What is the best way to train my dog?

Ask 10 people this question and you will get 10 different answers. There is no right or wrong way to train a dog, and every dog is different. What will work for one dog does not work for another. In our classes, we teach a standard method of positioning and praise, with a firm but gentle hand. However, we also will modify our lesson for that individual student who is not responding to this method.

What dog breed should I get?

We will not recommend one breed over another, but can help you at least know what you are looking for. Base your decision on your lifestyle, and what you want from a dog. The first 2 questions you should ask yourself – do I have time for a dog, and do I have the financial means to support a dog? If either of these questions is “no”, then you are better off looking into a different species for a pet. If you are say “yes” to both questions, then you need think about a lot of other things: Do you want a lapdog, or an energetic runner? Are you physically active or do you prefer quiet nights at home? Do you want a large dog or a small dog? Do you want a dog that has a lot of hair, therefore, a lot of grooming? Do you hunt and want the dog to assist you? Do you care if the dog is a drooler? Do you now, or do you plan to, have young children in the house?

Why doesn’t my dog listen to me?

Dogs will listen to whoever they feel is the leader – you must become that leader for the dog. Make sure every human in the house knows, understands, and agrees to the rules for the dog. For example, if you don’t want the dog on the couch, then at no times is the dog allowed on the couch. If one person says no but the other person allows it, the dog will not know who to listen to. If you are inconsistent with your commands or inconsistent with your praise, the dog will not see you as the leader and therefore, no respect your position. The dog will then become the leader and run your life. When you tell the dog a command, you are telling it, not asking it, and if the dog does not respond, then you need to reinforce what you want them to do. If you tell the dog to sit, make sure they sit before you, or they, do anything else. If you do not insist on obedience, the dog will not respond to you.

Why don’t you use treats to train?

We use a standard method of teaching that does not involve treats to position the dog or as a lure for the dog (outside of our puppy class). Our reasoning: Many dogs will listen if you have a cookie. But as soon as the cookie is gone, so is their training. If the dog is running towards the street and you don’t happen to have a cookie, will the dog listen to you? Maybe, but maybe not. Dogs needs to learn what a command means, and to respond to it regardless of the situation – it could literally be life and death for the dog. Treats, if overused, can also add to the overweight dogs in the country today. Dogs, just like people, are very prone to gain weight and current statistics are showing 65% of the dogs in the U.S. are overweight (as of 2008 statistics). Although we don’t use treats in our classes, we do stress the critical need for praise for the dog. This can be through verbal praise as well as hand praise.

What is showing all about?

There are different areas of showing dogs: Conformation: What you typically see on TV – the judge is looking at the dog’s bones, structure, coat, coloring, movement – and comparing the dog is he looking at to a picture of the Perfect dog for that breed in his mind. The dog that most closely matches the breed standard will be chosen as the winner. Dog’s in this class must be registered with the American Kennel Club and be a good representation of the breed. Regular Obedience: These dogs must be registered purebreds with the AKC, however, they do not have to be exact in terms of breed standard. They must, however, be able to do a certain set of obedience exercises, in a fairly precise manner, to earn their title There are 3 main levels of regular obedience: Novice (earn a Companion Dog CD title), Open (earn a Companion Dog Excellent CDX title), and Utility (earn a Utility Dog UD title). Rally Obedience: The newest form of obedience, and much less strict than regular obedience. Like regular obedience, the dogs must be AKC registered, but not necessarily match the breed standard exactly. The dogs work through a series of signs and perform whatever exercise is shown on that sign. There are 3 levels of Rally obedience: Rally Novice (RN title), Rally Advanced (RA title) and Rally Excellent (RE title). If you are interested in showing in any of these classes, please contact us. We have staff members who are knowledgeable in all areas and will be happy to guide you through the show procedures.

I’ve got this new puppy – now what do I do?

Many folks will try to “protect” their new puppy and keep them inside or in their back yard until they at least 6 months old. This is the worse thing you can do. A puppy, once they have had their shots and are protected from outside viruses, should be allowed to see their world. Make sure the dog is wearing a collar (all the time), and is getting used to a leash. Take them for short walks, and if in their yard, allow them to drag a leash behind them. It will get them used to walking on a leash. Enroll in a puppy kindergarten class. The puppy needs to be exposed to outside dogs, people, and can easily begin to start their learning of basic commands.

Is my dog too old to learn?

Never. The old adage of you can’t teach an old dog new tricks is totally untrue. Any dog can learn, at any age. Some dogs will take a little longer to really catch on, but every dog can be taught to obey, it just takes time and patience.

Is my dog too young to learn?

No. A puppy can begin to learn the basics from the second they walk in your door. Remember, it is just a puppy, so their attention span is very short. However, they can be taught at a very young age.

How much money do your instructors make?

None. Our training staff are all volunteers, who donate their time, energy, and talents to the training program. We are a non profit organization, and our training staff believes in the work we do and know that a trained dog is more apt to stay in a home and out of the shelters. Your class tuition goes towards the rent and maintenance of our training building. Do you have dogs available for adoption at your building? No. We are not a shelter and do not adopt dogs. We are a training facility for dogs that already have already been placed in homes.

Do you board dogs or have a doggie day care?

No. We are a training facility only, and the building is only open during the hours we have classes.