Frequently Asked Questions
How old does my new puppy need to be to start training?
As young as 8 weeks old! We will want to make sure your puppy has gotten at least their first set of vaccines and your Veterinarian gives you to OK to begin. I recommend private training at this young age due to the risk of contagious viruses in the environment such as parvovirus, which can be fatal for young pups. I offer both in-person and video chat private training options for these puppies. Both are very effective with getting you started, and as soon as your vet gives the OK- group training is the next step to work on socialization and to build upon your skills.
Is there an age limit on when a dog can start training or work on behavior issues?
NO! All dogs can learn at any time! It is true that the younger they are when we begin training, the easier and faster it can go. But, all dogs can learn at any age.
What kind of leash and collar or harness do you recommend?
All dogs pull on the leash at one time or another. Some more than others. The leash is not natural so there will be a learning curve to let them adjust. I avoid choke chains, prong collars, shock collars and even vibrating or spray collars for a variety of reasons. 1) They can make behavior worse 2) They can cause physical harm and injury 3) We don't need them when I teach you the right way!
How much time and effort does it take to train a puppy or adult dog?
A lot! Puppies need to potty very frequently, have essentially zero self-control, are a danger to themselves and can't focus too well. And yet, we love them anyway! It really does take a major time and effort commitment to see the training through. The good part is that puppies are a blank canvas so we can show them the way before they develop deeper and more difficult issues. But, if you don't do training, they're even MORE work! Adult dogs can sometimes be easier to train since they often have less uncontrollable puppy energy and more self-control, some even know some basic cues! Adults can also develop some bad habits! The longer the habits have been going on, the longer it can take to create new habits in their place. But, it's still less work than letting the issues grow into even bigger and worse behavior problems!
What if my dog is not neutered or spayed?
Female dogs in heat can experience behavioral changes and act differently than normal. This will pass but can cause a lot of behavioral changes in other dogs, especially intact (not neutered) males. The same goes for the intact males! Also, dogs are more likely to bolt and run away to find a mate, even if it is usually out of their character. So, as long as you have your dog under complete control and are aware of the possible effects it can have on your dog but also others around them, that is not a problem.
FYI: The laws in Nevada require all dogs and cats to be spayed or neutered from the age of 4 months or older and they will give out fines if your pet is caught outside or at a park or dog park and you cannot provide proof of sterilization. Some vets agree that it's best to wait until large breed dogs are at least 1 year of age before spaying/neutering, and if so they can write you a letter explaining their medical advice, in case you run into an issue. Ask your vet what they think is best for your dog!
Is it too late for my dog who's behavior is out of control?
Never! Often, as soon as we start making changes, we see changes in the dogs behavior! I can simplify the situation and get you guys on the right path pretty quickly. They want to succeed, some just need help to find that path and feel confident as a "good dog" again!
What if my dog is aggressive?
Aggression is a complex issue and needs to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Some "aggression" is normal and can be addressed with a few changes, but some forms are more dangerous and may need additional resources. Let me know the details and I will assess the situation.
How long does it take to see progress with the training?
As unbelievable as it may sound, as SOON as we mix up the routine and step up our communication skills with our dogs, they respond almost immediately. It may still take time for them to adjust to and become consistent with the new "rules" and to break the bad habits they're stuck in. But, you'll see changes very quickly. Dog's want to make us happy, we just need to be clear about what we expect and make it worth their effort! My group training classes are excellent for overall training! Private training can help to excel your dogs progress or target problem areas for even faster results.
What if my dog still has behavior problems after completing training?
Training is not a perfect fix-all, but I will teach you and set you up with tools for success. If you remain consistent, diligent, confident and positive- you'll succeed! However, some dogs do need a bit of extra time or further guidance to master some areas they may be struggling with. This is common! Private training is an excellent choice for these scenarios.
Can I train both/all of my dogs at the same time?
Absolutely! But, we need to have 1 responsible adult to handle each dog separately during each training session. And be sure to bring enough supplies for each (water, treats, bed, leash/collar etc). Don't expect them to be the same, each pup is a bit different and some will catch on faster than others or display other behaviors. This is normal!
Can training help with barking, jumping, chewing, digging, running out the door, not coming when called, pulling on the leash, getting along with other animals, begging etc?
YES! And any other undesirable behavior that you can think of. Most of these issues are addressed in my group training classes, but private training will address each dog individually and I can tailor a plan that's specific to your dog.
What if my dog is ok with me but not others?
This can happen for a variety of reasons, but training can help to boost your pups self-confidence and independence- while also learning how to properly socialize. This can be caused by fear, insecurity and a lack of independence training. Lap dogs are notorious for this! I will help you teach your dog how to be confident and socialized with private training, and then group training to take the socialization to the best level.
What if my dog has bitten someone or another dog?
Biting is a complex issue and needs to be addressed on a case-by-case basis. It is your responsibility to alert the trainer (and anyone else around your dog) if your dog has a "bite history." There are various degrees of bites and I am concerned more with the WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, WHY, HOW to determine what the best and safest course of action may be. Dogs should know how to keep their teeth to themselves, that's where preventative basic training can help! Most of the time, it is simple confusion or under-socialization. I can help determine what the best and safest course of action is and get your pup on a path of rehabilitation with private training.
How do you handle undesirable behavior with dogs, does punishment work?
Punishment is generally not effective and can cause further problems as well as fearful or avoidance behaviors from dogs. This is never productive or helpful. We want them in an open, learning mindset and willing to take chances. I can show you many ways to send a clear message about what we expect from our dogs vs what we don't want them to be doing. (Choke chains, prong collars, shock collars, biting dogs back, rolled up newspaper and rubbing dogs noses in potty messes are a few examples of very common, yet very negative, misinformation about canine psychology. Some if this stems from an "old style" way of thinking that has been revised and updated). In my 101 courses, as well as private training, you will learn how to speak their language and how to effectively handle each undesirable behavior we come across!
We will be moving or expecting a new baby, do you recommend training to help with the adjustment?
Yes! These can be traumatic and confusing times for dogs. Remember, we live in a chaotic and complex human world and dogs can often become over-whelmed or even frightened by these major changes. Sometimes, this means back-sliding or developing new undesirable habits. Some dogs develop anxiety or insecurity. Best to get ahead of it! I can prepare you for these scenarios to help ease the transition, this is best achieved through my private training sessions.
Is it mean to put dogs in a kennel?
No! At least not unless you make it a negative experience. Confinement is for their benefit! Dog's thrive upon consistency and security. Safe, comfortable and enjoyable confinement is a dog's natural choice anyway. It's safe, effective, relaxing, necessary and helps to teach them independence and confidence. Their confinement area is useful for a variety of reasons you'll learn in my training classes!