Our Dog Training Philosophy
Positive reinforcement is the first method we use because it is associated with the lowest incidence of aggression, avoidance, and fear in dogs that are being trained. We want to avoid the potential results of inappropriate, poorly applied, and inhumane uses of punishment and of overly-restrictive management and confinement strategies, which can lead to aggression or suppressed warning signals, increased anxiety and fear, a negative association with the owner or handler, and increased unwanted behavior. We only use positive punishment as a last resort when it comes to issues that could cause harm to the dog or others. We always follow the client’s preference when deciding to go on to the next level or to change the focus of our training.
Owner Training - $30/hr
If you would like to know how to train your dog to stop a problem behavior and to learn a new desirable behavior in its place, a trainer will work with you one-on-one in your home or on location. We can work with fear, aggression, over-excitement, poor impulse-control, barking, pulling on a leash, jumping on people, etc.
How to get started
For those interested in our Owner Training, Off-Leash Adventures, Boarding, or Daycare for their dog, we will schedule a free consultation to gather information on your dog's history and temperament. Then we will assess the dog's baseline condition and give you a detailed training plan before moving forward. Read more about the process below.
Trust/Reactivity Assessment - $0
We start out with an assessment to determine how quickly your dog trusts a new handler. If they are mistrustful and either timid or aggressive toward the handler, we will schedule relationship building next before taking them on a walk. If they are trusting, we will take them on a quick walk around the block to see how well they respond to us and how they feel about the outside world. If they seem to trust the handler, but they are scared of other things in their environment, they will need reactivity training before we take them anywhere. If there is no visible anxiety or reactivity we can skip the relationship building or reactivity training and move on to the Car Assessment.
Car Assessment - $0
If your dog is happy to go with the handler on a quick walk around the block on a leash, we can move on to the next stage of the assessment. We will assess how well they travel in a car. If your dog is anxious about getting into or riding in a car alone with the handler, then we will do some car training before moving to the next stage. Or if your dog gets out of control excited in the car, jumping around and whining and barking incessantly, we will need to do car training also so we can keep the excitement level down in the car.
Socialization/Off-leash Recall Assessment - $60
If your dog passes the Trust/Reactivity Assessment and the Car Assessments, the next step is to set up a socialization/off-leash recall assessment. This assessment is done with dogs hand picked to match with your dog’s temperament in a fenced dog park where we will test socialization skills. We do safe introductions with two handlers and do not let the new dog get near the other dogs unless their body language gives us the green light. Here we will assess your dog's play style, how well they assimilate with the pack, and which drives are active so we can motivate them effectively. At the end of this assessment we will let you know whether they will need socialization or off-leash recall training or if they can join the pack without any additional training.
Reactivity Training - $60/hr
When a dog expresses fear towards multiple stimuli, we would want to spend time desensitizing them before taking them somewhere they will be exposed to the stimuli. With a secure attachment in place, we can show the dog that they don’t have to be afraid.
Relationship Building - $30/hr or $75 for 3 x 20 min sessions
If your dog is mistrustful of the trainer, we can come to spend time with them at your house to build a relationship with them. If they have an anxiety problem we can give them CBD to help break through and then come for shorter sessions more frequently until a bond is successfully formed. Only when we have a trusting relationship with the dog can we progress with training. After the trainer has developed a secure bond with your dog and can take them on a walk without any fear directed towards them, a dog may still express general fear, anxiety, or timidity towards the environment such as cars, noises, strangers, etc. If so, they would need to have reactivity training before we take them anywhere outside of their own neighborhood.
Car Training - $60/hr
Reducing anxiety or over-excitement in the car with other dogs is the goal of this training. We also may do harness or crate training for dogs that need this to feel safe or stay calm in the car.
Socialization Training - $60/hr
Dogs that are fearful or aggressive towards other dogs need to have socialization training. When your dog is able to feel comfortable with calm dogs, we will challenge them gradually to get used to higher energy dogs until they do not have any challenge meeting new dogs. We also do socialization training if a dog does not pay attention to other dogs' cues when playing. We may need to retrain some dog how to play appropriately or how to tell if a dog wants to play or not. Dogs over 120 lbs that are aggressive or dogs that have attacked people or other dogs require an extra $20 fee for the added time and equipment needed to handle higher risk dogs.
Off-Leash Training - $60/hr
We will determine which drives are active in your dog and use it’s natural drives to motivate obedience to the command to come when called. We start with positive reinforcement, using a 30 foot lead and treats to train recall, gradually adding distractions. If treats, praise, and affection are not strong enough incentives to get consistent recall (and only if the client approves) we can use an e-collar with a beep or vibration to help get the dog’s attention when distracted. If this isn’t sufficient, we can test a dog’s resilience for aversersive training methods. Even if the client gives the ok, we can only use shock collars on resilient dogs and only at the lowest level necessary. Dogs that are too sensitive to aversive methods will not be able to continue with off-leash training if they are not responding to gentle methods. Dogs that are very social but cannot learn 100% recall will have play sessions with other dogs in their category in a private fenced area.