Saturday, March 15th was a snowy, rainy New England morning but spirits were bright at Especially for Pets in Sudbury as Brian Kilcommons, dog trainer to the stars and author of best selling dog training books, took the stage to amaze and enlighten the eager crowd of 80.
Kilcommons presented "Better Communication with Dogs: Relationship, Responsiveness and Relaxation." The format allowed for Q&A as well as participation by some of the dogs in audience. The event raised $2100 for the MSPCA – Angell General Animal Fund.
Here are just some of the comments from attendees who enjoyed the day:
I came to learn and it was great. Aside from the technical details that my wife and I learned, I think the real value was that you challenged us to up our game and showed us what was possible with a dog. We both felt greatly encouraged by your “can-do” attitude. You take some of the excess complication out of it. You really lay it on the line about what you are thinking and that makes "buy in" to your advice easy for a dog owner. I think the thing I am most appreciative about is how excited my wife is about play training and having fun with the dogs now. My wife was dispirited about training and when we got home she jumped right into some games with the dogs. I am grateful to you for that.
I just wanted to thank everyone at Especially for Pets for hosting the "Better Communication with Dogs: Relationship, Responsiveness and Relaxation" seminar with Mr. Brian Kilcommons. Attending with my dog was, simultaneously, nerve wracking and wonderful. I nearly lost it when Brian so succinctly summed up my relationship with my dog. He was almost like a therapist, yet funny and very talented with working with all the dogs. I am certain that my work with my dog will improve for having attended this event and due to Brian's insights. I have gained so much from the trainers at Especially for Pets, working mostly with Leslie Zelamsky whose knowledge and patience and teaching ability have benefited me and my dog on a regular basis over the past several years.
Since I am training under Brian at the moment my opinions are somewhat biased. However, in the short time we have been working together I have been constantly amazed how each and every dog has responded to him. I was also impressed with how he was able to handle each and every owner participant in an encouraging positive way. It seemed to me that everyone at the presentation left with the idea that improving their dog's behavior was possible with a little effort and direction.
Most informative seminar. As a new dog owner, I found the no nonsense advice refreshing. I understand the philosophy being leader of the pack - alpha dog, but in reality it's hard to "create" a personality that doesn't seem natural. Mr. Kilcommons’ techniques were very tangible, very doable, from my perspective. The sarcasm and humor was right up my alley too. So, lots of chuckling for me.
I thought it was a great seminar! Brian was very humorous and put the attendees at ease. I was grateful to have the opportunity to ask Brian a question. I have not had much success with past trainers, behaviorists, etc. in training my dog, Bella, so I will research suggestions Brian offered. His training philosophy inspired me to register for a day of training in May with Sarah Wilson, Brian's wife (check out MySmartPuppy.com for information or for follow-up email questions). I hope I have the opportunity to attend future seminars given by Brian and other dog training experts.
YES, I did enjoy the day. I am putting together a little synopsis for my Canine Companions for Independence (CCI) group and will include some very simple but specific ideas:
- We humans say way too much to our dogs because we do not adequately understand the simplicity of canine communication. Simply talk less to them while training.
- Understanding and practicing "I lead, you follow" cannot be emphasized enough;
- Most dogs are smarter than we think, believe, or acknowledge.
- It is NEVER too late to teach an old dog, or an old handler, new tricks;
- Make a fool out of yourself whenever you can with your dog. They'll love you more and be better trained for it.
- Lighten up and have more fun with training. It's neither rocket science, brain surgery, nor anything that should be taken so seriously.
- Understand the breed you have and embrace its characteristics.
- Everyone needs a good massage now and then.
- Be consistent, be consistent, be consistent. Did I mention be consistent? This includes everyone in the household.
- Give lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of praise.
- And lastly, do unto your dog as you would have your dog do unto you.
I thought Brian was 50% trainer, 50% therapist and I told him that. He has a keen understanding of people, infinite patience, and a great sense of humor. Let me know if and when he'll be back.
It was an absolutely amazing experience. It was like magic - a "difficult" dog comes in with the owner who hardly manages to control it and in a couple of minutes the dog is transformed - focused, obedient, well behaved. My dog has a socialization problem. He came into the store barking and kept barking until Brian took the leash. Brian created a couple of situations when the dog had to confront people and showed me how to handle the situation. On our way out, we passed by a lot of people and dogs and my dog did not bark. The next day, we had a stranger coming into the house. Normally, this results in me picking my dog up and carrying him around and in having the stranger give him a treat. This time, I did exactly as Brian showed me - took my dog on the leash to say Hallo to the stranger, and as he barked, I distracted his attention, gave him a treat and then took again to say Hallo. I had to repeat it 4 times before he stopped - I am sure that it was my problem rather then the dog's - I could not make the communication entirely clear the first time. So, my best take away from the seminar is that it's not my dog but I who need training. Brian's books are the best dog owners' manuals. Also, if Brian or someone as good as he comes to your store for a similar seminar, I would like to participate in it and I would appreciate it if you let me know about such events.
It was great! I think there are so many trainer opinions on what is the right/wrong way to do things, and Brian just made common sense and made sure that he presented feedback to people in a positive way. Especially for Pets did a great job organizing the event and it was a nice touch to provide the goody bags.
I thought the 3+ hours with Brian was outstanding. He had such a good read on the humans. Most of the problems we have with our pets are because we don't know how to change their behavior. We can also do things that reinforce bad behavior and we don't even know it. The time was well spent and very entertaining. Thanks to Especially for Pets for sponsoring this day. PLEASE do it again!