Training/Behaviour Modification

A dog needs to see you as a team leader or as the parent. Part of your job as the "parent" is to teach your dog to be a good citizen in a human world. They need to respect boundaries you will impose for their safety and the safety of others. The driving force in a dog's life is firstly to have a sense of security and secondly to do that which makes them feel good. Usually, it's not about "domination". Dogs are mostly just innocently selfish creatures who see what they want and do what they think they need to, to get it. You need to be seen as the provider of security and of all the good things in their life. By pleasing you, they will get what they want. If those boundaries are not respected, good things will be withdrawn. Influenced by your praise and rewards, patience, firmness, calmness, and consistent repetition, your dog's brain can be influenced towards the behaviour you are looking for. They must always trust that you as the team leader will keep things nice, relaxed, pleasant, and fair.  Your relationship with the dog is of the utmost importance. For most family dogs, I want to keep the dog's energy levels low and happy.

 

There are few quick fixes or tricks for fixing unwanted behaviour or creating new desired behaviour (there are a few, of course). I'll help you get the results you want but it will require your time and commitment and the realization that the way you interact with your dog may need to change. The idea that just an hour's session with me will fix your dog is not realistic. New habits can take weeks (or months) to become more reliable and you will need to be consistent. I set you on the right path.

 I'm not really interested in practicing the "sit" for an hour with you. So much is on youtube now (though I can tell you what works and what doesn't-- and your dog is never going to be a robot, no matter what programming you do with it). I'll show you the "sit" in 5 minutes and then we'll move on. You can practice on your time. Training basic commands "sit" and "down" (etc.) are important but what most people need help with are the basics of living with their dog and how to deal with unwanted behaviours.

 

I start with a  two to three hour initial session at your home where we go over how to get the dog to see you as the leader they can trust and defer to. All behavioural issues and command training need this as it's foundation and it starts in your home. It's a bit of a holistic approach. We'll talk about and demonstrate how to solve any behavioural problems (jumping, barking, biting, pulling on leash, aggression, etc). I'll go over any questions you may have (toilet training, puppy issues, etc). We'll also get you started on some command training (heel, sit, down, stay) without relying solely on the use of treats, using our praise and the philosophy that the sooner you do what I want, the sooner you'll get what you want. It's a very information packed few hours. If you have a new puppy, this session will prevent so many unwanted behaviours from developing and becoming more of an issue.

 

 My aim for this initial session is $150. I don't watch the clock and I try to answer every question you can think of. If you'd like to pay more, you're more than welcome to! If you feel you really can't afford this, let me know and we can work something out. I enjoy helping people with their dogs and it's a chance to meet people in the community. If I can, I'll probably try to rope you into signing your dog up for Adventure Walks ; ) . Future sessions are normally charged at a rate of $40/hour. We continue with more command training (the recall), fix any mistakes from the last session, introduce distractions to the training, etc. We proceed at your pace. However, many people find that the one session puts them well on the way to fixing the problems they were having with their dog. I do try to load you up with almost all the knowledge you would need to know for a family dog in that first session so that hopefully you'll be able to handle it on your own. I'll always be available to talk about and go over the stuff we covered in the first session, no charge.

 

To clarify, I do not train your dog. I train you on how to train your dog. We will work with whatever distractions are setting your dog off (I can bring other dogs with me, for example), but one session is not enough to change your dog. You will need to put in the repetitions. Your results come down to the amount of practice you put in, your consistency, and the level of distractions you use in your training. I recognize also that you are not living your life for your dog and will not be spending 12 hours a day working with your dog. You have friends, family, and jobs to consider as well. I try to give you the most practical advice for your situation that I can.

Please see my reviews page for what others have said about my services.

"Matthew used simple, effective techniques to get my dog behaving and responding in a calm fashion. He started by demonstrating and then coached me on how to do the training myself.  He explained the logic and reasoning behind each step to help frame why we were doing the work, and how we should expect to see results. The results have been fantastic, the whole family is delighted with the calmer, better behaved young dog we now have. I would happily recommend Matthew to anyone looking for some help with their dog."

 

                                   -Edward