A well-trained dog is a companion that can offer a lifetime of fun, companionship, and adventure. If your pet currently lacks basic obedience, is anxious, is aggressive, or demonstrates other behavior problems, you are not alone. We believe that dog training is about deepening your relationship with your dog. All good relationships are based on trust, mutual respect, and love. Our relationship with our dogs should be no different.
Assessing, enriching and building upon your relationship with your dog is the keystone of our dog training program. The difference between a dog-parent relationship that is lacking versus one that is strong and respectful can be seen in your dog’s response to you. You know the relationship is lacking when the dog looks at you and doesn’t understand when you request a behavior. You know that the relationship is strong and respectful when you request a behavior and the dog responds quickly and happily.
The Way We Train
All training has its foundation in the relationship between parent and dog. As this relationship develops, there are two kinds of training to pursue: what your dog should do (obedience training) and what your dog should not do (behavioral modification). It is important to treat the “whole dog,” not just the problem that the dog may be presenting. While basic manners training and behavior modification are the focus of our practice, every consultation includes a discussion of the dog’s overall quality of life, nutrition, exercise, and enrichment.
We take pride in not only training our dog but also in giving you — the dog’s real trainer — the knowledge and tools to modify problems outside of training sessions. Through clear and easy methods, we educate dog parents on how dogs learn and on how parents can use this knowledge to elicit the behaviors they want.
The purpose of dog training is to open the lines of communication and to solidify the relationship between you and your dog. Dogs do not speak English. Therefore, dog training is a process of pairing an action with a word.
Dogs feel safe when they know that their owner is in command. They also get pleasure from clear communication between owner and pet, and they love to please their owner. Command training is excellent for all of these aims.
We recommend that this training be done in the home. Sessions start at 30 minutes and always include reinforcement at the next session. Each session focuses on one or two commands. Some of the commands that will be most important to you and your pets are: sit, wait, here, leave it, down, drop it, place, and settle.
During a session, the trainer works with the dog to learn one or two commands. At the end of the session, the pet parent is given post-session homework. At the next session, another two commands become the focus and from there command mixing can begin.
Our trainers also provide special request training that focuses on behavioral modification. This type of training is designed to address some common dog problems.
This behavior can include an overreaction to other dogs or even to people. Believe it or not, your dog can learn to be comfortable and well-behaved around other dogs, family, friends, and even strangers.
Reactivity can be anything from resource guarding a food bowl to reacting toward dogs or other people who are going by on a walk. Not only is this behavior stressful for you, but it is also stressful for your dog. The misbehavior stems from the dog’s feeling that it has no control of the situation or that the handler has little to no control of the situation and that action is required. Our trainers work to help the dog and the owner establish and communicate a sense of control in these problem situations. Basic commands help to give you and your dog a form of communication. Using this set of skills, you can help your dog to understand that there is no need to react, everything is handled and safe. The owner and trainer work together to develop new routines that give a sense of safety.
Leash pulling is a behavior that can be annoying and potentially dangerous. This behavior can ruin a nice walk for both the pet and the owner. If your dog is big and manages to pull you down or get away from you, you or your dog could get injured. Your dog could also injure himself by pulling on a flat collar or harness. The walks eventually become associated with unpleasant experiences for everyone involved, so walks just don’t occur. The dog becomes increasingly sedentary and all that pent-up energy comes out sideways. Any way you look at it, learning beautiful leash manners pays dividends far beyond the simple pleasure of a nice walk.
Bad Manners and Lack of Self-Control
Manners are what we refer to when we are talking about a dog’s everyday behaviors. This includes things such as keeping all four paws on the floor when meeting someone new or just understanding how to walk on a leash. Unfortunately, dogs don’t come with built-in manners and self-control, they have to be taught. The best age to start basic manners training is around 6 months to a year. Learning manners allows your dog to understand how it should act in any situation, by giving them a foundation of commands and someone to look to for direction.
Special-request training sessions are often built around resolving any number of behaviors, including:
- Nuisance barking
- Crate Training
- Chewing on furniture
- And many, many more!
Anxiety in dogs is very common. Separation anxiety is when your dog cannot be left alone, even in a crate or safe environment. Submissive peeing is when your dog gets so overwhelmed that they pee. Anxiety in a dog is something that can be worked on by giving the dog self-confidence. This refers to the dog being able to handle a situation and not being scared. Good confidence often flows from basic command competency. The more your dog understands what you are saying, the better and safer they feel.
Potty training is one of the very first things you should do with your puppy when you bring them home. Potty training is usually done with a crate and a schedule. Potty training goes hand in hand with crate training and they are both wonderful ways to form a bond with your new puppy!
Types of Training
The dog training world is filled with very strong voices about what singular type of dog training is the best and only way to train a dog. We believe two things:
- There is more than one way to train a dog.
- Different dogs may require different methods.
You have to do the training that is right for you and your dog.
Positive reinforcement training uses a reward (treats, praise, toys, anything the dog finds rewarding) for desired behaviors. Because the reward makes your dog more likely to repeat the behavior, positive reinforcement is a powerful tool for shaping or changing your dog’s behavior. In fact, every time you want to teach your dog to do something (anything), you will use positive training. It works!
Sometimes the training outcome that is desired is a mixture of having your pet do some things and not do other things. In balanced dog training, the handler teaches a dog desired behaviors using both reward-based techniques and corrections. A correction is pressure-based and is introduced after the dog associates a behavior with a command. Pressure does not equal pain! As with horses, the rider applies pressure to get them either to stop or go faster. When they perform the requested behavior, the pressure stops. In balanced training, pressure through the leash or a collar delivers just enough information to interrupt the dogs train of thought and bring the focus back to you, the handler. With practice, the dog will understand that the choices they make are connected to pressure application.
Dogs do like to push boundaries but they are also willing to accept and obey your commands. The same dog that will “sit” happily may become assertive or overstimulated when they are around or with other dogs and people. If there’s no consequence for ignoring commands or for engaging in bad behaviors, they will simply carry on doing these behaviors until there is a consequence. The undesirable behaviors may include but certainly are not limited to:
- Ignoring commands
- Jumping on people
- Pulling on the leash
- Dog to dog aggression
- Dog to human aggression
- Running away
- Prey drive such as chasing and killing
- Territorial aggression
- Resource guarding
Due to the notion of “correcting” a dog and the use of prong and/or e-collars, balanced dog training receives a lot of criticism and negative attention. People have the misconception that
- Balanced training is not based on science
- Tools like prong and e-collars are cruel or cause pain
- Aversive and abusive mean the same thing so you can never correct behavior
- Dogs don’t have fun in balanced training
- Dogs only comply because they are afraid of the consequence or the trainer.
If the technique is not understood or deployed correctly, these criticisms could indeed be true. When used professionally, however, these misconceptions are completely false. The goal is to communicate effectively with the dog through commands, rewards, and consequences.
Which is the Best Method for my Dog?
We know the best method by the results. If positive only training is not addressing problem behaviors, then a more balanced approach might be needed. Keep in mind that both positive and balanced training styles:
- Encourage play
- Use reward based methods
- Play recall games
- Teach boundaries
- May use clickers
- Value praise
- Incorporate marker training
- Use motivation and drive to create behavior
- Practice relation and calmness
Not all dogs need correction in training. Think of it like this: Training (using just rewards) is basically teaching a dog what to do i.e., sit down, etc. Behavior modification (using corrections) is teaching a dog what not to do i.e., leash pulling and aggressive behavior. Each dog is different, and every situation as well.
How We Do It
This will be the first step toward dog training. Our trainer will visit your home to discuss your goals, prior experiences, and preferences. This time will help you determine an appropriate starting point for you and your dog.
Follow Up Sessions
After your dog’s evaluation, our team will make recommendations based on your needs. Usually this involves a number of 30- or 60-minute sessions between you, the trainer, and your dog. These sessions are done in the home.
We recommend the Control Unleashed series by Leslie McDevitt.
Control Unleashed – Reactive to Relaxed
Control Unleashed – Creating a Focused and Confident Dog
Control Unleashed – The Puppy Program
Exel-erated Learning: Explaining in Plain English How Dogs Learn and How Best to Teach them by by Pamela J. Reid and Tascha Parkinson
The Big Book of Tricks for the Best Dog Ever: A Step-by-Step Guide to 118 Amazing Tricks and Stunts by Larry Kay and Chris Perondi
Services and Pricing
|Single Pet: 1 Hour Training Session||$75*|
|Multi Pet(2): 1 Hour Training Session||$125*|
*Bite History: A dog with a bite history has a $20 premium for each session.
*Aggressive or severe cases: Pricing will be determined at the time of the initial consultation.
*Plus Tax and Fuel/Mileage fee based on zip code.
Scheduling and Payment
Fees for training services are payable before or the day of the appointment. Once our scheduling team has arranged a mutually agreeable time and date with you, they will also forward your invoice which can be paid via Zelle, Venmo, or credit card.
Refunds and Re-scheduling Requests
We recognize that even when you have something committed to the calendar, life can still happen! If you have paid for a session and either party is unable to keep the date and time, the scheduling team will work with you to find another date and time that works for you. Refunds will not be issued.
Meet the Trainers
Dan joined our team at the end of 2022 as our new dog trainer. He has over 10 years of experience in training dogs. From puppy training to behavior modification, he has seen (and trained) it all.
His goal is to create a training program that is accomplishable by both the dog and owner. He wants his clients to not think of training as a hassle, but as something that easily fits into their life.
Dan is excited to join our team and help his clients enjoy a life with a well-behaved dog!