Okay, I Know I Want a Private Lesson, but Which One Do I Book?
If you're trying to choose between booking a Private Lesson 1.0, 1.5, and 2.0, we suggest considering a couple key factors:
Why are you booking the lesson? What do you want us to help you with?
How many dogs are in your household?
Have you tried to fix or improve or change the target behaviours before?
We suggest figuring out what your Priority Issues are in order to help you decide how long we'll need to address them for you.
A Priority Issue is anything that is currently affecting your life in a way that is consistently negative or detrimental. For example, if you feel that you cannot take your dog for a walk without feeling anxious, embarrassed, or nervous, that would be a Priority Issue.
If you have 1-2 mild to moderate Priority Issues in a single dog household, then a Private Lesson 1.0 is typically a safe bet.
The Private Lesson 1.0 is also a good option for follow up lessons, or check-ins to tweak behaviours or training plans that you've been working on for a while.
If you have more than 1-2 Priority Issues, if any of your issues are moderate to severe in nature, or if you have a multiple dog household, we would recommend booking either a Private Lesson 1.5 or a Private Lesson 2.0.
If you're still not sure, however, choose the longer option between the two you're considering.
Which Trainer Should I Book With?
We make sure that we have a variety of trainers on staff in order to be able to provide our clients with the broadest spectrum of knowledge and skills possible. No one person can know everything, so we encourage our trainers to develop individual skills and abilities on top of their basic knowledge of canine training and behaviour principles.
When booking specific sessions or packages, you will find that only one of our trainers may be available for certain things. This is because that trainer either a) prefers to specialize in that particular area or b) is the trainer on staff that has the most knowledge and skills associated with that particular program or topic. Because our trainers are dedicated to collaborative efforts, if you book with a trainer for a specific issue or challenge that they feel another trainer is better equipped to deal with, they'll reach out to let you know and make recommendations!
In the meantime, here are some specialty areas and the trainers that focus on them, that you might find helpful:
Dog or Human Aggression/Reactivity: Christina
Resource Guarding: Stephanie
Loose leash walking: Christina
Drag Weight: Stephanie
Scent Detection/Nosework: Christina
Muzzle Training: Stephanie
Puppy Foundations: Christina or Stephanie (I mean, who doesn't love puppies?)
You Said You Use Many Different Methods, but What Does That Mean?
When we say that we like to keep a lot of tools in our toolboxes, or that we use a variety of methods, what we mean is that we are open to the possibility of utilizing any training method that produces a desirable training outcome, is safe and appropriate for your dog, and that you feel comfortable and confident using. A very large portion of our training methods are based on positively reinforcing desirable behaviours and choices, however, it's important to note that we do also communicate to dogs when they're doing something we don't like or don't want them to do. We believe that this is integral in providing dogs with the clearest picture possible.
We use a variety of tools that might include; food, toys, leash communication, different styles of collars, different styles of harnesses, spray bottles, chew deterrent, noise makers of various types, etc., etc.
If there is something that you aren't particularly comfortable with, we encourage you to tell us so that we can either give you some more information on it if you would like, or avoid its use in our training plans.
Since we are committed to the inclusion of multiple training methods, if you are looking for a strictly Purely Positive, Positive Only, or Force Free trainer, we are more than happy to make recommendations for other individuals in the area who specialize in those approaches!
Why All the Hype About Trust & Respect?
Trust and Respect are the foundational principles of our relationship building model.
Basically, that's a really wordy way of saying that we believe that the best relationships between dogs and people having strong components of trust and respect present. But when we say trust and respect, we don't actually mean them the way that most people do.
In the Dog World, Trust means that your dog knows that you are going to keep him or her safe, no matter the situation. It means that they are willing to participate in things that might make them a bit nervous or uncomfortable because they believe in your ability to keep bad things from happening, and they 100% trust that you won't ask them to do something that would end poorly for them. It's important to keep in mind that, for a dog, death and maiming are kind of the gold standards for "something bad". Obviously that varies somewhat from dog to dog, but taking your dog to the vet for its vaccinations isn't going to count as a violation of his or her Trust just because they got poked or were uncomfortable or anxious.
Respect, on the other hand, refers to your dog's belief that you will absolutely follow through on whatever it is that you say that you're going to do or want them to do. They understand that you get to be the decision maker in the relationship, and they're good with that because you've shown them that a) you make good decisions, b) good things happen for them when they choose to do what you want them to do, and c) you're gonna make them do it anyway, so they may as well toe the line. Again, remember that dogs don't think about these things the way that we do. Our dogs aren't bothered by the idea that they're supposed to do what they're told - in fact, the vast majority of dogs prefer not to have to make decisions and are more than happy to hand over the management responsibilities to someone else... as long as that someone is someone they trust and respect.
We think that it's very important to note that our preference for the relationships we build with our dogs is not the only way of doing things (you might have noticed that that's a theme with us). There are lots of trainers and handlers out there who prefer to base their relationships on other factors and aspects of dog behaviour, and that's totally fine by us! What's important is that you find a trainer and a method that works for you and your dog, so that you can enjoy your time together to its utmost potential.
Are You Breed Inclusive? Are There Breeds You Won't Work With?
We are absolutely breed inclusive, and there are no dogs that we will refuse to work with based on their breed, appearance, or possible breed makeup.
Both Christina and Stephanie own powerful, driven breeds including Dobermanns, American Staffordshire Terriers, and bandogs, and both are experienced with other terrier and mastiff breeds as well. Additionally, Christina has extensive experience with both German Shepherd Dogs and Belgian Malinois that were bred and trained for military and police service use, and Stephanie competes in a variety of dog sports that were developed for American Pit Bull Terriers, which means she spends a considerable amount of time in the company of that breed and others that are similar to it.
That doesn't mean that we're only into the "tough" dogs, though. Christina's horde of dogs (seriously, there are a lot of them) includes a 5.5lb Chihuahua, a 6.5lb Papillon, and a Silken Windhound that we're convinced is mostly made out of air and legs.