Frequently Asked Questions
Does my pet really need training?
Are you happy with the way your pet behaves at home? In social situations? Around unfamiliar pets or people? If you answered no to any of these questions or would like to improve on your pet's already good behavior, we can help!
All animals are naturally curious and learn from their environment even if what they are learning is not intended. They learn their behavior has rewards or consequences and learn to associate what events go together (picking up a leash must mean a walk!) Understanding how your pet learns is essential to shaping the behavior you desire.
I don't have a lot of extra time. Won't training take a long time?
You help shape and create your pet's behavior every time you interact with him or her. The beauty of our training programs is that they are easy to incorporate into your daily routine so you are really 'training' your pet while you are feeding, playing or interacting with your pet.
Consistency and clear communication are also important in shaping your pet's behavior so having all household members available for at least the initial session are important to help your pet succeed.
I have had my pet for a few years now. Isn't he too old to learn?
No! You can teach an old dog (or cat) new tricks. Training also helps to strengthen the bond between you and your pet. Animals will get the most effect of training and shaping behavior during the early weeks (birth to 20 weeks) of life but it is never too late. Learning happens throughout your pet's life.
We've already tried everything. What can you do different?
While you have tried everything YOU know and may have gotten advice on the Internet or from family or friends, we have years of experience helping countless pet owners with basic skills and problem solving. Each situation, family, pet and all the personalities involved are a unique combination. Skillfully crafting a training plan for YOUR pet to solve unwanted behaviors is our niche. Let us help you.
Do I have to use food to train my pet?
Not necessarily. We use whatever motivates your pet. Food happens to movtivate a lot of pets so it is common to use because it can be very effective and quick to train with food. The challenge is understanding HOW to use food correctly so your pet learns the behavior but doesn't REQUIRE the food to do the behavior.
We utilize primarily positive reinforcement training. Positive reinforcement is not permissive. It does not mean the pet 'gets away' with anything. It simply means that the primary training tool is to teach the pet the correct behavior you want and to reward or reinforce that behavior so the pet learns that it is good to offer that behavior. All animals do what works for them. Humans are included in that!
Understanding the difference between punishment and corrections is very important. A punisher is something an animal will try and avoid. Using punishers effectively is very important. Delivered inappropriately, they can be counter-productive to your training and damage the relationship between you and your pet.
In addition, focusing only on punishment often teaches pets to avoid certain behaviors when the owner is present. This creates a pet that is good when you are around but often gets into trouble when you are gone.
Making sure your trainer has a solid understanding of learning theory and the correct use of classical and operant conditioning is imperative to training success.