The Power of Companionship© is for both the experienced owner that wants to maximize companionship, as well as the novice owner that needs to learn and understand the species and be rewarded beyond expectation. The potential for companionship is available with the domestic canine like no other animal on the planet, but it has to be nurtured. Owners are busier than ever, and although the desire and understanding of this companionship is not new, the nurturing process has taken a heavy hit. Sadly, statistically, the family dog is the center of attention for a couple of months and then out of the owner’s frustration with Dog’s behavior, ousted to live isolated in the backyard for the duration of his life.
As a 25 year veteran Dog Trainer, pet owners are currently dealing with Destruction, Dominant and Fear Aggression, Lack of Control and the Inability to Settle or Calm the Dog Down in epidemic numbers. As a society, we are spending more money than ever on Dogs (toys, chews, crates, pens and daycares), and yet relinquishment and euthanasia by the first year in age is at an all time high.
Responsible Dog Ownership requires us to first understand the species' survival needs, innate behaviors, natural habitat and methods of communication; then only change or enhance what is required for domestication. We must communicate in a way that the Dog can understand (quite different than humans). Since the Dog is a Pack animal, full domestication requires (s)he have a 2-Legged Leader(s)! Dog should respond to/obey people over other Dogs. Dogs are denning animals so not having a crate is discourteous. Demands that teeth only be used for food consumption. Owner(s) can predict all behavior and if necessary stop and/or redirect quickly, even against the Dog's desire.
The Power of Companionship© is designed to maximize companionship between Dog and Owner. This will NOT happen without being the Dog's Pack Leader. This is not a power trip, but understanding that the Pack Leader is responsible for the survival of the entire Pack, thereby taking all responsibility of dominance for survival as well as fear of not knowing survival off the Dog. Everyone in the Pack is important and has a job, but it is the Leader that makes all the decisions of who, when and where everyone does what... Owning a Dog is a Privilege; maximizing and benefitting from the companionship (both ways) is the Purpose... My all time favorite bumper sticker reads: Who Rescued Who?...
The Power of Companionship© series has been developed over 25 years and 10,000 Dogs of all breeds, ages, personalities and issues. This series is the quickest and most courteous way of Domesticating your new Dog with boundaries and expectations. Companionship is earned from the Dog which is really the byproduct of Trust built through Leadership. Training is a WIN-WIN! Emulating the species, and not anthropomorphizing, when addressing ALL behavior with effective consequence (whether it positive or negative) is key. Moulding and then Teaching must be active and consistent for the first 18 months in age. (We don't think of humans as adults until 18 years in age, so yes Dogs grow up FAST!) It will and should be one of the most rewarding rides of your life with the biggest return on time invested... That being unconditional companionship for the rest of the Dog's Life!
The study of psychology and behavior also mandates that we recognize that molding behavior is far easier than changing established behavior. Moulding behavior focuses on Reward, changing established behavior typically focuses on Discipline. To that end, the longer a behavior has been established the longer it will take and harder it will be to change said behavior. The hardest behaviors to change are those being driven by fear and dominance.
Lisa's K-9 Kids™ acknowledges the “nature vs. nurture” concept when it comes to teaching and/or modifying behaviors in Dogs. The 20% “nature” that CANNOT be changed are the genes that an individual Dog is born with dictating the intelligence (how quickly an individual Dog can learn), appearance, and natural drive a/k/a personality VS. the 80% “nurture” that we CAN teach/cause/control through operant conditioning. So guess what folks, no more blaming the breed! Excuses for having an out of control Dog simply come down to not spending the time to teach and/or not knowing how to teach effectively. Going back to the genes however, it would be ignorant to not acknowledge and recognize that a breed with a strong dominant/protective “nature” would be difficult for a senior citizen or physically challenged individual to maintain Leadership through said Dog's maturity. That same ignorance would apply in thinking a breed known for high energy will be a piece of cake in a quiet stationary lifestyle. For the record, young children should never be put in a position of authority in the Learning Curve of a command or behavior.
Recognizing that there are five distinct maturity stages, i.e.: puppy, teenager, young adult, established adult and senior; and what those stages mean with regard to natural hierarchy VS. forced placement in the Pack Structure is important. You are the assumed Leader of a puppy because they instinctively know they cannot defend themselves; however, once the Dog reaches 16 weeks in age the survival drive to rise in the Pack begins and will continue through 18 months in age. The most challenging periods are at 4 months, 8 months give or take, and finally around 18 months. (Want to take a guess when statistically Dogs are relinquished or Trainers are called…) On the flip side, there is strength in numbers and all Pack members have a better chance of survival if they follow the Leader and the rules.
When you're clear and immediate positive or negative response to ALL behavior is consistent, you will be effectively teaching and reaching your goals and expectations of the Dog the fastest. All behavior, no matter the species, is driven by maximizing pleasure/survival and minimizing pain/extension. Domestication requires us to teach our Dogs what will maximize pleasure and minimize pain for their survival. (What is key here is that the domesticated canine is now regarded as a “companion animal” which means: food, shelter and water to survive, but they need companionship to thrive! Your positive attention will take your relationship and control farther than all other training methods combined!
Dogs' cognitive abilities, specifically attention span and retention of learned/taught behavior, increases with maturity. We cannot expect a teenager Dog to retain/remember not to jump on the counter or dig a hole in the backyard for eight hours in our absence. Dogs do not have the ability to reason/determine for the purpose of anticipating or causing a consequence, like humans beyond their survival instincts. For a Dog, Domestication will require there be a Learning Curve before there can be an Expectation. If we emphasize the teaching of conducive behaviors, the Dog will gravitate toward the known positive consequences Skilled trainers and educated owners recognize that teaching a Dog what NOT TO DO plays as big a role as what TO DO with regard to behavior…
The Power of Companionship© series starts domestication and training between 2-3 months in age for the primary purpose of human companionship i.e., family pet, certified therapy or emotional support service. You will spend your time with the Dog building Pack Structure by teaching life long conducive behaviors and commands. These program Dogs are never out of control, and a joy and pleasure to be around from the day you bring him/her home. Your Dog is depending on you to be the Pack Leader and teach the expectations and boundaries. Reality says His/Her life depends on it...
During the first 4 months of life, Puppies go through seven physiological and sociological development stages. We as owners can take huge advantage of this time to domesticate, desensitize and build relationship a/k/a Pack Structure. Exercises will teach Follow-Watch-Listen thereby promoting and enhancing the domestication process rapidly by replacing the Dog's natural gravitation toward other similar-aged dogs for play and older dogs for safety onto the human. Puppies are still developing their brain through 16 weeks in age, so positive communication and redirection must stay very simple and consistent at this age. Quickly adapting the Puppy to a daily routine of feeding, elimination place, exercise/training and settle/alone time is essential to domestication/bonding and thriving/growing healthy. The more Desensitizing and safely exposing Puppy to as much of the urban world as possible at this age is extremely beneficial long-term.
1st Grade (2-4 months in age) The Domestication Period is the first and most important to raising your puppy correctly. This course will teach you how to communicate with each other properly without treats and clickers. The videos will give you and your puppy positive activities to learn and continue daily ensuring you are both heading in the right direction. The majority of problem behaviors in dogs can be traced back to owners during this critical age.
2nd Grade (4-6 months in age) This is the Establishment Period. You and your dog will learn all of the basic commands for companionship and control with attention span and distractions. Upon successful completion of this course, both you and your Kid will be benefitting from a relationship with boundaries and expectations.
3rd Grade (6-8 months in age) This is the Commitment Period. Taking this course will advance your dog's level of obedience into the real world. Exercises add Distance and Increased Attention Span to Response of Basic Commands. Signs of Manners, Etiquette and the ability to Self-Settle without Command should should start happening at this point. This level of obedience, communication and companionship is the requirement for Therapy and Service dogs. Owners must realize that this baseline does not happen on its own.
Congratulations you now have the Power of Companionship!