A positive approach to dog training
Story Shelly West Photos Kimberlee Miller
Positive Pets, a family-based dog training facility located in south Meridian, is based on positive reinforcement training using treats and praise. Since the reward encourages your pet to repeat the behavior, positive reinforcement is one of the most powerful and consistent training tools for shaping or changing your dog’s behavior.
This is evidenced by their success with Kohl, a full-blooded field Labrador dog who is making headlines for being a Kickoff Tee retriever at the Boise State Football games. The story has gone viral as sports fans revel in the well-trained four-legged ‘good boy’ retrieving the tee from the field. But Kohl hasn’t always been the confident and successful show man that he is today. Through a lot of patience, love, and positive training, Kohl has emerged a happy and well-adjusted pet who happens to be very good at his job—which he loves.
As a re-homed dog, his previous training was harsh and broke down his spirit. He was trained to be hunting dog with little to no treats, love, or affection. When trainer and owner, Britta Closson, adopted him, it was clear to her that she had a lot of work ahead, “When we got him, he was just in bad shape mentally and physically. It was just a lot of training with the help of everyone and my dad as well.” Her dad, having started in the business nearly three decades ago, took the lead on undoing the harsh training and retraining the hunting portion of his previous learnings, “My dad helped me actually build my skills on teaching and reteaching him to retrieve and teaching him all these other skills, so we just fit really well together,” says Britta.
At Positive Pets, they have a wide array of training options available from behavior modification and puppy training to basic obedience. They have training programs for busy schedules, as well as hands-on options for owners who want to be involved with the training process. It all starts with a free consultation to assess your pet’s needs, then a training program is developed based on your schedule and budget.
Trainer Donny D’Attilio adds, “In our free consultation we will check the dog out, we even bring in other dogs for a temperament test and we come up with a program for the dog that will works best for the dog, so we will give you our opinion on what will work best.”
Britta notes, “Yes, you can bring in and sit down with one of the trainers, no interruptions and we go over your challenges with the dog and your goals. We also go over all of our programs like finding one that fits your lifestyle and your budget because we do have a bunch of different programs but obviously more expensive if the trainers are doing all the work, so we just find one that fits the client as well as a dog.”
The trainers are well educated, dedicated, and have a passion for what they do, this isn’t just a job for them, which reflects in how they train you and your pet.