Los Angeles Puppy Training Classes & Canine Obedience Training School for Dogs

Animal Behavior Counseling Services, Inc.

2288 Manning Ave. Los Angeles, CA. 90064
Established 1981

Instructor: Richard Polsky, Ph.D., CAAB.

Class dog lessons on Saturdays in West Los Angeles - Mar Vista Park & Palms Park

Training methods used in the Head Start puppy training classes



The basic approach is as follows:


1. A reward system of training which does not rely heavily on food treats. Choke chains are not used. For some puppies, Gentle Leader head collars will be used to stop pulling ahead of the owner when walking by the owner's side (e.g. heeling). Retractable leashes, often referred to as a "flexi leash" are not suitable for training because they do not allow the owner to maintain adequate control, particularly with certain kinds of dogs.


2. Verbal commands and hand signals are associated with most commands.


3. The method of "successive approximations" is used to train some commands (e.g. go-to-place; lie-down). For other commands, compliance is initially accomplished (i.e. in the beginning stages of training) by physical positioning the puppy into the proper posture (e.g. heel, stay) followed by lavish social and verbal praise.


4. If the puppy fails to correctly respond, no reward is given and he/she is immediately repositioned in the proper posture.


5. Most of the commands are taught without use of a leash - that is, off-leash training. However, importantly note, that during all class sessions, all dogs will remain on leash attached to a buckle collar or Gentle Leader head collar.


6. A training philosophy of persistence, insistence and consistency is integrated into all aspects of the training procedures (see additional explanation below).



What are the ingredients of Head Start program's
training philosophy that will contribute to your puppy's success?


#1. You as the owner/handler will be taught to be PERSISTENT. That is, persistent when it comes to the style of training you adopt. Dogs are individuals and will learn at different rates, some much slower than others. Owners should appreciate the presence of individual differences and persist in the pursuit of training, despite possible beliefs that their dogs may be too stubborn, or obstinate to learn. Owners who do not persist in the techniques they are taught in the Head Start program will be putting themselves at a disadvantage: namely, their dog's disobedience will continue and the habit of disobedience, instead of obedience, becomes the rule.

#2. You will be taught to be INSISTENT into all aspects of training with your puppy. This means if a dog knows what to do but does not do it, then the owner has to make the dog do it! For example, take the STAY command as an example. Most owners appreciate and value the ability of being able to make their dogs stay. The command provides a means of sustained control. Difficulties often arise in teaching this command because dogs are frequently willing to stay only for as long as they like - and not for the length of time desired by the owner. If a dog breaks the stay command after 20 seconds, and if the owner desires a longer stay, then the owner has to be insistent on quickly re-positioning the dog back exactly where it was supposed to stay. This style of training will teach your puppy that it cannot behave according to its own set of rules.


#3. You will be taught to be CONSISTENT. Lack of consistency in the way training procedures are taught, or lack of consistency between those who handle and interact with the dogs (e.g. family members), obviously confuses the dog.


In sum, in the Head Start program follows the philosophy of persistence, consistency, and insistence. Moreover, the method involves rewarding the dog when compliance is forthcoming**.


Here is a summary of the philosophy stated below:




Persistence means do not give -up. It will be a serious mistake

if you stop because you feel your dog is too stubborn to train. All dogs will improve and eventually learn: Some, however, may require more effort. How much effort is determined by

such factors as breed characteristics, gender, and the age of your puppy.




Insistence means making sure you dog complies with the command you rendered. In other words, if you tell your dog to sit, he has to sit, if you command stay, your dog has to stay.




Consistency means that all household members need to train the dog using the same methods. It is important that all family members render the commands and utilize the training

methods in the same manner, whenever possible.



**The training methods in the Head Start puppy training program have little in common with the confrontational techniques popularized by Cesar Milan. Click here to read criticism concerning of the training techniques utilized by the the so-called "Dog whisperer".


Give your puppy the best education possible!
Enroll today in the Head Start puppy training program!


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