In this section, we have come up with some tips to help maximize the benefits you will gain from our courses.
Have a read if possible :)
Things to prepare
Necessary items to get ready before the course:
1) Bite sized treats
Do get ready treats that are bite sized, or those can be easily broken down into smaller piece as we will be using them during lessons. Puppies may require soft treats due to teething.
Notes are essential to take down important points as we will be covering on a number of areas as well as providing assignments for you to practice with your dog. It can be unnecessarily tough to remember everything without taking down notes, there were cases where we drop by for the next lesson and find that clients had been practicing in wrong sequences, so please feel free to prepare a notebook/digital notepad for the lesson!
3) Collar / Harness & Leash
For collars it should not be too loose, maximum looseness should not exceed 2 fingers spacing, ensure your dog does not have neck or trachea issues before using them. For harness it should fit the body comfortably and almost snug, we will recommend no pull harness or easy walk harness to discourage pulling. Leash should feel comfortable in your hands, they should not be retractable.
For most of our courses, the first lesson will mostly be theory based. Do prepare a space where we can have a honest chat about your furkid, it can be in the living room or dining table as long as you feel comfortable and sitted, being sitted can reduce unnecessary excitement and stress/threat from dogs. We do not recommend having lessons when you are in a rush, so do make sure that you are comfortable with the appointment set with us.
During the first lesson we will have a chat with you to understand more about you, your furkid and your concerns, then help create a suitable routine and provide exercises for you to practice with your furkid, during this lesson we will also provide an estimated timeline to see improvements in regards to the particular exercises. This lesson is very important as it can help you understand your dog's personality based on our assessment of you and your furkid's lifestyle, history, behaviour and response. It will also be beneficial to start taking down notes as the information will be helpful later on throughout the course. Thereafter, following lessons will always start with a short discussion to understand more about your progress, as well as for us to highlight what we are going to cover for that lesson.
Learn to train dogs my way
Either it is watching our videos of success, reading the detailed information on our website, following our page, the reviews or learning about my experiences with dogs which interest you, these are based my theories and way of working with dogs, so you are here to learn dog training my way. As such, it will be beneficial to be respectful towards the theories covered, be attentive, hardworking and ask as much questions as you require. After all, you are engaging a professional to learn, not the other way round. If you are unable to accept what is taught, then the teacher will not be helpful for you and your dog.
Method of training
We may not recommend the same method for every single case, but instead implement techniques and routine based on the lifestyle of individual dogs and families, as well as the problems encountered. Most owners may find that I do not work the way as they imagined about dog trainers, who would just target on dogs right when they meet them, just to show what they can do. Dog trainers are mostly generalist. We are behaviour specialists, therefore you will never see me trying to fix your dog's problems right away, including punishing or flooding your dog. This is also why lesson 1 as mentioned above is very important. That being said, we try to use reward based training as much as possible. I have been handling dogs for over 17 years and successfully trained dogs using all four quadrants of conditioning to understand what works best. Feel free to learn more about why we advocate evidence based learning through the link Here
So unlike most dog training classes, you may not see us working with sensitive dogs directly especially during the first couple of lessons, as it can be stressful for dogs to interact with strangers without getting to know each other first. We work similarly to psychologists. Dogs, like children need time to learn, and therefore it is also important for owners to be equipped with the right skills and knowledge to work with their dogs. We may show some demonstrations for visual understanding while guiding owners to improve the way they work with their dogs, but the ultimate goal is to help humans understand why and how to apply training techniques, not do everything ourselves and then leave them and their dogs confused.
Do feel free to ask if you have any questions! We will try our best to help you and your dog but it will be very hard for us to do so if you don't voice out your feelings and ask questions. Most of our courses consist of just a couple of sessions and this is the time for you to learn as much as you want, so ask away if you have questions! Of course we would also appreciate if you could take down some notes when we answer your questions, instead of having to repeat the same answers when you forget :)
Duration of lessons
The duration of each lesson listed on the course details are provided as an estimate, so that you can set aside enough time to attend classes and learn what we have planned for you and your dog. However, we would rarely stick to the exact duration, and this is due to a number of factors - The dog's personality, health/behavioral conditions, energy, stress levels/threshold, owner's activity level, interest and questions asked during lesson. Bear in mind that our goal at the end of the lesson is to ensure that we have covered on the important areas for that session, as well as ensuring owners are able to understand and follow through with assignments. If the lessons had been covered before the estimated duration, we would not hesitate to end the lesson, same for sessions where owners have more questions to ask about their assignments, we would extend if we have extra time to do so. We have to take into consideration not just on how much information owners can absorb, but also observe the dog's response.
History of your dog
We will usually ask in depth questions about your dog and may even discuss about puppyhood regardless if they are adult or senior dogs, we need to have a better understanding about the history of your dog as well as what you have gone through. Be it changing multiple trainers or even hitting your dog, it is important to be honest and share as much details as possible so that we can come up with the best solution to the problems faced. We will not judge you on what happened before so do not worry about this, we are solely here to help create a better future for you and your furkid. Treat us as a friend, talk to us with an open mind, this is the time to set aside pride and be as honest as possible. We also understand that in some cases clients may not be able to recall certain scenarios, this is perfectly understandable, no worries.
Follow lessons closely
We understand that some owners may have different opinions on the method of training for their dog. It is good to ask, but when owners start debating and challenging, it becomes very hard for us to help them. Owners need to understand that they engage professionals for a reason, most of the time the reason is either because they are unsure about training, learned that what they are currently doing wasn't effective or wishes to convert from punitive training methods to positive reinforcement. There are many methods to training a dog be it positive or negative reinforcement, even if you have gone through trainers with similar methods, the result can be different. This can be due to many possibilities - the experience of the trainer, the trainer's willingness to help, the execution timing, owner's cooperation etc. A dog's behavioral problem doesn't automatically becomes the trainer's fault when you sign up for lessons, the trainer's job is to pass on the knowledge and experience to you so that you can understand what to do and work together as a team. Cooperation, willingness to learn, understanding of your dog's situation/limitations and time from you is very important, we are not typical trainers that tell owners good job every lesson and then leave their dogs hanging, we really want everyone to learn!
PS: Some owners may claim that we look young and may be inexperience, thank you for the compliments but we are already in our mid thirties. To this date, we have officially worked on more than a thousand cases.
We want you to learn
As much as we want our lessons to be interesting, we also hope owners can understand that we sometimes need to push our students to ensure that they would be able to keep up with the course and help their dog overcome challenges. Some owners may think that our courses are provided as a service similarly to selling a product, please understand that we are not selling a product, we are providing an education. As such, we sometimes need to be strict in what we teach for the sake of you and your dog, we expect you to do your homework and be ready when we conduct the next lesson. Do feel free to postpone lessons if you think that you need more time!
Preparing your dog before lessons
It is important to get your dog ready before every lesson, here are some notes to ensure that your dog is at it's best state of mind before lesson:
1) No feeding of meals or treats at least 1 hour before lesson.
We do not want your dog to feel bloated and lack motivation during lessons.
2) Minimal/No exercises before lesson.
No going to day care, no morning jogs or anything that could drain all your dog's energy away.
3) Ensure that your dog is not sick or injured.
No training can be done if your dog is not feeling well!
4) For aggressive dogs, please ensure that your dog be muzzled, placed in a room/pen or at least leashed and controlled before we enter the premise. If you are not confident of being able to control your dog on leash, you can tie the leash onto a heavy object (pillar, pole, sofa leg, pipe etc.) before we enter.
Due to covid, we are doing our part by practicing thorough hygiene to ensure that you and your family will be safe throughout the sessions! We wash our hands and sanitize them before and after each lesson, we will also stop handshakes at this point of time.