Jimi Livshitz says he can train any dog no matter what the breed or age, how bad its habits are or what it has been taught before.

Livshitz, also known as the “Dog Guru,” is an Israeli dog trainer in Phoenix who once trained German shepherds for the Israeli army and has what he calls a “very different approach to dog training.”

He specializes in dog obedience, behavior solutions, advanced dog training and socialization.

“Your dog really wants to be involved with you. It’s kind of like a partnership. It’s not about domination,” he says. “My training is really targeted toward building a relationship.”

That relationship, Livshitz says, is like a marriage in which you take care of your partner’s needs. For example, if a dog is afraid of something, Livshitz will teach the dog not to be afraid, or if the dog doesn’t know how to play, Livshitz will show the dog how.

“Dogs need security and constant attention to teach them how to respond to their environment, because they don’t know how. And if they don’t know, it causes them anxiety and anxiety transfers to neuroticism,” he says. Livshitz equates a dog’s anxiety to a human panic attack. “When we don’t know what to do, it’s a scary feeling.”

Livshitz’s training method is a blend of B.F. Skinner’s theory of operant conditioning – changing behavior by the use of reinforcement, which is given after the desired response – and channeling a dog’s natural drives of “play, prey, pack and food” to encourage only those behaviors and minimize negative behaviors such as biting, pulling and jumping. He doesn’t use treats or punishment.

Instead, he creates a personalized approach to each dog. There is no manual, he says.

Many times, the owners are the cause of whatever problem the dog has, Livshitz says, but they don’t like to hear that. “They try to fix the problem themselves, but they don’t do the right thing.”

In some cases, Livshitz will board the dog at his kennel to watch for instabilities, uncertainties and possible negative reactions or behaviors. Then, he can redirect or stop the behavior, unlike at some other boarding places, he says, where the dogs are “crammed” together. “You see aggressive dogs pounding the submissive dogs and they are not playing – they’re really punching each other, while people stand around and laugh,” he says. “It’s like watching your kid in the sandbox getting pounded on while someone is taking his toys away and you’re just standing there saying, ‘Oh, he’s just playing.'”

Livshitz starts with an evaluation of the dog, for which he charges $160. “The training is not cheap,” he says. “But if your dog breaks a leash, runs off and gets hit by a car, that’s $3,000 for something that should never have happened.”

Original article posted here

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