Our Methods

Many of us were raised to know that we shouldn’t believe everything we see on television – and this applies to dog training as well. Training your dog in real life is often a very different experience, and rarely happens inside the course of an hour.

I am Erica Garven CPDT-KA, owner of The Dog’s Assistant, and I employ well founded, scientifically supported methods that work to change the way your dog thinks, not just the way he reacts. It is my experience that in order to affect real, permanent change in your dog’s behaviour, we must create change in his mind, and the body will follow suit. In order to do this, I assess the entirety of your dog, and use proven canine learning theory to modify unwanted behaviour. Most importantly, I believe that trainers, like doctors, should abide by oath of ‘first, do no harm’. When I leave your home, I take comfort in knowing that I have provided you with skills that anyone can use with your dog, and that will not cause injury – physically or emotionally – to the dog OR the person handling him.

The methods I use will never inflict pain upon your dog, they will never cause your dog to mistrust you, and many will be functional for even the youngest members of your family to use*. One of my favourite sayings in training is to teach the dog “don’t do this, do this instead” – meaning “don’t do that bad behaviour, do this good one instead.” The way we teach this thought process is by calmly and clearly communicating to your dog what is expected of her; after all, like humans, dogs will do almost anything to make their own lives easier. If we can show your dog that life can be easy and joyful and also fit within the rules and expectations of the home, you will find a rewarding, enjoyable relationship with your dog again.

If you are already working towards a brighter future with your dog, you may be interested in doing some research of your own. Some of the published trainers that I love are Dr. Patricia McConnell, Dr. Ian Dunbar, Jean Donalson, Dr. Karen Pryor, Pat Miller, Kathy Sdao and Dr. Stanley Coren. They all do things a little bit differently, but each has something profound to teach us about dogs and how they learn.

For more information on how our Behaviour Consulting is structured, click here to visit our Behaviour page

*Note – young children should not be permitted to handle dogs who are aggressive in any way. Children should always be supervised by an adult when interacting with any dog.

The dogs assistant has some pointers for you

The Dog's Assistant - Canine Behaviour & Nutrition Consulting - © 2010.

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