Choice… we all want the opportunity to choose. Dogs can learn and make choices- this is the premise of our whole method.

 In our Scotch Pines Method, we closely follow William Koehler’s dog training method. Koehler’s method is one of fairness to the dog by teaching and allowing the dog to use choice. The results of teaching this skill are what bring not only incredible results; but also a deep bond between dog and their owners. They become a team. The method is a structured, step-by-step program using a teaching phase, PRAISE, and correction when needed.  We’ve been through the program ourselves and we would never ask or teach you something that we have not already done with our dogs and seen results!

Doggy Driver’s Education

We all attend driver’s education and learn the road rules in-depth; the method’s teaching phase is the equivalent of “doggy driver’s ed.” We are instructing EXACTLY what we want when we say “sit,” “stay,” etc.; there is no correction here at all. We mentioned before that the Koehler is one of fairness, so it is not fair to start correcting the dog UNTIL they understand precisely what we are asking. Once we have taught the command, we will add corrections if needed.

Just like in driving, we go out and speed, we’ve learned what happens when we speed, but we choose to anyways–there is a fair correction of a speeding ticket if pulled over. It is fair because we KNOW WHAT IS EXPECTED. So how do we know our dogs fully understand what we are asking? 

 We teach the dog with a placement, meaning we physically (carefully push their bum down) move the dog into the position as we say the command, followed by praise once their bum is on the ground. For example, this teaches them when we say sit, they move their bum to the ground and get a praise puppy party! 

We do this 100 times to ensure their dog 100% knows what we are asking. At this point, we implement a specific correction depending on the command. We only use a correction if the dog does not “sit” when we ask. IT IS FAIR TO CORRECT WHEN YOU’VE DONE THE WORK… The goal of the course is to spend the two months teaching our dogs, stay consistent in our training and follow through when the dog doesn’t listen… so we don’t have to correct for the dog’s life! 

What Tools Do You Use?

We utilize a training collar– either a chain, “choke” collar, or a Prong collar. Some people come into class already using a training collar, and we reteach how to use it effectively. A dog will pull through the training collar if we are not using it correctly. IT IS A TOOL and one most people wean off of as they finish the program. 

We always hear from some people, some with disgust, how terrible we are to use them, and that is fine; we know that there are things in our program that are not for everyone. But, isn’t it great you can choose whom you train with?! We aren’t the method for you; there are many trainers out there, and you’ll find your program.

Some who reach out are curious about how the training collar will affect their dog. A past client wrote this, highlighting how much these tools, when used correctly, can bring us closer to our dogs… why?! Because it allows us to spend time together that is enjoyable, which allows for more freedom, which we love, and our dogs LOVE! 

“Hello! My name is Kathryn and my husband, Matt, and I are the parents of three goofy dogs: Kimber, 10yr old female lab/maybe border collie mix; Angus, 5.5yr old male lab/pit mix, and Wylie, 3yr old first generation labradoodle. 

We took Kimber and Angus through Sarah’s in-person course fall of 2019 and it was amazing! 

Now it’s Wylie’s turn to do the course. He’s an odd combo of highly reactive/protective, very visually stimulated (hello prey-drive!) and super eager to please/submissive. 

Funny story – even though we’ve been slack working with our pups, Kimber and Angus still have very fond memories of it all. When I got our chain collar and long line and other equipment out and brought it in the house, they were crazy excited and kept trying the stick their heads in the collar while I was attempting to put it on Wylie. Goofy dogs.

Speaking of – Wylie hates anything around his head (we had to put a t-shirt on him when he was neutered as he fought all e-collars we tried so much we were concerned he’d pop his stitches). I knew the chain collar going on and off would be a challenge, so we’ve spent this last week slowly building up to it and praising, praising, praising when he shows even the slightest acceptance. Now he willingly sticks his head in the collar when I open it up. Of course, I’m sure the fact that the other two dogs want to wear it has helped as he thinks he’s getting a special treat they’re not.”

To recap our Scotch Pines Method

  • We use a teaching phase to move the dog into position 100 times to ensure they understand what we are asking. 
  • Once we reach 100 “placements,” we add in a specific correction if the dog doesn’t “sit “or stay.” etc. when asked. 
  • Praise is our reward! We do not use cookies to lure and teach what we are asking; we place, praise, and correct once appropriate. 

Our Scotch Pines Method has brought impressive results and has kept many dogs in their homes. We are a last-ditch effort for many pet parents to keep the dog in the home. We understand the tough dogs and know there is joy to be found with your dog! Join us for our subsequent Obedience program sessions: 

February 10th Online Obedience Program (registration open now!)

April In-Person Obedience Program in Idaho Falls! (registration posts February 1st!)

Please read our testimonials here and see the results we’ve been getting!

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