The How to Tell When Someone Claims to, but Doesn’t Actually Understand Dog Training Starter Kit:

✔️Won’t use “corrective” tools in dog training, but yells at their dog constantly for not listening.

✔️Allows their dog to pull on a “gentle” leader with the strap almost in the dogs eyeballs, but touts that prong collars are inhumane.

✔️Gives unsolicited advice on the internet and says things like: “Try humane ‘science based’ dog training instead,” implying that only positive reinforcement is science-based.

This is the age we live in. We live in a sea of experts simply because people have a keyboard and Google. Believers in positive reinforcement (+R) only training, from my experience are some of the most critical, confrontational folks out there. I’m not writing this to draw a line in the sand. I actually think that the more people talk about +R versus balanced, the more of a divide it creates in all of us. But because I see so much of this nonsense, I need to speak up. Aren’t we all in this for the same reason, to help dogs and live a happier life with them? But here’s the thing. It’s all bullshit. It’s a fear mongering façade that certain personality types like to force onto others. I’m here to give some much needed clarification on this topic.

All of science works: positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement, positive punishment, negative punishment. It’s ALL science and it ALL works to increase or decrease the likelihood of a behavior happening again. The next time you hear someone refer to +R as the only part of the four quadrants that is “science-based” laugh, and then ignore everything else they have to say.

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Oh and here’s the kicker. There’s no such thing as positive-only training. In order to achieve that your dog would have to live completely off leash, free range. The second you have a leash on a dog you’re using negative reinforcement. If you tell your dog “no”, or use your leg to quickly block them from bolting out of a doorway, you’re using positive punishment. Dogs are ALWAYS being trained by the cause and effect patterns that take place within our homes day to day, whether we realize it or not. Let’s stop the madness and not have such harsh opinions or choose sides on topics we don’t thoroughly understand. 

Aren’t we all in this for the love of dogs anyway? And if we respect dogs for who they are in their most pure form, WE WON’T BE AGAINST THEIR INNATE WAYS OF LEARNING; as Mother Nature isn’t exactly keen on positive reinforcement only.

E collar training has tremendously helped strengthen my bond with Kiana...

Kiana and I had spent 30 weeks in dog training classes, hoping that with time we could work on her leash aggression, nervousness, and protectiveness around stranger dogs and humans. It got to a point where I dreaded going on walks around the park or on hikes with her because her reactivity was out of control and it wasn’t getting any better. After doing extensive research online I stumbled upon Flash Dog Training and read some of the reviews of other dog parents who had the same issues I was having. I finally reached out to Kerry and Bre at Flash Dog Training to see if they could help us and committed to a 4 week Board and Train.

Not going to lie, at first I was slightly skeptical, but also desperate. I had tried for 8 months to work on her reactivity and nothing had worked, so what could they really do in 4 weeks? Turns out 4 weeks at Flash Dog Training made a WORLD of a difference. 

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E-collar training has tremendously helped strengthen my bond with Kiana. She now trusts me to be in control and have her back, so she doesn’t feel the need to take control of the situation herself. It’s been an incredible tool that has enabled me to communicate with Kiana in a way that that she understands. We have been able to have an absolute blast off AND on leash on trails and around parks and ensure that we and everyone around us is safe. I can’t thank Kerry and Bre at Flash Dog Training enough for helping us through this and I will be forever grateful!

“Insecurities are loud, confidence is quiet.”

This statement is CERTAINLY true with people and it’s absolutely true with dogs. The catch is that dogs, like people, are not one thing or the other. They’re not simply insecure or secure. We are all multi layered. We all have things that make us feel less than and we have things about ourselves that empower us and make us feel confident. Some dogs and people are consumed by their insecurities. It takes over their life and makes them act out. Kiana’s insecurities began to slowly take over her life and her owner’s.

Dogs that struggle with stranger-danger issues or fear-based reactivity in general are typically lacking confidence in some department. With that insecurity comes a “display” of behavior that is an expression of how the dog is feeling about that situation. Dogs do what works and the insecure dog over time becomes empowered by their reactive display because it’s highly effective at making stressors go away. Soon it becomes an auto-pilot reaction for anything that is bothering them. Meanwhile, the confident dog is secure in its own skin and the scenario. It doesn’t feel the need to try to control the situation and has no motivation to vocalize or react in any way, other than just be accepting of the situation that is occurring.

Kiana has come so far during her stay with us. Thanks to the training, new tools and techniques, Kiana understands that her humans will alter the the environment for her to make her feel better; she doesn’t need to do all of that “talking” to make herself feel better. She is gaining confidence knowing that when she subtly communicates she is understood by humans. She doesn’t need to go ham to get her point across. This is something that all pet dogs struggle with. Dogs are constantly trying to tell us how they feel but a good 90% of the time we don’t heed that communication and we actually make things worse for the dog.

Every situation and new experience with your dog is a chance to prove to them that you can make them feel better about the things that make them fearful and insecure. However that does require clear communication and an understanding on both the human and dog’s part. Knowing all of your dogs layers is the best place to start. Knowing what makes them insecure and knowing what brings out there confident side is so important. Working with a professional trainer can really help you clarify these individual characteristics in your dog and how to work with them. We are now confident that Kiana and her mom are going to be able to navigate her moments of insecurity using the training Kiana has received here during her board and train.

Kiana looking bold and confident thanks to the training she has received.

Kiana looking bold and confident thanks to the training she has received.

Flash Dog Training's Shadow Program

Shadowing a reputable professional through their day-to-day routine as they practice their craft is a great way to learn a trade. When that craft is training dogs in a home-based environment, it's great insight to what this “lifestyle” is like. It’s not just about the repetition of teaching the dog obedience, you are watching the ins and outs of what it’s like living with dogs that have behavioral issues and what the process looks like to resolving them. 

We have had shadows work with us for a weekend, week, month and even 3 month period. The length of stay is fully customizable and we will meet you where you are at experience wise and hit on topics you would like to learn. The other part of the program is showing you our system and the core of our philosophies and techniques. Stories will be shared and swapped over meals after the dogs are done for the day. We have housing options available and we encourage you to bring a dog. We have even had people shadow along while their dog was in our board and train program.

Amanda is our current shadow student at our Denver location. Amanda has worked at a training and boarding facility, as a vet assistant, and she currently works as a staff manager at a pet resort. She began shadowing with Flash in early November. Here is what Amanda says about why she’s shadowing to grow her skill set:

Amanda makes a connection with board and train dog, George.

Amanda makes a connection with board and train dog, George.

 “In my experience in animal care so far, I found dog training to be the most rewarding job. The reason I feel so strongly about balanced training is because I've witnessed the results. I believe it is the most effective way to communicate with our dogs and e collars are the most life-changing tools. Since moving to Colorado in June, I struggled to find dog trainers with similar goals, techniques and values as me. It was also important to me to find a trainer who genuinely wanted to help me grow as a dog trainer. I knew of Kerry from a past job in New York, but didn’t have the courage to reach out to a stranger until I needed approval to join a local dog trainers Facebook group and she happened to be an admin. I researched Flash, watched practically every video on Instagram, and read every Facebook post. Everything I read or saw resonated with me. I’m most interested in behavior modification and seeing Kerry’s phenomenal results working with any behavioral issue showed that she had a lot of experience and knowledge to offer. I also wanted more experience with the e collar because I’d like to educate more dog owners on the benefits of e collar training. I love how Flash prioritizes the intricate conditioning process of the e collar and how all of their dogs are happy and upbeat working on the tool.”

We are so pleased to see the benefit of the value our students received in our program and how they apply their knowledge afterwords. If you're looking to get into dog training as a career, shadowing is a great way to see if the industry is right for you. It is fantastic for owners who really want an intensive amount of coaching for themselves, rather than just taking lessons. We also have other dog training professionals shadow us who are looking to add more training tools to their tool belt. Wherever you're at in your career or if you are thinking about making dog training your career, we can customize a shadow program for you.

We are looking forward to having students join us at our new location in Bend, Oregon this coming year. We will still be taking shadows at our Denver location with our trainer Breanna. If you are interested in shadowing please contact Kerry@flashdogtrianing.com for program details and rates.