Services we offer:
Personalized Dog Training
We meet with you and your dog in your home to determine the exact nature of the problem. We do this by taking a thorough history and working hands on with your dog. This helps us determine the most efficient treatment plan for your dog. Once the exact nature of your dog's problem is diagnosed, you receive a written report detailing recommendations for your pet. This gives owners a plan detailing how to train your dog on a daily basis.
Free follow-up consults by e-mail or phone are included for two months after your initial consult, should you need them. If you do not have the time or feel uncertain about training your dog, we are happy to continue the training process for you.
As we train your dog, we thoroughly explain our methods. All of this information may be shared with your dog's family veterinarian. Many anxious, fearful or aggressive dogs can benefit from the use of psychotropic medication. There are many drug choices available today which were not available even ten years ago. The newer drugs can greatly help dogs to relax and so respond more quickly to behavior modification. The use of psychotropic medications is a decision owners make in consultation with their veterinarian. We can also refer owners to veterinarian specialists who can help with medication if it seems indicated.
We help owners understand why other training methods they've tried haven't worked. The "alpha" and dominant dog theories, while popular, can easily do more harm than good to many dogs. Many of the dogs we work with come to us after these methods have either failed or made things worse. Here is a link to a site describing one study which looked at why these methods so often fail: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090217141540.htm
We also assess your dog's exercise and stimulation needs and explain how satisfying these needs help dogs become better pets and citizens.
We can help you teach your puppy or new adult dog to respect all of your house rules. Usually, the focus of this is teaching youngsters to do their business outside. However, sometimes, older dogs need to be trained to do this, too. Don't forget to socialize your pup! This is especially important from 3 weeks to 18 weeks of age. Dogs who are in this period of development need to experience the world at large.
Many dogs who live in Vermont live relatively isolated lives. If they don't get exposed to people out in the world, and very importantly strangers visiting your home, it is possible they will fear them once they do encounter them. Likewise this is true for exposing your dog to cars, the vet, and other animals. This is a problem because lack of exposure can lead to fear aggression around these unknown things.
The period of 3 - 18 weeks is magical for puppies. Exposure during this period helps them become comfortable. Veterinarian and dog behaviorist, Ian Dunbar likens the advantage of exposing dogs during this period to the difference between flying and swimming to Hawaii. If your pup is pre-shots, then just carry him or her around the world. You will thank yourself later on! And so will your pup!
While manners training (e.g. people are NOT chew toys) and socialization are extremely important for puppies, the most important job is to teach them to inhibit bites. Once they reach their social maturity and they feel the need bite for whatever reason (someone inadvertently steps on their tail or kicks them, for example) they need to have learned that human flesh is very soft and so they don't need to bite hard or multiple times to send the person away. This is completely different than the work which needs to be done with most puppies to teach them not to use their mouths on people for fun and games.
Your dog should learn sit, stay, loose leash walk, leave it without too much trouble. We work with many adolescent dogs (8 months - 2 years) who do not do these things well. Even when they learned them well as a puppy, adolescent dogs often need to relearn these behaviors once they mature. The training we use employs time-out's for breaking the rules, treats, access to toys, games, walks and lots of praise for getting it right. We do not use nor recommend the use of choke or shock collars. The majority of owners use these tools incorrectly (not consistently, and with poor timing) so that they often do more harm than good.
It can be hard to know which books or authorities to trust when looking for training advice. The website www.dogwise.com contains sources which will not get you into any trouble. Please be aware that many books found in commercial bookstores and on other websites contain outdated information about dog training. They often recommend the use of shock and choke collars, scruff shakes and alpha roles which are not only totally unnecessary, but can set your training program back by hurting your dog and put you in danger of being hurt by your dog.
If your dog is guarding food bowls, treats, toys, furniture, people or anything else, you need to deal with this sooner rather than later. In all likelihood, he or she is going to climb the aggression ladder if nothing is done. Now it's a look that freezes when you come near, then it may be a growl, after that a snarl or a snap. Ultimately, it could become a bite. The time to deal with aggression is now.
Kids and Dogs
While kids love dogs in their own way, dogs don't always return the affection. Why? Dogs have a very different set of social rules than we humans. For example, hands are scary enough for dogs, but throw them around an unsuspecting dog's neck, squeeze and you will likely see quite a reaction by the dog! The dog may wonder "What are you doing to me?" A snap may ensue. Often, this is the scenario when you hear that the dog "tried" to bite a kid. Dog bites are serious business. However, dogs rarely miss. If they wanted to make contact, chances are they would have. Did you know dogs can bite almost as fast as cats (cats can bite 6 times for every 5 times a dog can bite). Kids should always be supervised around dogs. Kids should be taught to respect dogs. They are living creatures who can become afraid and react accodrdingly. Most dogs can be taught to tolerate and even like children, but it's not an automatic relationship.
Veterinarian Recommended -Veterinary Behaviorist Recommended