been taught both touch and look but never put it to use in the real world.

I knew about engagement but it is always great to know or see it again. I am going to work on the recalls as I have not been real consistent and this class reminded me of the importance.

I enjoyed the equipment portion and immediately ordered a prong with the small prongs. All in all, a great course. I have spent $100 for 6 weeks of training, but I got more out of this.

- John

I have learned so much from this course that I never knew before. I could write a novel but for me the following is what stands out.

At the moment good management and consistency are really in the forefront as crucial to raising a happy puppy/dog (owners as well!) and therefore balanced dog training. I think if the dogs environment is not controlled whether that be crate training, socialising, bad behaviours, house rules, new owners will have their hands full and a dog that is soon uncontrollable. Far better to start good management with a puppy and teach it to engage with you. Both owner and dog will have a healthy and happy relationship. (how good is engagement, can't wait to start this with a puppy) Having said this Daisy is proof that you can teach an old dog new tricks.

This course has taught me that the above is a long term commitment. There is no quick fix! I am responsible for the raising of my puppy. From watching the DVDs in this course and listening to Ed talk all of the above will hopefully give me a rapport between my dog and myself and an understanding and closeness that will carry us through to competition obedience.

- Helen

In my opinion the most important aspect of balanced dog training is the level of respect the dog has for its handler. By using this approach to training I have seen my dog become more focused on me and really enjoy learning. With the balanced training I am able to see how my dog wants to solve the problem of learning a new behavior. The balanced dog training teaches the handler to use a correction to help the dog learn but in a very positive way. This program builds a more confident dog.

- Grant

After taking this course, I have a better understanding of what "balanced" training means. I have a two year old female GSD that I have done a little training with but I never used food for motivation. Sure I have a great pet but I want to do more with her than just train her to sit, down, etc.

I have been a fan of the Leerburg site for several years but really just read about what other people were doing with their dogs, not thinking about what I could do with my own dog. I have 7-8 or so videos but I still didn't understand how to put it all together. Now, after finishing this first course, i have a better understanding of how to put all the pieces together to form a "trick". (for lack of a better word) I now understand the value of using food to motivate a dog/puppy to engage with me.

It seems to me that engagement is the most important thing a trainer needs to begin training. I like using the marker training with my dog. i still need to perfect my timing but I am getting better. The balanced training fits "my philosophy" for training dogs. I agree with training through distractions and using a reasonable/fair correction if needed. I don't think you can have real relationship with your dog if you are using a fear based training method. But on the other side of the training spectrum, I don't think the majority of dogs can be trained using only positive reinforcement. The key here is to find what works with each individual dog. The training should be about making the dog successful, not making things easy for the trainer at the expense of the dog.

- Dianne

The most important aspect of balanced dog training course to me is to have a rock solid foundation. The dog has to trust you and interact with you before they can learn anything. Using marker training is a great way to motivate them. Also true is not to try and do too much with the dog to soon. Short training sessions more often is the key. As I have a 4 month old pup that I'm working with. She has very high energy with both toy drive and tug. The focus is the hardest thing which means everything has to be short lived and her wanting more. I know it will get better in time. Thank you for putting out this course. It has made me a better owner and trainer. The one that wins is my dog.

- Dwayne

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to spend some quality time learning about the aspects you hold dear to your heart and the training methodology you use.

Balanced dog training: In my opinion it is critical to improve our understanding about all the aspects of a dog, it’s not just about how a dog learns, but how we must learn how to educate ourselves, in order to understand the dogs’ mind, how and why the dog displays certain behaviours. The cause and effect we can and do have on that process.

A dog is a dog, it is an animal and we have to respect it and treat it as such, it is hard wired and has instinct and genetics, as do we, but we and they are different in many aspects. My motto is “Training dogs is or can be simply but it is not easy”

I have been training dogs for many years, but will never know all that there is to know, and have to modify my thoughts and processes along the way with each and every dog that I come into contact with. This course has given me the opportunity to put into practice those learnt theories i now better understand.

I am a firm believer that in order to progress ourselves and our dogs we have to make daily advancements in all that we do with them. This course has given me that opportunity to do just that, by better understanding what I am doing, why I am doing it, and how it can change or modify the manner in which I do things for the better.

By having a balanced training ethos, it can only be for the good of the dogs and us. By better understanding the critical periods of the dogs’ development and by undertaking a study course, helps to embed the importance of such learning, that we and the dogs’ need to go through in order to achieve that status-quo.

By understanding classical and operant conditioning, and how this can and is used by the balanced dog trainer, the terminology and explanations given in its use and meaning makes training techniques more understandable, they can sometimes be confusing until understood properly. This course is a good grounding for both the inexperienced and experienced dog trainer/ instructor to better understand what we are doing, why we are doing it, and how it can be improved upon.

Yours and others (within the content of the course material) experience and knowledge speaks volumes, the weekly sessions (and segments) flow logically in content, each and every part is explained in detail, so the learner can fully understand what it is that is being said, or demonstrated in the video clips.

For me the words that have now been embedded in my mind are:

Management
Engagement
Pack structure
Marker training
Stressors
Distractions
Corrections

I have learnt a lot from taking part in the learning process, some I already knew, but other parts I was unclear on, by having the opportunity to do the study programme at a time convenient to me with the ability to review and reflect on areas that I was unsure of, has now helped me to better understand what I am doing, why I am doing it and the benefits it has for both me and the dogs.

I look forward to participating in future courses with you and thank you for taking the time to make this facility available to everyone interested in bettering their knowledge and understanding in canine training.

- Colin

I think it's learning to be fair, fair to the dog by opening up yourself to learn, learning to understand how a dog thinks, reacts, learns and then teach yourself how to teach the dog! I found Ed and Cindy's acting on how to train dogs using people entertaining ... and I tried it on my 27 year old daughter, and it worked! That in itself taught me volumes. I actually think practicing on people has real value, understanding how to figure out what the other wants without words and TIMING ... from Yes to waiting 1.5 second and then reward ... that's tricky and it was difficult for me initially. Understanding management of the dog and how the behavior of the dog is greatly impacted on what kind of a teacher you are, and the philosophy that motivates your training. And, finally being fair in correction; making sure that you have fulfilled your responsibility in being educated, patient and consistent in training, that the dog 110% understands what is expected of him, then and only then correcting as necessary, not fueled by emotion.

I have studied your website for months, read, read, read, and read, submitted questions and received valuable answers, I've gained a tremendous amount of knowledge just by reading your site, I didn't expect so much more information in this online class, I am already revisiting weeks 1-5 just to take notes and I just purchased a streaming video .... the years of knowledge you make available for dog owners like me is truly a gift.

The video of Cindy in the Mondio Ring (2) with Rush, was incredible, thank you for sharing that ... although that is not a goal of mine, you could see and sense Cindy's accomplishment, her efforts and talent, that was a incredible to watch.

- Kathy

Oh my. Hopefully I am allowed quite a bit of space for my answer. First, some background. My husband had German Shepherds and Dobermans growing up. I never had a dog... We both wanted a dog for years, but did not do so due to our careers, until 1.5 years ago when I retired at age 55 from the Corporate world and had the time to commit to the responsibilities of owning a dog. After much research we welcomed 4 month old Ruby, German Shepherd female, home in June 2012. To be clear, I had zero dog training skills, and would describe myself to be a 'soft' person (it's those eyes....).

Ruby and I went to a number of puppy & training classes, I read at least a dozen books, and watched dog 'behaviour' episodes for hours. I have to say that none of it really resonated with me. But in the absence of knowing better alternatives, I took it for what it was. After all, I knew nothing and they were the experts.

On July 1, 2013 we welcomed Coco, then a 4 month old German Shepherd into our home. We wanted to have Ruby for a full year prior to deciding on a 2nd. I discovered Leerburg about 2 months ago when I was looking for vests for both of them to wear and be a visual 'keep away' message to strangers. Boggles my mind that people approach wanting to pet them. Thank goodness for some common sense on our part as in saying 'no' as I now know this to be 'Management'.

Upon surfing your site, I watched a couple videos and then ordered the dominant dog collar and the double hook leash. I already had prong collars for both. Coco, my 10 month old developed a 'thing' for cars about 2 months ago. She is obsessed with them and lunges for them when in my truck, and when out for a walk. If she got got away on me for any reason when out for a walk, I know she would be hit, so the dominant collar and double hook leash were a welcome safety measure. Question for you on this later.

I just completed your 6 week Obedience course. And FINALLY - I truly feel like I have found the real thing. Which translates to knowing that I have pretty much done most everything wrong from day one with both Ruby and Coco. I believe that we have 2 basically good (but not well trained) dogs because of the amount of exercise they get (2-3 hours every day); and from applying a bit of common sense. It certainly is NOT because of all the things I have tried with other professional help in past. Not blaming, just stating facts. I now know better, and therefore now have the opportunity to do better.

My learnings from this course are many. First is knowing that I need to become their pack leader. I knew that this was required before, but now have real, practical and doable actions on exactly WHAT to do in order to accomplish this.

I consciously decided to take the entire course first prior to applying the learnings. Part of my challenge is working with both of them at the same time on my own as I am currently at our winter home while my hubby is working hard back at home. (Yes, a nice problem for me to have). Today, I begin the next chapter with Ruby and Coco with real knowledge as learned from your course. I will begin with Charging the Mark, rewarding the Mark, and Hand Touch. Then will continue with Look, and on from there. In parallel, I need to take Learning to play w Tug. Ruby LOVES to play, and I now appreciate how engaged she is and wants to be. But the toy(s) are currently HER toys, and will out maybe 2 out of 5 times upon request. So we won't be playing Tug any more until I take that course... But I digress.

QUESTION re Coco and her car obsession. Given this is of life saving importance, I have tried methods learned in this course to redirect her, but have not found any method, or anything of higher value that works for her. FYI, I didn't expect this to be covered in the entry course. I have Dogtra e collars for both of them, but have not really used them as I felt I didn't know enough about them to use them properly. Another Leerburg video on my list to take...

At one point, you discussed the 'have to stop the behaviour in its tracks' or something like that. Where can I find more about this specific issue? As to what I can specifically do?

THANK you both so very much for making these on line educational courses. I truly believe that we have inadvertently held back both Ruby and Coco in their abilities because I/we did not know what and how to work with them. Learning is a life long journey - thank goodness - and I look forward to have meaningful learning from Leerburg going forward. It isn't too late - and I know I have just barely scratched the surface!

- Carol