Podcast Guests: Steve White

Steve White was raised with dogs, but his love of actually working with them began in 1975 when his obedience instructor introduced him to the world of K9 Search and Rescue. Steve was hooked and soon joined the US Army as a Military Police working dog handler, since then most of Steve law enforcement career has been devoted K9. He is the only person to have served as a handler, trainer, and supervisor for the only major city police K9 Unit to have its methods upheld by the courts in a major class-action suit brought by the ACLU.

Accredited as a Master Trainer in 1993 by the Washington State Police Canine Association, Steve is also a past Executive Board Member of that body. He served as Vice President of the Certification Council for Pet Dog Trainers, (now called the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers) and has been an instructor for the K9 Academy for Law Enforcement. Steve has instructed at seminars in the U.S., Australia, Belgium, Canada, China, Finland, Mexico, Japan, Spain, the United Kingdom, and New Zealand. He was a founding instructor at Karen Pryor’s ClickerExpo. He has taught obedience classes at parks, community centers, kennels, and the facility he and his wife Jennifer operate, Rivendale Learning Center in Woodinville, Washington.

His articles have appeared in police K-9 and dog training publications in the U.S., Australia, Canada, China, Finland, Japan, and New Zealand. He specializes in teaching behavior modification, urban tracking, and scent work through the use of positive reinforcement based operant conditioning. He provides consultation and training to K-9 units on administrative and legal issues and has been recognized as an expert witness by Washington and Federal courts in Police K-9 and dog behavior matters.

In this episode we discuss:

  • The pros and cons of using labels when communicating.
  • How we might communicate differently when talking to a client or casual pet owner compared to talking with other trainers
  • What to keep in mind when having a conversation using labels

Links Mentioned:

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Hannah built a new training program from the ground up. The results were awesome. Her dogs have competed successfully at the national level, earning High-in-Trial awards and advanced titles through several organizations. These strategies have transformed training for hundreds of teams, who also believe in the power of positive reinforcement and good training practices. In Awesome Obedience, Hannah lays out all the components to build the behaviors needed to go as far in obedience training as you want. You’ll learn:

How to create a happy, reliable partner using motivational games

Where to put your efforts (hint: not in Fronts and Finishes)

How the mechanics of exercises affect training

How to fine-tune your dog’s arousal level for maximum performance

How to train your dog to ignore ring distractions (like that judge following you around)

How to train the critical, unscored transition portion of your performance between exercises

Most of all, how to have a blast with your dog while you train


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