Welcome to a paw-sitively delightful journey through our first week at Dog School! In this week's blog, we're excited to share an overview of our experience and some insights from our incredible dog trainer, Andrea, the owner of Pack Animals, a certified LIMA dog trainer.
But before we dive into the training magic, let's introduce the heroes of our story: Lisa, the owner of Chelsy's Toys, and Andrea, the mastermind behind Pack Animals. They've come together to revolutionize dog toy training through positive reinforcement, fear-free methods, and a newfound understanding of our furry friends' cognitive abilities.
You can watch the entire first day of school here:
Meet the Trailblazer
Andrea's passion for dog training and wellness was sparked when she welcomed Maggie into her life. Maggie, a furry bundle of joy, showed Andrea and her husband a whole new way of living. Andrea's goal is to impart this knowledge, focusing on health and wellness for both dogs and humans through an updated platform called Pack Animals, set to re-launch in early November.
For all the dog lovers out there, be sure to mark your calendars and join the waitlist for the Pack Animals app here. Your dog and you are in for a treat!
Unleashing the Power of Play
During our first day at Dog School, Andrea shed light on the evolution of dog training. Gone are the days of outdated "alpha" ideologies. Now, it's all about enriching your connection, communication, and expectations of your furry companion.
But why is play such a crucial part of this modern approach? Andrea emphasized that play motivates dogs to perform desired behaviors. Just like humans enjoy various forms of play, dogs do too. Playtime can be an incredible tool for learning and training. For instance, using tug toys during play can assist in reinforcing recall commands, ultimately making your daily routines smoother and more enjoyable for both you and your pup.
Fear-Free Training: A Compassionate Approach
We then delved into understanding what fear-free training truly means. Andrea explains that this method of training often uses positive reinforcement (rewarding a dog for doing a behavior we want) and/or negative punishment (removing the unwanted behavior). Fear-free training is an effective and compassionate approach that helps a dog extend their capabilities without asking for too much at once.
In relatable terms, Andrea drew a parallel between human behavior and dog training. Imagine wanting your partner to wash the dishes; you might offer to watch their favorite movie together after the completed chore (positive reinforcement) or suggest turning off the TV (negative punishment) until the chore is done. To be clear, we would never suggest for your to train your partners.
Clearing Up Misconceptions: Tug Toys and Snuffle Bags
Andrea then tackled common misconceptions about dog toys. One major misunderstanding is assuming that dogs instinctively know how to use a new toy. In reality, dogs learn through training and guidance. It's similar to giving a marker to a child without teaching them how to use it appropriately on drawing paper. The more we teach our dogs how to interact and play, the more we'll witness desired behaviors.
What's Next on the Journey?
In our upcoming blog, we'll address common undesired behaviors from our furry friends. Andrea will showcase how to tackle these issues using fear-free training methods, providing invaluable insights and tips. Stay tuned, and join us in this rewarding journey towards a stronger, healthier bond with our furry companions! Wag on! 🐾