Dog Training & Behavior
What is your training philosophy?
I believe that training is not a series of tricks. When a command is given, the dog should immediately respond. There should be no need to entice with a handful of treats for your dog's attention, to sit, or to come when called. This is especially important where many distractions are present. Your dog listens anytime, anywhere. Not just in the living room, or at the training facility. And not just when treats are present. That is real world training. And it is lifesaving.
Do you use positive reinforcement?
Yes, and no. I use various methods, dependent on the dog's individual preference and style for learning. Some dogs respond best to praise, while others do well with treats, and some dogs get over the top when treats are used, this can actually promote poor behaviors when treats are used with dogs who are in a heightened state of arousal. There are also styles like Negative Punishment. It sounds bad, but one example is turning your back on a dog who is jumping on you for attention; the dog does not get attention for jumping, the jumping is then discouraged. Again, these are only examples of various modalities that are used.
Do you use prong collars, remote collars, or other training tools? I heard these are dangerous!
Sometimes I utilize these tools if I feel we can get better results. My dog has had great success with off leash reliability on a remote collar. Think of it as an extended leash. A little tap on the shoulder (vibrate button) is often all that is needed for correction, should she get distracted or too far off. As stated above, the use of various operant conditioning styles are used. With a prong collar, the dog is in complete control. The dog pulls, and does not like the pressure, he gets uncomfortable, therefore stops pulling. This is called Positive Punishment. No abuse is ever used with these tools. They are simply a method of communication between you and the dog.
I already contacted my Veterinarian, and they suggested medication to calm my dog down.
While I definitely think there are other options besides medication for behavioral modification, sometimes it may be needed. My advice is not meant to replace that of a trusted Veterinarian. Pet consultations are simply another tool to have in your box. Veterinarians may not be provided with the entire story of what is going on, because they see a pet for such a short time. They also do not have the time to assist with the training process, as their specialty is sick pets, and getting them better. I am pleased to say that I will work in conjunction with Veterinarians if needed. That being said, a little training can go a LONG way, and most of the time, that's all it takes.
My dog already took a puppy class when he was younger, will it be similar to that??
Possibly. But since, you are here, likely chance it didn't stick and we now have other issues to sort out. As such, group classes are very different than one-on-one consults.
Will the exercises be boring? Training my dog sounds like so much work!
I like to incorporate as much fun as possible into the tasks we work on. Yes, some can be frustrating and take patience, but what good things in life come easily? I want to see owners and their dogs succeed, so any exercises I recommend will also build the relationship between the two. If older kids are present in the home, I will suggest they be involved too (supervised of course)! This is not a game of just saying sit and giving treats. This is about building trust, confidence and reliability in your dog.
Is this a board and train program?
No. I do one-on-one consults, and give you all the skills to utilize at home for maximum results, without having to commit to a costly program, or traveling to weekly classes. Schedule and train on your own time! If our work is, for whatever reason unsuccessful, I will refer you to another program through a reputable trainer in your area.
I am expecting a baby, but I'm worried my dog will have trouble adjusting, what can I do?
Train and prepare! The Pawsitively Safe consultation may be best for you!
What results can I expect?
Not every case is the same, but this is why I send quite a detailed questionnaire before I meet with you. That way, all my categories are covered and we can discuss the areas that stand out to me. Each session will observe and outline any problems you are dealing with. An in-depth evaluation will be taken, and a plan will be set forth, perfectly tailored to your family. After each visit you will get an outline of what we went over and what else needs to be done (daily exercises) to achieve the best results. Follow-up visits will be scheduled to go over additional materials, troubleshoot other areas of behavior, and monitor any progress or setbacks. Again, training and behavior modification takes commitment. This is not an overnight fix, and follow through by the owner is very much warranted. My dog is 7 years old and we still work multiple times a week to stay on track.
I have more than one dog, can we train them both at the same time??
Short answer, is no. We work one dog at a time for best results. However, you can incorporate the new information to start with your other dog's training, on your own if you want to. Additional dogs do require a separate consult, but discounts are available.
My dog is very reactive and aggressive, are you able to help with this?
Reactivity and aggression are different. I do not work with aggressive dogs at this time and will refer you to another trainer who would be the best fit. I do work with certain reactivity issues.
How much will it cost? And how many sessions will we need?
It depends on what we're dealing with. While most programs are board & train style, or group classes, which can cost hundreds per session- HAPPY TRAILS PETS specializes in one-on-one consultations to provide individualized attention to detail in each unique case.
Various packages are available for various levels of difficult behaviors. Right now I only offer packaged services (additional follow-ups are available). This ensures we can see results and get to the end goal. Think of it as taking a trip. You wouldn't book half a flight to each individual town on the way to your destination to inch you closer and closer... you book the full ticket to be sure you get to your target destination with minimal interruptions!
Each session is tailored to your pet's personality, and your lifestyle. If you need help choosing the package that's right for you, just ask!
Do you guarantee results?
Due to the nature of the consultations and dog training in general, no success can be guaranteed. Since I give you the tools to implement training protocols and practices at home and on your own time; it is up to you to achieve the results you wish to see. Some families move a bit faster through training depending on the behavior, time dedication, etc. I am simply here to teach you the skills, and guide you along the way to see a better behaved dog!
Is there anything else I should know?
I don’t just evaluate the pet- I also take a look at the owners too! I am looking for 4 main characteristics: dedication, enthusiasm, motivation, and commitment to the process. This is not a board and train, an overnight success, or a weekly class/boot camp (unless you want to make it that way)! You can expect homework! The more dedicated you are, the faster you will see results! I give you the tools, and you need to utilize them. It is me, empowering you, to enrich your pet’s life. To see how I train, please visit the View My Work page for training demonstrations!