Sit Means Sit Dog Training Interview of Fred Hassen

Fred HassenAdam asks Fred Hassen: How do you use the remote electronic collar differently than others?

Fred replies: There are many things that differentiate our programs from others, but if I were to just mention two of them that jump out at you, they would be:

1. “Teaching with a collar”.

I don’t really think that anyone can be really good at this, unless they learn all of the ‘teaching’ mechanics that go a long with this type of training if you are going to do it successfully at the level that we teach it, which will make it easier for it to be transferred as well. If you read even some of the manufacturer stuff, they will tell you that you need to leash train the dog first, then do this, then do that, then after all of that is done, you can enforce a known command to the dog with the collar. There are 2 significant errors in that thought pattern.

The first one is that almost everyone on the planet does it that way now, and they sure are not having any success with it, or very little success. How many dogs do you see on the street with remote collars on? How many classes do you see out there that are training with remote collars, even though every dog in the class has been trained traditionally first? That’s because it still doesn’t go smoothly in doing it that way, and people want to see positive results immediately, or at least in a very short period of time. People love their dogs, they absolutely adore their dogs, and we understand that, so I went about finding out the fastest transition possible.

That’s the same with any training though, the general public may not be professional dog trainers, but the vast majority of them are intelligent enough to be able to tell if things are going positively in a short period of time. No intelligent human being, is going to keep getting negative results with any kind of dog training and keep it up for very long. We’re fast, we’re efficient, and we are very positive and motivating.

We are transferring information through the collar to the dog, in helping him learn, and keeping him at the highest possible level through a constant transfer of information. That’s why they work so positively, and for so long in my system. That’s why we do a lot of video. We want to SHOW you, and we want to raise the level of dog training everywhere.

The late Captain Haggerty said it best after he came out to visit me a few times. He basically said that this training system that I’ve come up with is a train that is not going to stop……..either get on, or get run over. Something to that effect.

2. Using the collar on both ends.

If you have a device and you are only using it for punishment, well you are giving up half of the arena before you start, and you are giving up the better half!!! You need to be able to have dogs jump on and off, bite and let go, run and stop etc.

Yes, there are a lot of ways to do all of these things traditionally, but we are not taking that knowledge away from someone……we are just adding to it. If you just look up the word “remote” in a dictionary, that alone should tell you something in it’s definition that it is the ability to work away or ‘remote’ from you. Having that ability, in and of itself, gives you a tremendous advantage over a traditional trainer.

The problem lies in learning the system and being able to transfer that information to the dog from anywhere. You can see it in our videos, especially with the deaf dogs where we aren’t even talking to them, so it’s visually clear that information is being communicated. Again, talk is cheap…..we show you. Sometimes it’s hard to have an educated discussion if you don’t know what someone is talking about. I experience it on a regular basis whenever I go to get my car fixed. I don’t know the first thing about fixing a car, so when they sit me down and explain in detail what they are doing, and I don’t understand a word they are saying… it’s because I’m not literate in this language.

We understand that a lot of what we do might go against traditional dog training ‘theories’, but we show it in application. That’s why we have all ‘hands-on’ training when we teach it to the locations. They are not going to get it in a book, this system is learned through experience of hands-on training.

Adam asks Fred Hassen: How did you discover your method of remote collar training?

Fred replies: That’s a good question Adam. You know, I remember the very first time that I saw a collar in a catalog years ago. I could tell by the picture and the write-up that the dog wore a box and you had a remote in your hand, and that it transferred some sort of electric stimulation, that was adjustable.

The boxes were bigger back then, and you had to change the stimulation levels with individual prongs, but I was still doing demos in the middle of people’s streets before they decided, but it is a lot easier today when the new “Sit Means Sit” businesses open. Anyway, I see this remote collar, and the thought that it’s going to ‘hurt the dog’, or do any physical harm to him……just doesn’t enter my mind. Not even a thought.

Common sense just told me that they wouldn’t be telling them. I just kind of looked at it, like in the old days when you had a telephone on your wall, but you couldn’t take it past the 6 foot cord, and someone shows you a cell phone. I just went ‘wow’. I was completely self-taught, and just got it and started using it for a lot of different things, and I used it from the get-go regularly. This thing really evolved by me starting by training in the streets and cities of Las Vegas.

I didn’t have a ‘training field’, so the world was my field. I would run into a lot of houses that had walls on them as I was walking down the street, and I’d be learning how to get dogs on these different size shapes and walls, and turning them and all kinds of stuff. I would use the ends of sidewalks for placeboards, in at the same time, teach the dog to not only stop at the curb, but also come through it if I called him, and a lot of the beginnings of teaching the dogs things from both ends with the remote. I’d ride my bike in the street, and learn to keep the dog with me, but have her stay on the sidewalk with the remote, but run a long side of me.

I remember that once I would start running into different things like scent work and things, the thought that you couldn’t do that with a collar also didn’t enter my mind. I would just sit there and watch, and go ‘hmmm, I wonder how I would do this with a collar’. I was relentless in my quest to learn, and I was passionate….very passionate. I mean, once you have a cell phone, it’s pretty hard to go back to the phone on the wall thing.

Adam asks Fred Hassen: What does a typical first session look like?

Fred replies: The first session always shows tremendous change. I think the videos on my website that show us taking dogs from scratch in the seminars, or in the deaf dog video, where the dog knows nothing when we get there, is an accurate portrayal of what most of them look like.

You have to remember also, that we are taking on anything and everything, and in alot of instances, the dogs have had problems for years, so there is a learning curve, but there is a learning curve in all training… ours is just tremendously shorter. We can do things that you just couldn’t do traditionally.

I think that what makes the training that we do so popular, and why all the businesses are doing so well, is because it does look so well right from the beginning. As I’ve said earlier, people love their dogs, and they want to see improvement fast. They can tell positive improvement immediately. That is the main reason that we do everything in public.

We want the people to see. A lot of people may have preconceived notions before they start, but it’s usually pretty obvious to them once they see the immediate change, and once they see how happy they are. Happy dogs sell. Whether you are in a competition, or with a pet dog client, a happy dog sells, and they want to see a happy dog. We obviously would not be doing everything publicly if we weren’t producing happy dogs and happy owners.

I’m a strong believer that if you are a professional dog trainer, that you should be doing a demo with not only your own dog, but letting the people see what you do with their dog as well, before they make a decision. It’s kind of like buying a T.V. and asking the salesman to turn the picture on. If you are a positive trainer, you shouldn’t have any problem showing positive changes immediately, or in a reasonably short amount of time.

I think this will raise the people’s consciousness about dog training in general, and raise the bar dramatically, and educate the consumer. Next time you go in to buy a T.V., don’t forget to ask them to turn it on so you can at least see the picture.

1 thought on “Sit Means Sit Dog Training Interview of Fred Hassen”

  1. I watched a video you did with a black lab crossing a small pond, my observation is that you kept on giving the dog commands, which to me based on what I have read and viewed in videos is NOT the right way to do the training, the command should be given ONCE and that’s it, your black lab in the video knew exactly what was expected of him from what I saw. Don’t get me wrong on this but I’m in the middle of starting all over training with a new 6 month old lab, who is a puppy but times and methods have changed so much that you get confused. We’re in the middle of CLICKER training which is totally new and lurining the dog with click and treat , if you could give some insight I’d sure as heck appreciate it.


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