What we do...
RWDC is a Positive Reinforcement based all breed competition training club. We train dogs using a combination of Operant and Classical conditioning for dogsports. Yes, we are "clicker trainers". While we have made the choice to train our club dogs without aversives (traditional corrections/punishment), we respect everyone's right to train as they choose and are open to anyone interested in finding out more about our methods.
We train primarily for IGP (Schutzhund) which means we train for IPO titles in Tracking, Obedience, and Protection following international rules through any of the recognized working dog organizations in the US. In addition to IGP some teams also train for traditional Competition Obedience, and Tracking (AKC, UKC) as well as Rally Obedience and several other dogsports. We train Tracking together regularly and each member gets help in training both Obedience and Protection every session. If any member has special training needs for an individual dog, or need help preparing for an atypical training test or title, they will get help in developing and executing a training plan to help achieve their goals.
We are also available to help local Law Enforcement K9 teams.
Our Training Director...
I've been training dogs since I was a kid. My brother and I spent countless hours in our backyard teaching not only our pets but any dog wandering through the neighborhood to get them do the things I read about in the books by Jack London and the like or doing the things we saw dogs doing in classic tv shows or movies.
With my brother Brian I got involved in training bird dogs and retrievers for hunting and competition. In the late 80's we began training in Schutzhund (now called IGP), working with local law enforcement K9 teams and in teaching pet obedience classes and private lessons. Very early on I learned that competing held very little appeal for me personally while doing protection work as a decoy and helping others, in particular problem solving, became a passion.
Eventually I started questioning the methods used in traditional dog training. Even though I was getting good results some things simply didn't make sense to me. I took some time from formal training and began to rethink the things I'd learned and started looking at things from the dog's point of view. My focus became figuring out how the dog might perceive the training and worked on "teaching" the dog rather than "training" them. As I started working dogs more formally again I found not only was I seeing better results in teaching behaviors but just as importantly to me, much of the conflict between the dogs and their handlers was gone. I started focusing more and more on the pure science involved in how animals learn and began applying the fundamental theories of positive reinforcement and operant conditioning ("clicker training") to the working dogs I was training. Eventually Riverfront Working Dog Club was formed as a nonprofit organization to allow the teams I was working with to compete in various competitive venues.
In addition to training dogs I own Working Dog Studios and I do freelance art and design. www.workingdogstudios.com I've been proud to do many logos and designs for clients as well as big events and championships for a wide variety of organizations including the 2013 WUSV World Championships. I've also worked with some great retailers such as Top Dog Designs, Signature K9, Ray Allen Mfg, and J&J Dog Supplies. Currently I'm partnering most frequently with Custom K9 Creations.