I waited to post my "intro" post until I got the hang of the forums here..they are awesome!
My name is Maggi and I live in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. I worked at a vet for 8 years and then moved into dogwalking and petsitting as a business of my own. I started working with the dogs that no other walker would take, some with issues, some that the owners wanted "solo" walks etc. This led me into some behaviour and training studies so that I could work on the dog's issues. After using "balanced training" AND becoming a fan of the Dog Whisperer I used his methods for a while. Then I realized that the methods were not working with some of the dogs and after getting Cracker, my foxhound mix, where these methods only caused her stress I set off in a search for a "better way".
Thanks to some other dogforums I discovered positive reinforcement training and clicker training, curious about these methods I started learning as much as I could about dog behaviour, operant conditioning, calming signals etc. After MUCH success in this form of training, especially with my "special needs" dogs my interest in this method increased. I now am being mentored by a good trainer here in Toronto, learning how to run classes, and also have been told I'm a valuable addition to her staff for my behaviour geek knowledge..so my mentor and I have a mutually beneficial relationship. She is not "into" behaviour modification (aggression, reactivity etc) and I am. I have been privately training one on one for about a year and a half.
Cracker is a 3 year old foxhound/lab who started out in a crackhouse. Seized in a police raid at three months, I adopted her from the THS at 4 1/2 months. She is a very soft dog emotionally and has been a real learning experience for me. She has anxiety (SA) and has some fear issues probably relating to the trauma involved in the raid itself (certain noises, certain men, etc) and my search for knowledge has greatly benefited our relationship and her ease with the world. She "works" with me on walks and rides the subway and buses like a pro and is a constant source of information and love.
Being a crossover trainer (moving to pos. reinforcement from correction based training) I think I have a good idea of the pros and cons of both methods...as a good friend of mine says...you rarely see someone crossover TOWARDS the correction based..but often see the other direction...the point in that is..why be correction based when you don't HAVE TO?
First, do no harm.
Thanks for being so welcoming here on the forum. I hope to be a regular contributor and to learn much from the other knowledgeable dog owners I have already seen on here!