Dog training naked is not as visually interesting as you would think.
The owner is not naked –sorry!
But your dog is totally naked. No collar. No harness. No chain and definitely no leash. Training naked is teaching your dog to WANT to work with you without any type of restraint or controlling device at all.
The Story Behind the NAKED Method
Training Naked is how Jennifer has trained her dogs for years, even though she was raised on the traditional choke-chain method. However, Jennifer quickly came across many dogs that resented training because they were being forced to learn using old school methods. Gradually Jennifer started using positive methods with treats and toys (much to the horror of her mentor at the time) over the yank-and-correct that was widely used 30 years ago.
Eventually this evolved into positive reinforcement, then to shaping, and then to using no physical tools on her puppies at all. Jennifer wanted to teach her dogs to WANT to learn – that was the KEY! Sometimes you are blessed enough to have a dog that wants to learn automatically and it is your job to ensure that you keep that wonderful gift alive by using fun engaging methods of training. Other times you have to put more work into your dog and teach them to want to learn, which can be much harder!
Of course, Jennifer’s dogs are on leash when out in public, because no matter how well-trained your dog is, they must be on leash for everyone’s safety. However, it is so rewarding to have a collar and leash on your dog, but have it forever dangling loose, never needing to use it while your dog prances happily by your side. This is not a fast method, but the results speak for themselves if you put in the time. The Naked method is for when you are training – ACTIVELY working your dog – and when you have educated yourself properly on how to use this method. Taking a dog that has always been on a leash and physically controlled, then taking them off leash, and saying, “ok lets train”, is asking for trouble! This is a method that Jennifer has developed over years of working with her dogs, and she hopes she will be able to share all that she has learned with those who wish to learn – and soon.
This method only works once you have a tight and strong BOND with your dog, and once you understand how to communicate while training.
Bonding, understanding and communicating first – training will follow!
The phrase ‘anything worth doing, is worth doing right’, and having a dog that loves and respects you, is the most rewarding way to train.
Jennifer believes in the training naked method as her main method of training her dogs, however, she has, and still does, use several different types of dog training methods occasionally. She believes that there is a method for every dog to learn. Usually a combination of using different methods will work better than just one. Sometimes you have to have a little more imagination and education and be open to all methods before you can find the perfect combination. But Jennifer’s #1 rule is that the dog MUST be having fun and be happy when being trained. A dog that listens…. but is miserable and/or scared of their owner breaks Jennifer’s heart.
Jennifer trains her dogs naked – can you?
Story of Jennifer’s First Naked Trained Puppy
Loading up the little aussie baby dog, Spice, in the van, for her very first obedience trial competition, was very exciting. Jennifer had competed with multiple dogs over the years, but putting a new dog in the ring was always a thrill. Spice was only 6 months old – the bare minimum a dog can be to compete in the formal obedience ring but Jennifer knew Spice could handle it.
Spice had been trained Naked since Jennifer brought her home, so only 4 short months, but she had been consistent, and Spice had been smart and willing from the beginning.
Setting up at the show, Jennifer looked around to check out the rings and see how many dogs were entered. A whopping 28 dogs, which was large for novice, but it was a big show. Time running down Jennifer relaxed in her chair, waiting for her turn. That was when she finally focused on what was going on around her. Every handler would get their dog out of their kennel, put on a choke chain or the rare flat collar, and a leash on their dog. Then it hit Jennifer like a brick. Spice had never worn a leash in her young life. NOT ONCE!! Jennifer had rolled Spice into the building in her kennel; she had carried her pup any time she brought her anywhere in public; and only put her down leash less and collarless to train or play in safe environments. Not once had this young pup had either a collar or a leash on her and it was REQUIRED to be in the ring to compete!
With time ticking down, Jennifer grabbed her wallet and ran to the first kiosk and bought a small flat collar and the lightest show leash for her pup. Running back to Spice, Jennifer reached into her kennel, put the collar on the puppy and waited. After a few minutes of scratching, Spice calmed down and accepted the strange device on her neck. Jen then grabbed her treats and hooked the leash onto Spice’s new collar. You have never seen anyone focus as hard as Jennifer did to ensure that leash stayed as loose as possible. She was insanely careful, making sure that the leash never put even a quarter ounce of pressure on the pup’s neck. Of course, being trained with treats and toys, Spice took one look at the leash and Jennifer could see the excitement in Spice’s eyes, “NEW TOY”, as she jumped and flipped, trying to grab this tiny little string she thought was her newest play item. Jennifer panicked and silently swore to herself, “my fault, all my fault”. But she decided to give it a try and calmly rested a finger on Spice’s nose. The puppy yanked and pulled, super happy with her new “toy”. Jennifer commanded “drop” – a command the pup knew well and followed as soon as she heard it. Repeating this a couple more times, Jen started rewarding Spice every time she dropped the leash. Then, when she ignored the leash entirely, Jennifer was able to start warming Spice up with only minutes to spare… before she was called in the ring.
“This is not something I would recommend as I have since ensured my dogs are used to collars and leashes, but it is so nice to have tools for your dogs that you never need to use. Having them and never needing to use them is the ultimate training, and I hope others are able to strive for that kind of bond with their dogs. It takes time and dedication, and I will be the first to admit my dogs are not all perfectly trained, but Daiquiri does come dangerously close … ;)”
Oh – You Want to Know How Spice Did in the Ring?
Well at 6 months, old not only did Spice earn her obedience title over the weekend, but her lowest score was a 198 out of 200!! (198 – 198 – 199 – 199.5 respectably), earning her the High In Class Dog in all four trials AND High in Trial over all – against 70 dogs! So from that moment on Jennifer was hooked on the Naked training method, and has have been using it for almost 20 years now.
Spice successfully, on the Naked method, earned her Obedience Trial Champion OTCH one year later, as well as a multitude of high wins and awards in many dog events. Spice was lost to cancer at the young age of 9, weeks short of her 10th birthday, with 68 titles earned over her life time.
Jennifer and her family will forever miss her and she will always be in their hearts.
Spice with daughter Juliette.