Some of the best qualities a dog owner can have include compassion, kindness, gentle affection, a reassuring attitude, a keen sense of observation, being calm and self-aware as well as having lots, and lots of patience. It also helps to be well-read, skeptical, organised and gently persistent when applying any training methods in order to do the least or possibly no harm to your dog as well as enjoying learning from each other and forming a loving relationship based on trust, education and feeling safe.
After having raised two Chinooks, it's clear there are numerous training methods to employ and hundreds of people who claim to be good dog trainers. It really is a case of "The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don't know." (Albert Einstein)
As humans, we will probably never know exactly what a dog is thinking or the true meaning behind their behaviour because we are not dogs but what some people have tried to do is to study and observe their behaviour and sometimes test their cognitive abilities. The key point that is the cornerstone of modern dog training is that dog trainers strive to create a positive environment that elicits and reinforces wanted behaviours and redirects and ignores unwanted behaviours. In other words, we are 'setting them up for success'. The following dog trainers are people whose methods 'spoke' to me the most.
Karen Pryor is an American author who specialized in behavioral psychology and marine mammal biology. She is a founder and proponent of clicker training. Karen is an active, leading spokesperson and teacher for effective force-free training across the globe. Her work with dolphins in the 1960s revolutionized animal training by pioneering and popularizing force-free training methods based on operant conditioning and the conditioned reinforcer.
Turid Rugaas is a Norwegian dog trainer who has identified some 30 “Calming Signals” to explain the communication of dogs. One project, called “Dog Pulse”, measuring the pulse of a dog aims to understand when a dog is giving out calming signals and whether people using calming signals can calm their dogs by reducing their heart rate.
Emily Larlham is a dog trainer who uses only Progressive Reinforcement Training (including clicker training), a type of training that involves no forms of physical or psychological intimidation. She runs the dog training business Dogmantics Dog Training in San Diego, California and is known around the world for her popular Youtube Channel ‘Kikopup’ where she has posted over 350 free in-depth dog training tutorials.