Wendy is an internationally known trainer, an expert in dog behavior, author and a Hall of Fame member of the International Association of K9 Professionals. She recently came to dog obedience training experts Brian and Lisa Berg for help. Read what she had to say:
So, Who Trains the Trainer?
Recently, we had a visit from our friends Lisa and Brian Berg from Marlton, NJ who own and operate K-9 Basics, a boarding and training kennel.
Brian teaches a variety of classes and coaches individuals who have unique training issues. He has, through his background of working police dogs for 25 years and then operating a training kennel for 10 years, the ability to watch a dog work and to make suggestions geared to that dog and that handler. No cookie cutter method here. In particular, he teaches dog owners how to use the updated version of the Dogtra e-collar. While I have been to seminars in the past by Martin Deeley, Brian Agnew and Marc Goldberg—all masters in their particular fields using a version of this collar—I had never had the time or the dog to put their suggestions into operation until now. And, in the meantime, the collars changed. How a collar that has adjustments that go from 0 to over 100 can be used at level 4 to communicate with my Labrador is beyond me. I can’t even feel any vibration until it reaches 25, and my friend with whom I attended this mini seminar, couldn’t feel it until it reaches 40.
For the first time in many years I am training a dog for obedience competition and facing a problem that many share: a high drive dog that is very difficult to motivate! My particular interest was how to use this collar to better communicate with a dog already trained through AKC Utility exercises. Of course, the real issue is how to consistently maintain focus. Brian took a look and made some specific suggestions that I adopted. Brian helped me realize how I can capture the intense focus my dog has when retrieving a bumper in the water for an about turn during a heeling exercise!
But perhaps the nicest thing I can say about Brian, and Lisa too, is that they genuinely love dogs. Encouraging and enthusiastic, they also know when the dog (and his owner!) have had enough learning for any given session. As a trainer, I know how hard it is to work with people who have trained the same way for many years. Working with Brian was fun and to anyone whose dog needs motivation, or any trainer who needs to look at things differently, go look him up!