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Farm to Pet and Joyce Diamond at Diamond Dog Training are proud to collaborate again to answer some common dog training questions. Please enjoy Joyce's answers to your burning questions. If you ever have any training concerns or problem areas, please feel free to reach out to her at  joycediamond@optonline.net.

What is your training philosophy and approach when working with dogs?

Every dog I work with teaches me something. I don't force a dog, I encourage them to offer a behavior and reward. I try to establish a relationship with the dog and the owner so I can better help them. I use positive reinforcement, treats, praise, what ever the dog considers a great reward. I reward the dog for offering a good behavior, the behavior we want and ignore or redirect away from what we do not want. I want the dog and the owner to be a team working together and having fun. Training should never involve punishment. There is always a positive way to accomplish the goal.

How many years of experience do you have as a dog trainer, and what is your background in?
I have been training dogs for over 40 years. I have always been involved in care, training and handling dogs. I was an assistant to professional dog handlers, dog groomer for 20 years, taught dog obedience classes for 30 years and dog handling classes for 30 years.

What methods or techniques do you use to address specific behavior problems, such as aggression or separation anxiety?

A dog that is aggressive should not be trained using punishment. you must look at the individual dog, read the body language and ask so many questions to determine if possible the root cause of the aggression. Some times the aggression is rooted in fear from a traumatic experience. The owner may not realize the puppy that was rolled by a large dog and held down has carried that fear into adulthood and now is aggressive to any dog that looks like the original dog. Or the exuberant puppy that the owner has never stopped from bullying all the other puppies now believes he can be aggressive to all dogs. There are so many reasons for aggression. Whatever the reason, to help the dog I use distance away from the scary object, amount of time exposed to the object and first reward for just being in the presence. Decrease the distance and increase the time when the dog is ready.
Separation anxiety training starts in the home. Help the dog to want to be away from the owner by teaching the Mat Exercise. So many steps to help a dog with true separation. if the dog is just upset when the owner leaves then we an satisfy all the needs and help dog to relax when owner is leaving.

 How do you assess a dog's individual needs and tailor your training methods accordingly?
I observe body language from the moment I walk in the door. how does the dog approach, do they approach excited, or hesitant. Where should I stand or sit to help the dog. What to do if the dog is jumping. how to help the dog feel comfortable with me so I can demonstrate the training to the owner and observe and coach the owner as they work with the dog.
What is your stance on positive reinforcement training versus other training methods like punishment or dominance-based techniques?

Positive Training with Positive Reinforcement is the only method I will ever use to train a dog. When a person starts using punishment, the trust between the owner, trainer and dog is damaged.

Do you offer group training classes, private sessions, or both? Which do you prefer?

I offer private sessions. For 30 years, I taught as many as 10-12 classes each week. I enjoy teaching group classes but I really enjoy the one on one private sessions where I can learn more about the dog and the owner and provide more effective training because I can see the home environment.

Can you explain how you approach socialization training for puppies or dogs with limited exposure to other animals or people?

During Covid socialization was so difficult. That is why we have many dogs dealing with separation because the owner never left them to go to work and the puppy was never socialized to people. Now we can take puppies to group classes. Puppies can attend a group class when the owner's veterinarian gives permission.
Before the puppy is able to go to a group class, the owner should take the puppy with them and introduce puppy to many people. children, adults, men women etc. The puppy can always be around people from a very young age. We just would not put the puppy on the ground or introduce to a strange dog until at least the 2nd set of vaccinations.

Are you certified or accredited by any professional organizations in the field of dog training? How do you stay up to date with the latest research and developments in dog training and behavior?

My credentials the CPDT-KA (Certified Professional Dog Trainer- Knowledge Assessed) were awarded in 2000. I was one of the first trainers to earn these credentials in the world. For many years I recertified by attending the yearly conferences and seminars. During Covid I did not recertify. I always read the latest research and incorporate the information into my training.

Do you have a favorite breed of dog to work with?

I do not have a favorite breed to work with. Dogs within the same breed can be so different. I enjoy working with all breeds , ages and types of dogs. Because I have owned small dogs for over 50 years, I have a lot of experience with the smaller breeds and their issues. I am starting to specialize in working with small dogs.

What is the key to your success in training?
Listen to the owner, ask so many questions, watch the dog and observe the body language. develop a plan that is specific for that dog and owner. Gentle positive methods.

Provide written instructions at the lesson, answer all the questions so owner is clear to continue the training. I email a written summary of the lesson. I am always available by text or email and encourage the owner to keep me informed and send updates until we have another appointment.

Thank you Joyce for all of your training help and for answering some hard hitting questions. We are so thankful for our partnership with you and Diamond Dog Training. Check out Joyce's YouTube Channel where she regularly uses Farm to Pet treats to train her dogs. 

Treat you Training Terriers next week. 

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