BATAVIA – Eric Wilson wants to help dog owners and their pets better communicate with each other.
A certified canine behaviorist, he owns WoofBeach with his wife, Christina, who is a certified dog groomer. The Elburn couple have WoofBeach locations in Batavia, Geneva, South Elgin and since May in Glen Ellyn. The business provides dog training and grooming.
Eric Wilson, who grew up in Maple Park, said WoofBeach finds it best to first separate dog from owner when beginning a training course.
"We have it where the dog goes through training, and then the owner goes through training," Wilson said. "When somebody walks in the door and they are looking for our services for training, neither one of them know anything about what they want. The dog doesn't know how to communicate with the owner properly and is jumping all over him for attention. Maybe they don't know how to sit or heel or any of that stuff. The owner doesn't know how to reinforce that or how to get it out of the dog. Dogs learn and achieve success based on high repetition volume."
He said this type of training allows dogs to learn what they are supposed to do – before their owners enter the picture for their own instruction.
"By the time we bring the owner in, the dog already knows what he's doing," Wilson said. "So now you're not trying to fight this dog that has no idea of what you're trying to teach … Our job is to try to make sure that the family is looked at as a leader, so that the dog wants to follow them."
The dogs also learn from each other through observation, he said.
"It's a very pack-oriented style of training," Wilson said. "It helps to speed up the repetition volume we need in order for a dog to sustain learning the commands."
And it will take repetition to rid a dog of a bad behavior, such as jumping on people, he said, noting jumping is a natural behavior dogs do with each other all the time.
"But then they do it with us, and everybody's upset with that," Wilson said. "You have to teach them, 'Hey, listen, I know this is something that you like to do, but in this environment with a human, you need to sit instead.' They are not doing it out of spite. Dogs are not spiteful creatures. They're just going with what nature's told them to do. The training is helping condition them and to teach them the alternatives to those behaviors."
To learn more, visit woofbeach.com.