Training Approach

The Kintala Club is a non-profit organisation which pioneered positive reinforcement training and early socialisation of dogs.

Kintala Club instructors are volunteers who are educated and experienced in the Gentle Modern Method of Training™. Instructors are members of the Gentle Dog Trainers Association which was founded in 1997 and has state government recognition. This means instructors are accredited under the Domestic Animals Act.

The training method used by Kintala Club instructors is based on the science of conditioning behaviour using positive reinforcement. This means that when the dog performs a desired behaviour, you provide a 'reinforcement': a valued item, usually a highly desirable food reward. There are three important stages in the process of teaching your dog a new behaviour: Teaching, Proofing and Performing.

Stage 1: Teaching

In the teaching phase use food in your hand, placed at the dogs nose, to lure your dog into the position you want. Give the dog the food as soon as you get the behaviour you want to see: this is called 'reinforcing' the behaviour. At first you may also give the food halfway during a behaviour, to encourage your dog to continue trying. This phase is best done in a distraction free environment.

Stage 2: Proofing

Once the dog is performing the behaviour consistently, you can fade the food lure. Give a hand and verbal signal (must be unique to each behaviour) and reinforce the behaviour when performed. You can start by reinforcing all attempts, and gradually increase your expectations of the dog's accuracy or speed. Start in spaces which are easy to work in, then practice in other environments, gradually increasing the level of distraction. Most of the training time should be spent in this phase.

Stage 3: Performing

This is where you use the behaviour in the situation you intended it to be used. Little time should be spent in this phase, this is where your hard proofing is to be put to the test. For example, if your have been teaching and proofing heeling, this is where you can heel past that dead bird or spilled rubbish that your dog would otherwise eat or roll in.

Instructor course

If you would like to become an accredited instructor using the Gentle Modern Method of Training, visit the Gentle Dog Trainers Association site for information on the Instructor Training Course.

Learn more about our training methods from the books by David and Ruth Weston, or read about the club’s history and founder David Weston.