I Ran Into A Dog Savant Online

So, I was at one of my favorite dog parks last night and I happened to see a dog owner working with a dog trainer.  Dude had a beautiful blue nose pit bull and was working on some long range recall stuff.  I couldn’t believe it, but the trainer was one of those “positive reinforcement” dog trainers.  Now, I know that most dogs are highly food-motivated, but really, training a pit bull to be food motivated?  I really have to question the methodology of dog trainers sometimes.

I hopped online last night and searched for a trainer that I had seen a YouTube video from not that long ago.  Took me a minute to find him, but the guy’s name is Brett Endes and he owns The Dog Savant in the Los Angeles area.  Check him out at www.dogtrainingla.com.  Nothing but value comes out of his mouth when he publishes YouTube vids.  If you have a dog and you are ever in need of some “real” training tips and expertise, kindly do yourself a favor and subscribe to his YouTube channel.  A quick glance at his testimonials page and you’ll see that he even works with celebrities looking for dog training in Los Angeles.  Pretty cool to see that if I must say so myself.

It had been a while since I had navigated over to his site, but I happened to see that there was a promo picture for a new web series that he is going to be releasing soon.  Totally got me all excited because I feel like the free knowledge bombs are going to be dropping on the weekly!  I also saw something mentioned about a guest appearance by Brett on the Hallmark channel’s Home & Family Show tomorrow, Sept. 16th.  I set the DVR cuz I’m totally totally going to be working for the man when the show is live.  The beauty of technology.  Shoot, I might even try and sneak away and fire up my DirecTV app to watch it live.  May have a little indigestion tomorrow if you know what I mean…

Not really sure where I’m going with this post other than I was stoked to see some real value coming in the dog training industry.  Maybe I’ll just dish on the whole idea of positive reinforcement training for a while.

The real problem with all-positive dog training is there will most certainly come a time when the distractions that a dog is faced with are more interesting to the dog than the high value reward (treats) the handler is presenting for obedience to a command.  It is at that point in time that the dog must learn that there are consequences for not following direction from the handler.

The purpose for using corrections in dog training is to change a dog’s behavior, not to punish a dog for inappropriate or bad behavior.  It is important to note the subtle difference here.  Another important concept is that dogs of different temperament require differing levels and kinds of corrections.  One size simply does not fit all here.

Much like people, dogs are individuals as well.  A correction which results in a behavior change for one dog may have no effect on a different dog.  The simple act of withholding a toy or food reward for many dogs may produce behavior changes, while an off-leash, high-drive dog confronted with a strong distraction may require a stiff remote collar correction in order to achieve changes in behavior.

Dogs of differing temperaments require different kinds of corrections and the type of distraction which a dog faces will often dictate the kind and level of correction a dog needs to get a behavior change.  In essence, you must adjust your correction intensity for each individual dog and situation.

All-positive trainers simply do not get it.  They attempt to simply the entire training process no matter which dog they are presented with.  If you take a moment to let that statement sink in you’ll notice just how ridiculous the concept is.  Environments, much like training, are hardly ever static.  Why you would ever want to only have one tool in your bag when the building project requires multiple tools to achieve completion.  Cookie cutter approaches to dog training attempt to simply dog training thereby taking much of the thinking out of training.  The reality is that you must be consistent with your methods and willing to put in the time to properly achieve results.  Like anything else, practice is the key.

Barkin’ Basin Dog Park

Here we go peeps!

First up: Barkin’ Basin Dog Park


Open 7:00am to 10:00pm, Barkin’ Basin Dog Park is located at Alexander Rd. and Tenaya Way. The park is massive, coming in at nearly 8 acres. Bring your binoculars ‘cuz you may need them to spot your pooch and where they poop! Don’t fear though, the park is damn near impeccable and honestly nothing short of amazing.

Tons of seating for owners and lighting illuminates the park when the sun goes down. You’ll run into so many friendly dog owners that you will wonder if your’e dreaming. I swear it’s like everyone is from the Midwest or something.  Except for the fact that everyone I saw the last time I was there was in pretty good shape! Ha.

Three gated areas divide the park and proper signage alerts you to the different sizes of dogs allowed in each area.  Typically only two of the areas are open at one time.  One area is for small dogs and one area for large dogs.  Poop bags are on site, as well as bathrooms, water fountains, shaded areas, sitting areas, paths, playgrounds, and plenty of green grass.

The owners that I have encountered here during my many visits have been great.  I feel like everyone I’ve ran into at the park have been understanding and have shared the same philosophy as far as using the dog park.  While parks as large as Barkin’ Basin often struggle to stay clean, I feel that also falls upon the users and the dog owners.  You can’t expect those who maintain such a large dog park to be able to canvas the entire park for feces.  Upkeep, to a certain degree, must fall upon the dog owners.

From time to time, you’ll even encounter dog trainers working with client dogs at the park.  I feel that it’s fun to hang out on the sideline and observe the various training philosophies.  I’ve even picked up some free training tips during my time at Barkin’ Basin.

Something else that I should mention is that the park is seldom used during the weekdays.  If you like to reduce the overall number of distractions, while still having plenty of space for your canine companion, do yourself a favor and hit up the park mid-afternoon during the week.  I’m not certain if there is actual max capacity for the park, but in all my visits, I’ve never felt like space was at a premium.

Barkin’ Basin is definitely at the top of my list for dog parks.  Venture to the park yourself and you’ll probably share the same sentiment.  My only gripe is that parking can be a real pain during the weekend, but that’s to be expected I s’pose.  Honestly, the lack of parking really only becomes an issue during peak use days and times.

All in all, Barkin’ Basin is definitely worth a look.  Speaking of look, check out a few pictures of the park:

Barkin' Basin Dog Park Trail Barkin' Basin Dog ParkBarkin' Basin Dog Park Running Walking Trail

That’s it for now.  Click your mouse here to hit me up with suggestions on what you would like to see next!

Welcome Fellow Dog Lovers!

Hey there and thanks for stopping by my humble little blog.

I’m Steven Thompson and I’d like to say hello and welcome you to my Las Vegas Barkers User Group. Original name, huh? I guess you could say this project probably should have waited until I was a little more sober, but what can I say? At least the alcohol actually stimulated me to get off my ass and take some action. I’ve had this idea in my head for a while and I finally got fed up with my buddies taunting me to start a blog. Cheers to alcohol, the great confidence booster!

My goal is to provide all you desert dwellers some insight into places to take your pooches. As we all know, Las Vegas can be downright brutal in the summer when we are talking temperatures. I love taking my dogs out to socialize and over the years I’ve found quite a few cool spots to chill out with my canines. I aim to create a place where users and dog lovers can come for ideas and inspiration.

Who knows, maybe I’ll meet some of you at my favorite dog parks. I may even turn this website into some sort of membership site if people actually like the thing. No promises since this is my first crack at the internet. Hell, I struggled with how to install WordPress. Thank God for YouTube! Maybe I better go grab some liquid confidence…

I must sound like an alky or wino to you right now. Well, that’s if you are actually reading this intro post. I swear I don’t drink all the time. I’m actually more of a social drinker. I just happen to be around my friends all the time. What fun is life if you can’t enjoy yourself from time to time? Amiright? Suddenly I’ve got Milli Vanilli and Girl You Know It’s True going through my head right now. Man, I can be a total space cadet at times…

First things first though. I need to actually get some posts online and get some eyes on my blog before anything else can come to fruition. So, feel free to hit me up at admin@stlvbug.org if you have any ideas or chiggity check out my contact page. I want to try and drip out some posts from time to time and bring you some things that I find interesting.


My loyal companion Budaj