Private Puppy Training

German Shepherd puppy in blue harness sitting for owner at dog training class in Regina, Saskatchewan

Private dog training for a happy, confident, well-mannered puppy

Classes are customized and include guidance to help address fear and prevent reactive and aggressive behaviours which commonly become problematic during adolescence.

Private sessions are an effective way to supplement socialization and training for puppies already registered in another puppy class.

Private Puppy Package

  • for puppies under 6 months at time of first consultation
  • $210 GST included
  • Initial consult: Part One (about 45 to 60 minutes) is held online or over the phone. Part Two (about 30 to 45 minutes) is held online or outdoors and must be used within 4 weeks of the initial consult.
  • detailed personalized notes and support materials
  • two e-books: Teach Your dog How to Be Alone and Teach Your Dog Manners Around Guests
  • free attendance to a two-month block of the Social Dog Walk class when your puppy is ready (conditions apply)
  • phone/email support

Puppy Package Plus

($315 GST included) This includes all the elements offered in the Private Puppy Package plus a set of 4 private mini classes (30 minutes each) to be used within 4 weeks. Meet with the instructor online once or twice a week for 30 minutes to work on foundation skills tailored to you and your puppy’s needs and skill level. Online coaching from your home provides both you and your puppy a low-distraction environment for more effective learning.

Some of the topics that can be covered:

  • safely socialize a puppy to a variety of new stimuli while avoiding overwhelming the puppy;
  • help ensure positive exposures to other dogs including appropriate, positive play and avoiding bullying behaviours;
  • recognize early signs of fear, reactivity, and aggression and how to appropriately prevent it and address the early signs.
  • address puppy behaviours like chewing, mouthing, biting and teach bite inhibition
  • protect bone growth plates during walks/exercise, play, using stairs, and jumping off furniture or out of vehicles
  • balance socialization needs with protecting the puppy from disease
  • housetrain, crate train, and prevent separation anxiety
  • teach the basics of Loose Leash Walking, Leave It, Give, manners when greeting people, Settle, Sit, Wait, and Stay.
  • teach puppy to enjoy basic handling for general care, vet visits and grooming
  • teach puppy to enjoy car rides and how to be calm and safe
  • prevent food aggression and other resource guarding behaviours
  • address/prevent jumping up, counter-surfing, barking

5 reasons to get private dog training BEFORE attending a group class

Fewer Distractions = Better Learning

The high distraction environment of a group class makes learning difficult and and can lead to undo stress, frustration, and often escalating to anxiety, fear, reactive, and aggressive behaviours. A group class is suitable to practice behaviours already learned and mastered in a low-distraction environment such as your home or yard. Private dog training in a low-distraction environment is much more effective and efficient than a group dog training class.

Canine stress signals can be very subtle before they escalate to obvious signs of distress. Many people, including many dog trainers, are unaware of the signals to watch for and are often surprised when the dog reacts in an extreme way. The dog’s early signals were missed or being ignored and the dog had to escalate. No one was paying attention to the dog when it was quietly telling the humans that it was not comfortable or that it was getting over-stimulated.

Here are some illustrations by Vet Behaviour Team of common canine stress signals every dog owner needs to know. This is an illustration on a Humane Society website of the Canine Ladder of Aggression that shows how canine stress signals can escalation from minor to severe, leading to a bite. Dog owners need to learn the signals so they can change the situation for the dog at the early signs, before the risk of a bite is high.

Easier to Apply to the “Real World”

Private dog training in your home/yard/neighbourhood allows you and your dog to learn the skills in the context of your dog’s normal environment.  It may be difficult for a student (human or dog) to transfer skills learned in a group class to a home environment. A dog might be wonderful walking on a loose leash in the dog training facility but pulls excessively when on a walk in the neighbourhood. A dog owner might be able to cue their dog to sit and stay in the training hall or in the Obedience ring, but the dog is unable to sit and stay when guests come to the door or when the dishwasher is being loaded. A dog might have a very reliable recall when learning Agility or Flyball but has a poor history of coming to the owner when called in from the yard or when it’s time to leave the dog park. Or worse, when the dog runs out of the house or a vehicle and into potential danger.

Customized to Your Needs

Private dog training is customized specifically to you and your dog’s needs. Many dog owners are looking for instruction that is beyond the scope of a group class, such as separation anxiety, reactive or aggressive behaviours, fear, counter surfing, chewing, house soiling, stealing items, and barking.

Even if the dog class is focused to address a particular issue, such as Leash Reactivity (Reactive Rover classes), each dog and human have different needs and skill levels. Even a Puppy Preschool class can only cover a general overview of common puppy problems. Anyone who has ever been to a group class knows that there are always people asking questions of the instructor at the end of the class (or before or during) that pertain to specific issues/questions they have. Sometimes this is helpful for everyone in the class — if the questions and answers are shared with everyone in the dog class. But more often than not, participants do not get the opportunity to ask their questions and/or the instructor doesn’t have the time to provide the in depth answer and to check for learning.

Immediate Help and Feedback

Private dog training means assistance and feedback is immediate, unlike some group classes where an instructor’s time is divided, sometimes between up to 15 to 20 people in a class. It’s impossible to provide immediate help to everyone. It helps if the instructor has an assistant or two and if the class size is small (4 students per instructor/assistant), but nothing beats one-on-one training where the instructor is able to give the dog owner 100% of their attention during the session. This makes it an excellent learning opportunity because the instructor will be able to see the nuances in the dog’s behaviours and communicate that to the dog’s owner who is likely concentrating on implementing the directions/instructions given by the teacher.

Immediate help and feedback are essential because the more a mistake is repeated, the more likely it will be to occur again and the more difficult it is to change. In a group setting, a student (human or dog) could be making the same mistake each class, week after week, practicing the same mistake at home during the week and the instructor might not notice until weeks later. Or not at all. And the dog owner might be thinking that their dog is stubborn or not smart or purposefully being bad. In some cases, the dog owner might blame the methodology and make statements like “positive reinforcement training doesn’t work” or “I tried doing that but it doesn’t work for all dog breeds.”

Reduced Risk From Other Dogs (and People)

Private dog training at your home reduces the risk of exposure to disease and parasites, and it reduces the risk of behavioural problems resulting from inappropriate interactions with other dogs and people in a group class (often due to too many dogs in the space, people unable to control their dogs, and dogs with reactive or aggressive behaviours). It’s not uncommon to have a group class where there is a dog who is having a particularly difficult time and is making other dogs and people in the class uncomfortable. This can be damaging emotionally to other dogs in the class who might be more sensitive or if they have a negative encounter with another dog. Dogs can become sensitized and develop behaviour problems from being in a group class with a dog that has severe behavioural problems.

A group dog class should BE a safe place and it should FEEL like a safe place for all the dogs and the people attending. Not all facilities have high standards for cleaning or protocols for dogs moving through entrances/exits. Not all instructors are willing to decline a paying client whose dog is not comfortable in the class (or has behaviours that make others in the class uncomfortable).

Private, at-home dog training is perfect for puppy owners whose vets have cautioned them about exposing their puppies to a group class before their third set of vaccinations. Puppies brains are in a state where they are learning quickly — what happens when I do this? Puppy owners don’t want to waste the opportunity for their puppies to learn important manners and skills but they don’t want to put their puppy’s health at risk. Private, one-on-one training is a great option. And when the owner is ready to bring the puppy to a group class, their puppy will already have a solid base of skills to practice in the context of a group class.