What’s Conditioning and how does it Work?

At Adams K-9, we specialize in remote collar training. We are often asked, how long does the dog have to wear the collar? Many dog parents don’t understand that we are not trying to punish the dog, we are just trying to condition the dog’s behavior. We are dealing with an animal here, and one that does not speak our language. The remote collar is a unique communication tool that gives you clear and consistent communication with the dog.

What is conditioning?

We condition our hair so that it will be soft and shiny all of the time. To maintain this balance, we need to continue to apply conditioner over and over. For dogs, conditioning means doing things so the dog will behave the same way all of the time. Conditioning creates a dog that is reliable.

For example – does your dog have a reliable recall? Does your dog come every time, even with distractions?

One of the dogs we recently trained, a 6-month-old German Shepherd, now comes to daycare. Recently, the owner picked her dog up at the end of the day and the dog was jumping all over her. I asked where the dog’s remote collar was, and she said, “at home.”

I explained this is a critical time in this dog’s life. I said that he’s a juvenile right now, and is learning that he needs to have that collar on all the time so we can teach him not to jump all over you. These are the teaching moments, and we need to have consistency or the dog will never learn how to have any manners.

I said, he knows when he has the collar on and when it’s off, and she agreed. He does know when it’s on and when it’s off. So, keep the collar on the dog then, I said, and if you do this, in 6-12 months you won’t need the collar anymore. Now, the dog comes to daycare with the collar, but it’s not on the dog. We put the collar on when they arrive.

You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.

People spend a lot of money to have an Adams K-9-trained dog, and the dogs are doing great after our two-week training program. The next step in the training process is for the dog parent to maintain the training with consistency, persistence, and by rewarding wanted behavior. That is why we include 6 months of group polishing class with all of our training programs. We have some that take advantage of that, and their dogs excel. In fact, they no longer need leashes for their dogs. Others do not.

There are times when I get a phone call from a dog parent that is having problems with their dog six months after we trained it. The first question I ask is, “how many group classes did you attend?” I already know the answer, and it’s “none.”

People need to understand that it takes commitment to train a dog. It’s not just, two weeks with Adams K-9, and Bam! The dog is suddenly trained. That’s the frustrating part of our job, because all of these dogs could be awesome with conditioning.

I love the dog parents that take ownership, and that do the work. These are the ones that bring their dog to daycare and forget their leash. They forgot their leash because, honestly, they haven’t used it in months and don’t know where it is. Those are the owners that take pictures of their dogs and post them on our social media pages.

The dog parent that takes ownership always gives us glowing testimonials. Having a well-behaved dog takes work. If you are not willing to put in the work, perhaps a cat is a better option for you.

Dogs are great companions when they are well trained. (I just got a wet ear because my dog Bracha was giving me kisses.) They are affectionate pack animals that just want to be with you. Need a nap, they are there for you. Want to hike, and it’s – “let’s go!” And, they are always there for you when you are having a lousy day.

You owe it to your dog to be a good parent and teach them. Contact the team at Adams K-9 Dog Training and Kennel in West Michigan and let us help you.

Your dog will love you for it.

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Legislating the Tools

Legislating the Tools

I would like a quarter every time someone came in my training facility dragged by their dog in a harness or gentle leader. If they work for your dog, then great! However, we see a fair amount of people asking for help because their dog still leash pulls or is reactive on lead.

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