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frequently ASKED QUESTIONS
ABOUT STAYWILDDOG AND DOG TRAINING

Dogs on a Bench

Which of your services is right for me?

This is dependent on your needs and those of your dog. Any in-home sessions for dogs older than 4 months we recommend doing a consultation first so we can fully assess the situation and determine the best course of action from there. We may recommend bundles after a consult as they are an excellent option for those who want a little more guidance. We can address any areas you need help with, from loose-leash walking to resource guarding. If you have only a few queries, for example, on potty training or "counter surfing," then a single session might be your best bet. Reach out to discuss your dog's particular training needs!

Image by Kieran White

Is my pet too old to be trained?

While we always want to take advantage of our puppy's socialization period before 16 weeks of age, we can train a dog at any age. We want to make sure the needs vs wants are being met, and creating positive relationships to the people and animals in their lives. Training happens every day no matter the age or breed!

Image by Austin Kirk

What is your approach to pet training?

We only focus on positive reinforcement training. Our goal is to build happy, healthy, confident dogs by utilizing their minds and using tools that encourage a positive association. We work towards giving our dogs choices and rewarding them heavily for the good choices made.​We use treats, toys, affection, and praise, and do not condone the use of shock collars, prong collars, e-collars, can-shakers, water bottles, air horns, or other aversive methods.

Image by Celine Sayuri Tagami

Why should I train my dog with positive reinforcement?

Training your best friend with positive methods is a wonderful way to not only create a lasting bond with your dog but help them learn important lessons and skills such as emotional regulation, self control, bond building and trust. Positive training helps dogs learn to take chances and good choices mean good rewards.

Positive Training helps keep your pet safe, well-behaved and ultimately gives them more freedom.

Image by Mike Burke

Do I need to be the Alpha, or Dominant one?

While dogs do need effective leadership from us, the simple answer is no.

These outdated claims and seemingly countless myths and misunderstandings about how our dogs think, learn and relate to those around them have been popularized theory nearly 35 years. The scientist responsible for the initial study have since retracted their findings. The American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior stand by positive training and the benefits behind it, as do we. 

Additionally, dominance only exists between dogs, is situational, and often over resources.

There is no need to 'assert your dominance' over your dog.

Image by Jesse Schoff

I grew up using shock collars and punishment, and it worked, so why change?

While dogs and humans alike are able to learn from punishment, we as teachers should never be the ones who dole it out.

Punishment tactics may appear to be effective but the fallout from using them is far more damaging. 

We understand. You are experiencing a frustrating behavior and are at wits end, and you need results. So punishment becomes an option because you need your own relief. But these can lead to a breakdown of your relationship, destroy trust, and condition your dog to be even  more aggressive, reactive or fearful of a stimuli if punishment is partnered with it. We want to have happy, confident dogs who have earned the freedom through understanding what you are asking. More often than not, when punishment 'works', it is only temporary and due to a suppression of the problem behavior, not a CHANGE of the problem behavior. 

Positive training works on the long term change. 

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What kind of vaccines do I need?

We want all pets to be as healthy as possible. So we recommend going by your vets guidelines of what and when they need their shots. We recommend all pups to have gone to the vet for the wellness check with in 6 months of scheduling a consultation with us to rule out any medical complications that may alter how training is approach. 

All reactive cases must have rabies shots.

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My dog is just STUBBORN. He knows EXACTLY what I'm asking him and is ignoring me!

Often times, when we think of a dog that is coming off as 'stubborn' is actually a dog that is either unmotivated or has no idea what is being asked. We tend to over-complicate our relationship with our dogs. Talking to them often as if they were human. It can take up to 6 weeks for a dog to learn a single cue for one behavior, so all the extra feedback they are getting through the day can be causing some confusion.  Even more so, we ask them to do something over and over again, getting more tense and frustrated that it is not being done is going to deter the dog from wanting to response. A lack of understanding is the most common culprit between 'stubbornness'. So ask yourself, "Does my dog actually KNOW, or am I projecting my frustration?"

Image by Robert Larsson

My dog sulks when I leave...does he have separation anxiety?

There is actually a difference between separation anxiety and separation distress! Distress is more barking, whining, pawing to get where you are at but can settle down ideally before 10 minutes is up. Anxiety is when the tension is so high that they cause destruction to themselves, their environment and have no come down from it. We can work on separation practices to boost confidence and trust that you will be returning, but some cases have had to be referred to the vet for medication. 

Remember, you can not train medical conditions.

Image by Ramith Bhasuka

Do you take aggressive dog cases?

There is a large misunderstanding on what is considered "aggression" versus "over-reactive responses." 

 

Aggression means an "intent to harm", and in these cases we see dogs who have high bite histories and factor high on the Dunbar Bite Scale.

More often than not, what people believe is aggressive is an over-reactive response to a stimuli. 

This is barking, pulling, lunging, excessive attention seeking, unable to redirect while in the face of the stimuli, but calms down at a distance enough to process what has happened.

 

This is where we come in.

 

We work on counter-conditioning emotional responses, alternative behavioral choices and management plans while we work towards your goals.  Over-reactive tendencies can be seen through fearfulness, excitement, lack of socialtion and improper conditioning at a young age.

So reactivity, is not aggression. But it can escalte if not cared for. 

If your dog truly has aggression, we will refer you to a specialized behaviorist.

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