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Maruchy Perez - Founder
Hello my name is Maruchy Perez; I am a trainer in the Miami area. As you read a little piece of Victoria Stilwell's philosophy on dog behavior I strongly believe in her methods of training. A few months back I had the privilege of meeting Victoria and was able to chat a bit with her about the different training methods and how every dog is an individual. Positive reinforcement is not only how you will train your dog, but you will create a bond through patience, love, and respect.
I started training professionally 5 years ago at a big box retail store. While I was there, I learned from some of the best trainers who helped develop my teaching skills. These instructors taught me the fundamentals from teaching a small dog to lie down as well as understanding the looks and body language a dog is giving you. 12 years ago when my Bull Terrier came into my life I knew we needed to get some basic obedience. My last dog had passed away 9 years prior so I needed a refresher course. I had read many books on the breed which I had fallen in love with many years before. We went to train on basic obedience and graduated by the skin of our teeth. Bullies are wonderful dogs but can be very stubborn and without continuing education can get a bit overwhelming. Prior to my bully I had trained my last dog with a personal trainer using methods such as choke collars. I now know the damage that can be caused when using this training method.
About three years after my bully I adopted a mix breed. By now the bully had settled down a bit and the new pup, who had a shaky beginning, came into our home. We went to training! We headed for a local "mom and pop" store where we did some group training.
I started noticing this puppy was very scared and aggressive toward people and dogs she didn't know. The trainer said to exercise her and keep working the basic obedience. If I knew then what I know now my little mix breed would have had a different type of training. By the time she was two years old she was fully grown, very timid and jealous of the bully. Needless to say she put the bully in the hospital after a vicious fight.
Years later after becoming a trainer myself and reading books on the behaviors in dogs and what to look for, I have been able to bring peace in the house with both dogs and even a cat. These last few years I've spent working on the adopted pup as well as the bully. Positive reinforcement is key to the success of any dog. Some dogs are food motivated and others love their favorite toy. In any case it's all reward based.
Positive training doesn't only work on small dogs with minor obedience issues - it is also by far the most effective way to treat severe anxiety and 'red zone' aggression cases. Instead of fighting aggression with aggression (a game-plan that usually results in someone eventually getting bitten), I and thousands of great positive trainers worldwide are able to truly change the way a dog feels for the rest of his/her life using force-free methods - not just the way there're acting at that moment. In order to effectively manage aggression and anxiety-based issues, you must first understand why the dog is doing what he/she is doing and then work to address the root cause of the problem. We should never just suppress the symptoms with punishment.
Too often, dominance and punitive trainers misdiagnose the real cause for dogs' behavior, meaning they apply forceful treatment protocols that are ineffective at best and very dangerous at worst. These methods often appear to 'work' because they do indeed stop the dog's behavior at that moment, but this success is usually short-lived because the dog's instincts and reactions are merely being suppressed temporarily - not truly changed. Like a human undergoing psychological treatment, there are no shortcuts to changing how one thinks and feels, and it takes time to achieve true success.
I have been fortunate enough to work with knowledgeable trainers and to learn how to really train the positively and humane way.
By Victoria Stilwell
About The Trainer
Dogs are not on a quest for world domination. They are not socialized wolves who are constantly striving to be 'top dog' over us, and they are not hard-wired to try and control every situation they are in. Contrary to what traditional training ideologies and much modern media would have you believe, most canine behavior problems stem from insecurity and/or a desire to seek and maintain safety and comfort - not from a desire to establish higher rank and be the 'alpha' over you Therefore, teaching dogs 'who's boss' by forcing them into 'calm submission' is precisely the opposite of what they really need in order to learn effectively and overcome behavioral issues. Resisting the urge to ascribe our human insecurities onto how we believe our dogs think and feel is a prerequisite to being able to understand and build truly balanced and healthy relationships with our dogs.