Seirios K9 Academy spe­cial­ize in dog train­ing & re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion

Montreal Times - - News - By Chris Pa­pakostas Mon­treal Times

My name is Chris Pa­pakostas, owner and head trainer of Seirios K9 Academy. We spe­cial­ize in dog train­ing and re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion. Many, have sought my ex­per­tise in­clud­ing lawyers in lit­i­ga­tion tri­als. My clien­tele ranges across North Amer­ica. It in­cludes Que­bec and On­tario law en­force­ment mem­bers, fa­mous sports per­son­al­i­ties, the af­flu­ent, CEO’s, and of course the gen­eral pub­lic. I’m also the hands-on train­ing in­struc­tor for the Mon­treal Dog Trainer’s Net­work.

A few years back, I was in­volved in an un­for­tu­nate in­ci­dent with my dog Wicca, which re­sulted in her be­ing put to sleep. My dog had lit­er­ally saved my life six months prior… Wicca had one is­sue that be­came ap­par­ent that one time, that one in­ci­dent. When I started look­ing for “help”, I called sev­eral train­ing schools. Most didn’t know how to help, oth­ers didn’t want to help, and sev­eral said noth­ing could be done be­sides pro­scribed med­i­ca­tion. Need­less to say I felt help­less.A few of the dog train­ers claimed to have 15 even 20 years ex­pe­ri­ence in the field. With­out so much as an eval­u­a­tion, these so called pro­fes­sion­als still ad­vised on what train­ing and method of train­ing they though would be best suited for my dog and I.

The whole ordeal spurred me into a new ca­reer path. I was in­tro­duced to Master Dog Trainer Harry Kala­jian from the Mon­treal Dog Trainer’s Net­work. Harry, who I con­sider my men­tor, helped me de­velop this spe­cial gift of un­der­stand­ing and work­ing with dogs.With an in­creas­ing fo­cus on ethol­ogy, I’ve learnt to think out­side the box, which al­lows me to de­velop my own style, my unique way of teach­ing dogs and most im­por­tantly dog own­ers.

Over the years, I’ve no­ticed a com­mon is­sue most dog own­ers are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing with their dogs and it’s most ap­par­ent with big­ger dogs. And all has to do with how peo­ple per­ceive dog train­ing.

Does this sound fa­mil­iar:“My dog is a sweet­heart, Rover lis­tens but when we are out­side he ig­nores me and any­thing I say when he sees some­thing/some­one…” or “my dog doesn’t need train­ing, look at her she’s so tiny ”.

Big or small, young or old, all dogs should be trained!

Most peo­ple be­lieve that dog train­ing is just for those that are mis­be­hav­ing or the “wild one” and the big­gest mis­con­cep­tion about dog train­ing is that peo­ple think it’s only about mak­ing Rover sit or lay down. What if I told you that obe­di­ence train­ing (sit, down, stay, etc.) is the eas­i­est part of dog train­ing? All we do is as­so­ciate a word to the ap­pro­pri­ate ac­tion. Obe­di­ence train­ing and dog train­ing is not ex­actly the same. Dog train­ing is about var­i­ous sub­jects of train­ing which obe­di­ence is a big part of. Obe­di­ence train­ing is very im­por­tant it shouldn’t be sought as a “trick”. The pur­pose of obe­di­ence train­ing is to make Rover un­der­stand he has to obey com­mands and that you are the leader.This will teach Rover to do as told not when or if he wants but when asked, no mat­ter what cir­cum­stances are. Just like kids, why do we teach them to lis­ten and to be re­spect­ful, es­pe­cially out in pub­lic!

Now the most asked ques­tion:

How do I get my dog to lis­ten, more so in the pres­ence of dis­trac­tions?

Re­gard­less of the “method” used, learn­ing is the same for all dogs. The process of learn­ing has dif­fer­ent stages with re­spect of the age. How and what is taught in ac­cor­dance of the dog’s age.A puppy less than 5 months old is learn­ing to learn, ba­si­cally start­ing to un­der­stand the fun­da­men­tals, the me­chan­ics. Just like in kin­der­garten. It’s when you start build­ing the con­fi­dence, cre­at­ing a re­la­tion­ship.At this age train­ing should have a pos­i­tive as­so­ci­a­tion. From the age of 5 months un­til 7-8 months old, the train­ing changes a lit­tle. Do you re­mem­ber grade school (el­e­men­tary)? This is when the dog should start learn­ing the con­cept of con­se­quences, what is al­lowed and what isn’t al­lowed.This will teach the dog how to “think be­fore act­ing”. After the age of 8 months you can start work­ing on a higher level like off-leash train­ing, agility or other. De­spite of what some train­ers would say con­se­quences does not mean be­ing abu­sive.A neg­a­tive con­se­quence is ap­ply­ing leash pres­sure, not al­low­ing some­thing or not giv­ing some­thing. It’s as­so­ci­at­ing a dis­com­fort to the word NO, that lit­tle some­thing you will use to en­force the word NO.

There are no short­cuts, no magic po­tion or any sprin­kles that will make a dog lis­ten and be­have. Train­ing a dog is a work in progress; it takes per­sis­tence, con­sis­tency, rep­e­ti­tion and pa­tience. Train­ing, prac­tic­ing isn’t some­thing you only do dur­ing “class” or stop do­ing once the dog learns or when train­ing pro­gram ends. You have to con­tin­u­ously prac­tice through­out the dog’s life.

Have you heard these lines be­fore:“your dog is un-train­able”, “your dog is too stub­born to train” or even “your dog is dumb, he’ll never learn” and my favourite one “your dog is anx­ious, you have to med­i­cate her”. These are clas­sic ex­cuses given by in­ex­pe­ri­enced train­ers… don’t lis­ten to them!

I al­ways say: Dogs learn the same things, how they learn is dif­fer­ent

What does Science Based dog train­ing re­ally mean: The train­ing is based on a study of a dog, it’s be­hav­iours, and how it learns. Not some­one’s method­ol­ogy.Train­ers who claim that there is only one spe­cific method to train and to mod­ify or “fix” a be­havioural prob­lem, sorry to say with all due re­spect, it’s the big­gest lie in the dog-train­ing world.This is a big fac­tor as to why a lot of peo­ple are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing dif­fi­cul­ties with train­ing and fi­nally give up. It is im­pos­si­ble that ALL dogs learn the same way. Each in­di­vid­ual dog has a dif­fer­ent char­ac­ter, per­son­al­ity, etc.

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