Our training methods are based on current knowledge and accepted principles. We provide a ‘balanced’ approach that allows our guests to determine what methods or approach works for them and what they are most comfortable to utilize with their companion or pet. Our programs provide a variety of recognised inductive and/or compulsive methods to choose from wherever possible. There are ‘pros’ and ‘cons’ to any method, tool or approach and our mandate is to ensure that our guests are provided with the knowledge to make their own enlightened decisions. We believe there is no one method, tool or approach that applies to all persons or canines.
Do you use ‘Positive’ training methods?
All professional trainers utilize ‘positive’ methods as part of their training program. The learning phase for dogs as well as humans requires a ‘positive’ atmosphere to be most effective. We recognize the value and limitations of most approaches and techniques and will present you with options wherever possible to reach your goals. However, ultimately you must maintain a ‘positive’ relationship with your companion or pet to achieve the desired and dependable results. It is our job to help you determine how you can best achieve this!
Do you use food or treats to train?
We provide the knowledge necessary for our guests to determine what methods and/or tools are suitable for them to utilize and this includes identifying the potential use of lures, food or treats during training as legitimate options. The ultimate decision as to what tools or techniques to utilize always remains with the guest.
What types of collars and leashes do you require for your classes?
For all regular classes or activities where specialized equipment is not required, we recommend a plain six foot leash with a suitable snap for the size of puppy or dog. We suggest that you experiment with a variety of materials, widths, diameters and styles to find a leash that is comfortable for you and safe for your companion prior to making your selection. Retractable leashes are generally not recommended for our training classes as they are seldom comfortable or easily handled during exercises and are not as versatile in all training situations. However, please keep in mind that they are a legitimate tool and do have their practical uses elsewhere. There are a number of low-cost, good quality leashes available and any of our Pet Counsellors can assist you.
For puppies under twenty-two weeks, we recommend a simple buckle collar or harness to start with. For older puppies and dogs, there are a variety of training collars, head halters, harnesses and other devices available on the market today; please allow us to assist in providing the knowledge you may require to select the one that is most suitable to your personal requirements as well as provide direction on how to use it appropriately.
REMEMBER: It Is Not The Tool You Use; But How You Use The Tool That Will Determine Your Success! All training tools, including collars, can be subject to misuse or abuse – it is our commitment to ensure you have the most suitable tool for your personal situation and the knowledge to use it appropriately.
What is an appropriate age for my puppy to start classes?
We accept puppies as young as eight weeks of age into our Kindergarten Puppy Classes as long as there is proof provided of their first set of vaccinations. You need to be informed that there is debate among the various veterinarians over what age is appropriate and/or whether the puppy needs to be fully vaccinated. We strongly recommend that you discuss this with your own veterinarian prior to enrolling in class.
This period is a critical learning period for your puppy and they definitely have the ability to readily learn and to develop important socialization skills during this time. Most Behaviourists and many Veterinarians agree that the risk to your puppy’s health is minimized by the requirement of appropriate socialization and training through structured puppy classes during this period. We encourage you to investigate further and to make the decision you are most comfortable with.
We accept puppies up to twenty-two weeks of age into the classes, however, from a training and socialization perspective: Sooner Is Definitely Better! If you determine not to place your puppy in the KPT inter-active classes now, you can still pre-register your puppy for a future class that meets your needs and attend the two-hour Puppy Primer presentation now. This presentation will provide you with a wealth of useful information that will assist you with your puppy parenting skills right now!
My dog is very dominant, how do I become the Alpha-Dog?
In recent years, there has been a great deal of discussion about ‘dominant’ dogs, ‘pack’ theory and “alpha” dog status. Much of what we have been told to apply was based on our perception of wolf packs and what we interpreted to be ‘alpha wolf behavior’. We are now discovering that much of what we applied to our domestic dog simply has no basis for domestic puppies and dogs and is often contraindicated in the normal relationships that we enjoy with our puppies and dogs.
However, this does not mean that we should not take a ‘leadership’ role and establish common-sense approaches and rules in our relationship with our puppies and dogs or establish our position as a leader so that we do not become enmeshed in conflict or confrontation with our puppy or dog. Although truly ‘dominant’ dogs are in reality very rare, all puppies and dogs are in fact ‘pack’ or social animals. Wherever there are social relationships, there must be a hierarchy with established rules and protocols to ensure there is no breakdown in the social structure of that relationship.
Without entering into the very controversial debate over ‘domestic alpha dogs’ and ‘family pack theory’ let’s just determine that there have to be clearly understood rules and protocols in your home and that your puppy needs someone to take responsibility to ‘guide’ them. This means that you (and your other family members) must assume a leadership role to accomplish this.
A successful leader leads through mutual respect; not confrontation. Think of yourself as a benevolent ‘dictator’; one who makes and enforces the rules when necessary, but is consistent and fair in applying them…
Can an old dog really be taught new tricks?
Absolutely. While more senior dogs may require a bit more patience and persistence to teach them new behaviours, they certainly can learn. Motivational methods are the key to getting an older dog's cooperation. When your canine companion feels they are being rewarded for new behaviors, they will become more enthusiastic about learning them. The key here is to keep your dog’s mind stimulated throughout all life-stages so that they are not only physically comfortable as they age; but remain mentally productive and engaged! Your dog’s mind is a terrible thing to waste…