Frequently Asked Questions

What is a clicker & why do you use it?


A clicker is a marker that indicates to the animal that they have done the correct behavior. A clicker is also a time filler between the time the animal does the desired behavior and the time the reward is delivered. The clicker is often mistaken as a tool to get an animal's attention. The clicker must be "charged" and paired with a reward (treats) before you start using it for training. Once the clicker is charged, you will only click when the animal does desired behaviors. You may also use a marker word like "yes," but because the clicker has a distinct sound, it will typically create a much more pronounced response to the animal in training. Using a marker can increase your pet's training success rate by 60%.




Will I always have to use a clicker and treats?


The clicker and treats are both used in the beginning stages of learning (although there's no harm in continuing to click behaviors). Once the pet knows the behavior by voice or physical cue, you do not need to continue clicking for the behavior. It can also be helpful to bring it back out when you teach a new behavior or trick.




How often should I train my dog?


Training sessions are better in short durations. In an ideal situation, I'd recommend two to three times a day for only about 10-15 minutes. Training time can vary by dog/cat and by age. Also, take into consideration that some animals can get stressed during training, so this can vary significantly by the individual animal. Just keep in mind the general rule that shorter, frequent training sessions are better than one long session.




What tools are used and recommended for training?


I use ONLY positive and force-free methods, such as food rewards, toy rewards, petting, and praise. As far as equipment, I use no-pull harnesses, such as the sensation harness, the freedom harness, and head halters. I DO NOT use choke chains, prong collars, or shock collars, and I strongly disagree with those tools so much so that they are not allowed to be used on your pet while I am in training with him or her. If you have any questions about what equipment you should be using on your pet, I can definitely help. A lot of times, it's more about an owner not knowing what tools/equipment they are supposed to purchase when adopting a new pet. Please don't hesitate to contact me about tools/equipment for your pet.




How fast will my dog's behavior problems go away?


This is one of the most common questions I get, and unfortunately, it's the hardest to answer. It truly depends on the behavior problem or concern as well as how often training sessions are done. In general, teaching animals behaviors such as sit and down can be done in one session. However, behavior modifications for fear, anxiety, reactivity, handling sensitivities, etc. depends heavily on the severity of the problem, how often training is done, how well it's managed in between training sessions, and on the individual animal. This can be assessed during the initial behavior consultation.





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