Over the next three weeks, Ruff Beginnings provided regular updates in email as well as video posts that allowed me, not only to see Luna’s progress first hand, but also learn about the techniques and tools that I would be using after the Board & Train.
The first surprise I got was when Luna came home. She was a different dog. she was calmer and had better self-control. She wasn’t frantically hyper. She didn’t jump up every time I shifted in my seat. She didn’t constantly whine at the squirrels outside. She was still slightly reactive to other dogs, but she was clearly trying to stay composed. While I knew that there was still a lot of work in front of me to maintain and further improve her behavior, it was clear that I was finally on the right path in my dog training journey.
The second surprise was how straight-forward the training process was. The training philosophy was amazingly simple; calm, strong leadership. However, as I learned, simple and easy are not the same thing. Being a leader can be difficult, it requires doing the right thing even when it’s hard. It’s about being a figure of authority, not a figure of play and affection. And, it’s about being fair and consistent when issuing praise or consequence.
A leader is the one on the front-lines in times of ‘crisis’ and is able to act calmly and decisively in difficult situations. But more than that, leadership is the ability to provide for the pack, push its members to go further, recognize achievements, and issue fair consequences for unwanted actions that are harmful to the pack as a whole.
Every dog is different and the nuances of training or modifying the dog’s behavior may be different, but the foundation of the approach is the same: calm, strong leadership and communicating in a way that the dog understands is the key to success.