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Hello, I'm Barb...

I am a volunteer puppy raiser with Service Dogs of Virginia, a certified Service Dog Coach, and a national trainer with Pets for Vets. My specialty is working with young puppies and my passion is service dogs.  All puppies can benefit from the same early training and techniques used with service dogs. These positive reinforcement techniques can also be used to help train adult dogs. I am excited about helping you and your dog build a better bond. 

 

With a background in Program Management and strong leadership skills, I enjoy helping people achieve their goals.  Raising a puppy or training a dog is hard work, and I will support you and your dog through the training process! I received my Certified Training Partner(CTP) professional designation at  the highly regarded  Karen Pryor Academy(KPA). Karen Pryor is widely considered to have paved the way for the positive reinforcement and clicker training movements.  I earned my Service Dog Coaching credential through Cooperative Paws service dog education course.  

 

My classes and programs are created using science-based methodologies, and designed to be a fun way to create clear communication and strong bonds between you and your pet. I provide individualized coaching, and will work with you to establish goals and create a plan to achieve those goals.  I will follow-up with you and remain available to you between lessons to support your training process.  Training plans are individualized to meet your specific needs.

Positive Reinforcement

Using the positive reinforcement method means that a dog is rewarded for performing a good behavior instead of punished for exhibiting a bad one. With positive reinforcement, learning new skills is fun and gratifying for dogs. Research has proven that punishment may decrease the frequency of an unwanted behavior, but usually results in producing another unwanted behavior and behavioral problems.  The results of punishment as a training method are difficult to predict and control, and the negative side effects are well documented.  

Positive reinforcement training builds trust and fosters a strong human-animal relationship. The difference in attitude and enthusiasm between an animal that works to earn reinforcement rather than to avoid punishment is huge.  With our training, the dog is given choices and learns to make those that are the most rewarding.

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Clicker Training

What is a clicker and why is it used?

 

A clicker is a small hand-held device with a button that, when pushed, makes a recognizable clicking sound. The essential difference between clicker training and other reward-based training is that the click tells the animal exactly which behavior earned it a reward.  This information is communicated with the distinct and unique sound of the click, which occurs at the same time as the desired behavior, and the reinforcement follows directly after. Without hearing a click during an action, and animal may not connect the reinforcement with that behavior. With the click, a trainer can precisely “mark” behavior so that the animal knows exactly what it was doing correctly.  That’s why clicker trainers call the click an “event marker.’  The click bridges the behavior and its reinforcement, or reward.

There are times where a clicker will not be used, and we will identify an alternate marker, be it a word, a light or another sound.  The key is working with the dog in front of you and what they need.