What’s in a name?

At The Learned Canine (TLC) all learners are treated with respect and kindness. It is important to realize that even though we might not always know the reason an animal is behaving as it is, there is in fact a reason. Our expert team can help you to better understand why your dog does what he does and teach you skills to effectively and permanently transform unwanted behaviors into desirable ones.

We know that the best approach to accomplishing this is one which ensures an enjoyable experience for both you and your beloved canine. We pride ourselves on using only positive reinforcement and motivation based methods that are as ethical as they are effective. While force and punishment may get you the results you want in the moment, they can be detrimental to the wellbeing of the animal as well as your relationship, and have the potential for devastating long-term negative effects. With positive methods, the sky is the limit!

We’ve come a long way, baby!

Dominance theory had its day but we now know that it is not the most appropriate approach to take with our dogs. They are not our adversaries, and there is no need to treat them as such. The article on page 4 here explains how it came to be that we as a society wrongly believed what we did for so long. Essentially, the scientist who studied wolves and gave us dominance theory in the first place says, “Sorry, I was wrong.” They do not need us to dominate or force them into a submissive role in order to happily and peacefully coexist. Rather, the relationship is better approached as a sort of partnership where humans guide and teach while ensuring the dog’s needs and wellbeing are also taken into account. We can show you how to have your dog eagerly and happily behaving exactly as you wish!

Let there be treats!

…and praise, and pats, and play, and pretty much anything your dog finds motivating that we can use to our advantage! But back to the treats, there will indeed be plenty of those – especially during the early phases of training. Food is what we call a “primary reinforcer”. What this essentially means is that most dogs are easily motivated by tasty food rewards. Properly timed treat delivery is one of the easiest ways to communicate to the dog that he or she has behaved the way we want. While the dog is learning a new behavior, the frequency of treat delivery will be quite high. Lucky for us, tiny morsels (about the size of a pea for small dogs) are sufficient to keep most dogs interested. Once a behavior has been learned the frequency of treat delivery can be decreased and in some cases even replaced with alternate reinforcers. However, our end goal here at TLC is not to have dogs do everything we say just because we say so. We believe in fair payment, and as such we encourage you to continue on with periodic treat delivery for good behavior for the duration of your dog’s life – not because you have to, but because it enriches your dog’s life and seems like a small price to pay to have a happy, well behaved dog.