Q56: MORE ON DON’S METHOD: Can you give me more information on the training method that Don Sullivan uses?
A: Yes. The “Method” page on this website thoroughly explains the theory behind Don Sullivan’s method of training.
Q57: DOG PULLING PERSON ON ROLLER BLADES/BIKE: I like to have my dogs pull me on my roller blades. Is this contrary to what Don Sullivan teaches?
A: Don Sullivan: “Any dog in training must first be taught never to pull his owner when on leash. This is an imperative step in the process toward confident off-leash control, under distraction. If this type of activity is something that you would like to pursue, this will be acceptable once your dog is fully trained. You can then teach your dog(s) to discern the difference between the various rules and boundaries that you have set for individual activities. (Note: This type of activity is the ONLY time I would suggest that you use a body harness instead of my Command Collar®).”
Q58: CAN I EVER USE TREATS?: Don’s show claims, “No more fattening treat training!” Will I never use treats as part of Don Sullivan’s “Secrets to Training the Perfect Dog” System?
A: You will never use treats; ever. Treats are not only unnecessary, but they can actually be detrimental to the training process for a number of reasons which are explained in Don Sullivan’s training DVDs. There is absolutely no correlation between the new-age method of treat training and the way dogs deal with each other in their own world. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. By using Don’s System, your relationship with your dog will be based on true love and respect, with the rewards of praise and freedom. You will no longer have to attempt to “buy” your dog’s attention or affection. For more information, CLICK HERE to read Don’s training philosophy.
Q59: HOW TO MOTIVATE WITHOUT TREATS?: Without the use of treats or other material rewards, how will I motivate my dog to obey me, and how will I reward my dog for good behavior?
A: From day one a dog learns to respect firm leadership as his mother applies physical discipline to keep each of her puppies in line. This discipline is in the form of growls, barks and nipping corrections. It is only used when necessary, and it is administered at varying levels of intensity according to the strength of will of her individual pups. The rewards of compliance are acceptance, harmony, order, physical love, affection and the freedom to live safely, confidently and contentedly within the established boundaries. Their lives are fully satisfying and complete. It is the innate, natural process within the created animal, and it works beautifully.
Don’s System teaches you how to successfully imitate, and enjoy the benefits of, the natural bond that a mother dog develops with each of her pups. In conjunction with the Command Collar® and the 3 Freedom Training Lines, Don Sullivan uses a combination of hand and voice commands; with praise, play, affection, and freedom being the rewards for good behavior.
Q60: TREATS FOR TRICKS?: I know Don Sullivan is not an advocate of using treats to curb behavioral problems, but how does he feel about teaching dogs cute pet tricks, like shake hands, wave, and twirl etc.?
A: Don Sullivan has taught his dogs many interesting and unique tricks over the years, and never once has he used a piece of food to bait them to perform. Don explains that once a dog has learned to respect you, it becomes very easy to teach him new tricks because the dog is then naturally more attentive to you and more willing to learn and attempt new things. By not falling into the trap of thinking that food is needed to motivate a dog to perform tricks, it helps to maintain the rule that a dog should not think of human hands as dispensers for dog food (which can lead to begging, stealing food, and aggression related issues; and it can also create a generally selfish and shallow attitude in a dog).
Note: There is a “Tricks & Fun Things” segment on Don Sullivan’s DVDs.
Q61: JUST ABOUT CONSISTENCY & REPETITION?: I have heard that training a dog is all about being consistent and repeating commands to make sure they understand. Is this true?
A: No, successful training is not all about consistency and it is not about endless repetition.
Dogs are far more intelligent than many people give them credit for. Most dogs only need to be shown a new command or instruction a few times before they “get the idea.” Any lack of response from that point forward is not due to a lack of understanding, but, rather, a lack of respect from the dog for the person. Repeating a command simply conveys to the dog that you do not expect him to listen to and obey you the first time.
Regarding consistency, you can be consistent all you like, but if you consistently deal with your dog at a level that he does not respect then you will never see a change in his behavior. It is important that you consistently position yourself as the head of your dog’s pack, otherwise he will sense gaps in your leadership, and he will take advantage of this. He will only respond when he feels like it, hence the very common statement, “My dog has a mind of his own.”
Q62: LEASH LAWS: What is the purpose of training for off leash freedom when there are leash laws?
A: Don Sullivan: “Although I encourage off leash freedom as the ultimate goal and reward for any dog, the fact is that leash laws do exist. However, even though you may be required to have your dog leashed in certain public environments, this in no way diminishes the importance of training your dog to be trustworthy off a leash, especially when there are lots of distractions and temptations. This “Trust Zone” will not only ensure the safety of your dog whenever there is an opportunity to give him freedom and proper exercise, it will also let you rest in confidence knowing that your dog will not cause any disruption or destruction.
Due to previous unsettling experiences, there are many dog owners who would never even think to allow their dog to be off a leash, unless in a very controlled environment. However, the reality of life is that circumstances are bound to arise beyond a dog owner’s direct control, such as a door or gate accidentally left open. Even these especially cautious dog owners need to recognize the value of the “Trust Zone” for the sake of their dog’s life and their own peace of mind. These owners also need to recognize the value of sufficient off leash exercise for the health and emotional well-being of their dogs.”
Q63: SAFETY OFF LEASH: I see in the show that Don always has his dog off of a leash; even near roads and cars. Is this safe?
A: Don Sullivan: “There is a vast difference between a dog that is off a leash and a dog that is trained to be off a leash. Once my dogs are trained, I have control over their will so that I can be a custodian of their safety. This is an important point to understand. My dogs don’t just understand what I expect from them, they respect what I want, for their own good. Properly trained dogs can be trusted not to respond unexpectedly or erratically under distraction because they have learned to respect their boundaries in all real life situations. Dogs can be taught to understand their surroundings and control their urges and instincts, just as human beings can.”
Q64: HOW MUCH TIME WILL TRAINING TAKE?: I am a very busy person. Will it take a lot of time to train my dog?
A: No; not at all. Don Sullivan’s “Secrets to Training the Perfect Dog” System is designed to be easily incorporated into your daily life with your dog. Endless hours of frustrating repetition are NOT required, as with other training methods. Using Don’s System, it only takes minutes to introduce each new concept to your dog. At that point you can then simply reinforce the things your dog has learned as you go about your normal routine together. Whether you are vacuuming the house, mowing the lawn, making dinner, or even watching TV, you can easily apply Don’s System without having to add dog training to your already lengthy “to do” list.
Q65: TRAINING USING DIFFERENT METHODS: My husband and I have a sheltie puppy. She listens to my husband much better than she listens to me, although she doesn’t always obey him. If I get the program, I will be the one training her using Don Sullivan’s System. My husband wants to keep on training her his way. Will your System work even though she would be trained using two different “systems”?
A: For the best results and for the benefit of your dog, it is imperative that all family members adopt the same method of training, as taught by Don Sullivan in his DVDs. Any other method used will be contrary to Don’s unique System and will undermine the results. Of course, if you implement The Perfect Dog System yourself, it will help you to improve your personal relationship with her greatly, but you will not realize the same degree of results that others have.
Q66: WILL THERE BE BOUNDARY LINE CONFUSION?: I noticed that Don Sullivan’s DVDs include a lot of boundary line training. Won’t a dog be confused by setting a boundary, and then allowing the dog to cross that boundary?
A: No. Don Sullivan empowers you to teach your dog to respect the boundary lines and perimeters that you choose to establish. Your dog can learn that he has the right to remain at the edge of these boundary lines, without crossing over, and that he should not cross unless you invite him to accompany you.
It is up to you whether you ever allow your dog to go beyond any of these boundary lines. For example, you may incorporate a release command at the back doorway, but perhaps never at the front doorway. Or, when going for walks you may prefer to invite him to exit the house perimeter at the front gate, but never at the driveway.
Boundary line training is one of Don Sullivan’s advanced techniques, so caution must be exercised to maintain safety; and the technique must be properly and thoroughly implemented, using two or more people if necessary. If you do this then the results can be astounding!
Q67: CHANGING DOG’S NAME: Can you change a dog’s name? And, SHOULD you change a dog’s name if you adopt him as an adult?
A: You can certainly change a dog’s name. It is not his name that is important; it is the way that you communicate with him. It is not imperative to change an adopted dog’s name when you bring him into a new home environment. He will not associate any of his past experiences with his name, because it is the different way that you deal with him that he senses and reacts to.
Q68: TRAINING THREE DOGS: I have three dogs. Should I try to train them all at the same time? How would I go about doing this?
A: When you own multiple dogs, your initial approach should be, as far as the commands are concerned, to work each dog individually for the first week. This will obviously require a little more time, but as you enter into the second week and find each of your dogs becoming more responsive to you, you can then begin to work the dogs together which will then save you time. This approach will give you a more solid result.
Many times, if you try to begin training multiple dogs together, they will unite, using their pre-established relationship, to challenge you more than if you took them aside to work them individually.
Regarding other general behavioral issues, all dogs can be worked simultaneously from day one as issues arise. Some dogs will be more problematic than others, but as each situation is dealt with, overall harmony will begin to be established within your household.
You will only need to purchase one full System (which includes the two training DVDs, a Command Collar® and Freedom Training Lines set for one of your dogs, and the Quick Start Guide). You will also need to purchase an extra Command Collar® and an extra set of Freedom Training Lines for each of your other dogs (either large or small, depending on the sizes of your dogs). Once you add the full System to your cart, you will be given the option to order this extra equipment.
Q69: WILL MY DOG STILL BE PLAYFUL?: After using The Perfect Dog System, will my dog still have the “will” to play with his toys without direction from me? I want him to able to enjoy “doggy time” too. Also, if on a walk without a leash, will he only walk next to me, or will he be able to go off and investigate what he wants to, but still come back when called?
A: Using The Perfect Dog System, your dog will actually enjoy “doggy” time more. And, your dog will have the freedom to roam and enjoy the elements of life, while staying within an acceptable distance and always returning to you when called.
The goal of Don Sullivan’s training System is to empower a dog owner to firstly gain control over his dog’s “will,” so that the dog will respond to the owner’s instruction over his own personal desire in any given situation. This results in negative behavior being removed, allowing more time for the dog to emit positive behavior. Playfulness and even puppy “goofiness” (if you have a puppy) will be maintained, but with a focus on a more mature overall attitude. There is a difference between being playful and being wild and unbridled.
Don Sullivan is focused on helping people to achieve the maximum freedom possible for their dogs. Once you have confidence that your dog is respecting your commands, under distraction, Don would encourage you to allow your dog to roam on a walk (wherever possible); to allow your dog to enjoy the extra exercise and life experiences as he moves freely.
Overall, you and your dog will enjoy a richer relationship together when you are confidently in control of your dog, in every situation.
Q70: SLEEPING IN OWNER’S BED: Is it acceptable to allow your dog to sleep in your bed with you?
A: This is something that you can decide for yourself according to your own preferences. Don Sullivan does tell people that if this is their choice, to allow their dogs to sleep with them, then they should allow this only once their dog is trained, and it should be by invitation only. Basically, the dog should not be allowed to own the bed (or any other item of furniture for that matter). Happy snuggling!