Abundant Life Dog Training
Empowering Dogs To Be Their Best

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Introduction

Abundant Life Dog Training empowers dogs to be their best at home as companions as well as in any competitive venue.  The dog is always emotionally balanced and ready to learn and perform.


This question was asked of me on Facebook: Are trainers taking this ‘positive only’ training a bit too far when they claim it's abusive to tell their dog NO? Every action has a consequence whether it's positive or negative. How can it be balanced if it's only one-sided?


I answered with the following:  Yes, you are correct.  Every action does have a consequence.  No training method can be all positive in that, withholding reinforcement has a negative value.  However, ... 



When teaching a dog what to do and they choose the incorrect behavior, there are ways of letting them know other than using harsh verbal and/or collar corrections. Dogs are only performing what they think will earn reinforcement based on the information we provide them.  Why would they do otherwise?  Why would you want to correct a dog for guessing wrong?  


The dog's side of the training conversation is the most important aspect

as it provides precious feedback about the information we gave them.  


Dogs are very cooperative by nature.

They choose to respond to our cues.


I Didn't Know What I Didn't Know


Dogs have always a big part of my life.  I never knew competitive dog sports existed until I went to my first training class in the early 1980's.  Because my instructor was a member of a Schutzhund club, I joined it as well as an Obedience club.  Both clubs used compulsion based training.   I was determined to find a better way .   


By learning as much as I could about dogs, discovering and implementing the laws of learning, and studying the science behind training, I developed a program that is very effective, and have been using it with my dogs and my student's dogs for more than 30 years.  Dogs stay emotionally balanced so they can learn new skills and respond correctly to signal and verbal cues.


Abundant Life Dog Training produces emotionally balanced companion dogs as well as top-scoring dogs in numerous competitive venues.


Balanced Dog Training

I've seen too many advertisements promoting 'Balanced' dog training.  They show a picture of a clicker, an e-collar and a prong collar.  What are they balancing?  Reinforcement and punishment?


For me, balanced dog training keeps the dog emotionally balanced.  When the dog is correct he receives reinforcement, and when he is incorrect, that's on me.  What information did I give to make the dog respond that way?  Some questions I ask myself are:


  • Is there something physically wrong?  This is always my first concern.
  • Was the dog emotionally balanced when I gave the cue?
  • Where was her focus when I gave her the cue?
  • How clear is my cue system?
    • Was my hand signal too quick?
    • Was my verbal cue loud enough?
    • Is it somehow different than what she is used to?
  • Does she really know the behavior?
  • Did she lose her concentration or get confused?
  • Have I been paying her well enough for her to perform the behavior?


And the list goes on and on.


Dogs make the best choice they can with the information we give them.


In addition to receiving the JET Award of Merit for heroism from the Belgian Sheepdog Club Of America, my dogs have earned their CGC, TDI, ATT titles.   We have competed and earned numerous titles in:


  • Agility - AAC, USDAA, NADAC -  MACH
  • Conformation - AKC/CKC Multiple BOB
  • Herding - HIT
  • Obedience - AKC/CKC/UKC Multiple HIT
  • Rally - AKC/CKC Multiple HIT
  • Tracking - CKC/AKC
  • Trick Dog
  • Schutzhund

WORKSHOPS
I have presented workshops across the US and Canada in the following:

AGILITY
  • Obstacle Introduction
  • Introduction to Handling
  • Planning The Course
  • Advanced Handling And Strategy
  • Problem Solving and Proofing

TRACKING
  • Training For A TD And TDX
  • Problem Solving and Proofing

OBEDIENCE/RALLY
  • Developing A Strong Foundation
  • Novice, Open, And Utility
  • Problem Solving And Proofing

DEFUSING REACTIVE DOGS
  • Turning A Trigger Into A Cue
  • Understanding Drives And Sensitivities
  • Problem Solving And Program Planning

WORKBOOKS

During the last 25 years, I have written many dog training workbooks. 


AGILITY

  • Introduction To Obstacles
  • Obedience For Agility
  • Handling Skills
  • Course Strategy

OBEDIENCE
  • The Conversational Canine
  • Training, Proofing and Handling

TRACKING
  • Training For A TDX

RALLY-ON
  • Performing The Signs
  • Handling Skills

THERAPY DOGS
  • Training Skills
  • Proper Interaction With Clients

DEFUSING K9 REACTIVITY
  • Teaching Foundation Behaviors
  • Reinforcement
  • Developing A Game Plan