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A letter from Dennis Hill,

Animal Behaviorist and Professional Dog Trainer

Before you consider working with a dog trainer, I think it's important to understand the ideas guiding their training methods. After all, what trainers think about dogs will determine the way they treat and train your dog.

When I started as a professional trainer in 1980, I believed there was something wrong with the prevailing dog training systems that were based on overpowering the animal. These methods relied on submission, correction and instilling fear in the dog. Owners became taskmasters. In the process, many of the joys of having a dog as a companion and friend were lost. In addition, although these systems could work, they didn't always work. I also thought something was off-target with the logic behind correction-based training. We know domestic dogs have an affinity for man. They've chosen to partner and live with us. Wouldn't it follow they would want to please us? With those thoughts in mind, I did extensive studies of wolf, wild dog and domestic dog behavior. I saw the dog's ability to learn, understand and achieve self-control. In my mind, it followed that if you gave a dog the right information -- information it could comprehend and use -- and if you tied that to a dog's natural desire to please, you would get obedience based on a relationship, not on control.

I began developing training that functioned as a bridge in thought between owner and dog. I helped owners show dogs how they fit into their human families, which behaviors were acceptable and which were not, and which behaviors earned rewards and which did not.

I turned a lot of the responsibility over to the dog. I began training dogs in real-life settings -- in busy parks, neighborhoods and front and back yards, so the dogs would respond in real-life situations. And it worked! The dogs learned quickly because they understood what to do. They responded reliably because they were rewarded for good behavior. Owners and dogs were happy, and the bond between them was strengthened.

There's nothing pre-packaged about my training methods because no two dogs or owners are alike. I don't feel that it is necessary for dogs to master a 40-word vocabulary. Owners tell me what they want and need from their dogs. I train to accomplish that. I have worked with thousands of dogs for many purposes all over the United States. In every situation, I combine intuition and creativity with my years of experience to take owners and dogs where they want to go. With each experience, I learn something new that I bring to the next experience.  

I look forward to speaking with you about your training needs and working with you to make sure your dog becomes your best friend. I wish you and your dog many happy years together.


Dennis Hill

Animal Behaviorist and Professional Dog Trainer

Image by Gabe Pierce
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