Frequently Asked Questions
What training methods do you use?
We follow the humane hierarchy and the most up to date science in behavior modification. This means we use the least intrusive, most humane methods first. We follow the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior position statement on punishment.
What equipment do you use in training?
We use and recommend front clip harnesses, specifically the Freedom Harness. Other appropriate equipment for classes or lessons are flat (buckle) collars, harnesses, martingale collars, and occasionally head halters. Choke chains, prong collars and electronic collars are not permitted in our training facility. If you have trouble controlling your dog without one we can help! We recommend scheduling a private lesson in which we'll help you figure out the equipment that is best for your dog, and work through the training issues you are having. Many students also use clickers in class, although the use of a clicker is not mandatory.
What are group classes like?
Group classes have between 4-6 dogs and 1-2 instructors. A low student to instructor ratio allows you to get the individual attention you need, while still having the atmosphere and distractions of a group class. Class size is smaller for reactive or fearful dogs. Barriers are used as needed to ensure dogs have the the ability to focus and make progress in class.
Can I come watch a class?
Absolutely! We love it when someone wants to check out how we work. We just ask that you let us know ahead of time so we can get you on our schedule. Be aware though, that we might put you to work socializing puppies or helping our older dogs practice polite greetings with new people! Occasionally we do have a class in which we do not allow visitors to attend because the presence of a visitor would cause too much stress to the dogs in class.
Are children allowed in class?
We love having children in most of our classes! It is particularly nice to have children in our puppy classes as it allows us to give the puppies an additional experience and learn that children are safe, and mean nice things. We do ask that any children who come to classes will be able to focus for the duration of class and not prevent you from focusing enough to learn during class.
-Children 14 years of age or older may handle an appropriate dog without a parent present.
-Children between the age of 11-13 may be the primary handler of the dog, but the parent must be with the child at all times.
-Children under the age of 11 may not be the primary handler of the dog. They are allowed and encouraged to help the parent but should not be responsible for the full time handling and management of the dog.
We have a separate kids play area because we understand that 50 minutes of class can be boring to some children, please feel free to utilize it. We just ask that your children clean up when they are finished playing.
The exception to this is no children under the age of 14 are allowed in reactive dog class in order to ensure your child's safety. A parent must attend class with a child age 14-18 unless instructor permission is given.
What kind of treats are best for training?
The ones your dogs love! Many dogs love hot dogs, chicken, cheese, or diced ham. Cut your treats up into TINY (pea sized) pieces. About a cup of treats is a good estimate for how many you'll need in class. Remember hard work needs good pay, and learning is hard for dogs, especially at first.
Should I do a group class or a private lesson?
It depends on your dog and your goals! Private lessons give you the flexibility to work on exactly what you want to work on, when it is most convenient for you. A group class allows you to work with the distractions of other dogs around. If you are having trouble with any of the following a private lesson will be the appropriate place to start: Fear, aggression, reactivity towards dogs or people, resource guarding, excessive barking, house training for a dog over the age of 6 months. If you want us to do the majority of the training Puppy Day School or Boarding School are great places to start.
How long does it take to train a dog?
It depends. Dogs, like people all learn at different rates. How long training takes will also depend on your goals. Many clients find that they enjoy training their dog and keep attending classes just for fun.
What vaccinations are required?
All dogs must be up to date on age appropriate vaccines, and vaccinations must be given at least one week prior to attending class. Require vaccinations are Rabies (if old enough ) and Distemper, Parvovirus, Parainfluenza and Hepatitis (typically refered to as DHLPP or DHPP). For the safety of other dogs, all vaccinations must be given by a licensed veterinarian along with an exam. Vaccinations given by a breeder or owner will not be accepted. Proof of titer test will also be accepted. Puppies may attend class one week after their first set of vaccinations. Dogs need to be in their current home for at least seven days before attending any classes or building lessons. Flea prevention is highly recommended. Dogs attending class should have no signs of illness or parasites.
My dog is just a puppy, when should I start training?
Now!! Or a few weeks ago. A puppy's socialization window ends between 12 and 16 weeks. This is a critical time in their life where they form their view of the world that will stay with them for the rest of their lives. At this age we want to make sure puppies have as many positive (not just neutral) interactions as possible with people, dogs, places and things. Puppies can begin training when they have been in their current home for a week and are at least a week past their first set of vaccinations that were given by a licensed veterinarian.
Do you use choke chains or prong collars in class?
No, these collars are not allowed in class as we have found they interfere with the learning process. If you are having trouble handling your dog on a normal collar we highly recommend a front clip harness (such as the freedom harness).
What is your cancellation or refund policy?
Our services are non refundable. Private Lessons must be rescheduled at least 48 hours in advance or you will be charged for the scheduled lesson.