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Who is Dan the Dogfather?

Dan has loved dogs his whole life and has trained thousands of dogs, many with severe behaviour problems. He has been heavily involved in rescuing, training and rehabilitating dogs. Dan graduated from Canada West Canine Centre, located in Salmon Arm, British Columbia, in the summer of 2002.

Canada West Canine Centre was the first school in Canada of its kind. It is registered with the Private Post Secondary Education Commission of British Columbia. The school teaches trainers and educates them on how to train for obedience, advanced obedience, tracking, and curing specific behavioural problems.

While acquiring his dog training certification did provide an excellent knowledge base for his training, working with rescue dogs has given Dan immeasurable "real-world" experience. Without Dan's assistance, many wonderful dogs would have been euthanized for behavioural issues or aggression, and many more would not have been as easily placed. Overall, in the two years Dan volunteered with All Heart Pet Rescue, he trained several hundred dogs of all breeds and temperament. He has experience with virtually every breed, and is very knowledgeable about the special behaviours of individual breeds.

Dan himself started off being the proud father of Magnus, the German Shepherd. He was then joined by his adoptive sister, Molly the Doberman (See Molly's Tail), and the new additions, Lupa the Shepherd/ Husky/ Wolf Mix, and Boomer, a Treeing Walker Hound. Magnus, the shepherd, was adopted from All Heart Pet Rescue in Powassan, Ontario when he was one year old. Magnus had been neglected and he came with several behavioural issues such as destructiveness, jumping, and separation anxiety. Through careful and patient training, Magnus no longer exhibits any of his previous behaviour problems. Furthermore, he has been fully obedience trained and has several other useful skills, such as scent discrimination and tracking. He helped in the training of countless dogs with his patience, attentiveness, and desire to work.

Magnus has since passed on, followed by his adoptive sister, Molly. They are missed on a daily basis. Since then, Pip, the pit-bull mix has joined the pack. He greets every dog that comes into the house for boarding with playful pounces and makes them feel comfortable.

How Does Dan Train?

Dan trains through praise, motivation and correction. What does that mean? In a nutshell, it means that the dog is motivated to do a specific behaviour or command, such as heel, and when he does it correctly, he is praised. If the dog ignores the owner, shows a negative behaviour such as growling or nipping, or simply won't do something that he has proven he knows, then he is corrected.

Motivation is the act of getting a dog excited to do a command or other action. The owner may verbally stimulate the dog's interest or, if necessary, make a physical motivation, such as clapping the hands or patting his (owner's) leg. When the dog becomes motivated and does the desired command or behaviour he is praised. Make the dog want to work for you.

Praise is rewarding the dog for a job well done. Treats are not used in training (an explanation will be given shortly). Praising the dog requires the owner to cheer the dog with an excited "Good dog!" or to physically praise the dog with hand contact. The owner is the reward! The amount of praise given depends on the temperament of the dog. If he is really shy, then the owner needs to give more praise; if he is really excitable, then the owner just gives a little praise, lest the dog gets so excited he forgets what he had done!

So why doesn't Dan use treats? Treats are not necessary at all when training your dog. Praise goes a long way in training your dog, and it is what most dogs crave above all from their owners. Furthermore, your dog should do a command because he loves and respects his owner, not because he is being bribed to do a command. Respect is an even more important issue when it comes to the recall (come) command. If the dog starts chasing a squirrel, he has a greater likelihood of coming when called if he respects you. If he had been treat trained, would he rather chase a squirrel or come to you and get a treat? Most dogs will continue to chase that squirrel and then finally come back to you after they have had their fun. Your dog should want to earn your respect and love, and you should want your dog to see you as firm, just and kind. If you doubt the ability to train a dog without treats, merely look to the greatest of Canadian dog personalities, the Littlest Hobo. He wasn't educated or trained with treats, and he could do all kinds of good deeds!

Correcting the dog is necessary if he is doing an undesirable behaviour, such as lunging after other dogs, or if he is ignoring you when you tell him to do something he knows. A verbal correction is a firm "No!" Your dog should respond and respect your "No" if he is ever to be fully off-lead trained. Using the squirrel example again, if your dog responds to your "No!" then he stops chasing that squirrel and comes back to you. Physically correcting your dog is done when doing on-lead training. A correction is a sudden jerk and release on the lead, used in conjunction with either a standard flat collar, training collar, or a harness. Depending on what the owner wants from the training and the dog's temperament, either one or a combination of the above training tools may be used. When physically correcting your dog, you are simply giving your dog a reminder and grabbing his attention.

All training starts on-lead, so the dog begins to respect and respond to the owner while the owner still has physical control over the dog. When a dog is off-lead, the only way an owner can control him is with his voice.

Private Training versus Obedience Class Training

Dan only trains at the owner's home, or if the dog is sent to him. These lessons are private, one-on-one sessions. So why is private training better?

Private training is superior to training in a class/group setting for the following reasons:

1. During private lessons, the dog and owner receive 100 percent of the trainer’s attention at all times.

2. The dog learns to obey the owner when he is in and around the home, which is where he is 98 percent of the time. If a dog is trained in a class away from home, he may only listen when he is in that classroom.

3. Convenience. By doing training in-home, the owner avoids the inconvenience and time it takes to get the dog in the car and drive to class. The trainer comes to you.

4. The owner doesn’t have to be embarrassed about asking questions or the dog’s unruly behaviour. In many cases, that is why training is being sought! In some cases, dogs are even kicked out of group classes... what's with that? The dog is there to get the help he needs.

When are class/group lessons better? If an owner is seeking the opportunity to have his or her dog become better socialized, the class setting is better for that. For all other issues, private lessons are the way to go!

So what are the products and services that Dan offers and what are the costs? Click Here.

Dan and his trusty Treeing Walker Hound, Boomer
Dan offers private lessons for individual dogs. He will take your dog in for training at his own home, or travel to your residence to work with you and your dog, one on one.