The Path To Behavioral Wellness
For over a decade, K9 Connection has been a leading innovator in the industry, attracting professional students from all over the globe to travel to Buffalo to study our techniques, and inspiring local businesses to attempt to imitate our success.
The key factor driving our success is a philosophy of continually stiving to understand the world from the dog’s perspective, and putting their needs ahead of our own preferences.
What this has lead to over the years is an approach to training that is rooted in the science of animal learning and cognition, while honoring the instinctual nature of the dog.
Whenever an owner contacts us with a behavioral concern, the first thing we assess is the dog’s lifestyle. Dogs, like humans, need a certain amount of physical activity and mental stimulation in order to feel content. When these areas are lacking, the internal discontent and frustration can lead to a variety of behavior problems. Our staff is trained to assess your dogs instinctual needs based on both their breed/type and individual disposition, and help you to design a lifestyle that is conducive to emotional wellness.
From a more traditional perspective, we have been pioneers of a complete and well rounded approach to training and behavior modification that emphasizes positive reinforcement, while providing education and tools to help you understand when and how to appropriately correct or discipline your dog. Along with traditional tools such as treats and training collars, we strive to help people understand how to communicate with their dogs more naturally and instinctually using clear body language and appropriate energy.
The use of positive reinforcement is something that most dog owners are innately comfortable with. However, the use of corrections in dog training can often make people a bit uneasy. Some of this is natural, as many “old school” trainers relied on excessive use of force to accomplish their goals. Our philosophy is to always use corrections and discepline in a manner that is clear to the dog, and considerate of their wellbeing. Our approach to using any training tool is to instruct the dog systematically so that they understand exactly what we are asking of them, how the tool relates to that behavior, and what they need to do in the future. By taking a careful and systematic approach to the use of correction, we are able to maintain the benefits of reliability and the elimination of problem behavior, without the side-effects of causing undue stress or discomfort to the dog. To learn more about the evolution of Balanced Dog Training Click Here.
While our staff is trained and qualified to use virtually all forms of training collars on the market, we do have preferences that we have selected based on their ability to be used in a wide range of contexts, the safety of the equipment, and the ease of use for the owner. The two types of training collars that we most commonly recommend are Prong Collars, and Remote Training Collars.
The prong collar is a widely misunderstood piece of training equipment. While they tend tool look barbaric, this collar was developed with the dog’s welfare and safety in mind. Unlike traditional buckle collars, the prong collar’s design distributes pressure evenly around the dog’s neck, alleviating excessive pressure to the vital areas of the trachea and larynx. Additionally, because there is no flat surface, the prong collar cannot cut off the air supply, and thus it prevents choking or gagging. From a chiropractic standpoint, the prong collar is also preferred, even over the body harness. In fact, in his book The Well Adjusted Dog, Dr. Daniel Kamen writes:
“Most literature suggests that this is the most effective and least dangerous of restraining collars. The prong collar distributes pressure evenly around the neck, and requires only a small amount of force…Incidence of canine upper cervical subluxations is far less with the prong collar.”
People often believe the purpose of the prong collar is to give a more severe correction. In fact the truth is nearly the opposite, we use the prong collar because it allows us to sufficiently motivate the dog with minimum physical force.
To help you gain a better understanding of our use of this tool, we have provided the following videos which demonstrate our gentle approach: