Every day I teach people how to teach their dogs. I work with people privately and in classes. My clients come from all walks of life. Some have trained many dogs, others are training their first dog. No matter how much experience a person has training dogs, there is one factor that determines if a dog’s behavior will be changed by the training. That factor is - How much time is being dedicated to the training.
We have all heard Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity, “Doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result.”When dogs practice undesired behaviors, the behavior continues to get worse. The only way to change an unwanted behavior is to do something different. For example, if your dog jumps on you every time he sees you and you pet him, the jumping will continue unless something changes. If you start to ask your dog to sit before he jumps or if you ignore him when he jumps, you have the opportunity to change the behavior. However, it is important to also realize that a behavior will not change overnight and it will take consistent repetitions (which means TRAINING TIME) to get the new behavior to “stick”.
When people come to me for a private session or classes, I will send them home with homework. The homework is designed to be the step work to reach the goal that the client has for the dog. Usually, the homework consists of skills that the dog has not learned and the person will need to practice the skills daily so the dog can learn them. The dogs that make the most progress are the dogs that have people who practice the homework daily. The dogs that struggle to succeed can have some specific reason that they are struggling but almost all of them have one thing in common- they did not have consistent practice between their session with me.
Dog training is like everything else in life, you get out of it, what you put in. If you want to get in shape, you must exercise regularly. If you want to play the piano well, you must practice. Fortunately, when you take the time to train your dog, not only will your dog learn new skills, you will be strengthening your bond with every practice session!!
Shannon has been a pet lover all her life and a dog trainer for over 20 years. She has spent her life observing, caring for and training animals of all kinds. She has worked in the Bird Department at Marine World Africa USA, and worked as a handler and trainer for an African Serval Cat at Safari West, a private zoo in Santa Rosa, California. She has participated in behavior studies including observations of bald eagles and addax antelope through the San Francisco Zoo and Safari West. Her education includes a Biology Degree, specializing in Zoology from Sonoma State.
She is a "Registered Veterinary Technician," a "Certified Professional Dog Trainer" (Knowledge Assessed), a Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner, a member of the "Association of Pet Dog Trainers" and a member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants. Shannon is currently serving as President for the Society of Veterinary Behavior Technicians. Shannon's dog training philosophy revolves around force-free, positive reinforcement, however, her ultimate goal is for healthy happy relationship between pets and their people. Diet, exercise, environment and training all play a significant role in achieving this goal. Shannon is currently the owner of Ventura Pet Wellness and Dog Training Center in Ventura, CA where she works with anxious and fearful dogs privately as well as teaching agility classes (Venturapetwellness.com). Shannon has also started a training website called Truly Force Free Animal Training.