My Crossover Story

Starlite’s Alexander Lionhart, CDX, CGC
My cross-over dog

Back in 1993, my life changed when I got a beautiful Weimaraner puppy named Alex. I took him to training classes and got hooked on competition obedience. In those days, harsh training methods were the norm, and I was taught to do some pretty awful things to the dog I loved. I watched other people do horribly punitive things to their dogs in the name of “training.” I started to realize that while some of us were achieving our training goals, some were also ruining their dogs’ temperaments, eroding the bond and causing the dogs unnecessary pain. I wondered: Do people really have the right to treat dogs this way? How can a method that creates more problems than it solves be efficient? In 2000, I began volunteering at the Humane Society of Broward County and I was introduced to positive reinforcement (R+) training. We could not use the choke collars, prong collars or leash corrections that I was used to. And guess what? The dogs learned quicker and were happy and willing to perform the behaviors. And I knew I was doing the right thing. I went on to study modern, science-based behavior protocols and became a Certified Professional Dog Trainer-Knowledge Assessed. I have made it my mission to spread the word: harsh punishment is NOT necessary to train your dog! I am a “cross-over trainer.”

For more on crossing over, read my article in Barks From the Guild.

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