Welcome to Free and Balanced K9 Training!
My name is Amanda and I started training dogs after I struggled for almost 3 years with my Weimaraner Booma. She had slowly become aggressive towards dogs, strangers, my visiting family members and even my 2 year old son. I raised her from puppyhood and thought I was doing everything correctly by what other people I knew were telling me to do. I tried numerous methods and trainers that had me use lots of food and time outs. I finally started searching through youtube and found trainers who were using methods that were helping aggressive and insecure dogs turn their lives around.
I started adding tons of structure to her day. She had to hang out on her place bed or in her kennel when I wasn’t training her. Instead of having people she was nervous about go and feed her, I told them all to ignore her and I held her to the same standard when guests were over. It’s sounds opposite of what tons of other people say to do, but it worked. She became more focused on her own behavior instead of worrying about what was happening around her. Over time she was allowed to mingle with guests while wearing a muzzle and e-collar. I watched and corrected for anything pushy (she would push and rub her muzzle on people and it hurts) I would start calling her away from people as they moved around and held her accountable if she didn’t listen to my recall command. Over time people moving around her didn’t make her anxious. I still don’t allow many people people to pet her, that’s my choice as her guardian. Just a few close relatives and friends who understand her boundaries. No high pitch baby talk is allowed either because it makes her suspicious of those people, why are they trying so hard to get her to like them type of suspicion. I do keep strict rules with her because I don’t want to see our relationship broken like it was when she felt like she had to protect herself. My job is to give her a safe home and this is how I did that.
I have learned that dogs do need a mix of positive reward and punishment in order to understand the rules of our world. Biting and other bad behaviors are not ok to do if they want to be able to live their best life with us. I was ready to give my dog away because I was so upset and frustrated with her behavior. Now she’s my favorite dog in the whole world and I'm on a mission to help other owners keep the dogs that they love while also building an even deeper connection with them.