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Fequently Asked Questions
Q: What type of training do you do?
A: I am a positive trainer. That means that I don't use shock collars, choke chains or prong collars when I train. Instead I use treats, toys and praise. Using positive reinforcement, I feel, is the most effective way to communicate with your dog, unlike negative reinforcement which can result in your dog becoming fearful of you.
Q: How long should you train your dog a day?
A: I recommend that you work on the dog's obedience training everyday throughout your daily routine. You can always randomly ask your dog to sit, lay down, look, etc. I would keep the training to 15 minute intervals as dogs don't have long attention spans or they get bored fast. You always want to end training on a good note.
Q:Why is my dog only listening to one of us?
A: The reason why the dog is only listening to one person is most likely that they are more consistent with the obedience training. They're rewarding the good behavior and correcting the unwanted behavior. Everyone has to be on the same page with the training and be consistent. If your spouse/family member is having a hard time, don't step in: let them finish the follow through of what they are asking the dog to do. The only time I ask anyone to step in is if it is a safety risk to the dog or owner.
Q: Why is my dog not consistent with the commands?
A: There could be many reasons why your dog is not consistent with the commands. It could be the wrong type of training method, distractions, fear and even a phase the dog is going through. Every dog learns differently. It is finding what works for the dog and what is comfortable for the owner/family, and then everyone sticking to the same program.
Q: How do I potty train my puppy/dog?
A: Every puppy is different when it comes to potty training. It doesn't matter the age of the puppy/dog either. The biggest thing is staying consistent with the training, meaning the letting them out after waking up from a nap, after playing or eating. Put your pup on a feeding schedule. A dog eats 2 meals a day and a puppy usually eats 3 meals a day until they hit 6 months, then it goes down to 2 (unless informed by your vet otherwise). Take the puppy out every 2 hours to the same spot every time on a leash. When the puppy is going to the bathroom reward the puppy with a treat or praise immediately after they go. I usually wait a little longer outside because puppies tend to not finish fully peeing as they get distracted very easy. If you are not watching the puppy you can put him/her in a crate or play pen so they cannot roam around going around the house, which is likely to result in them going to the bathroom. Pickup the water bowl 2 hours before they have to go to bed. If your pup has to go out at night, just get up and don’t talk to them or turn on a lot of lights, as they will think its time to get up and play. When you come back in from letting them out put them right back to bed.
Q: How can I teach my dog to let me know when they have to go out?
A: I would recommend hanging a bell on the door that they will ring to tell you they need to go out. To teach them how to ring the bell, ring the bell and then take them straight outside. When the dog starts ringing the bell on their own, act excited and take them out. With enough repetition your dog will know when you ring the bell you will let them out.
Q: How do I get my puppy to stop nipping? When does puppy nipping stop?
A: To get your pup to stop nipping try to trade off your hand for a toy or say ouch really loud. If that doesn't work, ignore them for 30 seconds, then you can engage with the puppy. If they are still nipping, get up and walk away for 30 seconds, then come back and play with them. Puppy nipping usually lasts till about 5 to 6 months of age.
Q: How do you stop your dog from jumping?
A: If your dog is jumping on people, tell the person who is approaching your dog that you don't want your dog to jump. If the person says I don't care if they jump on me, tell them that you are teaching them not to. If they say I don't care if they jump, don't let them pet your dog. If they acknowledge your training not to jump, step on the leash and ask your dog to "sit." Make sure you are not pulling on the dogs neck. Tell the person they can pet your dog as long as your dog remains in the sit. Hand the person a treat or get a treat ready in your hand to reward your dog for not jumping. If the dog tries to jump have the person approaching back up and not pay attention to the dog. Once the dog is calm again you can try to reproach the dog. If the dog is too wild then nicely say I am sorry, not today.
Q: How do I help my dog with separation anxiety when I leave?
A: If your dog has separation anxiety when you leave, the first thing to do before you leave is to take your dog for a long walk. Make sure you are tiring out the dog; you can even add a dog backpack with extra weight in it to mentally drain the dog. When you come back from your walk make sure the dog is hydrated and eats. Not every dog will eat right away, that is okay, just give them time to settle. Once they are finished you can give them a kong toy to play with or a puzzle to focus on, then start practicing leaving the dog. Don't make any eye contact or talk to your dog when you’re leaving. Depending on the severity of the dog’s anxiety, you may need to practice leaving the dog in small increments. In that case, maybe just leave the room and come back in and reward the dog. When you are ready you can leave the house. Start with five minutes and extend your time. When you leave the house, I like to leave the tv or radio on for the dog so it is like someone is home. Continue to increase the time you spend away until you can leave for a full eight hours without any issue. Depending on the severity of the anxiety, it could take months. This program may not work for every dog, so please ask for assistance from a vet or a trainer as there are different levels of anxiety.
Q: Do you recommend Board-and-Train?
A: I am not a fan of Board-and-Train. Before I became a trainer I sent my dog away to a Board-and-Train facility and my dog came back to me injured, undernourished and didn't know his commands after a few days. There are pros and cons to the Board-and-Train approach. A pro might be that for these longer stays, the trainer will get a fuller picture of the mental and physical status of the dog, and the dog will learn to be away and train in a different environment. A con to the Board-and-train program may be that the training program may be too rigorous than is needed for some dogs. It can be emotionally and physically harder on some dogs, as well as the owner. The dog is away from home for weeks and the owner will have no communication with their dog, so you don’t know how the trainer is treating your dog. Our dogs can’t speak up for themselves, so us as the owners must be there to speak for them. Training is often as much for pet owners as it is for the dog. When you train your dog you will emotionally bond and build a relationship with them. You don’t get that when you send them away. Additionally, when they come back, you will have to adjust to a new set of commands and schedule to keep your dog’s training on track, where if you do the training you are building it into your lifestyle.
Q: How long does it take to train a reactive dog? Will a shock collar help me with this behavior?
A: When working with a reactive dog you are helping them with their triggers and fears. It could take anywhere up to a year or more depending on the dog. It is not a good idea to put a shock collar, prong or choke chain on a reactive dog as it could give them pain or further stress and anxiety.
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