Dog Training by Dove Cresswell
Trainer to the Pet Stars
At 25, Dove Cresswell has already earned a reputation as
a well-known dog training professional for film, television, and
commercials. Dove has experience training many different breeds of
dogs. She has also trained large reptiles, rodents, birds, deer, and
dogs of all sizes.
She's worked on many feature films: Saved! and Sam's
Lake; TV shows: Romeo, Behind the Camera: Charlie's Angels, and Cougar
Crossings; and commercials, including: The Source.
Recently, we had a chance to sit down with Dove to share
some of her insights on dog training and how she happened to develop
such an amazing dog training program.
Dog Training Online (DTO):
Dove, could you tell us a bit about your background and how you got
started as a professional animal trainer?
Dove: I've been a
professional animal trainer for film, television and commercials for
five years now. I've trained everything from cougars to cockroaches,
and of course, lots of dogs. I can teach basic and advanced obedience,
tricks, movie tricks, and I can train any dog of any breed up to the
Master's level in agility.
DTO: How did you
first get interested in dog training?
Dove: As a young
teen I took some obedience classes with my lab pup, which sparked my
interest and after that spent hours in my back yard setting up obstacle
courses for my lab to run through and taught him many tricks.
I also volunteered at the SPCA and accumulated an odd
assortment of pets including iguanas and crows. At age 16, I began
seriously volunteering at an animal hospital every week and by age 17
was a paid staff member there.
Then I pursued my B.A., Science-Biology at university
and somehow found myself working in film. By chance I was working on an
animal docudrama, Cougar Crossings, and proved that I was knowledgeable
and capable of handling the juvenile cougars and other animals.
DTO: Working with
cougars is such a wild way, literally, to begin a career. Did you learn
one particulard dog training method?
Dove: I have had
the great fortune to have studied dog training under several of the top
trainers. As a result I have learned that there is certainly not just
one way to train anything. Every dog, and every dog owner is different
and some methods work better than others for certain dogs and owners.
In the training modules I often give a couple of options
for training one action. It's best to try them all and find out what
your dog responds best to and what feels most natural and comfortable
for you. Having the opportunity to learn dog training from several
different sources has also added a flexibility and creativity in my
training. I have been asked to train some unusual animals and have dogs
do some unusual things for film and television.
Sometimes you just have to get creative and try
something you think might work. Sometimes you get results, sometimes
you don't. These training modules are designed to take away some of
that guess work but I encourage everyone to have fun and get creative
when training their dog!
DTO: Do you still
study dog training, yourself?
There is always more to learn. I own a large collection of training
books, which I'll read looking for new ideas and I will watch any
videos, even old ones, looking for ideas. I also participate in weekend
training seminars; courses and competitions to keep on my toes and
constantly improve myself as a trainer.
DTO: In what ways
do you feel common dog training methods are not working for the owners
and especially the dogs?
Dove: One weakness
is definitely these hour-long, once a week obedience classes. Ideally
training sessions should be short (15-25 minutes MAX) to keep the dog's
interest and keep the energy level up for both the dog and trainer.
And doing three ten-minute sessions a day accomplishes a
lot more than one half hour long session. I also find many dog training
instructors only offer one method of training and they often lack
creativity when dealing with dogs that are presenting a training
DTO: I like the
fact that your online training courses don't have any "fluff". Your
lessons provide instant access to the information dog owners are
Dove: Exactly. If
pet owners need to correct a particular behavior such as pulling on a
leash or if they want to teach their dog a particular trick such as
wave a paw then they can go directly to that and not have to watch or
read through any information that they may not need for their dog.
All of the information you need to train each behavior
is included in each individual training program. The training has be
laid out in a way that they can go to that section of the online
training to find out how right away.
DTO: Besides being
faster for the owners, would you say that your method is more fun for
the dogs than "conventional" training methods?
training should be fun! Everything you do with your dog should be fun!
And the more training you do with your dog, the more fun you are going
to have with your dog, as well, you'll have a happier, more confident
and better behaved dog.
Unless you are teaching a dog not to do something,
absolutely everything should be trained in an upbeat and positive
manner. And even when it is necessary to correct a dog in a negative
way, you must then immediately show your dog the right behavior and
praise it in a positive way.
So after every negative, we follow with a positive to
keep your dog happy and wanting to work for you. And we always end
training with a play session! Training should be fun for both you and
DTO: Does a person
have to have previous experience in training puppies or dogs to be able
to follow your program?
Dove: The program
is designed for everyone from no previous dog experience to lots of dog
experience and it's all in simple terminology. The lessons are designed
for everyday life with a dog, not a formal obedience, competition-style
DTO: Could you
comment on radio-controlled shock collars?
Dove: I feel
electronic training devices are overused and are nothing but a
quick-fix solution. While they give a "correction" (a zap) to deter the
dog from doing something and eventually the dog learns not to do that
behavior, it is purely negative reinforcement training.
Where is the positive reinforcement when the dog is
behaving? It is far more humane, effective and usually faster, to
actually train your dog using a one-on-one human-dog interaction with
lots of positive reinforcement for the correct behavior and nothing but
a disapproving tone of voice to correct a bad behavior.
When someone puts an anti-barking collar on a dog and
then goes off to work, when does the dog get praised for being quiet?
How are they to effectively learn not to bark when there is no one
there asking them to be quiet and then praising them when they are
DTO: And why do
Dove: To let the
outsider know that this is their territory. Don't you want your dog to
protect your house? These electronic devices also take away from a
dog's confidence. After every negative correction, it should be
immediately followed with a positive reinforcement on what the right
behavior is. Yet all they get is negative, negative, and more negative
with these collars.
DTO: You make some
excellent points, Dove. Another question, we'd like to ask you is, "How
early can someone begin to train a dog?"
Dove: Please start
training your dog as soon as you get it! Puppies can start training at
a very young age (6-8 weeks old). Puppy brains are sponges just waiting
to absorb all kinds of knowledge and training! Just keep it fun and
DTO: Is there a
difference in training big dogs and toy dogs?
Dove: There are
slight modifications that a trainer must make to accommodate the
extreme height difference between a trainer and a small dog, but all of
these training courses will give you an example when needed for any of
DTO: What makes
the Dog Training Online courses superior to all the other dog training
books, videos, DVDs, and other training tools already out there?
Dove: I'm so glad
you asked me. First, I have to say that there are many different
approaches to training dogs and puppies. I wanted to take the "best of
the best" of everything I have ever learned and then simplify it into a
program that would work every time for every owner and every dog.
That's why throughout the training I often offer more than one
approach. If, by chance, the first way doesn't work for you, then try
Once I knew I had the best and simplest step-by-step
training method, my next challenge was: What format should I use?
DTO: With all the
contacts you have in film and entertainment, you could have written a
book, an eBook, made a video, or DVD -- all really professionally done.
Why did you choose this particular online training format?
Dove: It was
really a process of elimination. I know that when people have "puppy
problems" they need and want answers right away. Who wants to wait for
a delivery and who wants to pay shipping and handling charges? Not me.
I wanted a program that people could access and download immediately.
And so, right away, I knew that I didn't what to go with something like
a video, or DVD.
Next, voice is so important in dog training that I knew
that people would need to hear exactly how to give the commands. I also
wanted people to be able to hear me explain things as they saw the
pictures. And so that eliminated a book format and any eBook format
that did not include audio.
Since I did not want people to waste a lot of their
printer paper that eliminated the eBook format.
DTO: And so you
knew all the things you didn't want.
Dove: Yes. And
then I happened to meet a person who puts together professional
training programs for corporations and organizations. He's an expert in
taking a lot of material, simplifying it, making it easy to follow, and
most important of all, making it fun and entertaining to watch. When
people have fun learning, they retain the information.
DTO: That's the
most amazing aspect of your puppy and dog training lessons, Dove. Your
training is not just easy to follow and effective...but it's really
fun. There's nothing like it on the entire Internet.
Dove: Thank you.
Yes, I am really proud of what we've accomplished. It's literally
months of work based on years of skills for all the people involved. I
think I should also mention that we were fortunate enough to get one of
the top web designers to actually build the training modules. He's done
an awesome job! People just love the way each lesson is laid out, how
simple it is to navigate, and go straight to particular sections.
Congratulations, Dove, on what you've accomplished.
welcome. And I also want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who
purchases my course. You're going to love it. I promise!
And I promise too! As I mentioned before, it's
the best dog training guide I've ever found. You can go to her site to
read more, just Click Here!
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