I have over 25 years of experience training all breeds of dogs. My own Dalmatians compete successfully in conformation, obedience, agility, and road trials as well as doing pet therapy and public education. I am a member of the National Association of Dog Obedience Instructors and I am a Tester/Observer for Therapy Dogs, Inc. There are no licensing requirements for dog trainers. Essentially anyone who wants to can run an ad offering classes and, believe me, they do. Membership in NADOI indicates an instructor is serious about providing the highest quality instruction and has voluntarily chosen to be evaluated be her peers. I have actually been successful at every level of class I teach. You will not be getting instruction from someone who just finished the previous class. I keep the classes small so you will get individualized instruction. I do not believe in "one size fits all" training. I continuosly update my skills by attending seminars and by networking with other qualified instructors.
All classes are taught using positive reinforcement methods. My goal is to make learning fun so the dog becomes a willing partner in the training relationship and so the handler will enjoy working with the dog. Since teaching dog training is really teaching people how to train their dog, you will be pleased to know I have also had extensive experience teaching human beings. I have a Master's Degree in Counselor Education which is an asset in developing behavior modification programs and in evaluating what is happening in the dog/owner relationship.
I do not do in-board training. I believe a dog needs to learn from its owner. I have seen too many dogs sent away for weeks at a time at great expense to the owner who are no better when they return. A competent dog trainer can make progress very quickly with any dog but, unless the owners are actively involved in the training process, the dog will revert to its previous behaviors when sent home.
My method of choice for training is operant conditioning or clicker training. This is the method used to train the dolphins and whales at sea parks. Obviously you cannot put a choke collar on a whale and force him to jump through a hoop. You have to show him there is something in it for him too. That is the beauty of operant conditioning. The dog really enjoys learning.
If you have questions about any of my classes, please feel free to call or email.
All text and images Copyright 2002 Kathy McCoubrey