Frequently Asked Questions

These are some of the most frequently asked questions before private or group classes. Click on one of the links below to see the full answer.

What type of training do you use?
What types of tools do you use?
What is a clicker, and do I have to use one to train my dog?
Should I attend a group class or private sessions?
Does training cost more if I have more than one dog?
When can I begin training my puppy?
What shots does my puppy need to attend class?
When can I go out and let my puppy meet other puppies?
Can more than one person in my family attend the group training class?
What should I bring to class?
How do I decide which class is right for my dog?
May I observe a class prior to registering?
I can’t make it to class. What should I do?
Is there a guarantee for your training?

What type of training do you use?
My approach is dog and people friendly, and I teach with positive, reward-based training. I place an emphasis on helping people learn how to manage their dog’s time to best set them up for success. In addition, I adhere to an approach of teaching behaviors that encourage your dog to be motivated to want to learn. Creating a dog that is an enthusiastic student is the easiest and fastest route to helping them achieve success in terms of being a compliant and well mannered member of the family.

What types of tools do you use?
I focus primarily on identifying rewards that each dog is most fond of, and using those things to motivate the dog to comply with our requests. Rewards can be praise, petting, toys, food, access to the environment (such as the bed), and life rewards (such as being taken out for a walk, or given permission to bark and howl). Additional tools include plain buckle collars, front clip harnesses, leashes, treat pouches, and clickers. I do not use electric shock collars as there is no justification for using the pain of electrical stimulation. Additionally, the use of shock collars can result in very serious negative side effects, such as fear and aggression.

What is a clicker, and do I have to use one to train my dog?
A clicker is a small, hand-held device that makes a sharp ‘click’ sound when you press it. A clicker allows you to give specific, accurate and timely feedback to your dog in regards to their behavior. Pairing the ‘click’ sound with a food reward becomes a valuable tool for telling your dog that what they were doing at the moment they heard the sound is what is earning them the reward. A verbal marker (a word like “yes!” or “good!”) can also be used as a marker.

Should I attend a group class, have private sessions, or have my dog stay with a trainer for board training?
For most dogs, I encourage owners to have one private session to get a good grasp of the basics and then attend a group class. I would especially advise owners to bring their puppy to group classes so they can start learning their bite inhibition. In this environment, we are best able to provide controlled distractions for the purpose of training and socialization in the real world. For those people who want to set a good foundation for their puppy to make training easier for them, I recommend a Private lesson prior to classes.

Does training cost more if I have more than one dog?
For our group classes, you will need to reserve a spot for each of your dogs. For private sessions, the fee is based on the time the trainer spends with you (i.e. per session) not the number of dogs present. However, in some cases I may advise that you plan to work with your dogs separately at first so that you and each canine student is able to focus on the task at hand.

When can I begin training my puppy?
Right away. The methods I use are so simple that you can use them as soon as your puppy comes home and is eight weeks of age.

What shots does my puppy need to attend class?
Puppies must be up-to-date on their vaccines for their age. Because early socialization is so critical for a dog’s well-being throughout their lifetime, we generally do not recommend waiting to join a puppy class until they have completed a traditional course of shots. Any safe training facility requires UTD vaccinations on puppies and do not allow breeder/owner administered shots. For Puppy class, I need proof of DHPP, Bordetella, and Rabies around their 16th week.

When can I go out and let my puppy meet other puppies?
Preferably right away. Socialization is a crucial factor in the puppy’s development and time is limited. Talk to your vet about vaccinations and other health precautions you should take, and speak with your trainer.

Can more than one person in my family attend the group training class?
I strongly encourage family members to attend class together as this is a terrific way for everyone to be on the same page and to have fun with their dog. If you have small children, they may attend class, but must be supervised at all times by an adult and be able to remain calm in class so as not to scare the other dogs or otherwise disrupt the class.

What should I bring to class?
Treats: soft, pea-sized treats are ideal. A good example of a treat most suitable for training are Natural Balance rolls which can be chopped into tiny pieces.  A 4-6 foot leash (no retractable leashes, please!) A buckle collar, head halter or body harness.

How do I decide which class is right for my dog?
There are so many options, at so many convenient locations, that you are sure to find the class that is best in regards to material covered as well as ease of attendance. Please take a look at my group dog training class description and let me know if you have any questions that have not been answered there.

May I observe a class prior to registering?
I welcome you to come observe a class. Please let your pup rest at home when you do so and contact me prior. This way I can set aside a spot for you to sit.

I can’t make it to class. What should I do?
If your dog is unable to attend a class, but you can do so, I suggest you attend class without your dog. If you cannot attend class, I will arrange with you to drop in to one of the other classes at the location to make up that missed session, but please aware that unfamiliar people and dogs entering a class midstream might be disruptive to the dogs in that class and/or to their families.

Please be considerate and understanding of my policies. I limit enrollment in my classes so students get the attention they deserve. Once you have purchased a spot, I cannot offer a make up class, transfer, or offer a refund because, unlike a piece of clothing purchased at a store, a spot in a class cannot be resold once ‘returned.’

Is there a guarantee for your training?
I adhere to the Code of Professional Conduct and Responsibility set forth by the Association of Pet Dog Trainers: “Members are to refrain from giving guarantees regarding the outcome of training, because there is no sure way to guarantee the cooperation and performance of all parties involved and because the knowledge of animal behavior is incomplete. This should not be confused with a desire to guarantee client satisfaction with professional services.”

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