Hello and welcome to the official blog page of Don’s Behavioral Dog Training based right here in Elk River, Minnesota! We’re so happy to have you with us today and can’t wait to get into a greater discussion about the fascinating world of dog training.

We all love our dogs. How could you not? They’re so sweet, loyal and supportive in ways we don’t even notice without really thinking about it. But it’s important to remember that dogs are still animals and have instincts, so we need to teach them proper behaviors just like we would with our children. The main difference, of course, is that you can talk to your dog and they can’t tell you what’s on their mind — well, at least not in words we would understand!

If dogs are great (which we know they are), then a well-behaved dog is simply the best friend anybody can have! And despite what you might think, a well-trained pup is something any dog can become if they receive the proper, professional dog training they require. Just like us humans, some dogs need more work than others, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done.

We’d like to start by giving you a little better sense of us and what we’re all about here at Don’s Behavioral Dog Training so that you can see why we’re your first choice for professional dog training here in Minnesota. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us directly to learn more or for any other questions!

About Don

All of our dog training is done by longtime professional Don Dahlberg, who began training dogs when he was just 16. Don specializes in dog communication and psychology because training dogs is not just about getting them to do tricks or obey commands, but rather to understand how a dog thinks and what they respond to in order to ensure they want to listen to you and please you.

Don is a former zookeeper, with a degree in biology and wrote a research paper on wolves, which led him to discover just how similar wolves and your dog actually are — at least when it comes to behavior and psychology. Domesticated dogs and wolves share 99.8 percent of their DNA, yet, so much of dog training does not take this into account. Wolves operate with a pack hierarchy and dogs respond in kind. In order for a dog to listen to you, they have to believe they should listen to you. You need to be the Alpha of the “pack” and this is where many people need help. Once you establish you’re in charge, much of the training falls smoothly into place!

He’s studied several foremost authorities in the dog training field, including Cesar Millan, Dr. Ian Dunbar and Doggy Dan among several others in order to develop his well-rounded approach to professional dog training.

Dog Training Philosophy

Would you try to teach somebody Spanish in Italian when they speak English? No. Not in a million years. The communication barrier would make the task impossible, or at the very least, extremely time-consuming. So don’t try to do the equivalent with a dog. Yelling at them, using negative reinforcement or expecting them to understand your words just aren’t effective methods of dog training. You must reach dogs at their level.

You must first understand wolf social structure, hierarchy and communication, which is where Don comes in. He helps you understand your dog by teaching you the basic five principles to become the leader of your furry friend and the concepts he teaches are simple to understand. This is best done through puppy training, but even an older dog can learn you’re the leader. The end goal is to have your dog follow your commands because they want to, not because you forced them to through punishment or treats. This is what makes Don unique. His training lasts because not only is your dog learning but so are you!

Don will come to your house and observe your dog in their environment in order to see exactly how your dog lives and acts. This gives him a baseline to fully understand your dog’s psychology and specifically how he can help you both come to an understanding. This also allows your dog to stay calm and not get overstimulated. A calm dog can listen and focus. Remember, they have shorter attention spans and memories (than most of us!), and the key to having an obedient dog is to trust they will obey when you actually need them to. As Don says, you need to “win their mind” before you truly start to train the dog.

This can apply to many different areas. Aggressive dog training, for example, could stem from a dog’s inherent feeling of needing to protect you or the family. By showing them that you’re in charge and don’t need protecting, they will act less hostile to outsiders of their “pack.”

The same applies when going for walks. When a dog believes they are in charge, why would they wait for your guidance on the leash? They decide where to go and pull you in that direction. It’s not their fault. They don’t inherently know you’re the leader. So understanding this basic principle unlocks successful dog training in all areas!

Contact Us Today!

We hope you found today’s post informative and helpful. There’s no question Don can help you and your dog come to a full understanding so that the relationship is strong and healthy for the future, whether your dog is just a puppy or is older. Once you become the accepted leader, the rest falls into place. So contact us today to learn more or to schedule a free consultation with Don and take the first step to an obedient, well-behaved dog!