How Long Are the Sessions?

As long as they need to be.  I don’t wear a watch–every lesson has a goal, and the lesson is over when we have achieved that goal, whether that is an hour or two hours.  The initial sessions are longer–you’ll have more questions and there is a lot of information to cover.  As the dog progresses, training goes more quickly.  A lot depends on your pet’s energy and attention span.  Puppies tire more quickly than adults, and it’s generally a good idea to rest your dog before training.

Where Do We Meet?

We meet at your house.  Most behavior problems begin in the home and that is the best place to solve them.  That being said, if the only place you train is at home, the only place your dog will behave is at home.  So I usually like to schedule a field trip or two to insure that your pet behaves even  when distracted by new sights, smells, new people and new dogs.  Some issues, like leash pulling, lunging, and barking require one or two home sessions and the balance are in public places.

Will My Puppy Be Socialized In A Private Class?

YES!  I bring different behaviorally healthy, friendly dogs  to your house and each home lesson ends with a play session.  In addition, we schedule field trips to the park or the pet store to introduce your puppy to new people, sights, smells, and other dogs.  We practice proper dog-to-dog and dog-to-people introductions.  When you know how to get your puppy to behave in public, you are more likely to continue socializing him or her long after the formal training has ended.  Another thing that sets Pet Etiquette’s classes apart from traditional training classes is that we practice gentling and handling skills to ready your dog for visits to the veterinarian and the groomer. 

What Methods Do You Use?

Unlike other fields, professional dog training is not about having systems, outlines, or processes.  It’s not a “cookie cutter” training course–one size does not fit all.  Every dog is different and every dog learns differently.  

I am a motivational trainer and specialize in off leash obedience and problem solving.   I use various collars, food, toys, praise, play, affection, body language and psychology to motivate and engage your pet, but I will also tell your dog “no,” insist on good behavior and correct when necessary.  I follow the “LIMA” principle, that is, “Least Invasive, Minimally Adversive.” In other words, it’s not about dominance, and it’s not about an adversarial relationship with the dog, but eliciting his willing cooperation.  

Do You Bribe Dogs To Listen?  I Want My Dog To Listen Because I Say So.

All our classes use treats for training.  Don’t worry, though,  you won’t have to carry around treats in your pocket for the rest of your life, and your dog will learn to obey you even when you don’t have food.  Weaning your dog off his reliance on food is a step that other trainers often omit.

However, rewards inform your dog when he has done something right, and it makes him a happy participant in the training. Think of it this way:  would you go to work for free, don’t you expect a paycheck?  Your dog’s paycheck is anything that he or she wants.  Than can mean a food treat, a walk, a belly scratch, toys, play, and praise.  Just having your active attention is hugely rewarding.  But food is probably the easiest reward to manipulate.