Wednesday, February 28, 2007


I watched the news last night - something I rarely do as I'm in bed long before 10 PM if I can help it. They had a segment on Bark Busters, a "trendy" new method of training your dog (for $500 per home session) demonstrated by John Pilati-Warner. Not having any experience with dog training prior to Helping Paws, I was curious to see how his methods differed or were similar to the clicker method we use every day.

The things that were similar - the importance of focus; high praise; start slow and add distractions. The things that were different - use of a sound that imitates an alpha dogs warning tone - "bah!", pronounced with a gutteral sound in the throat; and use of a "correction" if the dog ignores a warning.

It was interesting to note that in describing how best to teach a dog to loose leash walk at heel he said it is important for the human to change directions frequently at first to keep the dog's focus on them. I wonder if he was listening to Cathy's final instructions to us at the mall on Monday Night? His LLW instructions were nearly an exact quote!

I'm sure this fellow's method works well for him - and for his clients that understand that it's not so much the method but in the follow through - a point he made quite clearly at the end of the news segment. If the human fails to act as the leader, the dog will respond accordingly. But think of it - he's charging $500 a session to teach basic obedience skills. If people are willing to pay that kind of dough to learn how to train their dogs, teaching folks to use a scaled down version of the Helping Paws method might be a very effective way to raise funds for the programmatical and veterinary needs of the service dogs. If not as an ongoing operation - perhaps as a silent auction item?

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