Frequently Asked Questions
What is your training like?
Here at Zen Zoomies, we try to use the latest in scientific research and studies to improve our training techniques to be the best that they can be. Below are links to articles and blogs talking about the techniques and philosophies that we uphold.
- We use force-free, positive reinforcement, because it has been proven, time and time again, to be safer, more consistent, and more effective than any other training method.
- We use mental enrichments, to promote problem solving in animals, as well as to mentally stimulate them.
- We use relationship building strategies, since a well formed social bond with your pet has been shown to promote learning and well-being.
- We teach decision making and consent to the animals, to empower them, build their confidence, and allow them to better communicate with us.
- And we take a look at the whole picture (Diet, Enrichment, Exercise, and Communication) to make sure all of your pet's needs are properly met.
Through these modern techniques, we hope to better the welfare of your furry best friends and bring peace to your lives.
Do you use positive reinforcement?
Yes, yes, and YES! Positive reinforcement is extremely important for dogs to have a positive learning experience. It is used both to help our pets understand what we want them to do (Operant Conditioning) as well as create a positive emotional response to something they might previously have thought was scary (Classical Conditioning).
Do you use a clicker?
We can use them, but we only suggest it on a case-by-case basis. Although the clicker is a wonderful tool that can help improve the timing and clarity of the training with your dog, some people feel awkward holding a clicker while also thinking about holding treats and a leash. Other times, the dog may not like the sound. If either are the case, then we suggest a different "marker" sound, like a word ("Good!", "OK!", "Yes!", etc.).
But, if the owner feels coordinated enough, and the dog is comfortable with it, then yes!
What happens when my dog "gets it right"?
We mark the good behavior and reinforce using a fun reward that the dog likes (everything from treats to toys to scratches and more). Reinforcing behavior encourages the dog to do it again, which is exactly what we want if that's the "right" behavior.
What happens when my dog "gets it wrong"?
If a mistake is made, we will have to re-evaluate the situation that we've put your dog in, and maybe set up the environment differently so that your dog can succeed more easily (see above for "What happens when the dog 'gets it right'?"). We may start off in a less distracting environment, with an easier task, or redirect the dog to a more constructive behavior.
Depending on the dog and the circumstance, we might use what is called a "no reward marker", which is a word (like "Oops", "Try Again", "Good effort", etc) that tells the dog that their behavior was not what we wanted. Some sensitive dogs might feel punished or get frustrated by a "no reward marker," so it is not our first go-to.
What we never do is punish the dog for "getting it wrong".
Are there less invasive methods?
Not that we know of! But at Zen Zoomies, we think it's important for us to always be learning, and so if we find newer, less intrusive methods in the future, we will use them.
We would rather keep up with the times (and the science!) and admit that we were previously wrong and adapt, than to stick to old methods of training that are not best practice.