Recently, we sat down with Mitch Watson, better known as 'The Paw Professor'! Mitch is a former police dog handler & trainer and is now one of Australia's leading dog trainers.
In our interview below, we discuss common dog problems and we introduce Mitch's '3 Point Sliding Scale' training technique to fix these behaviours. Scroll down to the green box to get your exclusive Bark Control discount on his online video dog training course!
Neil: When dealing with domestic dogs, what are the most common issues you come across?
Mitch: There are a lot of different issues that dog owners have, but if I was forced to nominate the three most common issues then I would definitely say getting the dog to come back to you when called (recall), jumping up on people, and pulling on the lead, including the various forms of leash reactivity that goes along with that when distractions come along, like other dogs.
Neil: What’s the most common mistake you see that dog owners make that results in these problems?
Mitch: I think a lot of dog owners are being influenced by information overload. There is so much information and advice out there on the internet, and so many different training methods. This results in dog owners often applying incorrect methods to fix their issues.
Positive reinforcement and a doggy treat will not fix everything, despite what others might say. Incorrect timing and inconsistency from the dog owner is also a major factor.
Neil: When it comes to dog training, what do you consider are the most important principles to get results?
Mitch: Getting value for a command - Be that to teach a dog a behaviour, and more importantly, to ignore something that is of greater value. I think it is extremely important that when you give your dog a command it is obeyed no matter what the distraction. Having this type of control over your dog could save its life one day. Consistency and timing have always been the cornerstones of any successful dog training program.
Neil: Tell us about your fantastic new online course and how you came up with the sliding scale concept behind it.
Mitch: Oddly, the concept of the '3-point sliding scale’ began in my early days in the Police Dog Squad. I never referred to it like that and I never actually spoke to anyone about it. Not that it was a secret, I just didn’t think it was really that important at the time.
I would observe police dogs being trained in bite work (attack training) where they would hit the decoy who was wearing a padded sleeve or suit. I would find it fascinating that the dogs could be called off in an instant at the dog handler's command. The three points have always been in my mind. The first point, the dog owner or dog handler, the second, the dog, and the third, the distraction - or in this case, the decoy.
That was the first moment I thought of it. I always referred to the concept in my own head, however, never named it. After leaving the Police and moving into domestic training, it was the cornerstone of my training - and still is today. I then began to realise how the domestic owner was missing this important part of training.
Anyway, 8 years and thousands of clients later, I put a name to it. Many people have had to listen to me harp on about it, and in January 2019, I decided to make a video course about it featuring animations and a couple of demonstration dogs so that dog owners could learn this concept and apply it to their own dog no matter where they are located.
Neil: If someone does your online training course, what are the benefits they can expect?
Mitch: That's a simple one - control over their dog. When dog owners contact me for dog training, most of them are at their wit's end when it comes to controlling their dog. Whether that be walking their dog or aggression toward other dogs, or anything else, gaining control greatly improves the owner-dog bond and makes having a dog enjoyable again. I want people to enjoy having a dog and I hope that's what they get from this course.