Classes & Training


Companion Canines offers dog training and behavioral services through classes, private sessions, or daycare. Classes take place Mondays at the VCA Cherry Bend Animal Hospital* in Traverse City, MI. To sign up for a class or to get more information on classes call VCA CBAH at 231-922-0500. For any other training services, please contact me direct.


Advanced classes for pack training are offered periodically around Traverse City in numerous locations on Wednesdays. Contact me for more details.

*VCA Cherry Bend Animal Hospital offers doggy daycare.


Companion Canines offers three different styles of training: Private, Group, and Clinic. The following sections are offered in each style.


The first step is to learn about the breed you are looking for before you making a decision. Researching even mixed breeds will prevent you from getting the wrong dog for your type of lifestyle. I can provide a list of traits to match your companion canine with your family and lifestyle.

The next step is to understand the differences between a puppy or an adult dog and how it may affect your family and lifestyle.

Lastly, your decision to purchase a dog from a reputable breeder, rescue a dog from a shelter, get a dog from a rescue group or get a one from a family or friend.

Videos will be available to assist you in gaining knowledge in the proper introduction of dogs in each situation. Here is some of the information included in the videos:

  • Puppy training tips
  • Picking your puppy from a litter
  • Gauging a dog’s reaction to you from behind a gate
  • Introducing a second dog into the family
  • Presenting your new dog to friends and dog parks
  • Reading body language of dogs, and how dogs are reading your body language

Training is a life long process.


A rescue dog is any dog removed from an unhealthy, dangerous, or distressing situation. A rescue dog may come from a shelter or a foster home. The foster home may be a place following a shelter, and if more than one dog is being fostered, the situation could be stressful. It is important to understand, in any case, the dog may come with “Buts” or baggage.

The biggest difference between raising a puppy and rescuing an older dog is the behavior they are bred with versus the behaviors they have learned. Either way, all dogs can learn new behaviors over time with consistency and persistence. It is recommended that you establish rules and boundaries with the family and household before even attempting to rescue your dog. The rules should begin the moment the dog arrives at your home.

After 2-4 weeks, the dog will show signs of settling, where he/she begins to believe that they have found “home”. Then the serious training can commence. This is the time to begin molding your dog into a family member that will benefit you both.


The definition of obedience is “to submit to authority or comply with an order or the practice of obeying.” Obedience training has many levels, from puppy to competition. I start with puppy behavior that can be molded from as early as 3 weeks of age. You may find it interesting that service dog puppies begin their training before their eyes are even open. The dog is too young to learn that doesn’t hold any ground with me. “If you want a great dog, you’ll start with a great puppy”.

Our basic desired puppy behaviors are sit, stay, leave it, off, and gentle. As we move to basic obedience, some of the commands change to sit-stay, down-stay, come when called, walk nice on a leash, find it, get it, hold it, and drop it. As you dog becomes more advanced, we repeat the same commands but increase time, distance, and distractions. You will find that all of these disciplines are trained with a variety of techniques from positive reinforcement and treat training to clicker, gentle leaders or head halter, or even some e-Collar (electronic collar) training.

No technique is better or worse than the other. The only difference is the person training the dog and how easy it is for him/her to to teach the dog with the method chosen. When your dog passes an obedience class, it is not safe to assume you have total control; training is a life long process, and needs maintenance.

Dogs will learn social behavior skills from other dogs.


One aspect of training that is often bypassed or forgotten is socializing. Dogs speak first and foremost with body language. Most of it is natural and is not something they learn from a human. The “smartest” dogs are ones that learn social behavior from other dogs. In puppy and basic obedience classes, trainers will tell you to keep your dog under control and don’t let the dogs engage with each other. This rule is to protect you and your dog, the other people and their dogs, and the training facility for liability reasons. Besides not allowing engagement in the classes, they recommend that you go to dog parks and day care centers.  I tend to develop the socialization by individual dog, but most classes are taught off leash. My reasoning is that at puppy stages, there typically is no aggression, rough play perhaps, but they learn bite inhibition with contact.

In this section you have the opportunity to learn basic dog body language and learning to speak to your dog with your own body language. I will show you how to recognize if your dog is creating a problem, as well as teach you skills to offset and diffuse any situation simply and safely.


Specialist Training is for your dog to learn to become a therapy dog, service dog, and/or assistance dog. Therapy dogs are trained to provide affection and comfort to people in hospitals, retirement homes, nursing homes, schools and hospices. Service dogs are specifically trained to help people with disabilities such as visual or hearing impairment, mobility issues, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), seizures, diabetes and much more. Assistance dogs are trained to aid individuals with disabilities as well.


Walking clinics are offered on a regular basis for people and dogs to interact on a social and relaxed level. There will be specific sessions for puppies, and more advanced and off-leash sessions for older dogs. The clinics will also help dogs with aggression issues towards other dogs, people, or while on a leash. After attending a few, I recommend you try different levels of sessions to help your dog progress. Remember, dogs will learn social behavior skills from other dogs.

I provide coaching throughout every exercise so we can take time to practice every obedience behavior. Each walk lasts from a half hour to two hours, depending on location and number in attendance. It is advised to come prepared for the weather, bring poop bags, and water for your dog.

A guideline and checklist will be provided for reviewing the courses online, which may lead to you developing your own walking clinics with friends and family.

Please contact me for more information, as my schedule varies by season.


Tuesday November 13      6:00pm @ Home Depot

Tuesday November 27      6:00pm  @ Civic Center

Saturday December 15     2:00 @ Tractor Supply  Acme location.

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