Do you train dogs with separation anxiety?
Yes, absolutely. Separation anxiety
can be the result of many contributing factors. Typically, the dog simply lacks confidence. With time and determination this
condition is treatable and reversible.
Do you train rescue and shelter dogs?
Adopted dogs are wonderful! These dogs are grateful for the opportunity to be terrific companions, and even if they
have been abused or neglected in the past, rehabilitating them is almost always possible.
should I train my dog at home?
You should train your dog at home because training cannot be limited to structured training sessions alone.
Depending on the training exercise and motivators, your dog's attention span will last between 5 and 20 minutes. The maximum
formal training time that you will achieve in one day is likely to be only 1-2 hours. That is not a lot of time in the grand
scheme of things. Also, a dog that understands basic commands, but has no comprehension of good manners is going to be an
awkward companion. If you train your dog at home, you bond with your dog in its environment. You can catch your dog being
good and offer rewards and praise as they occur; thus shaping the behaviors that you observe and desire to have repeated.
Do you offer group classes?
No. Canine Behavior
Consulting only offers private, in-home training.
What is socialization and why is it important?
Introducing your puppy to other puppies is crucial to its mental development. Puppies need to be exposed to all kinds
of people with a variety of attributes - different genders, sizes, shapes, ages, etc. This will reduce the likelihood that
your puppy will fear or mistrust strangers. Puppies must also mix and mingle with as many different types of dogs and other
animals (including cats) as possible. Cats are very good at teaching puppies to respect them. If a puppy can be taught to
respect cats while it's still young, it will be less likely to chase and harass them as a dog.
You also want to expose and "desensitize"
your pup to everything that is a part of your world and daily routine. Examples include: vacuum cleaners, lawn mowers, leaf
blowers, stairs, plants, water, toys, and just about anything that moves, smells, feels different, or makes noise. The more
pleasant experiences your puppy has, the less skittish it will be later. NEVER force a scary situation on any pup. This
will backfire and only result in fear and anxiety disorders.
Early socialization is absolutely essential, especially during the all-important 8 to 16 weeks of life. The prime
window of opportunity for puppy socialization ends somewhere between the 13th and 16th week after birth. Failure to properly
socialize during this time will result in the pup being less likely to form strong attachments to people and may cause it
to be timid or even aggressive later in life. Canine Behavior Consulting recommends that a puppy stay with the dam and littermates
until at least eight weeks of age since the interaction with littermates helps prepare a puppy for meeting other dogs and
also teaches it bite inhibition which prevents overzealous biting and/or nipping. Also, puppies should be kept in an environment
where they are able to see people and are handled regularly. Socialization will help to ensure a stable and friendly dog.
you use choke chains or training chain prong collars?
No. Choke chains
and prong collars are compulsory training tools designed to deliver discomfort to a dog so that it will comply with commands
to avoid the delivery of further discomfort. This type of training uses force and intimidation to encourage compliance rather
than the more powerful positive training methods that encourage a dog to comply because it is pleasurable and fun to please
What method of training do you use?
At Canine Behavior Consulting we use positive reinforcement training, meaning that we consistently reward the desirable
behaviors we want from our dogs while also managing or ignoring (when possible) the undesirable behaviors.
is positive reinforcement training?
emphasizes the rewarding of desirable behaviors. It is based on the principles of operant conditioning, in which consequences
guide behavior. Simply stated, this is motivational training in a positive sense. A trainer uses motivation to encourage
desirable behaviors. Unwanted or undesirable behaviors are either redirected into desired behaviors or they are ignored.
With repetition, rewarded behaviors prevail and unrewarded behaviors are extinguished. The unrewarded and ignored behaviors
eventually become extinct. We have to be careful about which behaviors we reward and which ones we ignore because we can
unintentionally teach bad behaviors. (Example: your puppy whines in its crate and you go over, open the door, and let him
out). Your puppy is acting on the environment (you) and is being reinforced for doing so because you let him out. Your puppy
quickly learns that "Whining gets me out; therefore I will whine more often." The next thing you know, you have
a puppy that will not settle down and be quiet in its crate. Trainers utilize this same principle; we reinforce or reward
the animal for desirable behaviors, and ignore or remove something of value for undesirable behaviors.
The principles of classical conditioning
are also commonly used and combined with operant conditioning in positive reinforcement training. Most dogs know the sound
of a potato chip bag and they will magically appear licking their chops and salivating when they hear that sound. They weren't
born knowing that potato chip bags contain yummy, salty, crunchy food, but they learn quickly to associate the sound of the
bag with food. Trainers use this stimulus-response relationship to elicit and shape desirable behaviors. For instance, if
a dog offers a desired behavior, the trainer can immediately communicate his or her approval by way of a secondary or conditioned
reinforcer, (a once neutral stimulus such as a clicker that has come to have a positive association for the animal due to
the fact that it is paired with a primary or unconditioned reward such as a food treat). This conditioned reinforcer can
take many forms: a whistle, a click, a word, or any number of indicators. With dogs, the conditioned reinforcer is commonly
referred to as a marker. The marker, such as a click, or the word "good!" or "yes!" is a time gap bridge
between a desired behavior and the delivery of the food treat that indicates "good things are coming." Reward examples
include: treats, affection, praise, play, attention, or a favorite toy.
Positive reinforcement techniques were originally developed for use (with
great success) in training marine mammals and even horses. These same basic techniques are now being used extensively in dog
training and have taken obedience training to a whole new level. The use of pain, punishment, and harsh corrections is quickly
becoming a thing of the past. When used correctly, positive reinforcement methods are extremely effective and result in a
happy, confident dog rather than a dog that hangs his head in submission and crawls timidly towards you with his tail between
his legs. The training methods you use can make all the difference!
Why is it not okay to punish
my dog after the fact?
Dogs live in the moment; therefore
a dog does not connect a prior act to subsequent punishment. For example, your dog chews and destroys your shoe, but you
do not see it happen. You are upset and you call your dog to you to receive punishment for its prior misdeed. If your dog
comes to you and you punish it, you have now punished the dog for coming to you. At least that's how the dog perceives it.
It doesn't understand that it is being punished for something it did two or more minutes ago. To make matters worse, it is
highly likely, even probable, that it will develop a negative association with the recall cue so that coming to you is the
last thing it wants to do. Repeat this scenario enough times and your dog might even begin to fear you!
Similarly, if your dog leaves a "present"
for you on your bedroom floor and you discover it after the fact. And then you stick your dog's nose in it while saying "NO,
bad dog"! Your dog will learn to fear and mistrust you. It will not make the connection between your current feelings
of anger and frustration, and its previous accident. If the dog looks guilty it is because it understands that you are upset.
Dogs are terrific at reading our faces and moods, including our body language and tone of voice. A dog's guilty look is not
an indication that it understands what it is being punished for. You must catch your dog in the act of eliminating and immediately
take the dog outside or to the inside designated "potty" spot. Very often, dogs that are punished for eliminating
in the house begin to fear the act of eliminating, especially in front of the owner which can cause them to do their business
Is a crate really necessary?
No, but one could
be quite useful for various reasons. A crate is an enclosed, portable kennel that is used to contain a dog and can be used
as a dog den (a nice, secure place). Crates are handy when traveling and are especially helpful when housebreaking a dog.
A crate should be barely spacious enough to allow the dog to stretch out and lie down. You do not want the crate so large
that the dog has excess room in which to roam (or eliminate). It is uncharacteristic of dogs to eliminate where they lie.
A crate also prevents the dog from eliminating in the wrong areas (e.g. in the house) until it can be taken to a proper spot
Crate training is only one aspect of housebreaking. Puppies need to eliminate shortly after eating and/or drinking,
so regulating their food and water is helpful. Do not leave the food bowl down for puppies. Feed at set times and allow
no more than 10-15 minutes in which to eat and drink. Within a few minutes of playing, eating, drinking, and just about any
other activity, puppies need to be taken outside and escorted to "the spot" where they can have the opportunity
to relieve themselves. Additionally, puppies should not be kept in a crate for longer than 2-3 hours during the day (4-5
hours is optimum for grown dogs - 8 hours maximum). Puppies need to be given several opportunities to exercise/play and relieve
themselves before retiring to the crate. A puppy that is left in its crate past the point of its ability to "hold it"
is being set-up by you to fail or have difficulties with housebreaking. It could even elicit a behavior known as coprophagia
where the dog consumes its own feces.
The crate should be a comfortable and secure "den" for your puppy. Consider throwing a few treats or a
chew toy in for your canine pal from time to time. Articles of clothing that you have worn will offer additional security.
Slow classical music, the television, or a sound machine can be helpful in keeping your puppy calm as well. Be careful not
to isolate your puppy from the rest of the family or "pack" by keeping it in a distant room away from the center
of activity. It is preferable to have the pup included and in the same general vicinity as its human pack whenever possible.
A crate is a very
useful behavior management tool. It makes puppy-raising much easier by keeping your pup safely contained when you can't directly
supervise it. Puppies are typically housetrained in a surprisingly short time with the use of a crate, and the crate offers
you peace of mind knowing that your dog isn't peeing and pooping all over the house, or chewing on electric cords and family
heirlooms when you're not there to watch it.
Are electronic (non-visible) fences good to use?
I am not a huge fan of electronic shock fences. I have had to test them on myself for clients and it is a very unpleasant
experience. Realistically, electronic (non-visible) fences are a necessity for some who are either not allowed to enclose
their property due to HOA covenants and/or government restrictions, or they cannot afford to fence in multiple acres. A
dog that is correctly and carefully trained on a high quality and properly calibrated system should not have to endure multiple
shocks to learn the boundaries of its property.
Regrettably, there are too many electronic fence horror stories that have occurred because proper
care and training were not instituted by dog owners causing their dogs to suffer permanent physical and/or psychological damage.
Proper installation, training and supervision must accompany any electronic fence system.
you train therapy dogs?
No. Canine Behavior Consulting is not currently an Associate Member of TDI (Therapy Dogs International) and does not have a TDI evaluator on
staff. For more information refer to the TDI website at www.tdi-dog.org.
Do you train K-9 service dogs?
Canine Behavior Consulting trains only pet dogs. Training services not offered by Canine Behavior Consulting include the training of: Bomb Dogs, Drug Dogs, Mine Dogs, Dual Purpose Patrol & Narcotics Dogs, and Dual Purpose
Patrol & Explosives Dogs.
How do you charge for your services?
Prices for services
vary depending upon the estimated number of visits required, the number of dogs being trained, and the distance from Canine Behavior Consulting to your home.
Once a phone consultation has taken place and a client information form has been received, a proper estimate of the number
of required visits and the total cost of services can be discussed prior to scheduling the first appointment. Clients are
not asked to make a decision about whether to pay full price for individual sessions or pay-in-full for a discounted package
until the conclusion of the first visit.