You may have already seen the viral You Tube video of a group of dogs decorating a Christmas tree, or the recently posted sequel of the same pack setting up a beach scene.
These incredible videos have been leaving many animal lovers wondering who trained these dogs, particularly if you don’t speak Hungarian.
The group behind these well-trained pups is dog club, Népszigeti Kutyaiskola. The trainers and their dogs are promoting the club’s training technique, the Mirror Method, which is actually more like a philosophy.
The Mirror Method takes a holistic approach, reaching beyond traditional training. Teaching the tricks in the videos is just a small part of their three-part system.
The Mirror Method consists of relationship, training, and lifestyle.
Relationship. Dogs reflect their human’s personality and actions. In order to change your dog’s behavior, you must first change your own. If you want your dog to be calm, you must be calm. Learning to read your dog’s body language will help you achieve a good relationship. The group also mentions developing a hierarchy and creating respect, but stresses that you don’t need force to maintain rules and boundaries.
Training. The group teaches the behaviors seen in the video with clicker training and back chaining, which develops motivated dogs that are happy to learn.
Lifestyle. Dogs have a need for more than just food and a walk around the block. This instinctual need must be fulfilled in order to create the conditions for learning and good behavior. The group mentions taking breed into consideration. For example, a Labrador might thrive with hikes in the forest and a Bloodhound might benefit from participating in tracking work.
It may seem like you need to be a superstar trainer to balance this system and recreate the behaviors seen in the videos, but all of these trainers started as beginners at their dog club, many of them performing with their first dog. Their achievements are a testament to how anyone can find success by remembering to develop a good relationship and to maintain an active lifestyle, along with training.