We will be using food, praise and toys to motivate them - after all everybody needs an incentive, a reason to want to work or as I like to say everybody needs to get paid including your dog or there's no incentive to work. We want your dog to want to work.
I find that temporarily asking then to work for each meal gives the greatest enthusiasm for the training. Dogs who get normal in the bowl meals are rarely hungry and motivated enough to work.
There are some dogs who are toy OBSESSED and we can use toys to motivate them but most dogs are not obsessed enough.
All dogs will also be receiving praise verbally and physically (through petting).
Most dogs will be using prong collars (Herm Sprenger, Mueller, Micro-mini prong collars) and/or Ecollar Technologies e-collars (Mini Educator or Boss remote collars). I find that the quality, gentleness and effectiveness of these collars make them stand out from the pack.
Occasionally I will recommend a different piece of equipment based upon your dogs specific needs.
So please bring: a flat collar with tags, a flat non-extendable leash, your dog, a toy if that's his thing and his daily food. (If you are currently feeding a raw diet please dehydrate it or bring cooked meat to facilitate handling.) If you are coming for a residency program please also bring his kennel.
I've worked with thousands of families who were extremely satisfied but that doesn't mean I'm the right trainer for you. It takes the right blend of knowledge, understanding, personality and compassion to make the right match for you. I would suggest you check out the rest of my site and my Facebook page to get a feel for me and the training I offer so you can make the best decision for your dog and are as excited to work with me as I am to work with you.
Yes, crates are required. Roaming has no value for your dog or for you. Dogs who roam through the house get into trouble physically by ingesting stuff they shouldn't, destroying things, and inappropriate elimination or they get into mental trouble like developing separation anxiety, nuisance barking, nervousness, fear or entitlement. A dog who roams thinks he's king of the world which many people mistakenly think is just what the dog needs. But from the dog's perspective he now has to "rule the world" and he just doesn't have the skills or equipment to do that making his "job" very stressful. Your dog craves structure and guidance - he'd rather be a devoted friend and not have the pressure of ruling. Crates allow us to keep him safe and secure. Crates also help him not to develop any bad habits while you are away making it much easier to establish new, lasting better habits. So while your dog is in training, crates are a must.
Crates are required?
Nope! Your dog is never to old or too young to train. Dogs are like people - they start learning the moment that they are born and they don't stop until they die.
Granted the older and more ingrained the previous behaviors and habits are the more we have to work to unlearn them but just like people, dogs learn new skills throughout their lives. Also like young children, puppies have shorter attention spans and need a lot more rewards but they have few bad habits to unlearn and pick concepts up incredibly fast.
So no matter their age, your dog can learn!
Is my dog too old or too young to train?
I like to begin with the end in mind and by offering packages I know what level of competence my clients are aiming for. I like clients who are committed and invested in the process rather than trying to get it done in the least amount of lessons in order to save a buck. And I like people to know what they are paying for instead of just having them come back again and again and never finishing - life is too short and people are too busy for that - I'm sure you would also like to know how long it will take so you can get it scheduled in to your calendar and done. I also believe people are smart and they can do the math - hidden charges and never ending lessons at continuing expense frustrate everybody.
What issues do you work with?
Where do we train and what is a Pack Walk?
Why packages rather than pay as you go lessons?
I offer private lessons at two locations: The Yappie Cuttery/Blooms Crossing Animal Hospital in Manassas Park and at the house in Centreville. All residency programs begin at the house.
Depending upon your dogs needs and progress we might also go out on "field trips" in Fairfax or Prince William Counties.
The Pack Walking group also does regular (sometimes irregular) "field trips" around Fairfax and Prince William Counties.
The Pack Walking group is a free practice group for my clients after they have achieved basic control of their dogs to get them out around other people, dogs and places to further expose them to distractions in the real world. We use it to challenge and encourage each other to continually practice and do better. This group is not a dog social or play group. Dogs will be challenged to walk politely with each other through crowds, do long down/stays or place commands and overcome the challenges of variable surfaces and noise levels and activities. If you've got a great location suggestion we're always up to try new dog friendly places.
Am I the right trainer for you and your family?
What equipment will we use for training?
And, what should we bring?
Training can not give you a new dog. It can not replace personality or temperament any more than it can change the breed or the physical attributes of your dog. What training can do is:
Training will always make any dog a better companion. And, most importantly, training makes happy, relaxed, enjoyable dogs!
I work with minor behavior issues like pulling on the leash, barking, chewing, digging, begging, jumping up, play biting, mouthing, and general manners like crate and house training - all easily fixable through private lesson or residency obedience training programs.
I also work with bigger behavior issues like not coming when called, chasing cars, leash reactivity, separation anxiety, dog aggression, people aggression and resource guarding behaviors. These behaviors can generally be fixed or managed but often require a residency training program and additional lifestyle expectations and changes to help the dog be successful.