FAQ's

Choosing the right dog trainer is the most important decision you can make for your dog.

Don't all dog trainers, train dogs the same way?

Dog training is an unregulated profession, which means that each trainer can use different methods, have different experience levels, different education or no experience or education at all. The American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior has developed standards to help pet owners select a good dog trainer.  Read them at the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior.

Research has shown that using pain to decrease unwanted behavior can be fear-provoking and lead to aggressive behavior. As such we do not use:

  • Choke chains
  • Pronge collars
  • Shock collars or vibrating collar
  • Yelling, poking, jerking, rolling, kicking or hitting
What training method do veterinarians recommend?

Our training methods follow the same effective standards and practices recommended by professional dog training organziations & veterinarians:

Our dog trainers are cerified through the Cerification Coucil for Professional Dog Trainers and/or through the Karen Pryor Dog Training Academy.

How do you train dogs?

Positive reinforcement is used to train puppies, dogs and their people.  We strictly follow these methods in training and dog walking.  We follow the American Humane Association, a national organization dedicated to the protection children, pet and farm animals, on their five freedoms:

  • Freedom from hunger and thirst
  • Freedom from discomfort
  • Freedom from pain, injury, disease
  • Freedom to express normal behaviors

Freedom from fear and distress

Why don't you recommend 'training' collars?

Research has shown that using pain to decrease unwanted behavior can be fear-provoking and lead to aggressive behavior. As such we do not use:

  • Choke chains
  • Pronge collars
  • Shock collars or vibrating collar

Yelling, poking, jerking, rolling, kicking or hitti

My husband and I recently rescued a 15 month old female Golden Retriever..She has been extremely fearful…We practiced with the tools. It was really miraculous and effortless!! I have to say that it was worth every penny!! I have applied the same training principles to other things like using the crate and again, really works. I highly recommend Sherry!  ~Rhiannon B

How long does it take?

Dogs are individuals so genetics, learning history, behavior history and the time put into training must be considered. Be prepared to see progress in the first few lessons, but perfection will come over time.  Most private one-on-one training lessons are geared to give you the skills you need and to give your dog a solid foundation.  Day training lessons may expedite learning but management and maintenance is required.

What is positive reinforcement and why is it better?

Positive reinforcement is a technique used to strengthen desired behavior while reducing the occurrence of unwanted behaviors almost simultaneously.  Positive reinforcement is a powerful tool to change behavior and is based on science. “In one report, dogs that were trained using rewards (‘positive reinforcement’) for desirable behavior had a significantly better response to obedience tasks compared to dogs trained primarily with punishment (Hiby et al., 2004). Another found that dogs that were trained using only positive reinforcement were less likely to develop future behavior problems, while others that had been trained using punishment were more likely to develop fear-related responses” (Herron et al., 2009).

What if I've used a 'training' collar in the past?

The variance between different dog training methods is overwhelming for dog owners. We recommend using harnesses for dog and focusing on what we want the dog to do instead of correcting or punishing what we don’t want. Once a history of reinforcing the dog for doing what we do want is in place, the need for training collars diminishes.

My dog is frightened of other dogs, does he need to be socialized?

No! Some uneducated trainers think that aggressive or fearful dogs need more socialization. Unfortunately this is incorrect information and can be harmful to your dog. The time for socialization is between 8 – 16 weeks old, when the puppy brain is developing and fear has not set in, so to speak. Dogs showing signs of fear or aggression should work with our trainer to help them feel comfortable. Placing a dog in a fearful situation could lead to aggression and hinder the human animal bond.

What is socialization?

Socialization means exposing your 8 – 16 week old puppy to as many novel sights, sounds, places, animals, people and objects as possible AND ensuring a pleasant experience during those exposures.  Your puppy cannot learn to sit, stay or come if they do not first feel comfortable and safe in any environment.  Socialization prepares your puppy for life in our unusual and scary human world.

Socialization is NOT:
  • Breeder/rescue has “a lot of dogs”
  • Having a “friendly” breed
  • Having a puppy who is already friendly
  • Having other dogs at home
  • Introducing a puppy to one dog
  • Playing with dogs after a year-old
  • Taking a puppy to one five-week class (this is only the beginning)
How can I prevent my dog from becoming fearful?

Positive experiences early in life are the best way to set your dog up for success but there are a lot of factor that come into play with aggression, such learning history (if a trainer asks you to yank on your dog’s pinch collar or shock him when he sees a dog, chances are he’s going to get very cranky each time he sees a dog) and genetics (a dog trainer cannot change your dogs DNA).  The good news is positive reinforcement is successful even when other methods have been used, it’s not too late.

My dog was socialized so why is he biting?
Is socialization safe?

Yes.  The first round of vaccination, maternal immunity and appropriate care reduce the risks of your puppy catching a disease.  The risk of developing a behavioral problem from limited or no socialization is much greater.  Learn more by reading what the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior recommends for puppies.

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