I have been professionally training dogs in Orange County since I founded OC Canine Coaching in 2010. I actually transitioned into the dog training world from sales and finance roles in the prior decade, working directly with people to problem solve other difficult areas of their lives. After the recession in 08’ I realized there must be something more meaningful and lasting that I could dedicate my life to, something that brings myself and others meaning and joy. It took some soul searching but I quickly realized that my whole life I have always felt an overwhelming attraction to animals. My first 5 years were spent on a family farm which makes sense. Animals of all sorts fascinated me and in tough uncertain times, they were always there as a source of comfort and solace. Memories surfaced of me playing with dogs and other farm animals as a child and being essentially babysat by my parents friends dog’s as while they socialized at parties. After hearing a few well placed radio ads and a push from my friends and family, I enrolled in class. From there my life literally went to the dogs.
I completed my first certification with Animal Behavior College as a dog trainer and was fortunate enough to have a great mentor trainer who showed me there was so much more to learn. Dog training at the time was rapidly changing and the positive reinforcement movement was on the rise. I was very much into this new philosophy and found it made a huge impact on learning for my students. I won’t kid you though, as a novice trainer, I still wanted to use a mixed bag of tools and tricks that I had learned from others. I’ll admit I used prong collars and even shock collars from time to time because I felt that they worked better for some more challenging dogs. What I wasn’t fully aware of was while punishment like this can work to change behavior, the emotional fallout of these tools and methods are all too common, even in the hands of trainers with impeccable timing like myself. What’s worse is these tactics often cause further behavior issues, don’t offer lasting behavior change, don’t address the actual cause of behavior problems and damage the trust you have built already with your dog. I had to find a better way for myself and my clients. More education was the answer.
Scaring and intimidating our dogs is not sustainable if we want peace of mind. Our dogs are not wolves, nor are they pack animals like we have thought they were previously. Being the alpha and dominating your dog is an outdated and problematic approach that only leads to confusion and further turmoil for your dog. Fortunately, after years of continuing education and outreach with numerous and more esteemed dog trainers, veterinary behaviorists, and other P.h.d’s. I designed my programs to address both the dog and the owners’ needs while keeping things as light hearted and fun as possible.