Goals and Philosophy
P.U.P.S Dog Obedience Training is a progressive seven-week course with a focus on
achieving three goals. All three goals are equally important, and we actually use the
obedience goal as our vehicle to achieving the other two goals. The three goals are
Obedience - The obedience goal is very progressive. By the end of the course, your dog
should be working completely reliably, performing all the basics on a 15 foot line with
major distractions and should be completely ready to move into off-leash instruction
amidst major distractions.
We do NOT do food/cookie training. It is all mental work on the dog’s behalf; the reward
of which is PRAISE, have a job, and work as a team member with their owner. All of the
group classes are outside and have always been outside. I refuse to work inside in a
sterile, controlled building. I want the dogs outside working around real-life distractions
such as wind and birds and smells and people and other dogs. If we can embed reliability
under that environment, we can get it anywhere. Therefore, the dog will be included on far
more outings with the family.
I have to stress that even though everyone is getting the same obedience progression,
more importantly, each person there is also receiving their own individual behavior
modification program based on their particular breed or breeds (the latter if it's a mix),
and the breed traits that go along with that dog.
Breed traits dictate a huge amount of your dog’s behavior, therefore, I am a firm believer
that you cannot blanket train all dogs. Each owner is entitled to education on their
particular dog’s learning process needs and their particular dogs’ mind-set. What makes a
Rottweiler tick and what makes a Lab tick are two very different things, as I will illustrate.
When a Rotti looks at a soccer game for instance, he sees a very different picture than a
Lab who looks at the same soccer game. A good Rotti is social and comfortable but is
going to pay closer attention to the man umpire who is yelling or the bike rider wearing a
hood and sunglasses, because a Rotti is a guardian breed. Guardian breeds have a high
prey drive and defense drive, and they are bred to assess threat where a Lab who does not
possess that type of defense drive sees the kids and the balls and is certain all those
things are there just to see him!
Relationship Establishment - The second goal we look for to be intact by the end of the
seven weeks is relationship establishment. We want to respectfully and productively (and
I stress those two terms: respectfully and productively, through specialized obedience
training) establish the owner as alpha. There is nothing more sad than to see a dog
slinking about doing what his owner asks out of fear, we want their heads held high and
their pride apparent. Not only will this relationship make the owner’s job a lot easier for the
next decade or so, but it is also very relieving to the dog.
Whenever you have a working breed with good genes, they have a high work ethic. With
that high work ethic, dominance is naturally inherent, and that's okay because they need
their dominance to do the jobs they were bred to do effectively and successfully. How
that dominance manifests itself can be quite different from breed to breed, whether it is the
Lab that barrels out the door first to the kids and lovingly knocks into them, or the herding
dog who constantly moves you where they want you to go, or a male Rotti who grumbles
and tries to bully his owner with displays of aggression. Once the dog understands,
through mutual respect and trust, that he can trust in his owners’ ability to make
decisions, this relieves him of the stress and responsibility of feeling that he has to make
decisions not only for himself, but for his human pack members as well. We want to relieve
him of that stress and responsibility.
This is important for all breeds, but to illustrate this point let me use the guardian breed as
an example. My Rotti mix was a grizzly bear at the front door when someone came, and that
was okay because that’s what he was genetically engineered to do, but when I walked
down the hall and saw who it was and said "HEY - ENOUGH," that was the end of it. He
trusted in my ability to make decisions as to who entered our home. Therefore, I had a nice
guardian/companion dog as opposed to having a liability. Establishing the owner as alpha
is very relieving to your dog. You also give your dog a language base through training
while establishing this productive, respectful relationship which then makes it easy for
you to troubleshoot behaviors at home and easy for your dog to understand what you
want from him outside of obedience. Therefore, you set him up to succeed within your
Temperament/Confidence - The third goal we look for to be intact by the end of the
seven-week course is what I refer to as temperament, more specifically confidence.
Because the training is done in such a way that the dog is succeeding every step of the
way, we are instilling tons of confidence in the dog. The more confident a dog is, the more
capable he is of appropriately assessing stimulating situations and the more capable he is
of focusing under that scenario. We actually teach the dog how to regulate his adrenaline
under stimulating situations so that he can focus, think clearly, make good decisions and
be tractable. When you take that dose of confidence and couple it with desensitization to
distractions and stimuli through group training, you have a dog who can think clearly,
whose adrenaline doesn’t surge as high in stimulating situations and a dog who can
transition as easily as his genetics will allow him, from situation to situation. This not only
teaches the dog how to regulate his adrenaline but also it increases his threshold of
tolerance regarding changes in the environment (stimuli and distractions). As opposed to
the dog who goes to the soccer game and his adrenaline surges the entire time and he acts
like a crazed maniac, therefore, he doesn’t enjoy it nor does his owner and trust me, nor do
the people around them trying to watch the game!
The goal of the program is to have a dog you can take anywhere, anytime; therefore, the
dog is included on far more family outings. The high-confidence/low stress or adrenaline
goal is also highly effective for reforming fear biting dogs and fear aggressive dogs
whether it is directed at humans or other dogs. A fear aggressive dog is a dog with low
confidence and high defense drive (many of our German Shepherds, Rottis, Australian
Shepherds, Border Collies and many other breeds suffer from this genetic low confidence).
This dog is kind of like the lunch room bully. He barks and growls with his hair up fiercely,
trying to convince the dog or person to be scared of him when really he is scared of them.
Whether the fear aggression is due to genetics or environment or both, the confidence he
gains through training allows him to make more appropriate assessments and not see “an
Indian behind every tree,” so to speak. This boost in confidence allows the dog to feel
better about itself and the world.
I believe in “healing the cut” as opposed to "putting on a band-aid" by just trying to
hinder the aggressive behavior. It is much better for the dog if it truly does not view the
world as a threatening place. If you own a young defense driven guardian breed, training
before they reach maturity is a great way to prevent ending up with a fear biter. Again, we
want our guardian breeds to be good guardian/companion dogs, not liabilities.
Those are the three goals of the program. Because of these goals and the fact that each
dog is individually assessed based on their genetics, emotional sensitivity, adrenaline
system and past environmental history, the program is more a behavior modification
program achieved through the use of obedience training, with reliable obedience being
achieved as well. We want to have all three of the goals achieved to the highest potential
by the end of the course. The end result is a happy, confident, reliable dog and a happy,
responsible, educated owner.
P.U.P.S. Dog Obedience Training Course is beneficial to all dogs and specializes in high-
drive working breeds of any category as well as temperament "issues" including anxiety,
low-confidence though genetics or abuse, and all types of aggression.
The cost of the seven week program is $225 ($175 for rescue or shelter dogs) for the first
dog, second dog and any additional dogs train for $125 for the seven weeks, with
guaranteed results. In other words, if all three of the goals of the program are not met to
the highest potential by the end of the course, we will be the first one to ask you to come
back through for free until all those goals are to the highest potential. (Your dog is a
potential walking advertisement for P.U.P.S.)
Upon successful completion of the Basic Course (above), P.U.P.S offers a four week
Advanced Obedience Course. Inquire within for details.