seHow does basic obedience work?
Well, first, it takes a commitment to your dog and family to do what it takes to make it work. It's not magic, it is work.
Second, you need to understand who you've hired, what their philosophy is, what protocols will be put in place and be comfortable following thru. If you aren't comfortable following thru and, with some research into it still feel that way, then it might be best to look for a trainer who's philosophy more aligns with yours. Everyone needs to be on the same page for it to work. This is not to say one trainer is right and another is wrong but a matter of which one is right for you.
Third, you have to understand that it starts with baby steps, in the very beginning, at the simplest point in order to capture and keep the dog's attention, establish communication and trust. Each following behavior is added in a specific order so that it reinforces the previous behavior while adding the new behavior. Each step has to be climbed in order to get to the landing. You can't skip a step without losing progress. And sometimes, if we move too fast, we go backwards a little bit to make sure we don't leave anyone behind.
As the behaviors come together, working with each other, and the dog learns when to provide these different behaviors we have success. We have a well mannered dog that knows how to listen, what to provide and can continue to learn new, even more exciting, behaviors.
Above you see Henley. Henley has learned his basics thru AKC STAR Puppy and CGC classes. He can provide these basics in different environments with different distractions. But it all started with the first step. Each behavior leads to the next behavior. Your commitment to the training to follow thru. It's not magic, it's work. And a sense of accomplishment when you get the end.
Don't forget to bring your dog's vet and adoption records (if you have them) with you. When you arrive I ask that you not try to restrain the dog (unless there is a danger of biting, of course) or correct the dog's behavior. If he wants to sniff and explore his environment, let him. If he wants to hide behind you, that is fine. I need to see their behavior and reactions. I will watch how the dog comes into the studio, their body language. level of curiosity, watching their body language I let the dog choose to approach me. This helps build their confidence and trust.
We start with paperwork then we move on to questions about the dog's history, family dynamics and schedules. I watch the dog closely to read his body language and reactions. Where does he sleep? Is he crated? What does his outside area look like? What kind of toys does he have? What is her regular feed? Is she spayed? Is he neutered? Last vet visit and what was it for? Does he travel? Has she had a litter? Have you moved/married/divorced/had a baby recently? New pets? Lost a pet? Deployment? Sudden schedule change? And more... I will offer the dog treats. The higher the anxiety the less likely the dog is to take treats. If he takes the treats or when he settles enough to take them tells me a lot. Information gathered is for our use in setting up the best treatment plan for your dog. I do not share it unless directed to, such as if you change trainers or want me to provide it to your vet.
The more information I have the better we can figure out what direction we need to take and to set up that treatment plan. Then I go over with you what my plan of action is, how we will address and manage the behaviors while creating a way to get new, desired behaviors. We'll discuss counter conditioning when needed. We'll go over the cost of each session, how many sessions, how often we will meet and set up our first appointment. Payment is per session and can be cash, check or credit card. The consultation itself takes about an hour and a half and unless there are special circumstances that we discuss first, each session should last between 45 minutes and an hour.
Every dog is different and we adjust our approach to the individual dogs. This is important and it may result in shifting our plan to make sure the dog is progressing.
You may be advised to make a vet appointment. If there is a physical cause for the behavior we cannot make progress without it being addressed.