Three paths to a new master/dog relationship
Class instruction is the classic way to learn how to train your dog. In a class scenario you will meet, once per week, with an instructor who will teach you how to work your dog. Each week the instructor will begin the class with a short recap of the previous week’s work and then challenge each student’s efforts to have done it accurately. Next, he will present new material to prepare you and your dog for next week’s class objectives.
Because the Koehler method is a true method of dog training there is a step-by-step format for instruction. As such, the instructor will require the class to follow a sequence of essential and constructive exercises. Your class instructor knows this sequencing like the back of his hand. Trust in his proven ability to help you produce *objective off-leash reliability in as little as 10 weeks.
For best results, follow your instructor’s advice. Do not sabotage your success by omitting or embellishing the material. Your instructor’s place in front of the class did not come from passing some course of instruction as advertised on a matchbook cover or by pursuing an ad found in a glossy magazine. He earned his way to the front of the class by successfully instructing pet owners, like yourself, on how to responsibly meet their dog training needs; trust your instructor.
Do it yourself using the text, the “Koehler Method of Dog Training,” have helped themselves to a predictable and reliable result since 1962. And when using the book along with our Companion Dog Planners© it’s like having your own personal instructor. The planners will put you track, advance you along the way, and deliver you to a new master/dog relationship.
Training time for either the class student or the do-it-yourselfer is the same. Expect to spend, on average, 45 to 75 minutes per day, six days per week, for the next 10 – 13 weeks. That may seem like a huge commitment, but I assure you the results will be worth it.
Note: Completion of this first level of instruction is usually enough to keep most dog-owners and their dogs responsibly safe and sound for the rest of their too short time together. More demanding dog-owners will want to advance into the next level of training, the “Koehler Method of Open Obedience for ring, home, and field.” Go for it! You and your dog are ready. Open Dog Planners© for this level of training are also available for purchase.
Board and Train is another approach to getting your dog trained, but your role in the process changes considerably. With this program a qualified trainer will train the dog for you, and then teach you how to handle your trained dog.
Whether as a matter of convenience or as a matter of necessity, there are situations when board and train (sometimes referred to as ‘privately trained’) is the responsible choice. You will still need to make a time commitment to the effort, but your trainer will have done the heavy lifting for you.
Note: There are those who will say that private training doesn’t work, and that to get the best out of your dog you need to be the one to train it.
Allow me to point out that this advice generally comes from people who are not professional dog-trainers, or from trainers who lack the professional ability and experience it takes to succeed in this highly specialized field of training. Without that ability and experience, these people will sell you on the idea that it can’t be done. In truth it can be done, it has been done, and it is being done every day with reliable results.
Examples: Assistance dogs, police service dogs, detector dogs, retrievers, hunters, personal protection dogs, companion dogs, etc., etc.. These are all dogs which are routinely trained by professionals and then placed into the care of their handlers.
Even with the above short-list of examples it becomes easy to see that privately trained dogs are actually pretty common; and in some cases they work as the eyes, ears, balance, and confidence of the handler. So the next time you hear or read the opinion that privately trained dogs are not reliable … simply smile and remind yourself that the opinion is most likely coming from someone who has not been successful at getting the job done.
So when does board and train make sense?
Scheduling conflicts, physical or emotional limitations which can prevent you from guiding the dog through the training, problem biters and fighters, dogs that are overbearing, dogs that are impossibly shy, escape artists who desperately want whatever is on the other side of the fence, the dangerously ill-mannered dog, etc., etc..
None of those conditions are reasons to avoid having your dog trained. They may serve as reasonable explanations for why you can’t train the dog … but trust me, any experienced Koehler method trainer will be able to deliver the results you need; it’s what we do.
So if you have a problem dog, or a problematic situation, or some set of circumstances which may prevent you from training your dog … please don’t give up. Chances are very good that the solution can begin with a phone call or email. My contact info is at the bottom of this page. I invite you to call me so that we can discuss how best to help you help your dog.
*‘Objective’ off-lead reliability
Every Koehler method instructor will use the Companion Dog test as his minimum standard for a ‘trained dog.’ Meaning that whether you pursue a basics level course with a class instructor, or a board and train arrangement, or if you decide to do-it-yourself, expect that at the completion of the training you should be able to perform, in any environment where it is appropriate for you to be with your dog, the following exercises:
On leash heeling and figure eight;
Off leash stand for examination;
Off leash heeling;
Off leash recall;
Off leash sit-stay; and
Off leash down-stay.