Frequently Asked Questions
If you have any additional questions not answered here, Pleasecontact us!
Am I the right trainer for you?
In order for training to be successful I need you to be 100% comfortable with our techniques and trust in us when it comes to using tools and following our philosophy. We are balanced trainers, so we do use praise and food but we also correct bad behavior, we want to create clear and consistent information with your dog. Your will learn how to be in a crate as we have other dogs and our cat in our home so this is for safety as well as setting boundaries. Your dog may also need to practice more time in the crate at home, or practice the "Place" command and we need you to be comfortable with this.
In order to help our dogs be calm and make good decisions we need to set boundaries - this means to stop giving constant praise, affection, or food and give more guidance and rules.
I need you to follow through with homework. Commitment to training is imperative to success otherwise you will be disappointed in the results due to lack of effort.
The foundation and household management plan I give to owners can be tricky. The whole family needs to be on board to avoid sending mixed messages to your dog. Your dog may be asked to stay off the furniture and the bed, your dog might have to be crated, or stay on command for long periods of time multiple times a day. I want your messages to be consistent, this helps our dogs be consistent and predictable with their behavior.
Finally, I want you to have fun and enjoy this training with your dog! I realize it is a lot of work and many rules to follow, but I ultimately I want you to be successful with your dog and truly enjoy each other. I want owners to be proud of their dogs and enjoy being together whether it be at home or out in the real world!
What Types of tools do you use?
I find it very important to have a large tool box to communicate clearly, fairly and achieve the results for each individual dog. This is not a cookie cutter program but an individualized approach to different issues. Tools we use include slip leads, long lines, verbal and physical praise, their daily food and treats, Prong collars, e-collars (electronic collars), clickers, toys, "bonkers" (rolled up towel), crates, bark collars, treadmill, pet convincer (compressed air for interrupting behavior), as well as my own dogs and cats and Katy’s personal dogs, cat, and horses
Where will my dog be staying?
We do not run a boarding facility so we provide board and trains out of our homes. Dogs who stay with us join us at our facility and often become part of the training with our clients! Based on individual personalities and needs of each dog, your dog will board in my home or with trainer Katy on her property. Once we receive your contact form we will be in contact to discuss the best option for your dog.
Do I have to make an appointment? Can I have a tour?
Our facility is reserved for clients attending private lessons, group classes, and for drop off/pick up of board and train dogs. For this reason and due to boarding being done out of our homes, we do not provide tours nor accept walk-ins, this is to ensure the safety of everyone and to prevent disruptions during class.
Can you tell me about prong collars?
Of course! Prong collars are one of the best tools to ensure clear communication with our dogs, and unlike most other collars or tools, prong collars allow us to use very little force to connect with our dogs on leash. Other tools tend to mask issues and do not actually teach the dog the right behavior, with the prong collar we can break through, create clarity, and create a vastly different state of mind with your dog. Due to the placement of the collar, high on the neck, it allows for more control and there is no pressure on the trachea. Dogs of all breeds and sizes can benefit from a well fitted prong collar, we’ve worked with 5lb poodles and even 200lb mastiffs! Yes, they look horrible, but when used correctly, dogs of all backgrounds (even fearful, nervous, or aggressive dogs) can excel and it has been proven to be the least physically taxing, and one of the safest collars to have in your tool box.
Do you use treats? What about praise?
Food is just another tool we use during the beginning stages of training, although we prefer to move away from food as soon as we can, we want our dogs to listen to us — without having to bribe them. Many times, owners discover their dog will only listen with the presence of a treat and will ignore them once the food is gone. We want to build a relationship with our dog based on respect and understanding to ensure good behavior, with or without food. We do use CALM verbal and physical praise, however, in cases with aggression, fear, or other behavioral issues, we find owners OVER praise their dogs, this doesn’t help! This is not to say you can never say “good dog” but you must realize you may be encouraging bad behavior by doing so. The best type of praise is the inclusion of your dog in your daily life. Yes, you will be able to praise your dog more frequently once your dog’s mindset is in a better place, but setting boundaries and building the foundation for good behavior will create a calm dog who knows what’s expected of him and can live in peace with you, your family, and the outside world.
Do e-collars "shock" my dog?
Fortunately, we live in a day and age of modern technology and high quality remote collars. We specialize in low level training which ensures humane, clear communication whether your dog is heeling by your side, swimming, hiking, or running at a distance. Our preferred model, one we use for our own personal dogs, is the ET-300 Educator Collar, which provides 100+ levels of stimulation and allows to fine tune to each individual dog and find the lowest possible level. Can this be misused? Of course, just as any tool can be misused. However, when used properly, the remote collar can safely open so many doors and freedoms both for you and your dog.
Do you have group classes? Can I drop in?
Group classes are reserved for clients who have completed our board and train or private lesson programs. We believe in setting dogs up for success, building distractions and giving every dog individual attention before attending group classes. It would be unfair to to set up the dog in a highly distracting environment (before building our foundation and teaching them what to do) and expecting them to listen. During our group class we work on proofing behaviors with distractions and advancing obedience. We call it Controlled Chaos: dogs walking with their owners in heel, food and toy temptations, greeting others in an appropriate way, practicing impulse control, and fine tuning behavior. If your dog excels in this environment, it helps both the owner and dog gain confidence when they go out into the real world.
Can my child/ family join me for my lessons?
We believe it is crucial that everyone be on the same page in regards to trainig, meaning the dog should have the same rules with everyone in the household. We recommend the main family members who will play a large role in the dogs training join lessons to learn the structure and commands.
We love when kids are a part of the training but it is important that with young children, that they respect other dogs' space, not every dog is kid friendly! We also require an adult to be the main participator in the training during our lessons at the facility especially if you have a younger child, this makes it easier for homework to be done at home as well.
How old does my dog have to be? What breeds do you or don't you train?
We can help you regardless of your dog's breed or age, we've done training with miniature poodles to Alaskan Malamutes and every mix in between. For our formal lessons, we recommend your dog being over 5 months old and puppy lessons are available for puppies 8 weeks to 5 months. If your dog is in good health, we can even help you train your older dog.
I want my dog to be my (therpy, service, Emotional Support Dog).
We can definitely help you evaluate your dog for therapy or service dog work. It's very important for us to educate owners on the difference between these types of dogs.
- Service Dogs are specially trained to perform TASKS to help a person with a disability to mitigate that disability and are permitted in public areas where pets are not allowed. Obedience and calm manners is a must as service dogs are not considered pets due to the importance of what they do, they should not pull out of control, sniff, bark, whine, or distrupt others. Legally there is no certification for service dogs, online registrations are not recognized by the ADA and are considered scams.
- Therapy Dogs are pets trained to visit with people who need comfort and are permitted to enter facilities such as schools, hospitals, and nursing homes, WITH PERMISSION FROM THE FACILITY, Therapy dogs do not have public access rights. Certification is usually required through a national or local organization.
- Emotional Support Dogs (ESA) do not require training or certification as their only job is to make their owner feel better, they DO NOT have public access rights. However, if the owner has a medical notice stating they need the dog, they may be permitted in housing and flights where pets are not usually allowed.