Monday, October 31, 2016

History. . .

A trip down memory lane can tell us a lot about ourselves, especially when it comes to how we got to where we are now.

I recently took a little stroll myself, mostly looking through old photos, and I realized that I have always been on the path to be a dog trainer.  I remember wanting to train animals from the earliest age, and would always try to find ways to interact with all types of animals!

I didn't get my first dog until I was 11, but I did have a few cats, which I of course trained!  I was also very active in the horse world (my family got a horse when I was 6), whether riding in the mountains or in a jumping competition.

I decided to share this journey through photos.  Enjoy!


First off, a big Thank You to my wonderful parents who supported their crazy animal obsessed daughter growing up!  


My mom put together a wonderful scrapbook for me, with this part showing how much I was always finding animals (real or stuffed!) to cuddle and love.




When I was 5, my father was working on a TV show that happened to have a guest baby chimpanzee on!  Knowing how much I loved animals, he asked the animal trainer if I could meet the baby chimp. Lucky me!  I am so happy in this picture!


Training my Grandmother's dog. I was around 8 years old.


With my horses, Smoke and Driftless. I was around age 10.


At the age of 12, I was volunteering for a local animal rescue, and ended up in an article in the local newspaper.  I started volunteering for the rescue when I was 11, spending my Saturdays helping to get dogs adopted, and also fostering dogs until they found forever homes.  


At age 13, I had adopted my first dog and begun taking agility classes.  This is Joey and I at our first Agility Fun Run.


Joey and my horse Smoke.  I was about 14 here.


At 16 I was working as an exercise rider for a horse trainer.


I continued to advance my skills, working on different elements of jumping and dressage.


I trained ALL of my animals!
From left to right:
Opal, Jack, Bernie, Joey.


Sheep herding with my Border Collie, Opal.


An outing with the dogs, 2005.



With my family, and dogs, at my college graduation.


Working as a trainer at Petsmart.
Became a Canine Good Citizen evaluator in 2008.


Competing in Agility with my Dachshund, Hayden.


Training on the beach!


Competing at the 2013 AKC Rally Obedience Nationals with my Dachshund, Hunter.


Competing in Conformation with my Pyrenean Shepherd, Winecup Andreu de Bien Aime.


Training on vacation.


Earning 3rd place in Steeplechase at the USDAA Southwest Regionals in 2016.



Well, there you have it!  I tried to keep it short, I hope you enjoyed it!

As always, thanks for reading!













Monday, September 5, 2016

Healthy Mind and Body Dog Training

Dog training in a humane way to keep both human and canine counterparts happy and healthy.

Promoting positive rewards with food, play, and bonding exercises. 

Love the dog you have; embracing each dogs unique personality and abilities, and understanding their comfort levels and what THEY truly enjoy.

Enjoy your dog; finding activities that you enjoy doing with your dog to get more out of your relationship with them. 

Problem solving.
Dealing with behavioral issues in a safe and secure way that allow owner and dog to feel comfortable and happy at all times.
-Down time with your dog; being able to give yourself and your dog stress relief time to avoid frustration 
-Understanding why issues arise
-Learning about your dog and what makes them tick


Why I changed my dog training philosophy.
I've worked for years as a dog trainer, and helped owners fix countless problems, but there were  many times that I felt unsuccessful, usually because of frustration on the owners part. Getting fast results is important, but sometimes the expectations of what we want from our dogs can be out of sync with what we are getting. More often than not, the source of this frustration is based on a focus of everything that is going wrong, leading to resentment and a negative association between dog and owner. 

Perspective. 
Let's talk about the many pitfalls of understanding dog training, and how difficult it can be to navigate!
The REALITY.
Too often I hear "But I see dogs in public just sitting with their person at a coffee shop, perfectly trained, laying at their person's feet. Why can't my dog be like that?" Well, first of all, that dog may be perfectly trained, yes, but they may also have the personality that is suited to enjoying that with little or no training. You may have a dog who enjoys a lot of activities with you, but laying at your feet for hours on end is not one of them. Can it be trained? Sure! But some dogs may take a lot of time and effort to get there, whereas others seem to take to it right away. 
But my friend told me...
Fill in the blank. For example: They had a dog that was social and loved everyone and it's all because 1) they took it everywhere as a puppy, 2) they showed it who the "leader" was at an early age, 3) they used a special tool that made all of the difference, etc., etc. The list could go on with all of the advice that people will give because they have a dog, or have had multiple dogs that were "well behaved". Just because those things seemed to work for those dogs, doesn't mean it will work for every dog, which is why having an expert is so useful. Before I was a trainer, I always had "well behaved" dogs too, but that didn't mean that I was a dog trainer; it took a lot more work, education, and experience to become an expert trainer. The truth is, "well behaved" is a subjective term. We have a general idea of what that is, but each individual person has different specifications of the details and preferences that define a "well behaved" dog. Taking a friend's advice can sometimes be useful, but take it with a grain of salt. A good trainer has dedicated their life to perfecting methods, and you can be sure that they choose to do certain things, and NOT other things, because of the knowledge they have attained. There is no "one size fits all" dog training. Each dog is different, and so is each person, which means that just because your friend/neighbor/family member did it, doesn't mean that it's the right choice for you and your dog.


My goals as a trainer.
I want to help people and their dogs enjoy each other and to be happy and successful, in whatever way works best for both. 
I DO NOT want to force a dog to behave in a way that makes them uncomfortable. 
The point of having a dog is to enjoy it and bond with it, not to force it to do things for my satisfaction. 

But what about serious behavioral problems like aggression?
You can still train your dog with kind methods to overcome and manage serious issues. In fact, humane methods are shown to be more effective in the long run for serious behavioral issues. Just like with any type of dog training, the key to success is patience and repetition. When I deal with serious behavioral issues my goal is to CHANGE HOW THE DOG FEELS and therefore reacts, rather than just punishing a behavior to try and get rid of it. 
Sometimes the lure of correction based training can be strong. It seems as though results are quick and effective, but we know based on studies, as well as years of scienctific research on how humans and other animals learn, that just because a swift punishment seems to show immediate results, there is a lot more going on. When we punish a behavior harshly to get rid of it, we are suppressing the behavior, and suppressed behaviors can resurface, sometimes in other ways, and become bigger problems in the end. Changing how a dog (or human for that matter) feels about something takes time, but the rewards are priceless. 
Don't be fooled by quick results; they are not reliable and can evolve into bigger problems. 

Let's get specific.
What is healthy mind and body dog training?

Step 1: 
Choose the right dog for you and your family. 
This is often the most overlooked step, and yet it is the most important! Research different breeds to understand what their personalities are like, how much exercise they need, and how much socialization and training they will require. Don't just be pulled in by a cute puppy face!  Often, the best option is to adopt an adult dog from a rescue, who has a stable adult personality, and has already gone through all of the puppy problem behaviors. Prepare your household before bringing a dog or puppy into the mix. Having a trainer come to your house, or at least do a consultation over the phone, BEFORE you get your new dog will really help with the transition.

Step 2: Set your dog up for success. Manage the space that your dog is able to use in the home. Use baby gates, exercise pens, and a crate to help keep your dog from getting into trouble when they first come into the house. With new dogs, it is also useful to keep them on leash with you in the house. 
**Managing your dog's freedom to roam around the house is a temporary stage. The intention is to prevent them from practicing any bad behaviors when you are not looking.

Step 3: 
Teach your dog what you WANT them to do.
This is where positive reinforcement training is so useful. You can use your attention, praise, toys, treats, or anything your dog finds rewarding, as incentive for good behavior from your dog. Anytime you see your dog doing something you would want them to do in the future, reward it. It could be as simple as your dog laying at your feet while you watch TV. This is a wonderful opportunity for you to praise and pet your dog! If your dog chooses to not jump up on you when you come in, that's a perfect moment to reward them! The list goes on, but the goal is the same: find your dog doing something good! 

Step 4: 
Learning is the key to success.
The more you can teach your dog, the better your communication will be. Of course, obedience is essential, but also tricks, and other activities will help to build the bond between human and dog. Activities can be anything from structured and creative playtime, to organized dog sports like agility, rally obedience, etc.. Never stop learning!

Step 5:
Consistency is critical.
Setting clear rules and boundaries for a dog is essential to helping them understand how to navigate our world. Positive training does not mean permissive training! Having rules and boundaries is wonderful as long as everyone in the household is on the same page. Often, dogs who are having basic training issues in the home (potty training, jumping, counter surfing, etc.) are actually just unsure of where the boundaries are in their training. Sometimes they get attention for jumping, or they manage to steal a tasty morsel off of the counter. These rewards for unwanted behaviors confuse dogs. It's important that everyone in the house is on the same page about the rules and boundaries, and consistently follows through with them. 

Step 6:
Balancing time.
Sometimes training can get frustrating; if we aren't seeing results quickly, some behaviors can be hard to deal with. Understanding how to balance in some down time with training is crutal to everyone's sanity. Sometimes this might mean teaching your dog how to quietly hang out in the crate with a chew or a stuffed treat toy. Other times, focusing on teaching your dog how to settle with you can be the best relaxation. 


Important reading! 
There is a lot of information out there, but I prefer to assign to the researched, tested, and proven scientific methods that exist. Over the years, what we understand about animal learning, and dog behavior specifically, has changed dramatically. 
I am a member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers, a wonderful resource for seminars, education, and information, and I highly recommend checking out their library of articles! For relevance here though, I suggest you at least check out their article on why Dominance Theory (arguably the most prevalent idea that has taken hold in society) is outdated and problematic in dog training:
 https://apdt.com/pet-owners/choosing-a-trainer/dominance/


Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Education over Ego


There is a huge issue with dog overpopulation in our country today. There are many different theories and beliefs as to why this is, and there are many popularized methods as to how to reduce the amount of unwanted pets. 
Often, the focus is on rescue dogs versus dogs from breeders, a debate that has become very serious in the dog community. This debate is passionate on both sides, and causes a great deal of term oil, often between people who are all interested in the same goal; providing dogs with happy and healthy lives with loving families. 
I don't believe that the issue is whether to buy or rescue, I think the issue lies in the public's view of dog ownership, specifically how to attain a pet dog.
This is where I believe ego comes in to the picture. Many people understand that it is a wonderful thing to rescue a dog, but for those who decide they want to get a puppy from a breeder, they often end up looking for all of the wrong things. In an age where anything can be ordered online, and aesthetics are at the forefront of importance for many people, we all want a house full of beautiful things that we can get at the click of a button, or at the very least, a short shopping spree. This mentality has caused what is probably the worst thing to happen in dog breeding. The internet is littered with websites that allow you to order an adorable puppy with flashy rare colors, just by transferring some money and filling in some information. Want a puppy now? There are several to choose from! Red Merle? Blue eyes? Got it! Craigslist has a listing for a litter of cute puppies in the area! But these buyers rarely ask about the puppy's health, or the health of the parents. What about temperament? When that adorable puppy comes home how likely is it that the owner will want to deal with the stresses of puppyhood, or worse yet, adolescence? Often people select the breed of dog they want based on looks, or brief personality descriptions, and do little further research into wether or not that breed is best suited to their lifestyle. What if the breed selected is intended to hunt small animals and the family has a cat? What if the breed is intended to be protective and the family has guests over all the time? Considering that they went the quick route to get the puppy in the first place, it is unlikely that there was much thought process about how to deal with these things, or prepare for them in the first place.  Even worse, some people see their new puppy as an opportunity to make money in the future by breeding them and trying to make money off the pups (after all, they paid a pretty penny for their pup, didn't they?).
I'm not saying that everyone who orders a puppy via the Internet is a bad owner. Very often these people end up putting a lot of time and effort into their puppy and being wonderful owners, but considering the amount of dogs in shelters and rescues, clearly, some are not.
The issue that I see is that our society is so driven by ego that we often care more about looks and ease of accessibility than we do about doing our research and finding the right dog for our homes and a responsible breeder or rescue to attain that dog from.  

On top of this already dangerous mix of issues, many people don't realize what a responsible breeder is. Just because a breeder has a website, or has had dogs for many years, doesn't mean that they are a responsible breeder. The easiest way to tell is that a responsible breeder won't just take your money and give you a pup, which of course immediately makes them inconvenient for the fast paced ease of buying that we are all used to. Good breeders want to know about the home that their puppies are going to. You may have to answer tons of questions, give references, explain plans for the pup, including training, or even have a home check (or show pictures or video if the breeder isn't local).  These breeders health test their dogs, are generally active in some element of the dog world (dog shows, sports, or working activities that the breed is intended to do), and often have waiting lists for their pups. They are very selective about which dogs they choose to breed and why, and they don't breed very often. They will want to know all about the potential home, family, and plans that they have for the dog. They may even (heaven forbid), tell you that your family is not suited to the breed that they have and that you may have better success with a different kind of dog. These breeders will not let you breed their dogs in the future unless you have a serious interest and are willing to work with them, or another respected breeder as a mentor, and even then they may not agree. They have contracts that state these facts and many more. They are willing to take any puppy they produce back at any point in the dogs life if for some reason the home doesn't work out.
Think about it this way; if people ONLY purchased dogs from responsible breeders, we wouldn't have an overpopulation problem. 
Don't let your ego decide the next 4 legged member of your family. Educate yourself and decide to buy responsibly, or rescue!
Education over Ego.

Potty Training

I get a ton of questions about potty training, but I will try to keep it simple here.

First, let's address the most common misconceptions about potty training dogs:
  
1) This is one all of us have heard:
When the puppy potties inside the house, rub their nose in it.
•Okay, so let's break this down...
If you are potty training a human toddler, and you let your guard down for a moment and leave them without a diaper on, and they start peeing on your living room carpet, what would you do? 
-Would you rub their nose in it? Of course not! That's horrible! 
-Okay, so what would you do?
   *Probably pick them up and run them to the nearest toilet.

When you think about it in these terms it makes a lot of sense to run the toddler to the nearest toilet, in part because it will decrease the mess, but also because it will communicate to the toddler that potty goes in the toilet, not on the carpet! 

•So now, here is the question: if it is so logical to run the toddler to the toilet rather that rubbing their nose in the mess, why do we think it would be so different from a puppy?
-Do we think that puppies are somehow smarter than human toddlers and can perceive our meaning when we punish them harshly for soiling the floor inside the house? 
   **I personally think it is quite obserd to believe that our puppies are smarter than human children.
-Do we believe that showing them their mess is somehow linked to how their natural dog behavior works? Does the mother dog somehow manage to push the puppy's face into the mess that they made in the den in order to encourage them to go outside? 
   **No, by the way, she doesn't. She will remove the waste by eating it herself...not something that I think most humans would like to do.

•Alright, so let's go back to how we would teach our human toddlers to potty in the correct place, 
We would move them from the incorrect place, and take them to the appropriate place. Well, this seems to make a lot of sense, so why don't we do this with our puppies? 

USING THIS METHOD WITH DOGS WORKS JUST AS WELL AS IT DOES WITH HUMAN CHILDREN!

**Here is the truth of the matter; why the method of rubbing a dog's nose in their mess has persisted for so long:
Many dogs will associate that having their nose rubbed in their own mess is a negative thing (obviously), and they are likely to associate the act of pottying with something that YOU interpret as negative. Therefore, they would prefer to potty somewhere that you cannot observe them. If we are lucky, and have a small home, they might figure out that the best way to avoid you seeing them potty is by going outside!! In some instances this may work, but often it can be interpreted as purely out of sight, and this can mean in another room, behind a couch, under a table, etc. 

**Is your dog pottying "behind your back"? In a place you cannot see? In another room, or when you are not looking? This is because you have taught them that pottying is an unpleasant thing that you don't want to observe. This means that it will be much harder to teach them where you WANT them to go, as they have associated pottying with a negative element when it's around YOU. 

Alright, so now, let's readdress the toddler pottying on the living room floor. I already know what many of you will say: "why would you let a toddler who is not potty trained, run around your living room without a diaper on!" 
And how right you are! So why would you let an untrained puppy run around in your living room? They are not magically more inclined to understand you than a toddler. They need the same rules and restrictions! 

So now, let's get to the good stuff!
Here's what you should do:
•puppies should have an exercise pen, or area blocked off for them, where they have access to a potty pad in case they need to go when you are not watching them. 
•puppies should be watched when they are roaming ANY area so that you can quickly pick them up and take them outside if they need to potty.
•puppies should have multiple trips outside to the appropriate potty place so that they can learn where they should go. Just like human toddlers, we should encourage and praise them when they go potty in the correct place!
•puppies should understand how to go into, and be left in a crate so that they can start building the muscles involved in bladder control as they grow up.

**you can easily teach your puppy to potty on cue by taking them outside, waiting for them to go, and then naming the behavior "go potty" as they do their business. 

It's time to get over the archaic methodologies used with family dogs. There is no reason for us to treat puppies in such a barbaric and illogical way. 

Let's use common sense to train our dogs. They deserve that much. 

Please comment with questions or concerns about potty training.

Thank you, 
KatherineK9

Friday, June 5, 2015

My Opal

Today I had to say goodbye to my Opal. 



It is difficult to express the impact that she has had on my life, because it is exponential. 
Opal came into my life when I was 16. I had been in contact with rescues about finding a border collie who would enjoy doing activities with me, especially agility. I was called when they found this wonderful girl, because she had high energy, high drive, and would do best in a home that took advantage of those elements. I fell in love right away. She jumped out of the foster mom's car and immediately started chasing a ball. She barely recognized my existence, and yet I was still enamored with her. She was intense, driven, and somewhat hard to handle, but I was head over heels in love. 
After a few months we noticed some issues with her gait, and after a vet exam discovered that she had severe hip dysplasia. After two surgeries and weeks of recovery, Opal acted as if nothing had ever changed. She was just as excited and driven as ever. She had limited mobility, but loved doing tricks, and training in agility, as long as we kept in low impact and easy on her joints. 
She loved doing ANYTHING I asked her to, and always wanted to work.
She taught me how to perfect my training, and how to teach just about anything. However, after a bad experience at a dog park she developed a very severe reactive issue with other dogs, and I had a hard time at first figuring out how to deal with it.
This is how Opal became my "cross-over" dog. I had been using a clicker and treats, but also more traditional correction based methods with her, especially when it came to her reactivity. After trying different corrections, as extreme as I could come up with, I came to a realization; she wasn't trying to defy my training, or show that she was "in charge" or "dominant", she was trying to protect both of us from imminent danger (as she saw it, other dogs). When I came to this realization, I had a shift in my understanding of her, and I shifted how I trained her.
I started rewarding her for looking to me rather than reacting to dogs. I started utilizing my clicker to communicate when she was acting the way I wanted her to. The change I saw in her was fast and dramatic. She began to not only "do" what I wanted her to, but to UNDERSTAND what I wanted from her.
I began to see a difference in her behavior so intense that I felt guilty for ever having punished her for what she had thought she was doing right. It became very clear to me that my punishment had been created by misunderstanding, and my methods of training immediately took a dramatic change. Opal became the best demo dog I could ever have. She loved coming to work, being in class, showing off, and being an example of what positive reinforcement training can accomplish. To this day, she is still the reason that I am the trainer that I am, and I could never thank her enough for being such a wonderful teacher. 
We got to experience agility, sheep herding, obedience, and trick training together, and I honestly cannot say that I have ever seen or experienced a more willing, faithful, reliable dog at my side than Opal. She always tried to do right by me, and in that she taught me to be humble, to LISTEN to what a dog tells me about THEIR experience, and to have compassion for another being's emotions. 
I cannot possibly express the gratitude that I have for what she has taught me. I am so lucky to have had such a wonderful teacher come into my life, and to have put up with all of my shortcomings in my learning experience.
I hope that everyone is as lucky to have experienced a soul like this, and I know that all of those who met her felt just as touched and impressed by her as I have been. 
Thank you Opal, for your patience, your beauty, your exuberance for life, and your teaching skills. I am forever in your debt.

Love, 
Your ever grateful Kate.



Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Dachshund Positive Training!

I often encounter trainers who believe that a positive reinforcement trainer cannot get the kinds of results that they do...
Here is my miniature longhair Dachshund showing off some of his skills!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Finding a Dog Trainer

The "all you will ever need" guide to dog training.

First, let us recognize that there are tons of different trainers and training methods out there. It would be naive to ignore this fact. So first, let's break down what dog training is, and what elements you want to embrace as you train your dog.
What dog training is:
-Communication between you and your dog.
-Getting your dog to behave in a manner that works with your lifestyle.
-Teaching your dog to perform behaviors that are useful for day to day life.
Then there is also training for specified elements:
-Teaching your dog to be a working dog (there are many different uses for dogs including, herding, hunting, tracking, protection, searching, being a therapy dog, being a service dog, etc.)
-Teaching your dog to excel in dog sports such as agility, obedience, dock diving, flyball, ect.
-There are many different tasks dogs can fulfill, but let's focus here on the "pet dog" and what we expect from them:

1) The primary debate you will see amongst dog trainers is Positive versus Aversive.
    -it is actually often hard to tell which is which because terms are thrown around quite loosely in the dog training world.

 Positive reinforcement training means working with rewards* to tell your dog they are doing the right thing.
    -*Aversive training means correcting your dog for doing something you don't want them to do.

If you are confused at this point I wouldn't be surprised, as most trainers use a combination of both in their training methodology.

The important elements to consider are; what are the rewards, and what are the aversives?
-Many trainers define their methods based on how intense their rewards or aversives are, but most use both to differing degrees.

-*For the most part, positive reinforcement trainers utilize treats, toys, play, and praise to reward dogs for good behavior.

-*For the most part, aversive trainers utilize choke chains, prongs collars, shock collars (e-collars), to correct bad behaviors.

Many trainers use a combination of both theories in their work, and will label themselves based on whichever theory they want to embrace most.

To be fair:
-Purely positive reinforcement trainers do NOT use aversives. They reward good behaviors and ignore or prevent bad behaviors.
-Purely aversive trainers do not use rewards, they correct bad behaviors and the dog learns to avoid punishment by doing good behaviors.

Most trainers fall somewhere in the middle, but there is rarely a breakdown like this for the common pet owner to understand the differences between the two.

The first question that a dog owner must encounter when training their dog, is which element is most important to them.

There are positive and negative elements on both sides.

I will try here to be as partial as I can be, but I am a positive reinforcement based trainer, so I will forewarn that my opinion may be jaded...to give a bit of background, I used to be much more of an aversive trainer until I worked with hundreds (as a conservative estimate...but it is more likely that I have worked with thousands. It is hard to estimate the numbers over they years) of dogs, did research, and found that positive reinforcement was the method that I felt most comfortable and successful with. 
 
Why "I" chose positive reinforcement over aversive techniques.
-I had regularly used aversive techniques, and for the most part had very good results before I chose to change my ways. I understand the immediate results that aversives can create, and for awhile I was very happy with those results.  However, I found myself in a few dilemmas.  1) some dogs would not respond...they would shut down and be worse than ever.  2) although I could gain compliance through aversives, I could not build new and better behaviors, and I could not encourage the dog to do other things when they were afraid of the possible punishment. 

I also found that the aversives would often lead to side effects for some dogs; distrust in their handler, wariness to try new behaviors, lack of motivation, and ultimately shut down during training. Aversives could also lead to aggressiveness in the presence of a stimuli which led to corrections. For example; if a dog growled when a person approached, and was corrected, they could often suppress the growling behavior, but then, the person approaching could interpret that the dog was friendly, and then would approach the dog in am overwhelming manner (thinking the dog is friendly), leading to the dog becoming uncomfortable enough to BITE. This is much more dangerous than a dog who growls as a warning.
This is a huge part of the reasoning behind why I changed my methods.
I prefer a dog who wants to work, and enjoys working. I also like to spend my time with a dog who enjoys being with me as much as I enjoy being with them.
**As a quick side note; be wary of trainers who show off their skills with videos, or examples, of only certain breeds; aversive training was created during World War 2, and intended to be used on certain breeds of dogs; those who were "harder" and acclimated well to punishment. There were, and still are, breeding programs who intentionally pick "hard" or "tolerant" dogs to work well with these methods.
The breeds generally used (but not limited to) are: German Shepherds, Belgian Malinios (or any of the Belgian breeds, including the variation of the shepherd, being Tervuren, and others), Rottweiler, Doberman Pinscher, American Pit Bull, and many other breeds intended for protection. If you find impressive videos of trainers working with ONLY these breeds, be wary that they are using dogs who are intentionally bred for intense obedience work (and often bred to accept corrections easily), and this may not work for other dogs. Look for trainers who show results with MANY different kinds of dogs, not just the ones who are bred to work.
***another side note; be wary of any trainer who says that they "only" train a certain breed. All trainers have preferences, and we all have breeds that we is prefer to work with, but all dogs work essentially in the same way...if a trainer says that they "only" work with one breed, it is likely because they have only worked with that one breed, and that means that they have limited knowledge of dogs in general. Even though breeds have certain characteristics, there are always exceptions, and if a dog is not the typical representation of their breed, your trainer should still understand how to deal with them.

-Aversive trainers can often get quick results. An intense correction can quickly stop a behavior. These trainers will often tell you that positive reinforcement, or "cookie trainers" will only be able to get your dog to behave via bribes with treats, and that you can't get results without the treats.
   •this debate is a difficult one; a good positive reinforcement trainer will explain how to quickly fade off of the treat lure, but let's explore both correction and reward based training, and the fading away from training tools.
     -if you train a dog with treats, you do need to spend time fading the lure in order to order to get a reliable behavior.
     -however, if you train a dog with leash corrections, you also need to spend time fading off of the leash corrections in order to get your dog to respond without a leash correction. 
**both methods require fading away from the original training method in order to have a finalized behavior. So, there is little difference in how these methods result in the ultimate behavior.  Both require practice in order to create a reliable end result.  This is true of any behavior in obedience, with both methods. 

To be even in my evaluation:
-Positive punishment with a SKILLED trainer is very likely to quickly get your dog to behave. A swift punishment will often result in compliance. Sometimes, these results will stick, and the dog will avoid performing the behaviors for fear of punishment.
**even though I train with primarily positive reinforcement, depending on the case, I will sometimes bring in elements of positive punishment. I never use physical pain, but will occasionally implement sound aversion or verbal corrections, and even "body blocking" to help the dog understand the end result. I DO NOT utilize elements of physical pain such as correction collars for this, but positive punishment covers a wide variety of elements. I am always very careful to only introduce these methods to dogs who have clearly shown the kind of personality that can handle it. 

As for aggressive issues: I will admit, it is much easier to give harsh corrections and get immediate results. I can correct a dog into enough fear that they are likely to not be reactive or aggressive, but I have never really changed how they feal about the thing they are uncomfortable with.
If a trainer corrects a dog enough, they are likely to remain still and "obedient" in the presence of the stimuli, but I also know from experience that they have created a ticking time bomb that can go off at any moment, as the dog has never dealt with the issue, only suppressed their reaction to it.
I spend much of my career dealing with dogs who have already experienced this kind of training, and I need to back track in order to build confidence and retrain good behavior. 
I can say, without hesitation, that the most troublesome dogs I work with are those who have gone through intensive aversive training for problem behaviors, and then come to me. These dogs are always the most dangerous cases I work with, as they often show no signs of discomfort, but then react with extreme results. These dogs no longer growl, bark, or lunge, but instead BITE, and often redirect their aggression to anything nearby (often the handler).  These are the dogs who require the MOST rehabilitation, as they have learned that whatever they are uncomfortable with results in punishment, and therefore requires them to react more intensly to keep the trigger away. If the stimuli means that they may be punished, they will often become more intense about trying to ward it off.
**For all those who will argue about their success with these methods, I will agree that some dogs have been corrected to the point of tolerating anything, and never reacting, however, I still wouldn't trust this dog, as you have only corrected them into a level of fear that they dare not come out of. And, this dog may never react again, but truly, a dog who has been punished into this level of fear is not one who I would wish to spend my life with, as you have created merely a shell of a dog, who operates only with an intention to not impose punishment, and although this dog may seem "cured" I would never trust him, as fear is a dangerous thing, and can result in outrage at any moment. Many dogs are put to sleep because they attacked "out of nowhere" and this is often the result of suppressed anxiety or fear.
This is truly the difference between positive reinforcement, and positive punishment training. 
To have a complete understanding  of these methods, we must understand that if positive punishment is harsh enough, it will often stop the dog's "reaction" (resulting in a positive experience for the owner and trainer, after all, it's very nice to see our dog stop lunging and barking at people or dogs). If this occurs we are likely to have a dog who seems, by all means, to have overcome their issues, and no longer be aggressive towards the stimuli. However, if we delve into our understanding of behavior, we realize that all we have done is suppress the negative behavior. If we suppress one negative behavior, without addressing the issue, we are likely to see this behavior pop up in different areas, just as we do with humans, and other animals.  This is why positive punishment can be so dangerous.

I will take a moment here to address the many people who will argue this point.
It is difficult to understand the difference between the two methods for two major reasons:
1) positive punishment shows such quick results that it is hard to undermine the method's success. We can quickly see the dog stop the behavior, so it makes perfect sense that the method is working.  The side effects often display themselves after the fact, and not in the same way that the original issue was presented, leading the owner to believe it is unrelated.
In the same element:
2) positive reinforcement is a process that takes time, and because we are changing the way that the dog thinks and feels about something, it is easy to misinterpret the results of this training as external, and not connected to the training at all.

**let me give an example;
-a young child tries to reach towards the stove to attain an early taste of the dinner meal. The child's hand is quickly slapped and the child walks away (likely feeling a bit angry or hurt for the slap, but nonetheless, not burned).
-a young child tries to reach toward the stove and his parent stops him, explains that if he reaches for the food before it is served to him he will be badly burned and experience pain. The parent explains that if he would like a taste of the food before hand, he should ask, but likely, he will still have to wait until he is served his dinner. The disobedience in order to gain a reward is likely to be more painful than it is worth.
**both will likely result in the child not reaching for the stove, but the second scenario is more likely to prevent him from trying it again. The first scenario gave him no information, and so gives him no reason to stop the behavior, other than the fear of pain (being slapped), and so he is likely to try again when the punisher (parent) is not present.

This example is stipulated on the use of having a common language, but we have already established that good dog training establishes a kind of communication, and therefore can work in a very similar way. 

It took awhile, but these elements lead me to try different methods to experience a different relationship with my dog.

We are all doing our best as dog trainers. We all want to help, and we have all come from different education backgrounds to get to the point of being a trainer.
There is no degree given for dog training, so our profession relies heavily on experience and character/personality.
There is a ton of education for dog trainers, through research studies, books about training, seminars, ect.
However, some of the most successful trainers out there are not those who go to these great lengths for their own knowledge.
Sometimes trainers become popular and successful purely because of their charisma. They have a personality that draws people in, or they are bossy and demanding which often misleads people into the idea that they are very knowledgable. 
Many trainers will tell you that you have to do it their way, and it's convincing because they are so certain of their methods. 
But please, don't feed into some jargon just because it seems reasonable, or because the trainer is pushy. 
Dog training is very logical, it makes sense if you think about it. There is nothing "magical", "mystical", or "amazing" when it comes to dog training.
I could easily "stop" your dog from performing a bad behavior because I "mystically" scare them into stopping the behavior.

When you interview a trainer:
-Ask them about their experience:
  •have they trained many dogs?
  •what kinds of issues have they dealt with?
  •do they compete with their dogs in dog sports (are they involved in the "dog world")?
  •MOST IMPORTANTLY: how do they feel about THEIR OWN dogs? Are their dogs a member of their family? Do they love their dogs? ***this is the most important question in my opinion, because there are many trainers out there who don't care much about their own dogs, but just like to "train" dogs as a means to make $$ and fulfill their own ego. If they can't tell you about their own relationship with their dog, RUN the other way, they are not worth your time! 


My own opinion:
As I have stated before...it isn't hard. In fact, I could stun people with how quickly I can get results, but I know that positve punishment (aversive) results would not be worthwhile, because I would have to scare the dog, or make them fearful enough to not perform those behaviors again. This is not the kind of training I prefer.
If I only wanted to suck out money from my clients I could easily show quick results, and have them pay me for my apparent "magical" results.
But I am honest, I am a realist, and above all, I want people to have the relationship with their dogs that I have with my own.
To get this, it takes time, effort, and love to build a relationship.
I could easily get you to have a dog who "behaves" for fear of punishment, but that's not what I want. Because I know there is something better.
If all that you want is a dog who obeys you, cowers to you, is afraid of you, and therefore listens to your every command, I could give this to you...but I won't. Go find a trainer you cares more about their status, about money, or about dominating another.
Come to me if you want to build a better relationship, realize the amazing bond that can be had between a human and a dog.  
Just because I CAN get a dog to behave because I force them to, doesn't mean that I want to do that, and more so, I have been working with animals for so long, and understand why I do, and what I do it for, that I will not appease a person by lowering my ethics to get a dog to behave against their will.
There are many trainers out there who will, and many who will argue that I am naive, or sentimental, or soft, by believing in something different.
If you, as a dog owner, prefer to have a dog who behaves through fear, then by all means, do so. You can live with this knowledge, I cannot.
I have been there, and I regret every day that I put my dogs through so much negativity before realizing that I didn't have to. 
Every issue I have come up with in dog behavior has been better dealt with through positive reinforcement. 
I have experienced owners, and other trainers, who believe that certain breeds (especially large dogs), cannot be trained with positive reinforcement. This is BS in my opinion. I have worked with every type of dog, and I love large breeds, I love protection dogs, and breeds who are regarded as "difficult" or "extremely hard" or "strong". Ask my clients. Some of my favorite breeds are the giant ones (Go Great Danes! And Mastiffs!), and I have never had an issue training them with positive reinforcement. In fact, I get more people believing that it's the little ones who can't be trained, because trainers have told them that they can't use correction collars (good call because they have sensitive little necks!), and come to me because they have out of control small dogs (meet my miniature dachshund who wins every time he is in the Rally-O ring!). 
All dogs can be trained using positive reinforcement, and for that matter, so can all exotic animals; ask their trainers, or zoo keepers, what kinds of methods they use!
The only set back has been the owners; impatient with results, reluctant to do the work, or just plain stubborn about the fact that their dog SHOULD behave the way they want them to without using rewards.

Unfortunately, we have created a popular belief in American society that dogs should behave because they "respect" us. This is a misled understanding of dogs, as they are not humans, and do not have an understanding of "respect" as we do.
What we interpret as "respect" is unfortunately fear. And you can look it up, there are an amazing amount of research articles that back up this statement.
If you are stubborn enough to not believe me, and subscribe to aversive training techniques, then by all means, do so. But, before you do, think long and hard about why you are. It's a hard realization, one that I had to come to, to discover that my preference to punish a dog and get him to do as I told, was not about good training, but instead about my fulfillment in controlling another.
I discovered that this was not training...when I discovered what training was, I changed my methods.
Many people will not want to read beyond this point because it is hard to acknowledge that there is an unfortunate amount of satisfaction in getting another being to listen to us just because we say so, and because we punish them into fearing us.  The truth is, they aren't doing it out of love...if it is forced, through punishment, it is being done out of fear.

As I always stipulate, I require that my dogs follow a strict set of rules in my household, but this is gained by teaching them what I want, and preventing them from practicing unwanted behaviors. You can see these results in the many videos I post on YouTube. 

I would like to say that I will take on any client who contacts me, and I have many times turned people away from harsher methods because I show them how quickly I can get results through positive reinforcement.

However, I have enough recommendations, and a stellar reputation, that I have lost the urge to argue about the way I train, and to try and convince people to treat their dogs with respect.

If you can read this post and decide that you still want to use harsh and/or abusive tactics to train your dog, don't call me. I don't have the patience to argue with someone about why I train with the methods I do, and if you can't understand them, and want to go to someone who will quickly abuse your dog into compliance, then by all means, do.
I will spend my meditation sending good thoughts to your dog and hope that they can overcome your anger, ego, superiority, and that of your trainer, and still enjoy their life. 
If you wish to experience a better relationship with your dog, and understand how to get them through and psychological issues that they may have, please call me, as this is my passion in life; to encourage the beauty of the human animal relationship, and to support it's growth through training.

This is possible, if you take the time.
And the rewards are phenomenal if you are willing to put in the work.

Thank you for reading,
KatherineK9