GEM METHOD OF DOG TRAINING
First, everyone needs to understand that I am not an Electronic Collar Dog Trainer. By that I mean, I don’t just push buttons to get a dog to obey or do as I ask. I was a trainer for many many years before I even touched an electronic collar. I use so many other tools besides this one individual tool, and I think most professionals would say the same. I’m going to be honest with each and every one of you who are reading this. I ABSOLUTELY HATED ELECTRONIC COLLARS! I had seen how they were used and swore I would never use such an abusive tool. Well, as my work went on, I kept looking for something that could expedite training time and results, could make a more reliable recall for most dogs, could help make shy and fearful dogs more confident, could make OCD dogs live easier, could teach dominant beta dogs to listen to their owners, and just help with owners who were in need. Puppies are so cute and there are a million puppy dog trainers. Use a bit of food and most puppies can learn to sit in a couple of minutes. But there is more to training than that. Dogs are smart and the older they get, the less we can use food to bribe them, which is what most trainers will start to do. Such as “Look at me Fido, instead of the other dog, and I will give you cookies”. Does that work so much as the dog ages – NO! Dogs are smarter sometimes than us, they can’t always be bribed.
I went to do a Therapy Dog visit a short time ago with brand new handlers, their dog and my own demo dog. As we attempted to approach the entrance of the nursing home, I saw a blind woman with her very large German Shepherd guide dog. I had a not so happy gut feeling about the GS, so we waited about 15 minutes to see if the woman and her dog were going to move away from the entrance. They didn’t – so we approached them. The guide dog started to bark and growl and try to move towards our dogs. The woman, who was obviously used to this behavior, tried to turn the dog away and immediately put her hand in her pocket and started to shove food in the dog’s mouth. Did this work? Not so much – the German Shepherd ate and growled and stared at our dogs anyway.
In years past, a German Shepherd would have been thrown out of a training program if this behavior existed – or it would have been professionally trained NOT to ever do this. I kept thinking what if the dog pulls her down, what if she gets hurt, what if the dog hurts the dogs I have with me, etc. I told the owner that her dog needed more training, please, if it were going to be out in public. And she swore at me. I was stunned to the max. What are we doing with our dogs, our manners, our brains, and everything?????
Once our dog is not a puppy, let’s move on and expedite the training as befits the dogs’ intelligence. Remember cookies work great for training puppies the foundation commands that will carry them through life.
But once dogs enter into their second phase of life – the dreaded adolescent stage – food doesn’t always work. If a sporting breed dog sees a squirrel or a cat running, a dog biscuit usually is not going to work to get the dog back instead of chasing the above animals. Adolescence can be wonderful, but dogs become a bit more headstrong, less likely to respond to us as quickly as they did when they were a puppy, and there can be many changes. I tried to find something that would help me save dogs’ lives by not letting them run out into the street or run away or whatever. So I spent about 6-7 years going back and looking at electronic collars. I refused to teach the way most trainers teach- which is a negative reinforcement. I use the collar as a positive reinforcement. It is merely a form of communication (a cell phone) from me or the owner to the dog – the same as the voice or a hand signal.
The GEM Method of Dog Training can best be described as an effective Gentle Electronic Motivational training tool. It is NOT shock training and should not be used to penalize or punish the dog. Originally I designed this method to help Companion Dog owners, but the training can be used for Sport, Competition, Service or any work a dog might do. Out of all the Electronic Collar methods that I know, this has been proven to be the gentlest method. The Collar is used strictly as a Communication tool, almost as if it were a cellular phone from owner to dog. Because the collar is being used as a communication tool, rather than an aversive, the dogs have a more positive clear understanding of what they are being asked to do. Every dog works differently. Therefore, I insist upon a two-week foundation training period with owner and dog. I use many expert skills when training dogs to this method such as:
1) Different tones of voice (when to motivate a dog and when to use subtle even tones)
2) Different body language (No alpha positioning, just clear leadership role)
3) Consistency in training and repetition of exercises until each dog understands immediately what the owner is asking
4) Timing of praise, commands and accountability from the dog
5) Different channel selections or levels for each dog
6) Food to teach some dogs initially for motivation or to show a requested position
7) Perception in understanding at the very first consultation which tools to use for that individual dog and owner
8) Expertise in inherited breed characteristics and how they apply to teaching each individual dog
9) Truly the non force method of Electronic Collar Training-no punishment or negative “reaction” from trainer or owner
10) Taking the time necessary to teach each dog at its comfort level and not pushing too fast before owner and dog understand the training
11) Patience and intuitive knack of understanding each individual owner and how best to teach them, plus gentle enthusiastic support for owner and dog
12) Most dogs are worked with for 6 private lessons, then placed into group training, if available or desired
13) We teach new commands by showing the dog first, and then applying the Communication collar once the dog understands the command
14) We learn to “tap” simultaneously when the command is given, rather than tapping when the dog does not do as it is asked
15) We use the collar as an attention getter, a reminder, a prompt, a cue, or even a reinforcement once the foundation training is solid
16) GEM works great for reshaping OCD or ADD behaviors by interrupting the brain patterns first to get attention, then to focus the dog on desired behaviors. This of course, saves many owners from extreme frustration, as well as saving many dogs from the possibility of euthanasia.
17) This method is taught to trainers in one-week courses.
18) This method is taught to dog owners in a package of 6 lessons. Restriction may apply, depending upon each individual dog and owner. There may be a need for additional lessons with some dogs.
If I use all these skills, dogs absolutely love the collar; quite often because they are now allowed more freedom and receive much more even toned praise from their owners. The training is more effective than using just traditional training, so that as owners and dogs progress more quickly, the bond between owner and dog becomes so much stronger. Owners also remain more motivated to work with their dogs as the progress in training moves so much quicker with less frustration.
MORE TEACHING – LESS CORRECTIONS than with most
Training!! More effective in a prompt manner than clicker training
And much more humane than just choke collar training! Are you tired of trainers who either bribe your dog into desired behaviors, but
Never take the dog off the food? Are you frustrated - hearing that
Dogs are descended from wolves and therefore, we should treat them as such??? Do these two excessive chain of thoughts not fit in your home?
GEM training encompasses as many tools of training as needed per individual dog – never training any dog exactly the same way. We do use food – but use more body language, tone of voice, timing, and repetitions until the dog learns what we want!
BE humane – but be fair to your dog. Don’t expect the dog to learn everything in one month and maintain everything the rest of his/her life without continued work on YOUR part, setting in that consistent lifestyle!
Some Commands We Teach Companion Dogs:
1) Come when called off and on leash
2) Sit Stay
3) Down Stay (for up to one hour)
4) Quiet (for excessive barking
5) Leave It (when dog is getting into things we do not wish, digging, and other unwanted behaviors)
7) Loose Leash Walking, followed by Heel
9) Off for jumping problems
10) Wait (at the door rather than barging through the door)
COPYRIGHT 2005 GLH