Dog Training Tradition

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Yellow Lab Harper taking a break from obedience practice.

Dog training is a tradition that is passed down from one trainer to another. It is still mostly an oral tradition that is shared from one generation of trainers to the next. I have been very lucky to have been taught by some truly excellent trainers. I studied under each of my teachers fervently learning their training approach as thoroughly as possible. I would obsess over every detail and nuance of their technique and approach to training. Learning these technical training details didn’t always come easy to me. I would spend lots of time frustrated, feeling very uncoordinated, and struggling with the timing of responding to the dog I was working with. There were many days where it felt like I was all thumbs! But eventually, after hours and hours of practice, I’d have breakthroughs in my skills and begin to flow with the challenging techniques. At these moments the connection between dog and handler intensifies to an almost tangible level. To this day there is nothing as satisfying as the bond experienced with the dogs that I train.

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Boxer mix Sydney happy after obedience practice during Residency training course.

My personal training technique evolves and shifts over time, even to this day! When I learned different training styles from my teachers I worked to emulate their technique and form. Over the years, each of their methods informed my training approach. My style became a blend with the best approaches rising to the top. Some methods are suited to almost every dog, while others only work with certain dogs. I call this knowledge my tool box. Over many years my tool box has grown quite large, with a wide variety of training skills filling it.

An old adage in dog training exists that the only thing 2 dog trainers can agree on is what the 3rd dog trainer is doing wrong. Sadly, this is still often true today. Many trainers turn on each other, attacking other trainers style, technique, methods, philosophy, and equipment choices. In my opinion this intensely critical atmosphere is harming the evolution of dog training. One of my great pleasures in life is watching another trainer work a dog using different approaches than what I would choose to use. I am always intrigued as to where they learned and what past experiences are informing their current method. I am forgiving to even the unskilled trainers that I observe, knowing that all trainers share a love for dogs, and that all trainers skills will grow over time.

Dog training through play.

Norwich Terrier Comet having a game of chase and tug after obedience practice.

All dog trainers are a part of a tradition that goes back thousands of years all the way to the first dogs. There is literally nothing new in the world of dog training that hasn’t been done before, in a previous age. Even the most cutting edge dog training techniques of the modern age have been used by previous generations of bygone eras. From ancient Pharaohs’ of Egypt’s hunting dogs, to Roman dogs of war, to farm dogs of Europe, to sled dogs of North America, to dogs of the Far East, and everywhere else imaginable, all trainers have one thing in common– we are part of a continuum of people that keep the ancient tradition of dog training alive and well throughout the ages.

Obedience creates a window of communication with your best friend.

Yorkie Gryff having fun practicing his first long down stay.

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Kabler Training is Healing for Daisy

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Miniature Schnauzer Daisy practicing a down stay request.

When I first met Miniature Schnauzer Daisy she was a frightened and severely anxious dog. She would bark at common noises in the home with intense excitability to the point of nipping. Her leash reactivity towards other dogs manifested in protective energy that could easily slip into aggression. Her veterinarian had prescribed anti-anxiety meds, with limited success. When I evaluated Daisy, I knew I could help her. She had incredible food drive, was super smart, with a quick wit, that gave her enthusiastic training energy. I enrolled this precious girl and her guardians in my confidence building course. We began working on changing her ideas about the world, and establishing solid obedience, mixed with fun games. By the end of our course, Daisy was a transformed dog– her anxious energy had been successfully channeled into her obedience and she had moved into alignment with her human guardians. After her training program was completed Daisy’s guardians worked with their veterinarian to wean her off her anxiety medication– she is now drug free! It’s been a rewarding training journey making such a dramatic change in Daisy.

-David

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Daisy can now accept the presence of other dogs without aggression.

Today we finished our classes with Mr. Kabler. I can’t begin to tell you how our family life has changed. Our Daisy is a wonderful 5 year old Miniature Schnauzer. Most people didn’t see her that way. They shied away from her and felt she was harmful. She barked as if she would attack although she has never been aggressive. I admit I was a little wary of her around my grandchildren.

Mr. Kabler met with us and evaluated Daisy. He told us she wasn’t vicious, she was just excitable. This made us feel so much better. Daisy acted out in fear not aggression. He felt confident that he could help us and alleviate some of Daisy’s anxiety. Before working with Mr. Kabler, Daisy could not be around other dogs or people. Reasons were as discussed above. I could tell when we were on a walk that she wanted to play with another dog. It was so sad.  She would go up to a dog but then lose it and began to bark harshly. This in turn scared the other dog away. Daisy was very lonely. Another problem we had with Daisy was doorbells and the ringing of the telephone. She would bark, run in circles and nip at the person trying to answer it. It really was a hard time in our home. Daisy was put on anxiety meds twice a day to help calm her down, but we saw she was getting worse as time went on.

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Miniature Schnauzer Daisy practicing a down stay request.

We decided to listen to Mr. Kabler and signed up for classes. This was the best decision we have ever made.

Today Daisy is a very happy dog. Her anxiety level has drastically lessened. In time, perhaps meds can be reduced. She can now walk with us in the neighborhood and allow people to pet her. She also goes up to other dogs and sniffs them a few seconds and walks away without barking. We can also get to the phone without fear and actually get it before the caller hangs up!

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Daisy and Zoey can be a happy family after Kabler training.

I never would have believed others see Daisy as we do, a loving sweet and VERY smart dog!!

Because She has done so well with other dogs these days, we have a new addition to our family. A little Morkie called Zoey. Daisy helps us to train her. They have become best friends. This would not have been possible before Mr. Kabler worked his magic. Enclosed is a pic of Daisy with Zoey, her best friend. Again thank you Mr. Kabler.

-The Scott Family, Daisy & Zoey

Daisy out practicing her loose leash walk in the neighborhood.

Daisy out practicing her loose leash walk in the neighborhood.

Strong Family Units: Understanding Pack Survival Anxiety in Companion Dogs

Many of todays trainers are eschewing the idea that our modern dogs are pack animals. In spite of their best efforts, the idea that our dogs are pack oriented continues in the mainstream consciousness. Why? Possibly, it is because dogs often display many of the same traits that their wild relatives do. It’s easy to see the similarities between wild and domestic canines. I would suggest that the idea of pack oriented behavior is often misunderstood and stereotyped. Ruthless aggression, and young dogs rising to the top position through dominant violence, are all outdated ideas of pack behavior that have been disproven by modern science.

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Thor and Vinka are easy to walk after Kabler training.

Perhaps, it would be better for todays trainers to say that the modern understanding of pack behavior has changed, rather than throwing out the pack paradigm altogether. I believe that dogs respond positively to being a part of a strong family unit. In the wild, wolf packs are primarily made up of family members. The mother and father are the Alpha female and male. Their children are their followers whose primary job is to learn how to successfully hunt as a pack. Juvenile’s often play wildly, lacking the focus needed to successfully lead, and it is the pack leaders responsibility to clearly guide them.

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A pack is a strong family that spends time together: The Kabler living room.

The canine family pack is misconstrued as being a cold and violent place where the Alpha pair lead with impunity. The reality is far from this popular misconception. The pack is actually a warm and safe place. The wild canines have extremely close relationships with the Alpha pair and the other pack members who are often their siblings. The strong family provides security, safety, and assures the canines ability to hunt large game. If a wolf in the wild loses their pack, they also lose the security that comes with it and suffer from intense survival stress– the wild dog instinctively knows that their future is no longer certain and their anxiety levels increase. Wild dogs thrive within a family pack, but suffer extreme stress when isolated and alone. Through my training experience, I have witnessed countless pet dogs exhibit this same anxiety when they feel they are isolated or part of a weakly structured family unit. Pack survival anxiety can cause behavioral issues and problems for our modern dogs.

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GSD Huck is so excited to be re-united with his family after his Kabler Residency.

It is vital that we provide our modern pet dogs with the security of a strong family unit. This will create a sense of belonging in the dogs mind that simulates the natural need for a dog to have a pack. The strong family unit provides a blanket of security that decreases anxious behaviors and fosters clear communication. Strong families have routines, group activities, and expectations of each member providing all involved with purpose and love. The Kabler training method is designed to teach human guardians how to create a strong sense of a structured family for their canine companions.

Happy Training!

-David

Call David to find out more about his unique training approach at

828-337-5792 & to schedule your dogs free consultation.

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Gus and his guardian practice a loose leash walk at the park.

It’s Been a Busy Fall Training Season

Handsome German Shepherd Dog Eli practicing a Down & Stay request during an in home training session.

Gorgeous Doolin accepting a reward from her Guardian for a successful Down & Stay request.

At Kabler School For Dogs we have been having an awesome Fall training season. My apprentice Kim and I have been successfully finishing up with our Summer training cases. Tenshi and Jack both graduated through the Residency Training Course. Eli, a very aggressive German Shepherd, has been successfully de-conditioned in his response to strangers and his untethered obedience is coming along nicely. Kim’s training dog Iko and his Guardian are getting close to Tethered graduation. We are really excited about all of our graduates– and beginning training with lots of new Guardians and their canine companions. Kim and I would like to welcome all of our new clients to Kabler School For Dogs.

Obi is a gregarious Golden– The highest goal of obedience is to shape and grow the relationship between Guardian and Canine companion.

Kabler School For Dogs is proud to announce our Puppy Preschool Class. The training of the young pup is often overlooked by novice dog Guardians. These early weeks are actually critical to the healthy development of your best friend. Proper training and socialization from 8-20 weeks can successfully prevent serious behavioral issues later. Puppy Preschool also includes house training, crate training, redirecting play biting, reward based obedience, and fun games you can play with your new dog. New puppies are welcome each week– hope to see you and your new pup at class. To enroll call Kabler School For Dogs at (828) 337-5792.