Our Training Principles
BRIDGING THE COMMUNICATION GAP
It is important to remember that humans are from one species (Homo sapiens), and dogs are from another (Canis lupus familiaris). Each species sees their world differently, uses the senses in varying degrees and manner, and expesses themselves in uniquely diverse ways. Therefore, there exists a communication gap that needs to be bridged if harmony and cooperation should exist. Unless dog owners and trainers truly appreciate that and use this understanding to their advantage, there shall be errors in training methodology, confusion, frustration, and despair on both ends of the leash.
Manalo K9's Superdog Training is based on bonding and trust. The trainer spends the first few days with the dog bonding with him/her and gaining his/her trust. It is important to treat every dog as individuals, and respect their particular personalities.
A dog learns faster if it is rewarded for good behavior. If a dog is bonded to its trainer, a verbal reward ("Good!"; some use 'clickers' in place of this verbal marker, but using a verbal marker is actually more convenient) and touch/stroke at proper places in the proper amount and duration and intensity is enough to establish wanted responses or behavior. Food treats and toys have their place in training, especially when training for detection and tracking, but a good companion dog or protection dog does not need food or toys to obey or work for someone who has established the proper bond with him/her. A good companion or protection dog will obey and perform even without a bribe from its handler/ owner apart from a rub or a praise marker.
PHYSICAL / VERBAL CORRECTION
Some people have the idea that corrections are bad. However, a trained dog that has been trained in a purely positive approach (reward-based training) will not be 100% reliable.
The dog has to respect the authority of his handler/ owner and know that he is not allowed to disobey a command even if there is stimuli that might make him want to do otherwise. Therefore, a proper amount and type of physical and verbal correction is required.
A dog that is trained to obey for food treats would stop obeying a command if he/she has found something else that is more exciting for him/her than the food treat, such as a cat, for example. Each dog has a different correction threshold and should be given just the right amount of it to produce a response and nothing more. The goal is to condition the correction into a purely verbal one.
Corrections are also necessary in the Proofing stage of training, where distractions are introduced and the dog is placed in situations that would test his reliability to obey. A training collar, when used intelligently by a professional, is a great way to give the right correction needed.
A dog that is hurt during training will show a form of avoidance, a sure-fire way to check if unnecessary force was inflicted on the dog by an uneducated "dog trainer". A dog that is trained right is a happy dog.
There are three major phases in our Superdog Training:
Conditioning / Imprinting Phase: The dog learns the different commands and the desired response for each. For basic obedience, this is normally achieved in the first two (2) weeks. If a trainer claims to be able to train a dog all the basic obedience commands in just a few days, he might be hurting the dog to expedite this process, which is counter-productive for the dog's proper development.
Practice Phase: Giving commands and the consequent execution of these are done repetitiously until the responses become quick and automatic. The proper posture and positioning and executions are also inculcated in the exercise sequences.
Proofing Phase: The dog goes through sequences in different locations with different distractions and scenarios, and given the necessary adjustments to make the dog obey and perform reliably. This is a very important phase not usually done or understood by less experienced or uneducated trainers.
DOG FIRST, HUMAN AFTER: Transfer of Commands Series
The reason why the dog is taught first, and then the owner/handler, is to eliminate a lot of confusion, and to save a lot of time. An inexperienced owner teaching an inexperienced dog is like two blind men leading each other. A dog being trained by a good trainer learns much faster. And then, after a dog is trained, the owner/handler comes into the picture. The new handler learns faster with a trained dog in his hands.
After the dog is trained by one or more of our professional trainer(s), it is handed over to its owner/handler. This is not done abruptly, as other so-called trainers do. That is a recipe for frustration on wasted investment of time and money. Instead, we require that the owner and dog go through a series of Transfer of Commands (TOC) sessions with our trainer/s. This process should be followed as seriously and as religiously as possible to fully complete the training.
ABOUT THE TOC SESSIONS
There are at least three (3) TOC sessions the dog and owner/handler has to go through.
The first TOC is the graduation TOC. This may take more or less two (2) hours - enough for everything to be tackled, yet short enough so as to not to tire the dog too much. It consists of three (3) parts
Lecture Part: The Manalo K9 Dog Training Module is discussed thoroughly by the trainer with the clients, touching various topics such as Dog Psychology, Training Process, Effective Communication, and The Daily Training Routine.
Display Part: The trainer shows everything the dog has learned in front of the owner/s / handler/s, who watch, observe and learn.
Handling Part: The dog is then handed to the owner/handler, and the owner/handler is taught the proper way to handle his/her dog successfully. The trainer gives the owner/handler assignments to do everyday for at least 15-30 minutes for the next several days.
The second TOC is where the trainer checks how the dog-human team is now doing. Ideally, the owner/handler did his/her homework with his/her dog. Even so, it is very normal to find out that there are certain problems that have arisen in between the first and second TOC sessions. Perhaps the dog won't follow certain commands, or that the dog went back to certain bad habits. Those are usually errors emanating from the human not doing what he was taught in the first TOC properly. The trainer now corrects what is being done wrong and gives commendation to everything else being done right. He gives further instructions and assignments to the owner/handler to follow during the next several days.
On the third and final TOC session, it is expected that problems have been corrected and the team should be working well together already. If there is a need for any further adjustments or corrections, it is done at this time. Usually, after the third TOC, everyone is satisfied and happy with all the training that was put in. The investment will have become more than worth every centavo.
If more TOC sessions are needed, no problem. Additional TOC sessions are FREE OF CHARGE unless of course they are requested to be done outside our training center.
HOME SERVICE charges are applied to off-site TOC sessions to cover transport costs, and costs related to the hours or days of absence of the trainer/s from the training center. We can do TOC sessions anywhere on earth, but only within reason and considering our trainers' availability.
Our main concern here is that we make sure that all of our clients are happy. No time and money wasted on training forgotten, as with other dog training programs.
A trained dog that obeys and performs reliably/consistently, willingly and eagerly for his learned handler to whom he/she is strongly bonded to, is the goal. Because of the successful bridging of the inter-species communication gap, both the dog and the human achieve a happier and more satisfying relationship with each other for the rest of their lives.