Whether you're a Vancouverite with a troubled pup, or a new dog mom or dad, it can be hard and confusing when choosing which training method to focus on.
A new training technique introduced by hosts and trainers, Dylan and Darijan Northstar, of the new television show, the Dog Dudes, centres around the fact that you don't have to choose.
We sat down with the Vancouver duo to get the low down on the training method that they've been using to rehabilitate dogs over the last 7 years.
According to Dylan and Darijan, each of the numerous traditional and well-known techniques used comes with an array of advantages and disadvantages.
Take the widely used positive-reinforcement training, for example, rewarding good behaviour with treats, praise, and toys, while completely ignoring bad behaviour.
According to Dylan and Darijan, it's the most popular used method and is a great starting point, especially for obedience and trick-training.
"It is based on Thorndike’s Law of Effect which essentially says that behaviour that is rewarded increases in frequency, while behaviour that is unrewarded decreases in frequency," they explain.
Another one, the Alpha Dog or Dominance-Based Training - think Cesar Milan, The Dog Whisperer.
The technique is centred around the theory that dogs see their human family members as members of the pack. Every pack has an Alpha Dog or dominant dog, and in order to show the other dogs who is in control, humans need to dominate their pet dogs like an Alpha dog would in a pack.
The method includes not allowing dogs to walk ahead of you on a leash, eating before you do, be on furniture or the bed, and not going down to their eye level.
It also includes punishment when they misbehave, which according to the Dog Dudes, is often harsh.
"Punishments involved in training can involve: reprehending verbally, isolation, spraying with water, pinning down the dog (often with aggression, intimidation and growling - to recreate what dogs would do to one another), grabbing the scruff, and hitting."
"This method is criticized as being antiquated, abusive, and dangerous. Furthermore, critics say that dogs do not rely on pack mentality as much previously believed and that this method can create fear and anxiety within dogs or worsen them if they are already existing."
The duo had countless tips on an array of techniques including electronic training, model-rival or mirror training, and relationship-based training, and the methods above don't even scratch the surface of the numerous options available to dog owners.
So how do you know which training technique to use for your own dog?
The Dog Dudes acknowledge that each of the methods come with their own advantages and disadvantages. So, they take the best of each and formulate a method that works for the specific dog that they are training.
Here's how it works...
"Our Pack Power behaviour modification and training approach is instinctual, intuitive, scientific and primarily focused on using relationship-based, positive reinforcement, and dog-based mirror training."
They consider themselves to be "balanced" trainers, mixing the traditional positive reinforcement training with modified techniques of alpha dog/dominance training.
In their opinion, "the whole premise of having a dog in your life is to spend time with it, play with it and develop a deep spiritual and emotional bond with it."
They don't believe that we need to be in constant control of every aspect of our dogs' behaviours or expect them to respond to our every request or demand, and their training method mirrors this belief.
They broke their technique down into three stages.
Stage one is to understand the dogs' situation. And this isn't only tailored to the individual dog they are working with, but also to the human family.
"Each dog’s problem has its own unique approach, and even the same problems between two different dogs can have completely different root causes and thus require different training methods."
Once they understand the situation, they work on the second stage, which they like to call “Sahelu,” or the trust stage. This is when the bond between the dog and the Dog Dudes is established enough to allow them to physically touch and interact with them.
And then the final stage is introducing them to the Pack.
Ever heard of the saying, you're a combination of the 5 people that you spend the most time with? Well, they believe this theory is the same for dogs.
"It is scientifically proven that when unconfident dogs are consistently exposed to groups of confident dogs in a controlled environment, the confidence of the other dogs begins to rub off on them. We see this time and time again with our pack."
According to The Dog Dudes, not everything can be taught by humans, which is why they incorporate their pack of Siberian Huskies.
The pack leads the way to create a clear pack dynamic which can't be replicated by humans.
The Huskies instil manners, patience, canine body language, social skills, recall and off-leash obedience, among other things.
The Dog Dudes explains that with the Pack leading the way, other dogs seem to more effectively pick up on the above skills.
"When unsocialized dogs are exposed to our dogs, they learn extremely quickly. The Power of the Pack is truly a magical process to witness and be part of."
And they want you to witness that magic. The tv show, which just premiered on September 25th, can be found on Amazon Prime Video Channel, and on Apple TV.
Create your human Pack of trusted dog sitters on PawSwap by joining us at our next Meet-up. Download the app for details and to RSVP.