At Best Mate Dog Training, we address your whole relationship with your dog. We don’t focus on fixing one specific issue without changing anything else, as this can lead to playing the equivalent of “Whack-a-Mole” with your dog’s behaviours – treating one problem behaviour only to have another pop up to take its place and so on. Our methods place you in the leadership position, and build a relationship of mutual trust and respect with your dog, which allows you to address all problem behaviours. Your dog will also learn self-control during obedience and behaviour shaping training, teaching them that they can’t always do whatever they want to do. This, combined with placing you in the leadership position, can often help reduce (or even eliminate) other problem behaviours, even when you haven’t addressed them directly.
We teach reliable obedience and good behaviour shaping in combination. The two work together to improve all aspects of your relationship with your dog and their reliability in listening to commands and reacting to situations. We start with the obedience training, which teaches your dog the ‘language’ of our methods, so they understand what it is all about. It also begins to teach them to listen to you when distracted, and develops their self-control. This means that when we start the good behaviour shaping, they develop a faster understanding of acceptable and unacceptable behaviours, based on the language built in the obedience part of the training. Problem behaviours often occur when the dog is distracted or excited, so teaching them to listen to you under distraction in the obedience training helps them focus on you during the good behaviour shaping.
It's also about not running before you can walk – you can’t expect your dog to listen to you in a highly charged or exciting situation, when they won’t even focus on you when a mild distraction is present. The more you can get your dog to ignore temptation or distraction when practicing at home, the more likely they are to listen to you when out and about, or when addressing a significant behavioural issue. This means we often use toys and food as distractions the dog has to learn to ignore while in a command. Once they build up their self-control in this way, they are far more likely to respond to your commands in an exciting situation, and focus on you when their attention would usually be elsewhere. It’s the combined effect of the obedience and behaviour shaping together that make this training so effective.