Pack Power Behaviour Therapy
We offer both puppy training and dog training including obedience training, socialization training and behavioural modification using our balanced pack of Siberian Huskies.
We specialize in correcting anxious, aggressive, dominant, hyperactive & obsessive canine issues. We are located on the North Shore.
We provide 1-on-1 dog training with you and your dog so that you receive focussed attention, direction and results.
Call for a complimentary phone consultation
DOG TRAINING PRICING:
1 Session Per Dog:
Package of 5 Sessions:
$1100.00+GST ($400 DISCOUNT!)
50% OFF FOR ADDITIONAL DOGS
MINIMUM $25 TRAVEL FEE OUTSIDE THE NORTH SHORE
No additional fee if you can meet us at one our North and West Vancouver training locations
We DO NOT provide free in-person lessons or consultations
FOR FULL DESCRIPTION
We base our training on a loving, respectful, patient, and consistent approach using positive reinforcement and an incremental reward system. We do NOT base our training on "Dominance Theory", as dog behaviour and psychology is far more complex and dynamic than this outdated theory implies. We essentially teach our clients how to be the best parents/leaders to their dogs in an intuitive, instinctual and compassionate manner. We do this by teaching our clients how to properly understand their dog's behaviours, messages, needs and desires in a calm, assertive, compassionate and ethical manner. It is also vital to know that there is no one-size fits all approach to dog training and, in particular, behaviour modification as each dog's situation is going to be unique based on its breed, temperament, history and human/dog family dynamic. Furthermore, most dogs are removed from their birth parents very early on (often at 8 weeks and sometimes earlier) and are put into a household of humans and primarily learn to read and understand human communication and body language. Without being constantly immersed in and exposed to a canine family or provided with proper guidance and socialization, many dogs essentially never learn or are deficient in appropriate canine cues and communication which can often lead to many behavioural problems and maladaptation. This is where our Pack Power Behaviour Therapy approach shines and stands out.
We focus on handling dogs with calm-assertive energy and teach dog parents to understand the natural needs, behaviours and responses of their dog. Based on the premise that dogs are social/pack animals, we assist dog parents in establishing their role as calm, confident and conscientious parents/pack leaders.
It all starts with a simple phone call. Once we’ve spoken with you over the phone and acquired a brief description about the situation, we head over to your house to do an initial consultation. There, we meet you, your dog and any children or relatives that reside with you on a regular basis. We then get you to share the dog’s history, temperament and behaviour issues. By listening to and observing the situation, we interpret and demystify your dog's many layers of disconnection and misinterpretation that may or may not be apparent to you. We then educate you on your own potential contributions to the dog’s issues and how to properly read and interpret your dog’s behaviour, energy and body language as you will need to take the consistent role as the human pack leader when we are not around.
OUR PACK POWER
BEHAVIOUR THERAPY METHOD
OUR BALANCED APPROACH DESCRIBED
IN DETAIL & COMPARED TO OTHER METHODS
Our “Pack Power” behaviour modification and training approach is instinctual, intuitive, scientific and primarily focused on using relationship-based, positive reinforcement, and dog-based mirror training. We consider ourselves to be Balanced Trainers that utilize select and modified training techniques.
In our opinion, pure dominance training can be very excessive, inhumane and unnecessary. While we do believe you do need to establish yourself as a calm and assertive leader, you should not be an authoritarian dictator, who is only concerned about your needs and desires and not those of your dog. We do not believe that you have to be in constant control over every aspect of your dog’s behaviours nor should you expect them to respond to your every demand robotically, as they are their own sentient and autonomous creatures. While dogs do see and operate within a social hierarchy, this is not the only thing that motivates their actions. Lastly, we do not use electronic, intimidation or aggressive training whatsoever.
We primarily specialize in working with dogs that have behavioural issues such as fear, anxiety, aggression, dominance, hyperactivity, obsessiveness and possessiveness, however, we also do puppy, obedience and socialization training. We tailor our training to each individual dog and their human family as there are a lot of variables to consider when it comes to each individual dog and its situation. We start with the principle that the whole premise of having a dog in your life is to spend time with it, play with it and develop a deep spiritual and emotional bond with it. In order for this to happen, it is highly important that you develop a positive relationship with your dog by providing it with an outlet for its needs before expecting it to listen to ours. We teach our clients about the intricacies of different dog breeds, temperaments, behaviours, body language and motivations and how to understand canine communication and psychology. We coach our clients on how to be assertive and confident and the importance of setting boundaries and limitations while at the same time remaining friendly, patient, compassionate, ethical and respectful. All of this information is essential in order for people to effectively understand, train and communicate with their dogs. For example, Darijan grew up with a Golden Retriever, Max, and training him was a cake walk compared to training the five huskies we later had in life. Max was focused, eager to please, very easy to train, content with shorter walks, and did not need a fence to contain him. Our Huskies, on the other hand, were, in general, far more independent, stubborn, difficult to train, super athletic, and escape artists. They required far more assertiveness, time, skill, athleticism and patience to train. In essence, each dog comes with their own unique personalities and quirks, even within the same breeds, and it is our job as humans to understand and work with these traits in order to teach and connect with our dogs as effectively as possible and satisfy their physical, psychological and emotional needs.
POSITIVE & MIRROR
When it comes to obedience training and socialization in the absence of major behavioural issues, all we ever use is positive-based and mirror training. We teach our clients to figure out their dog’s biggest motivation driver (whether it be praise, food, or toys) and use direction and repetition to train the dogs commands such as sit, lie down, roll-over, come, stay, etc. Additionally, we incorporate our pack of Siberian Huskies to teach dogs manners, patience, canine body language, social skills, recall and off-leash obedience. From our experience, dogs learn far more effectively with the use of other well-trained dogs in addition to us humans. Our Siberian Huskies are very confident, calm and socially intelligent and, as such, are extremely effective role-models and teachers. When unsocialized dogs are exposed to our dogs, they learn extremely quickly how to read dog body language, how to greet politely, and how to initiate play and remain respectful. Furthermore, due to the fact that dogs are social animals, our pack has a cohesive and confidence-boosting effect on the dogs we are working with and are useful for training dogs to be off-leash. With our pack close at hand, our client’s dogs are far less likely to stray. They are too busy watching our Huskies socialize with dogs and people, listening to our commands and modeling appropriate behaviour, which then usually results in the client’s dog imitating them. It is scientifically proven that when unconfident dogs are consistently exposed to groups of confident dogs in a controlled environment, the confidence of the other dogs begins to rub off on them. We see this time and time again with our pack. Without them, we could not teach these canine skills as effectively, as dogs do not interact with us in the same manner that they do with each other and dogs in public do not have a clear pack dynamic. It is important to note that whenever a client’s dog demonstrates a positive greeting or social behaviour, we immediately use a reward to mark and encourage that behaviour.
When we work with client’s dogs that have major behavioural issues, we get to know their dogs on an intimate level. We want to see what their personalities are like, what their histories are, what the issues and triggers are, what sort of training and handling has been used in the past, what the home-life and routines are like, what the dogs are motivated by and what the relationship is like between them and their human family. We need to know all of this information before we can start the training in order to analyze what the root of the dog’s problems are. When this is established, we use a variety of different techniques to train and modify the problem behaviours. We train dogs through exposure, socialization, positive training, discipline and consistency. Each dog’s problem has its own unique approach, and even the same problems between two different dogs can have completely different root causes and thus require different training methods required - there is no "One Size Fits All" when it comes to dog training. Many of the dogs that we work with have severe anxiety and aggression issues and have been through many failed training approaches, are on their last legs in society and the families are at a loss as to how to correct these behaviours.
LEASH & MUZZLE SYSTEM
If our client’s dog has a history of reactivity or aggression, we use a graduated muzzle system in order to aptly protect ourselves, our pack and the public's dogs. This unfolds in the following manner: short-leash with a muzzle, short-leash with no muzzle, extendable-leash with a muzzle, extendable-leash without a muzzle, off-leash with a muzzle and finally off-leash with no muzzle. Each step along the way, the progression of the dog and the reliability of their shift will determine how fast we move through the process - there is no one-size fits all approach.
Once we have a good understanding about the dog’s situation, we proceed to interact with the dog ourselves to establish a bond we like to call “Sahelu” in which the dog comes to trust us enough to physically touch and interact with them. Once this trust has been established, we introduce our pack on the dog’s own turf to challenge them and allow for any reactions to happen (while the dog is controlled on a short leash with a muzzle) as this gives us both a better visual understanding of the severity of the problem and the opportunity to correct the behaviour and establish us and our pack as the leaders. In addition to us, the pack intervenes simultaneously through verbal cues, body language and at times appropriate physical intervention. By getting the dog to respect us and our pack’s dynamic and hierarchy in its own home, it's far more prone to observe and follow our pack’s lead while we are out in public. This preparation with the pack is an absolutely essential part of the process. The dog learns its place in the pack and begins to mirror their behaviour and passively becomes more respectful, confident, calm and balanced.
CALM, GENTLE & ETHICAL
Our Pack Power approach involves us putting the dog in situations where we know the issues exist, allowing us once again an opportunity to correct the dog’s behaviour in an appropriate manner and mark the positive behaviour when it happens over and over again. Our corrections are where we incorporate some select and modified aspects of alpha dog training. We do our corrections in an ethical and non-aggressive manner that we replicate from observing healthy balanced canine families which are always naturally and rapidly understood by the dog without causing any undue stress or harm. This involves using sharp and loud sounds, such as “hey!” or “tsch!” to gain the dog’s attention and snap it out of its antisocial escalation, similar to the loud and sharp sounds dogs make when warning each other. Occasionally, however, these verbal commands are not sufficient enough to stop the dog from escalating and show it that what it is doing is inappropriate and harmful as some dogs are very headstrong, disrespectful, intense and fixated. If the dog is not responding to the verbal corrections or is acting very agitated and aggressively towards our pack, other dogs, or people we sometimes choose to use what we refer to as the “Delta Roll” (as opposed to the commonly known “Alpha Roll”). This involves us lovingly, calmly and gently, yet assertively, placing the dog on its side with the intention of calming it down, grounding its energy, and making it feel safe, while at the same time establishing that its actions are inappropriate and out of balance. While the dog is lying down, we stroke it calmly and lovingly and speak to it with a gentle and soothing voice, adding a command such as “gentle” or “relax”, so that the dog can eventually learn to self-regulate itself when it hears these words. It is extremely important to state that this action is never done with any aggression, anger, frustration, intimidation or violence, as this approach would be abusive and counterproductive and is more in line with the commonly known “Alpha Roll”. The same actions done with two totally different energies, intentions and approaches can have two totally different results. We refer to it as the “Delta Roll” for a few reasons. Firstly, it alliterates with “Dylan & Darijan the Dog Dudes”, secondly it rebrands and distinguishes this technique from the “Alpha Roll” (as our intention is not to dominate and intimidate the dog) and thirdly, and most importantly, the delta waves in the brain represent a state of deep sleep and relaxation indicating that our purpose is to have the dog feel safe, comfortable and relaxed being in this submissive and vulnerable position. Additionally, it is important that we as the human leaders of the pack establish that the unbalanced dog that we are working with needs to respect and behave calmly in the presence of our pack, so that our dogs (who are first and foremost our children) feel safe, comfortable and confident to interact and intervene as leaders themselves. When used correctly, this technique is very ethical and effective to calm the dog down and teach it that its behaviour is out of line. However, being a physical maneuver, there is an inherent risk of injury for both the human and the dog if it is performed incorrectly and has the potential to exacerbate rather than ameliorate the situation. For this reason, we do not encourage people to attempt this approach without having the proper guidance, training, strength and aptitude. With this being said, this technique only represents a small aspect of the overall approach to our training methods and is not used with all dogs and all situations. As aforementioned, the bulk of our approach to behaviour modification is based on positive reinforcement, mirroring and relationship building.
With time, repetition and patience, the dog’s aggression, fear, anxiety and other behavioural issues dissipate and transform into more balanced behaviours. We also utilize various other tools in our tool belt should they be warranted such as redirection, counterconditioning, structured leashed pack walks where the dog is placed in the middle of our balanced pack, high-intensity exercise such as hiking, running, biking, rollerblading, swimming, fetching etc., and the buddy-system where the dog is connected with one of our dogs to do recall training. We also encourage our clients to explore agility and herding training when they have dogs that would benefit from such activities. Ultimately, dogs that previously had extremely anxious, aggressive or antisocial behaviour are transformed and end up running happily and freely with our pack and other dogs that it meets and the clients feel liberated, empowered and elated. The Power of the Pack is truly a magical process to witness and be part of.