FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Do you come to my home?
Yes, if you are in the Denton area I can coach you and your pets in the convenience of your own home. This is your pet's best learning environment. For Gold and Platinum level obedience, we will arrange to meet for some of your private sessions in places such as parks and pet-friendly stores as well. Training tracking and other sports may require us to meet at local parks or fields.
If you are more than 20 miles outside of Denton, extra travel fees may apply for in-home training if I am able to come to you. I also offer virtual training sessions, which is a great option for those outside of my travel area. We can cover almost anything remotely, from puppy training and obedience to specialty and sports!
Do you charge extra for multiple pets?
Yes. Your initial consultation fee covers me assessing your environment and all of your pets in the same household (owned by you and living under your roof) so that I can make the best training program recommendations to meet your goals. After the initial consultation, additional pets add extra time to our sessions, so my hourly rate applies to any additional time needed.
What type of training and behavior problems do you work with?
Many behaviors that are completely natural for dogs—like jumping, digging, chewing, guarding resources, escaping and running away—can prove to be challenging for pet parents, but may be completely normal for dogs. A dog that is behaviorally sound and emotionally stable but lacks basic manners related to walking on leash, coming when called, sitting, lying down, or staying in place fits into the category of a training problem. Training problems are common in young and adolescent dogs, and will benefit from a positive reinforcement training program from a qualified trainer to teach basic manners. This is my area of specialty: teaching manners and problem-solving common unwanted behaviors in pet dogs, as well as prevention of future behavior problems by laying a strong foundation of trust and and communication in puppies.
True behavioral disorders differ from training problems. A behavioral disorder is an emotional disorder relating to aggression, fear, or anxiety. Training alone does not improve behavioral disorders, and a dog trainer is not the most qualified individual to address behavioral disorders. A Veterinary Behaviorist or Certified Behavior Consultant (CDBC or CBCC-KA) is most qualified to help you with behaviors stemming from fear, anxiety, or aggression. Be careful, anyone can call themselves a "dog behaviorist"- look for CDBC or CBCC-KA credentials!
I will work with some behavioral disorders if you are unable to see a CDBC or CBCC-KA, however, I request that an appointment with a veterinary behaviorist be your first step before we move forward with a behavior modification plan. We are lucky to have a vet behaviorist in the DFW area, Dr. Amanda Florsheim:
For separation anxiety, I recommend consulting with a Certified Separation Anxiety Trainer (CSAT), which you can find here:
If you are unsure if your dog's issue falls into the realm of a "training problem" or a "behavioral disorder", please contact me and I will help determine the best route for you to take, and provide you with a list of referrals if needed.
What training equipment do I need? Is there any equipment that you don't use?
There are many different methods and philosophies in dog training, and not all of them work well together. Mixing certain techniques and equipment can cause undue stress and confusion to your dog. Because of this, we ask that you use only the training equipment and methods we recommend to you during the period we are working with you and your dog.
We do not use prong collars, choke chains, shock collars (e-collars), bark collars, and any other collars or equipment designed to deliver a correction. If you are currently using these training devices and would like to learn how to train without them, we will be happy to teach you!
I often recommend a body harness (standard is fine, front-clip for pullers) to avoid discomfort on your dog's neck and trachea. Cloth martingales (greyhound collars) are another great option, especially for dogs that slip out of regular collars and harnesses.
You will need a regular 4 to 6ft nylon or leather leash for your training sessions. Retractable leashes (Flexi leashes) are not useful during training and often encourage poor leash walking skills, so you will need a regular leash during your sessions.
You will also want a treat pouch and plenty of tasty treats that your dog loves. Treats should be SOFT (not crunchy) and small, about pea-size. A clicker will be included with your initial consultation.
For sports and specialty training, there may be additional props and equipment needed. Much of this, such as nosework odors and tracking articles, will be included in the cost of your training package. Some items, such as a tracking harness, you will need to order specific to your dog. For more information, let me know what sports you are interested in!
Do I have to carry the clicker and treats around forever?
No! The clicker is a training tool used to communicate exactly what the animal did correct. Treats are used as fast primary reinforcers to build repetition and understanding of a behavior quickly. Once your dog has learned the behavior, and you have built a great positive relationship with your dog along the way, the clicker has done it's job. Treats are then varied with life rewards and other reinforcement types to keep your dog engaged. We work hard to ensure that treats are used as reinforcement, but not bribes, so that your dog will respond even when treats are not visible.
Do I have to use a clicker at all?
Nope! The clicker is only one type of behavior marker tool. A verbal marker can be used in it's place, and I often recommend them for clients with coordination issues or for pets sensitive to the click sound. Visual or tactile markers are used deaf and blind animals. We can do all of your pet's training without you ever needing to use an actual clicker if you prefer.
Can I start my dog/puppy in group classes? What about socialization?
The majority of our training services, including puppy training and basic obedience, is conducted in one-on-one private sessions in your home. This has been our model for a decade, and unlocks your pet's greatest potential. In a private lesson I am able to give you the highest quality instruction possible and address your unique needs and issues. I recommend one of my Private Training Packages to get your puppy started off on the right paw!
Socialization is extremely important to raising young puppies, and I address critical socialization periods during my private lessons with you and your puppy. Each week I give you socialization assignments as part of your homework, and by checking off your socialization checklist throughout the week, you will be meeting and exceeding your puppy's socialization needs. Socialization is something you should be working on daily with your puppy; a group class is not sufficient to meet all of your puppy's socialization needs.
With that being said, for great group classes I recommend All Fur Fun Training and Event Center:
Do you train service dogs?
I offer certain types of service dog training on a case-by-case basis. Training a service dog is very intensive for both the dog and the handler, with many hours of training and practice involved. This type of training includes in-home training, public training, and numerous evaluations to ensure both dog and handler are progressing appropriately. Training a service dog can take years with no guarantee that the dog is capable of such work for any certain extent of time. Your dog will need to be evaluated for suitability prior to being accepted in our service dog program, and you will need to show documentation from your physician to verify that you have a condition that qualifies you for a service dog. For more information on service dog training, please email us with your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do you offer payment plans?
Update 3/26/2020: Due to COVID-19, Square has temporarily suspended the Square Installments option for all businesses in order to protect consumers during this uncertain time, therefore installments are not currently available as a payment plan. You still have the option to choose Pay-As-You-Go sessions with us if you'd like.
Yes; in addition to the Pay-As-You-Go (pay per session) option, you can apply for financing through Square Installments. Square installments allows eligible customers to pay for purchases in 3, 6, or 12 monthly payments with rates from 0-30% APR. You can learn more about this new way to pay at https://squareinstallments.com/apply/spat