SEE YOU HALFWAY THERE

Positive reinforcement dog training by a certified trainer on the central coast of California.

LET'S CONNECT

We want them to listen.
Let’s listen first.

My name is Skylar McClellan. I am a Certified Professional Dog Trainer serving the Central Coast. My goal is to help you come to understand your dog. We ask them to listen to us a lot. It’s only fair that we do the same.

I am about positive reinforcement. That means I use good things to reinforce good behaviors, and I do not use pain or discomfort to train. It does not mean your dog should be without boundaries or that treats explode from my pockets all day.

Dogs do what works for them. They stop doing things that don’t work for them. If your dog is still doing something naughty after many attempts to change its behavior, then your dog is still getting something they want from the naughty behavior. Finding what that thing is can make all the difference.

Dog Trainer + Artist

Along with dog training, I also create custom pyrography pet portraits. I burn images by hand on 7" by 9" pieces of wood.

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Positive Reinforcement

What it is.

Positive reinforcement is really the only way to go. To put it simply, it is training through providing something the dog wants as a result of their behavior.

This does not mean we cannot communicate to the dog that something is not okay. But it's important that we understand that we are not the same. Our brains work differently. Projecting our human ways and values onto them is not fair. It's our sacred privilege to meet them halfway.

Why it works.

Positive reinforcement works on dogs because it works with the way their minds work. When we say dogs live by immediate association, what we mean is that dogs make connections to their experiences. These experience are remembered, rehearsed, tested and practiced. "If thing A happens, then thing B happens, that makes both things related." Even if you didn't mean them to.

Dogs will always do what works for them. So if they get what they want by doing something, odds are high that they'll do it again. If they do not get something they want with a behavior, they will eventually stop trying that behavior. Building on this is key. They are ALWAYS observing.

Why not?

While other methods may appear to give you the results you're looking for, the act of punishing a dog for misbehavior does not give them any feedback on what IS appropriate. Any punishment that comes from you can translate to the dog that YOU are causing them pain. Not their behavior.

An example. Let's say you get home to find your dog has had an accident on the carpet. There's no way for you to know how long ago that happened. It might make sense to you to punish them. Our human brains compute that just fine. "I am punishing you because you pooped on the carpet."

The dog does not see it that way. To them, pooping on the carpet is not an issue of right or wrong. It's just what you do. If you were to punish them for this, you would be providing them with a negative consequence to you coming home. The fact that there's poop on the ground might be trivial detail, or it might add to the association. Ultimately though, dog learns "human is sometimes fun and sometimes scary when they get home". It's where these cute "guilty" dog faces come from. It's not guilt. It's fear.

An added bonus is the poop association might backfire on you. "Human is scary when there's poop on the ground". Which can lead to dog being afraid to go when you're around. Which can hinder their ability to succeed when you want them to. Then you get frustrated that they won't go when you take them out...

See where I'm going with this? It's really a lose-lose.

But REALLY. Why not?

Bottom line is that all kinds of dog training yield some version of success. We wouldn't keep using them if they didn't.

If you choose to use aversive methods, you might get what you want. Mostly.

But if both ways work- if there is a gentler way, why not use it? If someone wanted to teach me to do something, I would hope they wouldn't opt in for the painful way. Especially if there's another one.

Dogs are simple, selfish, amoral, and they are PERFECT just the way they are.

Meet them halfway. Let me help.

THE FEED