What should I look for in a trainer?
Finding the right trainer can be hard. Even a qualified trainer may not be the right fit for you. Finding someone you trust and mesh with is vital.
Other things you want to look for are their experience, what success stories they have, and what techniques they use. I encourage all prospective clients to ask as many questions as they have. I want to make 100% sure I am the right trainer for you.
What are your certifications/qualifications?
Dog training is a tricky business when it comes to certifications. The industry does not have any set rules, which is why it is flooded with underqualified trainers.
I have my bachelor's degree in psychology, much of dog training is based out of human psychology. I am currently earning my second bachelor's in animal health and behavior. I am constantly expanding my knowledge through books/videos/seminars. As well as having years from working with dogs since I was very young (~7 years old). I am also an evaluator for Canine Good Citizen and trick titles through AKC.
See Meet the Trainer for more information.
What is your approach to training?
I am a balanced trainer. What this means to me is, I use a combination of positive reinforcement and correction. I always start as soft and gentle as possible, but not all dogs respond to this. I let the dog tell me what motivates them (for both positive and negative). I walk clients through step by step why I do what I do and why it works. HOWEVER, I respect the owner's wishes and will not use any methods/tools they are not comfortable with.
See Tools and Methods for more information.
What is the difference between obedience training and behavior modification?
Obedience training includes teaching the dog: sit, down, recall, heel, etc.
Behavior modification is for problem behaviors such as: resource guarding, reactivity and separation anxiety. Part of behavior modification is obedience training, but it goes beyond that. Behavior modification works on retraining the dog's brain to respond appropriately in triggering situations. Think of it has rehab for your dog.
What age should my puppy start training?
Training starts the day you bring them home. They are constantly learning and figuring out what the rules and expectations are. Being a young puppy, their brains are sponges and they accept everything as normal.
For formal training, if they are not fully vaccinated they should not be going out to places where other unknown dogs have been. However, because I offer in-home training, we can start right away.