Top-notch training for dogs (and owners)
Sit Means Sit Boise is not your average dog training company. Not only has it been the number one franchise in North America for the past three years, but it has also developed specialized systems that are specific to each individual dog and owner.
Owner Jim Closson, who has been in business for 27 years, says the Sit Means Sit training system is based on the scientific principles of classical and operate conditioning and uses a reward-based communication system. “It encompasses marker training, body language, verbal languages, the language of the leash, and the language of our patented Sit Means Sit Smart Collar,” Closson says.
The Smart Collar is signal-reward collar used to capture attention, and Closson explains that it’s radically different from other systems. “It’s not a punishment-based, high-powered shock collar,” he says. “It’s based on the science of applied animal behavior. There’s no physical punishment involved, but there’s always an outcome.” That outcome is simply whether or not a reward is received.
Part of the Sit Means Sit training involves uncovering a dog’s individual motivators, from food to toys to love and affection. But it doesn’t stop there. Trainers figure out whether dogs prefer jerky or cheese, tennis balls or frisbees, and swimming or running. “We teach owners how to find and rank reward value with each individual dog,” Closson says.
What makes Sit Means Sit unique is that they design training programs around a dog’s unique characteristics and traits, or caninality. “It’s just like people have personalities,” Closson says. “What works for a Boston Terrier isn’t going to work for a Border Collie.”
The training system also takes the owner’s unique lifestyle and goals into consideration. Someone who is active and outdoors frequently will have a different program than a dog owner in assisted living, for example. “The dogs are easy,” Closson says. “85 percent of it is training the owners.”
Sit Means Sit trains all types of dogs, from Chihuahuas to Great Danes and everything in between, as well as all obedience levels and ages. Closson recalls training a 16-year-old dog. “It’s never too late,” he says.
Training, which is conducted by Sit Means Sit dog trainers who have gone through the renowned Michael Ellis School for Dog Trainers, occurs in small group classes with between 6-10 dogs, in private one-on-one instruction, or in the popular Sit Means Sit Transformation Academy, specifically designed for people with very busy lifestyles who want to be somewhat involved in training. “We do the training up front,” Closson says, “and then work on leadership transfer.” This helps owners learn their part of the training system and improve their relationships with their dogs while not having to do all the work. Every client also receives a free consultation before the training process begins. All you have to do is call.
Closson attributes his franchise’s success to great clients. “Without great clients, you can’t grow your business,” he says. “Last year we had a 98.2 percent customer satisfaction rating.”
Closson recalls one dog who saved its owner from a house fire, and another who helped turn a reclusive violent crime victim into a successful business owner. He says his favorite part of the job is watching people’s relationships with their dogs blossom. “People come in and are frustrated because they don’t know how to communicate with their puppy,” he says. “We teach them how to communicate and to see the relationship grow and strengthen. People are now enjoying activities like hiking and camping, which they couldn’t enjoy before because the dog was a pain. Trust builds, and then they tell you how much more they appreciate their dog.”
Keep an eye out for Sit Means Sit dog Kohl, who is the official bat dog for the Boise Hawks. Sit Means Sit is also the official dog trainer for the Boise State Broncos, and Kohl recently made a free throw during a BSU halftime show in front of 12,000 people.
Whether you want your dog to be a sports star or not, you won’t find better training than Sit Means Sit.