Training Programs, Fundamentals, and Philosophy
At Conquistador K-9 we don't just work to produce dogs for sale to our clients, we consider ourselves trainers first, producers second. We produce Triple - Threat Conquistador Presa Canarios to train for our program goals only, simply put. We develop individualized training goals for each of the dogs in our program, everyone has a job here. Our business model is not to train dogs others have produced for clients, unlike many training facilities, we only focus on dogs we have produced for our program.
Since we produce limited litters of puppies, almost all our time is spent developing the total skills of each handler and K-9 team. Each team member will only ever handle up to four dogs, making our K-9 to handler ratio very high and allowing for intimate bonding within the team to ensure each Conquistador K-9 reaches it's highest possible potential.
Our day-to-day training facility consists of 40 acres of diverse land, complete with a functioning family farm where our dogs play an integral role in livestock protection and management. We utilize off-site areas for civil training, multiple different facilities for conformation training, off-site training with our fellow club members of the OG Schutzhund team, and off-site training for tracking and hunting purposes. We look to leverage all opportunities to test and train our dogs and offer life-time training support and guidance to all our Conquistador K-9 family members.
We do offer training package for our clients, however we feel that the best possible avenue is to set you and your new Conquistador on the correct path together and require all our training package to include HANDLER based training as well.
You are a Dog Trainer
If you own a dog, you are a dog trainer. Let that Sink in... this is pretty much our philosophy. We can produce and event fully train your new Conquistador K-9 from everything to mobility service work to bomb detection, however once your new Conquistador Presa is in your hands, you are just as responsible to continue to develop and hone those skills as your new K-9 partner is to preform them.
We treat every dog as an individual. One method may work well for one dog and its owner, but not necessarily for another. Our trainers are up-to-date on the latest training tools / equipment and are well-versed in a variety of training methods and techniques to help you and your dog succeed. Our trainers know how to deal with all dogs in the spectrum of aptitudes for the species and specifically the Presa Canario breed.
Just as it is important that dog owners understand what motivates and drives their dogs' behavior, it is important that they understand their personality and temperament as well. We feel once this is understood, and most importantly accepted, it becomes much easier to mold their dogs' behavior. We always explain every exercise in detail and make sure that our clients understand why we want them to do something a particular way... We are constantly TEACHING / EDUCATING our clients, not just telling them to do something without an explanation.
We believe that proper motivation is the key to training and when interacting with your dog. With proper motivation, your dog can learn what is and what is not acceptable behavior much more quickly. We incorporate a combination of positive consequences (toy play, treats / food, and verbal / physical praise) and negative consequences (using a leash and training collar) into our training. It is necessary for dogs to experience both consequences to help them become a well-adjusted, well-behaved, well-rounded, trust-worthy and balanced dog. If your dog never experiences a negative consequence for a bad behavior or even worse, a dangerous behavior, then what motivation does it have to want to stop that behavior? Think about that for a moment. In the wild, every ecosystem involving living animals maintains order, peace, and structure by implementing both positive and negative consequences. Without that in place, their would be confusion, fighting, and choas.
An important first step as a dog owner is to establish trust and respect. You can achieve this by being an assertive, fair, and patient trainer. A big difference exists between respect and fear, which needs to be mentioned here. We are not talking about instilling fear (when a dog responds only because it is frightened) or domination (which is physically making a dog do something without giving it an opportunity to do it on its own and also not rewarding the dog for doing it.) Respect means that your dog wants to please you and wants to work for you because of the strong bond and working relationship you have developed together. Trust means that your dog believes that you will protect it from harm and that you will not abuse, neglect, or let it go hungry. Your dog should listen to you when you are using a calm, low tone or even just a whisper as apposed to listening to you only when you are upset, after a correction, or when you raise your voice. In fact, you shouldn't even be interacting with your dog if you are angry or frustrated.
Dogs need both mental stimulation and physical exercise. We are firm believers that every dog needs a job and wants one. A dog needs a hobby to channel its natural instincts and drives. If you do not help your dog develop a job or hobby, it will inevitably create a "job" all on its own. Usually, this is an unpleasant behavior such as becoming overly protective, barking too much, digging, or chewing (on themselves or other things), etc. When a dog does not have a purpose or outlet, it becomes frustrated and bored. We help you find a job you and your new Conquistador Presa can do together.
Create a Conquistador (CAC) Program
At Conquistador K-9 we specialize in the development of our Presa Canarios. A Presa is not a German Shepard, and it's certainly not a Labrador. Many of our clients find that it is very hard to find a qualified trainer that understands this breed.
Since we firmly believe that creating a solid foundation for your new Conquistador K-9 puppy is an integral part of YOUR handler and K-9 team success, we have developed a program aimed at building that foundation.
Our most popular program is our Create a Conquistador ( CAC ) program. This program offers our clients a board and train option that builds off the Puppy Aptitude Testing and Puppy Imprinting each new Conquistador K-9 will receive.
With our CAC program you can be rest assured we are developing your Triple-Threat Conquistador correctly. If have been wanting a home raised, professionally trained dog, developed to your specific needs, but you are unsure about how to get started, this program was created for you.
We begin with our comprehensive Puppy Aptitude Testing, and create a custom training program based on the results and your requirements. In the CAC program you will pay for the puppy and it will be yours hence forward. It will stay with us and will live in a family environment for personal development/training and you will pay monthly for your puppies board, care and professional training by our elite training staff. Progress comes rapidly using very advanced positive reinforcement methods designed to build confidence and build drive.
The CAC program allows you to have a super dog custom trained to your exact specifications.
Now you have the chance to not only get the dog of your dreams, but be able to make payments towards that super dog instead of one lump payment. You cannot go wrong with the CAC.
$1500/month is paid in advance of each month towards the training and development of your Conquistador K-9. We will share many, many videos with you so you can SEE the development of your dog at all ages, and strongly encourage regular visits.
Contact us today to discuss the breed, your needs, your goals and to decide if this is the right way for you to acquire a Triple Threat Conquistador K-9 Presa Canario for your families protection and enjoyment.
What "Drives" my Conquistador K-9 Presa Canario?
We will start with saying the the terminology used by the majority of dog trainers when referencing the "drive" of a dog is very subjective. For the purpose of our training, we continue to define the drives of the dogs as a way to explain their motivation, their personalities, and what we believe is their potential in different training scenarios. The term "drive" can be confused or combined with other defining terms such as; "motivation", "instinct", and "arousal".
We do know that a human being, and a dog, is born with genetically predetermined behavioral propensities, produced by the evolutionary process to make the actions and reactions necessary for survival a natural behavior pattern. The fact is that these instincts or drives evolved over millions of years of hunter/gatherer existence and may present training opportunities as well as cause problems in our modern industrial and agricultural society. Drives are the unconscious, biological impulses that carry out important vital functions. They display in a physical manifestation of the dog’s personality and energy. How a dog sees and reacts to things, such as food, physical presence of other people or dogs, things that move, etc. all fall under the “drive” category. You cannot properly train or understand a dog without understanding the drives that make him the dog he is. The drive of each dog is as different as his or her individual personality. For instance, we may speak about our dogs like this; "Fido has a very high prey drive, and also a high guard drive. We would recommend not leaving toys lying around the house Fido could develop a guard over, and I would be cautious of playtime watching his increased prey drive during tugging and catching games where he may become fixated lacking a good release on command. Fido will likely enjoy chasing objects and leaving with them. Work on rewarding a solid retrieval and out with toys that are only used during this time and you and Fido should enjoy play-time much more."
Without understanding the way we communicate canine behavior you may be at a loss as to why we recommend certain types of training activities.
I will try explain some of the terminology of a few drives we communicate about here, but encourage you to continue your search as drives is something that can take a lifetime to understand. There is no article or course that can ever include every aspect / nuance of all of a dog’s drives. It is learned through experience and observation. Remember, this is our human attempt to explain canine behaviors in a way us humans can understand. Just as we continue to learn more about ways to define and understand human behavior, we strive to continue to understand our canines.
Part of the rational behind evaluating your new puppy's aptitude is to ensure that we have communicated and interpreted as much as possible about your new Conquistador K-9 to best provide you with the correct information for training and development purposes.
Prey - This is the most widely used drive term in the industry, and we feel overly simplifies and confuses the concept of canine behavior explanation. This can be married in the same group with hunt, as we use it to determine the level of fixation a K-9 may have to chase and kill small animals, or moving objects- think about the predator and the prey. Often times, we find dogs with extremely high prey drive will grip and re-grip the "prey" (could be rope or tug), and will thrash gripped "prey". Stalking moving objects is also related.
Pack - This is used to explain the level of drive a dog has to be with and near its social unit and also to be with any social unit or pack. Dogs with a high pack drive may be hard to leave alone as they want to be included in the structure badly, this can be married with Protection, Subordinate, Rank, Homing, Territory, ect to define other layers of this complex drive.
Defense/Protection - Defense behaviour is generally triggered by threats, real or perceived, or open aggression. The goal of defense behaviour is always to create avoidance behaviour in the threatener. Defense drive may appear as defense of prey, defense of puppies, defense of territory, defense against the unfamiliar, or self-defense. Author's note: Defense is one part of protection training. The idea that good dogs should only be worked in defense is a dangerous one which has wrecked many great dogs.
Fight - Many dogs will also display aggression when flight isn't available, such as when restrained at the veterinarians office, toe nails clipped, etc. Dogs that pursue or otherwise do more than necessary to defend from immediate threat are not in pure defense and are moving into the fight drive category. A dogs fight drive is his willingness to engage for a results he sees as winning the fight. We use this in conjunction with prey and protection drives to explain the will of a dog to win, and the intensity of a dogs fight drive can determine training techniques.
We will also use the following terms, however do not go into definitions here; Flight, Hunt, Tracking, Herding, Air scent, Retrieval, Guard, Rank, Subordinate, Trainability, Homing, Play, Activity, Aggression, Food, Territory, Guard. When working with clients, we will dive into these definitions and the variable factors that effect each or are related to each as a way of communicating about our dogs. Our ultimate goal is to determine the best possible way to make the most out of your K-9's abilities and your personal training goals.
In our program, we enjoy testing our dogs utilizing IPO training and testing techniques. It is easy to find many trainers focusing the defense only drive in the breed, however we believe that developing all the potential drives in a dog, and teaching them the restraint and control of each, is the way we maintain correct mental stability in our dogs. Schutzhund / IPO is a challenging 3 part sport which was originally designed as a breed test for the German Shepherd (to ensure the breed retained the genetic traits for tracking, obedience and protection) and has grown in to a popular sport, as well as continuing to function as a partial breed test. As a sport, several countries hold regional and national competitions.
Schutzhund, when it is properly trained, provides an arena where you can learn about aggression and how your dog reacts to stressful situations. The dog also learns to control his drives and learns to obey his owner even when he is very excited. This can result in a very well-behaved dog. The duration and breadth of training also helps create a very close bond between dog and handler.
Some people who like to avoid aggression try to train Schutzhund protection as an obedience exercise, where the dog learns to bark to "ask for a reward", and gets the sleeve or "prey object" as this reward. They argue that Schutzhund is a game and their dogs will only bite a sleeve. This concept is becoming more prevalent in trainers of the sport and is considered to be incorrect by those trying to maintain the natural abilities of the breed.
Schutzhund in it's original form, was supposed to be a test, a dog should show aggression in the protection phase, the decoy, helper or bad guy, should be a worthy adversary, and the dogs courage should be tested. The protection phase at a trial should be more like a boxing match, not like a choreographed movie-fight. When we are training protection, we build the dogs confidence and encourage him to enjoy the fight, we often let him win, by the decoy showing weakness, we also work on control, we teach the dog when and where it is OK to bite and when it is not.
A dogs basic character, socialization and training affects whether he will be aggressive towards people. A dogs genetics will define whether he has the protective instincts and courage to protect his family. Schutzhund training will not change this basic nature but will give the owner some idea of how their dog might react, and also enable the dog to remain under the control of his handler.
We will conclude with stating that we support all well rounded working sports from weight pulling to farm field hunting and livestock guard training. We focus on the dogs abilities and work to bring those to the surface.
Participating in dog shows is something we specialize in and feel it is a great start to developing a solid handler bond with your new puppy. Puppies can begin competing in dog show events s soon as 3 months of age. These events are meant to be a fun experience for both you and your dog and a great socialization experience for your new puppy.
All that sounds great, but where to start? Let Conquistador K-9's professional handlers help guide you through the ins and outs of the dog show hobby with our personalized conformation handler consultations. We can work with the smallest of handlers starting at 5 years of age through seniors.
Almost all our dogs are show quality dogs, meaning they will have no disqualifying faults in any ring following the FCI breed Standard for judging the Presa/Dogo Canario. Our clients are often surprised that our dogs take home Best in Show winnings on their first Dog Show experience! A little secret....no surprise to us. We consistently utilize the critiques from qualified judges to balance our breeding program decisions.
A balanced dog is of highest importance to our program guidelines. Our Triple Threat Conquistador Presa Canarios must be Champions, Companions, and Guardians. Meaning that correct conformation is required to be included into our program.
Since all our dogs are FCI registered, you may compete in almost any show circuit of your choosing. Below are some links to available circuits to those clients in the U.S.A.