Cara teaches the owner to communicate with his or her dog through sign and talking... - Rustie's owner
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Frequently Asked Questions

Q.  How do I keep my dog from ‘going’ in the house?

A.  There are five times that you should definitely take your dog out to do their business…..

1 – when they wake up

2 – after they eat

3 – after  they drink

4 – after they play

5 – after they exercise

Always take them to the same spot.  Pick a command word and say it every time you take them to that spot and make sure you have some treats with you.  As soon as they go, praise them to the sky!  And give them the treat IMMEDIATELY.  (that’s why you had the treats with you)


Q.  My puppy keeps peeing in the house.  Is he mad at me?

A.  No, don’t despair, they are only babies and they don’t know the rules yet.  Dogs are NOT vindictive and they DO NOT do it just to make you angry.   Barring any medical problems, there are only two reasons why a dog will mess in the house: they don’t know any better, or they couldn’t hold it any longer.


Q.  How long can they hold it?

A.  A rule of thumb is that they can hold it for as many hours as they are months old.

Two months old, expect two hours.  Three months old, three hours.  You get the picture….


Q.  What if my dog pees on the floor?   Can I rub their nose in it?

A.  NO!  If you catch them in the act, a loud “NO!” will probably stop them mid stream.  Pick them up and take them to the designated spot and praise them to the sky when they finish the job.  And of course – a treat!


If you did NOT catch them in the act, just clean it up.  Don’t rub their nose in it – that is just cruel and unusual punishment.  Would YOU like it??


Q.  What to clean with? 

A.  Vinegar is the ONLY thing that will take the smell away.  Don’t forget that a dogs sense of smell is much keener than ours.  Just because you can’t smell it doesn’t mean they can’t.  If they smell even one drop, it is like a big invitation to go there again.  Use the vinegar and water mixture!


Q.  My dogs teeth are falling out!  Is there something wrong with him?

A.  No – puppies get two sets of teeth, same as us; so don’t be alarmed when they start falling out.  And like us, when they are teething, they like to chew.  If you LIKE all of your shoes and furniture, you may want to consider giving them something just for this purpose.   A rope bone soaked in water then frozen makes a great teething toy to ease the pain in their gums.


Q. To crate or not to crate?

THAT is the question and the answer is simple.  Crate train your dog.  They will love you for it.  A crate provides them with their own den, their happy place, their safe place.  That is why it is very important to NEVER use the crate as punishment or ‘time outs’.

The crate is also a portable house for when you hit the road and bring your newest family member. Now that many hotels allow pets, your pup will probably travel more often than not with you.


Q.  What size crate?

A.  The crate should be large enough for the dog to stand up, turn around and lay down.  If the crate is too large, they will be able to mess on one side and sleep on the other – they generally do not like to lay in their own mess so tend to not go in their crate.

If you have a large breed dog, you can buy the size crate they will need as an adult and block the back portion and create a crate that grows with your dog.


Q. Where should I put the dogs crate?

A.  Dogs are pack animals so keep the crate where the activity is, yet far enough away that they can be alone if they want.  Keep the door open when you are around and let them go in and out as they like.  At night keep the crate in your bedroom where they can see you.  They will get great comfort from seeing, hearing and from your scent and hopefully allow you to sleep through the night.


Q.  What is a good age to start training my dog?

A.  An untrained dog at any age is the right age to train your dog; however, if you have a new puppy and want to do everything ‘perfectly’, then a good age to start training your dog is at four months old.  At that age, they have all of their shots, have a decent attention span and have not had enough time to pick up too many bad habits.

That said, it doesn’t always work out that you can get your dog into a class exactly when they are four months old; that is OK!  It is never too late to train your dog!



Q. I know that you do not allow different handlers in your classes.  Will my dog only listen to the person who took the class?

A.  No, once the dog knows the commands and what is expected of them, they will listen to anybody who gives them the command.  Changing handlers is not permitted because it is too confusing for the dog during the LEARNING stages.  And since each class builds on what was learned in the last class, it is very important that the same person attend every class.


Q.  Can my family come watch and learn?

A.  YES!  The more the merrier!  It is great when this is a family commitment and everybody is learning the same thing at the same time.


Q.  I see that you use muzzles on some dogs.  Aren’t muzzles cruel?

A.  Absolutely not – muzzles are all about safety.  If there is a risk of a dog biting anybody, we use a muzzle to ensure safety for all – trainers, owners and other dogs.    If you are worried that your dog will bite someone or another dog, you are not focusing on the training; you are too stressed.  When you feel stress, it runs straight down the leash and your dog senses it and goes into protection mode.  They do not know why you are stressed, just that you are – and they can only assume that it is the situation, so they want to protect you.


Q.  How much does this cost?

A.  The cost for a group class is $175 and it is one night per week for six weeks.

Private lessons cost $75 each and last approximately one hour.


Q.  Should I choose a group class or a private lesson?

A.  A group class can teach you all the basics PLUS teach your dog how to behave around other dogs and people.  Group classes are great for socialization.  On the other hand, private lessons work well for shift workers, people who cannot commit to every week for six weeks or dogs who have problem behaviors that need to be addressed separately.   Many people choose to do one private session to get issues under control then follow it up with a group class to take advantage of working around other dogs and people.

Q.  I just had a baby, how do I introduce the dog safely?

A. Congratulations on your new baby!  Welcoming a baby into your home with a dog is easier than you may think, but it is not necessarily intuitive.  Our tendency is to make a big deal of the dog when the baby is sleeping or out of the room – because we want to make sure the dog knows that they are still loved.  While this makes sense to US, it is actually sending the wrong message to the dog.  You are telling them that you only want to pay attention to them when the baby is not around – therefore, they will not want the baby around.

Instead, you should pay more attention to the dog when the baby is around, and less when they are not around.  NOTE:  please have one person holding the baby safely while the other person plays with the dog; then switch roles.  When the baby is napping, you should pay less attention to the dog.  That way, in the dog’s mind it is: baby = good, no baby = boring.

ANOTHER NOTE: If you ever feel depressed with your new baby; if you want to hurt yourself or your baby, please reach out for help.  Resources are available.