Q: How old should my dog be before I start training him?
A: Training begins the moment you introduce the puppy to the household. Unfortunately, there is still a prevalent belief that training begins when the puppy first attends classes, which is usually after he has received his inoculations -- or worse, wait till he/she is six month old! The truth, however, is that the most important training for the new puppy is teaching it the basic disciplines of good behavior in and around the house. This should begin immediately.
Q: My dog knows how to sit, lie down, and shake; but he just doesn't listen when I need him to?
A: Chances are your dog has been taught these exercises in fun, or for treats. Nothing wrong with that, but because he knows how to sit and lie down doesn't mean he will do so when you need him to. After all, if you think about it, every knows how to sit, and how to go down -- they rest in the down position and sit when they choose to -- but do they know how to do so on command. For a dog to respond consistently to these commands in distracting situations he must be properly trained.
Q: Should I Obedience Train my dog?
A: Yes. All dogs, regardless of breed, age, or size, need training. In today's urban environment, having a set of clear, unambiguous verbal commands that your dog responds to is vital. The well trained dog is a much safer and happier animal, making a good companion and a welcome neighbor.
Q: My dog has been to training classes before, but I still can't control him?
A: Each dog is an individual and although most dogs will benefit from group training classes, some do not. These dogs, either because of their temperament, or the temperament and ability of the handler, or a combination of both, may need some private coaching before being immersed in a classroom environment.
Q: My dog knows his commands and is good on the lead, but goes crazy in the house especially when visitors arrive!
A: It would seem that your dog has been conditioned to behave well on the lead when walking, or in class, but considers the house his own. The house is yours, your den, and a privilege for the dog to be there, not a God-given right. It should be a controlled environment, controlled by you, the leader. The visitors are coming to see you and your family, not your dog, they will get round to greeting your dog eventually, not vice versa.
Q: I just want my dog to come when I call him, I'm not interested in anything else.
A: The age old problem of the dog not coming when called is usually symptomatic of a faulty dog/owner relationship. For a dog to come when called he must, first and foremost, accept you, the owner/handler, as being in charge and leading the pack, and not him. In your situation, the leadership role has not been properly established, thus making it very difficult to isolate and remedy this one problem area without addressing the broader issue of overall control. In some cases, and with certain dogs, this particular issue can be isolated and addressed without he need for more comprehensive training; however, far better result will be achieved with full training.
Q: My dog has been trained and is, generally, well behaved, but he still jumps up on everybody.
A: Frankly, your dog is not properly trained if you cannot control its jumping. Remember, however, in order to isolate and deal successfully with this jumping problem, you must have some way of correcting the dog the instant he jumps. Prepare in advance, and be sure to have the dog on a lead or a long line when being introduced to people. This way you can time your correction perfectly, that is , when the dog's feet leave the ground, but not when his four feet are on the ground, and he is being petted. It must be clearly conveyed to the dog that it is the act of jumping, and not the socializing, that we want to discourage. When off lead, the dog must receive no attention from the visitor until it sits, or at least keeps all four feet on the ground. It will also help if the person, verbally, but sternly, tells the dog "no" as he jumps up, and pet him only when staying off.
Q: My dog has been to obedience classes and knows his commands but when he's off lead he won't listen!
A: The transition from on lead to off- lead control can be a tricky one depending, to a large extent, on the breed and the temperament of the individual dog. The subtlety with which this switch over is achieved is also of the utmost importance. Return to working on lead and long line in all those situations where you are having difficulties.
A: Every dog is an individual, with different maturation rates, levels of attention, concentration, and with significantly different degrees of reaction to distraction and stimulation, making it virtually impossible to maintain a productive learning environment in a group setting. Equally, every individual and family is different, and the goal is to harmonize the rapport between these two dynamics -- the dog and the owners. This is best achieved with personal instruction for the dog and owner. Working privately, appropriate socialization and distraction can be introduced in the right degree, and at the most opportune time.
That being said, I do have a few group classes for those dogs that have been trained by Euro Training Kennels. These classes are designed for maintenance training and for those that may be interested in competitive work.
Q: Who needs to come to the initial consultation/training session?
A: It is essential that the primary handler attend the session. If there is more that one adult in the home, and this person is interested and has the time, it would be beneficial for both to attend. This consultation covers a huge amount of the philosophy behind the training and raising of the dog; and I'm sure, regardless of their future involvement in the training, the other adult members of the household would find it enormously helpful and enlightening.
Q: Can I bring my child/children to the initial consultation/training session?
A: While I fully understand why you may want to bring your child or children, this initial session entails a lot of conversation (perhaps even more discussion than hands-on work), and, depending on the dog and the issues to be addressed, some very frank assessments. My very considerable experience tells me that it's best for the adult/s to attend this session. Then, if further training is needed and decided upon, it may be helpful to bring the children into the process. I find that even teenage children have a hard time staying focused for what could be a couple of hours.
Q: Will training "break" the spirit of my dog?
A: Definitely not! Unfortunately, there is still a somewhat prevalent myth that training will adversely affect the dog's temperament. Nothing could be further from the truth; training and education, properly performed and instructed, never "broke" the spirit of a dog -- or a person, for that matter. Training enhances the dog's self confidence and eliminates any confusion about who is really leading the pack. The dog that fully understands his place in the pack (which in our case is the family) is a fundamentally happier and more confident dog.
Q: What should I bring to the consultation/training session?
A: First and foremost, your dog! Also, a list of all your questions, along with a history, in as far as you know it, of you dog's background. If you have any pedigree papers, I would be very interested in studying them. Bring, too, any training equipment you have been using up to now. Don't buy anything additional before coming; I'll look at what you've got, and, once I've worked with your dog, I'll be able to advise you on, and demonstrate with, the correct training equipment needed.
Q: What can I expect to accomplish at this session?
A: First, I'll consult with you and compile a case history for your dog. Next, we'll address all your questions regarding any behavior problems and other issues affecting your dog. As soon as we've done this, I'll now work with your dog to get an idea of his/her temperament, disposition, and knowledge of commands. I'll also assess the severity and degree of any problem behavior, e.g. difficult and unruly behavior, attitude to other dogs and people, etc. Finally, once we've done all of the above, I'll give you my frank assessment of your dog, and what it will take to get the control and behavior you require. I will also outline a daily routine and management plan for you to follow.
Q: What's next after this initial consultation and training session?
A: That depends. Sometimes this initial session is sufficient to address a specific need or concern. With the work we do on the day, and by following the daily routine and management plan I will outline, you may have all you need. More difficult dogs, or those with more serious issues, will benefit from a follow up session or sessions. Those owners who want a fully voice-trained dog, even in the most distracting of environments, may want to consider a training program to achieve that end.
Q: How much do you charge?
A: The current rate for my private work is $150 per hour. This includes all follow up email and phone advice & consults.
Q: How many session or hours will it take to get my dog trained?
A: All depends on the particular dog, and what the owner needs. With the adult dog, sometime a couple of hours work will get good functional control. More difficult dogs, or for owners who want full voice control, follow up sessions will be required. How many depends on the dog, and I'll give you a good estimate after our first training session. For pups, periodic training sessions until the dog reaches one year old will deliver a fully voice controlled dog.
Q: Do you offer a free phone consultation?
A: Yes. In fact I encourage all potential clients to give me a call so that we can spend some time discussing your particular dog and covering any concerns and expectations you have with respect to training. I am more than happy to chat with you so that we can get to know each other a little, and so that I can answer your questions and give you what advice and guidance I can. Regardless of whether you make an appointment to come and see me, if the advice I can render by phone deals adequately with your issues, I will have been more than happy to have been of help.
Q: Do you offer training consultation by phone?
A: Yes. Although it is always best to see and handle the dog, not everyone can get to me. For knowlegeable owners, training consultations by phone can offer a good subsititute in dealing with specific behavior issues. My fee for phone consultations is $50 per 30 minutes.