Your neighbor’s German shepherd died at the age of 13 last year and the entire neighborhood was sad as everyone loved the dog. She was well behaved, great with other animals and children, rarely barked and was greeting everyone enthusiastically while out on the street. In fact, no summer party was complete without her being in the midst of it all.
A year later, after grieving their loss, the neighbors decided to get another German shepherd puppy, from the same breeder, and their children named her Coco. As shepherds do, Coco soon weighed 80 pounds and started chasing cats, cars and children, kept shredding things in the house and barked at everything that moved. Coco reserved her scary deep growling for the mailman and any visitor knocking at the door, and your elderly neighbor claims Coco nipped at his pant legs twice.
You are as baffled as everyone else. The neighborhood is the same, as are the people. Your neighbors have not changed much at all and their daily routines are pretty much the same as they were years ago. What happened?
The above story illustrates a set of fundamental facts many dog owners are not fully aware of and as such do not apply to their lives with their canine companion. Similar to people, canine character traits are a combination of nature and nurture. The concept is simple–dogs have different personalities and therefore different learning styles, and techniques that work with one may not work with another. Thus some dogs obey with whispered commands while others need firm and loud words. Some dogs back off easily and others stand their ground.
Within each breed and within each litter are a plethora of traits expressed to variable degrees. Using the identical type, sequence and amount of training can and will result in different outcomes even among litter mates. Likewise, individually tailored foundation training with a particular goal in mind may result in similar desired outcomes among different breeds and temperaments. Much frustration can be avoided by recognizing and accepting each individual dog’s strengths and limitations, and willingness to apply your training methods within this framework.
A simple internet search will yield endless expert advice and often strong opinions regarding dog training, both in terms of underlying science and application of certain tools. We at North Edge K9 have no absolute set of rules, tools and ideas; instead we use everything that is available to us and is proven to achieve the desired outcome. Our primary focus is the dog and what you want to accomplish.
There are general rules and truths one must respect and follow, yet the devil is in the detail and highly dependent on the individual situation. Likewise, we do not subscribe to any particular philosophy of K9 training, nor do we promote any particular training method exclusively. We train our K9 partners so we can trust them, and as such our training philosophy does not fit any preconceived notion other than striving for excellence and success.