Welcome to Aunt Karen’s Lucky Dogs!

You have taken your first step in learning more about Dog Training! Dog Training is as old as humans have had domesticated animals yet as new as 21st century science!

Aunt Karen’s Lucky Dogs offers Puppy Coach programs for gentle socialization, good manners and functional obedience; Adolescent Survival programs with targeted workshops for help during your dog’s “teenage” stage; and, Drool and Dazzle workshops to add a little spit and polish to your adult dog’s obedience skills.

Karen Comstock, MA, CBCC, CPDT-KA uses Reward Based training which relies on praise and rewards such as food, praise, toys and games to reinforce behaviors that you want while eliminating unwanted behaviors. A dog who is rewarded and praised during training will associate positive emotions with training and will enjoy learning. Reward Based or Positive Reinforcement training strengthens the emotional bond with the handler and stimulates a dog’s natural desire to learn.

No Choke, No Shock, No Shaming! Aunt Karen’s training method is not based on force or compulsion. Training based on physical punishment is not recommended due to the damaging emotional effects and potentially dangerous side-effects of creating repressed behavior, anxiety and fear in dogs.

Behavioral science and basic psychology shows that a different stimuli or events trigger different emotions based on good or bad associations. In this regard, dogs are just like people! A dog who is adversely punished during training will learn by association (Classical Conditioning), that training means unpleasantness, discomfort and the possibility of pain. Signs of training such as seeing the “special” collar, the leash (or even the trainer!) will trigger the negative emotions associated with punishment such as fear and anxiety. How your dog may react to those negative emotions will be unpredictable and your dog’s natural enthusiasm for learning may become repressed along with other normal behaviors.

Humane and relationship oriented dog trainers (Reward Based and Force-Free vs Compulsion) actually teach your dog what to do to earn a reward. Rather than focusing on punishing mistakes, your training time is spent helping your dog learn the behavior that you want. Reward Based trainers use Classical Conditioning to create positive associations and joyful emotional responses and Operant Conditioning to shape desirable behavior by leveraging the consequences of simple behaviors. Creating positive emotions and rewarding consequences will produce predictable behavior results and give your dog the opportunity to be a cooperative participant in the training process.

Bottom line? Harsh corrections will teach your dog to fear you and may create additional unwanted behaviors. So please be kind! Your dog will learn to love learning rather than dread training. Reward your dog consistently for behaviors you want, build trust and get a lifetime of loyalty — the loving bond that you want!

Aunt Karen is a Certified Behavior Consultant-Canine using Applied Behavior Analysis and a Certified Professional Dog Trainer using reward-based training methods. She specializes in troubleshooting behavior problems, prevention and mitigation of canine aggression and rehabilitation of mistreated dogs who are lucky enough to get a second chance. Please support your local animal shelter and rescue organizations.