Jack Russel

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?

Dove: Absolutely! 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 challenge.

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 searching for.

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?

Dove: Yes...dog 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 your dog!

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 format.

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 quiet?

DTO: And why do dogs bark?

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 positive!

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 these modifications.

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 the alternative.

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.

DTO: Congratulations, Dove, on what you've accomplished.

Dove: You're 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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