After four years training, walking and sitting Revelstokeâs four-legged population, Revy K9 founder and owner Marika Koncek says she still finds herself adapting to her job on a day-to-day basis.
Whether it be through evolution of techniques and exercises, or teaching patience in what can be a long haul for dog owners, time is a major factor in the dog training world according to Koncek.
âDog training and being a dog trainer is a lifelong thing. Youâre always learning, itâs not like something that once you know it, thatâs the end,â says Koncek. âYouâre always learning, adapting, changing.â
Koncek founded Revy K9 in 2014 after personally struggling with her own difficult dog in years prior.
Sierra, a Rottweiler-shepard mix, was adopted in 2012 from the SPCA in Canmore, Alta. by Koncek. Despite sessions with several trainers, Koncek says no one could help her solve the issues Sierra faced, leading Koncek to take matters into her own hands.
After attending several classes, both online and in person, Koncek says she felt obligated to help not only her own dog, but others as well.
Though Sierra has since passed away, Koncek says the lessons she learned from previously being in the same situation many of her client are in today has been an invaluable experience to her as a trainer.
âDog trainers who havenât owned a dog like that just donât really know what it feels like to be on the other end of that leash and to be that owner,â says Koncek.
While dog training was never a life-long dream of Koncekâs, her decision to pursue the career in the field came as a combination of having obtained the knowledge from her own experiences and from seeing an opportunity to fill a gap in the Revelstoke business world
âWhen you move to Revelstoke, youâre like âHow can I make this work as a life? I donât want to work casual jobs for the rest of my life, how can I make a life here?ââ says Koncek, adding her thought process on taking up training full-time. âThis is a good opportunity and I enjoy it, so why not make it work?â
Though Koncek works individually with dogs, she says a common misconception amongst owners is that the solution to their dogâs issues lies solely on the trainer.
In reality, as Koncek explains, a major onus lies upon owners as well, as training happens far beyond session work.
âI do get a lot of people asking me âHow do you train the dogs?â or âWhere do you train the dogs?â and itâs like, no itâs not me. The dog owners train their dogs, I donât do it,â explains Koncek. âAnd itâs important for people to understand that, especially when theyâre looking into dog training, that itâs hard work for them â theyâve got to do the work too. Otherwise it doesnât work.â
While Koncek says she previously followed a similar teaching structure as the trainers she learned under, often luring pets into behaviours then rewarding them, she has since found a positive approach to be a better method for teaching dogs good behaviour.
âIâm still following the same scientific principles of how dogs learn, but the exercises the I teach and the way that I teach them have changed significantly,â says Koncek of her teaching evolution.
Under her current approach, Koncek allows dogs to first naturally exhibit a desired behaviour, such as sitting or making eye-contact with their owner, then rewards the dog for the behaviour.
By doing so, Koncek says dogs will repeat the good behaviour while feeling more confident and empowered than if the action had been forced on them.
âWeâve got to find ways to make training more fun so that the dog actually wants to do it,â says Koncek.âConfidence is really important. If they enjoy it, then their confidence builds, and then theyâre more willing to do more for you in the future and it just opens up your possibilities really.â
While teaching a dog new behaviours can often take months or even years to see major result, Koncek says dog owners shouldnât get discouraged by not seeing immediate results from their pets.
âPeople have a big misunderstanding of how long it actually takes to train a dog, so I think they get frustrated quite early and give up. And thatâs sad, because if I didnât find the right information, I could have given up early tooâ says Koncek of her own experience. âItâs hard to see the big picture until you get there, and then you look back and youâre like âWow, it took us a year but weâre really making progress now.ââ
To learn more about Revy K9 and the services Koncek offers, visit http://www.revelstokedogtraining.com/