Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Verde Valley - Arizona
It's been a month since we started working with the Jan Fennall associate, thought I would give an update.
It's very interesting. (for lack of a better word) To dispel rumors or perhaps old information.... No alpha rolls, no chokes, no prongs, no compulsion, no leash pops or tugs, almost no talking, eye contact only when you want them to do something. (this part is really interesting) Also, no clickers. It's you, the dog and sometimes a leash. Treats are used at the beginning and phased out. It most closely resembles positive reinforcement. It takes patience.
I've studied and used other training methods. I'm doing this because I wanted to understand the theories behind this method. Because our dogs are already trained it's been a little strange, but the longer we do it the more I can see they were trained to respond to commands, which isn't the same as always letting me make the decisions. Not the easiest thing to explain.
All training methods have things in common and this one is no different. The biggest difference is, this method isn't about teaching formal obedience or agility, it's about communicating with the dog. Once the dog learns to take it's cues from you and stops trying to make it's own decisions or stops trying to tell you what to do, they become very relaxed and biddable. (again, hard to explain) So it isn't about having a perfect heel, it's about setting a foundation so eventually you can get that perfect heel everytime.
I don't think this experience would be the same without Pat being here because she can explain why certain things happen, as they happen. The experience might be different with just a book or DVD. I paid $500 for this course. There was an intense 5.5 hour first meeting, then we met every week for 4 weeks. Now we'll meet every two weeks for a while and keep spreading the meetings out further and further. After that it's a lifetime on call situation. (And because she owns a kennel and has been in this area for over 30 years I'm pretty sure she'll honor it)
For me it's been a great experience. A little bizarre at first but very comfortable now. I see it as a very viable training tool for new trainers. For those with experience using other methods, you have to put aside some of the things you've learned in the past if you want to really test this theory. Anyway, that's it. On a scale of 1-10 with ten being the highest I'd give it a 9.