Frequently Asked Questions
Are you one of those trainers not allowing punishment?
Let's clarify punishment. In behavior terminology punishment means to decrease behavior. If you find that you are scolding your dog for the same thing over and over, you are not punishing, you might even be inadvertently reinforcing the behavior. Most people think punishment and correction mean the same thing, but correction is just a nice way of saying hit, scold, spank, grab, pinch, or jerk. If you ask if we use those things during training, the answer is no, but not because we let a dog get away with stuff. We use a different method, prevention and management of a behavior problem while teaching the animal what we would rather them do instead. This produces a dog that wants to work for us - and that's what we are looking for in training!
How much do the lessons cost?
How much does a new couch cost? A ruined carpet? A lawsuit because your dog bit the wrong person? How much does the neighbors vet bill cost from your dog biting Fido? Or a broken hip because your dog pulled you down a ditch? Lessons are on a quote basis depending on distance. See my regular rates here.
How often do I take lessons?
As often as necessary. Usually we meet weekly or biweekly. Sometimes (rarely) one lesson can answer your questions or help you figure out how to proceed (re-home, live with behavior problem, get a veterinary opinion.)
I hear you use food in training. I don't want my dog to only do things for food.
Reinforcement is actually a somewhat complicated subject. Using food in training is easily misunderstood and only a small percentage of what "reinforcement" means. We must consider if the new behavior will be reinforced by food under those circumstances. When we are teaching a dog a behavior, and then he does the behavior, we pay him with food. This is very different than waving a piece of hot dog in front of his face hoping he will do what you ask. When done correctly, food is faded out of the equation early on, and we are left with a dog following the cue. That said, we also use tug, fetch, sniffing, running, and many life rewards as reinforcement.
Do you guarantee results?
No. Professional dog training organizations consider offering training guarantees unethical. It is virtually impossible to say that your dog will perform a learned behavior is 100% of the circumstances.
What if your training doesn't work?
If you wanted to run a marathon you wouldn't show up on race day expecting to finish without a few months of solid training under your belt. Even seasoned marathoners would not approach a marathon this way. The same is true when training dogs. Think of your goal as if you were training for a marathon. You have to practice when you are tired from working all day, on rainy days, hot days, and cold days. You are the biggest factor in your dog's success! Train to win!
What about shy, abused, or neglected dogs? How would you train them?
Upon initial consultation we would note anything that the dog is uncomfortable with, such as "the dog prefers when I sit during the session rather than stand and walk around." We would train them the same way we would any other dog while ensuring their stress and mental well-being is top priority. During training we are always very quiet which is helpful for shy or neglected dogs. You will start to see your shy or neglected dog blossom, becoming more interested in humans, more curious, confident, and happy.
Where are you located?
Katie lives in Crosby, Texas but does not currently have a facility, so at this time she only provides private in-home lessons. She travels to you at your convenience. We provide services to Huffman, Crosby, Highlands, Atascocita, Kingwood, and more! Please see my "Private Training" page for more information!