Is my dog too old to train?
No. Despite the expression “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” your
dog can learn as long as you can. It gets harder to change bad habits with
time, but learning new behaviors can actually get easier with age. Dogs
of all ages are welcome in classes.
Is it too soon to train my puppy?
No. Your puppy is already learning, so you may as well teach him
good behavior from the start. As long as you use puppy-friendly
training techniques and respect your puppy’s mental and physical capacity,
you can start training at home right away. I generally suggesting waiting
to start a class until your puppy is about 12 weeks old.
Can my family come to class?
Yes. Anyone who will be working with the dog is encouraged to
attend class. Young children will not be effective trainers, but
are welcome to come and watch if they can sit quietly. Most kids
are able to do some
training by about age 10. See Childproofing
Your Dog, available from this website.
Which vaccinations are required for class?
All dogs should be current on their immunizations according to
your vet’s recommendations. Typically that schedule is: DHPP at 8,
12, and 16 weeks; Rabies at 6 months, and boosters for DHPP and Rabies at
1 year and every 3 years thereafter. Kennel cough (bordetella) should be
given annually. You will be given a form to fill out at the first class.
Is it ok to bring my puppy to class before s/he’s had all the shots?
Since puppies’ immune systems are not fully developed until they are
about 4 months old, the vaccines may not be completely effective until then.
During this time you should be careful not to take your puppy anywhere that
unvaccinated dogs may have been (parks, pet stores, neighborhood walks).
Unfortunately, if you don’t introduce your puppy to new people, places
and other dogs during this critical time, your puppy is likely to develop
irreversible fear problems. My puppy classes are designed to provide a safe,
non-threatening way to socialize puppies. Only healthy, vaccinated dogs
are allowed in the classroom and the room is sanitized prior to each puppy
What is the payment policy?
Payment in full is due at first class by cash or check. You may
request a refund within five days of the first class.
What if I miss a class?
You can get the handouts for any class that you miss by email,
or at the next meeting. You may make up the missed day by attending
that class at later session if space is available. Sorry, no refunds
How can I get my puppy to stop biting me?
For a young puppy, focus on teaching what s/he should be chewing
on. Puppies need to chew, so give them lots of toys and praise
them for chewing on their toys. As they get older and more mischievous,
you may have
to make your correction more stern (but not physical). Here are
- Squeal “OW” and praise if s/he stops.
- Say “No” and exchange for a toy and praise.
- If he is nipping in play stand up and turn your back on him
(i.e. play nice or not at all).
- Pair inappropriate mouthing with a squirt of water.
How can I teach my dog not to chew on….. ?
The best way to avoid losing your shoes, couch, etc., is to SUPERVISE!
Even if you are in the same room but distracted, it is better
to put your puppy in the crate for a few minutes than to let him
figure out that chair
legs taste good! Dogs will go through ups and downs in their behavior
for about the first two years, so don’t give them too much freedom too
soon. For example, I wouldn’t leave a dog loose in the house while
I’m gone until they are at least two years old. Also, frustration
(e.g. missing a meal) may trigger destructive behavior in a dog that is
How can I help my dog get over his fear of fireworks and thunder?
You may like to teach your dog to associate those noises with
something positive, like really good treats. One day the neighbor’s
kids were playing with cap guns outside and my dog started
to get nervous. So I got out some cheese and every time there
was a pop I offered her
a small bite. After a few minutes, her tail was wagging every
time she heard a pop! However, even with really tasty treats,
your dog may be
too upset to eat. In that case you may find it helpful to get
a recording of the noise (see below)
so that you can
start with a very low volume and gradually desensitize your
dog. Be careful not to try to soothe your dog (which he may
interpret as encouragement
to be frightened). If you act like nothing is wrong (or that
fun), your dog will take his cue from you. Above all, keep
your dog safely confined when he might be frightened. A crate
inside a bathroom with
the fan on and some music playing should help mask most of the noise.